johnwood1946

New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

The Government of New Brunswick, 1837

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From the blog at https://johnwood1946.wordpress.com

Notitia of New Brunswick for 1836 and Extending Into 1837 is an odd book. It was published in Saint John in 1838 and is usually attributed to Peter Fisher, but whoever wrote it was only identified as “an inhabitant.” It is anonymous, and leaves the impression that the opinions expressed were radical enough to be considered scandalous. But this was not true. The author’s opinions were not unusual, and the complaints about government in this extract were also expressed openly in the Assembly. It is therefore unclear to me why the Inhabitant did not put his name to it. He would have been in good company.

The description begins with a long series of complaints about the government, including the excessive powers of the Lieutenant Governor; favouritism in the naming of officials and the Governor’s Council; incompetent or at least unsuitable Lieutenants Governor; and inequities in the Civil List. It then proceeds to a more matter-of-fact description of government and ends with the celebrations which took place when the Imperial Government at last handed over the administration of crown lands to New Brunswick in return for a permanent Civil List.

Those who are interested may also refer to another posting in the blog entitled Lemuel Allen Wilmot.

 Province Hall

Province Hall in Fredericton,

before it was destroyed by fire in the 1880s

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 

Government, Civil List, Revenues, &c. of New Brunswick, 1837

The Government of New Brunswick, like most of the British Colonies, is Royal, and a miniature of the Parent State; the other forms originally established in the Plantations and Colonies having given way to Monarchical Governments after the British model which is closely followed in the different orders of Judicature, as well as in the Provincial Legislature.

The powers of the Governor are very extensive, he being not only Commander-in-Chief of the Province, but Vice-Admiral, Chancellor, Ordinary, &c.

He is assisted by an Executive Council, consisting of nine members who are appointed by the Royal Mandamus. In most of the Colonies the Executive Council yet form one branch of the Legislature, thereby exhibiting the anomaly of a body exercising two opposite inconsistent functions. This absurdity also existed in New Brunswick till 1834, when through the persevering efforts of the lower House, the Councils were divided, and a distinct body was appointed to constitute the second branch in the Provincial Legislature.

Those who are acquainted with Colonial History are aware that formerly the Council were not a separate branch of the Legislature from the Governor, but that he sat at the board as their President and deliberated with them. In process of time, however, a practice crept in of the Governor absenting himself, and leaving the Council to deal with the Assembly as well as they could without his interference. This practice, which is no doubt an improvement in Colonial Legislation has been so long followed that it seems to have gained a legal right by prescription, and is the mode now followed in all the Colonies; thereby constituting the Governor one branch of the Legislature. The Composition of the Council still remains a grievance in the Colonies. One serious difficulty, however, among the Councillors themselves, in regard to the succession to the administration of the Government in the event of a vacancy, has been set at rest by a late order from England directing the highest Military Officer in the Province to assume the Government till the vacancy is otherwise filled up.

The Legislature of New Brunswick, like that of the other Colonies, is a miniature of the British Parliament, consisting of three branches,—the Lieutenant Governor, the Council, and the House of Representatives or Delegates of the People. The Governor represents the Crown, the Council form the Upper House, and the Representatives from the several Counties the Lower House or House of Assembly. The number of Representatives for the several Counties is as follows:—The Counties of Saint John, Westmorland, Charlotte, and York send four each; the Counties of King’s, Queen’s, Sunbury, Northumberland, Gloucester, Kent, and Carleton, and the City of Saint John send two each.

The Assembly or Provincial Parliament meets in the winter at Fredericton, and continues in session from fifty to sixty days. Its chief business is in managing the Provincial Revenues, laying Taxes, voting Supplies, &c., correcting abuses, redressing grievances, and passing such Laws from time to time as the circumstances and exigencies of the Province may require. The powers of the Parliament are supreme and uncontrollable within the Province. Where laws are enacted that interfere with acts of the Imperial Parliament, or with the trade laws of the Mother Country, they are transmitted to the Sovereign with a suspending clause, and are not in force until they receive the Royal Sanction; for the Sovereign has the prerogative of disallowing all laws and statutes of the Colonial Parliaments, even after they have received the assent of the Governor of the Colony.

The principal Courts established in the Province are the following :—

The Court of Chancery, which is a prerogative Court as well as a Court of Equity. The Lieutenant Governor or Commander-in-Chief is Chancellor, and the Justices of the Supreme Court are Assignees.

The Court of Governor and Council for hearing and determining causes relative to Marriage and Divorce.

The Supreme Court of Judicature.—This Court holds its principal terms at Fredericton, but the Judges hold Circuit Courts in all the different Counties. It consists of a Chief Justice and three Puisne Judges. The Chief Justice has a salary of £950, and each of the Puisne Judges £650. The jurisdiction of this Court is very extensive, partaking of the powers of the Court of King’s Bench, Exchequer, Common Pleas, and other Courts in England. All Civil causes of importance and capital cases are determined in this Court.

The other Courts are the Court of Vice Admiralty, a Court for the Trial and Punishment of Piracy committed on the high seas, and a Court for the Probate of Wills and granting Administrations.

The Inferior Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions of the Peace serves, like the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Saint John, to regulate most of the internal police of the different Counties. The Courts are held in all the Counties, and consist of two, three or more Justices who preside,—one acting as Principal. They are assisted by the Magistrates of the County collectively. At those Sessions causes that do not involve property to a great amount are determined, as are also all crimes and misdemeanors which do not affect life. The Grand Inquest of the County attends this Court, and assists them in suppressing vice and immorality, and in punishing all breaches of the peace; by presenting to the Court all offences that come to their knowledge, Bills of Indictment are prepared, and, if found by the Jury, the parties offending are immediately proceeded against.—Here also the Parish Officers are appointed; Parish and County Taxes are apportioned; the accounts from the several Parishes audited and settled; Retailers and Inn-keepers licenced and regulated, with many other matters connected with the Police of the County.

Besides this Court, there is a summary mode of recovering Debts under five pounds, before a single Magistrate.

Before dismissing these few observations on the Government of the Province, it may be well to remark, that although a Governor is bound to consult his Council, it does not follow that he is obliged to adhere to their advice, but, on the contrary, he must exercise his own judgment, and act on his own responsibility. They are indeed his constitutional advisers, but he must be the judge of their Counsel; he may reject it, or act contrary to it, and still his proceedings be legal in his own Government: being accountable to his Sovereign alone for his acts, he is not to shelter himself behind the Council for following unwholesome advice. This correct view of his own responsibility appears to have been well understood by Sir Francis Bond Head, the Governor of Upper Canada, who by asserting and acting on this principle in 1836, startled the timid, and created a political schism in that country, but whose correct view of the Constitution under which he acted gained him the unqualified approbation of the Home Government. In short, the Governor is not to become a mere puppet in the hands of his Council, but as the primum mobile in the Government, a free and accountable agent.—This points out the necessity of Colonial Governors being well versed in the principles of the British Constitution and deeply grounded in the various intricacies of the free institutions of a limited Government.

The enquiry naturally suggests itself,—whether the military profession (the school from which most Colonial Governors are selected) is the most proper to furnish persons who are to exercise such important trusts and possess such extensive powers, who are to elucidate and apply the principles of a Government to whose civil and religious privileges they are nearly strangers. Having been brought up from their youth in an arbitrary school, they appear to be (probably with some honorable exceptions) very objectionable persons to be at once transferred from such a passive machine as the army, to the exercise of the highest functions over a Colony possessing free institutions, and whose inhabitants entertain a jealous sense of their civil and religious liberties as guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the Parent State. The commencement of the troubles in Canada may, no doubt, be traced back to some high handed measure of Sir James Craig, or some other military gentleman. In the army, a despotic authority is exercised by superiors and a passive obedience must be rendered by inferiors; but undisputed command and passive obedience, which are virtues in the military, may become vices in the civil departments of life. Men brought up from their youth in those maxims have much to unlearn to fit them for civil stations. Indeed, high arbitrary military notions cannot be safely carried into practice in private life or Civil Government. It is an old but not the less true saying, that men may be led, but do not like to be drove. Men will not relinquish the natural right of thinking for themselves. In the language of of that great Statesman Sir James M’Intosh,—“It is a fatal error in rulers to despise the people.” The safety and welfare of a community are best preserved by consulting their wishes and feelings. But as a knowledge of human nature and an enlarged view of civil rights and institutions are not confined to any particular class, so men have been taken from the army and placed in high civil stations which they have filled with the greatest ability: and there have been persons who from their intimate acquaintance with the genius of civil liberty, have shaken off the habits of the soldier, and entered into the feeling of the people,—men whose good sense led them to give due weight to the prejudices and opinions of the people over whom they were placed; in short, men who ruled for the good of the whole, and not for a particular cabal.

Civil List of the Province

 

Sterling, per annum

Lieutenant Governor

£3,500

Chief Justice

950

Commissioner of CrownLands and Forests

1,750

Provincial Secretary

1,430

Three Puisne Judges

1,950

Attorney General

550

Solicitor General

200

Private Secretary to the Governor

200

Auditor

300

Receiver General

300

In-door establishment of Crown Land Office

909

King’s College

1,000

Presbyterian Minister

100

Emigrant Agent, St. John

100

Annuity to the late Surveyor General

150

Indians

54

Total, …

£13,393

The amount secured to Government by the Civil List Bill is £14,000, leaving an excess of £607 sterling, applicable to other purposes.

In reviewing this List, it may not be irrelevant to notice the great disparity in the salaries of the different officers of Government. Those of the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Forests and of the Provincial Secretary being nearly double that of the Chief Justice, whose station at the head of the Judiciary of the Province points him out as superior to all other officers under the Governor, and however important the office of Secretary or Commissioner may be, the Chief Justice still appears to be entitled to the second rank in the Government. Should this be admitted, and supposing his salary sufficient to support him in the affluence and independence which his office demands, it should be made the maximum, and no other salary except that of the Administrator of the Government should be allowed to equa1, much less to exceed it. Perhaps it would be well that the salary of no other officer in the Province should exceed six hundred pounds, the sums being all reckoned in sterling money.—Another great discrepancy in the foregoing list is that the salary of the Auditor or any such officer, requiring but very common qualifications, and not the closest application, should be not much less than the pay of the Vice President of the College, whose office requires an expensive and first-rate education, with unremitting and laborious attention—or that such officers should receive double the pay of Clergymen who have constant and onerous duties to perform. In short, salaries should always bear a just proportion to the qualifications required and the services performed. No needless births should be created; the machinery of Government should be kept as simple as possible. The duties of the public officers should as far as possible be particularly defined, and the remuneration apportioned accordingly. The receiving [of] a yearly salary for the performance of certain duties, and afterwards exacting fees for almost every service rendered, should be unknown in the country;—but every person holding and executing the duties of an office really required, should be fairly remunerated and no more, which would do much to prevent favoritism and corruption in the country. If instead of accumulating situations on some individuals they were more divided, the public would be better served, and men would not be so far lifted above their fellows, as to be negligent of their duties. It would also make provision for many deserving persons whose former expectations in life may have been lighted by causes beyond their control— reduced officers, unfortunate merchants, and the various classes of persons who are to be found in all countries, whose exertions and expectations have been withered, and who from their education and habits are well qualified to fill the various civil stations. Offices of emolument producing from one to two hundred pounds per annum, bestowed on such persons, with the wreck of their former income, would go far to make the evening of their life comfortable. There are also in all countries a number of infirm reduced, but deserving persons, well qualified to fill the inferior, but essential stations in the various departments of the Province. If such individuals were considered in the disposal of small offices, many worthy men and old soldiers might be provided for. To such the sum of fifty pounds would be a great object, and the public would be better served, as they would have leisure to attend to the manutæ of their office far better than those overgrown favourites who have office added to office, with enormous emoluments, till they nearly lose sight of the duties attached to them. It would be soon found that one of those deserving men before noticed, would be content and willing to give closer attention to the duties of his office for the small sum of fifty pounds, than one of those exclusives for five times that amount; as the rate of services are usually enhanced, according to the rate of patronage bestowed.

Subjoined is a list of the Administrators of the Government of New Brunswick from the separation of the Province from Nova-Scotia to the present time; and also a table of Parliamentary Polity and Representation, compiled by Mr. Wedderburn:

Administration of the Government of the Province of New Brunswick

 

Name

 

Title

 

Period of Administration

Died in Gov’t.

Thomas Carleton, Esq. Capt. Gen. & Gov.-in-Chief 16 Aug. 1784-19 Oct. ‘86  
Thomas Carleton, Esq. Lieut. Gov. 30 Oct. 1786-4 Oct. 1803  
Gabriel G. Ludlow, Esq. Pres. of Council 5 Oct. 1803-12 Feb. 1808 Died
  & Commander-in-Chief   Died
Edward Winslow, Esq.

do

20 Feb. 1808-23 May ‘08  
Maj. Gen. Martin Hunter

do

24 May 1808-16 Dec. ‘08  
Lieut. Col. George Johnstone

do

17 Dec. 1808-27 Apr. ‘09  
Maj. Gen. Martin Hunter

do

28 Apr. 1809-10 Sep. ‘11  
Maj. Gen. William Balfour

do

11 Sep. 1811-13 Nov. ‘11 Died
Maj. Gen. Martin Hunter

do

14 Nov. 1811-14 Jun. ‘12  
Maj. Gen. George Stacey Smyth Pres. & Commander-in-Chief 15 Jun. 1812-16 Aug. ‘13  
Maj. Gen. Sir Thomas Saumarez

do

7 Aug. 1813-Aug. ‘14  
Maj. Gen. George Stacey Smyth

do

14 Aug. 1814-24 Jun. ‘16  
Lieut. Col. Harris W. Hailes

do

25 Jun. 1816-30 Jun. ‘17  
Maj. Gen. George Stacey Smyth Lieut. Gov. & Commander-in-Chief 1 Jul. 1817-27 Mar. ‘23 Died
Ward Chipman, Esq. Pres. & Commander-in-Chief 1 Apr 1823-9 Feb. ‘24 Died
John Murray Bliss, Esq.

do

21 Feb. 1824-27 Aug. ‘24  
Maj. Gen. Sir Howard Douglas, Bart. Lieut. Gov. & Commander-in-Chief 28 Aug. 1824-29 Mar. ‘29  
William Black, Esq. Pres. & Commander-in-Chief 30 Mar. 1829-8 Sep. ‘31  
Maj. Gen. Sir Archibald Campbell, Bt. G.C.B. Lieut. Gov. & Commander-in-Chief 9 Sep. 1831-1 May ‘37  
Maj. Gen. Sir John Harvey, K.C.H. & C.B.

do

… and to present  

Parliamentary Polity and Representation

His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor is Her Majesty’s Representative in the Legislature

1

Legislative Council Composed of the Hon. the Chief Justice and fifteen others appointed by the Queen; and

16

The House of Assembly, of thirty-two Members, chosen by the People. Average cost, £3,500 per annum

32

 

49

 N.B. – In administrative affairs, the Governor has an Executive Council, consisting (in 1837) of eleven members  

On the 16th of August, 1784, Thomas Carleton, Esquire, was appointed to the Government of the Colony, and on the subsequent 18th day of May, 1780, Royal Letters Patent, under the Great Seal of the Province, were granted for ascertaining and confirming the boundaries of the several Counties within the same, and for subdividing them into Towns and Parishes—25th George the 3d—accordingly the Constitutional Parliament was summoned, and on the ninth day of January, 1783—and 26th of the same Monarch—the first General Assembly began and was holden in the City of Saint John; thereby rendering the Session of 1836 the Fiftieth, or Jubilee of Legislative existence of the Province. The following are the numbers and dates of the succeeding Assemblies and Sessions.

First Assembly

1st Session began

9th

Jan. 1786 holden at St. John
2d

do

13th

Feb. 1787

do

3d

do

15th

Jul. 1788 holden at Fredericton
4th

do

6th

Oct. 1789

do

5th

do

1st

Feb. 1791

do

6th

do

14th

Feb. 1792

do

Second Assembly

1st Session began

12th

Feb. 1793 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

4th

Feb. 1794

do

3d

do

3d

Feb. 1795

do

Third Assembly

1st Session began

9th

Feb. 1796 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

17th

Jan. 1797

do

3d

do

16th

Feb. 1798

do

4th

do

15th

Jan. 1799

do

5th

do

20th

Jan. 1801

do

6th

do

26th

Jan. 1802

do

Fourth Assembly

1st Session began

9th

Feb. 1803 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

29th

Jan. 1805

do

3d

do

27th

Jan. 1807

do

4th

do

5th

Jul. 1808

do

Fifth Assembly – 50th Geo. 3d

1st Session began

27th

Jan. 1810 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

1st

Feb. 1812

do

3d

do

12th

Jan. 1813

do

4th

do

11th

Jan. 1814

do

5th

do

11th

Jan. 1815

do

Sixth Assembly

1st Session began

4th

Feb. 1817 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

20th

Jan. 1818

do

3d

do

2d

Feb. 1819

do

Seventh Assembly

1st Session began

2d

Feb. 1820 holden at Fredericton

Dissolved by death of George the Third.

Eighth Assembly – 2d Geo. 4th

1st Session began

30th

Jan. 1821 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

6th

Feb. 1822

do

3d

do

5th

Feb. 1823

do

4th

do

21st

Jan. 1824

do

5th

do

1st

Feb. 1825

do

6th

do

19th

Jan. 1826

do

7th

do

8th

Feb. 1827

do

Ninth Assembly

1st Session began

14th

Feb. 1828 holden at Fredericton
2d Session began

9th

Dec. 1829

do

Dissolved by death of George the Fourth.

Tenth Assembly – 1st Wm. 4th

1st Session began

7th

Feb. 1831 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

19th

Jan. 1832

do

3d

do

3d

May. 1832

do

4th

do

29th

Jan. 1833

do

5th

do

3d

Feb. 1823

do

Eleventh Assembly

1st Session began

20th

Jan. 1835 holden at Fredericton
2d

do

15th

Jun. 1835

do

3d

do

20th

Jan. 1836 Prorogued Mar. 16
4th

do

29th

Dec. 1836 Prorogued Mar. 1
5th

do

6th

Jul. 1837 Prorogued Jul. 29

Dissolved by death of William the Fourth.

Twelfth Assembly

1st Session began

28th

Dec. 1837 Prorogued Mar. 9, 1838. Holden at Fredericton

The Revenue of the Province for the last four years was as follows:

In 1834 £45,220

In 1835 £60,316

In 1836 £58,664

In 1837 £51,988

Amount of King’s Casual Revenue (so called), arising from sale of Crown Lands, in 1835, was £46,000, exclusive of the proceeds of timber licenses, &c. the amount of which has never been published. Amount 1836, not ascertained.

The total amount of revenue surrendered by the Crown to the Provincial Legislature, and the sources from whence they are derived, according to Mr. Street’s statement to Lord Glenelg, in his communication to that nobleman of the 23d March, 1837, are as follow:

Amount deposited in the Provincial Banks at 3-1/2 per cent interest, payable at any time on six months’ notice, . . . .  £29,000

Amount on loan to the St. John Bridge Company, at 6 per cent, interest, payable 1st of January, 1838—if required, . . . .  £6,000

Amount already paid by the Land Company in part of their purchase, with the accumulation of interest thereon . . . .  £66,000

Amount of unpaid installments on other lands sold in the Province, part of which are now due, and the remainder will become due on the 31st Dec. 1837, . . . .  £44,795

Amount of ditto ditto, which will become due on

the 31st December, 1838, . . . .  £25,429

Total, . . . .  £l71,224

[Two footnotes, combined here into a single note:]

In 1838, the House of Assembly appointed two Delegates to represent subjects of interest to his Majesty’s Government (Charles Simonds and Edward B. Chandler, Esquires,) and on the 7th day of March, 1836, the House deemed it expedient to nominate another Delegation (William Crane and L.A. Wilmot, Esquires), for the same purpose. The latter Gentlemen were again sent to London as Delegates in February, 1837, to give explanation in regard to the Bill providing for the Civil Government of the Province. The Bill, styled, by way of eminence, the Great Question, was carried through the different branches of the Legislature, and finally received the Governor’s assent on the 17th of July, 1837. The event was celebrated in Fredericton by splendid bonfires and other demonstrations of joy.

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Written by johnwood1946

December 4, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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