Herman Witsius Ryland

Herman Witsius Ryland, officeholder (b at Warwick or at Northampton, Eng 1759(?); d at Beauport, LC 20 July 1838). He arrived in Lower Canada in 1793 as civil secretary under Lord DORCHESTER and was secretary to Dorchester's successors until 1813.

Ryland, Herman Witsius

Herman Witsius Ryland, officeholder (b at Warwick or at Northampton, Eng 1759(?); d at Beauport, LC 20 July 1838). He arrived in Lower Canada in 1793 as civil secretary under Lord DORCHESTER and was secretary to Dorchester's successors until 1813. In 1796 he became clerk of the executive council, a post of consequence.

Anti-Catholic and anti-democratic, he opposed the growing power of the Assembly and of the nationalist PARTI CANADIEN. For nationalists he symbolized British imperial domination through his accumulation of offices and political influence.

Ryland was sent to England by Sir James CRAIG in 1810 to promote repressive policies, but he largely failed. Appointed to the Legislative Council that year, he made it the scene of his political activity. Unlike many colleagues, Ryland was scrupulously honest in office and left a modest estate. His tenacious opposition to Canadian nationalism stemmed from reasoned political conservatism, and immediate self-interest.