From 1846 to 1848, the Reform Association had to take a pause; an external threat seemed to dampen the cause of reform. Robert Baldwin and Louis La Fontaine continued to work hard in the Assembly, taking every chance they could to speak on the purpose of reform. With Metcalfe still in England with his illness worsening, the Reformers had a free hand to continue the work, and it seemed even Draper’s Conservatives were willing to work with them. In Metcalfe’s place, a military governor came in much as Sir Isaac Brock had during the War of 1812 primarily to handle military means and act asRead More →

At the beginning of August, I had the chance to attend my first 1812 Grand Tactical, far from my first Grand Tactical having to attend a couple but for the Napoleonic Wars. But what made this one different is that I was back as a photographer which is how I first started in the hobby back in 2008. But now, ten years later, I had far more experience both as a photographer and as a reenactor. In honour of that, I’ll be presenting this post in a somewhat of a different way, as a newspaper report of a frictional engagement that was used as aRead 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 →

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 →

It was the 6th of November 1837, and Lower Canada had erupted in open armed revolt against the Colonial Government. The Patriotes under Louis-Joseph Papineau and many others fuelled by the ideals of the American Revolution, French Liberty, and Republicanism. They decided that they would only rid themselves of the influence of the British Ruling Class, a group of Tory elites organised into a group known as the Chateau Clique was to begin a revolution when their demands for reform were ignored. There had been some communication between Lower Canada Patriotes and the radicals in Upper Canada under William Lyon MacKenzie. And while a coordinatedRead More →

William Lyon MacKenzie, not to be confused with William Lyon MacKenzie King (remember that for later), is more myth and legend that man. Cloaked in a persona often of his own making, MacKenzie was at the heart of the Upper Canada Rebellion, his push towards radical reform and public speaking skills caused many to flock to his cause. His use of twisting the facts, overblowing situations and the ability to turn men against each other and himself forced the issue in 1837. But much of what we know of MacKenzie is often more myth than fact, which has like much of Canadian history of theRead More →

The Anglo-American War of 1812 had decimated the defences of Upper Canada, by war’s end all the major fort’s constructed in the pre-war era had faced destruction throughout the war. Fort York and Fort George in York (Toronto) and Newark (Niagara-On-The-Lake) respectively had been destroyed in 1813, Fort Erie and Fort St. Joseph in 1814. The British knocked down Fort Amherstburg in their retreat in 1813. The only major fort to survive the war was Fort Henry in Kingston only because it defended the Royal Navy dockyard. And while the British had captured two major American forts during the war, Fort Niagara and Fort Mackinac.Read More →