Sewell, Jonathan


Sewell, Jonathan
(1766-1839)
   Born at Cambridge, Mass. Educated at Bristol, England. In 1785 studied law in New Brunswick under Ward Chipman; in 1789 called to the bar of Lower Canada and practised in Quebec. Appointed solicitor-general, 1793, and attorney-general, 1795. In 1808 chief-justice of Lower Canada, and held the position until 1838; also president of the Executive Council from 1808 to 1829, and Speaker of the Legislative Council from 1809 to 1838. The dispute as to boundaries, between the Dominion government and the province of Ontario, was afterwards settled on the basis of his decision of 1818. Introduced, in 1809, into the procedure of the courts, certain rules of practice which for some years met with strong opposition. In 1814 went to England to meet the charges made against him in this regard, and his conduct upheld. Received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Harvard.
   Index: P Papineau describes him as "a vain creature," 55; fills dual positions of president of Executive Council and chief-justice, 59. B Chief-justice, his part in movement for Confederation, 129.
   Bib.: Morgan, Cel. Can.; Taylor, Brit. Am.; Christie, History of Lower Canada.

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