THE SCOTCH-IRISH OF CANADA

By Rev. Stuart Acheson, M.A., Toronto, Canada

Taken from "The Scotch-Irish in America: Proceedings and Addresses of the Third Congress at Louisville, KY., May 14 to 17, 1891".

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It is not my purpose to go into the character and history of responsible government in Canada. Many were the early struggles for a better system and for freedom in the administration of the affairs of the provinces. I shall not have time to even glance at the agitation of Gourlay and William Lyon Mackenzie.

The family compact, largely composed of English gentlemen and United Empire Loyalists, were farming out the great province of Upper Canada—now Ontario—for themselves. The Lieutenant governors were mostly on their side, and every comfortable berth and fat office was filled by them. In fact, this compact ruled with a high hand, and for years defied the people and their chosen representatives. No vote of want of confidence could remove them; they were simply irresponsible autocrats. To remove these autocrats and let the people's representatives manage the affairs of the country, control the treasury benches, and appoint all public servants was a work reserved for the genius of our Scotch-Irish race to achieve.

It would be ungenerous for me to deny either Mackenzie or Gourlay some credit for responsible government. But neither of them conceived the idea of responsible government as we at present enjoy it. Mackenzie advocated the making of the Legislative Council elective, and this, he thought, would remedy every existing evil and deliver the country from the oppression and tyranny of the irresponsible autocrats who from year to year fattened at the public crib. At this important juncture the genius for untying knots, the evolving order out of chaos, the introduction of the principle of responsible government was reserved for the men of the Scotch-Irish race. The name of Robert Baldwin is a household in Canada, and to-day the two great parties in Canada, Conservative and Reform, vie with each other in doing honor to this typical and courageous statesman of our race. Robert Baldwin, the hero of responsible government in Canada, was born in Toronto on May 12, 1804. He was the son of Dr. William Baldwin. The Baldwin family came from Knockmore, near Cork, in the year 1799, and have many distinguished representatives both in the Church and the State. While it is not my purpose to mention names, yet there comes before me Rev. Arthur H. Baldwin, of All Saints' Church, Toronto, as a liberal and high-minded Christian gentleman and one of the most successful pastors of that city. Dr. Baldwin had a firm grasp of the principles of constitutional government and of popular liberty; these he bequeathed, as well as his integrity, to his son, who was to become renowned and achieve greatness through the principles of responsible government which his fertile genius seemed for Canada. Robert Baldwin first entered public life as member for York, now Toronto, in the year 1825; and for a quarter of a century, until the year 1851, was the most prominent figure in shaping the course and guiding the ship of State. He had associated with him during this period his cousin, Robert Baldwin Sullivan, who was intellectually brilliant, and though in some sense weak, yet did work for Canada in the struggle for responsible government which should never be forgotten. I shall not have time to follow the Hon. Robert Baldwin (as we shall call him now) as he goes to England and presses his views on Lord Glenely, urging the necessity of giving the Canadian people a real Constitution instead of the sham by which they were mocked; how he found on his return Sir Francis Bond Head at war with the Assembly and with popular opinion; how this Lieutenant-governor endeavored to form a government by combining the leaders of both parties, and how Hon. Robert Baldwin refused to enter the Executive Council unless upon the principles so clearly defined by him—that of responsible government. For nearly twenty-five years, Governors were sent out, some wise and others not, and how in the end those principles advocated by Hon. Robert Baldwin and his associates, mostly of the Scotch-Irish race, were at last conceded, and the form as now established in Canada was embodied in the act which united the various provinces in the Dominion of Canada.

These can only be referred to in this paper. The Constitution in Canada is a matter of growth. It is a peculiar product of the genius of the Scotch-Irish race deeply imbued with the principles of the monarchal institutions of the mother-land, and yet not altogether after the model of the government of Great Britain. It is much more democratic. In fact, it is the most democratic government in the world. I don't fear to state that for popular and democratic principles it is much in advance of the form of republican government existing to the south of us. Our popular Assembly at Ottawa can at one breath sweep any government into the cold and icy regions of opposition. This is not the case with the popular Assembly at Washington. Any government to hold office in Canada must have a majority in both Houses. Every bill must obtain the consent of both Houses of Parliament; and especially do we in Canada lay stress on the popular House, the House of Commons. It comes fresh from the people every five years at the longest; and every government, in order to live, move, and have its being, must of necessity have the majority of votes in this popular House. If a government is defeated, and if they think the people are on their side, they can dissolve the House and go to the people and find out who is right and who is wrong. So that the people of Canada are the ultimate tribunal before which every government must appear and stand or fall, according to their verdict.

The government need not wait for five years. Upon any crisis of trade or finance, or even upon a public scandal, they may appeal to the people. It is this coming before the people, and their liability at any time to have to appeal to the people, that gives our responsible government such a charm to Canadians and makes me ready, even before this congress of Americans, to speak of it being the most democratic government on the face of the earth. There was associated with Hon. R. Baldwin men whose names I need only mention in this paper, but who were of the Scotch-Irish race and did their share and contributed their part to the formation of responsible government in Canada. In 1839 Col. Gowan, M.P., issued a pamphlet which indicates a great deal of liberal insight on his part, so far as responsible government is concerned. Mr. Gowan was in public life for a quarter of a century, having represented Leeds and Grenville in Parliament for twenty-two years. Although a Conservative and Baldwin a Reformer, yet no stronger appeal could have been made on behalf of responsible government than that made by Col. Gowan, both in the pamphlet above referred to and in his private interview with Sir Charles Metcalfe. So that both the Conservatives and Reformers of the Scotch-Irish race were one in urging upon Sir Charles Metcalfe a form of responsible government; and, were it not that he had to contend with the genius of the Scotch-Irish race, he would have put back the dial of progress and have left matters in Canada in a worse state than he found them. The Baldwin-Lafontaine Ministry was the first responsible government Canada had seen. Sir Charles Metcalfe might sneer at them, but the country was at their back, and of the twelve ministers five of them and their leader and most able and noted debaters were of the Scotch-Irish race. The most remarkable man in this cabinet, next to Hon. Robert Baldwin and the Hon. Robert Baldwin Sullivan, was Sir Francis Hincks. He was one of the most versatile men the Scotch-Irish race has given to Canada. He is justly styled the Montague of Canadian finance. A successful journalist, banker, and statesman, he was born in Cork, and is the son of Rev. T. D. Hincks, LL.D. Rev. Dr. Hincks was for many years classical master and professor of Oriental Languages in the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, where his fifth son, Francis, was educated. Of all that Sir Francis Hincks has done for Canada I cannot speak. He did his full share to obtain for Canada responsible government. He put in shape her finances and raised her credit abroad. He held office under Sir John A. Macdonald from 1869 to 1873, and served his country at his old post, being Minister of Finance. Many other names I cannot mention, such as Hon. George Crawford, who was a member of the Cabinet in the Baldwin-Lafontaine Government, and whose son, John, born in the County Cavan, became so distinguished as a banker and as a member of Parliament, and was appointed Lieutenant-governor of Ontario. Before closing this paper, we shall point out some little of the freedom under responsible government in fixing our own tariff, in managing our own affairs as we think best, and our high claim to be among the foremost of the free nations of the earth. This achievement and renown, as has been shown, is the product of the genius of the Scotch-Irish race in Canada.

I shall now proceed to deal, and but briefly, with the third period: the period of enterprise.

Perhaps the one-fourth of the people of Canada are of the Scotch-Irish race, and I cannot attempt to do any thing like justice to their achievements, as they have boldly entered upon all the avenues of life, and they have not been found wanting in successful enterprise. We have in every province in Canada counties, like Colchester, almost entirely settled by the Scotch-Irish race. These counties have always come to the front, and men of diversity of genius have come from these counties or towns to do honor to Canada. Let me mention a few. The founder of the Archibald family was David Archibald, born in Londonderry and settled in Truro, N. S., in 1762. He was elder in the Presbyterian Church, and was the first member of Parliament for Truro, in 1766. One of the family, the Hon. A. G. Archibald, was the first Governor of Manitoba; but to show you the difficulty of doing justice to this distinguished family in this paper, let me state the fact that it requires nearly eighty pages demi-octavo to recount the number and exploits and what the Archibald family has done for Nova Scotia Mr. Alexander Miller settled in Nova Scotia about the same time, and was one of the first advocates of total abstinence. His family are very numerous in this province.

In 1756 three brothers, Samuel, Matthew, and Francis Creelman, came from Ireland and settled in Colchester, N. S. The Creelman family are widely known not only in Nova Scotia but in Ontario.

The Barnhills, Deyermonds, and Bairds are well known for enterprise in Nova Scotia; and the same may be said of the Johnsons, Hunters, Teas, Dickeys, Fishers, McConnells, Moores, Downings, O'Briens, Hamiltons, and Fultons. It takes thirty pages to recount the doings of the three Creelmans. The Hon. Samuel Creelman holds the most prominent position of any member of this extensive and honorable family.

New Brunswick has her share of our race. Col. John Murray settled in St. John, N. B., and built a magnificent residence on Prince William Street. One of his daughters married the Hon. Daniel Bliss, who was Chief-justice and Executive Counselor of the province. His daughter Hannah was mother of the Hon. Samuel Allen Willmot, at one time Governor of New Brunswick. Another daughter married the Hon. Joshua Upham, Judge of the Supreme Court. A daughter of Judge Upham was married to the Hon. John W. Weldon, and her son, Rev. Charles Wentworth Upham, was pastor of the First Church, Salem, Mass., and is the author of the well-known biography of Sir Henry Vane.

William Parks and Son is a firm well known in New Brunswick. William Parks, the founder of this firm, was born in Ireland in 1800, and settled in New Brunswick in 1822. He was a banker and a railway man, but he is best known as a manufacturer. Before confederation, all the cotton yarn was imported. The firm of Parks and Son set to work with the enterprise of the Scotch-Irish race to manufacture and produce cotton yarn for Canada. The success of this manufacture has been remarkable. Now, little or none is imported into Canada, and fully three-fourths of the whole output for Canada comes from this firm. Their works cover a large portion of ground. Several hundred persons are employed by the firm, and it has a high reputation not only in New Brunswick, but in all Canada.

The founder of the cattle trade in Canada, that has grown to such proportions, was Lieut. Joseph Maxwell, born at Roscrea, in the county of Tipperary, and settled in Richmond. Other farms like that of "Bow Park," established by the Hon. George Brown, Hon. Mr. Dryden, and others only indicate the advancement in this trade first established by the genius of the Scotch-Irish race.

The lumber trade, perhaps next in importance to the cattle trade in Canada, was established by John Egan, a native of Aughrim, who settled on the Ottawa in the year 1832. He represented Ottawa and afterward Pontiac in Parliament. He was as a man of business, generous and much beloved by the people, and was elected, as a rule, without opposition to represent his country in the Parliament of Canada.

Ralph Smith was born in Queens County, and settled and built the first house on the south shore of the river Ottawa in 1819. He, if it be any credit to our race, was the pioneer of the brewery and distillery business in Canada, which has attained too great a magnitude even in this young country.

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