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None the less, it was much of his doing that the assemblies which were elected in and contained majorities favouring Reform principles. During the coalition period Howe became speaker of the assembly and collector of excise at Halifax By the end of he had decided upon a full-time political career and sold the Novascotian. Meanwhile the coalition was experiencing rough weather.
Chronicles of Canada Volume 26 - The Tribune of Nova Scotia: A Chronicle of Joseph Howe
He got what he wanted: a Tory majority, albeit small. Howe and the two other Reform councillors resigned forthwith. Speaker Howe, not the Hon. Howe, but Joe Howe.
Howe was paying the price for his intemperate conduct. It included promoting vital public works through imperial credit, preparing crown lands for settlement, and encouraging the migration of the poor from Britain through cheap transportation. By March he appeared to have won guarantees from the British government for lines from Halifax to Quebec and Portland, Maine. On his return he sought, in a speech-making tour, to educate the people of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada to the value of the combined project.
North America will rise to the rank of a second or third rate power, with all the organization and attributes of a nation. At the time he personally accepted blame for the misunderstanding; later he attributed his failure to sinister influences operating on the British government. Howe was now determined that Nova Scotia should build its own railways as public works.
Late in he arranged for adequate financing on favourable terms with Baring Brothers. Even then he had to accede to the demands of the opposition that private enterprise have the first opportunity. When it reneged he finally, in , got railway legislation along the lines he wanted. Shortly afterwards he resigned as provincial secretary to become chief commissioner of a bi-partisan railway board.
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It is sometimes said that the only figures he understood were figures of speech, but he had no difficulties with the details of railway finance, and no scandal or bumbling occurred in railway building under his management. In addition to the railway commissionership, Howe had the Crimean War to occupy him during Because of his attitude towards Britain, he accepted without question the British case in this conflict. His American venture had unforeseen repercussions. Indirectly, but of greater significance, it led him into conflict with the Irish and other Catholics of Nova Scotia.
He had noted that some Irish priests had recently founded the Halifax Catholic and were using it to gloat over British reverses in the Crimea. For the moment Howe held himself in check. Howe resigned as railway commissioner and contemplated leading a Protestant alliance, but soon thought better of it.
The Tribune of Nova Scotia A Chronicle of Joseph Howe
As one who had been foremost in advocating complete Catholic equality, he regarded this episode as one of the most regrettable of his life. Eventually committees of the assembly confirmed all the Liberal members in their seats. Christian charity in dealing with his fellow-men.
Generally, however, he was occupied with picayune, humdrum matters.
On the basis of an occasional excerpt from his diary or letters, J. Roy pictures him as utterly despairing and disillusioned during this period, but this was not his typical state. Almost against his will he contested the general election of , in which a worn-out, leaderless Liberal party went down to overwhelming defeat, and he suffered personal loss in Lunenburg. It included the representation of colonials in the House of Commons and the participation of leading colonials in the government of the empire.
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How long is this state of pupilage to last? Not long. If British statesmen do not take this matter in hand, we soon shall. In any case his requests were motivated by much more than personal ambition. To him responsible government had conferred on colonials only part of the rights enjoyed by Britons, and the empire should be organized to confer these rights in their entirety.
To serve the empire, preferably at its centre in London, but alternatively even in so remote and primitive a region as British Columbia, was the noblest mission Howe could conceive. He has often been accused of being inconsistent in opposing the union he allegedly advocated over a long period. The record shows, however, that from he had been contending that an improvement in communications, especially in the form of an intercolonial railroad, was a necessary prerequisite to union.
Joseph Howe - Wikipedia
Myth has it that it was Howe who roused Nova Scotian public opinion against the Quebec resolutions. Some have said that they rallied opinion everywhere, but few knew their authorship, and their function, together with a mass of similar literature, was simply to reinforce existing opinions.
Why did he choose the second alternative? At one level there was the fear that implementation of union would deal a death-blow to his scheme for the organization of the empire. At another level his opposition was based on practical grounds: railroads, and social and economic intercourse, were needed first to make union a success; the Quebec resolutions, born of Canadian necessity, would lead to the loss of independence and the economic ruination of Nova Scotia.
In providing specific evidence to demonstrate these points, Howe used too many arguments, some good, some bad, some indifferent. The result, for him, was two years of frenzied activity. Almost immediately he embarked on a speaking tour of the western counties. He got only one concession: the colonial secretary agreed to ask the dominion government to review the impact of its taxation, trade, and fishing policies on Nova Scotia with a view to their modification. He noted that only ten peers were in their place when the House of Lords gave third reading to the British North America Act.
The necessity of fighting a by-election in Hants in midwinter against determined opposition resulted in his complete physical breakdown, and, although he won the election, he never fully regained his health. As a federal minister, he was the subject of controversy on two occasions. Anxious as always to see things at first hand, Howe overtaxed his ebbing strength by a visit to the Red River. But the House of Commons declined to go along with him.
For his part in the winning of responsible government Howe has received fair and judicious treatment at the hands of the historians, especially from Chester Martin in Empire and commonwealth. But he has fared badly on the confederation issue. The style was set by his contemporary, Presbyterian pastor G. Tupper, the man who had taken the popular breeze out of his sails. And Howe was an egotist. But more recently J. Roy went them one better in Joseph Howe : a study in achievement and frustration.
A professor of English, he treated Howe as the protagonist of a Shakespearian tragedy whose fortunes proceeded inexorably downwards after reaching their apogee.
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