Item MS-2-66, SF Box 18, Folder 21 - Letter from Jonathan Sewell to his daughters, Maria and Henrietta

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Letter from Jonathan Sewell to his daughters, Maria and Henrietta

General material designation

  • Textual record

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code

MS-2-66, SF Box 18, Folder 21

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


Physical description area

Physical description

1 page

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

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.

Custodial history

Item was donated to Dalhousie University in 1945 by Mrs. Percival Foster of Toronto, Ontario. Item was accessioned by Dalhousie University Archives in 1971.

Scope and content

Item is a letter (1828) from Jonathan Sewell to his daughters, Maria (the eldest) and Henrietta, addressed to the 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."

Notes area

Physical condition

Letter is torn but legible.

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script note


Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on these materials. All materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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.

Finding aids

Associated materials

Related materials


Further accruals are not expected.

General note

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.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Accession area