Biography of Hon. R.W. Scott,

Richard William Scott, late Secretary of State during the Mackenzie Government, descended, on his father’s side, from an influential family in the county of Clare, Ireland. He is a son of the late William James Scott, M.D., who, after serving on the medical staff of the British army during the Penninsular war, came to Canada and afterwards became registrar of the county of Grenville, Ontario. The wife of Dr. Scott was Sarah, daughter of the late Capt. Allan McDonell, of Matilda, Dundas, Ontario, at one time an officer in the “King’s Royal Yorkers,” in which regiment he served during the American revolutionary war.

The subject of this sketch was born at Prescott, Ontario, February 24, 1825; was educated by William Spiller, late of Prescott; commenced reading law with Marcus Burritt, of Prescott; finished his law studies with Messrs. Crooks and Smith, of Toronto, and was called to the Bar of Upper Canada at the Easter term, in 1848, settling in Ottawa.

Mr Scott was mayor of Ottawa in 1852; was created a Queen’s Counsel in 1867; was elected speaker of the Ontario Assembly, December 7, 1871, but resigned on being appointed two weeks later, a member of the Executive Council and Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Province, which office he held until November 7, 1873, when he was sworn of the Queen’s Privy Council. He was appointed Secretary of State of the Dominion, January 9, 1874, and held that position until October, 1878, being, during that period, ex-officio Registrar-General of Canada, and a member of the Railway Committee; also, Government leader with Hon. C. A. P. Pelletier, in the Senate. He was called to the Senate, March 14, 1874.

Mr. Scott acted as Minister of Finance during the absence of Mr. Cartwright in England, in 1874 , and again in 1875; as Minister of Internal Revenue, during the illness of Mr. Geoffrion in 1875-76; and as Minister of Justice, during Mr. Blake’s absence in England, in 1876.

Mr. Scott sat for Ottawa in the Canadian Assembly from 1857 to 1863, when he was defeated; and for the same seat in the Ontario Assembly from the general election in 1867 until November, 1873, when, on being appointed a Privy Councilor he resigned. Among his important legislative achievements are two, at least, which should be noted. In 1863 he prepared and carried through as a private member, the present separate school law of Ontario “a measure,” states the Parliamentary Companion,”which was the means of removing a vexed question from the political arena, and of allaying much irritation.” He prepared the Canadian Temperance Bill, which became a law in 1878, introducing it into the Senate and successfully carrying it through after much discussion and opposition from the liquor interest. Under its provisions a city or county may, by vote of the people, absolutely prohibit the sale of liquors within its area.



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