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Party Government in British North America

  • John Manning Ward
Part of the Cambridge Commonwealth Series book series

Abstract

Henry George, third Earl Grey, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in Lord John Russell’s first administration, wrote to Sir John Harvey, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, on 3 November 1846, instructing him to allow responsible government in the colony. Shortly afterwards he authorised Lord Elgin, the new governor-general of Canada to allow responsible government there as well. In 1847 he sanctioned it in New Brunswick and in 1851, after much hesitation, in Prince Edward Island. These well known decisions reflected an important change of mind for Grey. In May 1840, while Lord Howick, he had told the Commons that responsible government was impossible in colonies:

If by responsible government it were meant that the Executive Government of the colony should be directly responsible to the Colonial Assembly, … responsible government so defined would be incompatible with the maintenance of Colonial Government. But … if the Government at home, as well as the authorities in the colonies, were to pursue a system of protective government, guided by a conciliatory spirit, and a desire to consult the wishes of the people, then such a form of government would answer the object that those who were loudest in their clamour for a responsible government had in view.2

What produced Grey’s change of mind between 1840, when he thought responsible government impossible in colonies, and 1846, when he ordered its introduction in the extensive form of party government?

Keywords

North America Free Trade Nova Scotia Imperial Control Responsible Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© John Manning Ward 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Manning Ward
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneyAustralia

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