Sir Louis Henry Davies
Premier from 1876 to 1879
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LOUIS HENRY DAVIES WAS BORN in Charlottetown on May 4, 1845. He was educated in city schools
and then went on to study law. Davies was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in London, England
in 1866. Admitted to the Bar of the Province in Canada's Confederation Year of 1867, he
established a legal practice in Charlottetown and maintained it for some years. While still a young
lawyer, L.H. Davies served as the leading counsel for the tenantry before the Prince Edward
Island Land Commission, which met in 1875 and 1876 to settle the problem of absentee land
ownership and to provide tenants of the Island with clear title to their lands.
Davies entered politics as a Liberal, winning election in 1876. At that time the issue of denominational schools reached a climax and the political parties were split in the face of religious differences. Roman Catholics and Protestants split over the issue with no regard for official party lines.
In 1876, following the defeat of the Conservative Government of Premier L.C. Owen, Davies led a coalition of Protestant members to form a government in which he became Premier and Attorney-General. The coalition of Premier Davies had formed behind the promise of a Free School Bill and following the passage of this legislation, party loyalties once again rose to the surface.
Premier Davies, the third premier of Prince Edward Island following Confederation, effected many reforms in the Provincial Public Service and placed the province on a firm financial base during his term in the face of mounting opposition to the coalition government. In 1879, the Conservatives defeated the coalition and the Government was defeated on a motion of non-confidence.
In 1882, Premier Davies entered the field of Federal Politics, winning election to the House of Commons in that year. He remained a member of the Federal House until 1901 and served in the Cabinet of Sir Wilfrid Laurier as Minister of Marine and Fisheries. In 1897 L.H. Davies was knighted by Queen Victoria. In 1901, he was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada, the first native of Prince Edward Island to be so named. In 1918 he was appointed the Chief Justice for Canada, an appointment he held until his death on May 1, 1924.
L.H. Davies is buried in Ottawa.