History 3813 - Ziedenberg - Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine
The Government Thimblerig
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1886, 19th century
Ink on newsprint - Photoengraving
31.5 x 25.3 cm
Gift of Dr. Raymond Boyer
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cartoon (19139) , politics (general) (2228) , Print (10661)
Following the devastation of the Parliament buildings and evidence of the hostile political and social climate in Montreal, it was decided that the government should be relocated. In 1850, Toronto assumed the new title of Capital. During this period, Lafontaine began to experience disenchantment with the world of politics. His campaign for protection of the clergy's seigneurial interests, and for their compensation in matters of relinquished entitlement, placed him in the minority. Lafontaine was not content in this circumstance. This indignation was compounded by his dislike of Toronto and its weather. Moreover, the resignations of Baldwin and Hincks from government affected his morale acutely. Thus, having realized the goals he set out to achieve at the commencement of his career, Lafontaine resigned September 26, 1851.
Jacques Monet, "LA FONTAINE, Sir LOUIS-HIPPOLYTE," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?Biold=38663.
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Keys to History
This cartoon appeared during the discussion of the removal of the Seat of Government from Montreal after the destruction of the old building at the hands of the mob. Hon. Robert Baldwin, who was Premier at the time, was supposed to favor his native place, Toronto, in the selection; Kingston and Montreal were the other competitors for the honor. Mr. "Punch" naturally gave Montreal the preference. (Excerpt from: Bengough, John Wilson. A Caricature History of Canadian Politics: Events from the Union of 1841, as Illustrated by Cartoons from "Grip", and Various Other Sources. Toronto: The Grip Printing and Publishing Co, 1886.)
Cartoon originally published in Punch in Canada, September, 1849