Rose, John (1820-1888) (DNB00)

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ROSE, Sir JOHN (1820–1888), Canadian statesman and financier, son of William Rose, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of James Fyfe, was born at Turriff, Aberdeenshire, on 2 Aug. 1820, and educated at Udney academy and other schools in that county, and finally King's College, Aberdeen. In 1836 he went with his parents to Canada, settled at Huntingdon, Quebec, and for a time taught in a local school. During the rebellion of 1837 he enlisted as a volunteer under the government, and at the close of the insurrection was assistant recorder of the court-martial on the insurgents. He then went to Montreal and studied law, being called to the bar of Lower Canada in 1842.

Here he rapidly made his way, and soon commanded the largest commercial practice in Montreal, while his conduct of several important cases for the government brought him into notice politically. In 1848 he became Q.C. He resisted all temptation to enter a political career until he had assured his private fortunes. On 26 Nov. 1857 he joined the Macdonald-Cartier ministry [see Macdonald, Sir John Alexander] as solicitor-general for Lower Canada, entering the provincial parliament as member for Montreal. The abolition of the usury laws is the chief measure with which his name is connected in this capacity. From 10 Jan. 1858 to June 1861 he was minister of public works, and in the latter year undertook the arrangements for the reception of the Prince of Wales in Canada. In 1862 Rose's health compelled his retirement from office, though he continued to sit for Montreal. In 1864 he was appointed by the imperial government commissioner for negotiating with the United States the settlement of the Oregon claims. In 1867, at the London conference which finally settled the details of Canadian federation, he specially represented the protestant interests. When the Dominion was actually created, he became member in the new parliament for his old home of Huntingdon, and first minister of finance for the Dominion. He was sworn of the privy council for Canada the same year. During the three years that he held office he took a leading part in the settlement of the financial system of the Dominion and the organisation of the militia and defence. In July 1868 he went to England to float the loan for the completion of the intercolonial railway. Soon afterwards he resigned office and settled in England. In 1869 he was sent to Washington as special commissioner to treat on the question of fisheries, trade arrangements, and the Alabama claims. He thus largely aided in the conclusion of the important treaty of Washington (1870). For these services he was made a baronet.

In London he joined the banking firm of Morton, Rose, & Co., and he became a sort of unofficial representative of the Dominion in England.

Rose was made a K.C.M.G. in 1872, a G.C.M.G. in 1878, and a privy councillor in 1886. He also served as a member of the royal commissions on copyright in 1875 and extradition in 1876, for the Paris exhibition in 1879, and the Fisheries, Health, and Colonial and Indian exhibitions from 1883 to 1886. In 1883 the Prince of Wales appointed him receiver-general for the duchy of Lancaster.

Latterly Rose was a well-known figure in London society. He had a fine presence and was a pleasant companion, with great charm of manner. His usual residence was Losely Park, near Guildford, Surrey, and he rented Braham Castle, Ross-shire. He died suddenly on 24 Aug. 1888, while a guest of the Duke of Portland, at Langwell, Caithness. He was buried at Guildford.

Rose married, first, on 3 July 1843, Charlotte, daughter of Robert Emmett Temple of Rutland, Vermont, who died in 1883 (by her he had five children, the eldest of whom, William, a barrister, succeeded to the baronetcy); secondly, on 24 Jan. 1887, Julia, daughter of Keith Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth, and widow of the ninth Marquis of Tweeddale.

[Rose's Cyclopædia of Canadian Biogr.; Toronto Globe, 27 Aug. 1888; Times, 27 Aug. 1888; Pope's Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald; Burke's Peerage, 1896.]

C. A. H.