Former Pupil Biographies
Alexander Morris (1826 - 1889)
|The Honourable Alexander Morris was the second
Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories and is
considered one of the ablest Lieutenant-Governors of the territorial
period. During his term of office, he oversaw the introduction of the
first form of responsible government to the Territories. As well, he
negotiated Treaties Three , Treaty Four, Treaty Five and Treaty Six
with the Native people of western Canada.
Alexander Morris was born
at Perth, Upper Canada (Ontario), on March 17, 1826. He was the eldest
son of The Honourable William Morris, a member of the Legislative
Council and later, Executive Council of Upper Canada. He began his
education at the Perth Grammar School and then attended Madras
College, St. Andrew's, and the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Following his return to Canada, he worked for the firm of Heward and
Thorne, Commission Agents, in Montreal. Two years later, he articled
as a student of law in John A. Macdonald's office at Kingston, Upper
Canada. He then enrolled at McGill College where he had the
distinction of being that institution's first arts graduate. He then
went on to earn Master of Arts, Bachelor of Civil Law, and Doctor of
Civil Law degrees at that college. He was then called to the Upper
Canada Bar and the Lower Canada (Quebec) Bar in 1851.
On November 6, 1851, Alexander Morris married Margaret Cline, daughter
of William Cline of Cornwall, Canada West (Ontario). They had eleven
children: William, Alexander Cline, Arthur Henry, AIfred Vankoughnet,
Robert Cochran, Edmund Montagu, Christine Vankoughnet, Elizabeth Cochran,
Margaret Cline, Ann Eva, and Emily Murney.
A Conservative and strong supporter of Canadian confederation, Alexander
Morris was elected to his father's former seat of South Lanark, Upper
Canada, in 1861. He represented that electoral district, first in the
Union Government (i.e. Upper and Lower Canada) until 1867, and then in the
new Canadian government until 1872. In 1869, he was appointed to the
federal Cabinet to serve as Sir John A. Macdonald's Minister of Inland
Revenue. In May, 1872, he relinquished that position and was appointed the
first Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in July of the
On the advice of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, Alexander Morris
was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and the Northwest
Territories effective December 2, 1872. This appointment was made by the
Earl of Dufferin, Governor General of Canada.
As noted previously, Alexander Morris presided over the introduction of
the first form of responsible government to the Territories and
facilitated that jurisdiction's development toward autonomy. He also
negotiated Treaties Three through Six with the Native people of western
Canada and, in 1876, concluded a treaty with refugee Sioux fleeing the
United States Army. His term as Lieutenant-Governor of the Northwest
Territories ended on October 7, 1876, with the implementation of the
Northwest Territories Act. However, he continued to be Lieutenant-Governor
of Manitoba until November 7, 1877. In that capacity, he was one of the
prime movers in the passage of an act which provided for the establishment
of a provincial university in Manitoba.
|Following his tenure as Lieutenant-Governor of
Manitoba, he contested the electoral district of Selkirk in Manitoba
and lost to Donald A. Smith. Returning to Ontario, he ran as the
Conservative candidate for East Toronto, was elected, and served as a
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1878 to 1886.
In 1855, Alexander Morris's prize-winning essay entitled Canada and
Her Resources was published. In 1858 and 1859, his lectures Nova
Britannia and The Hudson's Bay and Pacific Territories were printed.
And finally, in 1880, his work The Treaties of Canada With the Indians
of the North-West was also published.
Like his father before him, Alexander Morris served as Chairman of the
Board of Trustees of Queen's College in Kingston, Ontario. He also served
as Governor of McGill College in Montreal, Quebec. Alexander Morris was a
Director of the Toronto General Trust Company, the North American
Insurance Company, and the Imperial Bank.
He died on October 28, 1889, at Toronto, Ontario, and was buried in the
Mount Pleasant Cemetery in that city
MORRIS, MANITOBA, CANADA
The town of Morris, MB has a long and prosperous pioneer history. Named
after Alexander Morris, the second Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
(1872-1876), the town is located along the Red River of the North in the
South Central region of Manitoba and is encompassed by the wide prairie
landscape for miles in any direction.