Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Today in History: D'Arcy McGee assassinated

April 7, 1868: Thomas D'Arcy McGee was shot dead on Sparks Street in Ottawa, minutes after leaving a late-night session of the House of Commons.

The Canadian Encyclopedia Online currently features a well-informed summary of the murder and of the conviction of Patrick Whelan. It's by David A. Wilson, the first volume of whose biography of McGee was widely acclaimed a couple of years ago. The second volume, still awaited, may have even more about Whelan and the killing than Wilson is telling here.

A little McGee, on how the prospect of Confederation has already improved the colonies:
The provincial mind, it would seem, under the inspiration of a great question, leaped at a single bound out of mere mercenary struggles for office, and took post on the high and honorable ground from which alone this great subject can be taken in in all its dimensions -- had risen at once to the true dignity of this discussion with an elasticity that does honor to the communities that have exhibited it, and gives assurance that we have the metal, the material, out of which to construct a new and vigorous nationality. (Cheers.)
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