George Moffatt (1787–1865)

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George Moffatt (August 13, 1787 – February 25, 1865) was a businessman and political figure in Lower Canada and Canada East.[1][2]

Early careerEdit

He was born in Sidehead, Weredale, County Durham, England in 1787, studied in London and came to Lower Canada in 1801. After further studies at Sorel, he joined John Ogilvy's firm, part of the XY Company. He later joined McTavish, McGillivray and Company, part of the North West Company.

Gillespie, Moffatt, and CompanyEdit

In 1811, he became a partner in a new firm, which eventually became Gillespie, Moffatt, and Company, a major supply house associated with the North West Company. He served in the Montreal militia during the War of 1812.

In 1815 and 1816, he helped Colin Robertson during his expeditions to the Athabaska country. Moffatt helped bring stability to the fur trade in Canada by helping to smooth the way for the merger of the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821.

In the meantime, his company had expanded into a wider range of imports and exports, owning its own ship and opening a branch office in Toronto. The company was also Canadian agents for the Phoenix Fire Assurance Company.

Political careerEdit

Moffatt served as a director of the Bank of Montreal from 1822 to 1835 and he was also involved in the development of railroads. In 1830, he was named to the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, serving until 1838. Following the Lower Canada Rebellion, Moffatt recommended moderation in dealing with the rebels and supported a union with Upper Canada. He was named to the special council that governed the province after the rebellion.

In 1841, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada as one of two members for the city of Montreal as a Conservative member; he resigned in 1843 to protest the movement of the capital from Kingston to Montreal but was reelected in 1844. Although initially opposing the use of French in the assembly, he later supported a motion by Denis-Benjamin Papineau to reinstate the use of French as an official language in parliament. Moffatt helped develop the harbour facilities at Montreal, serving as chairman of the harbour commission and was also president of the Montreal Board of Trade from 1844 to 1846.

He was chairman of the short-lived British American League at Montreal, which developed in response to the annexation movement in Canada East.


Moffatt died in Montreal in 1865.


  1. ^ John Douglas Borthwick (1892). History and Biographical Gazetteer of Montreal to the Year 1892. John Lovell. pp. 211–.
  2. ^ Tulchinsky, Gerald (1976). "EN:UNDEF:public_citation_publication, vol. 9". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 2015-09-01.

External linksEdit