Jotham Blanchard: The Forgotten Patriot of Pictou


75 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88999-165-0





Reviewed by Terrence Paris

Terrence Paris is Public Services Librarian at Mount St. Vincent
University in Halifax.


Jotham Blanchard (1800-1839) was one of English Canada’s pioneer journalists. As editor of the Colonial Patriot inPictou, N.S., from 1827 to 1833 and as a member of the House of Assembly from 1830 until his health failed in 1836, he was a vigorous and indefatigable proponent of responsible government and non-sectarian education. His labours earned him the enmity of Joseph Howe, editor of the Novascotian of Halifax, who, on one occasion, described the little town of Pictou as “that abode of patriots and den of radicalism.” Patriot was a pejorative in those days, with connotations of rebellion and treason.

Blanchard, as revealed in the few excerpts from his journalism in this book, was a skillful stylist with a masterful command of written English which he learned while a student at the famed Pictou Academy. I regret the same can not be said for the author of this biography. Sherwood worked for many years to restore Blanchard to our history. In 1978 the Pictou Town Council declared June 28 of each year Jotham Blanchard Day and a permanent memorial plaque was set up in 1981.

Excessive repetition and verbosity have inflated a modest essay to book length. Typographical errors abound. Copy editing would have eliminated the contradictory facts. Convoluted syntax and confusing chronology make the book difficult to read. Only residents of Pictou interested in town history will enjoy this book.


Sherwood, Roland H., “Jotham Blanchard: The Forgotten Patriot of Pictou,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,