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Memorable Manitobans: Arthur Dobbs (1689-1765)

Colonial official.

Born at Girvan, Scotland on 2 April 1689 to Anglo-Irish parents, he entered the House of Commons of the Irish Parliament in 1727. While there, he investigated the political economy of Ireland, publishing his Essay on the Trade and Improvement of Ireland (1729). Around 1730 he became fascinated by the problem of the Northwest Passage, and a year later he laid his notes on all the voyages that had sought this passage before the Hudson's Bay Company and the Admiralty. The result was an expedition led by Christopher Middleton, which found nothing. Dobbs accused Middleton of falsification, and the two engaged in a pamphlet controversy for years. In 1744 Dobbs produced An Account of the Countries Adjoining to Hudson’s Bay, which extolled the virtues of the region and criticized the HBC for its stewardship of it. In 1754 he was chosen governor of North Carolina, and he served with vigour until his death.

Sources:

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 May 2012

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