James Pringle (1784-1860) was born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland. He joined the British 81st Regiment of Foot as an officer in 1809. After service in the Isle of Jersey he left for Spain in January of 1813, during the Peninsular War. In 1814 the Regiment was sent to Canada. Here James met his future wife, Ann Margaret Anderson (1796-1870) of Cornwall, Ontario. James Pringle was not a Loyalist, but he married into a family with many Loyalist connections, his wife being the daughter of Lieutenant Joseph Anderson (1763-1853) and Johanna (Farrand) Anderson (b.1759), and granddaughter of Captain Samuel Anderson (1736-1836). Both men had been officers of the King's Royal Regiment of New York during the American Revolution. James Pringle settled in Cornwall, Ontario, where the family became prominent in the area with several members holding positions in the militia and in legal and civic affairs. Among the offices he held were: Clerk of the Land Board for the Eastern District, Clerk of the Peace, Treasurer of the Town of Cornwall, and Captain of the Cornwall Volunteer Artillery.
The manuscripts that have been microfilmed on this reel all concern James Pringle's life and career as a British Army officer and as a public servant in the province of Ontario. Subject matter includes various aspects of military history - Britain; personnel; wars - Peninsular War (1807-1814); militia - Ontario; maritime matters; travels and description; and entertainment. Also pertains to emigration/immigration and local government - Ontario.
File 1, Journal of James Pringle, January 1813 -20 February 1816, and a typed transcript of the chronological portion of the Journal. In here he describes places/people/experiences on ships and off, during battles (such as Turrangano and Villa, France) and intervals, as he encounters Gibraltar, Spain, France, and Canada after the Peninsular War. Theatre is an interest that is apparent in his writings. This is illustrated during his voyage to Canada “had on board… a kind of performance… and had regular play bills written… these celebrated performers comport the Corps…”. The Chronological aspect of the journal ends when he and his wife have just arrived at Valenciennes, France. The Journal also includes: March of the Army from Micant, 5th July 1813 (pp. 12-83), and March of the Catalan Division through Spain to join Lord Wellington’s, Army 14 April 1814. These include dates and towns passed through. Pages 120-134 provide hints to strangers emigrating from Great Britain to Upper Canada in the Year 1821. This has approximately 15 points he documents in detail, relating information that is relevant to his own experiences. (See Electronic Finding Aid for more information)
File 2, Land Board Correspondence, 1819-1823, with documents numbered in a sequence from 1-43;
File 3, Cornwall Artillery Company Correspondence, 1838-1839;
File 4, Return of Commuted Pensioners Correspondence, 1838-1839, and transcript of an article on the national debt, Morning Chronicle, Albion, January 26, 1828
File 5, Value of Masts and Yards, which contains coloured sketches, n.d.