John Neilson and family, 1666-1912

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Document Record

John Neilson and family, 1666-1912
John Neilson et famille, 1666-1912
Neilson Collection
Collection Neilson
MG 24 B 1
Business and commerce
Politics and politicians
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
John Neilson (1775 - 1848) was a Scots-Quebecer editor of the newspaper The Quebec Gazette/La Gazette de Québec and a politician. He emigrated from Scotland in 1790 to join his brother Samuel Neilson, who had succeeded their uncle William Brown as proprietor of the Quebec Gazette. John Neilson became proprietor in 1797 and then gradually came to assume a number of public offices and responsibilities. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada in a partial election in 1818, and he was re-elected until 1830 and supported the Parti canadien. In 1823, he accompanied Louis-Joseph Papineau to London to lobby against the Union project in the name of the majority of the MPs in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada. Again, in 1828 he was part of a delegation sent to London to present his party's demands for reform. In 1830, he took his distance from the Parti patriote, which he considered to be too radical. In 1837, he was named to the Executive Council and Legislative Council. He was a member of the Special Council that administered Lower Canada after the Lower Canada Rebellion. He opposed the Union of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada after its enactment. In 1841, he was elected to the first Parliament of the Province of Canada in the riding of Quebec County. He was elected speaker, but in 1844 was appointed to the Legislative Council.
This collection consists of business, political and personal correspondence of John Neilson, his wife Marie Neilson, and sons John Neilson Jr. and Samuel Neilson Jr.; Laura Moorhead (Mrs. John jr.) Neilson, Mrs. John Moorhead and Marguerite Moorhead. Included among the correspondents are François-Xavier Garneau, Robert Christie, Louis-Joseph Papineau, Denis-Benjamin Viger, John Bennett and William Gowan. There is also correspondence, memoranda, returns and notes, accumulated by John Neilson Sr. and Dominique Mondelet during their Commission of Inquiry into penitentiary systems, 1834-1835. This collection also consists of estate records relating to seigneuries and other properties owned by the Neilson family, including accounts, deeds and mortgages, lawsuits, inventories and some correspondence, 1666-1854. The collection also includes subject files, formed of correspondence and a wide variety of documents relating to education, Indians, political affairs, agriculture and social welfare; an obsolete index of correspondence; notebooks and journals and personal account books of John Neilson; and a poll book of Quebec County, 1827.