Speakers of the Legislative Assembly

Hon. Charles Simonds

Charles Simonds was born on August 22, 1783 at Portland Point, Saint John, New Brunswick. He was of Colonial English, pre-Loyalist ancestry, the son of James and Hannah Peabody Simonds.

He was educated at the Portland Public School and by private tutors. He located at Saint John and engaged in the commercial enterprises established and conducted by his father. Here he became a leader in commercial, financial and political affairs of his day.

Charles Simonds first married on May 27, 1817, Miss Catherine Mary Longmuir, daughter of Capt. Richard Longmuir. She died March 2, 1820, aged 21 years. They had no children. He remarried on July 31, 1824 to Miss Lucy Ann Clopper, daughter of Garrett Clopper. She died July 6, 1832, aged 27. They had a family of three sons and one daughter.

At the general election of October, 1819, his name was placed in nomination as a candidate for Saint John County but he withdrew before polling took place. He was first elected to the House of Assembly as one of the members for Saint John County and City at the general election of June 1820. Re-elected at the general elections of June 1827, October 1830, December 1834, September 1837 and December 1842, he sat continuously as a member until the dissolution of the Legislature in 1846.

He did not offer for re-election at the general election of that year but accepted a seat on the Legislative Council of New Brunswick and sat in that body until 1850, when he resigned in order to contest Saint John County again for the House of Assembly.

Again elected to the House of Assembly as one of the members for Saint John County and City at the general election of June 20, 1850, he sat as member until October, 1851, when he resigned his seat. Elected again at the general election of June 24, 1856, he sat two sessions of the Legislature until its dissolution in 1857. At the general election of April 23, 1857, he was defeated and subsequently retired from active political life.

On December 11, 1828 he was chosen Speaker of the House of Assembly when his brother, Hon. Richard Simonds, resigned. He was Speaker until 1830. He was again appointed Speaker on January 20, 1835 and on December 28, 1837 to 1842; on February 6, 1851, and again on July 17, 1856.

On August 15, 1837, he was called to a seat on the Executive Council where he continued as a member until February 1, 1846, when he resigned. From time to time during this period he was Government Leader in the House of Assembly. In the struggle for responsible government, he at first cautiously favoured it, but later gave it his wholehearted support, until its final culmination in 1854.

He died on April 12, 1859, at the residence of his son, Henry G. Simonds, in Saint John.

Source - Speakers of the Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, 1786-1985.1985, Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, Office of the Clerk, Fredericton, N.B.