Premier from 1901 to 1908
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ARTHUR PETERS, THE NINTH premier of Prince Edward Island, was born in Charlottetown on August
29, 1854. He was of a very prominent Charlottetown family. His father, James Horsefield Peters,
was a Justice of the Supreme Court and Master of the Rolls and his mother was the daughter of
Sir Samuel Cunard, a substantial land owner in Prince Edward Island and later the founder of the
world famous Cunard Steamship line.
Arthur Peters received his early education at Prince of Wales College and later went on to King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Upon graduation he returned to Prince Edward Island to practise the law profession, studying while working in a Charlottetown law firm. Further study in England was followed by his admission to the Bar of Prince Edward Island in 1878. Just one year later he was appointed a Queen's Counsel.
Provincial politics was very much a way of life in the Peters' family. Arthur's older brother, Frederick, served as Premier of Prince Edward Island from 1891 to 1897. In 1890, Arthur Peters decided to try his hand, by standing as a liberal candidate for the St. Peter's District. He won election his first time out and was re-elected in the campaigns of 1893, 1897, 1900 and 1904.
While a member of the government of Premier Farquharson, Arthur Peters was sworn in as Attorney-General for the Province in 1900. In 1901, Premier Farquharson resigned to contest a seat in the Federal election and the Lieutenant-Governor asked Arthur Peters to accept the premiership and lead the government. In 1904, he led the Liberal party to victory over the Conservatives and continued to hold the portfolio of Attorney-General. Premier Peters died in office on January 29, 1908.
During his term as Premier, Arthur Peters' law training served him in good stead, as this period was marked by constitutional renegotiation of the question of Prince Edward Island's representation in the Federal House of Commons. Although the matter was not completely settled until some time later, Premier Peters did argue the case before the Privy Council in England and also managed to get an increase in the annual subsidy to Prince Edward Island.
There is some debate over the exact burial location of Arthur Peters. While his name appears on a monument dedicated to those premiers buried in the Sherwood Cemetery, some insist that Peters is actually buried in St. John's Anglican Cemetery in Summerside.