Life and career
Bernard was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica. He was educated in Bath, England, and practiced law in Jamaica until the death of his father in 1850. He came to Canada and settled in Barrie, Upper Canada, where he became part of local society. In 1854, he brought his mother and sister Agnes to live with him. About that time, he joined the local militia and eventually gained the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
Bernard was a successful lawyer and co-editor of the Upper Canada Law Journal when he became the private secretary of Attorney General John A. Macdonald in 1857. He soon became chief clerk, and he was the recording secretary at the Charlottetown Conference in 1864.
In February 1867, Bernard's sister Agnes married John A. Macdonald, who became the Prime Minister of Canada a few months later. Bernard was a very good friend of Macdonald before he became Macdonald's brother-in-law.
After Confederation, Bernard served as the private secretary to the Prime Minister between 1867 and 1873. He was also the Deputy Minister of Justice from 1868 to 1876. Bernard was succeeded in that position by Zebulon Aiton Lash.
- Robert Alexander Harrison; Peter Oliver; Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History (1 October 2003). The conventional man: the diaries of Ontario Chief Justice Robert A. Harrison, 1856-1878. University of Toronto Press. p. 627. ISBN 978-0-8020-8842-0.
- "Hewitt Bernard". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
- Ontario Historical Plaques - Hewitt Bernard