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Sir Mackenzie Bowell

Sir Mackenzie Bowell

Birth
Rickinghall, Mid Suffolk District, Suffolk, England
Death 10 Dec 1917 (aged 93)
Belleville, Hastings County, Ontario, Canada
Burial Belleville, Hastings County, Ontario, Canada
Memorial ID 2555 · View Source
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5th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in this capacity from December 1894 until April 1896. He was born in Rickinghall, Suffolk, England and in 1832 his family emigrated to Belleville, Ontario, where he apprenticed with the printer at the town newspaper, The Belleville Intelligencer, becoming a successful printer and editor with that newspaper, and later its owner. In 1867 he entered politics, having been elected to the Canadian House of Commons, as a Conservative, for the district of North Hastings, Ontario. He held his seat for the Conservatives when they lost the election of January 1874, in the wake of the Canadian Pacific Railroad Scandal. In 1878 he joined the cabinet as Minister of Customs and in 1882 he was appointed to the Senate, serving until 1917. In 1892 he became Minister of Militia and Defense and in October 1893 he became Leader of the Government in the Senate. When Prime Minister Sir John Sparrow David Thompson died unexpectedly in December 1894 he, as the most senior Cabinet minister, was appointed Prime Minister by the Governor General. As Prime Minister, he faced the troublesome Manitoba Schools Question. In 1890 Manitoba had abolished public funding of its Catholic schools, contrary to the provisions made for Catholics in the Manitoba Act of 1870. He and his predecessors had struggled to solve this problem. The issue had divided the country, the government, and even his own Cabinet. He was further hampered in his handling of the issue by his own indecisiveness on it, and by his inability, as a Senator, to take part in debates in the House of Commons. He backed legislation, already drafted, that would have forced Manitoba to restore its Catholic schools, but then postponed it due to opposition within his Cabinet. With the ordinary business of government at a standstill, his Cabinet decided he was incompetent to lead and so, to force him to step down, seven ministers resigned, then foiled the appointment of successors. Though he denounced them as "a nest of traitors," he had to agree to resign. After ten days, through an intervention on his behalf by the Governor General, the government crisis was resolved and matters seemingly returned to normal when six of the ministers were reinstated, but leadership was effectively held by Charles Tupper, who had joined Cabinet at the same time, filling the seventh place. Tupper, who had been Canadian High Commissioner to England, had been recalled to replace Bowell. He formally resigned in favor of Tupper at the end of the parliamentary session in April 1896. He stayed on in the Senate, serving as his party's leader there until 1906, and afterward as a plain Senator until his death. He died of pneumonia in Belleville at the age of 93, only days short of his 94th birthday. He was Grand Master of the Orange Order of British North America from 1870 to 1878.

Bio by: William Bjornstad



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2555
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Mackenzie Bowell (27 Dec 1823–10 Dec 1917), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2555, citing Belleville Cemetery, Belleville, Hastings County, Ontario, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .