Abbott, John Caldwell (1821-1893)
Crest. 8.8 x 6.2 cm. Gagnon Supp.2649. Harrod & Ayearst, p. 18; Masson Coll. Vol. I, #3.
Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott Abbott was widely viewed as the most successful lawyer in Canada for many years, as measured by professional income (and when St James Street in Montreal had not yet been surpassed by Toronto’s Bay Street). He began lecturing in commercial and criminal law at McGill in 1853, and in 1855 he became a professor and dean of its Faculty of Law, where Sir Wilfrid Laurier, future prime minister of Canada, was among his students. He continued in this position until 1880. Upon his retirement, McGill named him emeritus professor, and in 1881 appointed him to its Board of Governors. Abbott succeeded Sir John A MacDonald as Prime Minister of Canada on MacDonald’s death in office in 1891, but held the office for only a year due to his ill health. He was our fist Canada-born prime minister. The plate was engraved by Francis Adams, Montreal engraver and lithographer, active from 1853-57. [Motto: Devant si je puis, or Forward if I can].
Ardagh, (John Anderson) (1837-ca. 1900)
Armorial. 11.2 x 7 cm. Not in Harrod & Ayearst; Masson Collection Vol. I, #58.
J.A. Ardagh became a judge in Simcoe County in 1872. He wrote The Voters' lists act, with notes together with some remarks upon the Voters' lists finality act / by the Junior judge of the county of Simcoe, Barrie, 1878.
Aylwin, Thomas C. (1806-71)
Armorial. 10.8 x 7.8 cm. Gagnon I, 4755; Harrod & Ayearst, p. 22; not in Masson Collection. 8 cm. tear at top not affecting image; the “C” was added in by hand.
Thomas Cushing Aylwin was born in Quebec City. He was called to the bar in 1827 and spent most of the next twenty years in politics achieving the post of solicitor-general for Lower Canada in the Lafontaine- Baldwin governments in 1842 and 1848. He was appointed a puisne judge in the Court of Queen’s Bench in 1848 and remained with this post until 1868 when he retired due to his failing health. (Wallace)At the time of his death he owned about 50 books in his library. This is the same bookplate used by his grandfather, Thomas Aylwin, 1729-91, and as the strike appears equal in strength it is not a later strike, but rather one of the leftovers from his grandfather. It is therefore an eighteenth century plate for a nineteenth century collector. Gagnon has erroneously transcribed the motto on the bookplate as JE N'OUBLIERAI PAS in lieu of the actual one, JE N’OUBLIERAI JAMAIS (I won’t forget, as opposed to I’ll never forget). H. & A. have repeated the mistake. He has merely added a manuscript C between THOS. & AYLWIN.
Baldwin, (Dr. William Warren) (1775-1844)
Armorial. 11.6 x 7.2 cm. Gagnon I, 4759; Harrod & Ayearst, pp. 22 & 23; Masson Collection Vol. II, #229.
According to Harrod & Ayearst, this bookplate refers to the father of Robert Baldwin. He arrived in Upper Canada from Ireland in 1799, settling first in Durham County, where he was appointed a lieutenant-colonel in the Durham militia and a justice of the peace before the family resettled in York (not Toronto). He was called to the Bar in 1803 and appointed a district court judge in 1809. He became a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1807 and served several terms as Treasurer. He was elected MP for Norfolk in 1838. His home in York (Toronto) was called Spadina House from the Indian word spadina, which means a sudden rise of ground such as that upon which the house was built. [Motto: Nec timide nec temere, or Neither rashly nor timidly].
Blake, Wm. Hume (1809-1870)
Armorial. 7 x 6.3 cm. Gagnon I, 4773; Harrod & Ayearst, p. 28; Masson Collection Vol. II, #311.
William Hume Blake was born in Ireland and came to Canada in 1832, settling in Adelaide township in the county of Middlesex. He removed to York about 1835 to study law and was called to the bar three years later. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly for East York in 1847 and the following year he became solicitor-general for Upper Canada. He became chancellor of Upper Canada in 1849 and kept this post until 1862. He accepted a judgeship in the Court of Appeals in 1864. (Wallace).
Cameron, John Hillyard (1817-1876)
Armorial supporters. 9.6 x 7.5 cm. Gagnon I, 4789; Harrod & Ayearst, p. 39; Masson Collection Vol. III, #420.
John Hillyard Cameron was born in France and came to Canada in 1825. He studied at Upper Canada College and was called to the bar in 1838. From 1843-46 he was reporter to the court of Queen’s Bench, Upper Canada and began the publication of the Upper Canada Law Reports. He was solicitor general of the province from 1846-48. In 1859 he became grand master of the Orange Order of Ontario and in 1873 he was chairman of the committee to inquire into the Pacific Scandal. He fell under suspicion himself when it was discovered that he had an outstanding “loan” of five thousand dollars from Sir Hugh Allan. (Wallace).
Cartwright, John S. (1804-1845)
Engraved armorial. 10.6 x 6.7 cm. Gagnon I, 4796 who gives J. R. Cartwright; Harrod & Ayearst, p. 43, who assign his death date to 1860; Masson Collection Vol. III, #439.
John Solomon Cartwright was born in Kingston, Upper Canada, the son of Richard Cartwright and Magdalen Secord (the sister of Laura Secord). He studied law in York, UC (now Toronto) in the law office of John Beverley Robinson (whose bookplate is shown above) and was called to the Bar in 1825. He went to London to pursue further legal studies at Lincoln’s Inn, but by the autumn of 1830 had returned to Kingston, where he resumed his law practice. His seriousness about his profession is shown by the large sum he was spending on legal books. In England he had probably laid out £250 for a “law library”. In 1834 he was appointed a judge of the Midland District Court; he was elected a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1835 and in 1838 he was made a QC. He became the first president of the Commercial Bank of Kingston in 1831. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada in 1836 and to the Legislative Assembly of United Canada in 1841. He opposed the Union of 1840 and turned down the solicitor-generalship from Sir Charles Bagot in 1842. He died at Kingston. His great-grandson, John Robert Cartwright (1895-1979), a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, 1967-1970.
This is a gallery of bookplates ("Ex libris") and booksellers'/bookbinders' labels from books in the Balfour Halévy Special Collections in the Canada Law Book Rare Book Room of the Osgoode Hall Law School Library. All the bookplates are related to leading figures in the law, primarily from Canada and Britain; but there are also some library bookplates. All are evidence of provenance and former ownership. They are also objects of graphic art and design, and are of significant bibliographic interest in their own right.
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