Hoyles, Sir Hugh William

Sir Hugh William Hoyles, politician, judge, prime minister of Newfoundland (b at St John's 17 Oct 1814; d at Halifax 1 Feb 1888). The son of Newman Hoyles, a wealthy merchant and politician, he was educated in St John's and Nova Scotia, and was called to the Newfoundland Bar in 1837. He participated in various political, social and religious organizations, and in 1848 was elected Conservative member of the House of Assembly for Fortune Bay; he sat in the House until 1859 and again 1860-65. Hoyles quickly became a major force within his party, and succeeded to its leadership in 1855. In the late 1850s and early 1860s long-standing tensions between the Island's Irish Roman Catholic and English Protestant inhabitants flared up in severe civil disorders.

In February 1861 Governor Alexander Bannerman dismissed the Liberal administration of Catholic John KENT and called on Church of England member Hoyles to form a government. Hoyles was subsequently confirmed in office in a bitter, violence-marred election. His main concern as prime minister was to ease ethnic and religious tension. Although his efforts met with mixed results, his conciliatory actions helped prepare the ground for later accommodations. Hoyles resigned as prime minister in 1865 and subsequently served as chief justice of Newfoundland 1865-80.