Nicholas Flood Davin

(January 13, 1840 – October 18, 1901 / Ireland)

Biography of Nicholas Flood Davin

Nicholas Flood Davin poet

Nicholas Flood Davin (January 13, 1840 – October 18, 1901) Nicholas Flood Davin was a lawyer, journalist and politician, born at Kilfinane, Ireland. The first MP for Assiniboia West (1887–1900), Davin was known as the voice of the North-West.

A spellbinding speaker, Davin founded and edited the Regina Leader, the first newspaper in Assiniboia. He tried to gain provincial status for the territory. Davin produced the Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds, otherwise known as The Davin Report, in which he advised the federal government to institute residential schools for native youth; a recommendation that decimated Canadian Aboriginal families.Davin was a parliamentary and war correspondent in England before arriving in Toronto in 1872, where he wrote for the Globe and the Mail. Although a fully qualified lawyer, Davin practised little law. The highlight of his legal career was his 1880 defence of George Bennett, who murdered George Brown.

A chance visit to the West in 1882 determined his future. In 1883, he founded and edited the Regina Leader, the first newspaper in Assiniboia; the paper carried his detailed reports of the 1885 trial of Louis Riel. A spellbinding speaker and Conservative MP for Assiniboia West from 1887–1900, Davin tried to gain provincial status for the territory, economic and property advantages for the new settlers–even the franchise for women–but he never achieved his ambition to be a Cabinet minister. A mercurial personality, he became depressed by the decline of his political and personal fortunes and shot himself during a visit to Winnipeg on October 18, 1901. Davin wrote The Irishman in Canada (1877), as well as poetry and an unpublished novel.


Davin used, among others, the literary device of intertextuality to draw upon British canonical writers including Tennyson, Bryon and Shakespeare to connect the associations of empire with his 19th-century audience. In 1876, Davin wrote an adaptation of Shakespeare The Fair Grit; or The Advantages of Coalition. A Farce, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The play is a farce on governmental coalitions and the corrupted role of media in Canadian politics – a power fully realized by Davin as a writer and founder of the Regina Leader newspaper located in Canada’s North-West.

Three years later, Davin produced the Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds, otherwise known as The Davin Report (1879), in which he advised John A. Macdonald’s federal government to institute residential schools for Indigenous youth; a recommendation that decimated Canadian Aboriginal families. In 1884, while visiting Ottawa, Davin wrote Eos – A Prairie Dream (1884), a collection of poems that, in his own words, "strike a true and high note in Canadian politics and literature" while he represents, through his poetry, the destruction of Aboriginal culture (Moll, "The Davin Report: Shakespeare and Canada's Manifest Destiny," Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project, par 2).

Nicholas Flood Davin's Works:

Books

Album verses and other poems.
Ottawa : MacLean, Roger; 1882. 32 p.

The crazy quilt series, no. 1, vol. 1: a compendium of wit, humor and pathos / by "Matthew Twain" [pseud.].
Toronto : [s.n.]; Xmas 1888. [ii], [3]-64 p.

The Earl of Beaconsfield : with Disraeli anecdotes never before published.
Toronto; Sydney, N.S. W. : Belford Bros; 1876. 42 p.

Eos - a prairie dream, and other poems.
Ottawa : Printed by the Citizen Print. and Pub. Co; 1884. 36 p.

Eos: an epic of the dawn, and other poems.
Regina, N.W.T : Leader Co. Ltd; 1889. 141 p.

The fair grit; or, The advantages of coalition : a farce.
Toronto : Belford Bros.; 1876. 35 p.

Forward!.
[Canada : [s.n.]; 188-?]. 1 sheet ([1] p.)

Grace Tinning.
[s.n.] : [s.l.], [1894].

Great speeches.
Toronto : Hunter, Rose; 1881. 16 p.

The Irishman in Canada.
London : S. Low, Marston & Co.; Toronto : Maclear, [1877]. xvi, 692 p.

The Irishman in Canada; with an introduction by Daniel C. Lyne.
Shannon : Irish University Press,; 1969 [c1877]. ix, xvi, 692 p.

Remarks suggested by President Garfield's death.
Ottawa : J. Durie and Son; 1881. 32 p.

Report on industrial schools for Indian and half-breeds.
Ottawa : [s.n.]; 1879. 17 leaves.

The resources of the great Canadian North-West; the reasons why agriculture is profitable there and why farmers are prosperous and independent .
Ottawa : Govt. Print. Bureau; 1892. iv, 108 p.

The secretary of the Royal Society of Canada, a literary fraud.
Ottawa : [s.n.]; 1882. 20 p.

Sonnet: to E.W.
Ottawa : [s.n.]; 1881. 1 leaf.


Articles

A modern mystic.
The Week. vol. 7 June 6 - Nov. 7, 1890.

A theological thaw.
The Week. vol. 7 Mar. 7, 1890.

A twelfth-night eve, forty years ago.
The Week. vol. 9 Jan. 8, 1892.

Aeschylus and the bible.
The Week. vol. 9 Feb. 19, 1892.

The archic man.
The Week. vol. 9 June 10 - Nov. 4, 1892.

The argument from scandal.
Rose-Belford's Canadian Monthly and National Review. vol. 2 Jan.-June 1879.

The Bennett case.
Rose-Belford's Canadian Monthly and National Review. v. 5 July-Dec. 1880.

Canada.
The Canadian Monthly and National Review. vol. 13 Jan.-June 1878.

Charles Kavanaugh : a story of modern life, character, and adventure / [Tristram Templeton, pseud.].
The Monthly Journal. 1 (2) Dec. 1886.

Charles Kavanaugh : a story of modern life, character, and adventure / [Tristram Templeton, pseud.].
The Monthly Journal. 1 (1) Nov. 1886.

Crop prospects in the north-west.
The Week. vol. 7 June 27, 1890.

Culture and the dawn of freedom.
The Week. vol. 7 Jan. 17, 1890.

Dialogues of men who were.
The Week. vol. 10 June 7, 1893.

Dionysius.
The Week. vol. 7 May 16, 1890.

France and Germany.
The Westminster Review NS. 39 (1) 1871.

The future of Canada.
Rose Belford's Canadian Monthly and National Review. 6 (5) May 1881.

Horace.
The Week. vol 7. April 11, 1890.

In the tomb of Agrippa.
The Canadian Magazine. vol. 12 1898-99.

John Stuart Mill.
The Canadian Monthly and National Review. 3 (6) June 1873.

Lady Aberdeen in the West.
The Week. vol. 13 Jan. 3, 1896.

Legal education.
Rose-Belford's Canadian Monthly and National Review. 287-92 leaves. 1880.

Literature connected with the Canadian Pacific RR.
Rose- Belford's Canadian Monthly and National Review. 8 (6) June 1882.

The London and Canadian Press.
The Canadian Monthly and National Review. 5 (2) Feb. 1874.

No law school.
Rose-Belford's Canadian Monthly and National Review. v. 4 Feb. 1880.

The north-west farmer.
The Week. vol. 6 Dec. 7, 1888 and Jan. 4, 1889.

The reorganization of the cabinet.
The Week. vols. 8 and 9 Oct. 16, 1891 - Mar. 18,1892.

Sonnets.
The Week. vol. 7 Mar. 7, 1890.

Three sonnets.
The Week. vol. 7 Jan. 31,1890.


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SOLE EDITOR / COMPILER / TRANSLATOR
Books

Homes for millions: the great Canadian north-west, its resources fully described.
Ottawa : Brown Chamberlin; 1891. 108 p.

Mr. Davin on "fanning in church" and Addison and Steele on the use of the fan.
Toronto : Globe Printing Co. ; 1874. 8 p.

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