William Hume Blake

William Hume Blake, lawyer, politician, judge (b at Kiltegan, Ire 10 Mar 1809; d at Toronto 15 Nov 1870), father of Edward BLAKE and Samuel Hume BLAKE.

Blake, William Hume

William Hume Blake, lawyer, politician, judge (b at Kiltegan, Ire 10 Mar 1809; d at Toronto 15 Nov 1870), father of Edward BLAKE and Samuel Hume BLAKE. Though now largely forgotten, Blake, a leading lawyer of his time and a pioneer in LEGAL EDUCATION at King's College in Toronto, initiated significant reforms in the Upper Canadian judicial system.

Of a devout Anglo-Irish gentry family, Blake attended Trinity College in Dublin and immigrated to Canada in 1832 with family and friends. After a brief attempt at farming, Blake and his accomplished wife, Catherine Hume, settled in Toronto, where he began legal studies. The spirited and ambitious Blake rose quickly in professional, political and provincial life.

In 1848 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly, and as solicitor general of Canada West in the tumultuous second government of Robert BALDWIN and L.H. LAFONTAINE, piloted long overdue legislation to reorganize the senior provincial courts. Blake ably served as first chancellor of the reformed Court of Chancery from 1849 to 1862, when poor health forced his retirement. He returned briefly to public life in 1864.


Further Reading

  • John D. Blackwell, "William Hume Blake and the Judicative Acts of 1849: The Process of Legal Reform at Mid-Century in Upper Canada," in D.H. Flaherty, ed, Essays in the History of Canadian Law (1981).