Thursday 8 January 2015

Happy 200th birthday, Prime Minister Macdonald!

This weekend marks the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister and a father of confederation.

Our very own Archbishop Lynch was a frequent correspondent of Sir John A. ARCAT holds a number of signed letters from the Prime Minister. Many of them were political in nature: the two worked together on issues such as Irish immigration. Lynch made suggestions for candidates for political office, and Macdonald used Lynch's influence to gain the Catholic vote.

Below is a personal letter that Macdonald wrote to Lynch on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Lynch's episcopate.

"Dec 10 / 1884

My dear Lord Archbishop. - I only arrived here from England yesterday and found an infinity of work awaiting me. It grieves me very much that I am prevented by pressure of public business from being present at the celebration of the twenty fifth year of your Episcopate. 

"Lady Macdonald wrote me to England of your kind invitation. -

"I can only express my best wishes for a long continuance of your health and strength. - 

"My wife joins me in sending you our [?] kindest regards. 

"Bless me, Your Grace's very obedient servant,

John A Macdonald"

L AF02.31
As you can see, our first Prime Minister didn't have the neatest penmanship.

Letters such as the above show how early Canadian ordinaries worked to maintain relationships with political leaders. By remaining friendly, bishops would have been able to lobby for policies that improved the lives of their flock. As well, it's another example of how Archdiocese of Toronto history is also Canadian history.

Happy Birthday, Sir John A.!

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