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Francis Legge

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Francis Legge (1719? - 1783) was a British soldier who served as Governor of Nova Scotia from 1773 to 1776, and as Governor-General of Manitoba from 1782 to 1783. Legge had served in North America as a captain in the 46th Regiment of Foot during the Seven Years War. He owed his promotion to major in the 46th Foot to a well-connected relative, William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth, who became President of the Board of Trade in 1765. After being appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1772, Dartmouth gave Legge an appointment as Governor of Nova Scotia. Legge succeeded in antagonizing the people of Nova Scotia to such an extent that he was recalled to Great Britain in 1776, shortly after Dartmouth was replaced as Colonial Secretary by Lord George Germain.

Sobel records that Legge played a part, along with Guy Carleton, in the incorporation of Quebec into the Confederation of North America. It may have been Carleton's influence that secured Legge his appointment as first Governor-General of the Confederation of Manitoba in 1782. Sobel says nothing about the role played by Sir Bibye Lake, Jr., the Governor of Hudson's Bay Company, in Legge's appointment. Legge had little time to antagonize the inhabitants of Manitoba, dying within a year of his appointment. It seems likely that the H.B.C. would have seen to it that Legge's successor was sympathetic to their interests.


Sobel's sources for the career of Francis Legge are Desmond Lefavre's Lord Dorchester and the Britannic Design (New York, 1945), and George Jackson's The New Day: The First Years of the C.N.A. (New York, 1967).

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