Thursday, November 29, 2018

George Brown 10: The Bicentennary

A quick google search this morning suggests this blog is the only site in the world that has noticed that today is the 200th birthday of one of the key founders of Canadian confederation, George Brown, 1818-1880.  Nothing at all in the newspaper he founded, even.

On the other hand, I now see the Archives of Ontario has an online exhibit up:  "A Growing Family: Meet the Browns."  If I have not yet worn out your interest, say hello to baby Maggie.

“Twenty times a day I fancy myself by your side with our baby on your knee … [and] then come thoughts of the country [and] public duty, the newspaper and so I give a great grumph [and] turn away from the subject.”
                                     -George to Anne, 29 February 1864

Update, December 2:  From the Globe & Mail, 29 November, page 2

This newspaper’s founding proprietor was born 200 years ago this day in a Scottish village. George Brown’s reform-minded father moved the family to New York, where he established a newspaper. But young George preferred British to U.S. rule and, in 1844, he established The Globe in Toronto, which quickly became the most influential newspaper in British North America. Brown championed technological innovation, prison reform and responsible government, in opposition to the Tory elites. The Reform Party and movement he effectively led eventually became the Liberal Party. Like many journalists, Brown made an indifferent politician, and during his time in Parliament, he was consistently bested by his Conservative rival, John A. Macdonald. But after years of unstable, short-lived governments, it was Brown who proposed the Great Coalition, which made Confederation possible. Macdonald, not Brown, became prime minister, of course, but that was all right, because Brown was always at heart a newspaperman. In a way, the paper killed him. In March, 1880, he was accidentally shot in the thigh by an irate former employee. The wound became infected and he died in May. But Brown’s legacy is great: He founded what became The Globe and Mail, helped forge the Liberal Party and proposed the compromise that led to Confederation.
H/T Chris Raible, who sent the link.
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