Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next



council, he threw himself into their hands, becoming, as Sir Charles Metcalfe had become in Canada, a party leader. In the assembly, after a long and exciting debate, a majority of two (afterwards increased to seven) was secured to support the new ministry.

Lord Falkland.—With such a small majority the ministry were unable to do much in the way of legislation during the next four years (1844-1847). A Simultaneous Polling Act was passed in 1847 with the almost unanimous approval of the assembly. A bill affecting the Crown lands administration was opposed by the ministry and defeated. Overtures were from time to time made to the Reform leaders looking to the formation of a new coalition government, but these were steadily declined. Lord Falkland very foolishly took an active part in the political contests of this period. At one time he went so far as to write an official despatch characterizing the speaker of the assembly as "the associate of reckless and insolvent men." Howe passionately declared that if such conduct were allowed to continue some outraged colonist might hire a black man to horse-whip a lieutenant-governor.*

A Reform Victory.—It was a great relief when Lord Falkland in August, 1846, gave place to Sir John Harvey. Even he, however, failed to secure a coalition. The Reformers, feeling sure of their ground, were content to wait the issue of a general election. It came in August', 1847, and the result justified the stand they had taken. In the new assembly they would have a clear majority.

The Contest in New Brunswick.—Early in 1845 Sir William Colebrooke, judging from what had taken place in Canada and Nova Scotia that his right to appoint whom he pleased to office was beyond question, made his son-in-law provincial secretary. Wilmot and some others of the executive council at once resigned. The colonial office, indeed, refused to ratify the appointment, but the contest had the effect of breaking up the " no-party " coalition, and the Reform leaders, Wilmot, Fisher and

" There was also a humorous side to the contest. In Howe's paper, the Nova Scotian, Lord Falkland was ridiculed in prose and verse. "The Lord of the Bed-Chamber"—Lord Falkland had occupied that position in England—is entitled to rank as the most amusing piece of political literature in the annals of Canadian party warfare.


Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next