George Brown (politician, 1818)

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George Brown

George Brown (born November 29, 1818 in Alloa , Scotland , † May 9, 1880 in Toronto ) was a Canadian politician , publisher and journalist . Brown founded the newspaper The Globe in 1844 , which is now the second largest daily newspaper in the country under the name The Globe and Mail . The influential abolitionist was the founder of the precursors of the Liberal Party of Canada and the Ontario Liberal Party in 1857 . Brown was a member of the House of Commons in the Province of Canada for fourteen years , and in 1858 served as Prime Minister for four days. As one of the fathers of the Confederation , he was one of the pioneers of the Canadian state founded in 1867. From 1873 he represented the province of Ontario in the Senate , in 1880 he died as a result of an assassination attempt.


Journalistic activity

Brown was born in Alloa in the Scottish county of Clackmannanshire . The son of a wholesaler and glass manufacturer received his education in Edinburgh . Economic problems had the consequence that the father emigrated to New York in 1837 to venture a new beginning; his son accompanied him. After initially running a dry goods store there , they founded the weekly British Chronicle in 1842 , which increasingly specialized in news from the neighboring province of Canada . In 1843 George Brown moved to Toronto and founded The Globe newspaper with the support of reform-minded politicians . It appeared for the first time on March 5, 1844 and developed into the leading newspaper in Toronto (to this day it continues to exist under the name The Globe and Mail and is Canada's second largest daily newspaper in terms of circulation).

Brown used his journalistic and economic influence to influence politics. In 1848 the Canadian government appointed him to a commission of inquiry to investigate alleged wrongdoing in Kingston Prison . The report, published in 1849, exposed severe abuse of prisoners and formed the basis for reform of the prison system. In his paper published editorials Brown, with whom he the slavery in the southern states of the United States denounced. In response to the Fugitive Slave Law passed in 1850 , he financially supported the establishment of the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society. Members of this society helped escaped slaves escape via the Underground Railroad to Canada.

Party founder and prime minister

Brown decided to become politically active himself and ran for a by-election in Haldimand County in April 1851 , but was defeated by William Lyon Mackenzie . However, he was successful in Kent County in the general election in October of the same year. He soon assumed a leadership role within the fragmented opposition. In 1857, Brown combined the Reform Party and the more radical Clear Grits into a broader-based Liberal party. Ten years later, the Liberal Party of Canada and the Ontario Liberal Party emerged from this at the federal and provincial levels. The goals of the new political movement were the separation of church and state , the annexation of the vast territories administered by the Hudson's Bay Company in the northwest, a more efficient state apparatus and an electoral reform. From 1858 Brown represented an electoral district in Toronto.

The government led by John Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier lost a vote on the future capital at the end of July 1858 and Alexander Tilloch Galt refused the mandate to form a government. Brown then tried to form a new government together with Antoine-Aimé Dorion , although he also did not have a stable majority. For this reason he lost a vote of no confidence , whereupon he resigned as Prime Minister after only four days in office on August 6, 1858. The political instability of the province of Canada around 1860 led Brown to campaign for a federal state that would encompass all colonies in British North America . Due to a prolonged illness he could hardly campaign in 1861 and lost his seat in the general election. He reappeared increasingly as a publicist and investor and stayed in his old home for six months in 1862, where he married Anne Nelson. With her he had two sons and three daughters.

Canadian Confederation

Statue on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Brown returned to politics in March 1863 with a victory in a by-election in the South Oxford constituency. From June 1864, he headed a parliamentary commission that was able to advance the state project. Conservatives and liberals then formed a grand coalition to work towards this goal; Brown joined the cabinet led by John Macdonald and Étienne-Paschal Taché . In September and October 1864 he took part in the Charlottetown Conference and the Québec Conference , where he presented the constitutional foundations of the new Canadian Confederation to delegates from other colonies . He then negotiated several times with the British government and the hesitant maritime provinces about this reorganization.

In September 1867, two months after the founding of Canada, Brown ran in Canada's first general election and in the election to the Ontario Legislative Assembly . However, he failed to get elected both times. He temporarily withdrew from politics, but remained influential nonetheless. For example, he was able to convince Oliver Mowat to give up his judicial office and become Prime Minister of Ontario. After the Pacific scandal was exposed, he attacked John Macdonald incessantly until the conservative federal government finally had to resign in November 1873. The new Liberal Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie named Brown a senator a month later . In the time off sessions he devoted himself to his newspaper and cattle breeding. In 1879 he refused the knighthood he was offered.

Assassination and death


On March 25, 1880, George Bennett, a dismissed printing clerk at the Globe , entered Brown's office. An argument broke out, and the drunk Bennett pointed a gun at him. Brown tried to take the pistol, whereupon a shot went off and hit him in the thigh. Bennett was quickly overwhelmed. The wound did not seem dangerous at first, but it became gangrene . Brown became seriously ill and died seven weeks later.

Web links

Commons : George Brown  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files