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Canadian History
Hector Cameron

M.A., Q. C., Toronto, M. P. for North Victoria, Ontario, one of the most distinguished of our public men, and a brilliant and able advocate, was born at Montreal on the 3rd of June, 1832. Our subject is descended from the Glen Dessery branch of the historic clan Cameron, of Inverness-shire, Scotland. He is the only surviving son of the late assistant-commissary general, Kenneth Cameron, and is a nephew of the late John Cameron, that clever politician, who from 1837 to 1861 represented Victoria in the old Canadian Assembly. Mr. Cameron had all the early advantages in education such as careful private tuition could confer, and when he was sufficiently prepared, he was sent to England to continue his education. He entered King's College, London, and here, we are informed, always held a high place among his many brilliant classmates. After he had gone through the course prescribed at this institution, he repaired to Dublin, and entered Trinity College as an under-graduate. He took the full course at this institution, revealing the same width and quickness of intellectual parts as he had shown earlier, and he duly graduated as B. A. in 1851. His education completed, he returned to Canada, and was articled as a law student in the office of Hon. John Hillyard Cameron, Toronto. We may say here that some time after his return to Canada he took the degree of M.A., at the University of Toronto. The same diligence that he exhibited in pursuit of his educational studies was noticeable when he entered upon his professional study, and at the Easter term, in 1854, he was called to the bar of Upper Canada. Later (1872) he was invested with the silk gown as Queen's counsel, and subsequently became a bencher of the Law Society of Ontario. On being admitted to the bar, he promptly entered upon the practice of his profession, establishing himself in the City of Toronto. Here his excellent education, his natural abilities, his attention to his office, his courtesy, and his general air of superiority, soon brought a considerable practice. From that time to the present that practice has continued to grow, notwithstanding that much of Mr. Cameron's attention has been devoted to political life, in which he takes a prominent part. He always felt himself drawn towards public life, and no sooner had he been admitted to the bar than he began to interest himself in the questions that engrossed the attention of the country. The first opening by which he might try his fortune occurred at the general election in 1867, in South Victoria. But the brilliant young barrister had not yet convinced the people that he was a man whom they ought to take pride in calling their representative, and he was defeated. He returned to his office and resumed his practice, saying, however, to his disconsolate friends, "Don't be dispirited : I am not. This defeat only gives edge to my ambition to get into parliament, and I shall be there yet".  The words sounded prophetic, and time revealed them to be so. Five years rolled round, and another general election was proclaimed. In 1874 he was in the field again, speaking with vigour, wide knowledge, and dignified restraint, but once more was he unsuccessful. Still undaunted, he continued to practice his profession, watching public questions at the same time. But Mr. Cameron was certain now that he had not been beaten by fair means, and some of his friends filed a petition against the successful candidate, Mr. Maclennan, who was unseated. Both men again appealed to the constituency, but the unseated member was again sent back. Again, too, was the case taken into the courts, and once more was Mr. Maclennan's election declared void. The strife was now ended, and Mr. Cameron was declared the duly elected member for North Victoria. Mr. Cameron has held this seat ever since, and opposition to him now seems little more than a matter of form. At once, on taking his place in the House, he began to give evidence of the parliamentary brilliancy which has been predicted of him. He is not a fluent or a flashy orator, but he is ready of speech, and his arguments are always forcible, sound and solid. He possesses marked energy, and there is little chance of that measure lagging or failing in the House to which he has once lent his interest. On constitutional questions he is one of the foremost authorities in the country; and it is upon men like him that Sir John A. Macdonald is in the habit of falling back for those opinions upon constitutional and other questions, which, through a pres of other business, he has not the time to form for himself. There does not seem just at present to be an opportunity for Mr. Cameron in the cabinet, where his solid abilities might be turned to still greater account for the Conservative cause, but the time can not be very far away when a portfolio will assuredly come to him. Mr. Cameron has conducted a number of very important legal cases before the Canadian courts, and he was selected by the Canadian government to argue the question of the boundary of Ontario before the Judicial Committee of the Imperial Privy Council. Mr. Cameron married in August, 1860. Clara, eldest daughter of William Boswell, barrister-at-law, of Cobourg, and grand-daughter of Captain Honourable W. Boswell, R. N.

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