William Cottnam Tonge

William Cottnam Tonge, colonial official and politician (b at Windsor, NS 29 Apr 1764; d at Georgetown, Demerara [Guyana] 6 Aug 1832).
William Cottnam Tonge, colonial official and politician (b at Windsor, NS 29 Apr 1764; d at Georgetown, Demerara [Guyana] 6 Aug 1832).


Tonge, William Cottnam

William Cottnam Tonge, colonial official and politician (b at Windsor, NS 29 Apr 1764; d at Georgetown, Demerara [Guyana] 6 Aug 1832). From 1799 to 1806, Tonge played a dominant role in the struggle between the legislative assembly and Lt-Gov Sir John Wentworth over control of provincial expenditures. Tonge was a spokesman for rural assemblymen distrustful of the domination of Nova Scotia's economic and political life by the Halifax merchant clique allied with Wentworth. In 1806, Wentworth disallowed Tonge's election as Speaker of the assembly, a rare use of executive power, and a year later dismissed Tonge from his position as the commercial naval officer for Nova Scotia. Tonge went to the West Indies with a British military expedition late in 1808. He never returned to Nova Scotia, holding a number of government appointments in the Caribbean until his death. Remembered as a charming bon vivant, Tonge earned a lasting place in Nova Scotia's political history for his skilful use of parliamentary tactics and his tenacious support of the rights of the assembly.