Robert Bond

Robert Bond

Sir Robert Bond
Rank:11th (1900-1909)
Date of Birth:February 25,1857
Place of Birth:St. John's, Newfoundland
Date of Death:March 17,1927
Place of Death:Whitbourne, Newfoundland
Political Party:Liberal Party
Predecessor:Sir James Spearman Winter
Successor:Sir Edward Patrick Morris

Sir Robert Bond (February 25, 1857 – March 16, 1927) was the Prime Minister of Newfoundland from 1900 to 1909. He was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, as the son of merchant John Bond. Bond grew up in St. John's until 1872 when his father died and left the family a good deal of money. He went to England where he was educated and came back to Newfoundland and articled under Sir William Whiteway.

He got involved in politics in 1882 when he ran for the House of Assembly in Fortune Bay. He was speaker of the House of Assembly before the Whiteway government was defeated in 1885. When Whiteway came back into power in 1889; Bond was made Colonial Secretary. Bond was created a Knight Commander of the Order of St.Michael and St. George in 1891. He tried to negotiate free trade with the United States but it failed because of Canada's objection.

The government was defeated by judicial means in 1894 but came back to power shortly after because of the bank crash of 1894. Bond became leader of the Liberal Party after Whiteway lost the 1897 election. He became Premier in 1900 after the Conservatives under Sir James Winter lost a vote of confidence. As Prime Minister he once again tried to negotiate free trade with the United States. It failed because of the objections of US senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Teddy Roosevelt tried to intervene but was not successful and it ended the friendship between the two nations. Relations between the United States and Newfoundland deteriorated to the point where in November 1905 in Bonne Bay local fisherman clashed with Americans trying to buy bait on shore. In 1904 Bond was re-elected with a clear majority. He went on to settle the French Shore issue which gave Newfoundland full control over the island.

In 1907, his Attorney General Sir Edward Patrick Morris walked across the floor and started his own party called the Peoples Party. In the 1908 election the two parties came to a tie getting 18 steats each out of the 36 seats. Bond was asked by the Governor if he could form a government and said that he could not because he would have to elect a government member as Speaker. Morris was asked and said he could and was sworn in as Prime Minister. His government failed as soon as Parliament was convened.

In the 1909 election Morris won because he controlled government funds. Bond again led the Liberals into election in 1913 in an alliance with the Unionist Party of William Coaker. They failed to defeat Morris and Bond resigned as Liberal Leader in January 1914. In 1919 and again in 1923, the Liberals tried to persuade him to return. Bond responded with the prophetic response "If only I had the strength, how the fitters would fly; My poor country Newfoundland, the last stage". Bond died on his country estate in Whitbourne at the age of 70.

External links

* [ Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]

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