Little, Philip Francis

Philip Francis Little, lawyer, judge, politician, premier of Nfld (b in PEI c 1822; d at Monkstown, Ire 22 Oct 1897). Arriving in Newfoundland in 1843, Little found himself in the midst of the Reform struggle for the right of local Roman Catholics to practise law. The constitution of the Law Society at the time excluded that denomination, which particularly grieved a Reform Party supported almost exclusively by Irish Catholic voters. Little's PEI Bar membership enabled him to become Newfoundland's first practising RC lawyer, and Reformers greeted his arrival as a victory and championed his election to the Assembly in 1850. He soon unified various anti-government forces in demanding self-government.

By 1855 he had become premier and attorney general in Newfoundland's first responsible administration. In a short-lived tenure as premier, Little helped stabilize political affairs and led a successful resistance against France's efforts to extend her traditional fishing privileges. Ill health forced his retirement to the bench in 1858, from which he soon retired to Ireland.