An Account of the Province of New Brunswick . . . by Thomas Baillie : 1832.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .N4S9A3
Category: New Brunswick
Creator: New Brunswick. Surveyor General.
Description: 1 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            Thomas Baillie (1796-1863) was born in Hanwell, Middlesex, England, the son of Captain William Baillie, an officer of the 51st Regiment and a local magistrate. In 1915, Thomas Baillie joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as a lieutenant. He was stationed in France and later in Ireland where he married Elizabeth Hall in 1824. That same year he entered the Colonial Office where his brother George held the position of First Clerk in the North American Department. Thomas Baillie was soon appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands and Surveyor General of New Brunswick.

During the years prior to his arrival, the timber trade in New Brunswick had developed rapidly, with most of the timber coming from Crown lands. Baillie attempted to administer this operation more efficiently so that the Crown received larger revenues, and he advocated the selling of Crown lands to add funds to the provincial treasury. His measures were not popular with the merchants and the official families in Fredericton, especially since they came from an outsider who had been placed in a position of great power, and who was accumulating wealth from both an excessive salary and other sources of income.

The Crown Lands Office became so powerful that other public offices, including the receiver-general and auditor-general, were eclipsed by it, and for a time actually abolished. Baillie's ostentatious life style only added to the feelings of resentment in the community. Eventually, when the second delegation from the Legislative Assembly met with the new Colonial Secretary, Lord Glenelg, an agreement was reached in 1836 that all Crown lands and their revenues would come under the authority of the Assembly. Suddenly, Baillie had lost his power and his seat on the Executive Council, although he did remain surveyor-general. To add to his problems, a private company involved in the peat moss industry in which Baillie had invested heavily went bankrupt. Baillie lost not only his own money, but that of his second wife, Elizabeth Odell, the daughter of William Franklin Odell, the provincial secretary, whom he married in 1833.

While Baillie's administration was unacceptably autocratic, his methods did produce a full provincial treasury, and after a few years of legislative control over Crown lands and exploitation by the timber trade, which produced little return for the government, the provincial financial situation seriously deteriorated. During Baillie's last years in New Brunswick, he won election to the Assembly for York County in 1846 and retained the office of surveyor-general until 1851. In that year, he retired with a comfortable pension and returned to England where he died in 1863. His home in Fredericton was known as The Hermitage.

            In 1832, Thomas Baillie published in England a description of New Brunswick, the full title of which follows: Account of the Province of New Brunswick; Including a Description of the Settlements, Institutions, and Climate of that Important Province, with Advice to Emigrants. London: Rivington, 1832. The Account was written and published for the purpose of dispelling the myth, which prevailed in England at the time, that New Brunswick was a sterile land with a miserable climate and an unfriendly population; a colony good only for the annual export of thousands of tons of timber to the mother country. In his Account, Baillie depicts New Brunswick in a favourable light and describes it as a place where large numbers of emigrants could prosper, both to their own benefit and to the benefit of the province. He approaches the subject by dividing the Province into districts. These are defined by natural boundaries, rather than by using county divisions which he regards as only lines on a map.

The first six chapters deal with different subjects and include: a brief history and general overview of the progress the colony has made; the advantages of settlement in the colony; soil, climate, and natural advantages; the state of manufacturing and industry; internal water communication; and a description of every species of tree that grows in the province.

Chapter seven contains detailed descriptions of the fourteen districts in which he divided the province for the purpose of his survey. While the descriptions vary in content, most include topographical features, towns and settlements, roads, products and exports, and in some instances, harbours, minerals and the fishery. Grand Manan and the Islands in Passamaquoddy Bay are treated as one district. A map is included which shows the district boundaries, county lines, roads, and towns.

The Account ends with an overview of the Institutions of the Province, and a Table of Prices Current, including various foodstuffs, coal, lime, and many other items.

Originals: A copy of the original Account is held by the University of New Brunswick Archives.
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Freely available online through Canadiana.

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Other With: An Account of the Province of New Brunswick by Thomas Baillie: 1832, is microfilmed on the same reel with Maine. Commissioners on the Northeastern Boundary. Report: 1843, and shelved at MIC-Loyalist FC LPR .N4S9A3.