The Right Honourable Sir William Mulock K.C.M.G., Q.C., M.P., P.C. (1844-1944), Canadian Postmaster-General. Born on the 19th January 1843 in Bond Head, Canada West and educated at Newmarket Grammar School, Ontario. He attended the University of Toronto where he was awarded a B.A. with gold medal in Modern Languages in 1863, an M.A. in 1871 and an LL.D. (Hons) in 1894. Called to the Ontario Bar in 1868, he practised law in Toronto and was elected a Queen’s Council in 1890. Elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1882 as Member for North York, he was re-elected in 1887, 1891, 1896, 1900 and 1904. On 13th July 1896 he was made Postmaster-General of Canada and a Member of the Privy Council of Canada (posts he held until 1905) whilst serving in the Liberal administration of Sir Wilfred Laurier.
|Sir William Mulock (first row, second from left) at Postal Conference on Imperial Penny Postage, 1898|
In July 1900 he was made the first Minister of Labour (until 1905), having been primarily responsible for creating the Department of Labour, setting down the text of the law himself. In the same year he was elected Chief Justice of the Exchequer Division, High Court of Ontario from October 16th 1905 until 1923 when he was appointed Chief Justice of Ontario (1923-1936). For a number of years Sir William Mulock was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Toronto (1881-1900), and Chancellor (1924-1944). In 1900 he was the Canadian Representative at the inauguration of the Federal Parliament of Australia. On the 26th June 1906 he was created a Knight Commander of the Most Glorious Order of St. Michael and St. George by King Edward VII. In 1925 he was made a member of the Privy Council of Great Britain.
Sir William had been a friend of the King family and when in 1900 Mulock was organising the new Department of Labour, which was originally attached to the Post Office, he sent the young William Lyon Mackenzie King a telegram, inviting him to join the federal public service. In September 1900, King was appointed Deputy Minister and he credited Sir William with bringing him into politics.
On the 25th May 1870 he married Sarah Crowther, eldest daughter of James Crowther, of Toronto, Barrister-at-Law. They had seven children. Sir William remained very active after his political career ended in 1905. On Sir William Mulock’s 100th birthday on January 19th , 1944 Canadian Prime Minister W L Mackenzie King went to visit him in Toronto and later wrote in his diary “I would not like to have missed this day for anything”. On the 1st October 1944 Sir William Mulock “The Grand Old Man of Canada” died, and Mackenzie King was a pallbearer at his funeral. Across Canada and in Canadian offices across the world flags flew at half-mast. Sir William left an estate of $2.5 million dollars, including a $50,000 bequest to Mackenzie King.
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