Born in Ireland in 1822, Timothy Warren emigrated to New Brunswick in 1849 and quickly became involved in the life and politics of the city of Saint John and the colony. As founder and editor of the newspaper the Freeman, he came lay spokesman for the large, mainly lower-class Irish Catholic population in Saint John, supporting its attempts to alleviate the poverty and harshness of life in New Brunswick and voicing its desire to be accepted as a responsible part of the community. Although Anglin shared his countrymen’s resentment of the British presence in Ireland, he saw Britain’s role in North America as a positive one. Both as a newspaperman and later as a practicing politician he pressed for the constitutional and non-violent redress of grievances. His Irish background and sympathies coupled with his moderate political stance and strongly middle class outlook made him an effective mediator between the Irish Catholics in New Brunswick and the rest of the community.
In the 1860s Anglin was an active participant in the complex political manoeuvrings in New Brunswick, the Freeman providing a platform for his strenuous opposition to Confederation. Although the anti-Confederates were unsuccessful, Anglin’s career provides insight into both the muddy politics of Confederation and the process of adjustment to the new order. Ultimately the union that Anglin had opposed won his loyalty, a demonstration of the fact that, despite its problems, the strength of the new nation of Canada was considerable. He was a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1867 to 1882 and Speaker of the House from 1874 to 1878.
This study of the public career of Timothy Warren Anglin—newspaperman, politician, Irish Catholic leader—sheds light on the political and social history of British North America in the second half of the nineteenth century and on the emergence and growth of the Canadian nation.