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Posts Tagged ‘Edward Elllice’

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Simon McGillivray
December 1785 – 9 June 1840

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Simon McGillivray

McGillivry played an intricate role in merging the family owned North West Company with the rival Hudson’s Bay Company. From 1835, he co-owned the Morning Chronicle and the London Advertiser. He was Provincial Grand Master of Upper Canada (1822-1840); Fellow of the Royal Society at London; a member of the Beaver Club at Montreal and a member of the Canada Club at London.

In 1785, McGillivray was born at Dunlichity, near Daviot in the Scottish Highlands. He was the youngest son of Donald Roy McGillivray (1741-1803), tacksman of Achnalodan in Dunmaglass and later of Dalscoilt in Strathnairn. His mother, Anne (1740-1807), was the daughter of Lieutenant John McTavish (1701-1774), of Garthbeg. The McGillivrays had traditionally held the Dunmaglass estate since the fourteenth century, and Simon’s grandfather was a first cousin of the Chief of Clan McGillivray, Captain William McGillivray of Dunmaglass. However, on his side of the family, the land had dissipated so that Simon’s father was a small tenant on what had become part of the Lovat estate, and he was unable to provide secondary schooling for Simon and his brothers William and Duncan. Instead, their education was paid for by their wealthy uncle Simon McTavish, of Montreal, who also provided each of the boys with careers within his fur trading empire.

Simon McGillivray had a lame foot and was slightly blind in one eye, so instead of coming to the Canadas and being put through an apprenticeship with the North West Company as his brothers had, he was sent down to London to work for another branch of his uncle’s business, McTavish, Fraser & Co. This company was set up to maximise profits for the Montreal firm. The company supplied the Canadian firm with trade goods, obtained credit for it, looked after shipments and sold the pelts at the best price on the London market.

He became a partner of the firm in 1805 and in 1811 he was made a partner of the parent company in Montreal, McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. From London, Simon worked closely with his brother, William McGillivray, in his struggles to overcome Lord Selkirk and the Hudson’s Bay Company. He made various business trips to Montreal when needed but otherwise remained in London where his authority had steadily grown to supersede his cousin John Fraser, the financial expert in Simon McTavish’s time.

In 1820, when William McGillivray realized that the collapse of the North West Company (NWC) was imminent unless an agreement could be made with their rivals, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), Simon took a leading role. Together with his friend Edward Ellice, they devised a plan to merge the two giant fur companies. During the discussions that followed, Colin Robertson remarked: “I like Simon much better than his friend the Member of Parliament (Ellice); there is a sort of highland pride and frankness about the little fellow that I don’t dislike”. The merger was completed by 1821, and having broken the news to the partners in Canada, Robertson again commented, “Simon McGillivray has carried everything without even the semblance of opposition. The first day he opened the business, the second the Deed and Release was signed, and the third all was peace and harmony”.

Simon and William were placed on the board of the new organization after investing £164,000 between them, but the peace did not last long and by 1825 their Montreal and London firms, McTavish, McGillivrays & Co., and (since 1822) McGillivrays, Thain & Co. went bankrupt. They were left in debt to the sum of £200,000.Blame for the failure is generally accredited to the dealings of the Ellice family, who since the American Revolution had made ambitions on gaining control of the riches in North West Canada.

McGillivray was forced to sell his valuable art collection, but his talents had not gone unnoticed in London and his career continued to prosper. In 1829, Simon was chosen by the United Mexican Mining Association of London to go to Mexico to help reorganize the administration of the company’s silver mines. In 1835, he was back in London, becoming a co-owner of the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser. A Freemason in London, from 1822 he held the position of Provincial Grand Master of Upper Canada, a position he held until his death. In 1838, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

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Anne (Easthope) McGillivray

In 1837, at London, he married Anne Easthope (1808-1869), the eldest daughter of his business partner Sir John Easthope, 1st Bt., M.P., of Firgrove, Surrey, by his first wife, Ann, daughter of Jacob Stokes, of Leopard House, Worcestershire. The McGillivrays kept two houses. Their London home was at 13 Salisbury Street, The Strand, and they also kept a residence on Dartmouth Row, Blackheath, which was then in Kent. Simon was the godfather of John Auldjo.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Edward Ellice
27 September 1783 – 17 September 1863

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Edward Ellice

Ellice, known in his time as the “Bear“, was a British merchant and politician. He was a Director of the Hudson’s Bay Company and a prime mover behind the Reform Bill of 1832.

Ellice was born in London, to Alexander Ellice and Ann Russell. In 1795, his father purchased the Seigneury of Villechauve from Michel Chartier de Lotbinière, Marquis de Lotbinière.

He was educated at Winchester and at Marischal College, Aberdeen. Ellice became a partner in the firm of Phyn, Ellices and Inglis, which had become interested in the XY Company in Canada. He was sent to Canada in 1803, and in 1804 became a party to the union of the XY and North West Companies. He became a partner in the North West Company, and during the struggle with Lord Selkirk he played an important part.

He engaged in the Canada fur trade from 1803, and as a result was nicknamed “the Bear”. In 1809 he married Hannah Althea Bettesworth, née Grey, daughter of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, and the widow of Captain George Edmund Byron Bettesworth. He had one son by her, Edward.

In 1820, he was, with the brothers William and Simon McGillivray, active in bringing about the union of the North West and the Hudson’s Bay Companies; and it was actually with him and the McGillivrays that the union was negotiated. He amalgamated the North West, XY, and Hudson’s Bay companies in 1821.

He was Member of Parliament for Coventry from 1818 to 1826, and again from 1830 to 1863. He served as a Secretary to the Treasury, and a whip in Lord Grey’s government, 1830-1832. He was Secretary at War from 1832–1834, during which time he proposed that appointments in the army should be made directly from his office. He founded the Reform Club in 1836 and supported Palmerston as premier. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1833.

He was awarded a DCL by St Andrews University. He privately urged French government to send troops into Spain in 1836. He was deputy-governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1843, he married, secondly, Anne Amelia Leicester, née Keppel, daughter of William Keppel, 4th Earl of Albemarle and widow of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. She died in the following year.

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