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Sir Ambrose Shea

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Born in Newfoundland, 17 Sept., 1815; d. in London, 30 July, 1905. At the age of twenty-two he embarked successfully in journalism for a period of eight years, and thereafter devoted himself to mercantile pursuits. In 1848 he was elected to the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and, with the exception of a short period in 1869, he was continuously a member until 1886. In 1855, and again in 1860, he was chosen its speaker. He successfully negotiated the admission of Newfoundland, into reciprocity treaty arrangements in 1855; was an unofficial member of the executive government 1864-69; and went as delegate from Newfoundland to the Quebec conference on confederation in 1864. In 1883 he was appointed commissioner for Newfoundland to the International Fisheries Exhibition in London, and hereafter he was sent to Washington, where he successfully brought the State department into harmony with Canada for the extension of the Washington Treaty, 1885. For distinguished services rendered, he was honoured with the Knight Commandership of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1883. In 1887 he was appointed Governor of the Bahama Islands, and in that position achieved signal success in breathing new life and activity into a commercially stagnant colony. He initiated the sisal fibre industry, organized a public bank, laid the Bahamas-Florida cable, and fostered commercial enterprise in every department of the colony's industries, and by his prudent and progressive administration built up a lasting reputation as a most energetic governor. After his retirement in 1895 from the governorship to private life, he lived the last years of his active and successful career in London. In life religion was to Sir Ambrose a fact as real as were his duties in the various positions of responsibility held by him, and his fine character was strengthened and balanced by an ever-present consciousness of deep religious responsibility.

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