January 6 1812: Sir Isaac Brock

Sir Isaac Brock arrived in Canada in 1802. 

He was promoted to Major General in June 1811. In October of the same year and the departure by Lieutenant Governor Francis Gore for England, Brock became  the senior military officer and President of the Executive Council of Upper Canada. Civil and military authority thus rested with him as war approached.

On January 6, 1812, writing from York, Major General wrote to Colonel Baynes the following letter reflecting on his attempts to raise troops:

"YORK,January 6, 1812.

"Capt. Macdonell, accompanied by the priest, arrived here some days ago. The badness of the weather has prevented his return as soon as he first proposed. All the junior commissions being already disposed of among the youths of Glengarry, I fear that little will be done in this part of the Province towards recruiting the intended corps. A few idlers may be picked up; but, without the aid of persons of influence, no great number can be expected, unless indeed the militia be called Out, and land promised.

"Understanding from Captain Macdonell that the Commander of the forces had applied to the Prince Regent for permission to offer some of the waste land of the Crown as an inducement to the Scotch emigrants to enlist, I stated the circumstances to Council, and have much pleasure in assuring His Excellency, that should he be of opinion the Present aspect of affairs calls for prompt measures, and that a direct promise of land would accelerate the recruiting, this Government will readily pledge itself to grant one, or even two, hundred acres to such as enlist on the terms proposed by His Excellency. This will be deviating largely from the King's instructions; but in these eventful and critical times, the Council conceives that an expression from His Excellency of the necessity of the measure will be sufficient to warrant a departure from the usual rules. Should His Excellency think it expedient to act immediately, and authorize a direct offer of land, I have no doubt that a number of young men might be collected between Kingston and Amhertsburg, in which case His Excellency may sanction the raising of two additional companies under my superintendence.

I have, &c.,


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