Sir John A. Macdonald fonds [textual record, cartographic material, architectural drawing]
Record Information – Brief1
Sir John A. Macdonald fonds [textual record, cartographic material, architectural drawing]
- Hierarchical level:
- R14424-0-3-E, MG26-A
- Type of material:
- Textual material, Architectural and technical drawings, Maps and cartographic material
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Fonds includes:
18 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Bilingual equivalent:
- Click here
- Place of creation:
- No place, unknown, or undetermined
36.82 m of textual records.
2 architectural drawings
- Language of material:
- Added language of material:
- English, French
- Scope and content:
Fonds consists of the political and personal papers of the Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald. The majority of the records are post Confederation, although there is extensive correspondence pertaining to Confederation and the events leading up to it. The political papers document the shaping of a new nation, and cover such key events as railway construction, determining national boundaries, and a wide range of other topics including government administration and native affairs.
The personal papers provide insight into Macdonald's personal life, his legal practice, financial affairs, and the management of his estate. Family papers include the personal papers of Baroness Macdonald, and correspondence with close friends and other family members, including Macdonald's mother, and his sister Louisa.
Fonds consists of maps that reflect the major concerns of Canadians in the second half of the nineteenth century. Many of the maps pertain to the building of a transcontinental railway line to link the east and west coasts of a new nation. Others are survey and land grant maps of the Canadian west, particularly Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. A number of maps focus on fishing rights off the east coast of Canada, mining and timber limits in central Canada and other natural resource issues. Some are related to the establishment and building of harbours and canals (Montreal Harbour and the Trent Canal). There are also topographic maps of various regions across Canada. A small number of maps centre on Sir J.A. MacDonald's business dealings before Confederation as a buyer and seller of property in the Kingston, Peterborough and Toronto areas. Included are two technical drawings. Fonds also includes one map showing boundary lines between Alaska and Canada (from the Arctic Ocean to just south of the 55th parallel). Annotations in red ink show the boundary as claimed by Canada; annotations in blue ink show the boundary as interpreted by the Americans. Other maps pertain to projected and existing railroad lines across North America on both sides of the Canadian - American border in the two decades after Confederation; a map showing the Canadian Pacific railway line through Indian Reserves near Serpent River, Ontario; two maps of the Port au Pique and Great Valley Rail Line between Amherst and Truro, Nova Scotia servicing the coal fields of Spring Hill; one of the maps also shows the extension of the rail line to Moncton, New Brunswick; there are also three maps of northwestern Ontario -- they include two maps of the area between Lake Superior and Winnepeg and Lake Superior and Fort Pelly showing Indian Reserves and a third undated map showing boundaries in northwestern Ontario.
- Additional name(s):
- Biography/Administrative history:
Macdonald, John A. (John Alexander), 1815-1891 : First Prime Minister of Canada. John Alexander Macdonald was born at Glasgow, Scotland on 11 January 1815, and immigrated with his family to Kingston, Upper Canada as a child. At age 15, Macdonald apprenticed with a local lawyer, and eventually became a prominent defence and corporate attorney. He speculated in stocks and land, sat on the boards of several companies and was active in social organisations tied to his Protestant, Scottish identity. A Conservative, Macdonald was elected to the Kingston town council in 1843 and to the Parliament of the Province of Canada the following year. He served as Receiver General and Commissioner of Crown Lands, and went into opposition when the government fell in 1848. Macdonald returned to cabinet in 1854 as Attorney General for Upper Canada, in which role he abolished clergy reserves and established separate schools. In 1856, Macdonald became the leader of the Upper Canadian section of the government and co-premier with Étienne-Paschal Taché. The following year, George-Étienne Cartier became Macdonald's co-premier, heading a Liberal-Conservative Party that is the ancestor of the modern Conservative Party. Macdonald was a driving force in the Confederation debates of the 1860s. He was knighted on 1 July 1867, the day that Canada became a nation, was the country's first prime minister and held the office for almost nineteen years. Macdonald served two terms as prime minister. From 1867 to 1873, he was Prime Minister, and also Minister of Justice and Minister of Indian Affairs. His second term lasted from 1878 to 1891, when he was also Minister of the Interior (1878-83), Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (1878-87) and Minister of Railways and Canals (1889-91). Macdonald's official powers were augmented by the personal allegiances he maintained through patronage. Macdonald died of a stroke at Ottawa on 6 June 1891. After a state funeral, he was buried at Kingston's Cataraqui Cemetery. In 1843, Macdonald married Isabella Clark with whom he had two sons. Isabella died in 1857, and a decade later he married Agnes Bernard, with whom he had a daughter. Agnes and two children survived him. Agnes was ennobled as Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe in 1891. Macdonald had a formative impact on Canada. He brought the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and British Columbia into Confederation. He selected and guided the Canadian delegation that negotiated in London for the purchase and transfer of Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company to Canada, without consulting the First Nations and Métis living in the region. He built the transcontinental railway, repelled Fenian raids, represented the United Kingdom in diplomatic negotiations with the United States that resulted in the 1871 Treaty of Washington, oversaw the selection of Ottawa as the national capital, founded the civil service, imposed protective tariffs, promoted western settlement, enacted social welfare measures and judicial reforms, and expanded postal services. Macdonald's first government fell because of the 1873 Pacific Scandal, in which the public learned that the Conservative Party had accepted bribes in return for the contract to build the trans-continental railway. Macdonald laid the foundation for the federal government's systemically racist relationship with Indigenous Peoples through colonial policies and actions. These gave the government sweeping, unilateral powers to erase and assimilate Indigenous Peoples, causing tremendous trauma, displacement, disenfranchisement and exclusion that remains on-going. Macdonald's views about Indigenous Peoples were embodied legislatively in the Manitoba Act (1870), the Dominion Lands Act (1872), the Gradual Enfranchisement Act (1869), the Indian Act (1876), the Electoral Franchise Act (1885) and through the first five Numbered Treaties. Macdonald's actions triggered the Red River Resistance of 1869-1870, which was led by Louis Riel. The Canadian government reimposed control over the region by military force, and through ongoing retributive physical and social violence - known as the Reign of Terror - against the Métis and First Nations. Macdonald's inaction in resolving the issues that had caused the Resistance, coupled with increasing settlement, land speculation, railway construction and starvation resulting from the disappearing bison herds led to the 1885 North-West Resistance by Métis and Cree allies. An armed force defeated the Resistance in a series of battles. Macdonald then endorsed Riel's execution for treason, the hanging of eight First Nations leaders, and the imprisonment of Plains Cree leaders Pītikwahanapiwīyin (Poundmaker) and Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear). Macdonald's government established and emboldened systems of legislative, economic and physical coercion that: disenfranchised Indigenous Peoples; denied Métis land rights through the Scrip System and fraud; weaponised food to starve First Nations and force them onto reserves; policed their movements through the Indian Pass System; and established the system of Indian Residential Schools to assimilate Indigenous children into settler religion and culture. Colonial, racist policies were also deployed against the Chinese community in Canada through the Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration (1885), disenfranchisement under the Electoral Franchise Act (1885), and the $50 Head Tax imposed on Chinese immigrants under the Chinese Immigration Act (1885). The damage done by Macdonald's policies and actions has been acknowledged in recent years. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2013 that the government had failed to implement the land grant provisions to which the Métis Nation was entitled in the Manitoba Act. The Prime Minister at the time apologised on behalf of the government for the Head Tax on Chinese immigrants in 2006, Indian Residential Schools in 2008 and 2017, and exonerated Pītikwahanapiwīyin (Poundmaker) in 2019.
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Paper) Finding aid contains a boxlist and microfilm conversion lists for Vols. 1 to 593. The finding aid also contains a nominal index to the authors in the Personal Correspondence series (Vol. 537), a subject index for Vols. 297-335, a detailed index to the financial papers, including additional correspondence not included on the Prime Minister's CD-Rom, a conversion list for the letterbook transcripts, and an item listing of correspondence from Macdonald located in other fonds and collections at the National Archives. Part II of the finding aid, which covers Volumes 597 to 805, contains an item level listing of oversize material in horizontal files. There is no finding aid for Volumes 594 to 596. MSS0104 (90: Open)(Microform) Separate nominal, subject and chronological indexes are available on microfilm for Vols. 1-545, 558 and 569. The nominal index is available on microfilm reels C-4810 to C-4813; the subject index on reels C-4813 to C-4815 and the chronological index on reels C-4815 to C-4818. Each index contains approximately 150,000 entries.(Electronic) The Prime Minister's CD Rom contains item level descriptions for the correspondence found in Vols 1-545, 558 and 569.Textual records: (Electronic) Finding aid for oversize items; MSS0104 (99: Closed pending processing)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001016.pdfCartographic material (Other) Please consult lower level descriptions. (90: Open)Architectural, technical drawings (Other) Please consult lower level descriptions. (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- General Note:
- The majority of the papers were acquired from the Baroness Macdonald in 1914 and transferred to the custody of the Archives in 1917. Additional correspondence and items have been acquired from various donors numerous times since that date.
- Custodial history:
- Most of the papers of Sir John A. Macdonald were arranged between 1891 and 1917 by Macdonald's former secretary and literary executor, Sir Joseph Pope.
- Availability of other formats note:
- Volumes 1-569 are available on 241 reels of microfilm. The index occupies 9 reels.
- Location of duplicates note:
- The microfilm is available in provincial archives.
- Exhibitions note:
Exhibition Title: Glasgow's Glasgow. Curator: The Words and the Stones, Glasgow, Scotland; 1990.04.07-1990.11.05.
(MG 26 A Volume 129, page 53567)
- Container note(s):
C-4810 : Finding Aid
C-4811 : Finding Aid
C-4812 : Finding Aid
C-4813 : Finding Aid
C-4814 : Finding Aid
C-4815 : Finding Aid
C-4816 : Finding Aid
C-4817 : Finding Aid
C-4818 : Finding Aid
C-1678 : SP
- Subject heading:
- Shipwrecks - Great Lakes
- Law Canada
- Canada Confederation, 1867
- Canada 1867-1896
- Alaska Boundary Dispute, [1851-1891] Anna Macpherson, [1852-1889]
- Alaska - Boundaries - Canada, [1851-1891] Louisa Macdonald, [1852-1889]
- Canada - Boundaries - Alaska, [1851-1891] Margaret Green, [1852-1889]
- Canada - Officials and employees - Selection and appointment, [1851-1891] Kingston-Perth Road, [1862-1927]
- Railroads - Canada, [1851-1891] Earnscliffe (Estate), [1862-1927]
- Governors-general - Canada - Correspondence, [1851-1891] Sir John A. Macdonald Testimonial Fund, [1862-1927]
- Canada. Parliament - Elections, [1851-1891] Sir David Macpherson, [1843-1891]
- Fenians, [1851-1891] Lawrence Vankoughnet, [1843-1891]
- Secret service - Canada, [1843-1891] Edgar Dewdney, [1843-1891]
- Prime ministers - Canada - Correspondence, [1832-1891] Sir Alexander Campbell, [1843-1891]
- Marriage, [1847-1891] Colonel H. Bernard, [1862-1927]
- Freemasons - Membership, [1847-1891] Great Britain. Treaties, etc. United States, 1871 May 8
- Diseases, [1847-1891] United States. Treaties, etc. Great Britain, 1871 May 8
- Medicine, Preventive, [1847-1891] Washington, Treaty of, 1871
- Law - Canada - Cases, [1835-1874] Washington, Treaty of, 1888
- Wills, [1827-1891]
- Commissions, [1827-1891]
- Marriage licences, [1827-1891]
- Medicine - Formulae, receipts, prescriptions
- Prime ministers - Canada - Family, [1845-1910]
- Prime ministers - Canada - Children, [1847-1891]
- Prime ministers - Canada - Staff, [1855-1891]
- Prime ministers - Canada - Spouses, [1845-1910]
- Real property, [1833-1891]
- Marital property - Canada, [1862-1927]
- Decedents' estates, [1862-1927]
- Administration of estates - Canada, [1862-1927]
- Prime ministers - Canada - Mothers, [1852-1889]
- Inheritance and succession Canada
- Prime ministers Canada
- Premiers ministres Canada
- Riel Rebellion, 1885
- Rébellion de Riel, 1885
- Ambassadors Canada
- Lawyers Canada
- Former archival reference no.:
Ordering and Viewing Options
- Conditions of access:
Volumes 1-569 (originals) and volumes 803-804 have been withdrawn from circulation. Researchers must use the microfilm or photocopies (copyflo). Photocopies (copyflo) made from the microfilm are available only for Volumes 1-536.
Cartographic material: No restrictions. Credit Library and Archives Canada.
Architectural, technicl drawings: No restrictions. Credit Library and Archives Canada.
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