Henry John Boulton

Henry John Boulton, QC (1790 – June 18, 1870) was a lawyer, judge and political figure in Upper Canada.

Henry John Boulton
Died18 June 1870
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationQueen's Counsel
Spouse(s)Eliza, daughter of Ephraim Jones

Life and careerEdit

He was born at Little Holland House, Kensington, England, the son of G. D'Arcy Boulton, in 1790. Some time later, the family settled in New York state and then moved to Upper Canada around 1800. He studied law at York (Toronto) and then at Lincoln's Inn in London. He was called to the English bar and, in 1816, the bar of Upper Canada. In 1818, he succeeded John Beverley Robinson as Solicitor General and, in 1829, succeeded Robinson as attorney general. In 1830, he was elected to represent Niagara in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada. He instigated several expulsions of William Lyon Mackenzie from the assembly. In 1832, Lord Goderich, the colonial secretary, asked the provincial administration to stop attacking Mackenzie; Boulton was dismissed from office after expressing his opposition to these instructions.

After he protested his dismissal, he was offered the post of chief justice of Newfoundland in 1833. He introduced a new system of selecting juries based on the method then used in England. He set up a law society in the country and set up regulations governing the admission of new lawyers to the bar. He also amended a number of traditional arrangements regarding credit in the fishing industry. Many of these changes were not well received. Boulton was considered notorious by locals and was monikered "the hanging judge." In one particular instance, he sentenced an English servant boy accused of the murder of a woman and two children to an indefinite prison sentence, despite there being no evidence whatsoever against him. Within a year a large crowd marched on the courthouse and the boy was promptly freed. After representatives from the country presented their concerns in London, Imperial authorities had had enough of Boulton's arrogance and he was removed from office.

He returned to private practice in Toronto. In 1841, and was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1842. He was elected to the 1st Parliament of the Province of Canada representing Niagara. In parliament, Boulton supported Robert Baldwin's concept of responsible government. His support of the reformers resulted in his defeat in the next election but, in 1846, he was appointed to the Executive Council and elected in Norfolk in 1847. He proposed an amendment to the Rebellion Losses Bill which excluded those convicted of treason from benefits which helped sell the bill in Canada West. After 1851, he retired from politics but continued to practice law until about 1860.

He died at Toronto, Ontario in 1870.

His brother, George Strange Boulton, was also a member of the Legislative Assembly and served on the Legislative Council. Another brother, D'Arcy Boulton (1785–1846), built and lived at The Grange (Toronto). He married Eliza, daughter of Ephraim Jones, in 1818.

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