||Black ink on white paper. The crest features an arm grasping a dagger. The blade of the dagger has pierced the head of a bearded man that resembles a lion head. The arm is atop a crest-wreath. The wreath sits on a flower with a round center and 5 petals. To strips extend out of the flower across the front and back of a ribbon, connecting to the top of the shield. The ribbon extends straight out with curling ends. The motto is printed on the ribbon in black, capitalized, serif font. Shield is ermine with a black bend. Bend charged with three cheetah heads. The shield features a sinister canton paly. Underneath the shield, the bookplate owner’s name is printed in large, black, sentence case, gothic font. More text is printed below the name in smaller, black, capitalized, serif font; Heraldic; Ownership.
||See also the bookplate of George Longley (BP MUR CAN P J5454).
James Wilberforce Longley was born in Paradise, Nova Scotia on January 4, 1849 to Israel Longley and Frances Manning. He married his first wife, Annie Brown, on September 3, 1877 in Middleton, N.S. and the couple had two sons and two daughters. One of his daughters, Frances Mary, died on June 13, 1898, followed by his wife in October 1899. Longley married his second wife, Lois Elizabeth Fletcher, on April 4, 1901 in Binkley, Kent, England, and the couple had three sons.
Longley grew up on a farm and went to school at the grammar school in Paradise and the Horton Academy in Wolfville. He began studying at Acadia College in 1867 and graduated with a BA in 1871, an MA in 1877, and a DCL in 1897. He moved to Halifax in 1871 to study the law with Hiram Blanchard. He was called to the bar in 1875.
During this time Longley also worked as a journalist, including becoming the chief editorial writer for the Acadian Recorder in 1873. He became the managing editor of the Morning Chronicle in 1887; both papers were major liberal papers in Halifax. While Longley practiced the law between 1875-1882, politics was his true aim.
Longley was interested in politics from a young age. In 1867 he gave a speech on the anti-confederate Liberal platform. He was elected as the representative of Annapolis County in the House of Assembly in 1882, a position he would be elected to for 23 years, with only a brief gap in 1896. At that time he attempted to gain a federal seat, but lost to the incumbent Conservative. If it weren’t for this defeat, Longley may have become party leader and premier. However, he continued to serve in other roles. Between 1884-86 he was a minister without portfolio to William Stevens Fielding. He was attorney general in 1886 until being appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on June 13, 1905. Longley was also made commissioner of crown lands in 1896 by George Henry Murray.
Longley’s tenure as attorney general was relatively quiet. He argued before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1895 regarding decisions of the Nova Scotia courts in regard to the House of Assembly’s power to imprison for contempt. He introduced an act in 1888 to standardize the process for incorporating towns. He oversaw a major revision of company law in 1900 that responded to reforms due to the Nova Scotia industrial revolution of the 1880s and 1890s. Longley also passed a lot of legislation concerning children, including reform for juvenile offenders, banning the sale of tobacco and opium to children, regulating children’s work hours, instituting equal custody rights for parents, licensing nursing homes for infants, and permitting adoption.
In regard to his political views, Longley rejected the repeal of confederation. He advocated for a hemispheric free-trade agreement across North and South America, as well as Maritime union. Longley admired the American political system and favoured abolishing the Senate, as well as the abolition of the upper house of Nova Scotia. Longley was a fierce opponent of labour unions and female emancipation.
It is speculated that Longley’s political ambitions were stymied by his difficult personality. One anecdote states that he once left a room at a dinner when Mark Twain was invited to speak before him.
Longley was also a public speaker and writer, focusing on historical and political subjects. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1898 and became vice-president in 1916 and honorary president in 1917. He also served as president of the Nova Scotia Historical Society from 1897 to 1905, where he played a large role in the 1899 sesquicentenary of the founding of Halifax, as well as the tercentenary of the Annapolis Royal in 1904. In 1908 he was elected a corresponding member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Additionally, he served as president of the Nova Scotia Exhibition Commission from 1896-1910 and of the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax from 1909-12. With Irish heritage on his mother’s side, he supported Home Rule. Longley authored a book on Joseph Howe and a biography of Sir Charles Tupper.
Longley died in Halifax on March 16, 1922.