Freedom Box

CMC PCD 95-342-085

London, England; 1884; silver. CMC 991.2.1-3

This sterling silver Freedom Box is highly ornamented with Canadian symbols. On the top of the box in a place of honour is a beaver, beside the gnawed stump of a tree. A band of maple leaves adorns the edge of the cover and the base. Each of the rounded corners contains scenes of Canada: a couple skating on a lake, a bear in the wilderness, the Canadian mountains, and voyageurs paddling their canoe. Moose heads decorate the corners of the front inscribed panel. Four standing bears support the box.

CMC PCD 95-342-084

This magnificent box was presented to Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, on January 11, 1885, by his "Political Friends of the City and District of Quebec". It honoured his seventieth birthday, as well as forty years of public life. The engraving on the front is in both of Canada's official languages, English and French. The Coat of Arms of the Province of Quebec adorns the sides. The Coat of Arms of Sir John A. Macdonald is on the back. Inscribed on the bottom are the names of Quebec members of Parliament and other political figures.

A leather bound Address to Macdonald, found inside the silver box and written in both English and French, praises Macdonald for his vision and leadership in building a great nation: Canada.