William Henry Draper

William Henry Draper

Infobox President
name = William Henry Draper

caption = The Hon. William Henry Draper
birth_date = birth date|1801|3|11|mf=y
birth_place = London, England
death_date = November 3 1877
death_place = Toronto, Ontario
order = 1st Premier of Canada West jointly with Samuel Harrison
term_start = 1841-1842;
term_end = 1843-1847
successor = Robert Baldwin - first term; Henry Sherwood - second term
party = moderate Conservative
religion = Anglican
profession = lawyer
spouse = Mary White

William Henry Draper (March 11 1801 – November 3 1877) was a lawyer, judge and political figure in Upper Canada and Canada West.

He was born near London, England in 1801 and ran away to sea at age 15. In 1820, he settled in Hamilton Township in Upper Canada. He moved to Port Hope, where starting in 1822 he studied law under Thomas Ward. He then moved to Cobourg, finished his articles in the office of George Strange Boulton, and was called to the bar in 1828. In 1829, he secured a position in the office of John Beverley Robinson and then partnered with Christopher Alexander Hagerman, then solicitor general. He was elected to the 13th Parliament of Upper Canada representing Toronto in 1836. Later that year, he was appointed to the Executive Council and became solicitor general the following year. Draper handled many of the prosecutions following the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. In 1840, he became attorney general for Upper Canada.

Draper supported the union of Upper and Lower Canada on economic grounds and also believed that, because the British government favoured the union, that it would be better to participate in the process than to criticize from the sidelines. He was elected to the 1st Parliament of the United Canadas as a moderate conservative and continued as attorney general for Canada West, a member of the Executive Council, and co-leader of the government in the Assembly along with the moderate liberal Samuel Harrison. Although his first attempts to establish a conservative alliance with French Canadians failed, Draper played an important role in enabling Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine to take office in 1842, even at the cost of resigning himself and seeing Robert Baldwin succeed him as attorney general West. On Dec. 13, 1843 he resumed leading the government, and following the next election in 1844 he continued leading the government until 1847. During this period, legislation was passed dealing with schools in both Canada East and Canada West, although Draper's attempt to establish a University of Upper Canada failed. Draper helped John A. Macdonald gain recognition, when he named him to a cabinet post. In 1847, with the arrival of Lord Elgin, Draper resigned from the position of attorney general and became a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench.

In 1856, he became chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas of Upper Canada and, in 1869, he became chief justice of the Court of Error and Appeal in Ontario. He died in Yorkville, Toronto in 1877. He was married to Mary White in 1827 with whom he had several children, including William George Draper and Francis Collier Draper, both well known lawyers.

External links

* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4957 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]

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