Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Sir Allan Napier MacNab



MacNab, Sir Allan Napier, Bart. (1798-1862), prime minister of Canada (1854-6), was born at Niagara, Upper Canada, on February 19, 1798, the son of Lieut. Allan MacNab, formerly of the Queen's Rangers, and Anne Napier. He was educated at the Home District Grammar School ; and, though still in his 'teens, fought throughout the campaigns of 1813 and 1814. He was called to the bar of Upper Canada in 1826, and is said to have been the first Q.C. appointed in the province. In 1830 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Wentworth, and he continued to sit in the Assembly until the union. From 1837 to 1840 he was its speaker. During the rebellion of 1837 he commanded "the men of Gore", and later was placed in command of the loyal forces on the Niagara frontier. For his services he was in 1838 created a knight bachelor.


In the Legislative Assembly of United Canada he represented Hamilton continuously from 1841 to 1857. From 1841 to 1844 he was leader of the Tory opposition; from 1844 to 1848 he was again speaker of the Assembly; and from 1848 to 1854 he was again leader of the opposition. In 1854 he became prime minister of the province, in the so-called MacNab-Morin and MacNabTaché administrations; but in 1856 discontent with his leadership forced his resignation. With him disappeared from Canadian politics the last trace of the ascendancy of the "Family Compact." From 1857 to 1860 he lived in England ; but in 1860 he returned to Canada , and was elected to the Legislative Council for the Western division. In the spring of 1862 he was elected speaker of the Legislative Council; but his health was unequal to the duties of the office, and he died at Dundurn, Hamilton, on August 8, 1862 .


He was twice married, (1) in 1821 to Elizabeth (d. 1825), daughter of Lieut. Daniel Brooke, by whom he had one son and one daughter, and (2) in 1831 to Mary (d. 1846), daughter of John Stuart, of Brockville . He was created a baronet in 1858; but the baronetcy became extinct on his death. In 1860 he was appointed an honorary A.D.C. to Queen Victoria, with the honorary rank of colonel in the British army. See Sir J. G. Bourinot, Some memories of Dundurn and Burlington Heights, Trans. Roy. Soc. Can., 1900).


Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. IV, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 400p., p. 216.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College