A Blupete Biography Page

The Final Years, Part 7 to the Life & Works of
Richard John Uniacke

Uniacke was recognizable at some distance as he walked through the streets of Halifax, especially if he was with any of his sons. He and the boys were all over six feet tall. Impressive too, was Uniacke's manner, wit and speech.19 These attributes came to his aid, particularly in his legal work. He made money early, especially from his fees earned as Advocate General of the Vice-Admiralty Court during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. Certainly he needed a fortune to maintain his family; all the boys were sent overseas for legal training; the family had a large townhouse in Halifax and a country home at Mount Uniacke.

As for his politics: he was a moderate Tory. This is most observable in his interest in promoting the removal of any restrictions to free trade. He was, however, progressive, an example being his interest in universal education. In the earliest part of the movement, Uniacke advocated federation of the British colonies. In 1806, he wrote in a memorandum that there should be not one federal but two legislative unions, one for the Canadas and another for the Maritime Provinces. By 1826 he was advocating a federal union an event that took place 37 years after his death.

Cuthbertson concluded his entry on Uniacke in the DCB, as follows:

"Contemporaries remembered Uniacke mostly for the sheer force of his character and his exuberance. He loved life, and family and friendships were essential to his existence. His was a personality of exaggerations and his judgements of men and events were sometimes clouded by raw emotion. He was ambitious for himself and his children, and although his ambitions were never entirely fulfilled, he achieved more than most men."
Richard John Uniacke, the "Old Attorney General," with a number of his family around him at Mount Uniacke, died on October 11th, 1830. His wish was a simple burial at Mount Uniacke, but he was carried to Halifax to be buried at St. Paul's beside his first wife and his eldest daughter.

-- End

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Peter Landry
2011

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