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John Sandfield Macdonald

MACDONALD, John Sandfield, Canadian statesman, born in St. Raphaels, Glengarry, 12 December, 1812 ; died in Cornwall, 1 June, 1872. His grandfather came from Scotland in 1786 with one of those Highland migrations by which the county of Glengarry was almost exclusively colonized. His mother died when he was a boy, and, being dissatisfied with the career that was intended for him, he ran away from home and served as a merchant's clerk for about two years, when he determinedto abandon commerce for law. His education having been much neglected, in November, 1832, he entered Cornwall grammar-school, and, though the usual course was three years, at the end of two years he was declared "dux" of the school. In 1835 Mr. Macdonald passed his preliminary examination before the Law society, and in June, 1840, was admitted to the bar, and begum practice in Cornwall. He achieved an immediate success, and established a lucrative practice, which he retained and increased even after his attention had been diverted from his professional duties by his political associations. In 1841 he was elected nominally as a Conservative to the parliament of the recently united provinces of Upper and Lower Canada for Glengarry. In the first session of this parliament the resolutions that established responsible government were passed, but Sir Charles Metcalf having attempted, in November, 1843, to subvert their principles, Mr. Macdonald separated from his former political associates, and thenceforward acted as an independent reformer. Though Glengarry was a Conservative constituency, Mr. Macdonald's Gaelic and English harangues secured his re-election, and produced a complete change in its politics. In 1848, 1852, and 1854 he was re-elected without opposition. He succeeded William Hume Blake as solicitor-general in the Baldwin-Lafon-taine government in December, 1849, and held this portfolio till his resignation in 1851. He was speaker of parliament in 1852-'4, and in 1858 was attorney-general in the Brown-Dorion, or "two-days' " ministry. In 1857 he was elected for Cornwall, and in 1862 was called upon by Lord Monk to form a government after the defeat of the Car-Her-Macdonald administration. This he did, and remained its premier until he resigned in 1864. In 1867 he became premier of the province of Ontario, and the leader of a coalition government, but after the elections of 1871, finding himself in a minority, he resigned the leadership, though he remained a member of parliament till his death. Mr. Macdonald, though regarded as a reformer during the greater part of his public life, never claimed political consistency, nor permitted his allegiance to party to influence his judgment or determine his actions. He opposed the confederation of the provinces, representation by population, and, although a Roman Catholic, was not an advocate of separate schools He possessed great administrative powers, and was personally popular, but too independent to be a good party-leader, and was regarded even by his political opponents as being above the suspicion of public or private wrong-doing. He married a daughter of George A. Waggaman, United States senator.--His brother, Donald Alexander, statesman, born in St. Raphaels, Glengarry, Ontario, 17 February, 1817, was educated at St. Raphaels college. He was a contractor on the Grand Trunk railway for some time, for several years warden of the counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, and in 1857 was elected to the Canada assembly for Glengarry. He represented this constituency till the union of 1867 when he was reelected for it to the Dominion parliament. In 1871 he was offered the treasurership of Ontario, which he refused. He was elected for Glengarry again in 1872, and on his appointment as postmaster-general in the Mackenzie administration, 7 November, 1873, was re-elected by acclamation, as well as afterward in 1874. He remained postmaster-general until he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Ontario, 18 May, 1875, retired from the latter office in 1880, and has since been out of public life. Mr. Macdonald is lieutenant-colonel commanding the Glengarry reserve militia, and president of the Montreal and Ottawa junction railway.

--BEGIN-Joseph Ewing

McDONALD, Joseph Ewing, senator, born in Butler county, Ohio, 29 August, 1819. His father died while the son was an infant, and the latter was educated by his mother until his thirteenth year, when he was apprenticed to a saddler. He entered Wabash college, Crawfordsville, Indiana, at eighteen years of age, supporting himself by working at his trade at odd hours and between terms, was at Asbury university in 1840-'2, and after leaving college studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1844, and, removing to Crawfordsville in 1845, established a practice. He was elected attorney-general in 1856, and three years later removed to Indianapolis, where he has since followed his profession. He was elected to congress as a Democrat in 1848, and served in 1849-'51, but was defeated in the next canvass, and also in 1864 as Democratic candidate for governor against Oliver P. Morton. He was chairman of the state Democratic committee in 1872, reorganized the party, and secured the election gislature by which he was sent to the United States senate in 1875, serving till 1881. While in that body he took a conspicuous part in debates on finance, and was in favor of hard money and a protective tariff.

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