Charles Fox Bennett

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Charles Fox Bennett

Charles James Fox Bennett (11 June 1793 in Shaftesbury, England – 5 December 1883) was a merchant and politician who successfully fought attempts to take Newfoundland into Canadian confederation. Bennett was a successful businessman and one of the island's richest residents with interests in the fisheries, distillery and brewery industry and shipbuilding. His brother Thomas Bennett, a magistrate and member of Newfoundland's first House of Assembly, was a partner in the business.

Bennett became involved in politics in the 1840s as a leader of the island's Anglican community and an opponent of responsible government, an argument he lost when an alliance of Catholics and non-Anglican Protestants persuaded the Colonial Office to grant Newfoundland self-government.

In the 1860s, he led the Anti-Confederation Party opposing the proposals by Sir Frederick Carter to join Canada. Bennett's party defeated Carter's Conservatives on the Confederation issue in the 1869 elections, allowing Bennett to form a government in 1870. However, as Premier he was unable to keep his party united, and in 1874 resigned, allowing Carter to return to power. The issue of Confederation had become a moot point and would not be seriously raised again until the Great Depression.

Bennett's anti-Confederates reformed themselves into the colony's Conservative Party.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Carter
Premier of Newfoundland
1870–1874
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Carter