07 April 2018

Thomas D'Arcy McGee: 150 Years

He has gone from us, and it will be long ere we find such a happy mixture of eloquence and wisdom, wit and earnestness. His was no artificial or meretricious eloquence, every word of his was as he believed, and every belief, every thought of his, was in the direction of what was good and true.
— Sir John A. Macdonald, 7 April 1868
The great Thomas D'Arcy McGee was murdered 150 years ago today, nine months after Confederation. His remains the only assassination of a federal politician in our history. Is it unseemly that I take some pride in this?

McGee became my hero at Allancroft Elementary School. He was never mentioned in class; I first learned about him through a book, Pierre Berton's Historic Headlines (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1967), borrowed from the school library.

These past nine years I've marked the anniversary of McGee's death with verse written as news of the tragedy swept across the Dominion he'd brought into being. This year, a unfinished poem composed by McGee himself. Appropriate, I think.

The Poems of Thomas D'Arcy McGee
New York: Sadlier, 1869
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1 comment:

  1. Decades ago, when I still named my animals after Canadian historical figures, I had an orange cat named McGee for Mr. Thomas D'Arcy. He, McNab & Tupper were my favourite three of a long line.

    Thanks for the reminder.