Agnes: The Biography of Lady Macdonald by Louise Reynolds

By Louise Reynolds

Agnes Macdonald's deepest papers are used for the particular research of Canada's "first lady," who turned Sir John A. Macdonald's moment spouse at the eve of Confederation. The author's well-researched telling of Agnes's tale paints an image of a politically astute, obviously adventurous lady who needed to swap her kind as a result of her place within the public eye, yet who however retained her personal critiques and lived her existence with braveness and integrity.

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Sources are conflicting as to when that point occurred; it is not clear, 28 either, how well the two got to know each other during the years in Quebec City. ' 29 This is denied by others, who claim that John A. 30 Whatever the truth, it seems likely that their acquaintanceship progressed to some degree of intimacy — otherwise their eventual marriage in 1867 was, indeed, preceded by a whirlwind courtship. We may never know exactly what happened in Quebec City, but it is certain that during this period John A.

He had first noticed Agnes several years before, when he was dining with a colleague in a Toronto hotel. 's attention, but his friend could only tell him that they were 'An English family settled on Lake Simcoe. '26 That had been in 1856; it was not until 1860 that he discovered the young lady whom he had seen was his own Secretary's sister. Years later, Agnes tried to find out what were his first impressions of her. '27 Agnes, then in her early twenties, was not a beautiful young lady. She was, as John A.

It was a lonely, sad time for him, one that was to leave its mark. Just as his father before him, John A. turned to alcohol for solace. Isabella could do nothing to help her husband; she depended more and more on opium just to get her through the days. In a supreme effort, when the 1855 Parliamentary Session was about to open in Toronto, she did move down to the capital with John A. and little Hugh John, but household management was beyond her. The family had to live in a boarding house, depending on friends to care for the little boy much of the time.

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