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Biography of David Blain, LL. D.
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Canada | No Comments
David Blain, exmember of Parliament for the constituency of West York, Ont., is a native of Scotland, and was born on Brown Carrickhill, near Ayr, on the 15th of August, 1832. The Blain family were originally French, but sometime during the early wars between France and England, they settled on the border lands between Scotland and England, whence descendants have spread to different parts of the world. The grandfather of our subject spelled the name Blaine, and the final e is still retained by some branches of the family. David Blain was the fourth of six sons, his father being John Blain, J. P., a manufacturer of agricultural implements in Ayrshire, Scotland, but who came to this country in 1842, to engage in farming and obtain lands for his boys. He located first in King, County of York, Ont., but subsequently removed to South Easthope, Perth, and later to Stratford, in the same province, where he died in 1870. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Elizabeth McCutcheon, of a well known Scotch family of that name. David Blain received his primary education at his native place, and at the Provincial Normal School, Toronto, obtaining a first class certificate from the latter school; afterwards entered the University of Toronto, whence he was graduated in 1860, taking the degree of LL.B. In 1870 he received from the same institution his degree of LL.D. In 1856, he became a student-at-law with Alexander Macdonald, of Messrs. Macdonald and Brother, and was called to the Bar, U. C., in Trinity term, 1860. Immediately commenced the practice of his profession in Toronto, first alone, and subsequently in partnership with the late Albert Prince; later he became the senior member of the law firm of Messrs. Blain, Ferguson and Parkinson, and remained such until he retired from practice in 1868.
At the general election in 1872, Mr. Blain successfully contested West York, and was returned to the Dominion Parliament, defeating Wm. Tyrrell, of the Village of Weston, formerly Warden of York, by a majority of over 200 votes; at the next general election he was re-elected to the same seat, defeating Capt. N. Wallace, of Woodbridge, by over 500 majority, and continuing in parliament until the defeat of the Mackenzie Government in 1878, when, as one of its supporters, he was unsuccessful.
In politics he is a Liberal, and while in parliament was an independent supporter of the Reform Administration, though inclined to be more Conservative than that party, in some national measures, favoring a qualified protection policy, as the growing industries of the country might require. He also holds moderate views on the National Currency question and favors the withdrawal from the existing banks, on the expiration of their present charters, the power of issuing bank bills, substituting therefore bills issued by the Dominion Government, which will be equally good for circulation at their face value in any and all parts of Canada, said bills to be redeemable in gold by the Government, on demand. His political views are broad, and his ideas carefully studied and followed to logical conclusions, which favor the welfare of the whole Dominion, rather than that of any particular section or political party.
In religious views he is of Presbyterian antecedents, but being unconnected with any denomination, he worships with his wife at the Evangelical Church of England, of which she is a communicant.
January 27, 1869, Mr. Blain was united in marriage to Eliza, daughter of the late John P. Harrington, of Northlands, Tipperary, Ireland, and grand-daughter of the late General Robinson, of Ballynovan, same county. Her father died while she was young, and she emigrated with her mother and brother to Toronto, where the latter, John Harrington, Esq., became a successful hardware merchant, and a highly respected citizen. His death, which resulted from an accident while out riding, was very sudden, and deeply regretted by a host of friends, who honored him for his sterling worth and character.
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