Here's to Bonar Law, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who took his final breath ninety years ago today. No one was much surprised by his passing; a diagnosis of inoperable throat cancer had forced his resignation just five months earlier. Law holds an unenviable record as the shortest serving British prime minister of the 20th century. Still, his 209 days as a PM (23 October 1922 - 22 May 1923) is far longer than Kim Campbell can claim. In this respect, Law is in Joe Clark's league.
I mention Campbell and Clark because Bonar Law, also a Tory, holds the distinction of being the only British prime minister to have been born on Canadian soil; in fact, he's the only person born outside the British Isles to have held the office. The son of a Presbyterian clergyman, Law drew his first breath in Rexton, New Brunswick, where he lived until the age of twelve.
Law's forced retirement was much to brief for him to pen his memoirs; he had no ghostwriter or "editorial consultant". The longest piece I have by the man comes in the form of a two-page Preface to Canada in Flanders (Toronto: Hodder & Stoughton, 1916) by friend Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, a fellow Presbyterian pastor's son and native of New Brunswick.
Look carefully and you'll see members of this very same cabinet in this Pathé newsreel twelve months later. I recommend watching with the sound off.
|Andrew Bonar Law|
Rextion, New Brunswick, 16 September 1858 -
London, England, 30 October 1923