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Letter from Jonathan Sewell to his daughters, Maria and Henrietta
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MS-2-66, SF Box 18, Folder 21
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Jonathan Sewell was a lawyer, musician, office holder, politician, author, and judge. He was born ca. 1766 in Cambridge, Massachusetts into a prominent Loyalist family but spent his later childhood in London and Bristol. After briefly attending Brasenose College, Oxford, he moved to New Brunswick in 1785 to study law with Solicitor General Ward Chipman.
In 1789 Sewell moved to Quebec, where he rose quickly in the legal and political ranks. In 1790 he was appointed temporary Attorney General of the province of Quebec and in 1795 he received the permanent appointments of Attorney General and Advocate General. He was named judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court in June 1796, and in 1808 was appointed Chief Justice of Lower Canada, becoming the most powerful official in the colony after the governor.
Sewell married Henrietta (Harriet) Smith in 1797, with whom he had sixteen children. He and his family were at the centre of social life at Quebec: he was a member of the Barons’ Club, an active shareholder in the Union Company of Quebec, and sat on the board of the Royal Institution. Sewell was also the patron of a literary society, promoted the theatre, and founded and played in a quartet.
Sewell passed away in 1839, one year after resigning as Chief Justice.
Item was accessioned by Dalhousie University Archives in 1971. Prior to that, the letter was in the custody of Mrs. Percival Foster of Toronto, Ontario, who originally donated the item in 1945.
Scope and content
Item is a letter (1828) from Jonathan Sewell to his daughters, Maria (the eldest) and Henrietta, addressed care of their uncle, Stephen Sewell, in Montreal. Sewell describes the recent departure of Lord and Lady Dalhousie and exhorts his daughters to travel by steamboat and meet him at Three Rivers, which he calls "The Modern Seat of Science, Literature & Fashion."
Letter is torn but legible.
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There are no access restrictions on these materials. All materials are open for research.
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Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.
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Preferred citation: Letter from Jonathan Sewell to his daughters, Maria and Henrietta, MS-2-66, SF Box 18, Folder 21, Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
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This item description comes from the Dalhousie University Archives Catalog. The complete, original description is available there.