Alexander Morris

Biography of Alexander Morris

Alexander Morris born in Perth, Upper Canada, the son of William Morris, a merchant and a prominent figure in both Canadian politics and the Presbyterian Church. The elder Morris had been instrumental in founding Queen's College, Kingston, and chaired its board of trustees from 1840-1842. Despite this association with Queen's, William Morris sent his own son to Scotland when he finished his education at the Perth Grammar School.

Alexander Morris first attended Madras College, St Andrews in 1841, and matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1842, where he spent a year studying law. While a student at Glasgow, he submitted an essay to Robert Buchanan on 14 April 1843, 'An Incident in the Rebellion in Canada in the Years 38-39.'

Morris returned to Canada in 1843, and spent three years working with merchants in Montreal. He then moved to Kingston, and articled under John A. MacDonald, future Premier of Ontario and Canada's first Prime Minister, in 1847. While Macdonald's clerk, Morris attended second year law classes at Queen's, but was unable to complete them. In 1848, he enrolled in McGill University in Montreal, which recognised his previous study. In 1849, Morris received his BA at McGill--the first arts degree conferred by that institution. He continued his education at MGill, earning an BCL (1850), MA (1852), and D.C.L. (1862). Morris was admitted to the bar in 1851.

Morris went on to have an illustrious political career in Canada. He served in Parliament from 1861-1872, including a post in Macdonald's Cabinet from 1869. In 1872, Morris became Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court, and Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and the North West Territories. Manitoba. During this period, Morris was active in establishing the University of Manitoba. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1876. Morris served in Ontario's Provincial Parliament from 1878-1886. In 1881, he became a governor of McGill and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Queen's. Morris died in Toronto in 1889.


Alexander Morris
Born 17 March 1826.
Died 28 October 1889.
University Link: Alumnus
GU Degree: Social Sciences, 1842;
Occupation categories: lawyers; politicians
Record last updated: 19th Dec 2012

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  • Alumnus

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