Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Little, Philip (1824-1897)

First Prime Minister of Newfoundland

Phillip was born in 1824 in Charlottetown. His parents were Bridget Costin born in Dungarvan 1791. She married Cornelius Little (1781-1864). Bridget parents were John Costin born in 1760 in Dungarvan who married Catherine Power (1766-1842).

Little studied in the Charlottetown office of Charles Young who had been active in obtaining Home Rule for Prince Edward Island. He became a solicitor in 1843 and a barrister the following year. He later moved to St John's. In the 1840's St John's had no practising Catholic Lawyers and Little opened an office on Duckworth Street and obtained many clients as a barrister but the Lawyer's Incorporation Act prevented him from working as a solicitor. He persuaded John Kent q.v. to have this Act removed by the legislative.

In 1846 he was an officer of the Benevolent Irish Society and assumed a prominent role in the Catholic community. In 1850 with assistance from the Catholic Bishop John T. Mallock. Little won a seat in the House in the St. John's by election. In 1853 Little was a member of a delegation set to London to put forward a case for Home Rule. This was granted in 1854 and the reconstituted House of Assembly with 30 seats was created in preparation for its introduction. In the election which followed in 1855 the Liberals won 18 of the 30 seats and the Governor Sir Charles Darling invited Little to form the new government. In 1864 Little married Mary Jane Holdright of Dublin and two years later moved to Ireland where he worked as a lawyer. He was a supporter of Home Rule. He died at Monkstown on 21 October 1897.

Author: William Fraher

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