Robert Graham Dunlop

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Robert Graham Dunlop (October 1, 1790 – February 28, 1841) was a ship's captain and political figure in Upper Canada.

The Right Honourable
Robert Graham Dunlop
13th Parliament Of Upper Canada
Member of Parliament
for Huron.
In office
Monarch Victoria of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Riding created in 1835
Personal details
Born Robert Graham Dunlop
(1790-10-01)October 1, 1790
Greenock, Scotland
Died February 28, 1841(1841-02-28) (aged 50)
Goderich, Ontario
Resting place Goderich, Upper Canada
Citizenship British
Nationality Scottish
Political party Tory (moderate)
Spouse(s) Louisa McColl
Parents Alexander Dunlop and Janet Graham
Education University of Glasgow
Occupation Royal Navy, Captain

He was born in Keppoch, Scotland in 1790 and joined the Royal Navy at the age of 13. He became a lieutenant while serving during the Napoleonic Wars; he later reached the rank of captain. He retired from the Navy in 1823 and came to Upper Canada in 1833 with his brother William "Tiger" Dunlop who was a general superintendent for the Canada Company. He was appointed a justice of the peace in the London District in the same year. In 1835, he was elected to the 13th Parliament of Upper Canada for the new riding of Huron. He tended to support the province's administration, including Lieutenant Governor Sir Francis Bond Head and was reelected in 1836. In 1837, he joined the Orange Lodge and became a member of its provincial executive in 1838. He was named a colonel in the Huron militia during the Upper Canada Rebellion, but his unit was not called to serve. He supported the redistribution of the clergy reserves among the Protestant churches and promoting immigration to Upper Canada. He also supported the campaign against slavery in the province.

He died on the family estate near Goderich in 1841.

Royal Navy Career[edit]

Robert Graham Dunlop joined the Royal Navy in 1803. In 1810 he took the exam for the rank of Lieutenant. he was promoted to Lieutenant in 1812 and later to Commander in 1822.[1]

Napoleonic Wars[edit]

In 1813, Lieutenant Dunlop, in command of HMS Porcupine, captured or destroyed a number of French craft which had run ashore near Talmont-sur-Gironde.[2] With orders from Captain Trevenen Penrose Coode, Lieutenant Dunlop commanded the boats of HMS Porcupine (1807) in pursuit of a French flotilla. After the French flotilla ran ashore, Dunlop landed with a party of seamen and marines and captured significant French naval assets.[3]

Political Career in Canada[edit]

In 1833 Robert Dunlop emigrated to Upper Canada with his brother William "Tiger" Dunlop. The two brothers settled in Goderich, Ontario and shortly after Robert Dunlop was appointed to two offices:

  • Justice of the Peace, London District (later the Huron Tract)

As a justice of the peace in Upper Canada, one could be expected to issue warrants, conduct preliminary inquiries, investigate misdemeanours, try a variety of summary offences, and commit the convicted to jail.[4]

  • Commissioner of the Court of Requests, London District (later the Huron Tract)

A Court consisting of two or more Justices of the Peace authorized to try any claim not exceeding 40 shillings, Quebec currency. The system of Court of Requests was repealed in 1841, by 4 & 5 Vict., ch. 3, which provided for Division Courts. Regardless of the changes, many of the same people continued in the similar capacities in these positions; Robert Dunlop being of them.[5]

Parliamentary Voting Record[edit]

Robert Dunlop's political career in the assembly was predominantly supportive of the Family Compact, although some of his views and votes were supportive of the Colborne Clique.

  • supported the Huron Fishing company,[6]
  • supported improvements to Goderich Harbour.[6]
  • supported increased immigration.[6]
  • supported an extended franchise in Canada Company land grants for War of 1812 veterans and to extend the definition of a United Empire Loyalist.[6]
  • supported improved jails .[7]
  • supported improved treatment of the insane.[7]
  • supported the establishment of a Mechanics' Institute.[8]
  • supported a geological survey.[6]
  • belonged to the anti-slavery campaign.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sailing Navies, 1650-1850". Retrieved September 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ Clowes, William (1997). The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the present. 5. Chatham Publishing. 
  3. ^ James, William (1837). The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV. 6. R. Bentley. 
  4. ^ "Justice of the Peace in Historical Context" (PDF). Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Some Early Legislation and Legislators in Upper Canada". Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Kathleen Macfarlane Lizars, In the days of the Canada Company: The story of the settlement of the Huron Tract and a view of the social life of the period, 1825-1850. Toronto: William Briggs, 1896, pp. 17-23.
  8. ^ Lorne Bruce. Free Books for All: The Public Library Movement in Ontario, 1850-1930. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1994. p. 46.

External links[edit]