M994X.5.273.37 | The Happy Pair

The Happy Pair
A. P. Inglis
1886, 19th century
Ink on newsprint - Photoengraving
31.5 x 25.3 cm
Gift of Dr. Raymond Boyer
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , politics (general) (2228) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

Hon. Joseph Howe had relinquished his efforts in favor of the Repeal of Confederation after the rejection of the petition sent to England by the Nova Scotians, and had expressed a formal acceptance of the Union, prior to becoming a member of the Dominion Cabinet. This was exceedingly distasteful to his former Repeal allies in Nova Scotia, two of whom, Messrs. Wilkins and Annand, are represented in the cartoon. Mr. Howe's change of base was attributed to self interest in some quarters; the artist in turn assigns jealousy as the motive of his opponents. (Excerpt from: Bengough, John Wilson. A Caricature History of Canadian Politics: Events from the Union of 1841, as Illustrated by Cartoons from "Grip", and Various Other Sources. Toronto: The Grip Printing and Publishing Co, 1886.)

Cartoon originally published in Diogenes, March 26th, 1869

First published in March 1869, this cartoon illustrates an important political change that was taking place in Nova Scotia. Joseph Howe (1804-1873), one of the most influential leaders of the province's anti-Confederation movement, had just switched sides to join Prime Minister John A. Macdonald's federal party.

Howe is depicted kneeling in front of Sir John A. Macdonald like a man kneeling before his new bride. Given the Nova Scotian's reluctance to concede defeat of the anti-confederation movement, Macdonald had scored a political tour de force by persuading Howe to join the ranks of his federal party in 1868. He promised him more money for Nova Scotia as well as a seat in his cabinet.

In this cartoon, the two men portrayed whispering behind Howe and Macdonald had, not long before, fought alongside Howe in opposition to the Confederation project. The men appear frustrated and jealous that Howe changed camps and won election into federal politics.

  • What

    This cartoon first appeared in the humour magazine Diogenes, published in Montreal between 1868 and 1870 by engraver and designer John Henry Walker (1831-1899).

  • Where

    The cabinet is the political body in charge of defining the government's policies and priorities. It also provides a link between the legislative and executive branches of government.

  • When

    When this engraving was published, Joseph Howe had just entered the Dominion's cabinet as president of the Privy Council.

  • Who

    William Annand (1808-1887) and Martin Isaac Wilkins (1804-1881), the two men shown whispering behind Joseph Howe, fought against Confederation in Nova Scotia. The first of the two men, William Annand, was owner of the Morning Chronicle newspaper that published Joseph Howe's Botheration Letters (1865), an anonymous series of articles denouncing the Confederation project.