File 120 - King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Harvey J. Sims.

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King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Harvey J. Sims.

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  • Textual record

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  • December 23, 1923 (Authorship)
    King, William Lyon Mackenzie

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Physical description

4 p. (of 4, folded leaf) ; 15 x 10 cm

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Biographical history

The Sims family were early white settlers of what is now Hawkesville, Ontario. Members of the family are the descendants of Reverend James Sims was born ca.1812 in Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. On June 1, 1836, he married the widow Janet Harvey Robertson and in 1837 came to what is now Canada with a large party of relatives: his father and mother, his wife and step-children Alexander, John and Jane Robertson, his brothers Peter and Andrew Sims, his sister Margaret, and nephews James and Peter Sims.

In 1838 the family settled as squatters on Queen's Bush land near Hawkesville in Wellesley Township. James and Margaret Sims had four children: Janet Sims, (1838-1926), James Campbell Sims (1842-1929), Peter Harvey Sims (1844-1920) and William Andrew Sims (1846-1930). James Sims died October 31, 1880. Both he and his descendants played an active role in the the educational, religious and commercial development of what is now the Region of Waterloo.

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Scope and content

Handwritten letter from William Lyon Mackenzie King to Harvey J. Sims dated December 23, 1923, thanking him for his generous birthday gift, thanking him for "devout friendship … begotten of a love that even David might have envied." He presses Harvey to visit and to bring Florence; also Madge and Minnie Gibson. He closes by saying that he has had a wonderful year, and that "of the Conferences, I have a lot to tell you. So come soon."

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Donated in 2019 by the Sims Family.


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  • English

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General note

Referencing friendship of David and Jonathan?

General note

The conference in question is probably the Imperial Conference of 1923: "The Imperial Conference of 1923 could not disregard this challenge. The British government, with support from Australia and New Zealand, hoped that the conference would approve a broad statement on foreign policy. King was convinced that any attempt to make binding decisions for the dominions would be an encroachment on their autonomy. The conference, as he envisaged it, was an important way to exchange information and foster understanding but it had no authority; decisions would have to be made by the parliaments. The conference's final report, which affirmed King's belief, marked a decisive step in the evolution of the British Commonwealth of Nations (a term that had received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921). The affirmation was an admission that there would be no centralized empire. It left undecided how the unity of the Commonwealth might be achieved or if, indeed, the Commonwealth would survive. King had no misgivings. He believed that self-governing members of the Commonwealth shared profound social and political values and so would agree on major issues if there was no coercion. His analogy was the family: the dominions, like children, would grow up but they would not be tempted to slam doors or leave home if their autonomy was acknowledged. For him the recognition of the self-governing powers of the dominions would strengthen rather than weaken Commonwealth unity." [1]

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Printed letterhead: Laurier House, Ottawa.
Includes envelope addressed in Mackenzie King's handwriting, not postmarked.

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Described July 2019 JSB

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  • English

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