Fonds MG H 14 - Robert Leonard Hazen

Title proper

Robert Leonard Hazen

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  • Textual record

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  • 1812-1873 (Creation)
    Hazen, Robert Leonard

Physical description

1.3 m of textual records

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Biographical history

Lawyer, judge, and politician Robert Leonard Hazen was born 15 October 1808 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the eighth of nine children of William (1768-1816) and Deborah Brinley (Murray) Hazen. His grandfather, William Hazen had moved to the Saint John area in 1773 and become a political leader. In 1837 Robert L. married his cousin Sarah Botsford (1815-1867) who inherited land in Portland upon which they built Hazen Castle in 1848. The couple had three children including Sarah Eliza (1843-1870) and Robert Brinley (1852-1888).

Hazen studied law under Robert Parker in Saint John and was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 1829 and as a barrister in 1831. In 1840 he became solicitor and later a director of the Commercial Bank of New Brunswick. He was named Queen's Counsel in 1843. Hazen held a number of other appointments including judge and commissary of the Court of Vice Admiralty (1846), recorder of the city of Saint John (1846), and member of the council of King's College (1848).

In 1837 he was elected to the House of Assembly as one of the members for Saint John. He was re-elected in 1843 and 1846, distinguishing himself in the House as one of its foremost debaters. He resigned his assembly seat in 1848 to sit on the Legislative Council.

In 1844 Hazen was appointed to the Executive Council, serving until 1857 with only two interruptions. In 1845 he resigned from the council when Lieutenant Governor Sir William Colebrooke appointed his own son-in-law provincial secretary. Hazen subsequently returned to the council in 1846 and remained until 1854. He was reappointed to council in 1856.

In 1867 Hazen was appointed to the Senate of the Dominion of Canada. During the 1860s his health declined. He retired from the bar, although he continued to act as recorder of Saint John when needed. Robert L. Hazen died at Saint John on 15 August 1874.

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, p. 341.

Custodial history

These papers were acquired by the University Archives in the late 1950s. When they were described in detail in 1986-1987 the original order was found to have been lost for many of the files.

Scope and content

This fonds documents the legal career of Robert L. Hazen as well as his personal life. Through legal and court records and household accounts, it also reflects everyday life in 19th century New Brunswick.

The fonds contains personal and business correspondence, personal and business accounts, cancelled cheques, receipts for servants' wages, and tax assessments. Legal records include court dockets, warrants, subpoenas, trial documents, judgments, contracts, and opinions.

Although most of the legal cases were civil rather than criminal and were tried in the Supreme Court, a few cases were heard in the Court of Chancery in England and the New Brunswick Chancery Court. Almost half the legal cases relate to Hazen's roles as solicitor of the Commercial Bank and recorder for the city of Saint John.

The documents in this fonds fall into four groups: Dockets; court cases (includes documents relating to the murder case, R. v. Leonard et al, 1839-40); legal papers and accounts (includes cases involving railways, debtors, delinquent tenants, and insurance claims); and personal accounts.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

This fonds was deposited with University of New Brunswick Archives and Special Collections Department in the late 1950s.


Between 1986 and 1987, with the help of a grant through the Arrangement and Description Backlog Reduction Cost-Shared Cooperative Program of the Public Archives of Canada, the fonds was reorganized.

Language of material

  • English

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No restrictions

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Finding aids

An inventory and three indexes are available.

  1. Index to court cases lists plaintiffs and defendants for each case.

  2. Index to legal papers and accounts lists Hazen's clients as well as some of his correspondents and his clients' adversaries.

  3. Index to personal accounts lists persons and establishments which collected payments from Hazen.

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