END, WILLIAM, lawyer, politican, magistrate; b. c. 1800 in Limerick, Ireland; m. in 1827 to Lucy Morse in Amherst, N.S.; assassinated on 14 Dec. 1872 at Bathurst, N.B.
Nothing is known of the circumstances under which William End immigrated to New Brunswick, or the date. He studied law with William Botsford* in Dorchester and became an attorney on 20 Feb. 1823. He worked first in Saint John; following his admission to the bar on 17 Feb. 1825, he moved to Newcastle. End served as clerk of the peace for Gloucester County from 1827 to 1847, and as registrar from 1837 to 1841, the year he was appointed queen’s counsel. He was appointed prosecuting officer for Gloucester in 1848.
William End was elected to the New Brunswick assembly in 1830. He represented Gloucester County until 1850, and again from 1854 to 1861. End’s notoriety as “a loquacious and impetuous partisan of the common people” arose from his first campaign, during which he made astute use of the religious and patriotic emotions of the county’s Acadian and Irish population. End allegedly called the powerful magistrates’ courts “a scandalous, corrupt and rotten system packed up by Mr. [Hugh] Munro,” his opponent and the leading magistrate. He likewise “foamed and raged in the most furious manner” against the tyranny of such influential merchants as Robert Ferguson* and Alexander Rankin* who, in league with the justices, were inclined to trample on the susceptibilities of Gloucester’s indigent majority.
In the assembly, however, End generally “worked and voted with the ‘compact’ side of the House,” prompting the liberal James Hannay* to see in him “a man of no principle, who took the side of those in authority because he thought it would be to his own personal advantage.” Thus End supported the administration on the explosive crown lands issue and William Colebrooke*’s rash appointment of his son-in-law Alfred Reade as provincial secretary in 1845, and he strongly sustained the prerogative of John Henry Thomas Manners-Sutton to dissolve the assembly in 1856.
Though in 1846 End enthusiastically supported the appropriation of £1,000 for a loyalist monument, he had protested the fanfare bestowed in 1833 upon the 50th anniversary of the loyalist arrivals, reminding people of the labours of the English, Scots, and Irish. It is perhaps indicative of the over-all climate of New Brunswick that it did not occur to the member for Gloucester to include the Acadians, who comprised the majority of his own constituents. Before the 1860s, the Acadians as a group virtually never came up in debates on the politics of New Brunswick. Indeed, it was only when End’s career was near its end that this group ventured their first timid steps on the main road of provincial life.
End suffered defeat in 1850, but ran again in 1854. Despite his strong conservatism (he was vehemently opposed to the transfer of money grants to the executive), End kept in mind his recent defeat, supported the return to power of Charles Fisher, and was himself elected. In the “Rum” election of 1856, End, who supported the repeal of prohibition, was returned, but lost his seat when his opponents successfully contested the result. He returned to the assembly in the election of 1857, and sat until dissolution in 1861. In all, William End represented Gloucester for 26 years. In 1862 former colleagues appointed him law clerk to the House of Assembly.
Little information is available about End’s private life. There seems to be no record of children of his own (his wife had a daughter from a previous marriage). The details of his law practice are vague. It is known that he had profitable property holdings and other investments, and that he lived in Saint John from 1841 to 1843, and in the United States from 1850 to 1854. At confederation he became the first county clerk, and at the time of his death he was a stipendiary magistrate and a director of the Bathurst grammar school.
William End died tragically in his burning office in Bathurst at the hands of a young man, James Meahan Jr, whom he had recently sentenced to four months in the county jail. Though the incident outraged the public, newspaper commentary suggests that by 1872 End’s political career had been all but forgotten. Sir Howard Douglas* had felt End, though “very clever,” was “disposed to be troublesome and factious . . . .” George Edward Fenety* saw in him “a man of superior parts . . . who seemed to want judgment at the right time.”
Gloucester County Court (Bathurst, N.B.), Gloucester County records, 1–21. N.B Museum, Folder 58, deeds to land in Westmorland County, 1784–1828; Folder 64, item 37 (William End to Sir John Harvey, 25 June 1838); Folder 90, original appointments; New Brunswick, Gloucester County land grants; “Linking the past with the present,” a series of articles by E. S. Carter which began in the Saint John Telegraph-Journal, 6 Nov. 1929; New Brunswick Historical Society papers, Packet 4 (Steeves coll.), item 10; Howard P. Robinson papers, “History of Albert County,” typescript by W. C. Milner, c.1933. PAC, MG, 24, A17 (Harvey papers), ser.1, 1; ser.2, 6. PRO, CO 188/41, 188/43, 188/71, 188/72, 188/91, 188/104.
Fenety, Political notes and observations. New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Journals, 1831–62. New Brunswick Courier (Saint John, N.B.), 1830–65. New Brunswick Royal Gazette (Fredericton), 1830–70. Morning Freeman (Saint John, N.B.), 17 Dec. 1872, 15 Feb. 1873. Saint John Daily Telegraph and Morning Journal, 16, 26 Dec. 1872; 15 Feb. 1873. Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, N.B.), 17 March, 16 June 1931. An almanack for the year of our Lord, 1828 . . . for . . . Saint John, N.B. . . . (Saint John, N.B.). Lovell’s province of New Brunswick directory for 1871 (n.p., n.d.). The New Brunswick almanac and register for . . . 1849 (Saint John, N.B., 1848). Hannay, History of New Brunswick, II. Lawrence, Judges of New Brunswick (Stockton). MacNutt, New Brunswick.