HASZARD, JAMES DOUGLAS, printer, journalist, farmer, and businessman; b. 27 June 1797 at Charlottetown, P.E.I., eldest son of Thomas Rhodes Haszard and his wife Jane; d.17 Aug. 1875 at his home in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
James Douglas Haszard was the son of Rhode Island loyalists who immigrated to Prince Edward Island in 1785. At an early age James was apprenticed to his uncle, James D. Bagnall*, who was king’s printer. When Bagnall was absent from the Island for three years, his young apprentice took over the task of printing royal notices and proclamations. With his uncle’s return in 1811, Haszard resumed his role as apprentice. He broadened his experience by attending school in Halifax from 1816 to 1817, and by working as a printer in Rhode Island.
In 1823, two years after his return from the United States, Haszard established the Prince Edward Island Register, which because of the lack of printed matter on the Island was used as a reading text as well as a newspaper. The 11 Oct. 1823 issue was strongly critical of the Island’s lieutenant governor and chancellor, Charles Douglas Smith*, whose actions as governor were described as “highly oppressive and illegal.” Haszard was called before the governor in his capacity as chancellor, sternly lectured, but discharged, ostensibly because of his “youth and inexperience.”
In 1825 Haszard married Sarah Sophia Gardiner who died within the next decade; then in 1835 he married Susanna Jane Nelmes. His second wife survived him as did at least four of his children.
Haszard continued to publish the Register until 1830 when he was appointed king’s printer, a position he held until 1851. During those 21 years he published the Royal Gazette, which carried local and foreign news, and letters to the editor, as well as official notices and proclamations. After Edward Whelan* displaced him as queen’s printer, Haszard began to publish Haszard’s Gazette, which his son George continued after the father’s retirement in December 1852.
Haszard was involved in several other enterprises. He established the first clothing mill in the colony, had interests in the insurance business, and owned a store which carried a wide selection of books, stationery, and Protestant religious tracts. He rented a number of houses in Charlottetown, and several farms around the Island, which a lieutenant governor, Sir Henry Vere Huntley*, described in 1844 as “extremely good” in quality. In a letter to the Colonial Office three years later, Haszard portrayed himself as “holding a large and important stake in the country.” He also took an active part in community institutions such as the Royal Agricultural Society, Temperance Hall, and the Mechanics’ Institute.
James Haszard was the first native Island journalist. He was not a gifted writer, and when Governor Huntley was about to strip him of a minor office he wrote that there was nothing to fear from Haszard: “he is without talent of his own, too penurious to pay for that belonging to others, and moreover, he will do nothing to endanger his possession of the office of Queen’s Printer.” Nonetheless, Haszard did introduce several important Island newspapermen, such as John Ings and James Barrett Cooper*, to their future profession, and in late 1852 he and his son George imported the colony’s first power printing press. In politics, he was closely associated with the Tory élite which ruled the Island prior to responsible government. It was but natural that he should be displaced when this era came to an end. He appears to have aged prematurely, and not to have taken an active part in public life in his declining years.
PAPEI, Henry Jones Cundall, letter book, 27 March 1867–26 May 1871, p.111. PRO, CO 226/67, 16–20; 226/71, 288, 361, 367; 226/75, 18; 226/98, 336–38. Prince Edward Island, Supreme Court, Estates Division, will of James Douglas Haszard, [21 April 1868]. Examiner (Charlottetown), 23, 30 Aug. 1875. Haszard’s Gazette (Charlottetown), 1852. Patriot (Charlottetown), 3 Sept. 1875. Prince Edward Island Register (Charlottetown), 1823–30. Royal Gazette (Charlottetown), 1830–51. Duncan Campbell, History of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown, 1875), 201. R. L. Cotton, “Early press,” in Historic highlights of Prince Edward Island, ed. M. C. Brehaut (P.E.I. Hist. Soc. pamphlet, Charlottetown, 1955), 42–43. W. L. Cotton, Chapters in our Island story (Charlottetown, 1927), 92–93, 125–28; “The press in Prince Edward Island,” Past and present of Prince Edward Island . . . , ed. D. A. MacKinnon and A. B. Warburton (Charlottetown, ), 112–21. T. R. Millman, A history of the parish of New London, Prince Edward Island (n.p., 1959), 6–7. J. B. Pollard, Historical sketch of the eastern regions of New France, from the various dates of their discoveries to the surrender of Louisburg in 1758; also Prince Edward Island, military and civil (Charlottetown, 1898), 200–1.