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John Christian Schultz

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Sir John Christian Schultz, KCMG January 1, 1840 – April 13, 1896 was a Manitoba politician and businessman He was a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1871 to 1882, a Senator from 1882 to 1888, and the fifth Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba from 1888 to 1895


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Newspaper publisher
  • 3 Red River Rebellion
  • 4 Provincial politics
  • 5 Federal politics
  • 6 Lieutenant-Governor
  • 7 Late life and legacy
  • 8 References
    • 81 Works cited
  • 9 External links


Schultz was born in Amherstburg, Upper Canada now Ontario Despite being raised in a low-income household, he saved enough money to study medicine at Queen's College in Kingston 1858–60 and Victoria College in Cobourg 1860–61 He did not graduate from either institution, but nonetheless advertised himself as a "Physician and Surgeon" after moving to the Red River settlement later in 1861 He also worked as a businessman and speculator in this area, and eventually owned a number of stores in the Red River colony's business sector, including the a general store which was the initial building at Portage and Main with his half-brother Henry McKenney

Schultz also helped to establish a museum and Masonic Lodge in 1864 in the region Arrested for improper business practices in 1868, his wife and supporters soon broke into the prison and released him He continued to live and work in the area, in open defiance of the Council of Assiniboia

Newspaper publisher

In 1859, Schultz convinced Patrick Gammie Laurie, a newspaper publisher in Canada West, to sell his Owen Sound Times to set up the first newspaper in the Red River settlement; Laurie abandoned the idea before arriving when he found out that William Buckingham and William Coldwell had established one already: the Nor'Wester James Ross bought Buckingham's share of the Nor'Wester in 1863 and sold it to Schultz in 1864; Schultz became full owner when he purchased Coldwell's the following year

Schultz was a major figure in the early, highly partisan publishing world of the Red River area, which was soon to become the province of Manitoba Schultz used the Nor'Wester to promote ending the Hudson's Bay Company's rule of the Red River area and open it to settlement Following his arrest and jailbreak in 1868, the paper ran a version of his side of the story and a criticism of the Hudson's Bay Company's legal authority He sold the Nor'Wester to Walter R Brown in 1868, and Louis Riel confiscated it the following year

Red River Rebellion

Schultz was initially on good terms with Red River's francophone community, but his unscrupulous business practices soon made him unpopular with most established settlers, anglophone and francophone alike By 1869, he had emerged as the leader of a small, ultra-loyalist organization known as the Canadian Party This group promoted the annexation of Red River by the Canadian government, and encouraged new anglophone/Protestant immigration from Ontario Schultz and his followers were actively engaged in land speculation, and were viewed with extreme suspicion by most of Red River's Métis community

During the Red River Rebellion of 1869–70, Schultz emerged as one of the leading opponents of Louis Riel's provisional government which was supported by most of the area's population Schultz's followers engaged in a number of military skirmishes with the Riel government Schultz and a number of his followers were taken prisoner by Riel Schultz managed to escape, and tried to organize a group to liberate the remaining prisoners, but was forced to leave the region in February 1870 He arrived in Toronto in April

Schultz made several speeches against the Riel government during his time in Toronto, and played a significant role in swaying Protestant opinion against the Métis leader He frequently referred to Thomas Scott an Ontario Orangeman executed by the Riel government for treason as a Protestant hero, and called upon Ontario's Orangemen to avenge his death both Schultz and Macdonald were also Orangemen, as were most of the Ontario militiamen

Schultz returned to Red River now renamed Manitoba in September, after the Canadian government had taken the area with militia units from Ontario These Ontario soldiers frequently engaged in violence against the Métis population; there can be little doubt that Schultz approved of and encouraged their actions

Provincial politics

The newly established government of Manitoba sought conciliation among the province's ethnic, religious and linguistic factions, and generally regarded Schultz as a disruptive force Lieutenant Governor Adams George Archibald hated Schultz, and refused to consider him when constructing his first administration In Manitoba's first provincial election December 30, 1870, Schultz's Canadian Party was the only real opposition to the governing alliance His followers won four seats one of which was overturned on appeal, and were responsible for the death of at least one aboriginal government supporter Schultz himself was defeated by Hudson's Bay Company spokesman Donald Smith in the riding of Winnipeg and St John, 70 votes to 63 There was a riot among the Ontario militiamen when the result was announced

The Canadian Party continued as a parliamentary force after this defeat At one stage, Archibald warned Prime Minister John A Macdonald that they were promoting the "extermination" of the Métis

Federal politics

Manitoba elected its first representatives to the federal House of Commons in March 1871, and Schultz declared himself a candidate in the riding of Lisgar He was "a member of the expansionist Canada First movement" In a campaign marked by violence and intimidation, he defeated local government supporter Colin Inkster by 315 votes to 65

Schultz's political affiliations were ambiguous in this period John A Macdonald attempted to bring him into the Conservative ranks in 1871, almost certainly with the intent of neutralizing him These efforts were unsuccessful, and by 1872 Schultz was apparently calling himself an Independent Liberal He started another local paper, the Manitoba Liberal, before the year was over

In the federal election of 1872, Schultz defeated his former ally Edward Hay, 273 votes to 128 He defeated Hay a second time in 1874, 285 votes to 216 He was also appointed to the Council of the Northwest Territories in 1872, and served on that board until its restructuring in 1876

Notwithstanding Schultz's past agitations against the Métis, he was actually a defender of aboriginal rights for most of his time in parliament He sought better compensation for the aboriginal population covered under Treaty 3, and tried to protect the buffalo from being hunted to extinction He also sought to provide the west's Métis population with sufficient provisions for farming

These positions may appear strikingly out of character of Schultz's previous actions, but they can probably be explained by the reduced influence of Louis Riel in the Canadian west after 1875 Most English-speaking aboriginals in the region were opposed to Riel, as were a number of francophone Métis; these groups generally did not consider Schultz as an enemy, nor was he unfavourably disposed toward them Schultz continued to be a leading opponent of Riel in the 1870s, supporting his expulsion from parliament in 1874 and his five-year banishment from Canada in 1875 It may also be noted that Schultz stood to benefit financially from some of the policies which he advocated for western Canada's native population

Schultz was re-elected by acclamation in the federal election of 1878, as John A Macdonald's Conservatives won a national victory Schultz would thereafter identify himself as a Liberal-Conservative and a supporter of Macdonald Manitoba's population was by this time becoming dominated by Ontario immigrants Riel's followers having largely abandoned the area, and Schultz was no longer considered a dangerous outsider by the local power structure

In 1882, Schultz was defeated by Arthur Wellington Ross also a Conservative, 760 votes to 720 Schultz was in poor health by this time, and many believed that he had little time left to live Perhaps out of sympathy, John A Macdonald appointed him to the Senate on September 23, 1882

Schultz's health subsequently recovered, and he was able to function as an active member of the Senate He supported prohibition, and continued to defend aboriginal rights against outside incursions


On July 1, 1888, he resigned his Senate seat to become the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba He was instructed to keep the Macdonald government updated on developments in the province, and to attempt to influence the government of Thomas Greenway on matters involving Macdonald's National Policy He played little part in the Greenway government's anti-bilingualism legislation which resulted in the Manitoba Schools Question, though he dutifully signed it into law on March 1, 1890, following Macdonald's orders Schultz subsequently sought concessions for francophone schools

Late life and legacy

Schultz stepped down as Lt Governor in 1895 He traveled to Mexico in an attempt to improve his faltering health, but died there in 1896 Schultz remains were transported to Winnipeg by a special baggage car, draped in a black cloth on the Great Northern Railway His remains were accompanied by his best friend Alfred Codd and his wife

Schultz's progress from political outsider to Lt Governor reflects the changes which occurred in Manitoba from 1870 to 1888 Although his early demagoguery was moderated over time, it is unlikely that he could have assumed high office had it not been for the high movement of anglophone settlers from Ontario to Manitoba in the intervening years In 1870, he was regarded as a nuisance; when he died, he was a respected citizen

Outside politics Schultz, Henry Septimus Beddome, Curtis James Bird and others were the founders of the Medical Health Board of Manitoba which was incorporated in 1871 and became the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba in 1877 Schultz was actively interested in railway and telegraph development and in colonization


  1. ^ a b Richard Gwyn, Nation Maker, Vol II: pg 100 Vintage Canada, 2012 Print
  2. ^ See Paragraph 2 of Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  3. ^ George F Reynolds 2 June 2012 "The Man Who Created the Corner of Portage and Main" Manitoba Historical Society Retrieved 22 January 2014 
  4. ^ a b Woodcock 2011, p 66
  5. ^ See Paragraph 3 of Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  6. ^ See Paragraph 4 of Biography at Manitoba Historical Society
  7. ^ Hildebrandt 2008, p 51
  8. ^ a b c Davis 1995, p 104
  9. ^ Hildebrandt 2008, p 117
  10. ^ a b "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Schultz, Sir John Christian" Retrieved 24 April 2011 
  11. ^ a b  Rines, George Edwin, ed 1920 "Schultz, John Christian" Encyclopedia Americana 
  12. ^ Siamandas, George "John Christian Shultz One of Manitoba's Colourful Businessmen Becomes Lieut Gov" Retrieved 2010-04-21 
  13. ^ "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Schultz, Sir John Christian" University of Toronto 2000 Retrieved 2010-04-21 
  14. ^ "The Funeral Train" XXIII Manitoba Daily Free Press: 1 April 18, 1896 

Works cited

  • Davis, Angela E 1995 Art and Work: A Social History of Labour in the Canadian Graphic Arts Industry to the 1940s McGill-Queen's Press ISBN 978-0-7735-1280-1 
  • Hildebrandt, Walter 2008 Views from Fort Battleford: Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West University of Regina Press ISBN 978-0-88977-220-5 
  • Sprague, D N 1988 Canada and the Métis, 1869-1885 Wilfrid Laurier University Press ISBN 978-0-88920-958-9 
  • Woodcock, George 2011 Colony and Confederation: Early Canadian Poets and Their Background UBC Press ISBN 978-0-7748-4517-5 

External links

  • Works by or about John Christian Schultz at Internet Archive
  • Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  • Manitoba Historical Society - John Christian Schultz
  • John Christian Schultz – Parliament of Canada biography
  •  "Schultz, John Christian" New International Encyclopedia 1905 
  • Manitoba Historical Society - The Man Who Created the Corner of Portage and Main

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