The struggle for Canada
Thomas D’Arcy McGee was the most powerful political orator of his era.
As a young man in Ireland, he fought the British and opposed the Catholic
Church. Years later, as a journalist and politician in Canada, he hotly
defended the interests of the immigrant Irish.
In maturity, McGee turned from rebellion to conservatism. He returned to
the Church. He used his eloquence to support the new Canadian
Confederation — promoting religious freedom, minority rights and national
unity under the British Crown. Former associates called him “turncoat”, and
his change of heart led to his assassination in 1868.
You can hardly imagine the interest I now take in this country [Canada]
and all that belongs to it. . . . But it does not and never can supply the field
for mental labour and affectionate inspiration which Ireland would have been.
Thomas D’Arcy McGee, 1864