HAWKE, ANTHONY BEWDEN, immigration agent; b. in England, probably in the late 18th century; d. 11 Aug. 1867 in Whitby, Ont. He and his wife Eliza had two sons and three daughters.
Anthony Bewden Hawke came to Upper Canada after the War of 1812 and settled near Bath, Lennox (Lennox and Addington) County. A Tory in politics, he became a justice of the peace in the Midland District in 1825 and in the Home District in 1837. In 1832 Lieutenant Governor Sir John Colborne employed him as an agent at Lachine, Lower Canada, to assist immigrants proceeding to Upper Canada. The next year he was in York (Toronto) in charge of an emigrant office. His duties were to provide information to immigrants about transportation routes and the availability of employment, and occasionally to direct settlers to newly opened regions and give them financial assistance. In 1841 he was transferred to Kingston where his duties were similar but also included providing temporary work in the town for immigrants who were penniless. He had returned to Toronto by 1850. Hawke, as chief emigrant agent for Upper Canada from about 1835, exercised authority over other agents in Canada West, and, in turn, was subordinate to A. C. Buchanan, the chief emigrant agent at Quebec.
In June 1859 Hawke was sent to Britain as Canadian emigration agent, the first since Thomas Rolph* had acted as agent there from 1839 to 1842. Hawke went with instructions to consider the possibility of having Canadian agents in Europe to promote emigration, to investigate the government’s emigration advertising, to publicize Canada’s land regulations, and to examine the Canadian exhibit at the Crystal Palace in London. In January 1860, Hawke was ordered to open an emigration office in Liverpool – the first such Canadian agency overseas. His chief duty was to promote emigration by handbills, pamphlets, and advertisements in newspapers, but he was also to publicize Canada’s resources to encourage British interest in investment and trade. The government was supporting other emigration agents in Britain and on the Continent as well as conducting an extensive advertising campaign in 1860, but its policy was a tentative one and all the agents were temporary. The only hint of permanency was Hawke’s Liverpool agency.
Hawke conscientiously travelled about England, meeting with government officials and businessmen and distributing publicity materials. Although his efforts did not appreciably influence British emigration to or trade with Canada, his services were useful: for the first time the Canadian government had its own agent in Europe who gave full time to emigration tasks and who was well acquainted with problems of immigrants in Canada. As a result, the government received recommendations appropriate to Canadian conditions. Hawke favoured the establishment of a permanent Canadian agency in Britain, and his opinion added weight to similar views expressed in Canada by other immigration officials such as Buchanan and William Hutton, and by some politicians, including Thomas D’Arcy McGee and P. M. M. S. VanKoughnet.
After his return from England in 1860, Hawke continued his agency work in Toronto until 1864 when he retired because of age and ill health. Hawke’s major importance lies in his work to aid immigrants arriving in Upper Canada and in his mission to England during 1859 and 1860. It laid the groundwork for the later permanent Canadian agency, opened by William Dixon* in Liverpool in 1866 and transferred to London in 1869.
PAC, RG 1, E1, 56; L3; RG 7, G20, 2; RG 17, AI, ser.2, 1492–93; AIII, ser.1, 2392; ser.3, 2398. Can., Prov. of, Legislative Assembly, Journals, 1852–60. Whitby Chronicle (Whitby, Ont.), 5 Oct. 1865, 15 Aug. 1867. Commemorative biographical record, county York, 115–16. W. B. Turner, “Colonial self-government and the colonial agency: changing concepts of permanent Canadian representation in London, 1848 to 1880” (unpublished phd thesis, Duke University, Durham, N.C., 1970).