Winslow Papers

Biography of Edward Winslow Junior

From Sibley's Harvard Graduates

Judge Edward Winslow of New Brunswick was born at Plymouth, Massachusetts, on February 20 1746/7, a son of Edward (A.B. 1736) and Hannah (Dyer) Winslow, who in 1754 built the great mansion looking down on Plymouth Rock. Many years later, remembering a childhood in colonial Plymouth, the Judge wrote:

You know I was born in a land of psalmody. For several years together there was nothing heard but old men and women bawling psalms and young men and maids screeching hymns. There was one old man who was a Teacher and Composer and I remember to have seen him in the very act of composition. He sat by a joint stool with a pen, ink and little book, and between his legs he held a half-grown kitten which he occasionaIIy twigged by the tail or pIucked by the ears. I ... asked what the devil he was about? With wonderful simplicity and gravity he answered that out of her squeeling he might possibly pick up a sound that would assist him in forming a tune.1

Perhaps this environment influenced Ned Winslow, for while an undergraduate he was twice fined and publicly admonished "for making indecent tumultuous Noises in the College." During his four years he lived at Caleb Prentice's rooming house, and when Professor Wigglesworth (A.B. 1749) was called thither one day in June, 1765, to suppress a window-breaking riot he found Winslow "very Drunk in Mr. Prentice's Garret" at midday. Ned paid his fine cheerfully, and on Commencement Day dined a very large company of distinguished people in his college chamber.2 When he returned to Cambridge for his second degree three years later he prepared the affirmative of "An in imperio justo, rex et subditi iisdem aequitatis legibus obligantur?"

Ned lived with his father in Plymouth, where he served the town as hogreeve and surveyor of the highways, and led a move for the establishment of a town workhouse. Jointly with his father he served as Register of Wills, and he was appointed Naval Officer of the Port of Plymouth and Justice of the Peace. For the latter office he never took the trouble to qualify, but he served as clerk of the Court of General Sessions, which was composed of the Plymouth Justices. Socially he was much in view, particularly at Boston parties, where he never squired the same girl twice. In return, he entertained Boston gentlemen by taking them fishing at Plymouth. He was a founder of the Old Colony Club, and on December 24, 1770, delivered its first public Forefathers' Day address "extempore" and "with modesty and firmness" In this he recalled the persecution of the Pilgrim Fathers by "the aspiring Great for thinking freely":

Upon a recollection of all these things, it is not to be wondered what we, the sons and descendants from such illustrious ancestors, upon this 22nd of December Are assembled upon the very spot on which they landed, to commemorate this period, the most important that the annals of America can boast - a period which I doubt not every person here present esteems an honor as well as his incumbent duty gratefully to remember. And while we feel for the misfortunes and calamities of those our pious ancestors, the consequences of which to us are so delightful and glorious, let us also admire and adore their virtue, their patience, their fortitude, and their heroism, and continue to commemorate it annually.3

The series was shortly broken by public events which Winslow saw as denial of freedom of thought by an aspiring rabble. He rescued Chief Justice Peter Oliver (A.B. 1730) from a hostile mob outside the Province House in Boston,4 and wrote the Loyalist protest against the radical Letter and Resolves passed by Plymouth town meeting in December, 1773.5

With the first of said resolves we will not concern ourselves further than to observe that we cannot see the necessity of this town's adopting similar measures with the citizens of Philadelphia. The 2nd. contains a censure upon a number of gentlemen (who are appointed consignees of the East-India company), which we cannot think either decent or just. Nor can we suppose that they have forfeited that protection which good citizens are entitled, or exposed themselves to the indignation of good men. ... We say That we think it an affront to the common sense of mankind and to the dignity of the laws, to assert that such a meeting as was held in the town of Boston on the first of . . . December, was either lawful or regular.6

James Warren (A.B. 1745) attended this town meeting, and reported: "Little Ned Winslow (one of my Cousins) with a few other Insignificant Tories appeared at the meeting and played their Game by holding up the Terrors of the Governor's Proclamation which rather served us than themselves. From these Gentry in this Town we have little to fear."7

The Justices of the Court of General Sessions had sent to Governor Hutchinson (A.B. 1727) a respectful farewell address. According to Warren, Ned was appointed to their committee "of Copying and fawning" because "his Impudent and as they think shineing Talents were thought necessary to supply what their modesty seemed to suppose their own Stupidity could not perform."8 The Plymouth County Convention demanded that Winslow produce a copy of the address to Hutchinson, but he "contemptuously left the Office," and repeatedly refused to appear before them. This created a great uproar in the Province,9 and one newspaper reported that Winslow was "returning home" because the people of Plymouth had voted that he ought not to be suffered to reside among them.10

Ned later said that Governor Hutchinson had appointed him to form a military company to assist the civil magistrates.11 Perhaps "encouraged" would have been more accurate. At any rate, he formed and largely supported a company of Tories which kept Plymouth "in quiet long after all the towns in the neighborhood were in extreme confusion." It could not, however, cope with the excitement created by the Hutchinson address affair, and in October, 1774, Winslow fled to join General Gage at Danbury. Thence he went to Boston, where with Peter Oliver (A.B. 1761) he asked Admiral Graves to send an armed vessel to Plymouth Harbor in order to protect the loyal subjects of the Crown.12 But it was too late. On the Nineteenth of April he rode with Percy's column to Lexington and Concord, on the retreat "led them to safety from their difficult position across the country to Bunker's Hill," and had a horse shot under him.

The next morning with Lieutenant Governor Thomas Oliver (A.B. 1753) Ned went to Percy's headquarters where, he said, "His Lordship was pleased to declare that my conduct on that day did me great honor and that the Army was greatly indebted to me."13 He declined an ensigncy in the 64th, but in July was appointed by Gage to be Collector for the Port of Boston and Register of Probate for Suffolk. The responsibility for the records of these offices was on his mind when the time came for evacuation:

On the morning of the evacuation the Public Buildings were in possession of a Licentious Rabble, the doors of the Offices were forced, and the Records and papers were exposed to instant destruction. Having a party at my Command, and impressed with a due sense of the importance of preserving them, I found means to pack up and place on board a Transport not only the records of the Probate Office, but also those of the Registry of Deeds and Custom House. The latter office had been peculiarly exposed having been occupied as a Military Guard room the preceeding night.14

"Tho' a soldier," he said, he wept at leaving Boston.

At Halifax, Winslow served briefly as "secretary to the board of ministerial General officers," and then, on July 30, 1776, he was appointed "Muster-Master-General to the Provincial Troops taken into His Majesty's pay within the Colonies lying in the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to West Florida," with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Hastening to New York, he enquired what uniform went with the office. Informed that none was prescribed, he ordered a uniform with "a blue coat, scarlet cape, and a scarlet lining, with plain white buttons." An American friend then described him as "a manly, noble, splendid fellow; generous to a fault, a gentleman in feeling, and elegant in person."15 He might have added that Ned had a gentle patience and an unfailing wry humor which allowed him to see himself and his problems in perspective. Only such a saintly character enabled him to survive the frustrations of his office. At first it was assumed that it was a kind of sinecure, for the only Loyalist troops were a few in New York. Soon, however, regiments were formed in every colony to the southward. In theory he had to visit and muster every Loyalist regiment six times a year, and even after the appointment of an Inspector General the following year, he had to travel so much visiting outposts that he was more constantly in danger, he said, than any other man in the army. Not all of the danger was from the rebels, for his duties inevitably involved so many personal quarrels that twice he was drawn into duels.16 Typical of his frustrations was his situation in November, 1776, when the red tape of the Regular Army prevented him from distributing to his shivering Loyalist soldiers 4000 flannel waistcoats which had been contributed by generous individuals in England. In occupied Philadelphia he happily distributed vast private donations to refugees and Regulars as well as to Loyalists.

As the war progressed, the problems of the Muster-Master changed. Generally the Loyalists enlisted with the idea that their regiments would remain in their own areas, and they bitterly resented being sent to other colonies. Regiment by regiment he reasoned with them as to military manoeuvers, but privately he admitted to the High Command that if left in their home districts the Loyalists sometimes deserted in groups, and transferred directly into the ranks of the rebel army. He was somewhat worried by the peace moves of May, 1778:

What effect the late maneuvers of administration will produce cannot be Conjectured. I believe, and am happy in the idea, that the Americans will not accept the terms. They have treated Lord North's speech and the acts with their usual contempt and indignity - they've been publicly burnt in Jersey, &c. Should these insolent vagabonds in consideration of their present Distresses be induced to the proposal made by government, I really think the American friends of government are in a situation most peculiarly awkward.17

A few months later he was personally proscribed by Massachusetts, a notice that for him the only road was a victory which he was beginning to doubt: "I indulge a hope that I shall yet have a chance of seeing a General that's neither a Rebel or a Histerical Fool at the Head of a British Army in America and when that happens I shall have no doubt that the war will terminate as every true friend to the constitution wishes."18

For Winslow, the war nearly terminated one night in May, 1778, when he and several of his Harvard cronies were sitting in his house in New Utrecht. A rebel raiding party looked into the window, but decided that it was not worthwhile to carry these Loyalists to Connecticut. In March, 1779, the Muster-Master's duties were considerably expanded. It was obvious that the Loyalist force in Newport known as the Rhode Island Refugees would "go to the devil" unless a demonstration of force was made in their area. So General Vaughan asked Winslow to accept command of an expedition to be directed by Edmund Fanning (Class of 1757) from New York and transported by a fleet commanded by George Leonard of Boston. Typically, Ned asked for no compensation for his expenses as commander.19

The instructions of the Loyalist expedition were to "retaliate upon and make reprisal against the inhabitants of the several Provinces in America, in actual rebellion against their Sovereign," and "to wage war upon their inhuman persecutors, and to use every means in their power, to obtain redress and compensation for the indignities and losses they had suffered." In March, 1779, Winslow proceeded to Newport, where he received orders from Fanning to embark the Grenadier Company of the King's American Regiment on Leonard's fleet and make an attack on Bedford. The attempt was made, but contrary winds prevented a landing at Bedford before a greatly superior force of rebels had gathered to greet them, so Winslow dropped down to Falmouth where he cannonaded the town for two hours, then retired, pleased that he had alarmed the whole coast. A similar attempt in May went the same way,20 and in June he returned the Regulars under his command to New York.

In September, 1779, after consultation with Fanning, Commodore Leonard embarked Governor Wentworth's (A.B. 1755) Volunteers under the command of Colonel Winslow to pacify Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. While the militia and artillery of Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable gathered futilely on the mainland shore, the fleet dropped anchor at Holmes' Hole and summoned the inhabitants of the island to send representatives to a conference on the ship Restoration. According to their proclamation, the Colonel and Commodore were "sollicitous to afford protection and assistance to peaceable and inoffensive Men" and "as Industrious to punish the refractory and rebellious," and to this end proposed "to consult and agree on such measures as may Conduce to the Safety and advantage of the Inhabitants ... as may be consistent with our duty."21 In the conference, Winslow made the point that the inhabitants ought not to continue to pay taxes to the rebel government in Massachusetts, and apparently the authorities of the State agreed to the extent of granting a temporary remission. On the whole, the Colonel did his best to conciliate the people of the Vineyard, and was well received by them.22 There were some clashes with the young men which he described as "a specimen of that duplicity and mean evasion which are the distinguishing characteristic of the people of this country." "Your apology," he told the Selectmen,

we consider ... an insult offered to our understandings and as a trick too frequently played in America to pass current at present. The blame of the proceeding is lay'd on "lads" who are supposed to have done the mischief without orders and of course the Town is not answerable, and in imitation of that metropolis, of mobs, Boston, you resolve and vote that your are perfectly peaceable, that you disavow all hostile proceedings!23

During the summer of 1779 the navy of the Associated Loyalists captured numerous small vessels, and the sale of the prizes and plunder brought in £ 23,400. Ned had, all along, been sending what money he could scrape up to ease the lot of his father and sister in Plymouth, and to other Massachusetts Loyalists. When one of these, William Apthorp (Class of 1766), was jailed in Boston for passing Continental bills from this source on the ground that they were counterfeit, the Colonel protested bitterly that he had had the money carefully checked for genuineness before sending it.24 More distressing to the Winslow family was that after the Falmouth action a Boston newspaper had reported "that Edward Winslow (formerly of Plymouth) was commanding officer when at Falmouth, but being wounded by a ball through the breast, was gone to Newport ... although George Leonard (formerly of Boston, Miller) pretended that he was gone to Rhode-Island with the gout in his stomach."25 By an appeal to General John Sullivan (Class of 1758), the elder Edward Winslow received permission to proceed by cartel to a reunion with his son at Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay on June 13, 1779. As the Colonel's boat approached the rendezvous he saw his father sitting on the shore:

In his pocket were papers giving a particular account of my death and burial, etc. As I approached the shore he pulled ... the paper from his pocket - looked at it - looked at me; then he cried, "My God, he died!" When I landed - sound and strong, my father fell on his face. I should have deserved everlasting damnation if I could have spoken a word. No, no, I boast, I glory, that I could not speak. I flung myself by my father on the ground: it was his business to begin. ... "I am glad, I am glad," says he, "to see you my boy," and down he fell. ... There were present rebel officers and rebel soldiers, King's officers and King's soldiers, sailors of both denominations and negroes. . . . All formalities usual with flags was forgotten, every man turned from us, walked different ways and were profoundly silent.26

From 1780 until the close of the war, the Colonel lived at Springfield, Long Island, with a wife, Mary Symonds, and a rapidly growing family of small children. Many Loyalists came to visit them and to discuss their gloomy future, for obviously they could not return to their homes. Ned was bitter to see the High Command making efforts to provide for every sergeant in the regular army and ignoring the claims of "men of capability, liberal education and extensive knowledge" among the American Loyalists, many of whom had been good soldiers in the British army. Irked by the contempt of some Regulars for all Americans, he pointed out that the war had made "good souldiers of many rebels," and they had made innovations in methods of warfare which the British had in several instances adopted.27

When it become evident that migration to Nova Scotia was the only solution, the Muster-Master was the natural choice of the Loyalists and of Sir Guy Carleton to have charge of the disbanding and settlement of the regiments. Carleton gave him letters of introduction to Governor John Parr and instructions reading, "You are to provide an asylum for your distressed countrymen. Your task is arduous, execute it as a man of honor. The season for fighting is over, bury your animosities and persecute no man. Your ship is ready, and God bless you."28 He arrived in Nova Scotia in April, 1783, and traveling up the Bay of Fundy and the river St. John was charmed by the region. In May, he was welcomed extravagantly by Parr in Halifax, where the proposal to settle the western part of the Province was received with enthusiasm. In July he hastened back to Annapolis and set the King's American Dragoons to cutting a road to the site of St. John:

They are encamped on one of the pleasantest spots I ever beheld, and they Are enjoying a great variety of what you Yorkers call luxuries - such as partridges, Salmon, Bass, Trout, Pigeons, &c. The whole regiment are this day employed in cutting and clearing a road to the river and Murray [A.B. 1771] and I intend to ride tomorrow where never man rode before. Before you arrive I expect to have a town-Hut and country Hut, with a fine road from one to 'tother.29

He was not so happy in October when ships from New York landed some 15,000 Loyalist soldiers at the site which he had chosen for their settlement, and found no shelter prepared. They said to him, "Sir we have served all the War. Your Honor is witness how faithfully. We were promised land, We expected you had obtained it for us, - We like the country - only let us have a spot of our own, and give us such kind of regulations as will hinder bad men from injuring us."30 Part of his effort was the preparation of the promotional tract "A Sketch of the Province of Nova Scotia . . . 1783" which was not printed until modern Times.31

Winslow had left his Polly, alias "Pop," at Annapolis Royal with their four children and four slaves, and when the transactions at Halifax were completed, he hastened back. Of his situation he reported to Ward Chipman (A.B. 1770):

Col. [John] Small upon hearing that I had embarked for this place and knowing the difficulty of obtaining quarters had sent an express from Halifax and had procured two rooms for me, but it was in a family where I could not mix; I therefore instantly hired a place [in Granville] on the other side of the river for 17 currency a year - a very tolerable farm with a house almost as large as my log house, divided into two rooms, where we are snug as pokers. ... Do Chip, if anything is to be issued from the public stores - such as tools, blankets, or any other kind of thing, receive 'em for me and send 'em here. We are monstrous poor. I have not a spade, hoe, axe or any article of any kind. I've borrowed for the present. A waggon would be of immense consequence. ... Blankets are so dear that I can't think of purchasing and we are badly off. If I'd a boat I would not envy the Great Mogul. I live directly opposite the town of Annapolis. The river not half a mile wide and the ferriage is 8 pence; I can't afford it.32

Within a couple of months he had an adequate stock of pigs and poultry for the winter, if he could find feed for them. When a couple of years later he was selling the Granville property he prepared a newspaper advertisement which is a description of so elegant an estate as to be certainly a typical Ned Winslow leg-pull.33

From London, Benjamin Thompson wrote to his old friend and colleague of New York days, urging him to come and live with him to await the fall of the plums, but the Colonel preferred to speculate in the townships being laid out on the Bay of Fundy. He could not support a family on his half pay, but in July, 1783, General Henry Edward Fox wrote from Halifax offering him the place of military secretary. Naturally he attributed this to his friend Chip:

Had I received a message from the Great Ruler of the World allowing me to chuse an employment (at this critical time) I should have pointed out the very one my friends have so kindly provided for me. I am now preparing to embark in a Boat to cross the Bay of Fundy, where horses are ready for me to proceed immediately to Halifax. . . . I shall be obliged to leave P - and the little ones at Annapolis, 'tis a consolation indeed that I can leave 'em comfortable.34

He was so utterly charmed by General Fox that neither of them mentioned the word "salary," although he did receive 10s a day from the army, probably as Paymaster to the Engineers. In December, General Fox gave him the added appointment of Land Agent for Nova Scotia.

When Fox went to England, his successor, General John Campbell, retained Winslow as military secretary but ordered him to muster the Loyalist regiments in order to purge their rolls of "the most infamous frauds" which he had discovered at a glance. The Colonel may have been responsible for one of them, for he had been attempting to have one of his infant sons commissioned as an ensign in order to qualify him for half pay which would have taken care of his education. He was a foolishly affectionate father, and when little Murray was in Halifax awaiting transportation to England for his education, he was provided with a personal servant, a Scotch boy who attended him like a shadow. He was a very affectionate husband, and he tried to reassure Pop in Granville by his description of the ladies of Halifax:

An immensity of False-Tops False Curls, monstrous Caps, grease, Filth of various kinds, Jewels, Painted paper and trinkets, hide and deform heads of Hair that in their natural state are really beautiful. Rouge and other Dirt cover cheeks and faces that without would be tolerable, whilst the unfortunate neck and breasts remain open to the inclemency of the weather and the view of the World.35

A most filial son, he had taken care of his father ever since the elder Winslow had fled Plymouth, and in New York and Halifax had provided him with a better household than he could afford for himself. The father's funeral, in June, 1784, was the most elegant Halifax had ever seen, with the Colonel and "the family servants in deep mourning" leading the crowd of mourners.36 He was depressed by this change, and by his duties as disbursing officer:

It is not possible for any pen or tongue to describe the variety of wretchedness that is at this time exhibited in the streets of this place, and God knows I am obliged to hear a large proportion of it. This is what we call a board day, and the yard in front of my House has been crowded since eight o'clock with the most miserable objects that ever were beheld. As if there was not a sufficiency of such distressed objects already in this country the good people of England have collected a whole ship load of all kinds of vagrants from the streets of London, and sent them out to Nova Scotia. Great numbers died on the passage of various disorders - the miserable remnant are landed here and have now no cover but tents. Such as are able to crawl are begging for a proportion of provisions at my door. . . . As soon as we get rid of such a sett as these, another little multitude appears of old crippled Refugees, men and women who have seen better days. Some of 'em tell me they formerly knew me. ... I am illy calculated for such services. These applications make an impression on my mind which is vastly disagreeable. I cannot forget them. It is not possible to relieve all their distresses. ... My views are humble I ask no more than a competency to support myself, my wife, and children decently and to live and enjoy them I care not where. ... I flatter myself that the time is not far distant when I shall be gratify'd.37

Winslow's anticipations concerned the new province which he expected to be cut off from the western part of Nova Scotia for the Loyalist refugees. He believed that they were being outrageously cheated by the government of Nova Scotia, and he asked for the office of Receiver General of Quit-Rents which would give him, he said, the opportunity of revenging himself "on the nabobs of this country for their infamous opposition to the whole corps."38 His unguarded language about the Loyalist corps defending their land against Nova Scotia angered Sir Guy Carleton, who had approved of the Colonel's appointment as secretary of the new province. The office went to Jonathan Odell, whom Winslow heartily congratulated, and asked to further his own appointment as Registrar and Judge of Probate, offices familiar to him because of his early Massachusetts experience. Apparently it was he who was responsible for the change of the name of the new province from "Guy" to "New Brunswick."39

During the summer of 1784 the Colonel sat uncomfortably in Halifax, for a fortnight at a time confined to his room by an arm and leg so swelled by the gout that he could not put on coat or shoe, grumbling at the public situation:

Not a packet arrived - a General without Commission or Instructions - 37,000 people crying for provisions - Magazines empty - and no provisions at Market. That's the situation of the Country at present. And to this a Governor without abilities - a Council of Republicans - combating with every weapon in their reach the whole corps of Loyalists, and embarassing them by every possible impediment.40

When the news of the division of the province did arrive, he was delighted at the dismay of the "disloyal gentry" of Nova Scotia, and proud that they grouped him with Wentworth and Fanning as the authors of the new state.

In November, 1784, Thomas Carleton came out as Governor of New Brunswick, bringing a commission for Winslow as a member of the Council of the new Province. This compelled him to resign his place as military secretary, a financial sacrifice which he could ill afford; but General Campbell asked him to continue as a member of the Provision Boards, and the Governor appointed him to the probate office with the title of "Surrogate of the Province of New Brunswick." So Ned left Halifax, and after four days of "thumping, swimming, wallowing and tumbling," he arrived at Mount Necessity, his house in Granville. When packing to remove to St. John, he found the large, carved, wooden, royal coat of arms which he had removed from the wall of the Council Chamber at Boston on Evacuation Day, and sent it along to Chip with this note:

In the box with your stationary is a venerable Coat of Arms which I authorize you to present to the Council Chamber, or to any other respectable public Room, which you shall think best intitled to it. They (Lyon and Unicorn) were constant members of the Council at Boston - (by mandamus) - ran away when the others did - have suffered - are of course Refugees and have a claim for residence at New Brunswick.41

According to his wish they were mounted on the wall of the room used for Council sessions and church services, and they are today on the wall of Trinity Church, in St. John.

Obviously the Surrogate of New Brunswick could expect little in the line of fees for some years, so the Colonel cast about for more income, and noticed an Annapolis sawmill which was working 'round the clock on the "inexaustable" supply of timber. So he set out to get a large land grant which would give him present credit and future income, and found that the lands were being squandered: "A lunatic Governor zone in an hour of frenzy convey all the sea coast to a single person, but surely (without a republican idea, which God knows I abhor) the public have such kind of control over the actions of their officers, as to prevent the unsalutary effects of such dementation."42 He did, indeed, obtain a grant for himself.

In April, 1785, Winslow sent his three "black boys" to begin his house; at St. John: "Caesar is a very discreet fellow. . . Prank promises fair and if he pleases he can be as good a man as any in the world. Juba is a devil - for which reason I thought he would do better with them than with his mistress."43 In July, he reported the safe removal of the rest of his family:

The transportation of a sickly Wife, three little Brats, and a large collection of lumber across the Bay of Fundy was no inconsiderable job. I was saluted with a very severe fit of the Gout. That over, I found here no preparation for my reception, and I was obliged to tumble Mrs Winslow and the little ones into the crowd that filled the House at Portland-point, and before I could swear three long oaths the Ship Parr made her appearance and disembarked the other family [from Halifax]. ... I collected all the Carpenters, Masons, and Labourers that could be found, and I have ever been up to the Eyes in mud, mortar, &c. 4444

At the same time he was setting up the Board of Accounts at St. John.

In 1786 Winslow was busy as a trustee for the laying out and settlement of Fredericton, and for convenience he removed to the near-by town of Kingswood, where he built a house which he called Kingsclear. He begged his New England friends to send him Yankee servants, finally offering to settle for a Boston Poor House boy. With or without them, he did a considerable stroke of farming, raising in one year 170 bu. of potatoes. He also proposed to set up a factoring and trading business at Miramichi with Benjamin Marston (A.B. 1749), but it fell through when Lane & Co. Of London decided not to trust them with a shipment of goods.45

About the same time, the Colonel was appointed a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, which led him to write frantically to Chip, urging him to move to New Brunswick or at least to send a lawyer, for there was not one in the Province, so the Court was likely to get into all kinds of trouble. Also about the same time he was appointed Deputy Paymaster of the Army in New Brunswick, and in 1791 he was made a Commissioner of the New England Company. He was appointed Surveyor of the King's Woods by his old friend Wentworth, who had come out as Surveyor General, and when another old friend, John Graves Simcoe, came out as Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, they entered into correspondence about the problems of government. Still Muster-Master General of the Loyal Corps, he was active in recruiting at the time of the war scare of 1793. There was, he thought, good reason for this:

I suspect our Government has too much confidence in the explicit declaration which has been made by the President of the States. It seems to be the opinion in England that the Faith of America is pledged not to violate the rules of neutrality, and that their Government is so efficient as to enable them to carry their decrees into execution, but in this I fear they reckon without their host.46

The neutrality crisis passed for the moment, but the United States advanced an interpretation of the Treaty of Paris which would have brought its boundary to within a few miles of Fredericton. From 1796 to 1798 Ned and Chip served on the international commission which negotiated the problem, the former with more industrious effort than is suggested by the fact that he turned their instructions into rhymed verse.47 He was highly satisfied by the result of the work of the commission. Although he spent two summers in the States, he did not get back to Plymouth, but sent his regrets from Boston:

I am soothed and flattered in the highest possible degree, by the consideration that when party animosities have subsided, and the affections have returned to their proper channels, those who were the companions of my early life remember me with esteem, I consider it a testimony (altho' eccentricities might have marked my youth) my general conduct among you is recollected with approbation. If there remains an individual in your society who (now the cause of contention is at an end) retains any rancour against me, I wish him no greater curse than to indulge it.48

Seen close to, the States did not look any better to him than they had from a distance:

An Infant Republic certainly is a darm'd thing. Let any man contemplate the present fluctuating state of American Politics and he'll see the destruction that awaits 'em. Hitherto they have been fortunate; their first president had claims upon them of a peculiar nature and he had qualities of a peculiar cast. The present man possesses uncommon abilities and he too has in their opinion rendered them essential services. But what would have been their condition had the competitor of the latter succeeded? The French would have had possession of one half of 'em and the Devil the other before this time.49

At the time of the election of 1800 he expected the Union to split in two, the Southern States forming an alliance with France, and the Eastern being more firmly cemented to England.

Not that Judge Winslow was entirely pleased with New Brunswick. To Jonathan Sewell he described his situation:

During the first tussle here, we combatted difficulties with alacrity. . . . As soon as this was over, and the eagerness of expectation had subsided, we saw the whole society gradually sinking into a sort of lethargy. Those who had salaries made their calculations to eat, drink and vegetate to the exact amount of their income. Those who had none, were saved all the trouble of estimates, for they could get nothing either to eat or drink. I belong (nearly) to the latter class. I found myself loaded with titles, overwhelmed with honors but little money. I was the proprietor of a tract of land ... upon a magnificent river and covered with prodigious pine timber. But the river glided by without material advantage to me, for I could not buy a boat and the trees might have stood to eternity for I had hardly credit for an axe.50

This situation caused some Loyalists, most notable of whom was William Paine (A.B. 1768) who with Winslow was a founder of the University of New Brunswick, to move back to the States. Forgetting his own complaints, the judge contributed to the Royal Gazette a series of articles describing the glories of New Brunswick and denouncing the returnees:

A few giddy, eccentric, and discontented characters have appeared who, forgetting all the favors which they received from our government, have made a voluntary sacrifice of their former honorable principles and professions, have sold the lands that were granted them, and meanly skulked into the United States. There they have made their submission; there they have become literally "hewers of wood and drawers of water"; and as an act of grace are permitted to eat, drink and vegetate.51

When, about 1802, Governor Carleton began to talk about returning to England, Judge Winslow, who did not think much of his superior's intelligence, warned him that the imperial authorities would expect him to have at his finger tips all kinds of data about the Province. It seemed best to both of them that Ned devote himself to gathering and digesting this material, which he did. He was interrupted by a demand that he return to Halifax to justify his accounts since 1785, which he did without difficulty. In November, 1804, he sailed with Carleton in the mast ship America. He settled in Kensington and transacted his public business to the great satisfaction of everyone. Private business was another matter, for he hoped to obtain an office which would pay him more than the £ 50 a year which he received as Surrogate. Longingly he looked at the fat places in the West Indies, but he dreaded the tropical climate.

Otherwise highly pleased with his mission, Winslow was back with his family at Kingsclear in June, 1806:

Deep laden as I am with experience, piping warm from London, and exceedingly improved in my manners I could not avoid affording them great entertainment. My good sister Pen listens, looks like Lemual Gulliver's wife, when I describe some of the Yahoos that I have met with in my travels, and Aunt Sally reads cards of invitation from His Grace of Northumberland and other great men (which I brought out on purpose for her) and she concludes very properly that during my absence I have supported the dignity of the family. I only wish that their united efforts had obtained for me some situation where I might find support for the flock that here surrounds me.52

His next push in this direction was for a £ 300-a-year seat on the Supreme Court of New Brunswick. Governor Carleton and the now well-represented legal profession protested that Winslow, although a most talented and respectable man, was not a trained lawyer. In his letters home, Ned said that he "was regularly educated for the profession of the law," and he reminded Chief Justice Oliver that he had rescued him from the Boston mob, and this last carried the day.53 He received his appointment in June, 1807, and to his great pleasure was soon joined on the Bench by his old friends Ward Chipman and Jonathan Bliss (A.B. 1763).

In February, 1808, as senior member of the Council, Winslow became briefly President and chief executive officer of the Province. His one significant step was to rectify an act of his predecessor who had called out the militia and crammed them into barracks while their fields went untilled and their families hungry. "Never for a moment believing that the Americans had a design to invade this country," reported President Winslow, "I thought it my duty to disband them, and ... they were all sent huzzahing and shouting to their homes."54 In May, 1808, he gladly surrendered the presidency to General Martin Hunter and turned his attention to his duties as Surveyor of the Woods. The cutting off of the Baltic trade by the war had created a great demand for Canadian timber, and for a while Winslow had hope of paying off his heavy debts. By June, 1811, he decided that war with the States was inevitable:

My countrymen, I believe, mean to put us all to the test very soon in these colonies. I say soon, because I conceive it impossible that the British Government can longer endure the insolent equivocation and provoking threats of these Americans, who are but just peeping from their shell and scarcely deserve the name of a nation. . . . Mama must be a ridiculous old fool indeed if she suffers these dear little ones to spit in her face, and knock her down. I think it will be more likely that such base ingratitude will excite her indignation and induce her to bestow upon 'em the chastisement which they so richly deserve.55

Because of his health, Winslow had no part in the war which followed. For several years he had been at times in such pain from the gout that he questioned whether life was worth living. Unable to endure the horseback ride into Fredericton, he asked Wentworth to send him a four wheel chaise from England, but there were months at a time when he could not write. In May, 1815, he suffered a series of strokes. With his unfailing humor he said, "I shall go up to Heaven and shake hands with Lazarus for damned if there is any man on earth poor enough to keep me company.56 His last words, as he looked at the family gathered about his bed, were, "My poor children." He died on May 13, and was buried from Province Hall with as elegant a funeral procession as his father had enjoyed, all officials, the officers and students of the College, and a company of soldiers being in the train. He has a memorial window in St. Mary's Chapel, Chatham, New Brunswick.

Winslow left a mass of manuscripts from which W.O. Raymond selected and published in the Winslow Papers. In 1933 the family gave the manuscripts to the New Brunswick Museum at St. John. There is microfilm of the collection in the Public Archives of Canada. Contradictions in American and Canadian manuscripts make it impossible to be sure of the list of his children: Brooks Watson; Christiana; Daniel Murray, killed in the War of 1812; Frank, died young; Edward, in East India Company service, lost at sea 1820; Hannah; John Francis Wentworth, m. Jane Caroline Rainsford; Mary, m. Edward Miller; Penelope, m. — Jenkins; Sarah, m. — Sampson; Thomas Coffin, died young; Townsend.

This entry appears courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society and is intended only for non-commercial, scholarly use. Any unlicenced reproduction is strictly prohibited. For information on the usage of Sibley's Harvard Graduates entries, please contact the Massachucetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachucetts, 02215-3695.


1. W.O. Raymond, ed., Winslow Papers (New Brunswick Hist. Soc., 1901), p. 285. Back

2. John Rowe, Diary (Mass. Hist. Soc.), July 17, 1765. Back

3. Mass Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2nd Ser., III, 417. Back

4. Colonial Soc. Mass., Publications, XLIII, 355. Back

5. Winslow Papers, p. 363. Back

6. Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter, Dec. 23, 1773, 2/2. Back

7. Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, LXXIII, 405. Back

8. Ibid., p. 406. Back

9. Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy, Aug. 1, 1774, 2/3; Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter, Oct. 13, 1774, 1/3; Boston Gazette, Oct. 31, 1774, 4/1. Back

10. Essex Gazette, Dec. 6, 1774. Back

11. E. Alfred Jones, The Loyalists of Massachusetts (London, 1930), p. 300. Back

12. Winslow Mss. (Dominion Archives, Ottawa), Mar. 7, 1775. Back

13. Winslow Papers, p. 364. Back

14. Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, XLIII, 424. At Halifax he placed the records in the custody of the Province, which returned them to Massachusetts after the war. The Customs records were placed in the Customs House in Salem, where they were later discarded. Back

15. Elkanah Watson, Men and Times (New York, 1861), p. 84. Back

16. Winslow Papers, p. 365. Back

17. Ibid., p. 25. Back

18. Ibid., p. 65. Back

19. Ibid., p. 365. Back

20. For Winslow's reports to Fanning see the Boston Gazette, Apr. 12, 1779, 2/1, and the Evening Post, Aug. 7, 1779, 1/1-2. Back

21. Misc. Mss. (Mass. Hist. Soc.), Sept. 10, 1779; Boston Gazette, Oct. 11, 1779, 1/2. Back

22. For the report of the occupation which Winslow made to Fanning see Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2nd Ser., III, 84-88. Back

23. Winslow Papers, pp. 54, 55. Back

24. Edward Winslow to —, July 5, 1779 (Houghton Library, Harvard University), bMS Am 1582 (778). Back

25. Boston Gazette, Apr. 12, 1779, 2/2. Back

26. Winslow Papers, p. 52. Back

27. Ibid., p. 68. Back

28. New Brunswick Hist. Soc., Collections, IV-VI, 144. Back

29. To Joshua Upham in Winslow Papers, p. 102. Back

30. Ibid., p. 188. Back

31. In New Brunswick Hist. Soc., Collections, IV-VI, 142-162. President James Sullivan (Class of 1762) asked for a copy to print in the Collections of the Mass. Hist. Soc., ibid., p. 280. Back

32. Winslow Papers, pp. 82, 83. Back

33. Ibid., pp. 300-301. Back

34. Ibid., p. 110. Back

35. Ibid., p. 226. Back

36. Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2nd Ser., III, 93. Back

37. Winslow Papers, p. 233. Back

38. Ibid., p. 163. Back

39. New Brunswick Hist. Soc., Collections, X-XII, 145. Back

40. Winslow Papers, p. 205. Back

41. Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2nd Ser., IV, 261-263. Back

42. Winslow Papers, p. 281. Back

43. Ibid., p. 293. Back

44. Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2nd Ser., III, 82-83. Back

45. New Brunswick Hist. Soc., Collections, IV-VI, 104. Back

46. Winslow Papers, p. 405. Back

47. Ibid., pp. 425-426. Back

48. Ibid., pp. 424-425. Back

49. Ibid., p. 431. Back

50. Joseph Wilson Lawrence, The Judges of New Brunswick (n. p., [1907]), pp. 130-131. Back

51. Winslow Papers, pp. 469-470. Back

52. Ibid., p. 552. Back

53. W.S. MacNutt, New Brunswick (Toronto, 1963), p. 135. Back

54. Lawrence, p. 141. Back

55. Winslow Papers, p. 669. Back

56. Colonial Soc. Mass., Publications, XLIII, 356. Back