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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
Scope and content
Fonds consists of correspondence written or received by Robert Duncan Wilmot and family, 1786-1885, including letters discussing provincial politics, the London Conference and R.D. Wilmot's appointments as Speaker of the Senate and Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick.
No finding aid
Biography / Administrative history
The Hon. Robert Duncan Wilmot was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on October 16, 1809. He was the son of John M. Wilmot and Susan Harriet Wiggins, and cousin to the Hon. Lemuel Allan Wilmot. He was educated in Saint John, N.B., and later employed in his father's merchant and shipping business. Between 1835 and 1840, he lived in Liverpool, England, where he represented his father's firm. In 1840 he returned to New Brunswick. In 1846, Wilmot was elected to the provincial Legislative Assembly (Saint John) where he was a spokesman for provincial interests favouring protectionist trade policies. He sat in the legislature for the constituency of Saint John until his electoral defeat in 1861. During that time, he served as a member of the Executive Council with the portfolios of surveyor-general (1851-1854), and provincial secretary (1856-1857). Following his defeat in 1861, he returned to his estate in Belmont, N.B. to raise cattle and swine. He opposed Confederation, and re-entered politics in 1865 (Saint John) as a member of the anti-confederationist government formed by Albert J.
Smith. By early 1866 however, his views had changed as he realized that the political status quo could not be maintained. He was elected as a confederationist in the spring of 1866, and became a minister without portfolio in the Mitchell administration. In July 1866, he attended the London Conference as one of the N.B. delegates, where the final terms of the union were agreed upon, and the British North America Act was drafted. Only in 1927, at the Celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, was R.D. Wilmot officially recognized as a Father of Confederation. With the formation of the first federal government in 1867, Wilmot was appointed to Canada's Senate. In 1878 he was appointed as both minister without portfolio in Sir John A. Macdonald's government, and speaker of the Senate. Two years later, in 1880, he resigned from the Senate and accepted a five year appointment as lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick. Upon completion of his term in1885, he was replaced by Samuel Leonard Tilley. R.D. Wilmot died at Orimocto, New Brunswick, on February 11, 1891.
1. Wilmot Family, 1786-1885 London Conference 1866-1867.
2. New Brunswick - Politics and government, 1786-1885.
3. New Brunswick - Officials and employees, 1786-1885.
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