Primary Sources: John Paul Radelmüller’s Petition

The main sources on John Paul Radelmüller are a series of lengthy petitions he wrote to Upper Canadian authorities seeking favour and land grants. The following is the longest and most informative, laying out much of his life story. This petition was addressed to William Halton, Private Secretary to Sir Francis Gore, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, on New Year’s Day 1808.

Radelmüller’s writing, while impressive considering his German origins, nonetheless shows clear signs of English being his second language. Radelmüller’s often phonetic errata have been preserved in the following transcription.

Eamonn O’Keeffe
March 2016

Radelmüller's Signature

Note: J.P. Radelmüller’s name is spelled several different ways in contemporary documents and secondary sources. John Ross Robertson called him ‘Muller’ while the York Gazette termed him ‘J.P. Rademuller’ and ‘J.P. Raddelmuller’. Other variants include Radan Muller, Radenmuller, Rattelmullar or Radelmiller. However, as proven by several surviving signatures, the man signed his own name as J.P. Radelmüller.

For more on Radelmüller’s untimely death, read New Light on Toronto’s Oldest Cold Case.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC), Upper Canada Sundries, RG 5, A 1, vol. 7, p. 2789-2795.
Microfilm reel C-4504 (click here to access the original document)

By expeariance I have the honor to know that you are a Good natured, and Condescending Gentleman, Which induces me to take the Liberty again to beg your Assistance, indeed Affairs Stands so with me, that I am oblig’d to take the Liberty to Solicit His Excellency our present Governors kind Consideration and Good Will, What may or is to be done in my Case. As it is hartly [sic] possible for His Excellency to form a proper Judgement of my Affairs, without Knowing the whole Circumstance thereof, and the Cause wy [sic] I Came to this province. Therefor I will take the Liberty to Submit the whole before him, as followes,

In the Year 1782, the 25th of Septr I had the Honor to become a Servant to H.R. Highness the Duke of Gloucester, in the Character as Chamber Hussar, in which Servis and Station I remained till 1798, I gave up that Servis for no other Reason than my passialty [sic] for Farmering, and of course was also desirous to See my Relations and Country again after so many Years absence, Being a Native of Anspach, a Town in the province of Franconia, at that Time Subject to the King of Prussia, although that Country was Neuteral, still it did appear to me quite Confus’d, for one Army was on this Side, and an other at the other, which was the Cause I would not stay there, As I Know’d that I was willcome again where I came from, after a few Months Stay I return’d a gain to old England. As it hapend that H.R. Highness the Duke [of] Kent Came home at the same time from America, I had the Honor soon after His arival to engage myself with Him as porter, But, not long after that, H.R.H. was appointed Commander-in-Chief of British North America &c, as I was an old Travelor, I got the Charge of the package. His Royal Highness Staid one year at Halifax, before He left that place, he inquired if there were any in his Family, that Should be desirous to Settle in this Country, and asked me if I am one of them. I answered him in the affirmative, His R H’s well know that I wished to have Land, He offered me his Assistance for some without my asking for any, and were I wished to have it if there Should be any vacant. I thank’d him for the Kind Offer, and as I soon found out some vacant Land not far from Halifax, which was ones [once] designd for an Officier, but happen’d to die before he locate it, by this it remain’d vacant, which Said Land consisted of a Thousand acres more or less, I took the Liberty to inform H. R. Hs of the aforesaid Land. He said as I had served so many years in the Family, faithfully he thinks me worthy of it, and will help me to it. Besides this His R Highness was pleas’d to propoes a place for me under Government, as far my Abilitys would admit, of which I was to take pocession, as well as the foresaid Land as Soon He had left Halifax. But as the person whom he had chosen for the care of his package, fell very ill short before His R H want to set off; For which reason HRH desired me to go with him to England, and He would give me a free passage out again the Spring following.

After that, I remained Nearly a Year with His R H before I set off for Halifax again. As there were a peace made between England and France, several places under Government have been reduc’d, so of course I could not expect at that Time to get provided for. But, as I was well known, and well recommended, His Excellency Sir John Wentworth engag’d me as Steward of his Household in which station I was above two years. I did not leave that place out of dislike, for I must confess I found His Excellency a very Just and good Governor, But, as I had left the Servis of Two Royal princes, on account as I begin to get in years, to redire a little before I die, in my own way; The meanwile I had inspected my intented Land, which I found very indifferend, and heard that there is very Good Land in this province, (as I in Deed found) induced me to come to this province to partake of their Royal Bounty, what Quantity His Majesty, and His Excellency in Council should please, and think fit to Grant me.

The 23th [sic] of Novr 1803, I left Halifax, and ariv’d in this province the 1st of Janr 1804. I Gave Sir John warning Six Months before I left Him, in porpoes that His Excellency might have time to suit himself with a person in my place, as those sort of people are scares [scarce] in this Country, in my Departure I observed that Sir John did not think that I should leave him before that Winter, although I had settled with him every thing. But, when I want [went] to take leave of him, He had not his Letters for my Recommendations ready, and said, that His Royal Highness (the Duke of Kent), had highly recommended me to him, if I would stay in Halifax I should get well provided. But, as this appeared rather strange to me, that His Excellency did not as I knew he must have had those instrooctions long before he disclos’d them to me, because I had the Honor some time fore myself, to receive a Letter from Gibraltar of the same packed, by H. R. Highness Direction in my Letter there was one inclosed for Mr Wentworth (Secretaire of States) which Letter I was directed to deliffer myself in person, I could easly imagin that Letter Contain’d some thing on my Account, but not a Word was said to me, till the last moment of my Departur, which hurted my Feelings very much, and as my Trunk & things were on board the Vessel, the Captain of the Vessel stood waiting for me. I took the Resolution to set off in the name [of] God, and a fair Wind for Upper Canada, without the least Recommendations of Character, except a Clear Concience and a Burs [purse] ful of money, and in ful Expectation to get better used. As it is to be observed that Sir John had not time when I left him, to write, he promised me to Send my Recommendations by the post, that they may arrive about the same time I should, But alas, I was here Seven Months (as it Shews in the former writings) before they were reciev’d by Governor Hunter; But, in those Recommendations I have Reason [to] think that His Excellency Sir John Wentworth, did my Justice, Because His Excellency Governor Hunter was highly Satisfied.

Yes, His Excellency was so Satisfied, that he was pleased to give his Sanctions to every thing I represented to him, except Concerning the Crown reserve Land, He said would cause him some illconveniency. But, if in case there should not any more Land be vacant, in the Township of Markham, He would endeavor to procure me one. As I am a person who had served so long in the Royal Family, makes him think that it would not attaind [attend] with any great Difficulty. Upon the Observation as Interpreter, His Excellency aproved highly of it. He said, he is Glad to meet with a person that would undertake such Business, particular of such Character as I am, he continued to say, as much as I observe, above half the Inhabitance in this province are Germans, and very few able to make themselves properly understood. Therefore I should like you would act as German Interpreter ocassionaly for the whole province, and as you expect Recommedations from some of the Royal Family, if it should turn out so, I Shall endeavor to get you established. To shew the good opinion I have of you, whatever you should have anything to represent in writing for any of the Germans, (if it is any ways Consistend) and your Signal to it, it shall be attainted [attended] too [to] in the same manner, as if it had been Sign’d by the Justice of the Peace.

His Excellency Governor Hunter was pleas’d to shew his Good will towards me in several oder [other], But as I don’t wish to be too throublesome I will here put an end to my Humble Representation.

Probably His Excellency Governor Gore, will think it odd, why I did not acquaint him of all these before: The Reason hereof was this. As I expected Letters of recommedations from Their Royal Highness the Dukes of Kent and Gloucester, either directed to His Excellency, or to myself, that every thing I have or wish to represent may shew proof, and of course may be the sooner sanctioned. Might be His Excellency has reciev’d some information concerning me, as I understood of Mr Holder, that His Excellency did me the Honor inquired for me. By this I am now induced to think it my Duty to lay this Statement humbly before him. As I am so Close confind by Keeping School, particular this Time of Year, is the Reason why I did not do myself the Honor to deliver this in person, But, if His Excellency should be desirous – or have Occasion to see me, nothing shall stop me from Obeying His Commands. Meanwhile I hope His Excellency will please to take this my humble Representation, in His Kind Consideration.

As I find myself under fresh Obligassions toward you, and do not know how to make a return, or in any wise [ways] to shew my humble Gratitude, for your Kind Favors, I wish you a happy New Year, Health, and every thing that may attaind [attend] to Your Honor and Welfare, with the greatest sincerity, and do myself the Honor to subscribe myself with the proundest [sic] Respect.

Most humble and most obedient Servant
J. P. Radelmüller

[To] Wm. Halton, Esqr.
Secretary to His Excellency
Lt. Governor Gore

Markham the 1st Jany

Click here for more primary sources on Radelmüller and his untimely death.

This transcription © Eamonn O’Keeffe, 2016