Lighting the littoral: the moral and political economy of New Brunswick lighthouses, 1784-1867

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University of New Brunswick


Between 1784 and 1867 New Brunswick directed the construction of the only lighthouse system in British North America. With its inaugural sitting in 1786, the House of Assembly immediately formed a lighthouse committee. The committee was tasked to provide oversight on lighthouse projects and give advice to the house on all matters related to lighthouses. Both the house and the committee were involved in the construction of lighthouses at 18 different sites both provincially and inter-provincially. Maritime safety was a priority for the New Brunswick House of Assembly no matter what the cost, even if it meant extending the lighthouse system into the territory of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Lower Canada. This study addresses the questions of both moral economy and political economy, and provides some of the only scholarship on early inter-provincial relations.