To submit a comment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Description found in Archives
Place of creation
1 photograph : ambrotype ; 2" by 2" 1/5.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of documents related to William McDougall's career as politician and editor. It contains documents related to his activities as a leading voice of the Clear Grit movement, the radical faction of the Reform Party, drafts of articles to be published in different newspapers, documents related to his activities as a politician, especially as one of the leaders of the purchase of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories. It also contains documents regarding his nomination as first Governor of Rupert's Land and the North-West Territories and the difficulties he faced during the Red River Rebellion. The fonds contains correspondence and memoranda, reports, drafts of letters and articles to be published in different newspapers, newspaper clippings, printed documents, memoirs and autobiographical notes, minutes of meetings, proclamation and certificate, a commission and one portrait of William McDougall. The fonds includes, among other documents, a memorandum signed by N. Coldwell (February 8, 1870); a manifesto of William MacDougall (September 29, 1869); a proclamation concerning the admission of Rupert's Land and the North-West Territories to Canada; a letter written by John A. Macdonald to William MacDougall, (November 27, 1869); a letter written by MacDougall to the commanding officer at Fort Abercrombie (November 22, 1869), the "Declaration of the people of Rupert's Land and the North-West territories" by Louis Riel and John Bruce (8 December 1869), documentation about confederation, transfer of Rupert's Land and Commercial Union, the draft of a pamphlet on Rupert's Land, a copy of the resolution by the Hudson's Bay Company for the transfer of Rupert's Land (12 March 1869), a draft of a report to the Governor General in Council regarding Red River settlement surveys, a Commission appointing the Honorable William McDougall to be Secretary of the Province of Canada, a proclamation on the appointment of William McDougall as governor of the North-West Territories. The fonds also contains general correspondence about the Reform Party organization (1844-1864), minutes of meetings of the Constitutional Reform Association (1859-1860), the memoirs of William McDougall and autobiographical notes (1837-1869), correspondence and newspaper clippings regarding the attendance of Hon. William McDougall at the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield (19 November 1863), when President Lincoln delivered his famous address, and an ambrotype representing William McDougall realized by Georges Ellisson around 1862-1864. The fonds is described at the item level.
Textual records: The originals have been withdrawn from circulation; researchers must use the microfilm.
Textual records The finding aid is a chronological calendar of correspondence. MSS0197 90 (Electronic)
Biography / Administrative history
William McDougall was born on January 25, 1822, near York (Toronto) Upper Canada (Ontario), son of Daniel McDougall, a farmer, and Hannah Matthews. He received his education at Upper Canada Academy (Victoria College after 1841) in Cobourg, Upper Canada, and in 1847, began practising law as an attorney and solicitor, in Upper Canada. He entered into partnership in Toronto with Ambrose Gorham. The same year, he established the Canada Farmer, with Charles Lindsay, a weekly devoted to agricultural improvement, science, and literature. The following year McDougall merged the journal with William Graham Edmundson's British American Cultivator to form the Agriculturist & Canadian Journal. George Buckland joined McDougall in 1849 to transform that paper into the Canadian Agriculturist, which was intended to promote agriculture and colonization.
William McDougall was a leading voice of the Clear Grit movement, the radical faction of the Reform Party. To voice his political views, in 1850, he established the North American, the official publication of the Clear Grits. Later, this publication was absorbed by George Brown's Globe, and the two men worked together until 1865.
From 1858 to 1867, William McDougall was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Canada. He represented the electoral districts of North Oxford (1858-63), North Ontario (1863-64), and North Lanark (1864-67). During this period, he also served as Commissioner for Crown Lands from 1862 to 1864 and was appointed Provincial Secretary in 1864. William McDougall was a delegate to the Charlottetown, Quebec, and Westminster Conferences and, consequently, was one of the Fathers of Confederation.
After Canadian confederation in 1867, he joined the Conservative Party, served as a Member of Parliament for the electoral district of North Lanark (1867-1872) and was Canada's first Minister of Public Works. In 1867, he introduced the resolution in the House of Commons that eventually led to the purchase of Rupert's Land. He then accompanied Sir George-Étienne Cartier to London, England, to negotiate this purchase in 1869.
On the advice of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, William McDougall was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories effective October 1, 1869. This appointment was made by Lord Lisgar, Governor General of Canada. However, when McDougall tried to enter that jurisdiction from the United States on October 30, he was turned back near the border by Louis Riel's insurgents. William McDougall was never officially installed as LieutenantGovernor at Fort Garry. After he returned to Ottawa, he served as a Private Member in the House of Commons until 1872. In 1873, he resumed the practice of law and returned to politics. He served as the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for South Simcoe (1875 to 1878), and as the Member of Parliament for Halton (1878 to 1882).
In 1845, William McDougall married Amelia Caroline Easton, daughter of Joseph Easton of Millbank, Upper Canada. After the death of his first wife, he married Mary Adelaide Beatty, daughter of John Beatty, M.D., a professor at Victoria College, Cobourg, in 1872. William McDougall had more than six children.
William McDougall was knighted Companion of the Bath in 1867 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1881. He died on May 29, 1905, in Ottawa, Ontario, and was buried in the Beechwood Cemetery.
See: Canadian Encyclopedia, p. 1053; Encyclopedia Canadiana, Vol. 6, p. 259, Legislative Assembly of Alberta, http://www.assembly.ab.ca/lao/library/lt-gov/mcdougal.htm and Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
Availability of other formats note
Digitized images are available for some textual items (ecopy no e000007988, e000007985, e000007986, e000007987, e 000007989, e000007990, e000007991, e000007992, e000007993, e000007994, e000009388) and for the portrait of William McDougall (ecopy c0008362).
1. Confederation, 1867.
2. Land titles - Registration and transfer - Rupert's Land, 1870.
3. United States - Foreign relations - Canada, n.d.
4. Canada - Foreign relations - United States, n.d.
5. William McDougall - Autobiography, 1837-1869.
6. Fenians, n.d.
7. Fisheries, North Atlantic, n.d.
8. Jesuit Estates Issue (Canada), n.d.
9. Lumber trade, n.d.
10. Rupert's Land - Transfer to Canada, 1870.
11. Red River Settlement - Surveys, 1869.
12. Gettysburg Address, 1863.
13. Abraham Lincoln - Oratory, 1863.
14. Politicians Canada.
15. Hommes politiques Canada.
16. Red River Expedition, 1870.
17. Rouge, Expédition de la rivière, 1870.
Other system control no.
Related control no.
- Date modified: