William McDougall (politician)


William McDougall (politician)

William McDougall, C.B. (January 25, 1822 – May 29, 1905) was a Canadian lawyer, politician and one of the Fathers of Confederation.

Born near York, Upper Canada (now Toronto, Ontario), the son of Daniel McDougall and Hannah Matthews, McDougall received his education at Victoria College in Cobourg, Upper Canada, and in 1847, began practising law as an attorney and solicitor in Upper Canada. In 1862, he was called to the Upper Canada Bar.

In 1849, William McDougall's office in Toronto was the meeting place for the founding of the Clear Grit political movement. Other Clear Grit supporters included Peter Perry, David Christie, Charles Clarke, Charles Lindsay, and Malcolm Cameron.

He was elected as a member of the legislative assembly in 1858 and served as Commissioner of Crown Lands and Provincial Secretary. He attended all three Confederation Conferences, and then served as Minister of Public Works in the Macdonald government.

In the federal election of 1867 he was elected in the district of Lanark North, for the Liberal-Conservative party.

McDougall was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory in 1869. The only travel route at the time was through the United States with the permission of U.S. President Grant. However, when he tried to enter that jurisdiction from North Dakota up the Red River, he was turned back near the border by Louis Riel's insurgents before he could establish his authority at Fort Garry (now Winnipeg, Manitoba). Dispatches on microfiche at the Main Library of the City of Toronto, Ontario include his request for 1,000 British troops to be sent on the authority of Queen Victoria. She responded that she would prefer a more amicable settlement of the jurisdiction issue. He returned to Ottawa, and campaigned against Manitoba becoming a province because of its very few inhabitants at that time. The area of Fort Garry, about 50 square miles then the Province of Manitoba. He also continued to serve as an interim leader of the Northwest Territories provisional government from Ottawa until Adams George Archibald, took over on May 10 1870.

In the federal election of 1872, he ran again for the Liberal-Conservative party in Lanark North but was defeated. In 1875, he was elected to the Parliament of the Province of Ontario. He served as an Independent-Liberal from June 01, 1875 until September 09, 1878 for the electoral district of Simcoe South.

In the federal election of 1878, he ran in Halton and was re-elected in the election of 1882 in Algoma and Grenville South in the election of 1887 he was defeated.

In 1890 he was promised a Senate seat, but did not pursue an appointment because his health was failing. During the conferences preceding confederation, McDougall was personally in favour of electing members to The Senate of Canada. He was also offered a federal judgeship in British Columbia, which he turned down.

He died fifteen years later on May 29 1905.

William McDougall and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln

William McDougall and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Fathers of Confederation McDougall and Galt went to Washington D.C., U.S.A. to meet with President Abraham Lincoln to renegotiate the Reciprocity Treaty.

Abraham Lincoln explained that he had an important event to attend and had to travel to Pennsylvania. Since he and McDougall had so much in common, and were friends, he invited McDougall to accompany him on his trip by train and coach. They stayed the night at a private home. The next day, November 19, 1863, at the opening ceremonies of the new Gettysburg cemetery for fallen soldiers of the American Civil War, many great orators spoke for hours. Abraham Lincoln's speech was brief. The Canadian and British press wrote positively about Lincoln's speech. Generally, the American press condemned it for its brevity. To this day, most people don't know about the many speeches of that day. They do remember Abraham Lincoln's speech which became known as the Gettysburg Address.

In the 1950s, then United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower, when addressing a joint session of the Parliament of Canada, told this story of McDougall's friendship and travel with Lincoln to open the cemetery in Gettysburg as an example of the long history of friendship between Canada and The United States of America. It can be found in the Hansard, the official publication containing the transcripts of the Parliament of Canada. A copy of the Hansard containing President Eisenhower's speech was autographed and commented by then Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker, and can be found in the Baldwin Room (a secured archives area) of the Main Library of The City of Toronto, Ontario.

William McDougall was from the first 12 families to settle in York.

William McDougall was the 3rd generation of United Empire Loyalists to settle in York (now known as Toronto, Ontario, Canada). His great, great paternal grandparents were among the first 12 families that moved to York along with 450 British troops in 1793. The British troops then built Fort York to protect against American invasion.

ee also

*List of Northwest Territories premiers
*List of Northwest Territories lieutenant-governors

External links

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* [http://www.collectionscanada.ca/confederation/023001-2366-e.html William McDougall "Library and Archives Canada"]


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