Letters from P.E.I. - James Bardin Palmer's Correspondence with Lord Bathurt's Office, 1813.


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Transcribed by Janice Tanche, jtanche@telus.net


Palmer, James Bardin of Prince Edward Island.  "London Correspondence with Lord Bathurst February 9 – March 22, 1813."  Alley Smith Collection, Acc2702 Item 839. Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada  

Transcribed February 4, 2006 by Janice Tanche email: jtanche@telus.net

[Introduction: James Bardin Palmer, Esq. (1771 – 1833), Elisha LePage, Esq. (1764 – 1813) were residents of Prince Edward Island, and early members of the Society of Loyal Electors. This document is transcribed by Janice Tanche jtanche@telus.net, and proofread by Garth Bulman garth.bulman@gmail.com who are, respectively, the 3rd and 5th great grandchildren of Palmer and LePage.

In this collection, we learn that Mr. Palmer has traveled to England, and that he is corresponding with Lord Bathurst who is in London. Mr. Palmer is attempting to persuade Lord Bathurst to conduct an investigation what Palmer believes to be the corrupt government of Prince Edward Island. Mr. Palmer is also attempting to restore his own reputation. In the course of this correspondence, Mr. Palmer provides Lord Bathurst with a copy of the "Statement to that Colony March 4th 1813" (Alley Smith Collection, Acc. 2702 Item 836. Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE) which he cites as support for his allegations of a corrupt Cabal that is exploiting the Island, and retarding its development. Of particular interest to those following the history of the Society of Loyal Electors are Mr. Palmer’s statements about the reasons for founding that Society, and the inclusion of the copy of an advertisement describing Resolutions around the composition and conduct of the group.]


Downing Street February 9: 1813

Sir

I am directed by Lord Bathhurst to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th inst, which was only received to day, in which you repeat the request of being made acquainted with the grounds upon which it was thought proper to dismiss you from your several official situations in the Colony of Prince Edwards Island, and in which you also state that there exists a party in that Island into whose conduct an investigation will be solicited by the principal persons who conceive themselves injured by it.

In reply I am directed to acquaint you that although Lord Bathhurst does not consider it necessary to state to an individual the grounds upon which His Majesty’s Government have deemed it expedient to dismiss him from an employment, he will be ready to attend to any representation which may be made to him by persons connected with the Colony, and to investigate any charges which they may think themselves enabled to substantiate against the conduct of any party in the Settlement.

J. B. Palmer Esq

I have the honor Sir
(Signed Henry Goulburn)


No 110 Tollenham Court Road
February 23: 1813

My Lord

I am honor’d, after a few days absence from Town, with a second communication from Your Lordship dated the 9th inst mentioning that it is not considered necessary to state to an individual the grounds upon which he has been dismissed from an employment but that Your Lordship wou’d be ready to attend to any representations against the conduct of any party in the Settlement of Prince Edward Island.

I beg leave to submit to Your Lordship that a Complainant could not very easily establish any particular charge of the nature which I have before alluded to without, in the first instance, going to the source of the Combination, and then pointing out the specific acts of the party. To adopt this mode wou’d be on my part impracticable. The expense and delay attendant upon a formal investigation of such complicated matter wou’d be fatal[.] Objections in the first instance and several of the documents and proofs I am unprovided with having suddenly and fortunately effected my escape from Prince Edward Island at the moment when the Government fell into the hands of Mr. Townshend, whose first act was to restore the Chief Justice from suspension ordered under alarming circumstances, and which Mr. Townshend is in the last stage of debility under a complication of disorders, and is the Brother in law of Mr. Charles Stewart the Attorney General, a principal Person in the confederacy.

It wou’d also be unnecessary for me to enter at large into such charges because I understand that they will be brought forward by a Gentleman, Mr. Roubel, lately arrived in Town for that purpose who has been still more injured than myself, so soon as his Counsel can devote time to the arrangement of sundry papers containing matter than will render any other complaint quite superfluous.

I entreat Your Lordship may not suppose that I consider it follows as a necessary consequence that His Majestys Ministers shou’d state the grounds upon which they may think proper to dismiss a Public Officer, but at the same time I flatter myself that the particular services here enumerated, together with the direct assertion of my innocence, may offer to prove it. The references which I have offered and the manner in which my demission was publicly advertised will operate to place me as an exception to the general rule, under the qualifications which I shall beg leave to suggest; diffidence has prevented me heretofore form stating in detail those services, which wou’d more properly have been disclosed upon the desired investigation, but my Lord, I shou’d do injustice to my family and my feelings if I declined any longer to mention my exertions for the advantage of the Colony as grounds whereon I many seek some favour. And I am ready to prove the truth of my assertions, standing or falling on the event.

From the time of my arrival at Prince Edward Island in 1802 I was the first Man to train a Corps of Militia, or wear a Uniform. I was afterwards the means of forming, posting, and commencing the discipline of each of the three Regiments, not one of which was previously established, otherwise than on Paper. However the contrary may have been represented. In 1803 I personally solicited from General Bowyer and brought from Halifax to Charlotte Town 300 Stand of Arms with ammunition, and in July last I in like manner procured 200 Stand in addition from Lieutenant General Sir John Sherbrooke. This constitutes the total amount of effective small arms now on the Island for the Militia[,] a few fowling pieces excepted. There was not in the West District (comprizing the most valuable half of the Island) a Road on which a Horse cou’d pass five Miles with safety or uninterruption. I have since caused to be opened about 200 Miles of Roads in that District, the greater part of which Roads are from twelve to twenty feet wide, beside making many large and commodious Bridges. Mr. Chalmers and myself were the first persons who placed the Public accounts in a state of regularity and publicity. The Records of Council during different periods of several Months and sometimes years were totally lost, and on those Records the titles of many Estates depended. The remaining imperfect Records (several quires being in loose sheets) were preserved and arranged under my direction, and engrossed in large bound books. In like manner the Acts of the Assembly have been collected by me with great difficulty, and revised for the press. The Court of Chancery was without Rules, and the entries or Records of that Court as well as the other Courts for many Years during the time when Mr. Stewart was Clerk were erased[,] interlined, blotted and nearly unintelligible. The mode in which the present entries of all the Courts are made, together with the Rules of the Court of Chancery have been designed by me. The Clerks are now accountable for every document they receive, whereas formerly several papers of very great value were not forthcoming. By a Bill drawn by me, and which passed the last Sessions, the collection of the Revenue has been facilitated and secured, and a considerable augmentation thrown into the Treasury and at length, after many Years exertion on my part, assizes and Quarter Sessions were about to be established, which wou’d improve the Country and save a heavy annual expenditure from the Public Revenue. In consequence of a dispatch from the Earl of Liverpool to the late Lieutenant Governor – the Alien Bill of last Session was drawn under my direction, and passed the lower House of Assembly. It was rejected in the Upper House because it was say’d to have retrospect to the arrival of Monsieur Alexander Lesueur, a Man of large property now in Prince Edward Island lately from France under questionable circumstances. A Militia Bill was also drawn by me with very great labour, and which passed the Lower House, as also a paper currency Bill to facilitate the collection of the Revenue, and a Bill of Supply, but they were rejected in the Upper House. Those services I am unavoidably altho’ very reluctantly compelled to represent. They were performed with labour and under privations which I shall never recover the effect of. – The total remuneration which I have received wou’d not pay my Clerks or Deputies.

I humbly and with great deference also submit to Your Lordship the possibility that even His Majestys Ministers may have been imposed upon by either a misinformed or an interested person. And I have reason to conjecture that people of both descriptions have been sedulously engaged in aspersing my character. Among the latter class I understand lately that Mr. Hill a Merchant has taken an active part. In order that Your Lordship may duly appreciate the motives of this Man, who has been twenty Years complaining at Office and boasts that he can appoint and dismiss Governors, I beg leave to state that a Bill has been filed in the Court of Chancery of Prince Edward Island supported by several Affidavits to set aside a Decree obtained there by Mr. Hill, on the ground that he had obtained the Decree by various acts of fraud and collusion, among others – by the suppression of his Bankruptcy, and also of the Will of the late Edward Lewis Esq Member of Parliament for Radnor, and Contractor with Government, upon whose property, now claimed by Mr. Hill, the Crown has an Extent to a very large amount. The late Lieutenant Governor thought proper to suspend the execution of the Decree under those circumstances. Mr. Hill now claims the ownership of one hundred thousand Acres of land notwithstanding his Bankruptcy which he admits to have been a friend by Commission. Mr. Cambridge held and still holds the uninterrupted possession of one hundred and forty thousand acres under circumstances very nearly similar to the forgoing having been in some degree a Judicial Officer of the Court of the Chancery where those matters with others of an infamous nature were disclosed before that equitable and revered Character Colonel DesBarres. – I submit to Your Lordship whether Mr. Hill or Mr. Cambridges evidence against me, either by themselves or any person whom they might actuate to that purpose[,] can be considered as flowing from the pure foundation of justice and impartiality. It is with much reluctance that I trespass on Your Lordship by stating particulars which with greater propriety wou’d come before a Professional Gentleman in the first instance. – It is a vague defence, but it wou’d be more pointed if I cou’d see the weapon which assailed me. Some of the charges I understand go to my private character and circumstances, I shall presume to argue upon a supposition, or attempt to prove a general negation, but my Lord I earnestly pray for an investigation, being well convinced that I can in my defence draw the line of distinction between misconduct and misfortune. If I had been open to corruption equally as several of my adversaries I might associate with them in the enjoyment of splendid ill acquirements.

The evidence required for a Complainant is much more extensive than that for a Defendant, and I am willing to take the chance of being prepared on my defence. The only papers which I shall now request permission to lay before Your Lordship will be an extract from certain Resolutions of the Colonial Council of Prince Edward Island dated the 18th October 1806 to shew the situation of the Colony at the Commencement of the late Lieutenant Governors Administration[,] and the copy of an Affidavit sworn by me the 16th May 1811 to shew the nature and object of the confederacy against me, but I have in my possession several papers of consequence which at my leaving the Colony I selected at the hurry of the moment. Among others — some letters written by Mr. Hill to me, and which will be of themselves sufficient to prove many of the assertions herein contained.

I humbly entreat that upon the further consideration of this affair Your Lordship may honor me with permission to wait upon You, or may please to refer me to some confidential person who may be empowered to disclose, if he shall deem it required, such information as may lead me to the proper course for my defence, and afford me an opportunity of removing a stigma which, with great submission, I must assert was unmerited on my part. –

(Enclosed in the foregoing)

Extract of certain Resolutions entered into by a Committee of His Majestys Council of Prince Edward Island dated Saturday October 18: 1806.

Present

The Honorable Thomas DesBrisay

)

Joseph Robinson

William Townsend

)

James Chalmers

Robert Gray

)

Jas Bardin Palmer

"Resolved

"That the Inhabitants of this Colony, enjoying many natural advantages are at present in a state which requires great assistance from His Majestys Government in matters of the most immediate and pressing urgency.

"That Necessary Roads have been traced through the Island to an extent of five hundred Miles and upwards, forty Miles only of which are at present passable for any Carriage in Summer.

"That we have not any Public Building belonging to the Colony except a Church erected by private subscription, and a small Gaol, nearly ruinous, and totally unfit for prisoners.

"That the Colonial Revenue arising from Sundry Acts of the Assembly, does not amount on an average to more than £400 Yearly, and that we are ignorant of the state and application of His Majestys Quit Rents – the Receiver General or his Deputy having refused to account for the same."

----------

Prince Edward Island )

James Bardin Palmer of York Lodge in Prince Edward

Queens County )

Island Esquire maketh Oath and Saith that Deponent

having from active research and practical experience observed that the real Causes which retarded and obstructed the progress of this His Majestys Colony in improvement viz the monopoly of land of sundry speculating proprietors had been sedulously endeavoured to be kept secret from The King’s Ministers, to whom repeated misrepresentations false reports and exaggerated accounts of the state of the Colony had been sent during several Years before for the purpose of disguising and covering the dormant inactivity of the proprietors in general and the engrossing monopoly of a number of Bankrupt and other unprincipled Speculators in land, and Deponent having also observed that the most iniquitous means were used by those characters last described or their agents in order to support an influence in the Colony, and which conduct if continued might ultimately estrange the affection and loyalty of the People from their Sovereign inasmuch as the measures of His Majestys Colonial Executive Minister tending to the colonization and improvement of this Island, the true description and representation thereof and the administration of justice therein were checked and counteracted by the artifice and machinations of a combined Cabal of those Speculators and their Agents who declined to make any pecuniary contribution toward the improvement of the Colony, threw all the taxes and labour upon the active Settler, and protected themselves by sinister means in the enjoyment of property illegally and unjustly acquired. This Deponent conceiving that if the House of Assembly was composed of Men of disinterested integrity those grievances wou’d be speedily and constitutionally removed, it occurred to Deponent that by a number of reputable Settlers associating together and supporting proper Candidates at Elections a considerable degree of influence cou’d be made in the House of Assembly , and which cou’d be directed to the support of His Majestys Government, restoring the confidence of the people, and promoting the improvement of the Colony, and accordingly Deponent in the Year one thousand eight hundred and six consulted with sundry persons at Charlotte Town for which place he was then one of the Representatives in the Assembly, and the Society of Loyal Electors was established for the above purposes upon a plan similar, as nearly as circumstances wou’d permit to that of a Loyal and well known Society in Dublin which has existed upwards of a Century, and of which several respected and dignified persons are or were Members, such as The Right Honorable George Ogle, The Right Honorable Dr. Duigenan, The Right Honorable John Forster, John Claudrier Beresford Esq, Jonah Barrington Esquire and a great number of other Members, of Parliament. This Deponent saith that the Society of Loyal Electors continued to meet in Charlotte Town from the time of their formation to the present, and have been of material service in promoting an active spirit of improvement and emulation among the Inhabitants of this Colony, as also in promoting the election of several persons as Members in the House of Assembly who were deservedly possessed of Public confidence and whose votes as noted in the Journals of that House will shew that they have supported the measures of Government tho’ frequently in opposition to some of the Officers of Government whose interest and conduct were swayed by the Speculators Cabal before described. This Despondent saith that Mr. Stewart the Solicitor General of the Island has been habitually accustomed to oppose Deponent privately and publicly for many Years past, and Despondent has been professionally and otherwise compelled to proceed in suing at Law and Equity Mr. Stewarts family and connections and in exposing various artifices and Schemes which they had carried on successfully in Public affairs before the arrival of Deponent in the Colony and Deponent doth verily believe that Mr. Stewart hath been unremitting tho’ unsuccessful in his endeavors to collect evidence tending to impeach the public character of Deponent and of the before mentioned Society, and this Deponent saith he is ready and willing when called upon to establish those his assertions by the clearest and most circumstantial evidence. This Despondent further saith that Deponent about the latter end of last Year has unwillingly been obliged to institute a Suit against Mr. Thomas Joseph March and others for the recovery of nearly Six thousand Acres of land and a considerable Sum of Money which Deponent is justly entitled to have from the said Marsh and others, and Deponent understands that this Marsh, who is directly interested in endeavouring to ruin Deponent, and some other persons, particularly Mr. John Frederick Holland, who tho’ less interested are equally prejudiced and partial have joined in a conspiracy against Deponent, and have circulated abominable libels purporting to have been extracts from the proceedings of the Loyal Electors Society, but which are artfully garbled, added to and altered in such a manner as to destroy their original intent and meaning and to give the Society the appearance of secrecy and dark design, whereas this Deponent positively saith that publicity was the principal wish and one primary object of its proceedings, that the Members met publicly, on stated days, viz. the first Tuesday in each Month, that all the Meetings were open to visitors, and that no Book was even used by, or belonged to the Society, except the Treasurers Book which related entirely to Money transactions and the Book of Proceedings which at the express desire of the Members was laid before His Excellency Lieutenant Governor DesBarres so soon as the slightest rumor took place of any charge having been exhibited to the prejudice of the Society, and which proceedings, as far as related to public principles, had been previously advertised, in the Newspaper. This Deponent said that Deponent never moved, nor did any other Member as Deponent believes make a Motion that a secret Committee shou’d be appointed, but Deponent moved that a Committee shou’d be appointed to prepare, superintend or transact the business of the Society, and to report their proceedings to the Society at its Monthly Meetings, and the Motion so made by Deponent was agreed to, and was written in the Book of the Society by the Secretary, in the precise words in which the same was made; and which written resolution appears unaltered in the said Book. The Deponent said that if any person hath asserted or sworn to the contrary of what is here stated that such person hath asserted or sworn a deliberate falsehood. And Deponent said that being a Member of His Majestys Counsel, and as it has been suggested to him that his continuance as a Member of the Society of Loyal Electors might be considered as an interference with the distinction which shou’d be observed between the different Estates of the Constitution[,] Deponent has for that reason, and for that reason only withdrawn himself from the before mentioned Society whose principles are unimpeachable.

J. B. Palmer

Sworn before me this 16th day of May 1811
J. L. DesBarres J.P. –

They were advertised in the "Weekly Recorder" of Prince Edward Island of the 1st of October 1810 and are as follow.-

"Loyal Electors"
"The future prosperity of Prince Edward Island depending on a great measure on the wisdom and integrity of the House of Representatives, it is expedient that proper care shou'd be taken to diffuse thro' the Colony a general spirit of investigation into the character and abilities of all Persons who may henceforth come forward as Candidates for such important situations; and - to prevent as far as possible the public mind from being swayed by electioneering artifice or trick when the exercise of a great invaluable franchisee - a few Persons have this day associated under the Title of "Loyal Electors" as the commencement of an establishment governed by Principles declared the following Resolutions.
"Resolved that we will to the utmost of our power support and defend the Government of His most sacred Majesty King George the third, and the rights and privileges of our glorious Constitution.
"Resolved that we will devote every possible degree off attention to the choice of Representatives in the House of Assembly.
"Resolved that our principal officers shall consist of a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer and a Secretary, to be elected every six Months; -- that we will meet at six o'clock in the evening on the first Tuesday in every Month, as also upon any urgent occasion that the President may think necessary to call us together.
"Resolved that strict order and moral conduct shall be invariably attended to at our meetings; and that we may as far as practicable afford every Elector the opportunity of being admitted, we will limit the expense to a dollar at admission, and some very trivial Sum to be paid at each meeting, but not any fine for absence, unless on special meetings of urgency.
"Resolved that electors only are competent to be admitted, and such persons being proposed shall be balloted for next Night. one Clock Ball in five to exclude."

"By Order
T. Bagnall President"


Downing Street 28 Febr 1813

Sir

I am directed by Lord Bathurst of acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of the 23rd inst, with its enclosure, and to acquaint you that as immediate measures will be taken for instituting an enquiry into the circumstances to which it relates, he will be happy to be furnished with any additional information it may be in your power to afford.

With respect to your request of being permitted to wait upon his Lordship Lord Bathurst is under the necessity of declining it, and trusts that you will be aware of the grounds upon which in the present stage of the business he conceives a written communication to be preferable to a personal interview.

J. B. Palmer Esq

I am [ _?_ ]
(Signed) Henry Goalburn


110 Tottenham Court Road
4: March 1813

My Lord

I had the honor to receive a third communication from You Lordship dated the 25th also, informing me that and enquiry wou’d be instituted into the circumstances to which my letter related, and desiring to be furnished with any additional information it may be in my power to afford.

Being unacquainted with the exact course to which I shou’d confine myself or the precise points upon which Your Lordship desires to be further informed I fear to multiply unnecessary matter which my former letters just have contained, and I am more than equally apprehensive of failing in my duty by suppressing any principal occurrence materially connected with the subject of those letters. I have preferred therefore to avoid the latter predicament and to notice as concisely as practicable in a paper which I have the honor to transmit such facts as in my opinion are absolutely relevant upon the proposed enquiry, and the proof of which I can at present bring forward, but there are many circumstances much more material than those now stated, which I decline to mention because I cannot enter into proof thereof without deranging a connected, and I believe an unanswerable detail of charges which will be brought forward by Mr. Roubel, accompanied with regular proofs and tending in affect to establish matter of most serious import.

If Your Lordship can devote time to read five or six pages of this statement I trust it will demonstrate that a reasonable suspicion may now be entertained of the correctness of any information which may have been transmitted by persons under such circumstances as are described in the accompanying paper, and the entire statement, if read, may possibly induce Your Lordship to consider whether it is consistent with Judicial dignity and decorum, or indeed with the tenor of His Majestys Royal instructions that the suspension of a Chief Justice by a Lieutenant Governor upon such strong grounds as are there mentioned shou’d have been removed momentarily and without the shadow of previous investigation by a temporary Commander in Chief. The Proof of a great part of the statement is interwoven therein. The remainder I am ready to prove by documents and other evidence when called upon. I have within this last hour obtained a printed official copy of the Journals of the House of Assembly last Session. Tthey are of great importance upon the present enquiry. If they have not been transmitted to Your Lordship I can supply the defect when desired.

I beg permission to conclude with this remark. If the judgement of His Majestys Ministers upon my case has been exercised upon general evidence of mal official conduct, I trust that sufficient grounds are now brought forward generally – to induce a review of such determination. If that judgement has been exercised on particular charges of misconduct I hope that I may, under all existing circumstances be permitted to offer evidence in my defence upon those charges, and which evidence I cannot possibly bring forward until I shall be favoured with specific information on the subject.

Right Honr Earl Bathurst

I have the honor Sir
(Signed) J. B. Palmer

Transmitting with the forgoing a statement, in detail, of twenty six pages containing the whole case, extracts of the letters from Mr. Hill attacking the very persons he is now combined with, and proving part of Mr. Palmers case, also extracts from various official papers and other documents. Mr. Palmer also wrote two letters, one to Mr. Goalburn 9th March, the other to Earl Bathurst 17 March containing contradictions to specific acts which he had privately heard had been misrepresented at office, and each of which occurrences fortunately reflects credit on him. Those letters and the statement in detail are not copied in this general relation. Also a further letter on like subjects 7 Apr.


110 Tottenham Court Road
March 13: 1813

My Lord

As the following suggestion may possibly relieve Your Lordship from some unnecessary trouble, I take the liberty to submit it.

The greater part of the occurrences mentioned in my statement respecting Prince Edward Island together with several matters equally, if not more, material for investigation must come before His Majestys Ministers very shortly in a direct and official way; and as my absence from the Colony is distressing and injurious both to my family and my Clients in a degree scarcely to be credited I humbly beg leave to submit that from what has already transpired it wou’d not be attended with any ill consequences if the affair were referred for more mature consideration, and in the mean time that Lieutenant Governor Smith might receive a notification to that effect by which means the Public opinion wou’d be suspended as to the misconduct imputed to me, so far as to render it compatible for me to pursue my profession and private concerns. I by no means seek to be reinstated at present in any of the situations from which I have been displaced, and in truth there is not any of them which I shou’d in future accept of, that of Solicitor General excepted. If upon a full investigation hereafter it shou’d appear that my statements were not founded in fact the result wou’d, of concern, be finally attached to me.

In case Your Lordship shou’d be pleased to accede to this request I wou’d set out for Prince Edward Island by the first opportunity, first presenting such of the original Papers or documents heretofore referred to as may be required.

Right Honorable Earl Bathurst
Downing Street

I have the honor Sir
(Signed) J. B. Palmer


Downing Street 18 March 1813

Sir

I am directed by Lord Bathurst to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th inst, and to acquaint you in reply that his Lordship can have no objection to your returning to Prince Edward Island at any period you may think proper, but that on the other points stated in your letter he can express no opinion until the enquiry now about to be made is terminated.

J. B. Palmer Esq –

I am [_?_]
(Signed) Henry Goalburn


110 Tottenham Court Road
March 22: 1813. –

My Lord

I am honoured by Mr. Goalburn’s letter of 10th inst stating that Your Lordship cou’d express no opinion on certain points in my letter of the 13th until the enquiry now about to be made was terminated, and I beg leave in reply to say that Your Lordship having at my humble instance been pleased to direct an enquiry, I shou’d but ill testify my sense of the favour conferred if I left his Country before that enquiry was terminated as far as it related to me, provided I cou’d remain without absolutely sacrificing the interests of my Constituents my Clients and my family, and so long as those interests can be kept in view I consider myself bound to attend in England, and afford every information in my power, but not having been called upon for any of the documents or proofs offered by me, I feared that the enquiry was not to take place so immediately as Your Lordships polite communication now induces me to suppose.

A Paper which I take the liberty to submit may be useful in case any part of the intended enquiry shou’d be directed to my private conduct in the Colony, but otherwise the Paper will not require attention – it is designed as an answer to a question which very naturally may occur viz Who I am, and what brought me to Prince Edward Island?

I am sorry to state that from late advices it appears that a measure has been resorted to in the Colony which has a tendency more alarming than Your Lordship might conceive. I alluded to the bringing of a number of Ejectments at law, obtaining Judgement by default, and then suddenly taking possession, before the Individuals so ejected had an opportunity of defending the Suit, owing to the want of professional advice. A Mr. Johnstone lately from Scotland has been admitted of the Bar at Prince Edward Island, and has adopted this proceeding – I believe his is unacquainted with the law, or at least the practice of the English Courts. He had been but a very few days on the Island when he asserted in the public Streets that the House of Assembly then sitting was not a House, but a Convention, in consequence of which the House addressed the then Lieutenant Governor praying that he wou’d order and Prosecution of the Attorney General against Mr. Johnstone.

In the statement which I took the liberty to submit to Your Lordship respecting Prince Edward Island, I have very improperly classed Colonel Comptons Name as one of the Persons who were despised by the Colony. It was an unintentional error on my part. I hope Your Lordship will have the goodness to excuse it, being the only assertion in the statement which could be disproved. –

Right Honorable Lord Bathurst

(Signed) J. B. Palmer


Transmitted with the foregoing

The circumstances under which Mr. Palmer went to Prince Edward Island, and his principles and conduct there

I went out to Prince Edward Island in 1802, having been advised to go there my Mr. Johnson the half, or Step, Brother of Dean Walsh then proprietor of a Township, Lot No 11 in that Colony. I was connected by affinity with Mr. Johnsons family. He had been my Guardian, and to him I served my articled Clerkship, and was admitted a Solicitor and Attorney in the Courts of Dublin. Mr. Johnson was the agent of his Brother Dean Walsh. In consequences of several letters from Mr. Johnson I proceeded to improve Lot 11, and drew on him for the Money. He paid my Bills for some Years, and always communicated Dean Walshes approbations of my conduct. Those improvements became unproductive, from a total remissness on the part of Dean Walsh to adopt certain correspondent measures which had been previously agreed upon, and the Dean suddenly refused to pay my Bills, owning I believe to the representations of Captain John Stewart. The Bills were protested to a larger amount. Mr. Johnson died, and I was obliged to go to Ireland where after some Months solicitation for a settlement I at last, of necessity, agreed to a Reference under which a Sum infinitely short of my actual expenditures was awarded to me. It has been stated that I was indebted to Dean Walsh. The following lines of the award of John Leland Esq made 13 Oct 1807 will shew the contrary. -- "I do award you that there was at the time of the arrival in Ireland of the said James Bardin Palmer in the Month of August last from Prince Edward Island in North America a balance due to him by the Reverend Raphael Walsh the Defendant in this Cause of £559 - 17 British currency on the foot of expenditures made by the said James Bardin Palmer for the said Raphael Walsh in Building on and improving an Estate the property of the said Raphael Walsh in said Island." By this transaction, with damages and cost of protested Bills I became embarrassed to the amount of about one thousand pounds, nearly all of which I have since paid by my Wife’s property and other means. My conduct in this agency has been certified by different Gentlemen of respectability, which Certificates I can produce.

My connection with Mr. Marsh, and his refusal of a settlement added anew to my embarrassments, which however I was each day reducing, by intense application to my profession, and other pursuits, until October last.

My public conduct in Prince Edward Island has been already stated. My professional character there was not disreputable. Having studied a regular course of theory with my Brother who was a Barrister in Ireland t afforded me some advantages not possessed by my competitors. I was well acquainted with the practice of the Courts it Westminster which I attended for some Years, and I was concerned in nearly every Suit at Law in Prince Edward Island (an in Equity, before I was appointed the officer of the Court) even when there were other Lawyers in the Colony. I was also professionally employed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and I have reason to believe that my private character was at least as much esteemed as that of any of my accusers.

The charge of disaffection in loyalty is peculiarly ill applied to me. I happened to have been in Ireland during the greater part of the Rebellion of 1798 where I saw some service in the Volunteers, and was otherwise useful to Government, as I can prove if required. Nearly all my family and connections are interested in the support of the Crown. It may be proper to mention some of their Names. My Brother Henry Palmer was Secretary of the Charitable Donation Board in Ireland, and died in that situation. I assisted him in compiling part of the Index to the Journals of the Irish House of Commons. My Uncle was one of the Six Clerks. His Niece is married to Mr. Westby a Master in Chancery. Mrs. Peter Latonche is my Cousin. She is the Sister of Colonel Vickers, formerly of the Guards. The Reverend Mr. Johnson my Cousin is beneficed in the Church, and is married to the late General Eustaces daughter. My connections by marriage are of the same sentiment. My Wife was the daughter of Mr. Jones of Grosvenor Place, who had a handsome situation in Doctors Commons, and her Sister is married to Lord Vantry’s eldest Son Mr. Mullens. – So that it is not very probable I shou’d have imbibed disloyal principles. The breaking out of the American War was a good criterion to assist in estimating public sentiments. Mine were contained in the accompanying Advertisement. Colonel Compton who commanded one of the Militia Regiments on that occasion behaved well. Colonel DesBrisay was superannuated, and Colonel Gray never went near his Regiment, or took any one active step that I heard of.

(Signed) J. B. Palmer
March 22: 1813

Enclosing a printed Advertisement of Mr. Palmers as Lieutenant Colonel Commanding the South Battalion of the Queens County Militia Prince Edward Island, dated Head Quarters July 13: 1812 referring to the Governors Proclamation, and calling on the Corps to defend against the aggressions of a licentious enemy – with the following words written thereon. "This paper was published on the arrival of a Naval Officer who brought advice (unfounded) that the enemy had burned Thilburne, and were expected at Halifax." The advertisement shews the then situations of the Colony, and Mr. Palmer’s exertions.


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