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EARL RICHARD HOWE HOWE (1726-1799)

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 836 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EARL RICHARD HOWE HOWE (1726-1799), British admiral, was born in London on the 8th of March 1726. He was the second son of Emmanuel Scrope Howe, 2nd Viscount Howe, who died governor of Barbadoes in March 1735, and of Mary Sophia Charlotte, a daughter of the baroness Kilmansegge, afterwards countess of Darlington, the mistress of George I.—a relationship which does much to explain his early rise in the navy. Richard Howe entered the navy in the " Severn," one of the squadron sent into the south seas with Anson in 1740. The " Severn " failed to round the Horn and returned home. Howe next served in the West Indies in the " Burford," and was present in her when she was very severely damaged in the unsuccessful attack on La Guayra on the 18th of February 1742. He was made acting-lieutenant in the West Indies in the same year, and the rank was confirmed in 1744. During the Jacobite rising of 1745 he commanded the " Baltimore " sloop in the North Sea, and was dangerously wounded in the head while co-operating with a frigate in an engagement with two strong French privateers. In 1746 he became post-captain, and commanded the " Triton " (24) in the West Indies. As captain of the " Cornwall " (8o), the flagship of Sir Charles Knowles, he was in the battle with the Spaniards off Havana on the 2nd of October 1748. While the peace between the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War lasted, Howe held commands at home and on the west coast of Africa. In 1755 he went with Boscaweii to North America as captain of the " Dun-kirk " (6o), and his seizure of the French " Alcide " (64) was the first shot fired in the war. From this date till the peace of 1763 he served in the Channel in various more or less futile expeditions against the coast of France, with a steady increase of reputation as a firm and skilful officer. On the 20th of November 1750'''' he led Hawke's fleet as captain of the " Magnanime " (64) in the magnificent victory of Quiberon. By the death of his elder brother, killed near Ticonderoga on the 6th of July 1758, he became Viscount Howe—an Irish peerage. In 1762 he was elected M.P. for Dartmouth, and held the seat till he received a title of Great Britain. During 1763 and 1765 he was a member of the Admiralty board, and from 1765 to 1770 was treasurer of the navy. In that year he was promoted rear-admiral, and in 1775 vice-admiral. In 1776 he was appointed to the command of the North American station. The rebellion responsible government for Nova Scotia. This brought him into fierce conflict with the reigning oligarchy and with the lieutenant-governor, Lord Falkland (18o3-1884), whom he forced to resign. Largely owing to Howe's statesmanship responsible government was finally conceded in 1848 by the imperial authorities, and was thus gained without the bloodshed and confusion which marked its acquisition in Ontario and Quebec. In 185o he was appointed a delegate to England on behalf of the Intercolonial railway, for which he obtained a large imperial guarantee. In 1854 he resigned from the cabinet, and was appointed chief commissioner of railways. In 1855 he was sent by the imperial government to the United States in connexion with the Foreign Enlistment Act, to raise soldiers for the war in the Crimea. Through the rashness of others he got into difficulties, and was attacked in the British House of Commons by Mr Gladstone, whom he compelled to apologize. In 1855 he was defeated by Mr (afterwards Sir Charles) Tupper, but was elected by acclamation in the next year in Hants county, and was from 186o to 1863 premier of Nova Scotia. In the latter years he was appointed by the imperial government fishery commissioner to the United States, and thus took no part in the negotiations for confederation. Though his eloquence had done more than anything else to make practicable a union of the British North American provinces, he opposed confederation, largely owing to wounded vanity; but on finding it impossible to obtain from the imperial authorities the repeal of the British North America Act, he refused to join his associates in the extreme measures which were advocated, and on the promise from the Canadian government of better financial terms to his native province, entered (on the 3oth of January 1869) the cabinet of Sir John Macdonald as president of the council. This brought upon him a storm of obloquy, under which his health gradually gave way. In May 1873 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, but died suddenly on the 1st of June of the same year. Howe's eloquence, and still more his unfailing wit and high spirits, made him for many years the idol of his province. He is the finest orator whom Canada has produced, and also wrote poetry, which shows in places high merit. Many of his sayings are still current in Nova Scotia. In 1904 a statue in his honour was erected in Halifax. His Letters and Speeches were published in 1858 in Boston, Mass., in 2 vols., edited nominally by William Annand, really by himself. See also Public Letters and Speeches of Joseph Howe (Halifax, 1909). The Life and Times by G. E. Fenety (18 6) is poor. The Life by the Hon. James W. Longley (Toronto, 1904) is dispassionate, but otherwise mediocre. Joseph Howe, by George Monro Grant (reprinted Halifax, 1904), is a brilliant sketch. (W. L. G.)
End of Article: EARL RICHARD HOWE HOWE (1726-1799)
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