Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley
Tilley actively promoted railway development and CONFEDERATION.
Tilley, Sir Samuel LeonardSir Samuel Leonard Tilley, politician (b at Gagetown, NB 8 May 1818; d at Saint John 25 June 1896). Tilley got his start in a Saint John drugstore, and eventually went into partnership with his mother's relations in that business. He sat in the NB Assembly in 1850-51, 1854-56, 1857-65, 1866-67. A lifelong temperance advocate, he was provincial secretary in the Charles FISHER regime. Its members were called the "Smashers" after having tried unsuccessfully to bring prohibition to NB in 1851-52 and 1855-56.
Tilley actively promoted railway development and CONFEDERATION. A delegate to the Charlottetown and Québec conferences, he and his Liberal government (elected 1861) were defeated on Confederation in NB in 1865, but were returned to power in 1866 after what amounted to a coup d'état by the lieutenant-governor, Arthur Gordon. In 1867 Tilley resigned from the NB Cabinet and became minister of customs in Sir John A. MACDONALD'S first government. With the fall of Macdonald, 5 Nov 1873, Tilley was appointed, that same day, lieutenant-governor of NB. With Macdonald's return to office in 1878, Tilley became minister of finance, and as such brought in the NATIONAL POLICY tariff in 1879. In 1885, unwell, he retired to Government House, Fredericton, staying on as lieutenant-governor until 1893. Clever and adroit, he was always a sensitive political barometer, and he advised Macdonald in 1868 to pacify NS. Tilley was uneasy about the government's commitments to the CPR in the 1880s, and doubtless would have pulled the plug had he been allowed to do so. Almost the last letter he wrote (sent to Sir Charles TUPPER) was a remarkably shrewd assessment of the 1896 election.