Like Robert Baldwin, Louis Hypolite-La Fontaine is a figure in Canadian History that I have never learned about or even knew existed until I started researching this project. And even then, he nearly ended up playing a secondary role in my narrative. I quickly realised that if I had done that it would have done a great disservice to his role in Canadian History and his foundational efforts from the run-up to the Lower Canada Rebellions and into the establishment of Responsible Government and the unified reform movement in the Province of Canada. Born the 4th of October, 1807 the fourth son of a BouchervilleRead More →

If you took a close look at Robert Baldwin as a man, it might surprise you to think of the amount of change for the good he brought to Canada in our Pre-Confederation history. And while I have encountered many exciting figures throughout this project, I took time to look at each one as a human. Each one presented not as a hero, but as a human complete with their flaws. None stood out to me more than Baldwin. Baldwin had the chance to have all the power he wanted, yet he did not wish to power for his gain but to put government powerRead More →

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 →

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 →