Order in council approving civil constitution of New Brunswick
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- Textual record
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CA PANB MC327
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Photographed 1978 (Creation)
- New Brunswick. House of Assembly. Civil Constitution (1784).
4 pp. of textual records
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Prior to 1784, the territory now known as New Brunswick was part of the province of Nova Scotia. At the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, thousands of Loyalist refugees established themselves in the St. John and Saint Croix river valleys. In 1784, conscious of their relative isolation from Halifax, the Loyalist and pre-Loyalist settlers petitioned the Colonial Office and court of King George III for separate colonial provincial status. The option would reduce costs of administration for Nova Scotia and create a strong British presence in territory threatened by annexation from Maine. It would also open up many patronage opportunities for influential Loyalist seeking rewards from the Crown.
A charter for the civil constitution and governance of New Brunswick was drawn up and approved that same year. It provided that the boundary line between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would be "… the mouth of the Musquat River to its source, and from thence across the Isthmus into the nearest part of the Bay Verte, and the tracts of country bounded by the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the east, the province of Quebec on the north, the territories of the United States on the west and the Bay of Fundy on the south." The government structure was the same as the other British North American provinces, with a governor acting as the sovereign's representative, a chief justice and an attorney general, a cabinet of ministers and a civil service with a land surveyor and clerk for the governor.
Information about the custody of this record prior to acquisition is incomplete.
Scope and content
This document is a photographic copy of an order-in-council, putting into force the report of the Lords of the committee for Trade and Foreign Plantations. The committee had laid out the boundaries of the new province, established the form of government and proposed estimates for payment of the officials. The report covers both the new province of New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island.
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Purchased from the Public Record Office, 1978.
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The original documents are held by the Public Record Office, London, England.
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An inventory is available.