morris, edward patrick morris, 1st baron

Edward Patrick Morris, 1st Baron Morris

Sir Edward Morris
Rank:12th (1909-1918)
Date of Birth:1859
Place of Birth:St. John's, Newfoundland
Date of Death:1935
Place of Death:London, England
Profession:Lawyer
Political Party:Newfoundland People's Party
Predecessor:Robert Bond
Successor:William F. Lloyd

Edward Patrick Morris, 1st Baron Morris (May 8, 1859-October 24, 1935) was a lawyer and Prime Minister of Newfoundland. Born in St. John's, Morris was educated at the University of Ottawa, joined the bar in 1885, and was a counsel for the British government during the North American fisheries arbitration in 1910 receiving a knighthood in 1904. Morris served as governor of the Newfoundland Savings Bank from 1889 to 1913 and was elected to the Newfoundland House of Assembly in 1885 as an independent. He joined the Liberal government of Sir William Whiteway as Attorney-General from 1889 to 1895.

Morris was the most senior Roman Catholic politician in Newfoundland and had enoromous influence as a result. He had a strained relationship with Whiteway's successor as Liberal leader, Sir Robert Bond, splitting with him to form the Independent Party which he led from 1898 to 1900. Morris formed an alliance with Bond to defeat the Tories and served as minister of justice from 1900 to 1907 in Bond's government. In 1907 he again broke with Bond and formed the People's Party. Both parties tied in the 1908 General Election. Robert Bond was asked to form a government. He refused saying he could not because he could not elect a speaker, without losing a vote and thereby bringing down the government. Morris said he could form a government and was made Prime Minister. He lost a confidence vote and then called an election. He led his party to victory in the 1909 election with a clear majority. He served in that position through the First World War. His People's Party government enjoyed strong support from the dominion's Catholics but was largely opposed by Protestants. As a result of a wartime crisis over conscription, and the decline of his popularity due to accusations of wartime profiteering and conflict of interest, Morris decided that it was necessary to have a government that had support from all denominations and so he invited the opposition in the House of Assembly to join a National Government which was formed in 1917 to oversee the duration of the war. Morris retired from politics at the end of 1917 after eight years in power.

In 1918, Morris was elevated to the British peerage as the first Baron Morris. Lord Morris moved to London and took his seat in the House of Lords. He lived the rest of his life there, only returning to Newfoundland once. He died in London, in 1935, at the age of 76.

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