Another of the Fathers of Confederation was the Honorable Edward Whalen, born in the county Mayo, who as a young man went to Prince Edward Island, where he gained great influence as a popular journalist. He was an orator as well as an editor, and came to have the confidence of the people of the island, and hence was able to do very much for federation. A third of the Fathers of Confederation from the Maritime Provinces was the Honorable, afterwards Sir, Edward Kenny, who, when the first Cabinet of the New Dominion was formed, was offered and accepted one of the portfolios in recognition of the influence which he had wielded for Canadian union.
At all times in the history of Canada the Catholic hierarchy has been looked up to as thoroughly conservative factors for the progress and development of the country. After the Irish immigration most of the higher ecclesiastics were Irish by birth or descent, and they all exerted a deep influence not only on their own people but on their city and province. One of the Fathers of Confederation was Archbishop Connolly, of Halifax, of whom the most distinguished Presbyterian clergyman of the Lower Provinces said the day after his death: “I feel that I have not only lost a friend, but as if Canada had lost a patriot; in all his big-hearted Irish fashion he was ever at heart, in mind, and deed, a true Canadian.” Among his colleagues of the hierarchy were such men as his predecessor Archbishop Walsh, Archbishop Lynch, the first Metropolitan of Upper Canada when Toronto was erected into an archbishopric, Bishop Hogan of Kingston, Archbishop Hannan of Halifax, Archbishop Walsh of Toronto, and Archbishop O’Brien of Halifax, all of whom were esteemed as faithful Canadians working for the benefit of their own people more especially, but always with the larger view of good for the whole commonwealth of Canada.
The Irish continued to furnish great representative men to Canada. The first governor, Guy Carleton, was Irish, and his subsequent governor-generalship as Lord Dorchester did much to make Canada loyal to Great Britain. During the difficult times of the Civil War in the United States, Lord Monck, a Tipperary man, was the tactful governor-general, “like other Irish Governors singularly successful in winning golden opinions” (Davin). Probably the most popular and influential of Canada’s governors-general was Lord Dufferin, another Irishman. Some of the most distinguished of Canadian jurists, editors, and politicians have been Irishmen, and Irishmen have been among her great merchants, contractors, and professional men. In our own time Sir William Hingston among the physicians, Sir Charles Fitzpatrick among the jurists, and Sir Thomas George Shaughnessy among the administrative financiers are fine types of Irish character.
Davin: The Irishman in Canada (Toronto, 1877);
McGee: Works; Tracy:
The Tercentenary History of Canada (New York, 1908); Walsh: Sir
William Hingston, in the Amer. Catholic Quarterly (January, 1911),
Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan, in the Records of the Amer. Catholic
Historical Society (1907); McKenna: A Century of Catholicity in
Canada, in the Catholic World, vol. 1, p. 229.