Person:John Robinson (198)

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Hon. John Beverley Robinson
b.26 July 1791 Canada
d.30 January 1863 Toronto, York, Canada
m. 1784
  1. Peter Robinson1789 - 1838
  2. Hon. John Beverley Robinson1791 - 1863
  3. Mary RobinsonAbt 1792 -
  4. Sarah RobinsonAbt 1793 -
  5. William Benjamin Robinson1797 - 1873
  6. Esther RobinsonAbt 1798 -
  • HHon. John Beverley Robinson1791 - 1863
  • WEmma WalkerAbt 1796 -
m. 5 June 1817
  1. James Lukin Robinson1818 - 1896
  2. John Beverley Robinson1820 -
  3. Christopher Robinson1828 - 1905
  4. Charles Walker Robinson1836 -
  5. Emily Mary RobinsonAbt 1838 - 1859
  6. Augusta Anne RobinsonAbt 1840 -
  7. Louisa Matilda RobinsonAbt 1842 -
Facts and Events
Name Hon. John Beverley Robinson
Gender Male
Birth? 26 July 1791 Canada
Marriage 5 June 1817 Virginiato Emma Walker
Death? 30 January 1863 Toronto, York, Canada

About John Beverley Robinson

From "The Canadian Portrait Gallery", Volume 4, by John Charles Dent, pub. 1881:


THE HON. SIR JOHN BEVERLEY ROBINSON, BART., C.B., D.C.L.

THE subject of this sketch occupied a conspicuous place in the society of this Province for fully half a century. It is granted to very few persons to enjoy so long a lease of popularity, and to achieve distinction in so many and such various walks of life. Fame came to him very early, and attended him throughout the whole of his subsequent career. Every step he took was a step in advance. As a boy, he was one of the most promising scholars at the old Grammar School at Cornwall. As a law-student he was diligent and painstaking, and inspired all his youthful companions with sanguine confidence in his future. At twenty-one he volunteered to fight the battles of his country, and served with credit and distinction under Brock at Detroit and at Queenston Heights. His military ardour was again conspicuously displayed during the troubles of 1837, when he doffed his ermine, and once more buckled on his sword to defend the Government of the day against an armed insurrection. For twelve successive years he was AttorneyGeneral of Upper Canada, and during the greater part of that period he was the Parliamentary leader of the political Party to which he belonged. He surrendered these distinctions to accept one still higher, and for more than thirty-two years thereafter he occupied the dignified position of Chief Justice of his native Province. When the grave closed over him it was declared in all seriousness, by a writer who seems to have reflected the prevalent sentiment of the legal profession generally, that Canada had lost the greatest man she had ever produced. From all which it is evident enough that his earthly career was one of undoubted success, in so far as winning applause and honour from his contemporaries can be said to constitute success.

Worldly success, however, is not a conclusive proof of greatness, and we venture to predict that the verdict pronounced at his death will not be the verdict of history. John Beverley Robinson was a man of more than average ability. His manners, from youth to age, were generally courtly and pleasing. He was steady, industrious, and ambitious. Various circumstances combined to afford him exceptional advantages in the race for distinction, and he made the most of his opportunities. By descent, by training, and by native predilection, he was allied to the Party which had long enjoyed a monopoly of political power and authority. The policy of that Party was to preserve the then-existing order of things, and to frown down all attempts to introduce change. It numbered in its ranks all the scions of aristocracy to be found in Upper Canada. Few of them could boast of much learning, but their training was at least far in advance of that of the people who made up the bulk of the provincial population; and their polished manners and social standing were such as to give them a commanding influence in a primitive community. In such a community, be it understood, a very moderate degree of learning and aptitude for public life counted for much. Young John Beverley Robinson had more than a moderate degree of intellect, and his educational training was, for those times, exceptionally liberal. He early came to be looked upon as the rising hope of the Tories, and it cannot be denied that he realized their expectations. We believe him to have been thoroughly well-meaning and conscientious. Real greatness or genuine statesmanship, however, cannot be claimed for him. A statesman would have had a clearer insight into the requirements of his country, and would have endeavoured to promote its best interests. He would not have been so blinded by party prejudice as to throw the whole weight of his influence into the scale against those clearer-sighted spirits who advocated Responsible Government. He would have known that the fiat had gone forth; and that any attempts to prevent the inevitable consummation would be as ineffectual as were Mrs. Partington's exertions to stem back the resistless tide of the Atlantic with her broom. A statesman, with such knowledge of the facts of the case as John Beverley Robinson must have possessed, would not have opposed Lord Durham's mission, and would not have attempted to cast odium and ridicule upon that nobleman's "Report." A statesman, moreover, would not have attempted to uphold the charter of King's College. He would have known that the people of Canada would not forever submit to the domination of an ecclesiastical caste over the affairs of a national university. So far as to the question of statesmanship. A great man, on the other hand, would not have lent himself to a series of State prosecutions which form an ignominious chapter in the history of Upper Canadian jurisprudence. To say that in all his actions John Beverley Robinson followed the dictates of his conscience is to defend his personal integrity at the expense of his political prescience and sagacity. A man who conscientiously permits himself to be the instrument of tyranny and selfish misgovernment may be scrupulously honest according to his lights; but his lights are not of the brightest, and his admirers must not complain if history refuses to admit his intellectual greatness, or even to accord him a place on the same pedestal with Robert Baldwin.

He was descended from an old Yorkshire family which traces its lineage back to Nicholas Robinson, of Lincolnshire, gentleman, who lived in the time of Henry VII. During Puritan times several members of the family emigrated from Yorkshire to America, and settled in the Old Dominion, where they attained to positions of high social and political influence. The immediate ancestor of the late Chief Justice was Mr. Christopher Robinson, who at the time of the breaking out of the Revolutionary War was a student at William and Mary College, at Williamsburg, Virginia. He cast in his lot with the royalist party, and received an Ensign's commission in the famous regiment of Queen's Rangers, commanded by Colonel Simcoe, who afterwards became the first Governor of Upper Canada. He served in that regiment until the close of hostilities, when, with many of his selfexiled compatriots, he repaired to what afterwards became the Province of New Brunswick. He took up his abode in the U. E. Loyalist settlement on the St. John River, a few miles below Fredericton. In 1784—the year which witnessed the creation of the Province of New Brunswick— he married Miss Esther Sayer, a daughter of the Rev. John Sayer, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, formerly resident in Fairfield, Connecticut. In 1788 he removed to the parish of L'Assomption, in the Province of Quebec. Three years later he removed to Berthier, where his second son, the subject of this sketch, was born on the 26th of July, 1791—the year which was signalized by the passing of the Constitutional Act, and the creation of Upper Canada as a separate Province.

In former sketches we have seen that Governor Simcoe, immediately after his arrival in Canada, in 1792, used his best endeavours to induce immigration into the Upper Province which he had come out to govern. By his influence, many of the members of his old regiment of "Queen's Rangers "— which regiment had been disbanded at the close of the war—were induced to settle on the shores of Lake Ontario. Among these was Christopher Robinson, who, in 1792, removed from Berthier to Kingston, accompanied by his wife and family, consisting of his son, John Beverley, who was then only a few months old, and an elder son, named Peter. The family resided in Kingston about six years. Christopher, the father, practised law, and on the formation of the Law Society of Upper Canada was elected one of the first Benchers. He also represented the United Counties of Lennox and Addington in the Legislative Assembly, and held important Government appointments, including that of Deputy Ranger of Woods and Forests for Upper Canada. It may as well be mentioned in this place that Peter, the eldest son, also entered public life, and represented the county of York in the Legislative Assembly for many years. He subsequently became a member of the Legislative Council and Commissioner of Crown Lands. He died in 18.38. A younger son, William, was also a well-known personage in this Province, where he held many positions of influence, including that of representative of the county of Simcoe in the Assembly, Inspector-General, Commissioner of Public Works, and Commissioner of the Canada Company.

In 1798 the family removed from Kingston to York, the Provincial capital. Christopher, the father, died within a few months after this event, leaving a family of three sons and three daughters but slenderly provided for. John Beverley, who was then seven years of age, was within a year or two after this time sent to school to.Dr.—afterwards Bishop—Strachan, at Kingston. Tutor and pupil seem to have formed a mutual liking from the very first, and the favourable opinion which each then conceived of the other continued unchanged throughout their respective lives. That the Doctor should have been fond of his pupil is not to be wondered at, for he must have been a very lovable little fellow. He was bright and handsome in appearance, truthful and honourable in his character. As a student he was precocious and diligent, and learned his tasks in less than half the time required by his fellow-pupils. He was equally proficient in the boyish exercises of the playground, and was looked upon by his young companions as a sort of Admirable Crichton. When the Doctor removed to Cornwall his pupil followed him thither, and became his pet scholar. And so it came about that the opinions of the latter were to a large extent formed by Dr. Strachan. No charge of inconsistency can be brought against either of them. Other people might change their opinions, but the opinions of Dr. Strachan and John Beverley Robinson, like those of most members of the Family Compact, were as unalterable as erst were the laws of the Medes and Persians. Their minds never expanded; they never learned wisdom in the school of experience. The political opinions instilled into John Beverley Robinson's mind while he was a boy at the Cornwall Grammar School were conscientiously held by him through life. The natural bent of his mind was Conservative, and was confirmed by the school in which he was reared. He was never entirely emancipated from the thraldom of the school-room. and throughout his whole political career was more or less subject to Dr. Strachan's influence.

At the age of sixteen he entered upon the study of that profession in which he was destined to attain such high eminence. He began his studies in the year 1808, when he was articled to the Hon. D'Arcy Boulton, author of a "Sketch of His Majesty's Province of Upper Canada," published at London in 1805. Mr. Boulton, who subsequently became Attorney-General, and in 1818 was raised to the Judicial Bench, was at this time Solicitor-General of Upper Canada, and had what in those times was regarded as a large practice. Young Robinson at the same time obtained employment as a clerk in one of the Departments, and subsequently acted as Clerk to the House of Assembly. For his services in the latter capacity he received fifty pounds, which sum was voted to him by the House " for his extraordinary attention to the duties of his office." When he had been under articles a little more than two years his principal had occasion to go to Europe on official business. The vessel in which the latter took passage was seized by a French privateer during its progress across the Atlantic, and the passengers and crew—including Mr. Boulton — were conveyed to France and confined as prisoners of war. They were detained until the Treaty of Peace was signed in 1814. Soon after intelligence of the seizure reached Upper Canada John Beverley Robinson transferred his services to the office of the Hon. John McDonell, Attorney-General of the Province. Before he had completed the term of his clerkship, however, both himself and his principal were called upon to defend their country from a foreign invader. On the 18th of June, 1812, the President of the United States declared war against Great Britain, and proceeded to invade Canada as the most vulnerable point of the Empire. The story of the western expedition under Brigadier-General Hull, and that of the expedition along the Niagara River under Van Renssellaer, have been related in the sketch of the life of General Brock, in the first volume of this series. The subject of this sketch proved himself a worthy descendant of his Loyalist father. No sooner was the hostile declaration of the American President made known in York than he joined the York militia, and obtained a lieutenant's commission under Colonel William Allan. He accompanied Brock on his marvellous western expedition, and was present at the surrender of Detroit, upon which occasion he was presented to the redoubtable Tecumseh. It is said by a contemporary writer that Lieutenant Robinson drew up the articles of capitulation signed on the surrender of the fort—an assertion of which we have not been able to find any confirmation, and which does not seem to be very probable. There is abundant evidence, however, that he bore himself gallantly, and proved himself worthy of the stock from which he sprang. He was placed on the detachment which formed a guard over the American General, but whether he accompanied it any farther east than York we have not been able to ascertain. He was soon afterwards placed on active service on the Niagara frontier, and took part in the conflict at Queenston where his principal, Attorney-General McDonell, and the gallant Brock were slain. He was not far from General Brock when that hero fell, and throughout the rest of the battle he distinguished himself by his courage and his indifference to personal danger. Colonel Coffin, in his work, "The War and its Moral," draws a flattering, albeit a just portraiture of the intrepid young lieutenant. "The men of Lincoln," he says, "and the 'brave York volunteers,' with 'Brock' on their lips and revenge in their hearts, had joined in the last desperate charge, and among: the foremost, foremost ever found, was John Beverley Robinson, a U. E. Loyalist, a lawyer from Toronto, and not the worse soldier for all that. His light, compact, agile figure, handsome face, and eager eye, were long proudly remembered by those who had witnessed his conduct in the field, and who loved to dwell on those traits of chivalrous loyalty, energetic talent, and sterling worth which, in after years, and in a happier sphere, elevated him to the position of Chief Justice of the Province, and to the rank of an English Baronet." The young soldier was also mentioned with fitting honour in Sir Roger H. Sheaffe's despatch to Sir George Prevost, giving an official account of the memorable engagement on Queenston Heights.

Lieutenant Robinson was detached to convey the prisoners of war to Kingston. Having performed this duty he returned to York, and having arrived there, he found that he had been appointed to act as successor to his late principal in the important office of Attorney-General. The intelligence is said to have taken him by surprise, and it may well have done so, for he was only twenty-one years of age, and had not been called to the Bar. The appointment was made on the recommendation of William Dummer Powell, who was then a Puisne Judge of the Court of King's Bench, and a man of high influence with the Government. Mr. Powell declared that the appointment was "fully justified by the high character the young student had already attained for legal knowledge, and the zeal and assiduity which he always brought to the performance of every duty that devolved upon him." The appointment, backed by a recommendation from such a quarter, met with public approval. Solicitor-General Boulton would have succeeded to the office by rotation, if he had been available for the post, but he was still confined in a French prison. John Beverley Robinson entered upon his official duties on the 3rd of December, 1812. He was then called to the Bar by a special rule of the Court of King's Bench, which was subsequently confirmed by a special Act of Parliament. On the 4th of January, 1813, he was admitted as an attorney. He retained the office of Attorney-General until the 6th of January, 1815, when Mr. Boulton, having been liberated, and having returned to Canada, succeeded to the position, and Mr. Robinson accepted the post of Solicitor-General. He was regularly called to the Bar by the Law Society of Upper Canada in Hilary Term, 55 Geo. III., 1815, contemporaneously with George Ridout, Jonas Jones, Christopher A. Hagerman, and David Jones, all of whom subsequently rose to high eminence in the Province.

Soon after his appointment as Solicitor-General he obtained leave of absence, and proceeded to England, with a view to being called to the English Bar. He kept several Terms at Lincoln's Inn, but did not remain long enough to enable him to present himself for call to the Bar. During his stay in London he married Miss Emma Walker, a daughter of Mr. Charles Walker, and a niece of Mr. William Merry, a gentleman who was at one time Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

He returned to Canada immediately after his marriage, which took place in 1817. He had continued meanwhile to hold the office of Solicitor-General. In February, 1818, the Attorney-General, Mr. Boulton, was raised to the Bench, and Mr. Robinson at the same time once more succeeded to the office of Attorney-General. Among the early prosecutions which devolved upon him in this capacity were those of the Red River rioters and the unfortunate Robert Gourlay. With the particulars of the prosecutions against Mr. Gourlay readers of these pages are already familiar.* The trials of the Red River criminals, which took place at the assizes held at York in October, 1818, arose out of the disputes between the Earl of Selkirk and the North-West Company, and made a great deal of noise at the time. Lord Selkirk brought grave charges against Attorney-General Robinson in connection with these proceedings, and accused him of tampering with justice. For this accusation there does not seem to have been any justification, although it is certain that the Attorney-General displayed a good deal of political partisanship, and was to a large extent under the influence of Dr. Strachan. The fact is, that Lord Selkirk was an enlightened man, and held ideas in advance of his times on the subject of colonization. For this reason he was distasteful to the Family Compact. His idea of planting and settling an independent colony seemed to them in the highest degree revolutionary, and a thing to be put down. He was moreover the enemy of the North-West Company, which had very powerful friends in Upper Canada, among whom must be numbered Dr. Strachan himself. His Lordship did not appear in person at the trial, and the prisoners were in each case pronounced to be " not guilty."

In 1821 Mr. Robinson entered the House of Assembly as the first representative for the town of York. It had been well understood before his election that he was to become the leader of his Party immediately upon taking his seat. The understanding was carried into effect, and throughout his Parliamentary career he continued to be the advocate and mouthpiece of High Toryism. Whatever was supported by usage and custom, that he supported. Whatever was new, and smacked of innovation, that he opposed. The Gourlay convention, for instance, was in his (and Dr. Strachan's) opinion a long stride in the direction of republicanism. His was the solitary voice raised in the Assembly in 1821 against the repeal of Mr. Jones's Act "for preventing certain meetings (i.e. conventions) in Upper Canada." His was the solitary vote recorded against the repeal. The Act had been only about two years in operation, but almost every thinking man in the country had come to regard it as absurd. Not so Mr. Attorney-General. He was "a consistent politician," and never changed his views. Of course he had abundant reason to feel satisfied with the prevalent order of things. He fully realized the expectations of even the most sanguine of his friends, whom he served with a loyalty and unbending integrity which in themselves are worthy of all praise. His politics, however, were the politics of a past age. No intelligent man of the present day would give utterance to such political doctrines as the first member for York gravely enunciated from session to session. We have no space to particularize. The general course of his career as a legislator has been indicated in the opening paragraphs. For the rest, he was a fluent and finished speaker, with an admirable facility in the art of putting things. He was naturally kind and amiable, and his temper was under perfect control, so that he made fewer personal enemies than might have been expected from the very decided stand which he took in matters political. He framed a good many statutes of more or less importance, which afford evidence that he was an adept in the mechanical part of legislation. His presence was particularly fine and commanding, and from first to last he was the foremost figure in the Assembly.

In 1822 he was charged with on official mission to Great Britain, the object sought to be attained being the settlement of certain differences which had arisen between the Upper and Lower Provinces relative to certain customs duties collected at the port of Montreal. His efforts to bring about a settlement were completely successful, and the public appreciation of his services found expression in a vote of thanks from both Houses of the Legislature. During his visit to England at this time he was called to the Bar of Lincoln's Inn. His pleasant manners and undoubted abilities won many friends for him, and society readily opened its doors to the clever and handsome young colonist. Within a few months after his return to Canada he was reelected to the Assembly for the town of York by a majority of only three votes over his opponent, the late Coroner Duffcran. About the same time the Imperial Government ottered him the lucrative post of Chief Justice of the Island of Mauritius, the emoluments of which amounted to several thousands of pounds per annum. But he was not to be tempted to leave his native land, where his prospects were excellent, and where, indeed, he might very well hope to rise to almost any position to which he might aspire. His position in Parliament was, as he believed, secure; his legal practice was very large and profitable; and he had a large circle of wealthy and attached friends who looked up to him as their head. It would be time enough to accept a seat on the Bench when he should become tired of public and professional life. That such were his views was clearly proved a year later, when he declined to succeed Judge Powell as Chief Justice of Upper Canada. The various indictments, fines, imprisonments and libel suits, which marked Mr. Robinson's tenure of the office of Attorney General are phases of his career upon which it is not pleasant to dwell. It has been urged on his behalf that many of these prosecutions were justifiable and right, and that as to the rest the Attorney-General merely acted on orders issued by his superiors, and in fulfilment of his official duties. Even if this presentation of the matter were true, is it not beyond doubt that a man who is at once honourable and enlightened will never accept as "duties" any acts which are oppressive, unjust, and subversive of public liberty? Such a man will not lend himself to tyranny. His honour will appear to him to be better worth preserving than his place. If the latter cannot be retained without sacrificing the former, the place will have to go. But we fear that even the facts, to say nothing of the argument, are against the Attorney-General in this matter. He was certainly not acting under orders from the Government, nor was he performing mere official duties, when he personally prosecuted poor Francis Collins of the Freeman for imputing " native malignancy " and "falsehood" to the Attorney-General. For this offence the unhappy editor was mulcted in a fine of fifty pounds, and lay a prisoner in York gaol for twelve months. Nor was it in compliance with official routine that he took part in the proceedings which resulted in the removal of Judge Willis, with whom he had had several personal altercations, in which he had always been worsted. The most notable of these passages of arms is worthy of special mention. The Attorney-General, while addressing the Court (Judge Willis) on a prosecution, remarked that during his ten years' tenure of office he had never made a practice of instituting proceedings until a formal complaint had been made. "That," remarked Judge. Willis, "is a proof that your practice has been uniformly wrong." The Attorney.General had not been accustomed to have either his practice or his judgment called in question. His reply was to the effect that he knew his duty as well as any judge on the Bench. "That may be," said Judge Willis, "but 37ou have not done it." Upon the Attorney-General's persisting in the correctness of his practice, and declaring that he should continue to do in the future as he had done in the past, Judge Willis informed him, in a very severe and dignified manner, that it would be his (the judge's) duty to report the Attorney-General's conduct to the Home Government—" and," he concluded, " under stand this; it is my place to state to the officers of the Crown the nature of their duties; and it is their place to perform them." The Attorney-General was silenced, but not convinced.

His personal prosecution of Collins, and the severe punishment to which the alleged libeller was subjected, did a good deal to destroy, for a time, the popularity of Attorney-General Robinson. Remarks hostile to him appeared in several newspapers, and some of them were much more strongly expressed than Collins's "libel" had been. The libelled individual, however, seems to have felt that he had gone far enough in the way of personal prosecutions, and paid no attention to these attacks. It is probable that he was willing enough to be rid of the onerous and invidious duties which attached to the position of an AttorneyGeneral in those times. An opportune circumstance soon afterwards enabled him to follow his inclinations in this particular. Sir William Campbell, Chief Justice of Upper Canada, retired from the Bench, and the important position thus left vacant was offered to, and accepted by, Attorney-General Robinson. There being some doubt as to the legality of his passing immediately from the office of Attorney-General to that of Chief Justice, he accepted the office of Registrar of the county of Kent, which after the lapse of a few days he resigned, and took his seat on the Bench. His appointment bears date the 3rd of August, 1829. He was succeeded in the office of Attorney-General by the Hon. Henry John Boulton.

As Chief Justice of the Province he was President of the Executive Council, and at the beginning of the following year he was nominated Speaker of the Upper House. He was formally introduced on the 8th of January by his old friend Dr. Strachan, who had by this time become Archdeacon of York. Thenceforward until the Union of the Provinces he figured conspicuously in the debates, and his Conservative cast of mind is apparent in almost every speech he delivered. To say that he opposed every attempt at interfering with the Clergy Reserves, and that he fought against Responsible Government with every weapon he had at command, is merely to say that he acted up to his honest opinions. The value of those opinions can be estimated at the present day much more impartially than it could reasonably be expected to be estimated by his contemporaries. During the rebellion, as we have seen, he rallied to the side of Sir Francis Bond Head, with his musket on his shoulder. It fell to his lot to pronounce sentence of death upon those unhappy men, Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, who were executed in front of the old Court House of Toronto on the 12th of April, 1838, and whose bodies sleep beneath the turf in the Necropolis.

During a visit to England, in 1839, the Chief Justice wrote what he intended as a counterblast to Lord Durham's Report, under the title of "Canada and the Canada Bill." Its object was to show that the division of the Provinces in 1791 had been very beneficial, and that their reunion would be an inadequate remedy for the evils which existed. The writer's position in the colony caused the work to be widely read in England, but the Atlantic was not to be turned back by any such means. During his absence in England he was offered the honour of knighthood, but saw fit to decline the honour. Soon after his return the Union was consummated, and his connection with political life came to an end. For about twenty-two years thereafter he continued to discharge his duties as Chief Justice with a dignity and an efficiency which secured universal approbation and respect. His judicial career is by far the most pleasing phase in which to regard him. It extended over so long a period that he came to be looked upon, alike by the profession and the public at large, as a sort of legal Nestor. The universal voice was loud in praise of his learning, his acumen, and his spotless judicial integrity. Even the bitterest of his former political opponents forgot old animosities, and joined in the common estimate. His industry was as conspicuous as his learning, and his judgments were seldom in arrear. Some of his written decisions have been characterized as wordy and unnecessarily long, but excuse has been made for their seeming verbosity on the ground of his anxiety to present everything in a clear and unmistakable light. Certainly the decisions of no Canadian jurist carry more weight, and it is with great hesitation that his successors have ventured to disturb any of his dicta. Only one of his judgments, we believe, was reversed on appeal to the Privy Council.

One of the last cases of permanent public importance which engaged his attention was the famous Anderson extradition case, which was decided in the winter of 1861-62. Anderson, as many persons will remember, was a fugitive negro slave from the Southern States, who had killed his master in self-defence when making his escape. The case aroused an excitement in the public mind almost without precedent in this country and the United States, and indeed the excitement extended to Great Britain. Sir John's judgment, and that of the court, from which the late Judge McLean dissented, was that the prisoner must be surrendered. It was formed upon a careful consideration of the terms of the Extradition Treaty, and had no reference to the rights or wrongs of slavery, although to the public mind it seemed to favour " the peculiar institution," and for a time the outcry against it in the newspapers was loud and incessant. The case subsequently came before the Court of Common Pleas, when the prisoner was discharged on a technicality, which left the principles of the decision in the Queen's Bench untouched.

In 1850 Chief Justice Robinson was appointed to the dignity of a Companion of the Bath. In 1854 he was created a Baronet of the United Kingdom; and on the occasion of his last visit to England, in 1856, the honorary degree of D.C.L. was conferred upon him by the University of Oxford. In June, 1862, he resigned the position of Chief Justice, and accepted the less onerous one of President of the Court of Appeal. He possessed a strong constitution, and had all his life enjoyed excellent general health; but for niany years prior to this time he had suffered from repeated attacks of gout, the intensity whereof increased with his advancing years. Early in January, 1863, he presided for the last time in the Court of Appeal. A few days after he was subjected to an attack of exceptional sharpness, and it was soon evident that his earthly course was nearly run. He finally sank to his rest on the 31st of the month. On the 4th of February an immense concourse accompanied his remains to their final resting-place in St. James's Cemetery.

He left behind him many pleasant and hallowed memories; for in private life, as well as on the Bench, he was one of the most excellent and amiable of men. His successor in the baronetcy, as well as the rest of his sons, still resides in Toronto. The second son, named after his father, is the present Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Ontario. His third son, Christopher, has long been one of the foremost and most highly respected members of the local Bar.