Political Ambition - Meet the Browns

George entered politics in 1851 and became a prominent member of the Liberal party.

His politics were rooted in the supremacy of parliamentary democracy, free trade, the abolition of slavery, western expansion, and the separation of church and state. This last belief led to his offensive comments about French Canadians and Catholics, who wanted separate religious schools sponsored by the state. 

By the 1850s, George also wanted constitutional reform. He sought representation by population (“rep by pop”) to improve the political power of Ontario (Canada West). Its population was now larger than that of Quebec (Canada East), although both entities had the same number of seats in the colonial Legislative Assembly. George also suggested a federal union – two levels of government – knowing this would be the only way French Canadians would agree to rep by pop. All attempts had failed by the early 1860s. 

Haldimand County candidacy requisition poster for George Brown, 1851
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Haldimand County candidacy requisition poster for George Brown, 1851
Archives of Ontario poster collection
C 233-1-1-0-2166
Archives of Ontario, I0073696

Hon. George Brown, ca. 1860s
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George Brown, ca. 1850s
George Brown family fonds
F 21-10-0-17
Archives of Ontario, I0073664



Telegraph from A.A. Dorion to George Brown, 28 August 1858
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Telegram from A.A. Dorion to George Brown, 28 August 1858
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_007




In this letter from 1853, George writes to Archibald Young, a prosperous general merchant who lived in George’s riding of Kent. In the letter, George provides an in-depth report on parliamentary developments, and other political issues.

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
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Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_008
[Page 1]

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_009, F21-1-1-1_010
[Page 2 & 3]

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
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Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_011, F21-1-1-1_012
[Page 4 & 5]

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
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Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_013, F21-1-1-1_014
[Page 6 & 7]

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_015, F21-1-1-1_016
[Page 8 & 9]

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_017, F21-1-1-1_018
[Page 10 & 11]

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-1-1_019
[Page 12]








“The more I see of matters here the more I am convinced that we run the utmost risk of having a sectarian system in Churches [and] schools, fully adopted in both sections of the Province.”

-George to Archibald Young, 22 March 1853
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