Friday, January 11, 2013

Today in history: the prime minister formerly known as The Great Corruptionist

Today is John A. Macdonald's 198th birthday (unless he was actually born on January 10, which is possible).

I'm going to a dinner tonight where I am sure nothing but nice things will be said of him.  T'wasn't always so.

In 1885 the Toronto Globe noted Macdonald's seventieth birthday with the headline, "The Great Constitutional Lawyer Worsted Again," and a story on the overturning in court of his government's attempt to disallow Ontario's Scott Act.
Ontario was acting within its powers. Now we have seen the decision of the courts. What is left of Sir John Macdonald’s shattered and battered reputation?
The Globe would not even allow the prime minister's birthday party (in Montreal) to go off in peace.  
Sir John indulged in nothing but small jokes, grotesque self-applause, and foolish declamation… not one dignified or thoughtful sentence uttered. ... It is perhaps too much to ask Sir John Macdonald at his time of life to prepare himself a new speech, but in the name of suffering humanity won’t he provide himself with a new set of jokes?
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