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Timothy Warren Anglin

Canadian journalist and member of Parliament (1822-1896)

Anglin, TIMOTHY WARREN, Canadian journalist and member of Parliament, b. in the town of Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland, 1822; d. May 3, 1896, in Canada. He was educated in the endowed school of his native corporation. His family was financially ruined in the famine of 1846-1847 and he emigrated to the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1849. He was gifted as a public speaker, but made his mark as the most vigorous writer on the Catholic press in the province. He founded the “Weekly Freeman” and subsequently the “Morning Freeman” (1851). On the question of the total prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcoholic liquors, although a strong advocate of temperance, he separated himself from his political friends and fought the measure which he considered too drastic and unworkable. The measure was carried by the legislature of New Brunswick, but was repealed at its next session.

In 1860 Mr. Anglin was returned as representative of the city and county of Saint John, a constituency from which no Catholic had ever been elected. When the scheme of confederation of the British North American provinces was mooted, he took a prominent part in the opposition, because he did not believe, as was asserted, that the proposed union of the provinces was necessary for the continuance of their connection with the empire, and because he was convinced it must cause an enormous increase in the rate of taxation in New Brunswick. Just at this time a small body of men calling themselves Fenians appeared on the border of the province and threatened an invasion. Dr. D. B. Killam, their leader, issued a proclamation inviting the anticonfederates to join with them, overthrow British tyranny, and maintain the legislative independence of the province. The anticonfederates were in no way responsible for Dr. Killam’s invasion or proclamation, which had the effect, however, of raising a no-popery cry, and of driving Mr. Anglin from public life for a few years. When Canadian confederation became an accomplished fact, Mr. Anglin accepted the situation loyally. He consented to become a candidate in the county of Gloucester for a seat in the House of Commons of Canada. When the McKenzie government was formed, Mr. Anglin was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, a position he held from May 26, 1874, until May 31, 1877. No one lent more dignity to the high position of first commoner of Canada and his rulings were never questioned, so strict was his impartiality.

Mr. Anglin was a Canadian statesman of eminence, but he deserves a place in history more particularly as an able, fearless, and indefatigable journalist, doing battle for the cause of Catholic education. In New Brunswick the issue of the greatest importance was the anti-separate school legislation. During many years Mr. Anglin, through the columns of the “Freeman” and on the floor of the House of Commons, fought a valiant battle for his coreligionists. His efforts, and the exertion of those who labored with him were so far successful that in the greater part of the province a compromise was made, which allows Catholics to have their own schools and teachers, and to give religious instruction before and after school hours. This was far from being all he would wish, but it is much better than the utterly anti-Catholic, irreligious system at first insisted upon by the promoters of the law. Mr. Anglin joined the editorial staff of “The Toronto Globe” in 1883, and was editor-in-chief of “The Toronto Tribune”, a Catholic weekly. He died at the age of seventy-four.

J. J. CURRAN


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