William McDougall (politician)

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William McDougall, PC, CB (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 (130 km2) 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 1, 1875 until September 9, 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

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