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Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt

Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt

Male 1817 - 1893

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  • Name  Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt 
    Prefix  Sir 
    Born  16 Sep 1817  London, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Chelsea
    Gender  Male 
    Died  19 Sep 1893  Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried  Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Lot F111
    Notes 

    • Alexander was Canada's Minister of Finance for three periods and High Commissioner to England from 1880 to 1883.

      1881 Census London, Middlesex, England. Dwelling place: 66 Lancaster Gate, London. Alexander and Amy are there with 6 daughters, 6 servants, neice Kate V Wood 24 (thought to be the daughter of John Wood and Amy's sister Elizabeth, and a visitor Katerina Nannett 60 from Canada. This is during Alexander's time as Canadian High Commissioner

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      Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt

      Alexander Tilloch Galt, 1869. Copyright/Source (September 6, 1817 - September 19, 1893)

      Alexander Tilloch Galt was one of the most influential politicians of his time. His role was most prominent during the constitutional conferences; he was involved in the issue of economic development and was committed to defending the rights of religious minorities. These things together made him truly one of the Fathers of Confederation. In 1824, Alexander's father John Galt founded the Canada Company -- a settlement company active in the area of Lake Huron -- and laid the groundwork for the city of Guelph, Ontario. It was during this time that the young Alexander first came to Canada, in 1828. He remained for two years. Despite the failure of the Canada Company, John Galt helped found the British American Land Company in 1834 and arranged for his son to be taken on as a clerk in the Sherbrooke office. Thus, in 1835, Alexander Tilloch Galt returned to Canada for the second time. In 1840, he drafted a report on the company's successes and failures, and the document made its way to London. Galt had made an impression: in October 1843, the London office made him secretary of the British American Land Company and, in 1844, he was named commissioner. Galt's first foray into politics was short-lived. It was in 1853 that he made his real political début. He would remain active in Canadian politics until 1872. Early in his career, Galt could have been considered a supporter of the "parti rouge" , which favoured the abolition of seigneurial tenure, the secularization of clergy land reserves, secret ballot elections, and the separation of Church and State. Nonetheless, the remainder of his career would clearly show him to be a Conservative, first and foremost. When the government was dissolved in 1858, Governor General Edmund Walker Head asked Alexander Galt to form a new government. He refused, but suggested the job be given to George-Étienne Cartier, who agreed to form the new government with John A. Macdonald. Galt became inspector general (finance minister of the time). Galt's agreement to join the government was conditional on the serious consideration of a project to federate the British North American colonies. In October 1858, supported by the governor, Alexander Tilloch Galt, George-Étienne Cartier and John Ross travelled to London to present their proposal to Queen Victoria. The project was received with polite indifference and was then shelved until 1863. In 1863, the Macdonald-Taché government had a House majority, and a parliamentary committee was created to study the political restructuring of the colony. After another change in government, the Great Coalition was formed in 1864 and the confederation process got going in earnest. Galt participated in the conferences in Charlottetown, Québec and London. He was among those who helped organize the new country's administration, and championed the right to education for the Protestant minority in Quebec. In 1866, Galt resigned from Cabinet when most Upper Canadian politicians opposed the same rights for the Catholic minority in their province. His contribution was too great to be ignored, however; when the final constitution was drafted, the right to education for religious minorities was in place for all provinces. Prime Minister Macdonald appointed Alexander Tilloch Galt to the position of finance minister in the first Cabinet of the Canadian Government, but he would hold this position for only a year. In 1867, the bankruptcy of the Commercial Bank of Kingston forced him to resign. He left active politics for good in 1872 over his disagreement with a number of government policies. The remainder of Galt's political career was spent as the Canadian government's representative abroad until 1883, when he returned to the business world. Chronic health problems late in life forced him to limit his activities after 1890. He died at home in Montréal on September 19, 1893. Source Kesteman, Jean-Pierre. -- "Galt, sir Alexander Tilloch." -- Dictionnaire biographique du Canada. -- Vol. XII. -- Québec : Presses de l'Université Laval, 1983. -- P. 378-387.

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      From the McMillan Dictionary of Canadian Biographies:

      Galt, Sir Alexander Tilloch (1817-1893), Canadian minister of finance (1858-62 and 1864-68), and Canadian high commissioner in London (1880-83), was born in Chelsea, London, on September 6, 1817, the youngest son of John Galt (q.v.), the Scottish novelist. He came to Canada in 1835 as a clerk in the office of the British American Land Company at Sherbrooke, Lower Canada, and from 1844 to 1855 he was commissioner of the company. He became interested in railway development; and he was one of the Canadian promoters of the Grand Trunk Railway. In 1849 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Canada for Sherbrooke county as an independent member; but he resigned in 1850. He
      was returned for Sherbrooke town in 1853; and he continued to represent this constituency in the Assembly until 1867, and in the House of Commons until 1872. He came to be regarded as the leader of the English-speaking members from Lower Canada; and in 1858 he became minister of finance in the Cartier-Macdonald administration, joining the government on the condition that the federation of British North America was to be a plank in its platform. With George F. Cartier (q.v.) and John Ross (q.v.), he went to England to urge Confederation on the British government, but without success. In 1862 he resigned office with his colleagues; but in 1864 he became again minister of finance, and he continued in this office until 1866. He was a delegate to the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864 and to the Westminster Conference of 1866; and he was one of the chief architects of the British North America Act. In 1867 he became the first finance minister of the Dominion; but in 1868 he retired from office because of a disagreement with Sir John Macdonald (q.v.).
      Galt never again held cabinet office. He severed his connection with political parties, pronounced himself a believer in the future independence of Canada, and in 1872 retired from parliament. In 1875 he was appointed a member of the Halifax Fisheries Commission, under the Treaty of Washington; and the next few years of his life were mainly devoted to diplomatic or semi-diplomatic work. In 1880 he was appointed the first Canadian high commissioner in London; and he held this post until 1883. His last ten years were devoted to the development of various enterprises he had launched in the Canadian North West; but after 1890 his health rapidly failed, and he died at Montreal on September 19, 1893.

      He was twice married, (1) in 1848 to Elliott (d. 1850), daughter of John Torrance, of Montreal, and (2) in 1851 to her younger sister, Amy Gordon. By his first wife he had one son; and by his second wife two sons and eight daughters. He declined the C.B. (civil) in 1867, but was created a K.C.M.G. in 1869, and a G.C.M.G. in 1878. He was the author of several pamphlets: Canada, 1849 to 5859 (London and
      Quebec, 1860), The political situation (Montreal, 1875), Church and state (Montreal, 1876), Civil liberty in Lower Canada (Montreal, 1876), The relations of the colonies to the Empire (London, 1881), and Future of the Dominion of Canada (London, 1881).

      references:
      [0. D. Skelton, The life and times of Sir A. T. Gall (Toronto, 1920); C. A. Magrath, The Galts,father and son (Lethbridge, Alta., nd.); Dict. nat. biog.; Cyc. Am. liog.; Dent, Can, port., vol. 2; E. M. Chadwick, Ontarian families (2 vols., Toronto, 1894-98).]
    Person ID  I4713  Switzer Family
    Last Modified  30 Mar 2014 

    Family/Spouse 1  Elliott Torrance,   b. 5 Nov 1828, Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 May 1850, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  9 Feb 1848  Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
     1. Elliott Torrance Galt,   b. 1850
    Family ID  F1241  Group Sheet

    Family/Spouse 2  Amy Gordon Torrance,   b. 22 Mar 1834, Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Apr 1911, Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  10 Sep 1852  New York, New York, NY, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Children 
     1. Andrew Galt,   b. 1853
     2. John Galt,   b. 1856, Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Apr 1933, Victoria, BC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Amy Gordon Galt,   b. 8 May 1858, Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Kate Galt,   b. 1861
     5. Evelyn C. Galt,   b. 1866
     6. Mabel I. Galt,   b. 1867
     7. Mary O. Galt,   b. 1870
     8. Muriel G. Galt,   b. 1874
     9. Annie P. Galt,   b. 1876
    Family ID  F1384  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 9 Feb 1848 - Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 10 Sep 1852 - New York, New York, NY, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 Sep 1893 - Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal, St. Laurent, QC, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
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    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Sir Alexander Tillock Galt
    Sir Alexander Tillock Galt
    Sir Alexander Tillock Galt
    Sir Alexander Tillock Galt

    Headstones
    Elliott Torrance, Amy Gordon Torrance & Alexander Tilloch Galt
    Elliott Torrance, Amy Gordon Torrance & Alexander Tilloch Galt

    Marriage Certificates
    Elliott Torrance & Alexander Tilloch Galt
    Elliott Torrance & Alexander Tilloch Galt

  • Sources 
    1. [S41] Registry of Marriages, Quebec.

    2. [S488] New York City, Marriages, 1600s-1800s.