On April 7, Thomas D’arcy McGee was murdered in Ottawa on his way to his office. The shot was fired as the politition stepped out of his cab outside of parliament. Help arrived in a few minutes but were unable to save the man due to the severity of the wound. Patrick James Whelan, an Irish tailor and immigrant was found on the scene with a .32 calibar pistol in his pocket that matched the bullet. He was arrested at once, along with 39 other suspects including Patrick Buckley, John A MacDonald’s cabman.
A day before his death, McGee had spoken to Parliament about his desire to retire from politics, which possibly could have sparked his assassination. It is recorded here:
“Throughout my life I have been rather indecisive* to say the least when it comes to political stances; however, in this thing I am sure: Confederation was the greatest act of our century, all the more so that we have achieved such a glorious and noble thing as freedom without a single drop of Canadian blood being spilt. I have been prouder than words can describe that I have taken my part in this noble act. It is my only wish now that my home country of Ireland would follow our footsteps to a peaceful union with Britain. Too much blood has already been spilt in the cause for Irish independence and I regret to say that I have taken my part in the bloodshed, in those long ago days of hatred and rebellion. Now, as a full adult, I would say to my people, “Lay down your weapons! Abandon your petty wars! Peace is within your grasp if only you would reach our your hand to take it!” I would say this to them, and I have! But alas, they will not listen. Hearing my words, rather than appreciating the wisdom in them, my people rise against me in a fiery passion, naming me a traitor to the country of my birth. A traitor, only because I do not share in their bloodlust and stubbornness. Alas, it is a harsh fate that I have, to be named a traitor of the people whom I have only ever sought to protect; a traitor of the country that holds my heart. But it is of no consequence. Not really. I have achieved my goal. Confederation. Now, it is time for me to step down. Canada is on its way to becoming a wonderful country; however, it s time for me to leave the running of it to others- I have arranged in all with John A. I will retire with Mary and my daughters (remaining McGiggles) and live a quiet life. I have made many enemies, the Fenians have marked me as a threat and I can only hope that me stepping out of the spotlight will cause them to forget their anger and Thomas Darcy McGee along with it- I will fade into the fog of time, merely another name in the list of Fathers of confederation in the history books, and I will be content.”
Unfortunately for Mr. McGee, the Fenians evidently have not forgotten about him, and the first drop of blood has indeed been shed for the cause of confederation. His efforts shall always be remembered. Rest in Peace.
Written by Joseph Mullet, Journalist of the New Era
Footnote* Thomas D’arcy McGee was known for his ever changing political stances. This can be seen clearly in his activity on the social media network Twitter.
First, he clearly shows his hatred and animosity towards the British occupation in Ireland:
Later, this changes to confusion as he sees how the Canada is a lot better country under British rule than America is without it:
And at last he settles on the fact to work with the British, which is best shown through the speech above.