Jonathan Sewell

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For his father, see Jonathan Sewall. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_0

Jonathan Sewell_table_infobox_0

Jonathan SewellJonathan Sewell_header_cell_0_0_0
BornJonathan Sewell_header_cell_0_1_0 Jonathan Sewall

(1766-06-06)June 6, 1766 Cambridge, Massachusetts, British AmericaJonathan Sewell_cell_0_1_1

DiedJonathan Sewell_header_cell_0_2_0 November 11, 1839(1839-11-11) (aged 73)

Quebec City, Province of Lower CanadaJonathan Sewell_cell_0_2_1

NationalityJonathan Sewell_header_cell_0_3_0 BritishJonathan Sewell_cell_0_3_1
OccupationJonathan Sewell_header_cell_0_4_0 Lawyer, judge, politicianJonathan Sewell_cell_0_4_1

Jonathan Sewell (born Jonathan Sewall; June 6, 1766 – November 11, 1839) was a lawyer, judge and political figure in Lower Canada. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_1

Early life Jonathan Sewell_section_0

He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan Sewall, the last British attorney general of Massachusetts and Esther Quincy. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_2

After a group of patriots attacked the family's residence, the Sewalls moved to Bristol, England; they adopted the spelling Sewell for the family name at this time. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_3

He attended Brasenose College, Oxford and then went to New Brunswick in 1785, where he studied law with Ward Chipman. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_4

He was named registrar of the Vice Admiralty Court for New Brunswick in 1787. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_5

In 1788, he was called to the bar and set up practice. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_6

Career Jonathan Sewell_section_1

The following year, he moved to Quebec City and qualified as a lawyer there. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_7

In 1790, he served as interim attorney general for the province. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_8

In 1793, Sewell was named solicitor general and inspector of the king’s domain and, in 1795, he became attorney general and advocate general in Lower Canada. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_9

In 1796, he was appointed judge in the Vice-Admiralty Court at Quebec. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_10

On September 24 that same year, he married Henrietta, daughter of chief justice William Smith. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_11

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada for William-Henry (later Sorel) in 1796. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_12

In the house he was often called on to draft bills, but with regard to government business he normally played a role secondary to that of leaders of the English party such as John Young and Pierre-Amable de Bonne. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_13

He supported the party, except on two controversial issues — the financing of prisons in 1805 and the expulsion of Ezekiel Hart, a Jew — in which his legal opinions obliged him to break rank. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_14

He remained in the assembly until 1808. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_15

Sewell helped introduce the Better Preservation Act of 1797 which allowed the suspension of habeas corpus in cases of suspected treason. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_16

In 1797, he prosecuted David McLane for treason; McLane was executed. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_17

He prepared legislation which led to the establishment of the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning (later McGill College) in 1801. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_18

In 1808, he was named Chief Justice for Lower Canada and became a member of the Executive Council of Lower Canada. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_19

Later in 1808, he was appointed to the Legislative Council and was named speaker in 1809. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_20

Sewell supported a union of Upper and Lower Canada; however, in 1822, he opposed a legislative union because of the strong opposition to union in the province. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_21

In 1809, he published rules of practice for the Quebec Court of King's Bench and the Court of Appeals; James Monk published similar rules at Montreal, Lower Canada. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_22

In 1814, the legislative assembly voted to impeach Sewell and Monk on the grounds that some of their rules of practice were actually legislation, the responsibility of the legislature. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_23

Sewell successfully defended himself against these charges in London. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_24

On the bench, he endorsed the use of civil law based on French traditions and criminal law modeled after English norms. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_25

Sewell resigned from the Executive Council in 1830 after the assembly requested that judges be excluded from serving on the council. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_26

He resigned from his position of chief justice in 1838 due to ill health. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_27

He died November 11, 1839 in Quebec City. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_28

Sewell's residence at 87 Saint-Louis Street in Quebec City was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1969. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_29

Personal life Jonathan Sewell_section_2

Sewell also led an amateur orchestra and performed violin in a quartet at Quebec City and opened the Theatre Royal there in 1832. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_30

He helped found the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec and served as its president from 1830 to 1831. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_31

His brother Stephen was a member of the legislative assembly and served as solicitor general for Lower Canada. Jonathan Sewell_sentence_32

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Sewell.