WINTON, HENRY, editor and publisher; b. 21 Feb. 1817 at Dartmouth, Devon, England, eldest son of publisher Henry David* and Elizabeth Winton, and brother of Robert and Francis, later publishers of the St John’s Daily News and the St John’s Day Book (later the Morning Chronicle) respectively; m. Elizabeth Brown; d. 30 March 1866 in St John’s, Nfld, after a lengthy illness.
Nothing is known of Henry Winton’s early life, though he probably learned the publishing trade in his father’s shop. By the 1850s the family was in St John’s where Henry was a member of the Sons of Temperance, and in 1851 founded the Banner of Temperance, a semi-monthly which apparently ceased publication the same year. He was also a member of the St George’s Society and a Congregationalist.
In 1855, after his father’s death, Winton became editor, printer, and publisher of the Public Ledger and Newfoundland General Advertiser, though his mother remained proprietor until 1860 when Winton himself took over ownership. Despite the paper’s motto, “Open to all parties-Influenced by none,” he showed consistent support for the Conservatives and vigorously attacked the Liberal administrations of Philip Francis Little* and John Kent* between 1855 and 1861. He particularly criticized the influence of the Roman Catholic clergy on the Liberal government, especially the role of Bishop John Thomas Mullock. He also charged the Liberals with squandering public funds through patronage and high government salaries, and thereby swelling the public debt. In 1861 Winton was sued for libel by Patrick Jordan, a St John’s merchant and Liberal supporter, who objected to a letter in the Public Ledger signed by “Quiz” accusing Jordan of embezzling £2,000 in filling contracts with the Board of Works to supply food to the St John’s Hospital and the Lunatic Asylum. The case, however, was settled out of court.
Early in 1861 Winton stepped up his attacks when he began to publish the Daily Sessional, which appeared regularly for some months before the May election of that year; frequently referred to in the Public Ledger, it was abandoned that spring, “its mission having been accomplished with the close of the Session.” In the bitter political and religious controversies of 1860–61 Winton was a staunch supporter of Governor Sir Alexander Bannerman, particularly when a petition was circulated by George James Hogsett and others with Bishop Mullock’s approval advocating the governor’s removal after the 1861 elections. With a Conservative government under Hugh William Hoyles* in power, Winton’s political journalism was more restrained. In 1865, however, he strongly opposed the coalition government which the Conservative leader, Frederic Bowker Terrington Carter*, formed with such Liberals as Ambrose Shea*, because of the record of past Liberal administrations. In the same year, after some initial hesitation, Winton’s paper editorialized against entry by Newfoundland into the proposed confederation of the British North American colonies, which he feared would be a sacrifice of Newfoundland’s interests.
Henry Winton was the author of a series of pamphlets on “The history of responsible government in Newfoundland . . . ,” one of which has survived: A chapter in the history of Newfoundland for the year 1861 (St John’s, 1861). Courier (St John’s), 31 March 1866. Public Ledger, 16 Jan. 1855; 8, 26 March, 26 April, 7 May, 17 Sept., 25 Oct. 1861; 6 April 1866. Royal Gazette (St John’s), 3 April 1866. Hutchinson’s Newfoundland directory for 1864–65 . . . , comp. T. Hutchinson (St John’s, 1864). Gunn, Political history of Nfld. E. C. Moulton, “The political history of Newfoundland, 1861–1869” (unpublished ma thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, 1960). A. B. Perlin, “Continuing stories of old newspapers,” Daily News (St John’s), 18 Feb. 1955.