Morris, Alexander

Alexander Morris, politician (b at Perth, Ont 17 Mar 1826; d at Toronto 28 Oct 1889). Educated at Glasgow University, Queen's University and McGill University, Morris was law clerk to John A. MACDONALD in whose Cabinet he later (1869) served in as minister of inland revenue. Morris shared the imperialist sentiments of the business class and in his pamphlet Nova Britannia spoke enthusiastically of confederation and Canada's western destiny. Appointed chief justice of Manitoba in 1872, he became lieutenant-governor (1873-77) and lieutenant-governor of the North-West Territories (1872-76). He brought some harmony to an unsettled province, introduced responsible government and established the University of Manitoba. His greatest passion was Indian affairs; the peaceful transfer of most of western Canada was due in part to his diplomacy and patience in the negotiations of Treaties 3, 4, 5 and 6. The major weakness of his administration was his inability to preserve Métis lands. Morris later served in the Ontario legislature (1878-86), wrote a history of the treaties and continued his life work in the Presbyterian Church. He was a governor of both McGill and Queen's.