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Dougall Macdougall


Macdougall, Dougall, Berlin, Ontario, was born in the City of Glasgow, the commercial capital of Scotland, in the year 1828. Although by birth a Lowlander, he is a true Celt, as both parents were Highlanders from Argyleshire. Mr. Macdougall's father was a member of the ancient and powerful clan whose name he bore. His father was a native of Glenorchay, in Eastern Argyleshire, once the home of the warlike Macgregors. For generations back the Macdougall's ancestral relations followed the profession of arms. Several of them occupied high rank as officers in the British army, and served with marked distinction under Wellington in the Peninsula and in other parts of the world. Mr. Macdougall's father came to this country, and arrived in the Province of Quebec at a time when it was in a most primitive condition, and privations and hardships were the lot of every adventurous settler. He remained for a time on the banks of the Chateauguay river, where Mr. Macdougall, then a boy of seven years, acquired a fair knowledge of the French dialect as spoken in the district. His father removed from there to Toronto, where he went into business. There the subject of this sketch received such an education as could be had at the best schools of the time. He applied himself to his studies with the zeal and perseverance for which he is distinguished, and, being fond of books and a great reader, he made the best of his time. His father died when he was about sixteen years of age. By this event he was thrown upon his own resources. This circumstance in his case was not without its advantages. It strengthened his natural spirit if self-reliance, and inspired him with much of that strong determination and decision of character which were so often evinced in a marked degree in his subsequent career, and which singles him out as a self-made man in the fullest sense of the word. Having manifested, when quite young, a preference for the printing business, he secured for himself a situation in what was then the leading publishing house of Toronto, that of Rowsell & Thompson. There he made himself the practical master of the "art preservative" in all its branches, an acquisition that in those days was indispensable to any one who looked forward to embarking on his own account in any newspaper enterprise. After he acquired a knowledge of printing, he looked about him for a favourable opening in that line of business; but, as the time was unpropitious and his means very limited, he commenced to write for the newspaper press, a taste for which he envinced while in the service of his late employers. At this period of the newspaper press of Canada, no one could contribute to it without being irresistibly drawn into the politics of the day. Although he acquired a knowledge of the art of printing in connection with a Conservative journal, his mind was early imbued with liberal sentiments, and the high-handed way in which public affairs were carried on by the Family Compact of that time, made him a confirmed reformer. Mr. Macdougall continued to take a lively interest in the political questions of the day, and he, along with Peter Perry, the father of the present registrar of the County of Ontario, was mainly instrumental in getting up several influential deputations of independent yeomen, who visited Montreal, then the capital of the province, and by their addresses and presence strengthened the hands of the representative of the sovereign, Lord Elgin, who was severely denounced by the conservatives for having given his sanction to the "Rebellion Losses Bill." Mr. Macdougall's first attempt at journalism was the starting of a family paper. It was ably conducted and met with considerable success; but the time for such an enterprise had not yet arrived. Mr. Macdougall disposed of this journal, and turned his attention to political journalism, almost exclusively. He for a time contributed occasional articles to the Toronto press. He then became connected with the Hamilton Journal and Express, where his articles attracted marked attention. He subsequently removed to Belleville, County of Hastings, where he became the editor and joint owner of the Hastings Chronicle. There his services in the cause of reform and good government were highly appreciated by the Reform party. About the year 1855 he undertook the editorial management of the Kent Advertiser, which was published in the flourishing town of Chatham. While there he rendered most valuable service to his party, both by his pen and personal exertions, in numerous political campaigns. He was subsequently offered a favourable opening in Berlin, the county town of Waterloo. The county is one of the most populous and flourishing in he Dominion, settled chiefly by Scotch and old country and Pennsylvania Germans. Upon Mr. Macdougall leaving Chatham he was tendered a public ovation, and presented by the leading gentlemen of the county with a very flattering address. At Berlin he assumed the editorial management and proprietorship of the Berlin Telegraph and German Canadian, the former an English and the latter a German newspaper; both of which he carried on successfully until he retired from the press. Previous to such retirement he was presented with a splendid gold watch and chain, accompanied by a flattering address signed by the leading reformers of the County of Waterloo, in acknowledgement of the valuable service he had rendered to his party and to the county. In all these spheres of arduous and harrassing labour (for the life of a faithful journalist is seldom anything else), Mr. Macdougall was ever an active and earnest worker in the political ranks with which he had early identified himself. He was no less ready by speech, than with his pen, and during his long connection with the press, extending over a period of nearly thirty years, took an honourable and useful part in the party struggles in the western province of the Dominion. Many old reformers in that County of Hastings, but especially in the counties of Kent, Essex and Waterloo, will long remember his incisive and pungent advocacy of the principles of his party, and his stirring appeals on behalf of their common cause. Having the reputation of being a shrewd and discerning politician, he has enjoyed continuously a large share of the esteem and confidence of the leaders of the liberal party. In 1859, Mr. Macdougall materially assisted Mr. Gillespie, then editor of the Hamilton Spectator, in establishing the Canadian Press Association. In 1861 he was elected president of that Association, and afterwards made on of its honorary life members. In 1864 he severed his long and active connection with the press. He in that year received from the late Hon. Sandfield Macdonald, who was then prime minister, his appointment to the registrarship of the County of Waterloo, an office which he still holds, as an appropriate reward of his past public services, which were generally acknowledged, by journals of both sides of politics, as being well deserved. In 1875 the MacKenzie government appointed a commission to represent the Dominion at the Philadelphia Exposition of which the late Hon. L. Letellier de St Just was ex-officio president. Associated with him were the late Hon. Senator Wilmot, and Mr. D. Macdougall. Mr. Wilmot subsequently retired from the commission and the Hon. Mr. Letellier being appointed lieutenant-governor of Quebec, the Hon. C. A. Pelletier, Minister of Agriculture was selected to fill his place. The Hon. Mr. Penny and Mr. Macdougall were the two active and working members of the commission, on whose shoulders the work and responsibility of the undertaking rested. On receiving formal intimation that the commission had colcluded its labours, the Hon. C.A. Pelletier, Minister of Agriculture for the Dominion, sent an official letter to each of the commissioners, conveying the warmest thanks of the government for the earnest and indefatigable manner in which he discharged his official duties. Accompanying each letter was a morocco case, containing a large and handsome Dominion gold medal, and a short address finely engrossed on parchment. Mr Macdougall was also made the recipient of a handsome bronze medal from the United States Centennial Commission, accompanied by a complimentary letter, engrossed on parchment. And, as an evidence of the success which attended the labours of Mr. Macdougall and his colleagues, Lord Dufferin, the then Governor-General, when replying to a congratulatory address, presented to him in Ottawa, on his return from the Exhibition, made a most pleasing reference to them; and also sent a letter addressed to the Hon. Mr. Penny, in which he congratulated the commissioners on the success which had attended their efforts, and requested that his personal thanks be rendered to Mr. Macdougall for his attention to his lordship during his stay in Philadelphia. In his political retirement Mr. Macdougall has taken undiminished interest in all concerns in the district in which he resides. He has heartily identified himself with its educational interests, has several times filled the position of chairman of the High School Board of Trustees, and in every way has used his influence to help on every good and philanthropic object or movement, there or wherever else he could be of service. From his well-known ability, energy and integrity of character, he possesses and will always retain in a large degree popular respect and confidence. Mr. Macdougall is still in the prime of life and in the ordinary course of things has many years of continued public and private usefulness before him.


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