Thomas D'Arcy McGee

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Thomas D'Arcy McGee every man is the son of his own works.

Thomas D'Arcy Etienne Hughes McGee, PC (April 13, 1825April 7, 1868) was an Irish Nationalist, Catholic spokesman, journalist, and a Father of Canadian confederation. He is, to date, the only Canadian victim of political assassination at the federal level.


  • The two greatest things that all men aim at in any free government are liberty and permanency. We have had liberty enough - too much perhaps in some respects - but at all events, liberty to our hearts content.
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • We have here no traditions and ancient venerable institutions; here, there are no aristocratic elements hallowed by time or bright deeds; here, every man is the first settler of the land, or removed from the settler one or two generations at the furthest; here, we have no architectural monuments calling up old associations; here, we have none of these old popular legends and stories which, in other countries, have exercised a powerful share in the government; here every man is the son of his own works. (Hear, hear.)
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • This is a new land - a land of pretension because it is new; because classes and systems have not had that time to grow here naturally. We have no aristocracy but of virtue and talent, which is the only true aristocracy, and is the old and true meaning of the term. (Hear, hear.)
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • I will take leave to read to the house a few figures which show the amazing, the unprecedented growth which has not perhaps a parallel in the annals of the past, of the military power of our neighbours within the past three or four years... From January 1861 to January 1863 the army of 10,000 was increased to 800,000... In January 1861 the ships of war belonging to the United States were 83; in December 1864 they numbered 671...
    These are frightful figures for the capacity of destruction they represent, for the heaps of carnage that they represent, for the quantity of human blood spilt that they represent, for the lust of conquest that they represent, for the evil passions that they represent, and for the the arrest of onward progress that they represent.
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • If we are true to Canada, if we do not desire to become part and parcel of these people, we cannot overlook this the greatest revolution of our times. Let us remember this, that when the three cries among our next neighbours are money, taxation, blood, it is time for us to provide for our own security...
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • The idea of a universal democracy in America is no more welcome to the minds of thoughtful men among us than was that of a universal monarchy to the mind of the thoughtful men who followed the standard of the third William in Europe, or who afterwards, under the great Marlborough, opposed the armies of the particular dynasty that sought to place Europe under a single dominion. (Hear, hear.) But if we are to a universal democracy on this continent, the lower provinces - the smaller fragments - will be "gobbled up" first, and we will come in afterwards by the way of dessert. (Laughter.)
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • I will content myself, Mr. Speaker, with those principal motives to union; first, that we are in the rapids and must go on; next that our neighbours will not, on their side, let us rest supinely, even if we could do so from other causes; and thirdly, that by making the united colonies more valuable as an ally to Great Britain, we shall strengthen rather than weaken the imperial connection. (Cheers.)
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • Everything we did was done in form and with propriety, and the result of our proceedings is the document [the Quebec Resolutions] that has been submitted to the imperial government as well as to this house and which we speak of here as a treaty. And that there may be no doubt about our position in regard to that document we say, question it you may, reject it you may, or accept it you may, but alter it you may not. (Hear, hear.)
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865 (Known in Ottawa as "The curse of D'Arcy Mcgee")
That is a glorious doctrine to instill into society. (Cheers.)
  • Miracles would cease to be miracles if they were events of everyday occurrence; the very nature of wonders requires that they should be rare; and this is a miraculous and wonderful circumstance, that men at the head of the governments in five separate provinces, and men at the head of the parties opposing them, all agreed at the same time to sink party differences for the good of all, and did not shrink, at the risk of having their motives misunderstood, from associating together for the purpose of bringing about this result. (Cheers.)
    • Legislative Assembly, February 9, 1865
  • That is a glorious doctrine to instill into society. (Cheers.)
    • Legislative Assembly, February 16, 1865


  • Canada's Founding Debates, Edited By Janet Ajzenstat, et al, University of Toronto Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8020-8607-1

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