A selection of published work by Ged Martin.

The Elgin-Grey Papers 1846-1852: A Triangular Correspondence

Extensively published in 1937, the correspondence between Lord Elgin (governor-general of Canada, 1847-54) and Earl Grey (colonial secretary, 1846-52) forms a major scholarly resource for studying the evolution of responsible government. In fact, the correspondence was triangular, with Britain's prime minister, Lord John Russell, an active third party.

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W.L. Mackenzie King: Canada's Spiritualist Prime Minister

In 1989, I published an article discussing two séances attended by Canada's long-serving Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, in London in 1947 and 1948. The article, which appeared in the British Journal of Canadian Studies, iv (1989), 109-35, is republished here, with some minor updating and corrections. No attempt has been made to cite work published on Mackenzie King since 1989, but it should be noted that his diaries may now be consulted on line via the Library and Archives Canada website. 
[Additional Note, July 2024: In 1968, in their capacity as Mackenzie King's literary executors, two veteran Ottawa mandarins, Gordon Robertson and Jack Pickersgill, examined records of séances preserved with King's diaries. They regarded the material, which consisted of scrawled comments in school exercise books, as "meaningless gibberish.... there was nothing of any meaning or relevance for the public record". The notebooks were burned "page by page, in the Pickersgills' fireplace". (G. Robertson, Memoirs of a Very Civil Servant..., Toronto, 2000, 55)  Their decision to destroy underlines the importance of the survival of the séance records in the Geraldine Cummins papers discussed here. The material is bizarre but hardly gibberish.] 

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Favourite Son?: John A. Macdonald and the Voters of Kingston, 1841-1891

Political biographies generally focus on public careers and often take for granted their subjects' constituency background.  Favourite Son? is a book about the political relations between Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald, and the Ontario city of Kingston which he represented in parliament for over thirty-eight years (with one interval) between 1844 and his death in 1891. Favourite Son? was published, in a handsome volume, by the Kingston Historical Society in 2010. (In 2016, copies were still available for purchase.) I am grateful to the Kingston Historical Society for permission to re-publish this version of the text on my website. Brian Osborne suggested the title, and supported the project in many other ways. Without his help, the book would not have happened.

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Alexander Campbell (1822-1892): The Travails of a Father of Confederation

 Alexander Campbell (1822-1892): The Travails of a Father of Confederation**

 Although he was a Father of Confederation and a cabinet minister in the early years of the Dominion of Canada, Alexander Campbell is a shadowy figure, almost a caricature, perennially overshadowed by his fellow Kingstonian and one-time law partner, John A. Macdonald.[1]

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The Cambridge American Lectureship of 1866

In 1866, Cambridge University refused an endowment intended to finance a visiting scholar from Harvard, who would have lectured on American History and Institutions.

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Charles Stewart Parnell at Cambridge: New Evidence (1992)

In 1974, I published 'Parnell at Cambridge: The Education of an Irish Nationalist' (Irish Historical Studies, xix, 72-82). This discussion was based on the assumption (itself derived from information supplied by Magdalene College Cambridge to R. Barry O'Brien) that Parnell had spent four fruitless years at the University, between 1865 and 1869. By 1991, reorganisation of the College Archives made it possible to quarry new material from account books and other official records. These threw fresh, and startling, light upon the subject. The new findings were summarised in an article in Magdalene College Magazine and Record, xxxvi (1992), 37-41, which is reprinted below, with some small editorial changes.

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William Wellington Willock and the founding of Canterbury, New Zealand

William Wellington Willock was a Fellow of Magdalene College Cambridge who emigrated to New Zealand in 1850, becoming one of the founders of the province of Canterbury.

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'The Workings of My Own Mind': Private Correspondence of the Governor-General of Canada, 1839-1867

Historians of 19th-century British-Canadian relations use the rich archive of Colonial Office despatches, supplemented by the private correspondence of governors-general and colonial secretaries where such collections survive. This article contends that, from 1839 to 1866, the period of the Canadian Union, the private correspondence constituted a parallel channel of communication, operating on a quasi-official and semi-continuous basis. Private correspondence was used to discuss issues too sensitive for the official record, material that was deliberately omitted from despatches. The correspondence was controlled by the secretary of state, who shared it as his discretion with political colleagues and bureaucrats. Its major shortcoming lay in the difficulty in securing continuity of information between successive ministers, as was shown in the British response to the Canadian federation initiative of 1858. Private correspondence gradually became less important after Confederation as Canada ceased to be a problem to British policy-makers. The correspondence between governors-general and colonial secretaries should be considered apart from current historical debate on imperial networks. The article appeared in British Journal of Canadian Studies, xxxi (2009), 63-86.

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