Sir Charles Bagot, GCB, PC, MP

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About Sir Charles Bagot, GCB, PC, MP

(More under French)


Sir Charles Bagot GCB (23 September 1781 – 19 May 1843) was an English diplomat and colonial administrator who served as Governor General of the Province of Canada 1841-1843).

He was the second son of William Bagot, 1st Baron Bagot of Blithfield Hall, Staffordshire. He was educated at Rugby School and Christ Church College, Oxford. He entered Lincoln’s Inn, but left and returned to Oxford to complete his Master's.

His marriage to Mary Charlotte Anne Wellesley-Pole, the niece of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, and other Bagot family connections made possible his subsequent diplomatic career.

He was named minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinaire to the United States 31 July 1815 in the aftermath of the War of 1812. With Richard Rush he negotiated the Rush-Bagot Agreement to limit naval forces on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. He also contributed to negotiations leading to the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 which defined the border between British North America and the United States from Lake of the Woods (see Northwest Angle) to the Pacific Ocean.

He subsequently served as British Ambassador to Russia where he took part in negotiations leading to the 1825 Treaty of Saint Petersburg and as British Ambassador to the Netherlands where he was involved in negotiations leading to the establishment of Belgium in 1831.

After a hiatus of 10 years, Bagot agreed to succeed Lord Sydenham as governor-general of the newly proclaimed Province of Canada. He was chosen because of his diplomatic knowledge of the United States. Bagot was appointed 27 September 1841 and arrived in the Canadian capital Kingston on 10 January 1842, taking office two days later. Bagot was ordered by the British government to resist the demand for responsible government. Bagot did allow Robert Baldwin and Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine to form a ministry on the basis of their parliamentary majority.

While serving as governor-general, Bagot ordered the first criminal extradition of a fugitive slave to the United States from Canada West. The fugitive in question, Nelson Hacket (or Hackett), had been valet and butler to a wealthy Arkansas slave owner. In 1841, Hacket stole a beaver overcoat and a racing mare from his master, as well as a gold watch and a saddle from two others, and fled to Canada West. Hacket's master caught up with him in Chatham, and he was jailed. Governor-General Bagot ruled Hacket had committed a crime by stealing items not necessary for his escape, and for this reason he was extradited. The public in Canada West, as well as abolitionists in the U.S. and Canada, were dismayed, and their displeasure led to a formal treaty, which codified rules for extradition, but upset fugitives, abolitionists, and slave owners.

Having resigned his office in January 1843, Bagot died at Alwington House in Kingston, too ill to return to the United Kingdom. Today he is chiefly remembered for his contributions to the development of the "undefended border" between the United States and Canada.

He was also Member of Parliament for Castle Rising from 1807 to 1808.

Charles Bagot is considered by some sources as the most popular governor that England ever sent to Québec. [1] The town of Bagotville was named after him.


Right Hon. Sir Charles Bagot, Bart., G.C.B., married Lady Mary Charlotte Anne Wellesley, daughter of William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington on 22 July 1806. The couple had three sons and five daughters. The family accompanied their parents to Canada, on the appointment of Sir Charles Bagot as Governor-General of British North America on 12 January 1842. As the wife of a Governor-General in Canada, Lady Bagot assumed the title of Her Excellency in Montreal in August 1842. After her husband's death at Kingston, Ontario on 18 May 1843, she accompanied the remains to England. She died in London on 2 February 1845.


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