The Death of George-Étienne Cartier

May 20, 1873
Funeral procession of George-Étienne Cartier, Montréal, 1873. Source: Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec NO 3234.Pinterest
Funeral procession of George-Étienne Cartier, Montréal, 1873. Source: Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec NO 3234.

In 1873, Sir John A. was devastated to receive a telegram in the House of Commons, informing him that George-Étienne Cartier had died in England, where he had gone to seek treatment for Bright's disease – a chronic kidney condition. Plagued by scandal, left alone with the prospect of building a national railway, and devastated by the loss of Cartier, Sir John A. and Lady Agnes travelled to Rivière-du-Loup for a brief summer holiday. It was here, early in the morning on August 3, that Sir John A. disappeared and went missing for two days. The Montreal Witness reported that Sir John A. had attempted suicide by jumping from the wharf. The Globe followed suit, only later issuing a vague correction.