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  • Writer's picturePictou 2023

Jotham Blanchard: lawyer, newspaper editor, and political figure

Updated: Dec 19, 2022




A member of the first class of Pictou Academy and one of its first graduates, Blanchard came under the lasting influence of its principal, Thomas McCulloch. Following the study of law, largely in the office of Thomas Dickson* in Pictou, he was enrolled as an attorney on 18 Oct. 1821 and was admitted to the bar a year later.


According to judge George Geddie Patterson, Blanchard refused to be “cribbed, cabined and confined by the four walls of a dusty law office.” Although it did not become public knowledge until 1830, he was editor of the Colonial Patriot of Pictou when Jacob Sparling Cunnabell and William H. Milne began to publish it on 7 Dec. 1827. The Patriot was the first Nova Scotian paper of any significance outside Halifax and the first to espouse liberal, even radical, principles. Although it has been suggested that the Patriot’s basic object was to promote the interests of Pictou Academy, that role was entirely subordinated to general political and governmental concerns. At the outset Blanchard was an ultra-liberal whig, seemingly most akin to Joseph Hume, John Arthur Roebuck*, and other British radicals. Their ideology being foreign to anything in the Nova Scotian political tradition, he was charged with republicanism and disloyalty by reactionaries such as Richard John Uniacke*Jr, who wanted him haled before the House of Assembly.


Read more about Jotham Blanchard here: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/blanchard_jotham_7E.html

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