Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
March 2005

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


John Costigan


Costigan, John (1835-1916), politician, was born at St. Nicholas, Lower Canada, on February 1, 1835, the son of Irish Roman Catholic parents. He was educated at Ste. Anne's College, Lower Canada, but early moved to New Brunswick. In 1861 he was elected a member of the New Brunswick Assembly for Victoria; defeated over the issue of Confederation in 1866, he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1867; and he was continuously a member of this House until 1905. He was in parliament the chief spokesman of the Irish Roman Catholics of Canada, and was the author of the "Costigan resolutions" in favour of home rule for Ireland passed by the Canadian House of Commons in 1882. The same year he became a member of the Macdonald government, and he continued to hold office, first as minister of inland revenue (1882-92), then as secretary of state (1892-94), and lastly as minister of marine and fisheries (1894-96), until the defeat of the Conservative administration of Sir Charles Tupper in 1896. During the Laurier régime, Costigan deserted the Conservative party, and supported the government. His reward came in January, 1907, when he was appointed to the Senate. He died at Ottawa on September 29, 1916. In 1885 he married Harriet, daughter of J. R. Ryan of Grand Falls, New Brunswick ; by her he had two sons and three daughters. See Mrs. W. Armstrong, Some Confederation reminiscences of the Hon. Senator Costigan (Transactions of the Women's Historical Society of Ottawa, vol. vi).

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 135.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College