Bond, Sir Robert
Sir Robert Bond, politician, premier of Newfoundland 1900-09 (b at St John's 26 Feb 1857; d at Whitbourne, Nfld 16 Mar 1927). Largely educated in England, Bond returned to Newfoundland about 1874, articled with Sir William WHITEWAY, but never practised law. He entered the Assembly in 1882.
A Newfoundland nationalist, Bond supported construction of the trans-island railway, promoted economic ties with the US and Newfoundland's position within the Empire. Appointed colonial secretary in Whiteway's Liberal Cabinet in 1889, he negotiated an abortive reciprocity treaty with the US in 1890 which led to a serious quarrel with the Canadian government. During the colony's financial crisis of 1894-95, he failed to secure agreement on terms for confederation with Canada, but arranged a loan in England which saved the colony from bankruptcy.
Bond became Liberal leader himself in 1897 and premier in 1900. His main concern as premier was with external affairs. He again failed to achieve a reciprocity treaty. His disappointment led to retaliatory action which precipitated a prolonged dispute with the US and UK over fishery rights. The 1908 election saw a tie between himself and Sir Edward MORRIS's People's Party, from which the latter emerged victorious. Bond led the Opposition until 1914, when he retired from political life.