The Struggle for Responsible Government

Documents which trace the evolution of Newfoundland from a British fishing station to a largely independent self-governing Dominion.

The Newfoundland Act of 1832

An Act of the British Parliament which continued in force several earlier Acts pertaining to Newfoundland, and provided for the appropriation and application of funds raised in the Colony.

Commission Appointing Sir Thomas Cochrane Governor, 1832 (to appear)

Instructions to Sir Thomas Cochrane, 1832 (to appear)

Royal Instructions to the Governor of Newfoundland, 1832 (to appear)

Proclamation defining Electoral Districts, 1832 (to appear)

The Newfoundland Act, 1842

Provided for an amalgamated Assembly with a combined membership of elected and appointed members.

The Newfoundland Act, 1846

The Newfoundland Act of 1842 was, by its Article VIII, to expire on September 1, 1846. This Act continued it in force until September 1, 1847.

The Newfoundland Act, 1847

The Newfoundland Act of 1842 was in force until September 1, 1847. By this Act it was allowed to expire, returning Newfoundland to its pre-1842 constitution. At the same time, Articles I, II, II, and IV of the 1842 Act, dealing with property and residency restrictions on membership in the Assembly, the appropriation of revenues, and simultaneous elections, were made permanent.

Instructions to Governor Darling, 1855

Established the principles of Responsible Government in Newfoundland, whereby the executive authority is responsible to the elected legislature.

Letters Patent, 1876

Made permanent the Office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Newfoundland "and its Dependencies." Prior to this, the office was reconstituted with the Letters Patent appointing each successive Governor. The Letters Patent also make certain provisions relating to the Executive Council, the Legislative Council, the General Assembly, and the powers of the Governor.

Letters Patent, 1905

Modified the Letters Patent of 1876 to provide for the administration of the Government during the absence of the Governor.

Motion by A.P. Herbert, 1949

A motion circulated in the British House of Commons by Independent M.P. A.P. Herbert, who favoured restoration of Responsible Government to Newfoundland.

Proposed amendment to the Newfoundland Act, 1949

An amendment to the Newfoundland Act proposed by Independent M.P. A.P. Herbert, who had toured Newfoundland and Labrador as part of a delegation from the British House of Commons.

Proposed Newfoundland (Liberation) Act, 1949

A Private Member's Bill drafted by Independent M.P. A.P. Herbert, who favoured restoration of Responsible Government to Newfoundland.