Hosted by
CraigBaird

Once again, I scoured what I could online, but there was little information and most of it just repeated what other sources stated.

After Annand resigned as premier of Nova Scotia, Philip Carteret Hill succeeded him as premier of Nova Scotia, becoming the third premier of the province in the previous eight years.

Like his predecessors, despite holding the position of premier, his time in power was relatively unimpressive.

Philip Carteret Hill was born on Aug. 13, 1821 in Halifax to Nicholas and Hannah Hill. His father Captain Nicholas Hill had come to Halifax with the Royal Staff Corps in 1815, and three years later married Hannah Binney. Her ancestors had helped establish Halifax itself and one of her cousins was the first elected mayor of Halifax, while her second cousin was the Bishop of Nova Scotia.

When Philip was a child, his father left the family to go to Boston to learn how to operate a bank. When he returned, he became the manager of the Halifax Banking Company. In his work, he began working closely with several well-known businessmen and politicians.

After his regular schooling, Philip became a stellar student at King’s College in Windsor and in 1844 was called to the bar. Despite being able to practice law, he never chose to.

In Halifax, Hill was known for helping the poor and working on community causes. This included serving as the first president of the Nova Scotian Institute of Natural Science.

In 1850, he married Maragret Collins, daughter of Enos Collins, who served in the Legislature and founded the Halifax Banking Company, which later became the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

From 1861 to 1864, he served as the mayor of Halifax, during which time he was recommended to be knighted but nothing came of this.

He entered into provincial politics in 1867 as a supporter of Confederation, serving briefly as the provincial secretary of the provincial government. As for why he was chosen so quickly for a cabinet post, it was because most of the high level members of the party went to federal politics.

He then lost his seat in the 1867 election that proved to be a disaster for the Conservatives.

Hill returned to the Legislature in 1870 through a by-election by running as a Liberal-Conservative, and winning by 14 votes. There were allegations he won through corrupt practices of his workers. He then lost his seat in 1871, but once again returned to the Legislature in 1874. This time, despite being a Conservative at the start of his political career, he ran as a Liberal.

The same time he made it back into the legislature, Hill purchased The Cunard Estate, which was a huge lot measuring 2,000 feet of water frontage with a lot depth of 3,500. It had been built in 1864 by William Cunard, who was part of the family that owned the Cunard Shipping Line. Hill lived in the home until 1878.

In his first speech in the Legislature, he stated that political passions ran high in Nova Scotia.

For his defection from the Conservatives, he was met with taunts from the Conservatives in and out of the house. He was constantly attacked verbally in the Legislature by Conservatives such as Simon Holmes, Avard Longly and Douglas Woodworth.

Unable to match the anger towards him, he often replied in short, factual and reasoned speeches. Despite these limitations, he served as the provincial secretary from 1874 to 1878.

In 1875, when Annand stepped down, Hill was chosen to succeed him as the premier of Nova Scotia. He was chosen because he told party members there was nothing within the Liberal Party that he did not support due to the Confederation issue now fading from prominence. Many questioned why a Conservative now led the Liberals, but for Hill he likely saw the Liberals as the only path for success for himself after his losses as a Conservative. In the end, 25 of 38 Liberals in the party chose him to be leader.

At the time, the Liberals were in power federally under Alexander Mackenzie and the party was becoming unpopular in Nova Scotia.

Hill was praised in Nova Scotia for the opening of government printing to tender. While that was a highlight, his effort to create a provincial university was less successful. Under his plan, denominational colleges would receive government grants for five years, while steps were taken to create a University of Halifax. The Conservatives were very much against this, and his efforts failed.

Like Annand, Hill tried to make progress in railway construction but failed in this regard. He attempted to further the construction of the Eastern Extension Railway from New Glasgow to Cape Breton. Hill offered proposes for a start on the lines, but these failed to gain support in the Legislature.

By 1877, the finances of the province were in bad shape due to an economic downturn that began in 1875. At the same time, the better terms payments negotiated by Joseph Howe ten years previous, amounting to $82,968 per year to the province, ended on July 1, 1877.

Hill spoke with Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie and told him that the loss of those funds would force Nova Scotia to directly tax its residents. The federal government offered no help in this situation.

In order to save money, Hill brought up the idea of a maritime Union. The other two provinces and Newfoundland though, had no interest in this.

To continue to save money, he reduced the number of ministers from five to four but this was criticized for saving only $2,000 per year.

In the 1878 election, the Liberal Party suffered a terrible defeat, losing 12 seats to fall to eight as the Conservatives returned to power. In the election, Hill lost his seat, losing by 700 votes to Charles MacDonald.

After his career in politics was over, he moved to England in 1882 and began to publish theological pamphlets.

He passed away on Sept. 15, 1894 in England.

Information from Biographi, Canadian Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, Nova Scotians at Home and Abroad, Halifax Urban Greenway Heritage Walk

Liked it? Take a second to support CraigBaird on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

More from this show

Canadian History Ehx

Recent posts

%d bloggers like this: