Recollections of W.S. Fielding

“With the Conservatives enthroned at Ottawa under Sir John A. Macdonald, a bye-election in Halifax, already represented by one Conservative in the House of Assembly and by the Conservatives Kenny and Stairs at Ottawa, was no slight undertaking. But it was now or never for Mr. Fielding, and his courage proved equal to the occasion. Happily for him, his opponent indulged in an infelicitous anecdote in the course of his speech in Dartmouth, which in itself must have gone far in the way of accounting for the majority given for him in the election. He told a story at which sensitive believers in the doctrine of Purgatory might easily be led to take offence. The Acadian Recorder nicknamed him “Purgatory Payzant”, and skilfully harped upon the offensive anecdote at the expense of the Conservative candidate night after night until the election was over. The majority for Mr. Fielding was 183 in a total vote of 5,121. An average change of three votes in the seventy odd polling districts of the county would have left him in a minority, and those votes in his favour could very easily be attributed to the infelicitous humour of his opponent.”

Russell, B. “Recollections of W.S. Fielding” Dalhousie Review, Volume 09, Number 3, 1929