Correspondence : 1812-1825.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .N4L5C6
Category: New Brunswick
Creator: New Brunswick. Lieutenant Governor.
Description: 2 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
Background:
            George Stracey Smyth (1767-1823) was a British army officer and colonial administrator. At the age of 13, in 1780, he became an ensign in the 25th Foot, and by 1812 had attained the rank of major-general.  The promotion to this rank made him eligible for his appointment as commander of the forces in New Brunswick, and under regulations passed in 1808, this appointment carried with it responsibility for the civil administration of the colony in the absence of Lieutenant Governor Thomas Carleton (1735-1817), who was on permanent leave in England. 

Smyth served as President of the Council from 15 June 1812 - 16 August 1813, and again from 3 July 1814 - 24 June 1816. On 29 June 1817, he was appointed Lieutenant Governor and served in that office until he died in Fredericton on 27 March 1823. He was succeeded by Ward Chipman and James Murray Bliss as administrators for short periods of time during 1823 and 1824 until Sir Howard Douglas (1776-1861) was appointed Lieutenant Governor on 28 August 1824. He continued in this capacity until 8 September 1831.

In 1815 Smyth received permission from Sir John Sherbrooke, the commander in chief for the Atlantic provinces, to live in Saint John rather than in Fredericton, the seat of the civil government. Sherbrooke regarded Saint John as the best military headquarters in the area, and the Council held many of its meetings there. Consequently, a number of Smyth's letters are written from that location. Smyth was keenly interested in music and in education. He encouraged and supported the Madras School system which was begun in Saint John and which welcomed students from all levels of society. Because Black children were not permitted to attend the Madras School, he established the African School in Saint John and personally paid the master's salary.

In 1823 Smyth and the Council agreed to a bill which provided a large grant to the College of New Brunswick if religious tests were removed for students, and he worked toward the clearing of land titles so the College could receive a royal charter. In 1829 King's College, Fredericton (later the University of New Brunswick), became a state supported institution.

During the years Smyth was Administrator and then Lieutenant Governor, many changes took place in New Brunswick society. In 1816, the General Smyth provided the first steam boat service on the St. John River, the Bank of New Brunswick was incorporated in 1820, and the first steam sawmill began operation in 1822.

Contents:
            The correspondence is generated, principally, by George Stracey Smyth as commander of the forces and civil administrator and later as the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. The letters refer to military matters, particularly affairs at Moose Island on the Maine-New Brunswick border; the New Brunswick Fencibles; the court martial of Private John Shea of the 102nd Regiment; and the relocation of the 98th and 104th Regiments. Much of the correspondence is signed by George P.Kembale, Smyth's aide de camp and private secretary. In civil affairs, Smyth's correspondence with the British Secretary of State, the Right Honourable Earl Bathurst, dominates the collection.

Also included are letters to Sir John Wentworth, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, and four letters written by Sir Howard Douglas, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, from 28 August 1824 - 8 September 1831.

Originals: The original records are held by the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.
Archival Ref. No.: PANB RG 1 RS 7
Finding Aids:
            A brief inventory description is found at the beginning of Reel 1.

The inventory description and a microfilm shelf list are available in print.

Electronic Finding Aid Record: NB Lieutenant Governor Correspondence Shelf List.pdf
Notes: The material does not follow a strict chronological or numerical paging sequence. Researchers are advised to use the microfilm shelf list in print.
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