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228   HISTORY OF CANADA.

which he was not then a member) so far as Barry was concerned. With equal warmth he disapproved of its action in reprimanding at the bar of the House two editors who had in their papers commented on the proceedings. Howe claimed for the press the fullest liberty to discuss all public questions.

The Brandy Dispute. —In the following year a dispute arose between the council (then both legislative and executive) and the assembly. It was discovered that owing to a clerical error in the provincial Customs Act of 1826, a lower duty was being collected upon brandy than had actually been voted. The assembly passed the necessary bill to correct the error, but the council declined to concur unless the duty upon a number of other articles was at the same time revised, manifestly in the interest of Halifax merchants. The assembly insisted upon its right to sole control over money bills. The council remained obdurate. The result was free trade in brandy and a loss to the province of £25,000 in revenue alone. The appropriation bill, moreover, for the year was not passed, and public improvement was thus stopped.

A Reform Assembly. Just at this time a general election (caused by the death of George IV.) came on. The action of the council was discussed throughout the province, and the people were awakened to the necessity for a radical reform in the system of government. An assembly was elected distinctly hostile to the executive, and although Howe complained of a want of vigor on the part of the popular leaders (S. G. W. Archibald, Beamish Murdoch, and others) the line of reform was clearly laid down. On the brandy question the council wisely gave way, and, in 1831, passed the assembly's bill without amendment. Sir Peregrine Maitland is spoken of by Nova Scotian historians as utterly wanting in decision of character and administrative capacity, a view which is borne out by his record in Upper Canada, where during his time the Family Compact ruled with a high hand. He left for England in 1832, and for nearly two years the government of Nova Scotia was administered by the senior member of the council, Hon. T. N. Jeffrey.   .

The Question of Financial Control. -- An attempt in 1833 to improve the banking system by establishing a gold basis for all bank-notes was frustrated by the council in the interests of its banking members, In this same session, with a view ,to


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