HAZEN, ROBERT LEONARD, lawyer, judge, and politician; b. 15 Oct. 1808 in Fredericton, N.B., son of William Hazen* Jr and Deborah Murray, a daughter of Colonel John Murray*; d. at Saint John, N.B., 15 Aug. 1874.
Robert Leonard Hazen’s grandfather, William Hazen* Sr, had been one of the original members of the Council of Twelve which administered the province of New Brunswick before the appointment of the first governor, Thomas Carleton*, in 1785. After studying law in the office of Robert Parker* in Saint John, Robert L. Hazen was called to the bar of New Brunswick when he was 23 years old. In 1837 he married his cousin Sarah Ann, a daughter of William Botsford*, a provincial politician and judge; they had three children of whom one son survived the father. Hazen had a successful career in law; in 1843 he was named a queen’s counsel, a considerable honour at that time, and three years later he was appointed a judge of the Court of Vice-Admiralty and recorder of the city of Saint John. At one time he served as a director, and at another as solicitor, for the Commercial Bank of New Brunswick.
In the general election of 1837 Hazen was elected to the assembly as one of the members for Saint John; he was re-elected in 1843 and 1846. In 1844 he was taken into the government, which included Edward Barron Chandler arid Lemuel Allen Wilmot, as a member of the Executive Council and minister without portfolio. He resigned from the council in 1845 over a controversy involving the prerogative powers of the lieutenant governor, Sir William Colebrooke*, and became after this time one of the proponents of responsible government in New Brunswick. Once the controversy had been settled to his satisfaction, Hazen re-entered the Executive Council in 1846 where he remained until 1854; he was again a member from 1856 to 1857. As a member of the council, Hazen fought the government’s battles in the assembly with conspicuous success. He resigned the assembly seat in 1848, however, to become a member of the Legislative Council; since he was popular in Saint John he could have retained his assembly seat for many years, but not being an ambitious man he chose to retire to the ease of the Legislative Council.
Robert Leonard Hazen exercised power and influence in New Brunswick politics for many years. His obvious talent and sterling honesty made him a man who commanded great respect among his fellows. When the union of the British North American provinces took place on 1 July 1867, Hazen was appointed, by royal proclamation, to a seat in the Senate of Canada. He remained a senator until his death, but did not participate actively in the debates. In the early 1860s his health had deteriorated and he partially lost his voice. He retired from the bar; practising only when, as recorder, he had to appear in court on behalf of the city.
N.B. Museum, Hazen coll., Robert Leonard Hazen papers; Hazen family estate papers, 1852–92; Hazen family papers, 1720–1889. T. E. Hazen, The Hazen family in America, a genealogy, ed. D. L. Jacobus (Thomaston, Conn., 1947). J. W. Lawrence, Footprints; or incidents in the early history of New Brunswick, 1783–1883 (Saint John, N.B., 1883); Judges of New Brunswick (Stockton). MacNutt, New Brunswick, 285–94, 299, 318, 340, 343, 360, 430.