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  • Writer's picturePeacemaker


“His memory will live, not only in the hearts of all his countrymen, but enshrined in the history … of the great Dominion which he did so much to create, and which he so fondly loved.”

The Telegraph

The man who coined the Canadian mandate from Psalm 72 and suggested the term "Dominion of Canada" at the birth of Canadian confederation, Sir Leonard Tilley was undoubtedly one of Canada's first great Christian leaders.

Father of Confederation

As the Premiere of New Brunswick, he "stood at the helm of the province’s political destiny during those crucial years when Confederation moved form dream to reality." Canada's Christian Heritage

As a founding father of the nation, I was eager to learn more of this reputable man and his influence upon the formation of a nation. Influenced by faith and impacted by injustice, he took his place in public life, serving as both premier and lieutenant governor of New Brunswick. He introduced the Prohibition bill, served as the minister of finance under MacDonald, the and was knighted by Queen Victoria.

"The move (to) unite the Canadian provinces was the most notable change within the British Empire since the American Declaration of Independence. Tilley realized that the time had come for the British possessions of North America to either join forces politically or else fall, one by one, to the influence of the United States. In 1864, the political leaders of the four Maritime colonies arranged a meeting in Charlottetown. When the delegates from Upper and Lower Canada arrived—after having requested an invitation—the dimensions of the issues changed, and everyone agreed to continue discussions in Quebec later in the year. At the Quebec Conference, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island opted out, but Tilley and Charles Tupper—who headed the Nova Scotia delegation—accepted Confederation. Together with the Canadian delegates, they worked out a formula for presentation to Britain."

Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, St John Statue

"In December 1866, the Westminister Conference finalized the details of the British North America Act, which Tilley helped to write. Tilley’s best-known contribution, though, came when discussing a name for the new union. A letter written by Tilley’s son describes how the Dominion of Canada came into being:

When the fathers of Confederation were assembled discussing the terms and conditions of Confederation and the drafting of the British North America Act there had been considerable discussion the day before and many suggestions as to what the new United Canada should be called, and no conclusion had been reached. The discussion on the name stood over until the next day. The next morning, as was Sir Leonard’s custom, he read a chapter from the Bible, and that particular morning he read Psalm Seventy-two. When reading verse eight of the said Psalm—He shall have Dominion also from sea to sea—the thought occurred to him, what a splendid name to give Canada. When he went back to the sitting of the convention that morning he suggested the word “Dominion,” which was agreed to, and Canada was called the “Dominion of Canada.” Canada's Christian Heritage

Amazing how an ordinary daily practise of reading the Bible could lead to the naming of a nation. Providential? ...

Yes! "He shall have dominion from Sea to Sea and to the ends of the earth..."


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