MABEY, PAUL, merchant and politician; b. c. 1786 at Bedeque, P.E.I., son of George and Mary Mabey; d. unmarried 21 March 1863 at Pownal Point, P.E.I.
Paul Mabey’s parents arrived at Charlottetown, P.E.I., from Shelburne, N.S., in July 1784. Qualifying for a land grant, they settled at Bedeque with other loyalists. About 1800 the family moved to Charlottetown, where Paul became a clerk, along with young Robert Hodgson*, for Benjamin Evans, a prominent merchant. By 1811 he was president of the local New Harmonic Society, and trustee for a piece of land held by the local Wesleyan Methodist Society. Soon after he became a partner of Evans and by 1819 had his own business. In 1823 he was referred to as a merchant of considerable property who had rapidly acquired a fortune.
In 1817 he had been elected as one of the two members of the assembly for Charlottetown and Royalty; he held that seat until 1830. When in 1822 acting Receiver General John Edward Carmichael, son-in-law and close associate of Lieutenant Governor Charles Douglas Smith*, revived a demand for the payment of quitrents, Mabey joined a group led by John Stewart* which sought the dismissal of the governor. Smith’s relations with the assembly had been stormy since 1818 and he had governed without an assembly since August 1820. The group petitioned High Sheriff John MacGregor* to call meetings in each county to discuss grievances. At the Queens County meeting on 6 March 1823, over 800 householders and freeholders adopted resolutions critical of Smith’s administration. A committee composed of Mabey, Stewart, MacGregor, and four others was chosen to embody the resolutions in a petition to the king, which was subsequently circulated around the Island for signatures. After the publication of these proceedings, Stewart escaped to England with the petition, but Mabey and the others were charged with contempt of the Court of Chancery because they had accused Ambrose Lane*, master in chancery and also Smith’s son-in-law, of levying extraordinary charges in cases brought before him. They appeared before a crowded and noisy court on 27 October with Smith presiding. Uneasy about the disturbed state of the colony, Smith suspended proceedings and placed the accused in the custody of the sergeant-at-arms. Mabey told Smith that the committee considered his actions illegal and that they would not remain in custody. On 30 October they were released and the case was dropped. Mabey continued the attack on Lane with several letters to the Register, to which Lane made little attempt to reply.
After Smith’s dismissal in 1824, Paul Mabey spent his remaining six years in the house actively attending to its business and involved in most of the important committees. He was defeated in the 1830 elections and never again ran for office. He remained active in the militia and was a well-known Charlottetown figure. About 1856 his mental condition deteriorated and in 1861 he was adjudged to be of unsound mind.
PRO, CO 226/39, pp.202–10. Islander, 13 Dec. 1861. Prince Edward Island Register (Charlottetown), 13 Sept. 1823–24 Jan. 1824. Vindicator (Charlottetown), 27 March 1863. J. P. Tanton, “Memories of the past – continued,” Prince Edward Island Magazine (Charlottetown), I (1899–1900), 348.