Fonds Acc3241 - Thomas Wright fonds : [1769-198-]

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Thomas Wright fonds : [1769-198-]

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the fonds

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CA PCA Acc3241

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  • Microfilmed 1980, Copied [199-] (Creation)
    Wright, Thomas

Physical description area

Physical description

.01 m of textual records
1 reel of 35 mm microfilm

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Name of creator

Wright, Thomas

Biographical history

Thomas Wright was born ca. 1740 in England. He studied drawing and mathematics at Christ's Hospital and went to North America in 1758 as an apprentice to the Surveyor-General of Georgia. Returning to England in 1763, he came out the following year as deputy to Samuel Johannes Holland, Surveyor-General of the Northern District of North America and he assisted, among other duties, in the survey of St. John's (Prince Edward) Island. After an interval of two years in England (1767-1769) he returned to North America to observe the transit of Venus from Quebec and to work with Holland along the Bay of Fundy and and in New England.

In 1770, Governor Patterson appointed Wright a member of the Island's Council and, in 1773, Surveyor- General, a post he would hold until his death in 1812 with the exception of a brief suspension of a few months. He also served for a time as Judge and Assistant Judge of the Supreme Court. In 1775 he and Phillips Callbeck, administrator of the Island, were taken prisoner by American privateers but soon released by order of George Washington. Wright's direct participation in the administration of the colony ceased at the trial of Patterson and the members of his government before the British Privy Council in 1789.

Thomas Wright married Susanna Turner of Cumberland, Nova Scotia, in 1769 and they had 10 children. He was active all his life in surveying and mapping the east coast of North America and his reports were used by surveyors such as Holland and DesBarres to prepare the first accurate maps of the region. Several of his sons, particularly Charles and George, and his grandson George, took up surveying, and for 80 years the post of surveyor general was held by a member of the Wright family.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consists of a microfilm copy and partial transcript of a journal or diary kept by Wright between 1769 and 1773, photocopies of "A Journal of a voyage in the ship Layton from England towards Quebec in the year 1769", 26 April - 28 May 1769, photocopies of transcripts of a legal notebook kept by Wright, and a photocopy of the cover and two pages of an exhibition at the McCord Museum entitled "Early plans and views of Montreal" which featured "A south end view of the City of Montreal in Canada", by Thomas Wright.

The journal appears to have served as a notebook where Wright recorded information on drawing, mixing artist's paints, mathematical formulae, trade instructions, remedies, music, and poetry. Left hand pages include detailed accounts of his travels and surveying notes. Continuity is erratic and several pages have been excised. The log of the "Layton" is a much more formal recording of observations. The legal notebook contains definitions or interpretations of various legal terms and a discussion of the "common law".

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  • English

Script of material

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Original was returned to the owner

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Finding aids


Associated materials

For further details SEE the biography of Thomas Wright by H. T. Holman in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. V

See also: Thomas Wright's Field Book, June/July 1765 (Acc2330/G-2)

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General note

Microfilm of the journal is located in microfilm cabinets in the Reading Room

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  • English

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