DCB/DBC Mobile beta


New Biographies

Minor Corrections

Biography of the Day

PAINE, WILLIAM – Volume VI (1821-1835)

d. 19 April 1833 in Worcester


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

Original title:  Photograph Hon. George Coles, Montreal, QC, 1865 William Notman (1826-1891) 1865, 19th century Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process 8.5 x 5.6 cm Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd. I-16775.1 © McCord Museum Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)

Source: Link

COLES, GEORGE, farmer, merchant, brewer, distiller, and politician, b. 20 Sept. 1810 in Prince Edward Island, son of James Coles and Sarah Tally; d. 21 Aug. 1875 in Charlottetown Royalty, P.E.I.

George Coles spent his early years on his father’s farm in Charlottetown Royalty. The Island was then at a primitive stage of development, and young George, not born into the local élite, received little formal education. At the age of 19 he went to England, where, on 14 Aug. 1833, he married Mercy Haine, who was to bear him 12 children. Later in the same year, he returned with his bride to Prince Edward Island.

On 29 Oct. 1833 Coles advertised that he had for sale, at his father’s residence, several items, such as pipes and silverware, which he had brought back from England. By June of the following year he could announce that he had opened a “New and Cheap Store” in Charlottetown, selling imported manufactured goods and liquor. Eighteen months later he was advertising the products of a brewery and distillery which he had founded. He appears to have been successful in his new venture, for in May of 1836 he publicly thanked his patrons for their “kind and unexpected support.” As the 1830s wore on, the production of beer and liquor became the focus of his business activities, and he advertised for the purchase of increasing quantities of barley and oats. Nevertheless, he did not restrict his talents to brewing and distilling. In 1840 he acquired a steam mill, in 1843 he announced that he had imported modern carding machines, and by the mid–1840s he was renting houses in Charlottetown. In addition, Coles managed a farm which the editor of the Islander described in 1843 as being “for its size . . . one of the best managed and most productive in the Island . . . in fact, a specimen on a small scale, of what may be seen as the effects of the most scientific husbandry in England.” In all his ventures, George Coles was employing between 20 and 30 men, and had a capital outlay estimated as being between £7,000 and £8,000.

By this time, Coles had entered public life. In 1842 he had contested the rural constituency of New London and had been elected to the House of Assembly. The electoral card he distributed was non-committal as to party affiliation, but Coles was generally understood to be opposed to the radical escheat policies espoused by many of the Reformers. Escheat concerned the land question, the major issue in Prince Edward Island in the early 1840s, and indeed throughout Coles’ career. In 1767 the Island had been divided into 67 lots, of approximately 20,000 acres each, which were parcelled out to various persons with claims upon the generosity of the crown. By the beginning of the 19th century there had been much consolidation of holdings, with the result that a few magnates, mostly absentees, came to own huge tracts. The owners often refused to sell their lands, and instead leased them, creating a neo-feudal system of tenure. In 1841, for example, fewer than one-third of the occupiers of land were freeholders. The landowners had received the lots under the stipulation that they fulfill certain requirements for settlement of the Island and that they pay quitrents to the crown. In many cases, the obligations had been neglected, and the escheators advocated the establishment of a court of escheat to investigate non-fulfillment. The lands of the defaulting proprietors would be returned to the crown for distribution to the tenantry on a freehold basis. The escheators’ plan, however, would require the consent of the Colonial Office in London, where the landlords’ influence was paramount. Thus there were two possible grounds for opposition to the escheat agitation: that property rights should not be violated, and that the scheme was impractical and would never get the approval of the British government.

In speaking of the land question during his first term in the assembly, Coles usually chose the argument that escheat was impractical. But although he voted as a Tory regular, he did not take a reactionary position. He repeatedly made suggestions for the clarification and extension of the rights of tenants and squatters – this latter group composed 11.6 per cent of the occupiers of land in 1841. Coles was also pressing for the ultimate liquidation of leasehold tenure. This budding conflict of opinion between Coles and the rest of the established élite had strong roots in an inherent conflict of interest: Coles represented a different sort of capitalism than did a man like James Yeo*. The latter assemblyman had made his fortune mainly through his activities as a land agent, merchant, and carrier. Men in Yeo’s position were concerned with extending their profits as middlemen in the established order, rather than seeing its stability disrupted. Coles more than once remarked that the land agents were more determined than the proprietors themselves to maintain the status quo.

Coles, on the other hand, was by this time primarily a manufacturer, whose prosperity as a producer of a consumer good depended upon the development of a healthy internal market with widespread purchasing power. As a distiller and brewer, he had no interest in seeing the tenants and squatters impoverished and capital exported en masse to absentee proprietors. Hence, his statement in the assembly in 1846 that conversion of the estates to freehold tenure would bring about “a greater consumption of manufactured articles” reflected an expectation growing logically out of his class interests; these, and not disrespect for the rights of property (as land agent and assemblyman William Douse* had suggested), lay at the base of Coles’ increasing concern for the abolition of leasehold tenure. The archaic productive relations which nurtured men like Douse and Yeo would have to be abandoned if Coles’ style of capitalism were to flourish.

Thus Coles spoke out often and forcefully in these years; even in his first session he did not hesitate to oppose Tory leaders such as Edward Palmer* on small matters. Unfortunately for the young assemblyman, he became embroiled in a feud with the speaker, Joseph Pope*. Several times in the session of 1845 they exchanged harsh words; Pope even alleged that a young man had died from the effects of Coles’ whiskey – a charge which the latter angrily and effectively refuted. In 1846 Coles refused to obey an order of the house to retract his description of a statement by Pope as “false,” and as a result spent the rest of the session, 31 days, in the custody of the serjeant-at-arms. He had evidently not endeared himself to the Tory leadership, for only two assemblymen had opposed his disciplining, and they were Reformers.

The obtaining of responsible government, which Coles supported, dominated the late 1840s, and thrust him into the forefront of Island politics. The struggle was prolonged and intense, for the resident establishment and the Colonial Office were reluctant in the extreme to grant the change: not only was there a small population, but the interests of many members of the establishment were bound up in the land system, which they feared would be the first target of a popularly elected administration. However, Coles, as an entrepreneur without a vital stake in the retardation of the Island economy, was receptive when, two days after the close of the session of 1847, the governor, Sir Henry Vere Huntley*, invited him to join the Executive Council. The governor had his own feud with Joseph Pope and the local family compact, and desired a Reformer on his council in the place of Pope, who had resigned. Coles had broken with the Tories by this time, and in the session just ended he had explicitly endorsed the general positions of Alexander Rae, then the acknowledged leader of the Reformers in the house. Huntley had first approached Rae with the offer of a seat on the council, but the latter declined, and in so doing recommended Coles. Thus Coles became the first self-avowed Reformer to sit on the Executive Council of the Island. But the alliance between government house and the Reformers did not endure; in December of 1847, a new governor, Sir Donald Campbell*, who had no motives for combining with the insurgents against the compact, arrived to replace Huntley. One year later Coles resigned from Campbell’s Executive Council, declaring that he lacked confidence in the administration. Campbell, for his part, advised the Colonial Office that, with Coles’ departure, he expected less trouble from his council.

The problems of the governor, who had no sympathy with the movement for responsible government, had only begun. A new weapon had been given to the Reformers. In the same month that Coles resigned from the Executive Council, the Colonial Office decided that the Island was sufficiently prosperous to pay for its own civil list. In return for discharging this financial obligation, the Reformers demanded responsible government. As the struggle grew in intensity through the session of 1849, Coles clearly emerged as the leader of the Reform forces. The movement was also gathering general support outside the house: an election held in February 1850 resulted in an 18 to 6 victory for Coles’ party.

When the new house assembled, it was at once apparent that Coles had the full support of the majority of assemblymen in demanding responsible government, and in expressing want-of-confidence in the Tory Executive Council. Nonetheless, Campbell refused to acquiesce in the Reform programme. Throughout two sessions called in the spring of 1850, the governor and the house failed to come to a modus vivendi; consequently, the Reformers refused to vote supply. After the sessions, Campbell, realizing that he would ultimately have to give in, suggested to the imperial government that they pass a statute placing new restrictions on the franchise to curtail any impulse to radicalism. But Lord Grey [Henry George Grey], the colonial secretary, had decided that the election of 1850 had clearly indicated that the Island electors desired responsible government and therefore should have it. He bluntly rejected the governor’s proposals and, when Campbell died in October 1850, Grey gave the new governor, Sir Alexander Bannerman*, explicit instructions to accede to the wishes of the Reformers.

On 25 April 1851, Coles rose in the assembly and reported that he had formed a new Executive Council, possessing the confidence of the house. Coles was the predictable choice as premier: he had led the movement in the assembly, on the hustings, and as chairman of a five-man committee of the house formed in 1850 to correspond with sympathetic British parliamentarians. In all cases, he had refused to compromise with Campbell and the local Tories – he would have responsible government, or the wheels of government on Prince Edward Island would not turn.

Donald Creighton once wrote that “responsible government was a method, not a measure” – it was a system of political relationships which derived its real significance not from the bare fact of its establishment, but from the substantive changes which its advent facilitated. Such a government would only acquire meaning for colonial citizens if its inauguration were marked by new and more democratic policies. Coles and his colleagues recognized this. They did not rest upon their laurels, but followed up their struggle for responsible government with a vigorous legislative programme.

The first great measure of Coles’ government was the Free Education Act of 1852. A visit to Massachusetts and Ohio in the autumn of 1848 had inspired this legislation; there Coles had observed the benefits of state-paid education, and had been told by former Islanders of the disadvantages they faced without at least primary education. With the act, the Island became the first Maritime colony in which the government paid the entire salaries of district school teachers. Previously, the districts had been obliged to raise part of the stipends by local assessment and tuition fees. After 1852, local taxes were to be used only for the erection and maintenance of school buildings, and tuition fees were abolished. Within two years the number of students enrolled in Island schools doubled, and by 1855 the Island’s proportion of students in relation to the total population was reputedly one-third greater than that of either Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. The second major reform was of a similar nature – the franchise was broadened to become almost universal.

The most intractable problem confronting the reform government was the land question. Coles rejected escheat and other drastic solutions, although the Liberal caucus contained two or more radicals when he was in power in the 1850s. As Coles articulated his policy, it consisted of ameliorative legislation in the short run, and a programme of purchasing estates over a period of years. These transactions, on a voluntary basis, would involve “fair compensation” for the landlords, and would result in resale of the lands to their occupiers at minimal rates. Examples of the ameliorative measures were the rent roll bill, the one-ninth bill, and the tenants’ compensation bill. The first of these would have imposed a small tax per acre on estates in excess of 500 acres. The Colonial Office disallowed it outright. The one-ninth bill was intended to regulate the extraction of rents from the tenantry. Although it failed to gain the assent of the British government when first passed in 1851, an amended version was eventually accepted. The purpose of the tenants’ compensation bill was to indemnify ejected tenants and squatters for improvements made by them prior to ejectment. It too met obstruction from entrenched interests, and in 1855 Coles introduced a measure which was rigidly confined in scope: it applied only to those squatters who had been in use and occupation of their lands for a minimum of five years, and to those tenants who held leases for limited periods and were ejected before their leases expired. The squatters with less than five years on their lands, the tenants with 999-year leases (which were common), and the tenants ejected upon completion of, for example, seven-year leases, were left unprotected. “By asking too much,” Coles said, “we shall, I fear, lose all.” The Colonial Office refused to confirm even this bill.

The major component of Coles’ land policy was the Land Purchase Act of 1853. Under its provisions, the government was empowered to buy estates in excess of 1,000 acres and to sell them to tenants and squatters in units up to a maximum of 300 acres. In 1854, the Liberals purchased the 81,000-acre Worrell estate, and began its resale [see William Henry Pope]. It was the first and last large purchase made in the 1850s: when the Island government passed a loan bill in 1857 to raise £100,000 for further purchases, the imperial government disallowed the legislation; and even if London had desired to cooperate, many proprietors, such as Sir Samuel Cunard*, had no intention of selling. Thus, Coles failed to liquidate leasehold tenure on Prince Edward Island.

Coles was the unchallenged leader of his party throughout this period of forward-looking government. He was the most effective defender of Liberal policies in the assembly, and his speeches reveal a thorough familiarity with all the major issues which were debated. He spoke directly to the point, and was able quickly to seize upon the weaknesses in his opponents’ arguments. The only Liberal whose prestige approximated his was the brilliant journalist, Edward Whelan*. However, Whelan was often absent from his seat in the house, as he had little taste for the routine of party management and public administration – matters which he left by and large to Coles. Hence the energies of the two men were complementary rather than competitive.

Coles and his party remained in power until 1859, with the exception of some six months in 1854. In July 1853, largely because of the sudden rise in taxation occasioned by the Free Education Act, they had lost an election in which even Coles had been defeated. However, the partisanship of Governor Bannerman kept them in office until February 1854. After one session of Tory government, Bannerman dissolved the assembly over the objections of his new Executive Council, and called another election. His reasoning was that since the Franchise Act of 1853 had just become effective, the house had been rendered unrepresentative of the actual electorate. The new and enlarged body of voters gave the Liberals an 18 to 6 majority; Coles returned to the assembly, and assumed the additional duties of colonial secretary.

But, somewhere along the line, the Coles government had lost its edge. When the Bible question arose in late 1856, Coles badly underestimated its explosive potential. The controversy began at the inauguration of the Island’s Normal School, when school visitor John Stark, who was also superintendent of the new institution, stated that reading and exposition of the Bible would be a part of the daily programme of all student teachers. The Board of Education quickly repudiated Stark’s position, but this action did not become public knowledge. As a result, the Roman Catholic bishop of Charlottetown, Bernard D. MacDonald*, sent a protest against Stark’s words to the secretary of the board. Coles soon learned of the bishop’s letter, and arranged an interview, at which he explained that the school visitor’s remarks did not represent government policy. The bishop then wrote a short letter to Coles, stating his satisfaction that he had been labouring under a misunderstanding, and authorizing the premier to show his retraction “to all whom it may concern.” Coles neglected to do so, with disastrous consequences for his party. The bishop’s first letter, which had not been temperately worded, went before a meeting of the board. A Protestant minister sitting on the board then published it, and began a campaign for the legal authorization of Bible reading in the district schools. Previously, the position of the Holy Scriptures had been governed by an informal system of local option; the bishop’s letter, whose scope had not been limited to the Normal School, was held to be a threat to this extra-legal policy of permissiveness.

Religion in education became the prime determinant in Island politics for the next two decades. This was unfortunate for Coles, as he was vulnerable on issues such as the Bible question. He was an Anglican leading a party whose main electoral support came from the minority Roman Catholic community. By the time of his retirement, he had been denounced at various times by the militants of both denominational camps. The Bible question was the major factor in the defeat of his government at the end of the 1850s, as the Protestant electors deserted the Liberals en masse. More than once Coles misjudged the potency of the issue and the depth of the passions it could inspire, with the result that opportunities to allay them were missed. In addition, the Liberals were faced with claims that their land policy had reached a dead end, and that a modified system of responsible government known as “non departmentalism” was better adapted to the small population of the Island [see Pope]. At the election of 24 June 1858, the Coles government was sustained by the narrow margin of 16 to 14. The resignation in February 1859 of one Liberal member and the resulting confusion ended the session begun that month after only three days. A second election ensued, and although Coles indicated his willingness to resort to escheat in order to resolve the land question, his party was decisively defeated by the Tories led by Edward Palmer.

As leader of the opposition, especially in the first two years, Coles more than bore his share of the responsibility of criticizing the Tory government. Palmer and his colleagues settled the Bible question to the general satisfaction of both parties in 1860, by simply giving a statutory basis to the status quo. But, in the same year, a new Roman Catholic bishop of Charlottetown, Peter MacIntyre*, took office. He was a vigorous man, and was determined that the Roman Catholic St Dunstan’s College should get public financial support equal to that of the newly established, secular, and public Prince of Wales College. His attempts to gain this and other ends in matters relating to education, and the controversial public writings of the Catholic college’s rector, Father Angus MacDonald*, eventually led to a public vendetta between William Henry Pope, the colonial secretary, and the rector. This provided the Tories with another occasion to campaign against “Romish aggression,” and to unite the Protestant majority against Coles and the Roman Catholic population. Again the strategy was successful, and, largely over the college question, Palmer’s government was sustained at the polls in 1863 by an 18 to 12 margin.

When confederation of the British North American colonies became a topic for public discussion, Coles declared that he would support any plan of union which would guarantee the liquidation of leasehold tenure. The implication was that if this condition could not be met, union would not be acceptable. Coles adhered to this policy on confederation throughout his public career. At both the Charlottetown and the Quebec conferences, he insisted in vain on this point. The answer of the Canadians was that the Islanders were already promised more than their fair share of financial subsidies. When he returned home, Coles successfully led the Liberal party (with the exception of Whelan) into adamant opposition to the Quebec resolutions. In contrast, the Tory government split sharply over this issue.

Thus the Tories, like their predecessors in office, failed to resolve the land question. They had appointed, in 1860, a distinguished commission of investigation, whose recommendations had been disallowed by the imperial government; they had sent a delegation consisting of Palmer and W. H. Pope to London, and it had been stymied by the intransigence of a group of proprietors led by Cunard; and now the Canadian government had shown an equal lack of sympathy. The farmers of Prince Edward Island proceeded to take matters into their own hands: they formed Tenant Leagues whose members were sworn to resist the collection of rents. By the summer of 1865, class tensions were so sharp on the Island that the administrator, Robert Hodgson, called in troops from Halifax in order to prevent serious disorders. The unpopularity of this move and the deep Tory divisions over confederation determined the election of 1867 – the Liberals won by a majority of 19 to 11.

Coles resumed his position as premier and colonial secretary on 14 March 1867. At first it appeared as though there would be a complete restoration of the Liberal hegemony as it had existed prior to 1859. The government immediately returned to the principles of the Free Education Act of 1852, which the Tories had abrogated in 1863. After his brief flirtation with escheat, Coles had gone back to his programme of voluntary purchases of estates. Consequently, he had little use for the Tenant League movement; their “open defiance of the law” was “the disgrace of the Colony.” He was proud that the leading Liberals “had taken every fitting opportunity to denounce the illegal organization, and to caution the tenantry against associating themselves with it.” The mistake of the Tories was not in repressing the movement but in not acting sooner: if they had made use of the civil authorities, they would have avoided the recourse to troops. This position was consistent with Coles’ class interests as an entrepreneur; just as in the 1840s he had had no interest in seeing the Island’s farmer-consumers impoverished, he now had no interest in seeing the legal rights of property disregarded – even if it was property belonging to his political enemies. It was not the formation of a union, he said, which disturbed him – it was the refusal of its members to pay legally collectable rents.

Coles, however, was not fated to play his old role in Island public life for any length of time. His mind had begun a rapid deterioration; by the session of 1868, the attorney general, Joseph Hensley*, was the real Liberal house leader. By August, Coles had formally resigned as premier and during the next session he spoke rarely. In 1870 he was absent from the house for the entire session. His premature senility was commonly attributed to overwork and anxiety. In 1866 there had been a wave of incendiarism in Charlottetown, and Coles’ business premises had had at least one narrow escape; a further factor was probably the untimely death of Edward Whelan on 10 Dec. 1867 in unhappy circumstances. Whatever the causes, Coles did not recover his mental capacities, although he lived until 1875.

By 1868 Coles had reached the effective end of his brilliant career. For over 20 years he had been at the very centre of Island public life. Throughout this time he had been a controversial figure: he had been subjected to more than one attempt to exclude him from the deliberations of the assembly in the 1840s and 1850s; he had reputedly duelled with Edward Palmer in 1851; he had been convicted of and fined for assault in the mid-1850s; and, on the floor of the house in 1861, he had challenged James Colledge Pope* to a duel “with sword or pistol.” His political trajectory had been that of a vigorous and progressive entrepreneur in a colony laden with a neo-feudal land system. The major task which he had set for himself, in alliance with the bulk of the farm population, was the breaking of the power of the landlords and their agents; his means to this end included responsible government, an expanded franchise, a universal education system, and a voluntary land purchase act.

Coles’ success was incomplete, partially because of the limitations which he and Whelan had been able to enforce within the Island’s reform movement. Coles refused to sanction the radicalism of the Tenant Leaguers although his ideological position and theirs were basically similar. Coles and the Leaguers opposed the outside domination exercised by the proprietors, not property itself – after all, the farmers were demanding the right to become property owners. The difference was that Coles, as a man of substance, was not inclined to lend approbation to any programme of forcible seizures, whereas the tenants, as men of poverty, had fewer inhibitions. Whether Coles’ leadership would have resulted in the League’s success is an unanswerable question. The fact remains that he did not live to see the final resolution of the land issue.

When Coles died, the newspaper columns of the Island overflowed with praise. The Argus described him as “the brightest star that illumines the pages of the political history of his native province,” and the Examiner, at that time a Conservative paper, wrote that “we, unhesitatingly, say no man in this Colony so honestly earned the respect and esteem of its people.” George Coles, the father of responsible government, free education, a widened franchise, and land reform, had outlived all the animosity against him, and had become a bipartisan folk hero.

Ian Ross Robertson

[No collection of George Coles’ papers has been found to date. All the manuscript sources mentioned here were read for the whole period of Coles’ career; of special importance to the preparation of the text were: PAPEI, Henry Jones Cundall, letter book, 27 March 1867–26 May 1871, pp.137, 155; Report of the speeches and proceedings at the inauguration of the Normal School in Charlottetown . . . , reporter R. B Irving (Charlottetown, 1856), 27–29; Prince Edward Island, Executive Council, Minutes, 1847–48, 1851–59, 1867–68. Prince Edward Island, Supreme Court, Estates Division, will of George Coles, 3 July 1865. Prince Edward Island Libraries (Charlottetown), Dr John Mackieson diaries, 25 June 1851. PRO, CO 226/71, 259–61, 265–68, 287–300, 306–17, 328, 331, 332, 348–53, 358–68, 378, 451–58, 478; 226/73, 88–89; 226/83, 88; 226/90, 89–90; 226/105, 233.

The most important sources for Coles’ career are the reports of the Prince Edward Island assembly and contemporary newspapers. The following are valuable for explaining Coles’ early career, his positions on the land question, on an elective Legislative Council, and on trade with the United States, and his mental disability in later years: Prince Edward Island, House of Assembly, Debates and proceedings, 1855, 17, 20, 29–30, 52; 1857, 128; 1859, 10, 75, 84, 90; 1860, 11–14, 68; 1861, 88, 121; 1862, 29; 1863, 33; 1864, 18; 1865, 9, 67; 1866, 7–8, 9–13, 28–29, 46–47; 1868, 72, 224; 1869, 45, 200; 1870, 239, 241; 1873, 283–85, 287. For the assembly’s punishment of Coles in 1846, his quick temper, the vacating his seat in 1848 and the subsequent by-election, and his disputed election defeat of 1853, see: Prince Edward Island, House of Assembly, Journals, 1846, 43–46, 98; 1848, 6–14, 58, 166–67; 1854, 8, 43, 58, app. L.

For aspects of his business career, his political affiliations, his opinions on the land question, his interest in education, his views on widening the franchise and on trade with the United States, his feud with Joseph Pope, the struggle for responsible government, and the by-elections of 1847 and 1848, see: Colonial Herald (Charlottetown), 21 Oct. 1843. Examiner (Charlottetown), 28 Aug. 1847; 8, 15, 22, 29 Jan., 18 March, 17 July, 7 Dec. 1848; 1 Jan. 1849; 14 Aug., 30 Oct. 1850; 3, 31 July, 7, 14 Aug. 1865. Islander (Charlottetown), 24 Nov., 1 Dec. 1843; 1, 8, 15 May 1846; 4 June 1852; 10 March 1854; 11 June 1869. Morning News (Charlottetown), 19 Oct., 11 Dec. 1844. Patriot (Charlottetown), 12 Nov. 1868, 27 April 1871. Royal Gazette (Charlottetown), 29 Oct. 1833; 17 June, 22 July, 25 Nov. 1834; 27 Oct., 8 Dec. 1835; 10 May 1836; 5 Sept. 1837; 1 Sept., 15 Dec. 1840; 7 June 1842; 7, 14, 21 Feb., 14 March, 4, 11, 18 April 1843; 5, 12 March, 20 Aug. 1844; 18 March, 1, 15, 22 April 1845; 24 Feb., 10, 17, 31 March 1846; 16, 23 March, 24, 27 April, 11 May, 15 June 1847; 15 Feb., 7 March 1848; 9 May 1850; 8 April 1851; 29 Jan., 23, 26 Feb., 5, 16 April, 17 May 1852; 7 March, 4, 11 April, 6 June 1853. Obituaries for Coles are in Examiner, 23 Aug. 1875, Island Argus (Charlottetown), 24, 31 Aug. 1875, and Patriot, 3 Sept. 1875.

There is no single comprehensive study of 19th-century Prince Edward Island. For the major issues and problems of Coles’ era, the most relevant secondary sources are: Bolger, PEI and confederation. Duncan Campbell, History of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown, 1875), 200. Clark, Three centuries and the Island, chap. 5, 6; p.95, table 3. MacKinnon, Government of PEI, chap. 3, 5, 6, and pp.296–99. MacNutt, Atlantic provinces, 210–12, 231–34, 252. George Sutherland, A manual of geography and natural and civil history of Prince Edward Island for the use of schools, families, and emigrants (Charlottetown, 1861), 132–35. D. C. Harvey, “Dishing the Reformers,” RSCT, 3rd ser., XXV (1931), sect.ii, 37–44. W. R. Livingston, Responsible government in Prince Edward Island: a triumph of self-government under the crown (University of Iowa studies in the social sciences, ed. Louis Pelzer, IX, no.4, Iowa City, 1931). Robertson, “Religion, politics, and education in PEI,” chap. 1–7.

Additional works which have been useful in preparing this study are: Creighton, Road to confederation, 155–57, 171, 179–80. Greenhill and Giffard, West-countrymen in PEI, especially chap. 7, 8. Waite, Life and times of confederation, 82–83, 96. H. R. Matthews, “Education in Prince Edward Island,” unpublished ma thesis, Mount Allison University, 1938, 8.  i.r.r.]

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Ian Ross Robertson, “COLES, GEORGE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 19, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/coles_george_10E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/coles_george_10E.html
Author of Article:   Ian Ross Robertson
Title of Article:   COLES, GEORGE
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1972
Year of revision:   1972
Access Date:   April 19, 2024