Friday, January 20, 2017

Spotlight on our Heritage : Lieutenant Governor Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the first in a series of features prepared for Heritage Week 2017 (February 13 – 20), entitled Spotlight on our Heritage. The blog series celebrates 150 years of history, and reflects upon New Brunswick’s role in Confederation. This particular "spotlight" draws from the Fredericton Region Museum exhibition A Ship Full of Troubles: New Brunswick and Confederation, which was co-curated by STU and UNB graduates Nathan Gavin and Caleb Goguen. 
Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon
(Provincial Archives of New Brunswick,

Lieutenant Governor Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon 

Lieutenant Governor Arthur Hamilton Gordon, son of George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, was born in London England on 26 November 1829. He was 32 years old when he arrived in New Brunswick in October 1861. Gordon, like many colonial officials of aristocratic bearing, was an avid sportsman and naturalist who immediately fell in love with the landscape of the province. His affection for the flora and fauna, however, did not extend to the politicians our province. He believed that the legislature was corrupt and filled with men who were poorly educated and narrow-minded.

Maritime Union appealed to Gordon for a variety of reasons. His disdain for New Brunswick politicians led him to believe that a complete fusion of the provinces would create a better pool of political candidates.

Gordon also saw himself as the lieutenant governor of these united colonies. He opposed the terms of union offered at the Quebec Conference which, in his opinion, gave far too much power to the provincial politicians he despised. Nevertheless, he was forced to support these terms, due to his position as representative of the crown. Gordon was instrumental in improving the effectiveness of the provincial militia due to his awareness of the security issues created by deteriorating Anglo-American relations during the American Civil War. The revitalised militia, along with the British regulars and Royal Navy, stood ready to defend the province in April 1866 when the Fenian demonstrations occurred.

In 1866, Lieutenant Governor Arthur Hamilton Gordon left New Brunswick, vowing to never work in a self-governing colony ever again. He went on to serve in the warmer climates of Trinidad, Fiji, and New Zealand. He died on the 30 January, 1912 in London.

Join with us in celebrating Canada’s 150 during New Brunswick Heritage Week, February 13 to 20, 2017! 

For more information please visit the NB Heritage Week 2017 web site... or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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