JADIS, CHARLES NEWLAND GODFREY, naval officer, army officer, and merchant, b. 6 Nov. 1730 at Portsmouth, England, only child of John Godfrey Maximilian Jadis and Elizabeth Newland; m. Margaret —, and they had at least seven children; d. some time after August 1788.
Most of what is known about Charles Newland Godfrey Jadis comes from the several petitions and claims he set out in later life. The son of an officer in the Royal Navy, Jadis joined the Bedford in 1741 as a midshipman and served in the Mediterranean during the War of the Austrian Succession. He left the navy after the peace of 1748 and seven years later was commissioned ensign in the 54th Foot (renumbered 52nd Foot in 1757), an unusual but not unique change of career. Promoted captain-lieutenant by January 1762, he accompanied his regiment from Ireland to Quebec in 1765 but was shipwrecked in the St Lawrence during the voyage. The accident undermined his health, and two years later he sold his commission and returned to Ireland.
With the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War, what is now New Brunswick had been opened up to British settlement, and in 1764 a society of military officers was formed in Montreal for the purpose of obtaining a large land grant on the Saint John River [see Beamsley Perkins Glasier]. Whether Jadis was connected with this society before his departure from Canada is not known, but in 1768 he purchased lands at Grimross (Gagetown, N.B.) from Synge Tottenham, one of the grantees. In August of the following year he and his family arrived at Halifax equipped with merchandise for trade with the Indians of the Saint John valley. On his arrival at Fort Frederick (Saint John) in May 1770, Jadis found that the Malecite Indians there were hostile to British settlement, and he was several times threatened “with Immediate distruction.” When he moved to his lands soon thereafter he met with a similar reception from Pierre Tomah and others. After several months of harassment his house, store, and trade goods were destroyed by fire in February 1771 and he and his family returned to Halifax. Jadis blamed the fire on the Indians, incited, he believed, by James Simonds*, a rival trader living at Portland Point (Saint John). An employee of Simonds stated in an affidavit that Simonds had declared an intention to have the Indians burn Jadis’ house. The allegation is scarcely necessary to sustain the reputation of the firm of Simonds, William Hazen*, and James White as the monopolists of the Saint John trade prior to the American revolution. They regarded the valley as their own commercial preserve and the appearance of Jadis as an act of effrontery.
Temporarily set back, Jadis travelled to England, where he received some compensation for his losses from the British government. In the winter of 1772–73 he returned to Nova Scotia and with James Burrow conducted an investigation into smuggling on the Saint John and at Halifax. He returned to his lands in 1774, just as the turmoil of the American revolution was spreading to Maugerville, principal settlement of New Englanders on the Saint John. One of the few supporters of British and Nova Scotian authority in a region that was still largely wilderness, Jadis soon incurred the hostility of the Maugerville settlers, and their attempt to force his acceptance of the authority of Congress brought systematic persecution. In September 1775 he wrote to Governor Francis Legge, “I am daily in dread of my and family’s lives. . . . They have broke my ribs and . . . carried me into the woods.” The following year, as Maugerville’s leaders prepared to assist a rebel invasion of Nova Scotia [see Jonathan Eddy*], pressure on Jadis mounted and he was threatened with imprisonment. After begging for permission to leave the province, in July he was given a pass by Jacob Barker, chairman of the Maugerville committee of safety, to go to New England. Instead, he made his way to Halifax, where he reported events to the magistrates and unsuccessfully offered to return to the Saint John with a party of soldiers to restore provincial authority.
Jadis’ whereabouts until 1784 are unknown, but in October of that year he reappeared in Halifax and was granted lands by Governor John Parr to replace those he had been forced to leave. Parr refused, however, to restore his property on the Saint John or to grant Jadis the financial compensation he demanded. Jadis went to England to press his claim, and his last appearance in the records is in August 1788.
PRO, AO 13, bundle 92; CO 217/26, ff.111–13; 217/35, ff.2, 10–11, 191–93; 217/48, ff.92–93. G.B., WO, Army list, 1756–68. Brebner, Neutral Yankees (1969), 109n. Murdoch, History of N.S., II, 502. Raymond, River St. John (1910), 192; “Brigadier General Monckton’s expedition to the River Saint John in September, 1758 . . . ,” N.B. Hist. Soc., Coll., III (1907–14), no.8, 113–65.