Brown, George

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Brown, George

George Brown, 1818–80, Canadian statesman and journalist, b. Scotland. In 1837 he emigrated to the United States, but after five years in New York City, he settled in Toronto, Ont. There he founded (1844) the Toronto Globe, which under his editorship became the most powerful political journal in Upper Canada. He wholeheartedly supported Robert Baldwin and the movement for responsible government. Elected in 1851 as a Reform member of the Canadian legislative assembly, Brown in time became leader of the "Clear Grits" faction, which opposed the influence of the French Canadians in the assembly. He urged the secularization of the Clergy Reserves (lands reserved for the Protestant churches), a national school system, the purchase of the Northwest Territories, and representation by population instead of the equal representation for Quebec and Ontario as established by the Act of Union (1840). Brown played an important role in the movement for confederation. Despite his personal and political hatred for Sir John A. Macdonald, he joined (1864) "the great coalition" ministry and with Macdonald and others went to England in 1865 to urge Canadian confederation. He resigned that year from the government because of his inability to work with Macdonald and left Parliament in 1867. He later (1873) accepted appointment to the Canadian Senate, serving until he was shot to death by an insane employee.

See biography by J. M. S. Careless (2 vol., 1959–63).

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