Dalton McCarthy

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Dalton McCarthy
Dalton McCarthy.png
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Cardwell
In office
Preceded byJohn Hillyard Cameron
Succeeded byThomas White
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Simcoe North
In office
Preceded byHermon Henry Cook
Succeeded byLeighton McCarthy
Personal details
Born(1836-10-10)October 10, 1836
Oakley Park, Blackrock (Ireland)
DiedMay 11, 1898(1898-05-11) (aged 61)
Toronto, Ontario

Dalton McCarthy (October 10, 1836 – May 11, 1898), or D'Alton McCarthy, was a Canadian lawyer and parliamentarian. He was the leader of the "Orange" or Protestant Irish, and fiercely fought against Irish Catholics as well as the French Catholics. He especially crusaded for the abolition of the French language in Manitoba and Ontario schools.[1][2]

McCarthy was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1878 federal election as a Conservative. An Irish-born Protestant, McCarthy was stridently anti-Catholic and anti-French Canadian. He broke with the Conservatives in the 1890s, running and being re-elected as an Independent Member of Parliament (MP) in the 1891 election. He appears to have been associated with the Equal Rights Party which ran in that election but did not run as their candidate. It was his firm, Boulton & McCarthy in Barrie, that was the first incarnation of what is now Canada's largest law firm, McCarthy Tétrault.

McCarthy was a founder of the "Imperial Federation League", which proposed uniting the United Kingdom and the emerging dominions under a central Cabinet government responsible to an Imperial Parliament elected from throughout the Empire. McCarthy ran his own slate of McCarthyite candidates in the 1896 election, but was the only one elected.

Following the 1896 election, McCarthy forged an alliance with Wilfrid Laurier's Liberal Party. He would likely have been appointed to cabinet in 1898 had he not died following a carriage accident.

McCarthy was a key figure in the Manitoba Schools Question, and a major proponent in pushing English only in legislatures, courts, and schools of Western Canada. He also defended Emily Stowe in the 1879 abortion trial of Emily Stowe.


There is a Dalton McCarthy fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[3] Archival reference number is R4370.


  1. ^ J. R. Miller, "'As a Politician He is a Great Enigma': The Social and Political Ideas of D'Alton McCarthy." Canadian Historical Review 58.4 (1977): 399-422.
  2. ^ Marilyn Barber, "The Ontario Bilingual Schools Issue: Sources of Conflict." Canadian Historical Review 47.3 (1966): 227-248.
  3. ^ "Finding aid to Dalton McCarthy fonds, Library and Archives Canada" (PDF).