Pub date: March 30, 2012
Rights: North America
Finalist, Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing
The epic story of Anthony Lockwood, a British sailor turned insurrectionist, caught up in the events of war, revolution and unprecedented social change on both sides of the Atlantic.
On June 1, 1823, the Honourable Anthony Lockwood, a member of New Brunswick’s Executive Council, dictated a proclamation in Fredericton’s public square. He then took to his horse, galloped through the streets, and, brandishing a pair of sawn-off pistols, declared that he was overthrowing the government. Lockwood’s one-man coup d’état failed. Arrested by the High Sheriff, he was jailed and later declared mad. Officially removed from office in November 1825, he fled home to England.
But who was Anthony Lockwood? Much of this story has been lost — in fact, Lockwood himself destroyed many of the records. Forced into the British Navy off of a slave ship, he rose to the rank of Master. He was commended for bravery in action against the French; shipwrecked and imprisoned in France; appointed master attendant of the naval yard at Bridgetown, Barbados, during the year the slave trade was abolished; and served as a hydrographer in the English Channel and the West Indies.
In 1814 he began a marine survey of Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. Against all odds, he managed to finesse a treasury appointment as Surveyor General of New Brunswick. Despite being out of step with polite Loyalist society, he threw himself into the job of developing the province and settling its immigrants, becoming the right-hand man of the Lieutenant Governor, General George Stracey Smyth. He lost it all on that summer day in 1823. Here for the first time is the spectacular story of that astonishing rise and tumultuous fall.