He was Canada’s fifth Prime Minister from December 21, 1894 to April 27, 1896.
Bowell was born on December 27, 1823 at Rockinghall, in England.
Bowell’s life seemed to have involved newspapers. When he was just 11 years old, he started working as a printer’s devil at the Belleville Intelligencer newspaper. (Printer’s devil is the nickname given to boys and girls who got covered in black ink by pulling freshly printed sheets of paper off the press).
From printer’s devil, he later became an editor, and then finally worked his way up to newspaper owner!
In 1847 he married Harriet Moore and together they had nine children.
From 1867 on, he was a popular Member of Parliament. Time after time he was re-elected until 1892, when he was given a post to the Senate. However popular he was, though, the government didn’t appreciate that he was seen as extremely anti-Catholic and anti-Liberal.
In 1894, the Conservatives were still feeling the loss of Sir John A. Macdonald who died in 1891. The Governor-General had to find someone to be their leader. Bowell got the job.
When he became Prime Minister, his own party turned against him because of his extreme views on religion. As a matter of fact, many cabinet ministers resigned when Bowell attempted to be fair to Manitoba‘s French-speaking Catholics by passing a bill to make the Province give them back their own schools.
After that, Bowell resigned too, saying he felt himself in “a nest of traitors“.
Bowell was the second and last Senator to become Prime Minister. Now, if a Prime Minister resigns, it is the deputy prime minister who would likely take over the job until the party chose a new leader.