Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Executive Council: Cabinet Meeting Records, 1840 - 1862 (RS9)

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The Executive Council, or “Cabinet,” is the top administrative unit of Government. It is the body that directs and makes decisions on much of what the Government does. Today, it is composed of the Ministers of the departments that direct and oversee the various functions of Government.

The mid-19th century saw an evolution of the Executive Council as far as how its composition was determined and what powers it had. Over time, the governing of the province has been adjusted to meet increased societal needs. One thing that hasn’t changed is the records of this body tell us a great deal about New Brunswick. As such, these records are very useful to researchers.

Many topics overseen by the Executive Council in the 19th century concerned routine local matters that today would be handled by departments or Municipalities. Today, the Executive Council meets regularly throughout the year and the paper work for all issues under consideration is filed by the date of the meeting. Modern Executive Council Records are restricted under the Archives Act for 20 years from the date of the meeting.


The Archives holds millions of records, why single these out for this kind of access and why this range of years?

The records of the Executive Council touch every corner of the province and the mid-19th century was a critical time in the New Brunswick’s development. More years can be added as resources allow.

I didn’t find anything on the topic I was looking for.

We are aware that long before the Archives existed, records from all Government departments were destroyed or went missing. Although not online for this time period, records in the Archives for the House of Assembly (RS24), Surveyor General (RS637), and Provincial Secretary (RS13) might be alternate places to look.

I notice that pejorative terms are used in some of the descriptions. Why hasn’t this wording been updated to reflect language used today?

The descriptions in the Executive Council records database are at the item level. The standard for item level descriptions is to take the title from the wording in the document. If there is further contextual information or subject headings connected with the descriptions, the wording would reflect present day usage. Also, there is value in maintaining contemporary wording to reflect the realities of when the documents originated.