For more than a quarter of a century the subject of this sketch has been intimately identified with the Postal System of Ontario, and during that time he has given such evidence of possessing high executive abilities and business qualifications as entitle him to a place in this record of eminent and self made men of this Province.
Matthew Sweetnam, Post Office Inspector of the District of Toronto, as we are informed by that book, “The Irishman in Canada,” is of Irish descent, and first saw the light of day in Little York, now Toronto, on the 17th of October, 1831. His parents were Matthew Sweetnam, senior, and Elizabeth Reilly, both natives of that beautiful Isle to which Canada is indebted for so many of her stalwart sons and men of mark; the former was from Bandon, in the County of Cork, and the latter from Dumreilly, County Leitrim.
Mr. Sweetnam was educated in the city of Toronto, and after leaving school spent nearly two years in the North American newspaper office. In 1852 he entered the service of the Dominion Government as Assistant Postmaster of Toronto, and five years later was appointed Post Office Inspector of the Kingston Postal Division; retained this position until July 1st, 1870, when he was transferred to the Inspectorship of the Toronto Division, and since that time he has honorably discharged the duties of this responsible office. In 1862 Mr. Sweetnam was commissioned by the Government to examine into the management of the Post Offices at Montreal, Hamilton and London, in which connection he rendered good service to the Department. He is now one of the senior Inspectors in this branch of the Government service, and in addition to the advantages incident to a long period of active personal management and experience, he is justly credited with possessing great force of character and excellent administrative abilities.
With the many changes and improvements which have taken place during the past twenty-five years in the management of postal affairs, Mr. Sweetnam has had an intimate relation, and to his personal efforts much of their usefulness is due.
In addition to the important duties incidental to his office which have claimed his attention, he has found time to take an active interest and a leading part in various literary and educational societies, in hospital management and other kindred affairs associated with the interests and welfare of the citizens of his native Province. At the present time he is a Vice-President of the Upper Canada Bible Society, and for four years was President of the Toronto Mechanics’ Institute. In. advocating his opinions of right and justice, in whatever cause, Mr. Sweetnam is an earnest and fair speaker and a vigorous writer.
On the 14th day of May, 1857, he was married to Sophia Caroline, third daughter of Arthur McClean, of Brockville, Ontario, by which union he has four surviving children two sons and two daughters.
A fair type of those sturdy intelligent Irish-Canadians from whose ranks so many useful citizens have sprung, imbued with that honesty and integrity of purpose in the discharge of his duties, which ever insures eminent success, a man of strong and active public spirit, and possessed of those social qualities which have won for him so many friends. Mr. Sweetnam is well calculated to play a useful and leading part in any enterprise to which he may devote himself.