By Louise Reynolds
Agnes Macdonald's deepest papers are used for the particular examine of Canada's "first lady," who grew to become Sir John A. Macdonald's moment spouse at the eve of Confederation. The author's well-researched telling of Agnes's tale paints an image of a politically astute, clearly adventurous lady who needed to switch her type because of her place within the public eye, yet who however retained her personal reviews and lived her existence with braveness and integrity.
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Additional resources for Agnes: The Biography of Lady Macdonald
One of its first victims was Thomas Bernard. He died on March 3, 1850, and was buried in Claremount Chapel in the parish of St. Ann's, not too far from Friendship, where he had spent summers with Theodora and the children. Agnes was by now thirteen years old, old enough to be marked not only by her father's premature death but also by the horror of those days when one out of every thirteen persons on the island died. There seemed no way of stopping the spread of the disease. The Board of Health could only advise people to limit their diets to arrowroot pap made with water and 'more or less brandy'.
26 Sept. 27 Sept. 30 Capt. & Mrs. Mayne, Susy & I went to Hawkstone. 27 Left Hawkstone in the evening [to return to Woodfield]. Walked. Saw the tree in which Owen Glendower saw the Battle of Shrewsbury. Oct. 28 Went to Hawkstone with Mary & Susy, Mr. Charles Hill and Mr. and Mrs. 29 Children's Feast. Oct. 30 Nov. 31 By November 10, Agnes and Theodora had been away from their home in Jamaica for nearly six months, and they were ready to settle down. They found a home with relatives who lived in the vicarage at Lacock, a little village near Bath, the heart of that part of the country where many Jamaicans sent their sons 'home' to study and settled if they returned from the island.
It was the churches that first made them feel at home. Bishop Strachan, who had confirmed Agnes three years earlier, was at St. James Anglican Cathedral, and it was natural that the Bernards should follow up this connection. It was there they made their first friends in Toronto, some of whom turned out to be former Barrie residents. The move was made easier for Agnes in that she was soon in her accustomed role as a Sunday School teacher. Toronto also offered welcome cultural attractions. Well-organized, amateur theatrical groups entertained the public.
Agnes: The Biography of Lady Macdonald by Louise Reynolds