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William McDougall's nickname was "Wandering Wille" and it summed up his political career in a Nutshell.

He was born at Toronto on Jan. 25, 1822, educated there and at Victoria College, then in Colbourg, Ont. As a boy of 15 he witnessed the burning of Montgomery's tavern near his home by Loyalists during the 1837 rebellion. In 1847 he started his career as a lawyer, but later turned to publishing the North American, a newspaper which soon failed and was merged with George Brown's Globe. He ran for the Perth seat in the Legislature in 1857 but was defeated. The next year he was luckier. North Oxford elected him. Actually, his political activities had started when he helped found the "Clear Grit" movement at Markham, Ont., in March, 1850. At the Confederation conferences he was allied with Sir Oliver Mowat in wanting an elected, rather than an appointed, Senate.

With Confederation he was named to the federal cabinet and was promptly read out of the Reform party at a Toronto convention on June 27, 1876. He stayed in the cabinet until the fall of 1869 when he set out for the Red River settlement (Winnipeg) to become lieutenant-governor of the Northwest Territories, today's prairie provinces and the northwest territories. However,, when he got to the boarder, the settlers refused to let him go further. He returned to Ottawa in disgrace and from then on, his political career was in eclipse. He died in Ottawa in 1905.