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Sir James Henry Craig

CRAIG, Sir James Henry, British soldier, born in Gibraltar in 1749; died 12 January, 1812. His father was civil and military judge at Gibraltar. At the age of fourteen the son entered the army with the rank of ensign, and in 1770 was aide-de-camp to General Sir Robert Boyd, governor of Gibraltar. In 1771 he was captain of the 47th foot, with which he went to America in 1774. He was engaged in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, where he was severely wounded, as he was also at the engagements at Hubbardton and Freeman's Farm. He was included in the convention at Saratoga, and was sent to Britain with dispatches. In December, 1777, he was appointed a major of the 82d regiment. He was ordered to Nova Scotia in 1778, and engaged in the operations at Penobscot in 1779. He occupied Wihnington, North Carolina, in January, 1781, and when Cornwallis surrendered in November, 1781, he abandoned that place. At this time he held the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1795 he was sent to the Cape of Good Hope, being now a major general, in command of the expedition against that colony, and, aided by Admiral Elphinstone and Maj.-General Clarke, effected its conquest. In 1.797 he went to India and commanded the successful expedition against Manila. He was promoted lieutenant-general in January, 1801, and returned to Britain in 1802. In 1805 he was on duty at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malta, and Naples, and with Sir John Stuart led the Army of the Mediterranean to Sicily. In 1807, when the relations existing between Great Britain and the United States were strained, he was sent over as lieutenant governor of Lower Canada and commander-in-chief of the forces at Quebec. His official career in Canada was not successful, chiefly because of the prejudice and hatred with which the French Canadians regarded their British conquerors. The majority in the province showed its animus by electing to the first assembly a M. Panet, who could not speak a word of English. At times it was impossible to secure the attendance of a sufficient number of members to conduct the public business, and when they did meet it was only to contend about religion and nationality. The bluff soldier found such an assembly intolerable, and the first assembly was dismissed. The second (1810) was similar in composition, and was also dismissed. During the following election Sir James H. Craig, or his council, suppressed "Le Canadien," newspaper, and arrested six prominent members of the late assembly. Garneau, the French Canadian historian, though not regarding Sir James with special favor, exonerates him from any great culpability in the matter, placing the blame upon Chief-Justice Sewell, who was at the head of the council. In 1811 Sir James retired from the government, and on 19 June returned to England.

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