Herman Witsius Ryland

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Herman Witsius Ryland

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Herman Witsius Ryland, clerk of the Executive Council of Lower Canada, was born in Northampton, England, in 1760. In 1781 he came to America as assistant deputy-paymaster-general of the British forces, and served throughout the last stages of the American Revolutionary War. On the evacuation of New York in 1784, he returned to England with Sir Guy Carleton. When Carleton, as Lord Dorchester, was appointed governor-general of British North America under the Act of 1791, Ryland, in 1793, came out to Canada as his secretary. He was appointed both clerk and civil secretary of the Executive Council, and for many years he exercised a great influence on the government of Canada. He was the confidential adviser of Sir James Craig, but was dismissed from office by Sir George Prevost as civil secretary in 1812. He continued, however, as clerk of the Executive Council until his death; and he was appointed in 1813 a member of the Legislative Council. He died at Beauport, near Quebec, on July 20, 1838. A selection of his papers is printed in R. Christie, "History of Lower Canada," vol. vi (Quebec, 1854). (taken from "The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography, fourth edition. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1978.)


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