Talk:Robert Baldwin

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Old post[edit]

From The Baldwins and the Great Experiment this account describes how John Robert Baldwin's (William Warren's father & Robert's grandfather) struggle to arrive from Ireland:

In 1798, Robert John Baldwin (the emmigrant) left Cork in a convoy of 200 ships with his son William Warren (age 23), John (11), Elizabeth (16), Alice (14) Anna Maria (13), and Mary Warren (7) but their ship Lavinia had to return to Cork after 3 weeks. After 6 weeks in the company of his brother John, they set sail again in a convoy of 100 ships. This time the captain (considered a Bonaparte man) tried to pirate the ship towards Lisbon, but the crew led by Robert and others mutineed, and regained control of the ship. Foul weather forced them back to back to Cornwall where the ship actually sank in the harbour. Finally in May of 1799, the family got passage on the Grantham and arrived in Halifax while pursued by the the HMS Boston (a British frigate) navigated by another of Baldwin's son Augustus(see pp 38-41)

"During the next six years, he so constantly advocated a responsible executive as the one cure for the political and economic evils of the time that he was known as "the man of one idea.""

I am removing this statement because to the extent that Robert Baldwin was known as the "man of one idea", or as "Robert Responsible Government", or by some other remark concerning his strong stand on the issue of cabinet responsibility, such comments have been voiced by his political opponents (J.A MacDonald) and some historians (Donald Chreighton), and in these contexts, are clearly meant as negative criticisms. To repeat them here, and, worse still, to make it seem as if people generally shared these opinions about Robert Baldwin is both historically inaccurate and insulting to the memory of a man who was so clearly anything but narrow minded.

first "Prime Minister"[edit]

I have attributed the statement that Baldwin " is regarded by some as Canada's first pre-confederation Prime Minister, along with LaFontaine" to John Ralston Saul, who I think is the main person to make this argument:

"In 1842 LaFontaine became the first prime minister of a responsible Canadian government. At first, he wanted an arraingment involving the involvment of two equals, but Baldwin refused, insisting that the other take charge." Reflections of a Siamese Twin, p335. Stevecudmore 06:07, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Baldwin opposed the idea of a double majority which is why he thought himself as one of LAFontaine's minsters. Baldwin would not have considered himself as a pre-confed prime minister. The quote from Saul states this, so it is curious that you think this supports the idea that Baldwin was a pre-confed PM. The theory of a double majority proved to be impracticable when applied under J.S McDonald's ministry, and although popular for a time in Lower Canada, the principle was never became an established principle of the constitution, so what basis is there for the assertion that Baldwin was a PM? He was like LaFontaine Attorney-General for his respective province, and was the leader of the majority from his section; but LaFontaine carried the majority of the overall support, and that is why Baldwin conceded to him first place...and the difference between the two majorities was quite substantial i think (18-30-something (?).

Furthermore the part about Badwin resignation is incorrect, because his resignation was made made more for reasons of pride and protest against the more radical wing of the party that was then emerging (see Wilson pg.290). The Bill to abolish the court of Chancery was defeated by a narrow majority of 33-30 but most of Baldwin's colleagues in Upper Canada had voted for it. The idea that Baldwin resigned because he recognizedthe prinple of a double majority is simply false....

Okay, I see where you're coming from, the facts Saul cites certainly point to Baldwin not being a PM, because he wasn't, in fact, a de jure PM. What we're trying to support is that he may be regarded as (effectively) a co-prime-minister. Saul's point is that even if Baldwin insisted on a clear pecking order, his partnership with LaFontiane was always, in practice, equal. Saul's book goes on to constistantly refer to Balwin and LaFontaine as partners, and it is typical to see reference to the "LaFontaine-Baldwin ministry" rather than the LaFontaine's primiership in other texts, so I think it's clear this idea is out there.

I'm fully aware there are probably much better sources to cite, but I don't have them on hand. If you have one, feel free. :)Stevecudmore 20:44, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

i really would not worry too much about trying to settle the PM question, and i think by trying to do so you run the risk of is a link to a full pdf version of Stephen Leacock's book "Baldwin-Lafontaine-Hincks" This is a good source for info and commentray on politics at the time..

Hey that's a great resourse and a great site. Thanks for posting it Stevecudmore 00:32, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

maybe somone can incorporate some of it into the article because it could use some improvements...

Rewrote this to get across the reason for Baldwin's importance without using the misleading term "prime-minister" Stevecudmore 19:25, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

"regarded by some as co-leader"? He was a co-leader, that is a fact.

a "want of confidence"? Well, the bill passed. That it subverted an earlier measure does not amount to a vote of no confidence, and it does not, according to the principle of responsible government, mean that Baldwin should step-down, let alone retire. Perhaps you should be clear about what you mean by this phrase. Baldwin took the vote as a personal blow, that is all.

You are right that Baldwin was called to the Bar in 1825; but the part abour Rolph i think is incorrect. Robert entered his father's practice under the name of "W. W. Baldwin and Son". In 1829 Baldwin's cousin and brother-in-law Robert Baldwin Sullivan joined on, and the name was changed to "Baldwin and Sullivan". Rolph, i do not think was apart of this. I am curious where you got your info.

"In the late summer of 1825 John Rolph, who had his own law practice, offered to assist him in his. Robert agreed, presumably to gain experience, and found himself immersed in Rolph’s “causes.” In a case before Judge William Campbell, Rolph, assisted by Baldwin, opposed James Buchanan Macaulay. Rolph unexpectedly ordered Baldwin to address the jury..." -Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Maybe partership is overstating it, but they certainly worked together.Stevecudmore 00:59, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you are right, Baldwin and Rolph did work together. The question however is whether this information should be included in the article to the neglect of other information about Baldwin's legal career, like some of the points i raised above. No doubt the fact that Baldwin and Rolph worked together is significant. Rolph was deeply involved in the rebellions.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Good sugestions. Be my guest.Stevecudmore 21:50, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Baldwin's Family Tree[edit]

There was a very prominent Baldwin family in Ancient times, the Kings of Jerusalem, various rulers, royalty, and so on. One branch of this family came to Ireland with William the Conqueror. William married his cousin, Matilda of Flanders, daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders, and their children, some of them, came with William to Ireland and settled there. Apparently Robert Baldwin when in Ireland in 1836 did some family research and reached the conclusion that he was a descendant of that ancient family...but what evidence is there for that I am not sure...though maybe he had found something back then...(see either Wilson or J.M Baldwin for these details)

There is good book i believe it is called "Ontarian Families" by Edward Chadwick. It was published in 1894 and is quite rare, but it has a lot of good info on the Baldwin family geneology..

Compelled to countenance[edit]

Could someone who understands this please rephrase for a modern audience:

...and compelled to countenance measures to which he was opposed...

It is in the 1st paragraph of the biography section. Hilmar (talk) 11:56, 17 December 2009 (UTC)