Jan 14, 2013
By Dale Goldhawk
11:15am ET | Major-General Richard Rohmer
GUEST – Major-General Richard Rohmer
TOPIC – New book
Sir John A.’s Crusade and Seward’s Magnificent Folly– by Richard Rohmer
INFO – In late 1866, John A. Macdonald and other Fathers of Confederation arrived in London to begin discussions with Britain to create Canada. Macdonald and two of his colleagues stayed briefly at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, the stately home of the Fourth Earl of Carnarvon, Britain’s colonial secretary. Those are the facts.
Today Highclere Castle is widely known as the real-life location for the popular television series Downton Abbey on VISION TV.
In Richard Rohmer’s novel, Macdonald talks with Carnarvon at Highclere about legislation to give Canada autonomy, the danger of Irish Fenian assassination plots, and the proposed American purchase of Alaska from Russia. Later, back in London, a fire partially destroys Macdonald’s hotel room, and the future prime minister, trying to curb his fondness for alcohol, woos and marries his second wife, Agnes. In the end, Macdonald wins the passage of the British North America Act but fails in his bid for Alaska when U.S. Secretary of State William Seward buys that strategic territory