Thomas Carleton

Thomas Carleton, British army officer, lieutenant-governor of NB (b in Ire c 1735; d at Ramsgate, Eng 2 Feb 1817), brother of Guy CARLETON, Baron Dorchester.

Carleton, Thomas

Thomas Carleton, British army officer, lieutenant-governor of NB (b in Ire c 1735; d at Ramsgate, Eng 2 Feb 1817), brother of Guy CARLETON, Baron Dorchester. After military service in Europe and America, Carleton was appointed first lieutenant-governor of the newly created colony of New Brunswick on 28 July 1784. He held this position until his death in 1817, although he resided in England from 1803 on. Because of his Anglo-Irish and military background, he sympathized with the LOYALIST elite's aspirations. Hence the early development of NB was shaped by Carleton and the Loyalist leaders, with the choice of capital, appointments, religious, political, educational and even economic decisions reflecting this alliance.

Carleton had originally hoped his New Brunswick posting would lead to a more substantial military command. Disappointed in this and in the slow growth of the colony, along with an increasingly assertive Assembly-rights party by 1795, Carleton tired of his office. He took a leave of absence, destined to be permanent, in 1803. After 1807 there is little evidence that he played any role in NB affairs and no evidence that he intended to take up residence in the province again.

Carleton had many critics during his lifetime and among historical observers but he deserves to be acknowledged as a founding father of New Brunswick.