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Joseph Howe
Chapter VIII - Foreign Enlistment and the Irish Catholics


MR. HOWE pursued his duties as chairman of the railway board with assiduity. During the summer of 1854 work was in vigorous operation, and in 1855 a large number of men were employed and construction was going vigorously forward. In 1854 the Crimean war broke out. The results of the early efforts in the war were not favourable to British arms and much humiliation and distress was felt on all sides. It seems inevitable that under the present British army system, the nation must always be unprepared for war on a large scale, and inefficiency in generalship and failure in the commissariat department are always sure to be exposed. The necessity for more men for service in the Crimea became apparent, and in the session of 1854-55 the British government passed an act providing for the foreign enlistment of soldiers for the army. Howe, years before, had pointed out in the clearest possible terms the importance of having colonial regiments formed, trained and made ready for active service, but no heed was paid to his suggestions and warnings by either the colonial or war department of the imperial government. In furtherance of the Foreign Enlistment Act, a despatch came from the colonial secretary to the lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, Sir Gaspard LeMarchant, asking him to arrange to have a recruiting station opened at Halifax at which men could be enlisted for active service. The government, in response to this, made arrangements accordingly to establish a depot at which officers and men could be enlisted and sent to the Crimea. It may be mentioned at once that the expectation in opening this office in Halifax was that numbers of men would come from the United States and enter the service here. Communications had already been received by the governor and others from friends in the United States intimating that many men were out of employment there, and that a number of British subjects in the United States, as well as Poles, Hungarians, etc., would enter the service with avidity if an opportunity was afforded them.

The governor sent for Howe and consulted him upon the steps which should be taken, of course, in conjunction with his advisers. Howe thought it desirable that some one should go to the United States, examine the ground, and see how far it was practicable to secure recruits for active service, and in this the governor concurred and asked Howe to suggest a suitable .person for this mission. He replied that some member of his government would be best suited for this purpose, but the governor, and probably his advisers, were strongly of the opinion that Howe would most efficiently discharge such a service. It was not a pleasant duty; it involved difficulties and possibly dangers, but Howe was never a man to shrink from any service which he thought necessary to uphold the honour of his country and the integrity of the empire.

In consequence Howe started in March and visited Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington on this mission. At this period Mr. John F. Crampton was British minister at Washington. Between this minister and tlie governor of Nova Scotia correspondence had taken place, and this had grown out of correspondence with Earl Clarendon, the secretary of state for foreign affairs, who had drawn the attention of the minister to the Foreign Enlistment Act, and sought light as to how far it was probable that recruits could be obtained in the United States. Mr. Crampton proceeded judiciously at first, but came to grief, as it happened, before the matter was over. There were upon the statute book of the United States stringent acts against foreign enlistment in that country. The British minister consulted an eminent lawyer, in whom he had confidence, as to what could be done legally, and what could not be done under this act, and it seemed to be the judgment that no contract for enlistment could be made with any person within the United States, nor could there be personal solicitation of any citizens of the United States to enter into a foreign service. Mr. Crampton no doubt proposed to act strictly within his legal rights and not to exceed them, but this proved to be a somewhat difficult matter, not only in the abstract, but because of the prevalent sympathy of the American government and people during the war. It is useless to enquire why, but the fact remains, that during the Crimean war of 1854-55 an immense majority of the people of the United States sympathized with Russia. At the beginning a policy of strict neutrality was announced' by the United States government, and it can be easily inferred that any steps taken in any direction tending to give aid or assistance to the British authorities at this juncture would excite the most acute feeling throughout the United States.

It was the judgment of the British minister, as well as of the governor of Nova Scotia that, while it was illegal to enlist soldiers in the United States, it was not infringing any statute to circulate posters in that country setting forth the fact that a recruiting station had been opened at Halifax and that any men who desired to enlist and might come for that purpose, on arriving there, would not only receive pay according to the army regulations, but would be paid the full amount of their travelling expenses from their residence to Halifax. A proclamation to that effect was issued by the provincial government of Nova Scotia, under the hand of the lieutenant-governor, and signed by Mr. L. M. Wilkins as provincial secretary. An address, written by Howe, embodying this proclamation and pointing out the opportunity that it afforded, was issued and widely circulated in the United States, chiefly through the agency of Howe, who was acting with those upon whose friendly confidence he thought he could rely, especially the British consuls at New York, Boston, etc.

At an early stage of Howe's mission in the United States he began to meet with difficulties. It was his misfortune to be approached by men who made great professions of devotion to the empire, and of their ability to obtain recruits, provided that some means were placed at their disposal, and Howe, in as judicious a manner as possible, placed in the hands of one of these officious men the sum of $300. Howe's secretary also held communication with several persons, perhaps, in some instances with a little more zeal than discretion. In consequence, the fact that steps were being taken to secure recruits for the British army in the United States became gradually a matter of notoriety. It not only got into the newspapers but the authorities took cognizance of it, and warrants were issued for the arrest of sundry persons, including Howe and his secretary. The latter was arrested and tried before Judge Kane, and acquitted. No bill was found against Howe. Hertz, who had obtained the money from Howe and some other money from his friends on the strength of the business he had undertaken, turned out to be a renegade, and after being tried for violating the laws of the United States, he made a confession implicating various persons, including the British consuls and the British minister himself.

At a somewhat critical period of Howe's efforts, the finishing stroke in the way of opposition came from Halifax. A man named William Condon, who held office as a gauger in the customs department, was president of the Charitable Irish Society. It is, perhaps, fitting to state here that during the progress of the war in the Crimea there were unmistakable tokens in Halifax of sympathy with the Russians on the part of a considerable portion of the Irish Catholic population. Indeed, it is asserted upon fairly good authority that meetings were held in which Great Britain and her actions in respect to the war were denounced, and that a league was formed to give effect to these hostile views. Condon was suspected of having more or less sympathy and cooperation with this movement. Howe had some success in obtaining recruits, and a number of men came to Halifax for this purpose, among others a body of Irish Catholics. Whether these men were influenced after their arrival in Halifax or not, the fact remains that it was alleged on their behalf that they had been induced to come to Nova Scotia upon the pledge of work upon the railway. As no work was provided for them, they were in a condition of destitution, and Condon sent to an Irish newspaper published in New York, where Howe then was, a telegram couched in the following terms: "Sixty Irishmen entrapped in Boston as railway labourers sent here for the foreign legions. Publish and circulate this.—Wm. Condon, Pres. C.I.S." The effect of the publication of this was to compel Howe to leave immediately, which he did, and returned to Halifax after two anxious months in the United States, where his efforts had' secured about nine hundred men in spite of all the difficulties encountered. It can be easily imagined that he was not in a very pleasant humour towards the Irish population on his return to the province.

In 1855 the term of the legislature expired, and it became necessary to have a general election. Howe had not returned from his mission in the United States when the campaign opened throughout the province. It was not believed that his seat in Cumberland was in any danger, and therefore he did not hasten his return with any sense that his presence was necessary in Cumberland county. But it happened that in this election the candidate against him was a certain local doctor named Charles Tupper, who thus for the first time appears upon the political scene in Nova Scotia, in which he afterwards played such a conspicuous part, and for many years later a still more commanding part in the larger arena of federal affairs. Local tradition thus records the circumstances under which Mr. Howe and Dr. Tupper first met in the political arena. It has been already mentioned that Howe was called upon to contest a bye-election in Cumberland in 1852, and it is related that in one of his public gatherings in that county, after he had finished his address, Dr. Tupper, short of stature and then of slender form, came forward and demanded the right to reply. This was received with laughter and jeers by Howe's friends. Mi*. Howe was, as always, disposed to be generous, so he arose and said: "Let us hear the little doctor by all means. I would not be any more affected by anything he might say than by the mewing of yonder kitten," pointing to a cat which was perched upon a fence near by. Having thus secured the right to speak, Dr.' Tupper came forward and plunged at once into a vigorous onslaught in the same trenchant style which characterized him until the latest period of his political career. A gentleman present at the meeting, who was then in political sympathy with Howe, was so far affected by Tupper's vigorous criticisms that he made the remark that "it was possible that Howe would find this little doctor a cat that would scratch his eyes out." The prediction was soon enough fulfilled. At the general election of 1855, Dr. Tupper received the Conservative nomination as a candidate for the county of Cumberland, and conducted his campaign with such force that when the votes were counted it was found that Tupper and his Conservative colleagues were elected, and Howe and his colleagues had been defeated. This was Howe's first defeat in a political election. Mr. Young's government had been handsomely sustained and had a large majority in the new House, and Mr. Howe would retain his office as chairman of the railway board. His defeat, therefore, did not affect in any way his pecuniary prospects, but it was an unexpected and unpleasant incident. He accepted his failure, however, good-naturedly, and attributed it to the fact that he was too late in getting into the county owing to his absence abroad.

During the session of 1856 Howe was not in his accustomed place in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, and it is needless to say that his absence created a great gap. No figure, indeed, could be more missed by the occupants of the galleries. For twenty years he had been the most conspicuous figure in the legislative halls, bringing every variety of genius to bear upon the stirring questions discussed, and it did seem a strange incident to find public discussions going forward in the assembly with no "Joe" Howe to enliven them. In 1856, after the session, Mr. L. M. Wilkins was appointed a judge of the supreme court. His place as provincial secretary was taken by Mr. W. A. Henry, at that time solicitor-general, and Mr. A. G. Archibald became solicitor-general and a member of the executive. Mr. Wilkins's seat in Hants county thereby became vacant, and Howe was presented with a requisition signed by leading men of both political parties asking him to become the representative of that county in the House of Assembly. He accepted, and was returned by acclamation. Once again, therefore, Mr. Howe was in his place as a member of the assembly.

But striking events were to occur before he took his seat in the session of 1857. During the summer of 1856 riots had occurred on the railway. It appears that a body of Irish Catholics had made a savage attack upon the shanty of one Gourley, situated on the line of railway under construction. It is rot necessary to enter into details of the outrage, but unquestionably it was a savage and brutal attack, and a reign of terror was inaugurated. The reason alleged for this attack upon Gourley's shanty was that the owner had made some observations reflecting upon certain tenets and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. The outbreak was not entirely confined to the attack upon Gourley's shanty, but other riots and terrorizing acts were alleged to have been perpetrated by the Irish Catholics employed on the work, and they had given out threats that no Protestant should be allowed employment. Howe, as chairman of the railway board, had proceeded to make personal investigations and take proceedings to bring the rioters to justice, and to secure peace and order along the line, and in pursuit of this he had encountered much that was irritating and calculated to excite deep indignation.

It happened that on the afternoon of his return from this tour a public meeting was held in Halifax for the purpose of considering the presentation of an address to Mr. John F. Crampton, the British minister at Washington, who had been summarily dismissed from that post by the president of the United States, solely and entirely on account of his connection with the foreign enlistment business with which Mr. Howe had been actively associated.1 The people of Nova Scotia at large were in

1 Early ill 1856 a long discussion took place in the British House of Commons on the conduct of Mr. Crampton in respect of foreign enlistment, in the course of which Mr. Gladstone made a speech attacking Crampton, and incidentally reflecting on Mr. Howe. The latter at once addressed an open letter to Mr. Gladstone, in which he resented his imputations and ably defended himself. Only an extract or two can be quoted:—" Presuming on the advantage which fine talents and elevated station confer, you* ventured to take unwarrantable liberties with a stranger's name and reputation; to speak in his absence of a British American gentleman, whose only offence was obedience to his sovereign and zeal for the honour of his country, in terms of sarcasm and reproach, which, I shall presently show, were undeserved from any Englishman, and least of all from the honourable member for Oxford. . . . The responsibility for what I did, whatever it was, has been assumed by the Queen's government and ministers, and after full discussion of the subject in all its bearings, has been sustained by parliament. By what rule is it, therefore, that Mr. Gladstone, a single member of the cabinct under whose authority and instructions I was employed, ventures to arraign my conduct, or shake himself clear of the responsibility of my proceedings? If 'this Howe' has done wrong, 'that Gladstone,' no less than Mr. Sydney Herbert, his friend and colleague, whose despatch was my sole warrant and authority, must share the blame."

Mr. Gladstone, after reading Mr. Howe's letter, sent him a note, in which he very generously withdrew his reflections, and made the amende honorable. Mr. Howe never received any remuneration from the Imperial government for his disagreeable and dangerous services in connection with Foreign Enlistment.

Sympathy with Mr. Crampton and believed that he had been unfairly and harshly dealt with by the American authorities. Knowing that Mr. Crampton was to pass through Halifax on his way to England, a public meeting of the citizens had been called to consider the propriety of presenting an address to him. No political hue was given to this meeting. Leading men of both political parties attended and expressed their opinion freely that Mr. Crampton had been made a victim of American sympathy with Russia. The war by this time was over and peace had been established. The meeting proceeded in its usual way. A resolution was moved by Mr. Henry Pryor that a complimentary address be presented to Mr. Crampton expressing the cordial sympathy of Nova Scotians. This was seconded by Mr. Peter Lynch, Q.C.

At this point a note of opposition was heard, and it came from a representative of the Irish Catholics present at the meeting. Howe had taken no active part in the meeting up to this point, but when he observed this fresh outbreak of anti-British feeling among the Irish population, he felt that the time had arrived when some one should take the responsibility of speaking out in plain and unmistakable terms. This action on Howe's part was not that of a judicious politician, or a successful opportunist ; indeed a thorough politician would have done nothing of the kind, but in Howe's action on that day and for the months that succeeded it, one may. read clearly the type and character of his manhood. He was fresh from the scene of Irish Catholic rioting and terrorism on the railway. He still remembered the outbursts of hostility to Great Britain by a portion of the Irish population in Halifax, and he had not ceased to smart under what he conceived to be the disloyal and hostile treatment he had received from the hands of Mr. Condon while endeavouring to advance the interests of the empire in a foreign country. His just indignation was thoroughly aroused, and with the courage always characteristic of his every movement, he threw discretion to the winds and arose in this meeting and delivered a speech in which in clean cut terms he denounced the insidious disloyalty of a portion of the Irish population and gave it to be distinctly understood that, at whatever cost or sacrifice, he intended that the loyal British people of this province should join issue squarely with those who were the undisguised enemies of the empire. He went further and stated that the Protestant sentiment of this country should be tested as to whether a band of Irish ruffians should undertake to terrorize Protestant citizens in the discharge of their duties on the public works of this country.

This action on the part of Mr. Howe, as will be easily understood, created a deep and bitter feeling in the community. Two-fifths of the population of the city of Halifax were Roman Catholics, and an overwhelming portion of the Catholic population was Irish, and to add to the piquancy of the incident it must be borne in mind that a substantial majority of this Irish Catholic population had been devoted to Howe in his great agitation for popular government, and had supported him with zeal and ardour in all his election contests in the city and county of Halifax. The immediate effect of Howe's speech was a violent outburst of feeling on the part of the Irish Catholic population, voiced through their organ, The Catholic. An opportunity of retreat was, perhaps, presented to him. He had made his speech from sudden impulse, and therefore reflection might have suggested to him the propriety of withdrawing many of his vigorous and offensive words and securing peace. But no such course was characteristic of the man. His speech was succeeded by letter after letter in the Morning Chronicle, in which in terms still more vigorous he declared that he would never cease until it became distinctly and thoroughly understood in Nova Scotia who was to rule, the loyal English population or a band of disloyal Irish Catholics, who undertook to mob people for the expression of their religious convictions.

What course would have been adopted by the Conservative party at this moment if Johnston only had had control of the political movements of his party must be a matter of conjecture. Undoubtedly many leading Conservatives in Halifax were in secret sympathy with Howe in his crusade, and Johnston himself was scarcely the type of man that would have cared to have attained power by a league between his party and the Irish Catholic population. But although in the legislature only one session, Charles Tupper had become the leading and dominant spirit of the opposition. Upon the instant that this quarrel between Howe and the Irish Catholic population had arisen, Tupper saw the chance of utilizing the incident for defeating the government and coming into power. He accordingly took prompt advantage of the occasion persistently and relentlessly to encourage the controversy and help to widen the breach. As the professed champion of civil and religious liberty, he became the vindicator of the rights of the Irish Catholic population. The session of 1857 was approaching, and the public began to speculate with profound interest as to what would be the outcome of this quarrel in respect to the government of the day.

As Howe was not then a member of the government, and as William Young, the premier, had said and done nothing in respect to the Irish Catholic population, and no member of his government was in the slightest degree directly concerned in Howe's quarrel, it may be reasonably asked why this emeute should in any way affect the fortunes of the government The answer is very simple. Howe at that moment occupied such a commanding place in the public eye and was regarded as such a supreme factor in the counsels of his party that it was impossible to dis-associate his political party from any public action of his. Howe held office under the government as chief commissioner of railways. The Morning Chronicle, which was his organ in this controversy, as well as the leading organ of the Liberal party in the province, was owned and controlled by Mr. William Annand, a member of the legislature and holding the office of queen's printer under the government. Dr. Tupper was very particular to have the question constantly protruded: "If you are not in sympathy with Mr. Howe and Mr. Annand in their crusade against our Roman Catholic citizens, why do you retain them in office?" Prior to the meeting of the legislature, Mr. William Condon, who has been mentioned as a foremost factor in these political religious disturbances, had been dismissed from his office as gauger in the customs department, and every one felt that it was almost impossible for the government to have pursued any other course, considering the fact that he was day after day writing offensively in respect to Mr. Howe, and on lines calculated to damage the political party with which Howe was associated.

When the House met the crisis came. Some time previously Mr. Michael Tobin had resigned his seat in the government. He was an Irish Catholic, and related by marriage to Mr. William Young. Just as the House was meeting another Catholic member of the government resigned, as did also Mr. W. A. Henry, who, although not a Catholic himself, represented the county of Sydney (now Antigonish), the population of which was seven-eighths Roman Catholic. An amendment to the address was moved by Mr. Johnston in terms which made it practically a vote of want of confidence, and this was carried on a division of twenty-eight to twenty-two, every Catholic supporter of the government but one voting with Mr. Johnston. In the debates which were continued for a number of days in the House of Assembly, Howe became the central figure of the discussion, and never in his whole political career did he exhibit greater heroism and greater disregard for consequences than in this struggle. Usually it had been his fortune to have an enthusiastic crowd of friends in the gallery, who applauded all his efforts in the direction of popular government. During this debate the preponderating element in the galleries was drawn from the Irish Catholic population, and when Howe arose to speak every effort was made to disconcert him by hostile demonstrations, and the speaker and other members of the House were compelled to threaten constantly to clear the galleries. But Howe maintained his position with rare good nature, and uttered his views with a boldness altogether foreign to a man in political life. His own position was at stake, as well as that of the members of the government. He was then, as at all times, poor and without means of support for his family outside of his employment as a public man, but he declared In the plainest terms that if the government were defeated on the issue then before the House he would not hold office another hour. An extract from one of his speeches in this session will serve to indicate the Spartan manner in which he faced the situation:—

"Let me say, sir, in the face of this legislature— in the presence of those who have known me both in public and private life for upwards of thirty years, that no inducement, however strong, no lure, however tempting, could provoke me to persecute any man or body of men on account of religion— and although, for purposes which it is not difficult to understand, some parties are attempting to propagate this trash now—the time will come when the principles which have guided my public career for thirty years, will be recognized and discerned by my actions to-day. I claim equal justice for myself, I claim equal justice for every Catholic in the country. Turn to your journals—to your reports—to the pages of the public prints, and you will everywhere see my footprints. It may be that the pressure brought to bear on some of my friends may induce them to desert their ancient standard, believing that something is to be gained or achieved by going into opposition. A word or two to these gentlemen, and but a word—I do not come here to explain or apologize. What is writ is writ and what is said is said.

"Throughout a long political life—throughout a long parliamentary career, I have been true to the friends with whom I started—to the principles which I entertained. The time may come, I say, when some of these friends may desert me and their party—some may do it willingly, but others will do it most reluctantly. When the new administration is formed, Mr. Howe's office will be at its disposal. He will take his seat on these benches an independent member—will say that which he believes to be true, and do that which he believes to be right. And, sir, all-the combinations which can be formed will never coerce or intimidate me, confident that the heart and soul of Nova Scotia is with me in this struggle."

Mr. Johnston, it is but fair to mention, in opening the attack upon the government, scarcely referred to the racial and religious phase of the discussion. He based his demand for the downfall of the government upon its incapacity and total failure to conduct the public affairs with efficiency. It comported best with his policy that he should get all the Irish Catholic votes on an issue other than that of race and religion. It was entirely needless that he should plunge into a discussion of the racial question when assured that the votes would come to him precisely as well on the public issues as on the real issue.

Johnston succeeded in forming his government, he becoming leader and attorney-general with Tupper as provincial secretary. Howe's next business, therefore, was to secure the downfall of this administration, and for the next two years he devoted himself without respite to the task of inflaming the people and keeping the issue which he had raised well to the front. The general elections came on in 1859. Howe contested Hants county, and was triumphantly returned, as also a small majority of Liberals, enough to secure a majority of four or five on division. By this time the Catholic question had subsided to a considerable extent, and one of the principal matters to be determined at this election, as there were no grave issues of public policy at stake, was—which of two veteran lawyers was to receive the appointment of chief justice of Nova Scotia. Sir Brenton Halliburton, who had been chief justice for many years, was long past eighty, and infirm, and it was quite well known that he could not continue on the bench very much longer. If the government were sustained, the office would go to J. W. Johnston, who thoroughly deserved it for his long and brilliant record in the political field as well as his splendid career in the forensic field. If, however, the government were defeated, this great prize would fall to William Young.

Although it was manifest that a majority of opposition members had been returned, Johnston did not resign, but continued in office and met the House. During the session of 1860, Dr. Tupper made a brave and splendid fight for existence. It proved, hopeless, however, and a vote of want of confidence was passed, and Johnston retired. Mr. Young was called upon to form an administration. For some reason, probably an indisposition to seek re-election in Cumberland, he took no department, but simply the position of president of the council. Howe was provincial secretary, Mr. A. G. Archibald attorney-general, and Mr. Annand financial secretary. In a few months Young accepted the office of chief justice, at last vacant, and Howe became for the first time premier of the province.

Howe and his government continued in office until the general election of 1863, but little pertains to this administration which is of historical importance to Nova Scotia, or adds anything to Howe's reputation. As a matter of fact, Howe had long since outgrown his provincial ambitions, and yearned for wider horizons and a larger sphere of action. Devoted as he was to the empire, and conscious of having rendered great service, he cherished the dream that he would sooner or later receive tokens of appreciation in the way of imperial employment. The greatest of men have their weaknesses, and Howe, with all his intellectual power, was not devoid of personal vanity nor free from the corroding influence of a towering ambition. In 1854, when only fifty years of age, he talked about bidding farewell to political life, and it was probably with greatly diminished enthusiasm that he battled for two years in opposition for the purpose of restoring his party to power, and it was also probably with scant joy that he resumed his place in the provincial administration. In 1860 his colleagues appear to have become aware of Howe's great yearning for an imperial post, as the records of the executive council board witness. Before Mr. Young retired to the bench, a minute of council was passed, setting forth Mr. Howe's strong claims to imperial recognition, which was, no doubt, forwarded through the lieutenant-governor to the colonial secretary.

No imperial position, however, immediately came. The history of imperial policy in relation to the colonies indicates what would seem to an ordinary person a short-sighted policy in respect of making use of the talents of distinguished men in the outlying portions of the empire. Knighthoods are bestowed freely, sometimes a baronetcy, but positions in the imperial service rarely. Patronage probably plays as large a part in the imperial as in colonial governments, and ministers have their hands full in providing posts and employment for friends of the party within the kingdom.

Early in 1863 an opening came. Mr. Perley of St. John, who had been appointed fishery commissioner on behalf of Great Britain for carrying out the provisions of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854, died while in Newfoundland on fishery business, and Howe was selected as his successor. The appointment was made early in the year with the understanding that the active duties should not be taken up by Howe until somewhat later in the season. This was necessary inasmuch as Howe was still leader of the government and a general election was at hand, and the fortunes of the party seemed anything but bright at that moment. As has already been remarked, a great genius is not always a successful party leader, and Howe encountered many difficulties in the three years during which he had control of provincial affairs in Nova Scotia. The government majority was 'extremely narrow. His lieutenants in the House did not at that stage render very effective support in public debate. Johnston was, of course, the leader of the opposition, but the moving, animating and inspiring figure was Dr. Tupper, who gave no rest day or night to a government manifestly sinking in popular favour. During the session previous to the election of 1863, Dr. Tupper brought forward a famous " Retrenchment Scheme," whereby he proposed, in order to have more money at the disposal of the government for public sendees, to cut down the salary of nearly every official in the government employ, thereby saving sixty or seventy thousand dollars a year. It was a mere political device, but it served its purpose with the electorate. The elections took place in May, 1863, and out of a House of fifty-five, only thirteen Liberals were elected. Howe himself was among the slain. The situation appearing quite satisfactory in the county of Hants, Howe was induced to become a candidate in the county of Lunenburg. Tupper, who had the good fortune to be elected by acclamation in the county of Cumberland, started straight for Lunenburg and pursued Howe steadily for a week, with the result that Howe and his colleagues were defeated by large majorities. A new government was formed, Johnston becoming leader with the department of attorney-general, and Tupper resuming his old department of provincial secretary. During the first session of the new legislature, 1864, an act was passed creating a judge in equity for the express purpose of retiring Mr. Johnston, thus clearing the way for Tupper, who assumed the leadership. Events of the most far-reaching character followed the formation of this administration, but these must be dealt with in another chapter.


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