Monday, October 26, 2020

Fathers Of Confederation

This is a bust of Lord Elgin, the Governor-General at the time of the push towards responsible government.

Tensions south of the border had their influence on those who would lead the country into Confederation. The Civil War served as a lesson to colonial politicians looking for further self government that they needed a strong union among the Canadian colonies.

The Fathers of Confederation came into their own in the 1850s and early 1860s. Not all of them were politicians, but most were. They didn't all get along, but understood the need to work together. During meetings and negotiations in the 1860s, they would eventually bring about the terms that led to Confederation in 1867.

 Three of them are gathered in photographic portraits here: John A. Macdonald, George Brown, and George-Etienne Cartier.

The most eloquent of the Fathers was one of their most unusual: Thomas D'Arcy McGee. He had in younger days been a radical in his native Ireland, had fled to the New World, and here had underwent a complete change in his perspective, seeing the value of a Parliamentary system based on British influences where minorities could have a chance to prosper.

McGee would pay dearly for his change of heart. Irish radicals despised him for it, and in 1868 he was assassinated while coming home from Parliament to the boarding house he was staying in near the Hill. The gun used in the assassination is here.

Artifacts of the time, with a photo of Queen Victoria behind. Cartier would take this trunk with him to London for the conferences that would formalize Confederation.

This large banner on a wall shows the reading of the proclamation of Confederation at Market Square in Kingston on July 1st, 1867.


  1. Thank goodness we live in a parliamentary democracy with the system of government we have, where the Prime Minister has to face his critics daily in the House.

  2. Reading your blog I'm learning a lot, William ! Thanks !

  3. Another interesting exhibit. Wishing you a happy new week!

  4. nice to hear that Lord Elgin was behind the push for responsible government. And look at who we have TRUMP!

  5. Interesting history. Thanks for the great information.

  6. You are teaching us all a good history lesson, William.

  7. Canada and America being having the same government is an intriguing thought.

  8. The formation of Canada was on very shaky ground at times. As shown sometimes these people didn't get along very well. The distances and travel must have been a huge problem.

  9. Guns have come a long way since that one was used.

  10. Interesting history, thanks for sharing William.

  11. @Francisco: thank you.

    @David: that's true.

    @Karl: you're welcome.

    @Eileen: thanks!

    @Iris: it is, yes.

    @Tom: quite a difference!

  12. @DJan: you're welcome.

    @RedPat: a pleasure to do so.

    @Maywyn: fortunately it didn't turn out that way!

    @Red: Brown and Macdonald apparently hated each other, but were still able to work together on a common goal.

    @Marie: that's true.

    @Bill: you're welcome.

  13. A very interesting exhibit. It is good to learn history

  14. Oh, boy! The gun sure is a poignant artifact.

  15. Your header photo is awesome ~ so colorful ~ great post too ^_^

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  16. The bust of Lord Elgin is wonderful.

  17. @Gemel: it is.

    @Pat: I think so.

    @Revrunner: quite so.

    @Joanne: I agree.

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Jennifer: indeed.

    @Magiceye: I agree.

  18. I'm drawn to the photo of the Queen and the banner of the confederation.

  19. Interesting. Thanks so much, William