The Influence of Absentee Landlordism on the Development of Municipal Government in 19th Century St. John's


Melvin Baker (c)1985

Originally published in the Newfoundland Quarterly, vol. LXXXI, no. 2 (Fall 1985), 19-25

The urban and municipal development of St. John's in the 19th century differed greatly from that of other British North American towns and cities. Although often promoted as North America's oldest city, it did not receive local self-government until 1888. This was long after that boon had been obtained in comparable Maritime centers such as Saint John (1785), Halifax (1841) and Charlottetown (1855).

St. John's municipal development was affected by the adverse influence of British absentee landlords, who owned much of the valuable commercial and residential land in the town, especially in the Water Street commercial district fronting the harbour. This influence can be seen in the shaping of St. John's street patterns and physical growth, regulations governing building, property assessments levied to pay for local services, and even in the formation of municipal institutions themselves.

Of particular concern was the failure of the Newfoundland legislature to tax successfully the annual ground rents from land in St. John's held by absentee landlords and the consequent failure to make such absentees pay their share of municipal taxation. Tenants were, as might be expected, bitterly resentful of this situation and were as well angered that the value of land in the town was constantly being raised without contribution from the absentees. This situation was of considerable significance in the development of St. John's, for the system of land tenure not only discouraged the imposition of property taxes but also worked against the establishment of municipal government.

The estates of the absentee landlords dated from the 18th and early 19th centuries. While some had been established without entitlement on the basis of undisturbed occupancy, others had been formed through land grants made by the governors and through purchase of land titles from military officials and civilians who had originally owned the land. The Newman plantation, which took in land on both Water and Duckworth Streets, was one example. Other estates - the Keen, Stripling, Ellis, and Brooks holdings are examples - developed out of land grants made by various governors in the 1760s and 1770s to public officials and civilians for their services to the Crown. In one instance, John Stripling, a publican and a captain of a local militia company, had been able to acquire large tracts of land in the eastern section of the town which extended from Water Street northward along the eastern side of Cochrane Street to Military Road. While some landowners retained title, others, especially officers and soldiers of the garrison, sold their land to the Scottish and English merchants who were then setting up establishments in St. John's. The land situation in the town became more complex in the early 1880s when the Crown made much of the remaining unoccupied land available to individuals on 21-year leases. (1)

As might be expected, the absentee landlords operated through local agents in St. John's, who negotiated the terms of building leases for them. These agents, such as Thomas Bulley Job who, in 1852 represented the estate belonging to Martha Ann Kean of East Teignmouth, County of Devon in England, (2) were also responsible for the collection of ground rents from leaseholders. The amount of annual ground rents the absentees received from their St. John's properties is not known, but according to an 1882 report of the legislature on land tenure in St. John's, they earned annually $65,610 from the rental of land on the south side of Water Street alone. (3) Government leaders of the day estimated the total at between one and two hundred thousand dollars for all of St. John's. (4) What is not clear is the extent to which, especially in the area above Water Street, agents merely acted on behalf of the absentees, or to which the agents themselves acquired land on which to build. Since they were often prominent merchants and lawyers, they were probably able to serve their own interests as well as those of the absentees they represented. Certainly many were men of substance active in commercial and political circles. As examples, we might cite the case of Newman Hoyles, who in the 1830s was Colonial Treasurer, member of the House of Assembly for Fortune Bay, and local agent for the West Country Newman interests (5); or that of Premier William Whiteway who with his law partner represented the Clapp estate. (6) In 1890 the mercantile agents and their absentee clients included Henry J. Stabb (the Brooks and Bulley estates), R. H. Prowse (the Stripling, Taylor, Twysden, Robert Keen, and McLea holdings), and George T. Rendell (the Studdy, Kean, Tucker, and Adams properties). (7)

It is not surprising that the absentees, through their agents, opposed the imposition of any direct taxation on their property; nor should we expect that they would have had any real interest in the improvement of St. John's or of the colony as a whole. With only a reversionary interest in the buildings erected on their land, they should not, they argued, be assessed for property which brought them no profit during the life of a lease. Their only possible gain from general improvements in St. John's would be to justify higher ground rents at the expiration of leases - but this was a distant prospect and one that might be easily offset by property tax. (8)

Nevertheless, landlord-tenant relations were not completely weighted in favour of the landlord. Unlike the practice in England where a tenant was legally required to rebuild if a fire destroyed his premises, custom and legal precedents had created in St. John's a system whereby a tenant's lease was terminated if a fire destroyed his premises. Given the frequency of fires in the congested town of predominantly frame construction, this custom was well-suited to local conditions and had the advantage, Chief Justice Sir Frederick B. T. Carter noted in April, 1893, that there was "infinitely more equity in its sustainment than in the rigorous application of the principle of the English law, which compels a tenant to pay for what he does not enjoy, and of which he has been deprived by a destructive element that he could not control." This advantage for tenants, nevertheless, was more than offset by the fact that, in case of fire, they were bound by their leases to notify their landlords within a certain number of days, usually ten, whether or not they wished to surrender their leases. (9)

Before 1833, St. John's municipal government was notable for the absence of any property assessments to pay for local services. Rather, the funds came from voluntary public subscriptions and from the licensing of taverns and the leasing of Crown land. (10) Several attempts were made to have a property tax for St. John's, but to no avail. In part, its absence can be explained by the nature of the Newfoundland economy and the preeminent role of the town as the commercial entrepot of the island's fisheries. Unlike many other cities, the fortunes of St. John's rose and fell with one industry, the fishery. A succession of bad fisheries invariably meant economic depression in the town, which, in turn, frequently resulted in both bankruptcy for the merchant and emigration to the North American mainland for fishermen and labourers. (11) Such a precarious economic system naturally made it difficult for St. John's to establish a broad taxation base for the maintenance of local institutions, especially with the wealth of the town concentrated in the small, Water Street based mercantile and shopkeeping portion of the population.

Within this fragile urban economy, property owners in St. John's had had no difficulty in resisting the imposition of assessments, a position which was strongly endorsed by the absentee landlords and their local agents. Attempts by residents to impose such assessments - for instance, in 1819 (12) and 1826 - resulted in strong divisions within the business community over the ability of residents to pay. In 1826 an initiative by Governor Sir Thomas Cochrane, that would give St. John's its own government, had to be abandoned when property owners argued over whether the poverty of inhabitants and the consequent difficulty of collecting assessments from them would make any such system of government tenable. (13) Consequently, Governor Cochrane adopted an alternate means of paying for both St. John's and Newfoundland services in general. This was an increase in the existing duty on rum and spirits and an ad valorem duty placed on all goods imported into the colony. (14) This system of indirect taxation was continued by the colonial legislature after the establishment of Representative Government in 1832.

Under this system of government, the colony held administrative and financial sway over the capital's institutions and services such as roads, law and order, poor relief, education, and medical attendance on the sick poor. Certain other services - fire protection, street lighting, and the water supply - were left to private enterprise. This system of governance was of obvious benefit to merchants and property owners who, in 1834, easily rejected a scheme for incorporation proposed in the House of Assembly by William Carson, a Scottish born doctor and Liberal member for St. John's. He wanted a corporation elected on a household franchise basis - the same as for election to the Assembly - which would derive revenue from assessments levied on the annual rents earned by owners from the letting of their land and their buildings in St. John's. (15)

Landlord-tenant relations shaped building regulations for the town. After 1833 the legislature was able to strike a compromise between the conflicting interest groups. At issue was the absentee desire to have substantial stone and brick buildings erected on their land on Water Street (16) and the tenant's wish to have a lease tenure longer than 21 years in return for the erection of such properties. This issue came to a head in 1833 because of a fire on July 7, which began in a frame house on the south side of Water Street. Before the fire was contained, it had spread to the north side of the street and had destroyed the premises of several firms and left over 50 families homeless. (17) The rebuilding legislation demanded by both merchants and property owners for stone or brick reconstruction on both sides of Water Street encountered strong opposition from the minority Liberal Party in the House of Assembly and was subsequently modified. The dispute was over the length of the leases tenants on the north side should receive under the proposed rebuilding plan. The Liberals argued that these tenants, mainly shopkeepers and publicans, could not afford to rebuild in the manner being sought by their mercantile neighbours across the street. (18)

Ultimately, the Assembly proposed a compromise: frame construction would be permitted on the north side; while on the south side leaseholders who rebuilt with stone or brick were to be given renewals of not less than 40 years. The Legislative Council at first insisted on stone or brick construction on both sides of Water Street, but conceded the right to frame construction on the north side in return for the removal from the legislation of the 40 year lease provision for those who built on the south side with stone or brick. (19) On the one hand, the Council had acted out of concern for the general trade of the colony, which greatly depended on the security of property stored in Water Street. On the other hand, it had protected the right of both local and absentee landlords to make contracts with their tenants without government interference. Following a fire in 1839, which destroyed much of the north side of Water Street, the legislature decided to enforce the stone or brick requirement there. (20) While the security of St. John's was uppermost in the minds of the legislators, the absentee landlords also stood to gain from this civic improvement through the increased value of their land.

That absentees contributed nothing financially towards the town's general improvement became a contentious issue following the fire of June 9, 1846, which destroyed much of St. John's. This conflagration burned over 2,000 buildings and left homeless 12,000 people, or 5710 of the town's total population. Total estimated property loss was 888,356 pounds, only 195,000 of which was later recovered through insurance. To pay for the rebuilding of the town, the legislature in 1846 passed a loan act asking the British Government for 250,000 pounds. This loan was to pay for the compensation that would inevitably follow the expropriation of private land for street widening in Water Street and Duckworth Street which ran parallel to it. To assist residents in erecting stone or brick buildings on both sides of the two main thoroughfares, the legislature proposed to make public grants available to defray the cost of construction. (21) The loan itself was to be repaid out of general revenue, because of a strong feeling among most members that the town itself could not, under the existing circumstances, shoulder such a large financial burden. (22)

The substantial rebuilding, which took place following the fire, was a great boon to the absentee landlords in particular, and their agents were quick to seize the moment as merchants competed for land along Water Street. (23) Indeed, land on the south side which, before the fire, had been let at 20s a foot was now being sold at between 3 pounds and 4 pounds a foot. Moreover, in the aftermath of the fire many absentee landlords acted to protect themselves from having to pay for the rebuilding of St. John's. (24) Specifically, they and their fellow resident landlords placed covenants in their leases obliging their tenants to pay any property tax, assessment or rate the colonial government or some future municipal corporation might levy on them. Tenants were also bound to construct on the leased land stone or brick buildings of specified dimensions. (25) To encourage tenants to put up substantial buildings, landlords now gave leases for long periods, often for 40 years. Throughout his tenure a tenant might be required to keep his premises in a certain state of repair, but might not at the end of the lease be entitled to any compensation for the improvements he had made if his landlord refused to renew his lease. This new system obviously worked against systematic local government, since the existence of the assessment covenant in a lease was a strong argument against any assessment on property at all.

This was certainly the case in December, 1846, when the legislature was reconvened after the Imperial Government had declined Newfoundland's request for a rebuilding loan, the former preferring that the colony secure the necessary funds on its own credit. To pay for street improvements, the legislature decided to raise a loan of 20,000 pounds on the security of the colonial revenue and to place a 10% duty on all imports passing through the port of St. John's. (26) In adopting these measures, the legislature rejected a suggestion in January, 1847, from Byran Robinson, a St. John's lawyer and legislative representative for Fortune Bay. His suggestion was for the legislature to enact special legislation to override the covenants absentee landlords had placed in their leases and make them contribute towards the town's improvement. These landlords "care nothing further about . . . (the town's improvement)," Robinson told the legislature, "provided they annually draw from (St. John's) a large amount of money in rents."

Robinson proposed a simple procedure to collect the assessment. A government official would contact local agents of the absentees to ascertain the amount of rentals which the agents collected on landed property in the town. A levy of a certain percentage would then be placed on the net proceeds of these rents. Under this proposed system of assessment, Robinson would exempt resident landowners because they would already have contributed to the general improvement of St. John's through the payment of the colonial duties. Robinson's resolution was defeated since the legislature needed more time to study further the full implications of such a levy. The resolution was, in any case, argued William B. Row, an absentee landlord agent, class legislation and a "direct interference with private contracts." (27)

Resentment toward the absentee landlords after the 1846 fire continued to smoulder beneath the surface of St. John's politics. By the mid-1850s the need to provide a water system and costly sewer services was pressing and it appeared that the imposition of some form of a property assessment would be the only means to provide them. (28) In 1858 Premier Philip Little, whose Liberal Administration had been the first elected under the responsible system of government introduced in 1855, proposed that these improvements be undertaken by the government. Little had already decided to abandon his earlier scheme to incorporate St. John's having succumbed to the protestations of merchants who feared that a household civic franchise would put control of the corporation beyond their grasp. (29) He did, however, propose that the new services be financed by an assessment or land tax to be levied on absentee landlords.

This was a version of Robinson's 1847 suggestion and, in making this proposal, Little had deliberately ignored a provision in the 1855 Royal Instructions ordering the Governor of Newfoundland not to assent to any bill passed by the local legislature that might prejudice the property of Imperial subjects. Little's land tax would operate in the following manner: the Stipendiary Magistrates would impose on the appraised annual value of landed property in St. John's and the annual rents collected from it a tax to create a fund not exceeding 2,000 pounds per annum. The land tax, however, would be paid by tenants who would deduct its amount from the rents they paid to ground landlords. Thus, Little hoped to construct new water works by raising a 7,500 pound loan and using the annual revenue from the land tax to pay the interest on the loan and for other improvements. (30) The land tax legislation easily passed both Houses, especially the Legislative Council which had a Liberal majority because of political appointments made in 1855. (31)

Little considered the proposed new tax "reasonable" and "just" because absentee landlords had benefited enormously from the expenditure of approximately 60,000 pounds the colonial government had made since 1846 on the rebuilding of St. John's. They had benefited directly from the financial compensation of 16,076 pounds the government had provided for land expropriated used for street improvements, (32) but they had also benefited from the general civic improvements which had accompanied reconstruction. As Robinson had proposed, local landlords were exempted because, as residents, they had already contributed to the colonial revenue as consumers of dutiable goods. Absentees, who had not sold any land to the government after the fire, or whose property had not been increased in value by the improvements which had been made to the town, were also exempted. The number of absentees in these categories is not known, but, with this tax to draw upon, Little was confident that St. John's would no longer be dependent on the colony for funds. (33)

Whitehall, however, thought otherwise, and when protests were heard from a number of absentee landlords the Newfoundland legislation was disallowed. Secretary of State for the Colonies, E. B. Lytton, wrote to Governor Sir Alexander Bannerman describing the legislation as a deliberate attempt to inflict "injustice on one particular class in the community." It was, he declared, an income tax imposed to favour immediately "resident occupiers" over "non-resident landowners." (34) Nevertheless, the following year legislation was again passed, preventing ground landlords from passing their share of any property assessments on to their tenants, covenants notwithstanding. This requirement encompassed resident as well as absentee landlords in the hope of mollifying the Imperial Government, but to no avail. (35) When the absentee landlords rose in protest once more, the Imperial Government acted on their behalf and disallowed the Newfoundland act. (36)

In 1863 the Conservative Government of Hugh Hoyles, elected in 1861, established a complex assessment system to pay for a new water service completed in 1863, and owned by the General Water Company, a local private joint stock company. In 1864 all property owners served by the Company were divided into categories on the basis of their property tenure, that is land or building owned, leased or simply occupied. This system was complemented by a sewerage assessment which added one-fifth to the water assessment to be paid by a property owner. (37) This assessment paid for the interest on a 15,000 pound loan the colony had been authorized to raise under the 1863 Sewerage Act in order to construct a better sewerage and drainage service for St. John's. Absentee landlords could, of course, pass this new impost and the water rate on to their tenants, but Hoyles considered this a small price to pay for needed civic improvements. The Government had chosen a 25-year period for the repayment of the sewerage loan because it was during the 1880s that many of the leases given by absentee landlords would expire. Thus, the 1863 legislation authorizing the loan ensured that its repayment in 1888 would be made by landowners who could not pass on their assessment responsibilities, future covenants notwithstanding. Under this proposal, all landowners, whether resident or absentee, would pay for the town's general improvement. (38)

After 1863 there was occasional debate among the public and legislators concerning the notion of a tax on absentee landlord ground rents, yet it was not until 1881 that the colony moved to examine the land tenure system in St. John's. In that year the legislature appointed a joint select committee of the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly that would also make recommendations about legislation which could be enacted to protect tenants in their future relations with landlords. (39) This protection would be necessary because many of the 40-year leases signed after the 1840s would expire, beginning in 1886. One leaseholder, who asked the agent of his absentee landlord for a lease extension, found that his ground rent would be increased from 92 pounds a year to 320 pounds a year. (40)

The Joint Select Committee, which included Premier William Whiteway, did an exhaustive study of the leases held by residents, concentrating on their existing and future obligations to their landlords. Most of the answers to the Committee's lengthy questionnaire stated that the tenants did not know how their landlords first obtained title to the land-a situation which was, doubtless, the result of the longevity of ownership by such landlords, and the fact that many court records concerning land tenure had been destroyed in the 1846 fire. In its Report to the legislature on May 13, 1882 the Committee dealt only with the land tenure on the south side of Water Street, where it estimated the purchase value of all waterside property at approximately $2,120,000. Because of this prohibitive cost, the legislature chose not to act on this Report, preferring instead to accept the Report's suggestion that "the whole subject . . . is one which it would be unwise to deal with until it has been maturely considered." (41)

The failure of the legislature to act prompted over 400 tenants in March, 1884 to form the Land Union Interest, to press for legislation in their favour. One of the leaders of the Land Union was a young Canadian-trained lawyer and aspiring Roman Catholic populist politician, St. John's native Edward Patrick Morris, who in 1885 would use the popularity gained from this issue to win election to the House of Assembly for St. John's. (42) Fearing that the absentee landlords would once more pressure them by demanding exhorbitantly high rents, Morris and his supporters suggested several alternatives available to the government: first, it could buy out the interests of the landlord; second, it could compel the landlord to sell the land to a tenant under a fair valuation; and third, it could force the landlord to fix a fair scale of rents and strike out the "obnoxious tax clauses" contained in the leases. (43) Whiteway was again reluctant to interfere with the rights of landlords to define their leases as they wished; (44) however, in 1885 he did propose a measure to relieve a pending financial burden on all landowners of St. John's, now that the loan raised under the 1863 Sewerage Act would have to be repaid in 1888. In order to avoid the special land assessment, the colony had to raise a new loan to pay off the old one. Tenants, too, had to be protected because the landlords would certainly include their assessments as part of higher rents they would charge once they negotiated new leases. (45)

In proposing to raise this new loan, Premier Whiteway also decided to borrow sufficient funds to construct an improved sewerage system and to pay for other costly services. These new services would be managed by a municipal board consisting of three government nominees and two members elected by St. John's residents on a household franchise basis. Whiteway justified a government majority on the board because the colony would have to both raise the proposed loan and guarantee the interest payments on it. The new civic board would take over the General Water Company and its taxation system, and would have the authority over street and sewer services which was vested in the colony. In effect, then, St. John's was finally to receive its own government, but this government was not to take the shape of the autonomous corporations found elsewhere. Instead, St. John's was to have what Whiteway described as a "hybrid system having the advantages without the drawbacks of incorporation." (46) However, facing a general election later in the year and the need to secure political support in St. John's, Whiteway withdrew the legislation because of strong opposition from the St. John's members who wanted a civic board with more electoral representation. (47)

Robert Thorburn's Government, which won the general election in 1885, also attempted without result in 1886 and 1887 to impose a similar system of municipal government on St. John's. (48) Finally, in 1888 Thorburn reached a compromise with the St. John's members and with the representatives of a local citizens' committee whereby a seven-member council would be established. Under the 1888 Municipal Act, the Municipal Council consisted of two government appointees and five members elected on a ward system based on a strict property franchise. This Act also provided for the purchase of the capital stock of the General Water Company and for payment of needed local improvements. The funds for these and other colonial needs came from a loan Thorburn raised in 1888 in London. (49) Subsequently, the loan due under the 1863 Sewerage Act was transferred to the civic debt of a new Municipal Council. (50)

Politically, absentee landlordism was a strong influence in shaping the St. John's municipal institution and taxation system. The failure of St. John's to develop a broad property tax base, and its subsequent dependency on general colonial revenue to pay for local services, enabled the colonial legislature after 1832 to have a dominant role in the governance of the capital city. Hence, St. John's municipal development in the 19th century did not take the more traditional route of local government that was followed, for instance, by Canadian cities such as Halifax or Toronto. This dependency by St. John's, in turn, reinforced the role and control of the Newfoundland Government in the political life of the colony generally, a situation which eventually weakened the fabric of local government in both St. John's and the outports.

The history of the Municipal Council after 1888 was one of limited self-rule, characterized by inadequate administrative and legislative power, political interference from the government, and insufficient revenue. The town's physical development, its apparently haphazard growth in the 19th century with its numerous winding streets and lanes owes much to the pattern of land ownership in the town. For the most part, absentee landlords refused to give up the land necessary for street widening and straightening unless they received adequate compensation, a proposal which the Newfoundland Government after the town's many fires was unable to implement because of lack of funds. St. John's unique streets are as much the product of the adverse influence of absentee landlordism as they are of the physical landscape on which the town is built.


1. Melvin Baker, "The Government of St. John's, Newfoundland, 1800-1921" (Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Western Ontario, 1980), 16-33, 43-6.2. Newfoundland District Central Court, 1844-1888, Registry of Deeds, "Martha Ann Kean to Thomas Bulley Job et al," 1924 (located in the Newfoundland Registry of Deeds and Companies, Confederation Building, St. John's).

3. Journal of the House of Assembly (JHA), 1883, Appendix, 6.

4. Ibid, 18. see also Newfoundlander, April 3, 1867; Public Ledger, April 7, 1881; and Evening Telegram, May 12, 1890.

5. Newfoundlander, July 25, 1833; and Public Ledger, May 6, 1834.

6. JHA, 1883, Appendix, 93, 119; and Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University, Sir William Whiteway Papers, Collection 26, Box 1, file 19, "Whiteway and Johnson, 1879-1894," Tabot Matthews to Sir William Whiteway, January 29, May 19, June 18, 1892.

7. Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL), ON 1/1/5, Despatches from the Governor to the Colonial Office, Memorial from St. John's absentee landlord agents to O'Brien, June 23, 1890.

8. PANL, GN1/2/6, Governor's Office, Despatches from Colonial Office to Governor, Box 1890, Despatch no. 9, Knutsford to O'Brien, March 1, 1890 and enclosures, and Despatch no. 80, Ripon to O'Brien, December 10, 1892, and enclosure.

9. Newfoundland Law Reports, 1884-1896, "Kitchen v Fenelon, April, 1893."

10. Melvin Baker, Aspects of Nineteenth Century St. John's Municipal History (St. John's, 1982), 5-28.

11. Shannon Ryan, "The Newfoundland Salt Cod Trade in the Nineteenth Century," and David Alexander, "Newfoundland's Traditional Economy and Development to 1934," in James Hiller and Peter Neary, eds., Newfoundland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Essays in Interpretation (Toronto, 1979), 40-63 and 17-37 respectively.

12. Baker, "The Government of St. John's," 23-8.

13. Ibid., 29-31.

14. Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University, D'Alberti Transcripts, Correspondence with Governor's Office in Newfoundland, 1825-26, Cochrane to Bathurst, May 27, 1826, and enclosures.

15. Public Ledger, March 25, April 4, 1834.

16. In 1834, for instance, the Newman interests in St. John's wanted to give a 40 year lease to any tenant who would construct a stone building on the land to be rented. Ibid., May 6, 1834.

17. Gazette, July 9, 1833; and Paul O'Neill, A Seaport Legacy: The Story of St. John's, Newfoundland, vol. 2 (Erie, Ontario, 1976), 626-27.

18. JHA, July 23, 1833; and Newfoundlander, July 25, 1833.

19. JHA, July 18, 23, 30, 1833; and Newfoundlander, August 1, 1833.

20. Gazette, May 14, 1839, and Newfoundlander, May 16, 1839.

21. Melvin Baker, "The Great Fire of 1846," Newfoundland Quarterly, vol. LXXIX, No. 1 (Summer, 1983), 31-4.

22. Newfoundlander, July 2, 1846.

23. JHA, 1883, Appendix, 27-117.

24. Newfoundlander, January 14, 1847.

25. Ibid., See also JHA, 1883, Appendix, 27-117; and PANL, P4/7, Robert Pinsent Papers, lease between H. W. Hoyles, administrator, estate of John Flood, and Samuel Knight, March 30, 1847.

26. Baker, "The Great Fire," 32-3.

27. Newfoundlander, January 14, 1847.

28. Melvin Baker, "The Politics of Assessment: The Water Question in St. John's, 1844-1864," Acadiensis, vol. XII, No. 1 (Autumn, 1982), 59-72.

29. Newfoundland Express, March 19, April 26, June 7, July 16, 19, 1856, November 6, 1860; Assembly Debates, January 15, 1856, in ibid., January 23, 1856; and JHA, May 12, 1856.

30. Philip Little in Assembly Debates, February 23 and April 28, 1858, in Newfoundlander, March 1 and May 3, 1858, respectively; Assembly Debates, April 12, 1858, in ibid., April 19, 1858; and 1858 St. John's Rebuilding Debt Liquidation Act printed in Gazette, May 18, 1858.

31. Gertrude E. Gunn, The Political History of Newfoundland, 1832-1864 (Toronto 1966), 142, 233.

32. Philip Little in Assembly Debates, February 23, 1858, in Newfoundlander, March 1, May 13, 1858.

33. Ibid. See also the 1858 St. John's Rebuilding Debt Liquidation Act.

34. JHA, 1859, Appendix, 426-28.

35. Statutes of Newfoundland, 22 Victoria, Cap. 8.

36. PANL, GN1/2/6, Boxes 1859, 1860, Duke of Newcastle to the Administrator of Newfoundland, October 29, 1859, and to Governor Bannerman, March 19, 1860.

37. Baker, "The Politics of Assessment," 59-72.

38. 1863 Sewerage Act printed in Gazette, March 31, 1863; and Hugh Hoyles in Assembly Debates, February 26, 1863, in Newfoundlander, March 23, 1863.

39. JHA, 1883, Appendix, 5; and Assembly Debates, March 30, 1881, in Public Ledger, April 7, 1881.

40. Assembly Debates, March 30, 1881, in Public Ledger, April 7, 1881.

41. JHA, 1883, Appendix, 6; and Public Ledger, May 23, 1882.

42. Evening Telegram, May 3, 1887.

43. Ibid., April 4, 1884.

44. Edward Morris to ibid., February 8, 1887.

45. William Whiteway in Assembly Debates, April 20, 1885, in Terra Nova Advocate, April 20, 1885.

46. Ibid. See also Evening Mercury, April 21, 22, 1885, and Evening Telegram, April 20, 1885.

47. Evening Telegram, Evening Mercury, April 24, 1885.

48. Baker, Aspects of Nineteenth Century St. John's Municipal History 48-61.

49. Ibid.

50. Evening Telegram, March 28, 1898.