M930.50.7.492 | The Globe

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The Globe
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
16.9 x 18.7 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

George Brown (1818-1880), reform minded politician and Toronto newspaper publisher, was passionately loved by some and hated by others. In this John Henry Walker cartoon, Brown is depicted as a man unable to resist the temptation to use the Globe newspaper for his own unethical purposes. Walker's engraving accuses Brown of printing "lies" and destroying "reputations", a view shared by certain groups in Canadian society. Notwithstanding, Brown was a man of principle and one who played a crucial role in the birth of the Canadian Confederation. As both the Reform Party leader and a newspaper editor, he fought for change on issues like "representation by population" and the roles of church and state. The following quotes are taken from Brown's arguments during the 1865 parliamentary debates on the proposed Confederation of the colonies:

"The people of Upper Canada have bitterly complained that though they numbered four hundred thousand souls more than the population of Lower Canada, and though they have contributed three or four pounds to the general revenue for every pound contributed by the sister province, yet the Lower Canadians send to parliament as many representatives as they do."

-Legislative Assembly, February 8, 1865

"Now I need hardly remind the house that I have always opposed and continue to oppose the system of sectarian education, so far as the public chest is concerned. [...] I have never been able to see why all the people of the province, to whatever sect they may belong, should not send their children to the same common schools to receive the ordinary branches of instruction."

-Legislative Assembly, February 8, 1865

  • What

    Brown used the Globe to criticize the individual character and opinions of other leaders. John A. Macdonald, his political rival, was one object of attack. The two rarely spoke before or after their work in the Great Coalition, except, of course, to hurl criticism at each other across the floor of the legislature.

  • Where

    When John Henry Walker made this engraving in 1850, the Globe was the most powerful English newspaper in British North America. Established in Toronto in 1844, it was the predecessor of the Globe and Mail.

  • When

    In 1866, shortly after an agreement was reached on Confederation, Brown left politics. Returning to his work at the Globe, he remained a force in Canadian public life until his death in 1880.

  • Who

    Born in Scotland, George Brown (1818-1880) established himself in Toronto as a popular political leader, newspaper editor and publisher.