Alexander Macdonell

Alexander Macdonell, Roman Catholic bishop (b at Fort Augustus, Glengarry, Scot 17 July 1762; d at Dumfries, Scot 14 Jan 1840). Ordained in 1787, Macdonell spent the next few years in the Scottish Highlands.

Macdonell, Alexander

Alexander Macdonell, Roman Catholic bishop (b at Fort Augustus, Glengarry, Scot 17 July 1762; d at Dumfries, Scot 14 Jan 1840). Ordained in 1787, Macdonell spent the next few years in the Scottish Highlands. In 1793 he persuaded the British government to establish a Catholic corps, the Glengarry regiment, of which he was chaplain. In 1802 the regiment was disbanded. Two years later, with a government promise of 200 acres to every soldier who emigrated, Macdonell and a large group of settlers left for Glengarry County, Upper Canada.

Central in the religious and political life of the colony, Macdonell was appointed vicar general in 1807 and vicar apostolic in 1820, and was consecrated bishop of Kingston or Regiopolis in 1826. During his tenure thousands of Irish immigrants arrived, and by 1840 there were 34 priests and 48 parishes in Upper Canada for which Macdonell had secured financial assistance from the local and British governments. A firm conservative, Macdonell was a legislative councillor from 1831 and soon came under fire from the Reform movement. Macdonell died while in Britain to solicit funds for Regiopolis College and recruit more Catholic emigrants. Buried in St Margaret's Convent, Edinburgh, his remains were brought to St Mary's, Kingston, in 1861.


Further Reading

  • J.E. Rea, Bishop Alexander Macdonell and the Politics of Upper Canada (1974).