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Richard William Scott

Richard William Scott
Sir Richard William Scott
5th Mayor of Bytown
In office
Preceded byCharles Sparrow
Succeeded byJ. B. Turgeon
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
In office
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byDaniel John O'Donoghue
2nd Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
In office
December 7, 1871 – December 21, 1871
Preceded byJohn Stevenson
Succeeded byJames Currie
Senator for Ottawa, Ontario
In office
March 13, 1874 – April 23, 1913
Appointed byAlexander Mackenzie
Personal details
Born(1825-02-24)February 24, 1825
Prescott, Upper Canada
DiedApril 23, 1913(1913-04-23) (aged 88)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Other political
Ontario Liberal Party
SpouseMary Ann Heron
Commissioner of Crown Lands
Minister Without Portfolio
Secretary of State of Canada
Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs (Acting)
Minister of the Interior (Acting)

Sir Richard William Scott, PC KC (February 24, 1825 – April 23, 1913) was a Canadian politician and cabinet minister.[1]

Early life

He was born in Prescott, Ontario, in 1825, a descendant of a family from County Clare. A lawyer by training, Scott was admitted to the bar in 1848 and established a practice in Bytown (now Ottawa).

Political career

Scott became a member of municipal council in 1851, was mayor of Bytown in 1852, and held a seat in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1857 to 1863. With Canadian Confederation, Scott won a seat in the Ontario legislature as a Liberal representing Ottawa from 1867 to 1871. He was Speaker of the legislature briefly in December 1871 before he was appointed to the provincial cabinet as Commissioner of Crown Lands. Scott played a leading role in passing legislation ensuring the rights of separate schools in Ontario.

In November 1873, he left provincial politics when he was appointed minister without portfolio by Alexander Mackenzie in the federal Cabinet. Mackenzie had become prime minister after Sir John A. Macdonald's government had been forced to resign because of the Pacific Scandal. Scott was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Mackenzie in January 1874 and became Secretary of State for Canada and Leader of the Government in the Senate.

A supporter of temperance, he drafted the "Scott Act," which allowed any county or municipality in Canada to prohibit the retail sale of liquor by majority vote. With the defeat of the Liberal government in the 1878 election, Scott became Leader of the Opposition in the Senate until the return of the Liberals to government, under Wilfrid Laurier. Scott resumed his old Cabinet position of Secretary of State.

Scott retired from the cabinet in 1908 but remained in the Senate until his death in 1913.

He was made a knight in 1909 by King Edward VII.


Mrs Mary A Scott by William James Topley

Richard William Scott was married in Philadelphia, Pa., November 8, 1853, to Mary Heron, the daughter of John Heron and Frances, his wife. She was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland. The couple had two sons William L. Scott, Local Master in Chancery, and D Arcy Scott, Barrister, Ottawa and four daughters. Before her marriage, Mrs. Scott was a professional singer who toured in Canada and the United States as a member of "The Heron sisters." The couple lived at 274 Daly Avenue, Ottawa. She served on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Women and as a Vice-President of the Local Council.[2]


There is a Richard William Scott fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[3]

Electoral history

1867 Ontario general election: Ottawa
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Richard William Scott 810 68.76
Conservative Henry J. Friel 368 31.24
Total valid votes 1,178 41.49
Eligible voters 2,839
Liberal pickup new district.
Source: Elections Ontario[4]
1871 Ontario general election: Ottawa
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Richard William Scott 574 76.33 +7.57
Conservative G.H. Preston 178 23.67 −7.57
Turnout 752 27.68 −13.81
Eligible voters 2,717
Liberal hold Swing +7.57
Source: Elections Ontario[5]
Ontario provincial by-election, January 1872: Ottawa
Ministerial by-election
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Richard William Scott Acclaimed
Source: History of the Electoral Districts, Legislatures and Ministries of the Province of Ontario[6]: 262 


  1. ^ Dave Mullington "Chain of Office: Biographic Sketches of Ottawa's Mayors (1847-1948)" (Renfrew, Ontario: General Store Publishing House, 2005)
  2. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 307.
  3. ^ "Richard William Scott fonds, Library and Archives Canada".
  4. ^ "Data Explorer". Elections Ontario. 1867. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  5. ^ "Data Explorer". Elections Ontario. 1871. Retrieved March 31, 2024.
  6. ^ Lewis, Roderick (1968). Centennial Edition of a History of the Electoral Districts, Legislatures and Ministries of the Province of Ontario, 1867–1968. OCLC 1052682.
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Richard William Scott
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