YOUNG, PLOMER, army officer; b. 1787; d. 8 March 1863 at Kingston Villa, Trowbridge, England. He married, but the name of his wife is not known; a daughter married John Macaulay*, legislative councillor for Upper Canada and the Province of Canada.
Plomer Young entered the British army in 1805 and in 1806 became a lieutenant. In 1810 he participated in the capture of Île-de-France (Mauritius) and in the next few years served in the East Indies under Sir Robert Gillespie. Later he served in the 1st Anglo-Burmese War of 1824–26. He went on half pay as a major in the 32nd Regiment in 1828.
Returning to active duty on 1 Jan. 1838, Young was one of a group of 16 officers sent on “particular service” to Canada at Sir John Colborne’s request to take charge of the defence of the Canadian border in the aftermath of the rebellions. He received the local rank of colonel and was assigned in March to Prescott, Upper Canada, where Fort Wellington was being renovated. On 11 Nov. 1838 Young learned that a force of Hunters, adherents in the United States to the cause of a republican Canada, had assembled and was crossing the St Lawrence. The force, under the command of Nils von Schoultz*, landed near Prescott and entrenched itself in a large 80-foot high stone windmill with strong, thick walls to which Young had not given any attention and which he had left undefended. Assisted by three armed vessels, some 70 marines and regulars sent from Kingston, and militia units brought to Prescott by George Macdonnell, Ogle Robert Gowan*, and John Pliny Crysler, Young kept the invaders confined to the vicinity of the windmill until the arrival on the 16th of Colonel Henry Dundas with four companies of the 83rd Regiment. That night, the fewer than 150 Hunters surrendered to the combined force of some 5,000 men.
Young’s success in attacking the enemy and holding them down until the arrival of reinforcements was widely praised, and even the Duke of Wellington commended Young’s action. Sir George Arthur* wrote to Dundas that Young “ought to gain a step for having so promptly met these Robbers & Murderers”; Young became lieutenant-colonel on 29 March 1839. Two months later he was appointed deputy adjutant-general of Lower Canada. He moved to Montreal to assume his new duties in which he was assisted by Louis Guy and Édouard-Louis-Antoine-Charles Juchereau Duchesnay. Young retained the post until 11 July 1841, then joined the staff of the commander of the forces, Sir Richard Jackson*. In 1843, when the bulk of the incorporated militia was disbanded, he succeeded Colonel Colley Lyons Lucas Foster* as assistant deputy adjutant-general of Canada West.
The militia continued to operate under acts passed before the union of Upper and Lower Canada until 1846 when, in response to the War Office which had been urging the creation of an effective militia force of 35,000 men, a new act was passed. The imperial government had declared itself prepared to pay if necessary for the arms and accoutrements of the proposed force and wanted an efficient and effective adjutant-general for it. As early as 1842 Sir Allan Napier MacNab had been assured of the post, and in 1846 was named to it. But after one day in office he resigned when political difficulties developed over the appointment of a deputy for Canada West. The post went to Young and he was gazetted on 1 Aug. 1846. He and his two deputies, Étienne-Paschal Taché in Canada East and Donald Macdonell In Canada West, were charged with undertaking the reorganization of the militia as contemplated by the War Office. The Militia Act of 1846, however, did not mark the start of a new era. The War Office was by then less enthusiastic over the prospect of increased expenditure and decided that the existing obsolescent flintlocks would be used to arm the militia; moreover, the Canadian legislature allowed only one day’s training per year. This legislature did not foresee any difficulties arising with the United States and, under less pressure from the War Office, did not replace Young when he ceased to be adjutant-general on 26 July 1847.
Young reverted to half pay in 1847, but in 1849 was appointed assistant adjutant-general commanding the Kingston garrison. He retained the post until 1855. He probably returned to England soon after this date, and died in 1863. He had been awarded a kh in 1836 and was promoted major-general in 1857.
PAC, RG 7, G1, 87, pp.78–79; 90, pp.170–71; 111, pp.204–5; 117, pp.298–303; RG 8, I (C series), 611–15. PAO, Jessup (Edward) papers. PRO, CO 42/514, p.258; WO 1/555, Byham to Stephen, 31 Jan., 13 Feb. 1846; 1/558, Byham to Stephen, 19 March 1847; Grey’s minute dated 23 March 1847; 55/1551, pp.75–79, 119–21, 144–45, 160–61; 80/11. Arthur papers (Sanderson). British Colonist (Toronto), 22, 29 Nov. 1838. Canada Gazette (Montreal), 4, 11 July, 1 Aug. 1846. Quebec Mercury, 1838–39. Boase, Modern English biog., III, 1578. Morgan, Sketches of celebrated Canadians, 346. E. C. Guillet, The lives and times of the Patriots: an account of the rebellion in Upper Canada, 1837–1838, and the Patriot agitation in the United States, 1837–1842 (Toronto, 1938; repr. 1968). P. H. [Stanhope], Earl of Stanhope, Notes of conversations with the Duke of Wellington, 1831–1851 (3rd ed., London, 1889), 131–32. G. F. G. Stanley, “Invasion: 1838,” OH, LIV (1962), 237–52.