Robie, Simon Bradstreet

Simon Bradstreet Robie, lawyer, politician, judge (b at Marblehead, Mass 1790; d at Halifax 3 Jan 1858). A Loyalist who moved from being a liberal to an extreme conservative, he was admitted to the bar in the early 1790s and elected to the assembly in 1799, where he generally joined William Cottnam TONGE and the "country party" in resisting authoritarian governor Sir John Wentworth. Appointed solicitor general in 1815 and elected assembly speaker in 1817, he earned the distaste of governor Lord Dalhousie, who described him as "an ill-tempered crab, deeply tinctured in Yankee principles." Following his appointment as councillor and master of the rolls in the mid-1820s, he continued to be liberal in his support of Presbyterian Pictou Academy, but politically he became more and more conservative, and more and more fearful of anything savouring of democracy. Blamed for the "abominable, heart-breaking, pocket-picking system" of the Chancery Court, he resigned as master of the rolls in 1834. Appointed president of the legislative council in 1838, he invariably followed Tory lines, especially in the protection of vested rights. Even after the Reformers' electoral victory in 1847, he sought, through the legislative council, to prevent the institutionalization of responsible government. Having failed, he resigned as councillor in 1848 and abandoned politics.