The Honourable Sir Robert Hodgson
Sir Robert Hodgson was the fifteenth Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island since the creation of the Colony in 1763. Robert Hodgson was born at Charlottetown in 1798, the eldest son of Robert Hodgson, esquire, formerly Speaker of the Prince Edward Island Assembly and Rebecca, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Robinson of the South Carolina Royalist Regiment. He completed his education at King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Hodgson studied law with Simon Bradstreet Robie and James W. Johnston in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was called to the bars in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in 1819. In 1827, he married Fanny Macdonald, daughter of the late Captain Ranald Macdonald of the Glengarry Light Infantry and Town Major of Charlottetown. Hodgson took residence in Charlottetown and took up an active career as a lawyer, land agent and politician. They had two sons and one daughter. Hodgson did not remarry after his wife died on 2nd May 1832.
Robert Hodgson entered public life in 1824 by successfully contesting an Assembly seat for Charlottetown. He was appointed Attorney General and Advocate General Surrogate and Judge of Probate for Prince Edward island in May of 1828 on an interim basis. A year later, the appointments became permanent and he resigned his Assembly seat. He was then appointed to the Executive Council and the Legislative Council and became President of the Legislative Council in 1840 and Acting Chief Justice in 1841. In 1850, during a crisis in the struggle for Responsible Government when it seemed as though the Reformers might assume office, they offered to allow Hodgson to retain the office of Attorney General and his seat on the Executive Council if he would join them. He declined, and when the Reformers did take power in 1851 he resigned from both positions. He remained President of the Legislative Council for one more year. The Executive Council of George Coles appointed Hodgson to the vacant Chief Judgeship in 1852. He administered the government of Prince Edward Island from July to December 1865, October 1868 to October 1870 and from August 1873 until 4th July 1874 when he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Prince Edward Island a position he held until 1879. In January of 1869 he was knighted. Hodgson retired in 1879 and died in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on 15th September 1880.
Sir Robert Hodgson was a longtime office seeker; in fact, his indefatigable quest for offices, honours, and pensions more than once betrayed a lack of taste. Nonetheless, he was undeniably a man of distinction in the history of Prince Edward Island. He was the first native Chief Justice, the first native Lieutenant Governor, and the first Islander to be knighted. When he died, the Patriot newspaper described him as, "An excellent specimen of the English gentleman... He will long be remembered as the Good Sir."
Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
Photograph courtesy of PEI Public Archives and Records Office, Reference Number 2702/117