Skip to Main Content

Premiers Gallery

print small medium large 

HOME / PICTURES AND VIDEOS / PREMIERS GALLERY /


Robert Poore Haythorne
Premier from 1869 to 1870, 1871 to 1873



Click to enlarge

R.P. HAYTHORNE, like many of the Island's early premiers, was born in England, in 1815. He was born into a prominent family, his father having been on several occasions Mayor of Bristol.
After being educated in England, Haythorne spent several years in Europe and then joined his brother Edward in Prince Edward Island. Edward too, rose to prominence on the Island and served as a member of the Legislative Council.
Robert and his brother soon acquired control of 10,000 acres of land and built a farm in Marshfield. This was the period during which the land question came to a head and Haythorne stopped leasehold tenure and sold his estate to the tenants for $2 per acre.
In 1867 Haythorne was asked by his former tenants to run for a seat on the Legislative Council. He was elected to the Council to represent second Queens and held the seat until his resignation in 1873. On the defeat of the Pope government in 1867 Haythorne was asked to join the Executive Council under Premier Coles. Hensley succeeded Coles and in 1869 when Hensley was offered a position on the Supreme Court, Haythorne was sworn in as Premier.
In 1870 Haythorne resigned as Premier because of a lack of support in the Assembly. He regained power in 1872 with promises to extend the Prince Edward Island Railway to Tignish and Souris. When it became apparent that these extensions were incurring disastrous costs the voters chose J.C. Pope's Conservatives to form a government.
Haythorne was instrumental during the last months of his administration in negotiating the basic terms under which the colony joined the Dominion of Canada. These terms were only slightly altered by later discussions.
In the fall of 1873, Haythorne was named to the Senate of the Dominion and was active in the activities of the Liberal party until his death in May, 1891.
Haythorne and the Liberal party, in extending the railway, and placing the Island in an extreme financial situation, brought the Island to a point where union with Canada was necessary and so possibly could be regarded as being the true Father of Confederation.
R.P. Haythorne is buried in Ottawa

back to top