William Gregory: Champion of the Confederacy

Brian Jenkins describes how, during his visit to America in 1859-60, Gregory conceived an admiration for the South and was its Parliamentary protagonist until 1863.

At the close of the Parliamentary session of 1859 William Gregory, one of the Members, embarked at Liverpool for North America. A mixture of curiosity and adventure, and the opportunity to visit overseas members of his family, prompted his decision to travel, as did the sorry state of his personal finances. At the age of forty-two, having frittered away much of his fortune in betting, Gregory was at last seeking to put his life in order. Most of his major debts had been settled, and, by removing himself from Britain, he had hopes that those still outstanding could be cleared up.

The journey began with a nerve-racking crossing of the Atlantic, and was soon marred by tragedy. One of Gregory’s fellow passengers had been John Head, the only son of the governor of Canada, and on their arrival in eastern Canada they joined a foray by the Heads into the Canadian backwoods. Young Head was drowned and Gregory was one of the sad band that accompanied the body back to Quebec for burial.

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