Page:EB1911 - Volume 17.djvu/227

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MACDONALD, J. S.—MACDONALD, L.

the summer of 1876 he travelled through Ontario addressing the people on the subject of a commercial system looking to the celebrated

protection of native industries. This was the “ National Policy, ” which had been in his thoughts as long ago as the formation of the British-American League in 1850. The consider a

government of Alexander Mackenzie refused to protection policy, and determined to adhere to Free Trade, with a tariff for revenue only. On these strongly defined issues the two parties appealed to the people in 1878. The Liberal party was almost swept away, and Sir John, on his return to power, put his policy into effect with a thoroughness that commanded the admiration even of his opponents, who, after long resistance, adopted it on their accession to office in 1896. He also undertook the immediate construction of the Canadian Pacific railway, which had been postponed by the former government. The line was begun late in 1880, and finished in November 1885-an achievement which Sir John ranked among his greatest triumphs. “ The faith of Sir John, ” says one of his biographers, “ did more to build the road than the money of Mount-Stephen.”

During the remaining years of his life his efforts at administration were directed mainly towards the organization and development of the great North-West. From 1878 until his death in 1891 Sir John retained his position as premier of Canada, and his history is practically that of Canada (q.v.). For forty-six years of a stormy political life he remained true to the cardinal policy that he had announced to the electors of Kingston in 1844. “ A British subject I was born; a British subject I will die, ” says his last political manifesto to the people of the Dominion. At his advanced age the anxiety and excitement of the contested election of ' 1891 proved too great. On the 29th of May he suffered a stroke of paralysis, which caused his death eight days later (June 6).

The career of Sir John Macdonald must be considered in connexion with the political history of Canada and the conditions of its government during the latter half of the 19th century. Trained in a school where the principles of responsible government were still in an embryonic state, where the adroit management of coalitions and cabals was essential to the life of a political party, and where plots and counter plots were looked upon as a regular part of the political game, he acquired a dexterity and skill in managing men that finally gave him an almost autocratic power among his political followers. But great personal qualities supplemented his political dexterity and sagacity. A strong will enabled him to overcome the passionate temper which marked his youth, and later in his career a habit of intemperance, which he at first shared with many public men of his time. He was a man of strong ambitions, but these were curbed by a shrewd foresight, which led him for a long time to submit to the nominal leadership of other and smaller men. Politics he made his business, and to this he devoted all his energies. He had the gift of living for the work in hand without feeling the distraction of other interests. He had a singular faculty for reading the minds and the motives of men, and to this insight he perhaps owed the power of adaptability (called by his opponents shiftiness) which characterized his whole career. To this power the successful guidance of the Dominion through its critical formative period must be ascribed.' Few political leaders have ever had such a number of antagonistic elements to reconcile as presented themselves in the first Canadian parliament after confederation. The man who could manage to rule a congeries of jealous factions, including Irish Catholics and Orangemen, French and English anti-federationists and agitators for independence, Conservatives and Reformers, careful economists and prodigal expansionists, was manifestly a man of unusual power, superior to small prejudices, and without strong bias towards any creed or section. Such a man Macdonald proved himself to be. His personality stands out at this period as the central power in which each faction chiefly reposed trust, and under which it could join hands with the others in the service of the state. His singleness of purpose, personal independence and indomitable energy enabled him to achieve triumphs that to others seemed impossible. His methods cannot always be defended, and were explained by himself only on grounds of necessity and the character of the electorate with which he had to deal. After the “ Pacific scandal ” of 1874 the leader' of the opposite party declared that “ John A.” (as he was generally called) “ has fallen, never to rise again.” Yet he not only cleared his own character from the charges laid against him, but succeeded four years later in achieving his most signal party triumph. His natural urbanity allowed him to rule without seeming to rule. When bafded in minor objects he gave way with a good natured flexibility which brought upon him at times charges.of inconsistency. Yet Canada has seen statesmen of more contracted view insist on such small points, fall, and drag down their party with them. He lived at a time when the exigencies of state seemed to require the peculiar talents which he possessed. Entering politics at the dreariest and least profitable stage in Canadian history, he took the foremost part in the movement which -made of Canada a nation; he guided that nation through the nebulous stages of its existence, and left it united, strong and vigorous, a monument to his patriotic and far-sighted statesmanship. His statue adorns the squares of the principal Canadian towns. In the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral a memorial has rightly been placed to him as a statesman, not merely of Canada, but of the empire. In unveiling that memorial Lord Rosebery fitly epitomized the meaning of his life and work when he said: “ We recognize only this, that Sir John Macdonald had grasped the central idea that the British Empire is the greatest secular agency for good now known to mankind; that that was the secret of his success; and that he determined to die under it, and strove that Canada should live under it.” Macdonald became a member of the Imperial Privy Council in 1879, and in 1884 he received the Grand Cross of the Bath. His first wife was his cousin, Miss Isabella Clark, who died in 1858, leaving one surviving son, the Hon. Hugh John Macdonald, at one time premier of the province of Manitoba. By his second marriage, to Miss Bernard in 1867, Macdonald left an only daughter. On his death in 1891 his widow was created Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe.

The authorized and fullest biography of Sir John A. Macdonald is one written by his private secretary, Joseph Pope. Others have been written by his nephew, Colonel j. Pennington Macpherson, and by J.-E. Collins. A bright and amusing anecdotal life has been compiled by E. D. Biggar. A condensed biography by G. R. Parkin forms one of the “ Makers of Canada " series (Toronto, 1907; new ed., 1909).


MACDONALD, JOHN SANDFIELD (1812-1872), Canadian statesman, was born at St Raphael, Glengarry county, Ontario, on the 12th of December 1812. He was admitted to the bar in 1840, and settled in Cornwall. In the same year he married Miss Waggaman, the daughter of an American senator from Louisiana. In 1841 he was elected tofthe Canadian parliament for Glengarry, which seat he held for sixteen years. In 1842 he joined the Reformers in the cry for constitutional government, and from 1852 to 1854 was Speaker of the house. He was always uncertain in his party allegiance, and often attacked George Brown, the Liberal leader. Indeed, he well described himself as “the Ishmael of parliament.” In 1862 he was called on by Lord Monck, the governor-general, to form a ministry, which by manifold shifts held office till February 1864. In the debates on federation he opposed the measure, but on its passage was in 1867 entrusted by the Conservatives with the task of organizing the provincial government of Ontario. He ruled the province with economy and efficiency, but was defeated in December 1871 by the Liberals, resigned the premiership, and died 'on the 1st of June 1872.


MACDONALD, LAWRENCE (1799-1878), British sculptor, was born at Findo-Gask, Perthshire, Scotland. In early life he served as a mason's apprentice. Having shown an aptitude for stone carving, he became an art student at the Trustees Academy, Edinburgh. By the help of friends he was enabled to visit Rome, where together with other artists he helped to found the British Academy of Arts. He returned to Edinburgh