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People

James Colledge Pope

Hon. James Colledge Pope

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Hon. James Colledge Pope

Pope was born at Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, on June 11, 1826. He started out in his father's business, but soon got into many business dealings of his own including shipbuilding, real estate and the telegraph business. His political career began in 1857 when he ran as a Conservative and won his seat. Two years later he was named to the government's Executive Council.

Prince Edward Island's politicians were deeply divided over the issue of Confederation. When the disagreement caused powerful people in the Conservative party to step down, Pope became the new premier. Pope was not interested in Confederation because he believed that what was being offered to the Island was not enough for its needs.

It was Pope's spending on railway building that led to Confederation. The government owed a lot of money and was forced to make a deal to join Canada or go bankrupt. Pope promised that if he were elected in 1873 he would get an even better deal from Canada. Pope won and kept his promise. He was premier when the Island entered Confederation on July 1, 1873. Pope stayed active in politics until 1881 when health problems finally made him retire. He died on May 8, 1885.

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