Thomas Cary (1751 - January 29, 1823) was a Canadian poet, newspaper editor, businessman, and civil servant.[1]


Cary was born near Bristol, and apparently spent his early life in England; little is known of his life and career there, other than that he had worked for the East India Company. He had immigrated to Canada by 1775, when he was living at L'Assomption in the region of MontrealQuebec and selling liquor.[1]

By 1779, he was living in Quebec, where he sold provisions. In 1785 he went bankrupt, and had his business seized and sold at auction. That year he became a government clerk.[1]

His single book of poetry, Abram's Plains, was published in 1789.[1]

On 14 September 1794 Cary opened a lending library in Quebec City. He bought books directly from London, and in 1799 traveled to Paris to acquire French works. In January 1798 he added a 2nd-floor reading room, carrying European, American, and Canadian publications. He also had a bookshop beside the library. He ran both until April 1820, when because of illness he had to turn the library over to his son.[1]

In 1798 he became secretary to the Governor, Robert Prescott, but lost his post when Prescott was recalled to London the next year. He was licensed to practice law in 1800, and set up an auction business in 1801. In 1805 he founded and began editing a newspaper, the Canadian Mercury. He formed a partnership with his son, Joseph, in April 1817, retiring 3 years later on April 18, 1820.[1]


Abram's Plains was a long poem in written in the style of James Thomson, whom Cary admired. This rhymed poem of 568 lines describes the valley of the St. Lawrence, the towns along its banks, and the people who lived there.[1]

Cary wrote an "Elegy to the Memory of Mr. Thomas Chatterton, late of Bristol," which was included in the 1778 printing of Chatterton's Miscellanies in Prose and Verse.[2]


  • Abram's Plains. Quebec: privately published, printed by W. Brown, 1789.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Daniel Gauvin, “Cary, Thomas (1751-1823),” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, volume 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–. Web,Oct. 29, 2016.
  2. Thomas Cary, Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive. Web, Apr. 2, 2020.
  3. Search results = au:Thomas Cary, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Oct. 29, 2016.

External linksEdit

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