Responsible Government in Prince Edward Island: A Triumph of Self-Government under the Crown

By W. Ross Livingston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE POWER OF THE PURSE AND THE TRIUMPH OF PRINCIPLE

GREY'S POLICY AND INSTRUCTIONS

Sir Donald Campbell was commissioned in November, 1847, and the task of reform in Prince Edward Island was shifted at once to his control. To him, therefore, Earl Grey transferred all the information regarding the constitutional problems of the province. But he very wisely left much to the discretion and good judgment of the new Lieutenant-Governor, neither instructing him to adopt nor to reject the principle of Responsible Government. All he did was to advise Campbell that the system described by Elgin would in all probability be the best to adopt for the island. But Elgin had very clearly described two systems of colonial administration. Nor did Grey specify a choice between the two, implying rather, contrary to the advice of Elgin, that the older system was more desirable, and leaving Campbell free to guide his choice by the local circumstances as he found them.1 The policy of the Russell government in England in regard to a new constitutional system for the colonial empire was compicated and quite difficult to define with a positive explanation. Indeed it was still in the formative stage and most difficult in its application. It had developed largely, it seems, from the political experiences in the neighboring province of Nova Scotia, where for more than a decade Joseph Howe had been leading a vigorous movement for a reform in the local constitution. In November, 1846, after a considerable correspondence with Lieutenant-Governor Harvey in which the arguments of the Reform leaders had been ably presented, Earl Grey had

____________________
1
Grey to Campbell, Nov. 12, 1847 (confidential) (original MS) P. E. I. Despatches Received, G. 282 (C. A.) pp. 2 57)et seq.

-37-

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Responsible Government in Prince Edward Island: A Triumph of Self-Government under the Crown
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • Chapter I - THE BEGINNING OF REFORM 9
  • Chapter II - RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT A TOOL OF PARTY POLITICS 19
  • Chapter III - THE POWER OF THE PURSE AND THE TRIUMPH OF PRINCIPLE 37
  • APPENDIX NO. 1. 85
  • APPENDIX NO. 2. 86
  • APPENDIX NO. 3. 91
  • APPENDIX NO. 4. 100
  • APPENDIX NO. 5. 108
  • APPENDIX NO. 6. 111
  • APPENDIX NO. 7. 117
  • APPENDIX NO. 8. 122
  • APPENDIX NO. 9. 125
  • Bibliography 130
  • Index 132
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