DIAMOND, ABRAHAM, lawyer, journalist, and police magistrate; b. 7 May 1828, Fredericksburgh Township (in present-day South Fredericksburgh Township), U.C., second son of John Diamond and Elizabeth Jeffers; m. Louisa Coleman in 1860, by whom he had several children; d. 24 July 1880, Belleville, Ont.
Abraham Diamond, a Wesleyan Methodist of loyalist descent, graduated from Victoria College in Cobourg and was a governor general’s prize winner at the Toronto Normal School. He taught school in Thornhill, Bloomfield, and Belleville before beginning the study of law in the office of Caleb P. Simpson in 1858. He was admitted to the bar in 1859 and began practising with W. W. Dean’s firm. He was called to the bar in 1862 and was later in partnership with George D. Dickson; he eventually formed a partnership in 1868 with a brother, Wellington Jeffers, later mayor of Belleville.
From 1856 to 1868 Abraham Diamond edited Elijah Miles’ Reform paper, the Belleville Hastings Chronicle. An effective speaker and writer, Diamond’s reasoned pragmatic approach made him seem less forcible but also less erratic than many of his better known journalist contemporaries. An enthusiastic supporter of constitutional change in Canada, Diamond was active in the Reform Convention of 1859. Besides being a member of the credentials committee, he moved the key fifth resolution, speaking in favour of a practicable, efficient, and beneficial federal union of the two sections of the Province of Canada. In the election of 1867 Diamond made a sharp and effective break with Reform leader George Brown by actively supporting in West Hastings two Conservative candidates, James Brown in the federal election and Ketchum Graham in the provincial.
Diamond was police magistrate of Belleville from 1868 until his sudden death, from an overdose of hydrate of chloral. He was active in community life as a town councillor, school trustee, notary public, and militia officer. He was a director of the Grand Junction Railway Company. A mason and the secretary of the Literary Association in Belleville, he was also the first president of the town’s Native Canadian Association.
Hastings County Museum (Belleville, Ont.), files on Abraham Diamond and on the Belleville Printing and Publishing Company. PAC, MG 24, K19 (Peter Robertson papers), James Ross to Robertson, 28 Feb. 1854; RG 31, A1, 1861, no.43, f.99. Canada Gazette (Quebec), 1 March 1862, 15 May 1863. Globe (Toronto), 9–11 Nov. 1859, September 1867. Hastings Chronicle (Belleville), 1859, 1867. Intelligencer (Belleville), 26 July 1880. London Free Press, 14 Nov. 1859.
Canada directory, 1857–58, 55. The Canadian legal directory: a guide to the bench and bar of the Dominion of Canada, ed. H. J. Morgan (Toronto, 1878). Directory of the county of Hastings . . . 1860–61 (Belleville, 1860), 118, 160. William Canniff, History of the settlement of Upper Canada (Ontario), with special reference to the bay Quinté (Toronto, 1869). City of Belleville history, comp. W. C. Mikel (Picton, Ont., 1943). Pioneer life on the Bay of Quinte including genealogies of old families and biographical sketches of representative citizens (Toronto, n.d.). E. H. Jones, “Ephemeral compromise: the Great Reform Convention revisited,” J. of Canadian Studies (Peterborough, Ont.), III (February 1968), 21–28.