McClure Leonard
b. 1835-12-25
d. 1867-06-14
Leonard McClure was born on Christmas Day in 1835 near Belfast, Northern Ireland, and came to Victoria, B.C. in September 1859.1 He worked as a journalist, printer, and politician in the colony of Vancouver Island from his arrival until 1866.2 McClure was known for being outspoken about the political issues that were prevalent on the Island during that period.3 An example of his outspoken nature is this lengthy letter that he sent to the Duke of Newcastle on 11 February 1863 where he requested better representation for the residents of Victoria.4 This letter was sent two months after two additional Members had been added to the Legislative Assembly under the City of Victoria Representation Act, a change that was thought to appease McClure’s previous criticisms.5 As a result, McClure wasn’t very popular with the Colonial Office staff; the minutes on his letter include remarks that his complaints about the Administrative Departments were not very tangible offences and that the Duke of Newcastle [had] already given much attention to this subject.6
While the majority of the political issues that McClure mentioned in the despatches concern the lack of sufficient political representation on Vancouver Island, he was also very involved in the discussions surrounding the merger of the Colonies.7 Initially McClure supported the union, so long as it included a revenue tariff, a stance that earned him a seat in the Legislative Assembly in February 1865.8 However, McClure began to fear (correctly) that the union would cause Vancouver Island to lose its ability to self-govern and chose to support annexation to the United States instead, despite the minimal support annexation had on the Island.9 When McClure lost his position as editor of The Colonist during its merger with The Chronicle in June 1866, he also lost most of his political influence.10 McClure ended up leaving Victoria that December for San Francisco where he worked as the editor for The Times until his death, caused by illness, on 14 June 1867.12
Mentions of this person in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. McClure Leonard. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/mcclure.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)