The Honourable
Sir John Joseph
Caldwell Abbott


"I hate politics, and what are considered their appropriate methods. I hate notoriety, public meetings, public speeches, caucuses, and everything that I know of that is apparently the necessary incident of politics - except doing public work to the best of my ability." Sir John J.C Abbott, June 4, 1891

Private Life
  • Born: March 12, 1821 in St. Andrews, Lower Canada (Québec).
  • Education: Abbott's Anglican missionary father.
  • Learned accounting and bookkeeping in the dry-goods business.
  • Graduated from University of McGill College, B.C.L., 1854.
  • Marriage: Mary Bethune (1823-1898) in 1849.
    • Four sons and four daughters born.

    Did You Know?

    Film and theatre actor, Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) is a descendant of John Abbott.

  • Called to the Bar of Canada East in 1847.
  • Professor of Law at McGill University, 1853-1876. (Future PM Wilfred Laurier was one of Abbott's students.)
  • Dean of Law, McGill, 1855-1880.
  • Became President of Canada Central Railway, 1862.
  • Died: October 30, 1893, in Montréal Québec, of cancer. Buried in Mont-Royal Cemetery, Montréal, Québec.

Political Career

Did You Know?

One of Abbot's hobbies was growing orchids and his collection was claimed by many to have been one of the best collections in Canada.

  • Constituencies: Argenteuil, Québec, 1967-1874, 1881-1887.
  • Elected M.P for Argenteuil and was integral in the Pacific Scandal, 1873, when incriminating documents were stolen from his office and handed over to the newly-formed Liberal Party (formerly the Reform Party).
  • Lost seat in parliament in 1874 as a result of the Scandal, but was re-elected in 1881
  • Became a member of the Board of Directors, Canadian Pacific Railway, 1885-1891
  • Appointed to the Senate in 1887.
  • Elected Mayor of Montréal, Québec, 1887-1888.
  • Elected Prime Minister in 1891 following the death of Sir John A. MacDonald.
    • Reformed the civil service.
    • Revised the criminal code.
    • Signed a reciprocity treaty with the United states.
  • Failing health forced Abbott to resign in November, 1892.
  • Abbott was the first Prime Minister to lead the country from the Senate.

*(Progressive) Conservative *Liberal *Unionist/Conservative

* Macdonald * Mackenzie * Abbott * Thompson * Bowell
* Tupper * Laurier * Borden * Meighen * King
* Bennett * St. Laurent * Diefenbaker * Pearson * Trudeau
* Clark * Turner * Mulroney * Campbell * Chrétien