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John Joseph Caldwell Abbott

Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott (March 12, 1821 - October 30, 1893) was the third Prime Minister of Canada from June 16, 1891 to November 24, 1892.

Born in St. Andrews, Quebec[?], he was the first native-born prime minister. John Abbott married Mary Bethune (1823-1898) in 1849. The couple had four children.

He received a B.C.L. (Bachelor of Civil Law) from McGill University in 1854 and was a successful lawyer. A pillar of Montreal's English business community, he would become mayor of Montreal.

He was initiated into St. Paul's masonic Lodge #374 in Montreal, in 1847.

After long service in the Canadian House of Commons, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada[?] in 1887 and joined Sir John A. Macdonald's cabinet that year. Valued for his legal and administrative skills, he soon became one of its leading members.

When Prime Minister Macdonald died in office, Senator Abbott reluctantly accepted the plea of the divided Conservative party that he should lead the government. In his eighteen months in office he revitalized the government and the party. He later attempted to turn government over to John Thompson, but this was politically unfeasible due to anti-Catholic sentiment (Thompson was Catholic). Abbott's health failed and he retired to private life in 1892, whereupon Thompson finally became Prime Minister. Abbott died less than a year later.

Sir John Abbott is buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery[?], Montreal, Quebec.

John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec is named after him.

Preceded by:
Alexander Mackenzie
Prime Minister of Canada Followed by:
John Thompson

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