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William Henry Draper

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William Henry Draper

William Henry Draper
1st Joint Premiers of the Province of Canada with Samuel Harrison
In office
1841-1842; – 1843-1847
Succeeded by Robert Baldwin - first term; Henry Sherwood - second term
Personal details
Born (1801-03-11)March 11, 1801
London, England
Died November 3, 1877(1877-11-03) (aged 76)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party moderate Conservative
Spouse(s) Mary White
Children William George Draper, son
Francis Collier Draper, son
Profession lawyer
Religion Anglican

William Henry Draper (March 11, 1801 – November 3, 1877) was a lawyer, judge, and politician in Upper Canada later Canada West.

Personal life

He was born near London, England in 1801, the son of Rev. Henry Draper and Mary Louisa. He joined the East India Company at age 15, making at least two voyages to India. In 1820, he settled in Francis Collier Draper, both well known lawyers.

He died in Yorkville, Toronto in 1877.

Legal career

Starting in 1822 he studied law under Thomas Ward in Law Society of Upper Canada. In 1829, he secured a position in the office of John Beverley Robinson and then partnered with Christopher Alexander Hagerman, then solicitor general.

Political career

He was elected to the 13th Parliament of Upper Canada representing Toronto in 1836. Later that year, he was appointed to the Executive Council and became solicitor general the following year. Draper handled many of the prosecutions following the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. By 1839 he had broken with his Family Compact friends and set his political goal: "To found a party on a larger basis than ever had been formed before." In 1840, he became attorney general for Upper Canada. Draper supported the union of Upper and Lower Canada on economic grounds and also believed that, because the British government favoured the union, that it would be better to participate in the process than to criticize from the sidelines. He was elected to the 1st Parliament of the United Canadas as a moderate conservative and continued as attorney general for Canada West, a member of the Executive Council, and co-leader of the government in the Assembly along with the moderate liberal Samuel Harrison. Although his first attempts to establish a conservative alliance with French Canadians failed, Draper played an important role in enabling Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine to take office in 1842, even at the cost of resigning himself and seeing Robert Baldwin succeed him as attorney general West. Draper resumed leading the government 13 December 1843 jointly with Denis-Benjamin Viger, and through the next election of 1844, in which the supporters of Draper, Viger and the governor Charles Metcalfe, including the young John A. Macdonald, won a majority. He continued as government leader until 1847. During this period, legislation was passed dealing with schools in both Canada East and Canada West,

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