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286   HISTORY OF CANADA.

 

all long since done so, and the powers of these county councils are yearly becoming wider and more important.

Educational System. The same causes long operated to prevent the adoption of efficient educational systems. In 1 849 Joseph Howe declared that there was an utter lack of system. In the following year the example of Canada was followed in Nova Scotia to the extent of appointing a general superintendent of education. School libraries were also provided. School trustees were elected by popular vote, but the schools were maintained by those whose children attended then and by government grants. Not until 1864 was a system of free schools, supported by local assessment, established in Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island had adopted the new system—not very successfully, however—in 1855 ; but New Brunswick continued the old system until 1872. The result of the establishment of free schools has been most satisfactory in a]1 the provinces. In Nova Scotia the war against denominational colleges continued during all these years, but the system defied all efforts to uproot it.   -

Political Battles in Nova Scotia.—In the election of 1855 Joseph Howe was defeated in Cumberland by Dr. Charles Tupper, who became provincial secretary in the Johnston ministry, which succeeded to office in 1857. Dr.—now Sir Charles—Tupper has ever since occupied a prominent position in public affairs. His most notable achievement during this period was his " Free

• School Act "—the law of 1864 above mentioned. At the general election of 1859 the Johnston ministry was defeated, and the Hon. William Young—afterwards Chief-Justice Sir William Young—chosen Premier. In 1863, however, the electors again declared in favor of the party led by the Hon. J. W. Johnston. Upon his elevation to the bench, the Hon. Dr. Tupper took his place at the head of affairs in Nova Scotia.

In New Brunswick.—In New Brunswick, during these years, no very serious local questions agitated political parties. Upon the question of railway construction opinions were divided, and the relative merits of "through" lines and "local" lines were much discussed. Reciprocity, law consolidation, the improvement of agriculture, reform in administration and in the school system, all came up in turn and provided the political parties with battle-cries at the different elections. The old Reform leader, the Hon. L. A. Wilmot, was now a judge ; but his former colleague. Charles Fisher, was still in public life. For some time prior to Confedera-


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