I-16720.1 | Hon. J. Howe, Montreal, QC, 1865

Hon. J. Howe, Montreal, QC, 1865
William Notman (1826-1891)
1865, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
8.5 x 5.6 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

In the course of his career, Joseph Howe was a journalist, public servant, Nova Scotia Premier, federal cabinet minister and Lieutenant-Governor of his native province. He was also one of the moving forces behind the construction of a railway in Nova Scotia.

In 1864, Howe was the former Premier of Nova Scotia and an opponent of the Quebec Resolutions that were to become the foundation of the Confederation proposal. Since his position at the time did not allow him to express his concerns publicly, Howe published a series of anonymous articles in Halifax's Morning Chronicle in 1865. Titled the Botheration Letters, these articles drew a link between Confederation and a range of problems. Howe maintained that the Quebec Resolutions would strip Nova Scotia of its independence and devastate its economy, most notably through increased tariffs and import taxes that would raise costs on manufactured goods. Moreover, he could not envision the various populations of the federation uniting into a single "nation." But above all, Howe believed that Nova Scotians had the right to decide for themselves whether or not to join the federal union.

Premier Charles Tupper made no attempt to consult the population before convincing the Nova Scotia Legislature to adopt the Quebec Resolutions in 1866. In response, Howe re-entered the Nova Scotia political arena and, for the next two years, opposed the union project by delivering numerous speeches and leading a delegation to England. Despite his efforts, the British North America Act was adopted in 1867. The following year, Howe returned to England with a Nova Scotia delegation determined to win repeal of the Act that had brought Confederation into being. That effort failed.

  • What

    This photograph was taken in the Montreal studios of celebrated photographer William Notman. Several photos of well-known people, such as Joseph Howe, were sold to the general public.

  • Where

    Following the Quebec Conference in 1864, most of Nova Scotia's ruling class were opposed to the seventy-two proposed resolutions.

  • When

    Some people believe that Joseph Howe's Botheration Letters (1865), published anonymously in the Morning Chronicle, were a major influence on public opinion in Nova Scotia.

  • Who

    Joseph Howe served as Nova Scotia Premier from 1860 to 1862, and leader of Nova Scotia's anti-Confederation movement until 1868.