Despite the setbacks of the rebellion, the reform movement was ready to move on. The radicals were out of reach, imprisoned, dead, or in exile (with the penalty of death if they should return), the moderates were now returning to the political arena many who had never run for public office before. And while Durham’s report had spoken favourable of Responsible Government and many reformers like Robert Baldwin, Louis La Fontaine, and Francis Hincks had spoken in detail to Durham. The trouble remained that even moderate reformers were still viewed through the lens of rebellion by the Colonial Office. And they aimed to use theRead More →

The Welland Canal had brought expansion and growth to the Niagara Region, along the canal work camps flourished into settlements, villages, and towns. But the canal remained under private control, and to maintain the wooden infrastructure they needed income from ship traffic and the fees paid to transit the canal. The trouble with the wooden structures is that they were getting old and starting to fall apart and by the start of the troubles of 1837 many of the locks could no longer function. And with the canal at standstill ships could not transit therefore no money would come to the canal, so the locksRead More →

John Lambton is the single man who shaped our view of the rebellions of 1837-8 for better or worse and can take the blame for the general mistrust between English and French Canada, born on the 12th of April 1792 in the City of Westminster, where the centre of the British Parliament sits even to this day. He knew little of his father who passed away in 1797 when John was only five. His mother quickly remarried but his step-father had little desire in raising John and his brother. Instead, the boys were raised by a family friend. Nevertheless, John was well off, being theRead More →

The sheer amount of aid rendered to the Canadian Rebels and the fact that many raids by the rebels came from the United States again proved that Canada remained open to invasion as it always had before the rebellions and even before the War of 1812. It also showed that the post-war practice of reducing colonial garrisons as a cost-saving measure might not have been the best option indicated in the fact that Bond-Head sent all the regular troops in Upper Canada to shore up Colborne in Lower Canada. While the militia enjoyed many victories in 1837 but these were against poorly armed and leadRead More →

The violence caused by the rebellion had been a direct result of political discord and dissatisfaction, however many in the Colonial Office refused to believe this and did little to appease the troubles outside of direct military intervention. They needed to investigate the rebellions, discover the root cause, and determine the best way to prevent such a rebellion from happening again. British authorities were lucky that the rebellions in Upper Canada were poorly lead and poorly armed and even in Lower Canada the aggressive nature of Sir John Colborne put the rebellion down in an equally violent manner. The British Prime Minister, Sir William LambRead More →

There was much more to the Upper Canada Rebellion than just the armed engagements that I discussed in the past three entries. Underlying the entire year of 1838 the government continued to operate and the biggest issue facing them would be prosecuting the rebels and their American allies after their capture. The whole matter would have been a lot cleaner if an actual war was declared. The treatment of Prisoners of War was an internationally understood law, but to the British, there was no war, they were dealing with a rebellion. And in the case of the Upper Canada Rebellion, the Provincial Government and theRead More →

If there is a singular organisation that is synonymous with the Patriot Wars and the Upper Canada Rebellion as a whole that group is the Hunter’s Lodge. The group grew out of the Frise Chassure, a group founded by the Lower Canada Patriotes under Joseph-Louis Papineau. Papineau had been waging his rebellion against Lower Canada out of Vermont. And while Papineau saw no better success than those in the west, the use of a central group and the model of a secret society had kept the group much better aligned with the goals of their rebellion. It also attracted the attention of Charles Duncombe whoRead More →

The continuing rebellion shifted after Pelee Island, as the leadership changed and William Lyon MacKenzie separated himself while living in Rochester while out on bail from his arrest in Buffalo following the evacuation from Navy Island. The Rebel Cause fell under the leadership of the Council of Thirteen. A mixed group of Canadian and American sympathisers. However, their actions against Upper Canada and their behaviour in the American cities had forced them to seek shelter in the rural areas along the border. Charles Duncombe had been working in the east and was spreading a new secret society based on a French-Canadian society to spread theRead More →

The rebellion was over, long live the rebellion. The one thing that surprised me that even after the failures of Duncombe and MacKenzie at London and Toronto and after they had fled to the United States and MacKenzie had set up his dream state, the Republic of Canada the violence did not end there and nor did the rebellion. But was the violence that made up the grossly over-named Patriot War part of the Rebellion or was it something else. The troubles that continued throughout all of 1838; I have chosen to split the troubles into three parts all held together by a common theme,Read More →

If you’re confused at the title, don’t worry, there never was the Republic of Canada, well not in any formally recognised manner. I happened across this strange pseudo-nation while doing the initial planning stages of this project. The grand republic is the brainchild of William Lyon MacKenzie and Charles Duncombe; they desired to reshape both Upper and Lower Canada into a single country with a Constitution and Government structure similar to that in the United States of America. And while he aimed to establish his new republic through force of arms, his failure at Toronto and Duncombe’s failure in the west did little to dampenRead More →