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

By W. Ross Livingston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT A TOOL OF PARTY POLITICS

THE ECLIPSE OF REFORM

From 1841 to 1846, the Conservative party in England under the leadership of Sir Robert Peel was in control of the British government. Lord Stanley was the Secretary of State for the Colonies during most of this time, and the cause of Responsible Government in all the British provinces was frowned upon as an attempt to reduce the constitution to a democratic basis. It was the day of Sir Charles Metcalfe in Canada, Sir William Colebrooke in New Brunswick, and Lord Falkland in Nova Scotia, all of whom were pledged to prevent the rise and development of party government and party responsibility. But even so, it seems that the efforts of these gentlemen and their supporters in each case generated forces and created circumstances which made the progress of Responsible Government more certain after they had left the field.

Prince Edward Island was no exception to the general rule. In 1842 the Reform party, whose leaders had fought so vigorously in the Assembly for a reformed constitutional system, was defeated in the elections, and Responsible Government, for the time being, was pushed into the background. In the new Assembly, Joseph Pope, a member of the Executive Council and listed in the resolutions of 1841 as a "family compact" man, was elected speaker by a vote of 14 to 8;1 and Joseph Hume, a Liberal member of the House of Commons, who had served the Assembly of Prince Edward Island as their agent in England, was relieved of that responsibility.2

____________________
1
Journal of Assembly of P. E. I. 1843, pp. 5 and 6.
2
Ibid. 1842, Appendix K.

-19-

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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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