Upper Canada Rebellion 1837-1838


William Lyon Mackenzie

William Lyon Mackenzie (March 12, 1795- August 28, 1861), Canadian journalist, reformer, and leader of the Rebellion of 1837. He was born near Dundee, Scotland, and settled in Canada in 1820. Elected in 1828, he was expelled from the Upper Canada (now Ontario) legislature for publishing attacks on the government in his paper the Colonial Advocate. He was reelected four times but was refused his seat each time. In 1834 he was elected the first mayor of Toronto. He held a seat from 1834 to 1836 in the provincial Parliament. Embittered by the defeat of his Reform Party in 1836, Mackenzie became an advocate of open rebellion (there are some serious questions on how that "free" elections were conducted) . A year later he led a group of armed insurgents on Toronto. Defeated, he fled to the United States. Early in 1838 he took possession of Navy Island in the Niagara River and, with a small number of followers, tried to organize his planned republic under what he spoke of as a "provisional government of Upper Canada." The army and militia were now in full control of the situation, and they forced Mackenzie to return to the United States once again. Other disturbances followed along the border during 1838. After a few unsuccessful raids, the United States took steps to prevent its territory from being used for further attacks against the Canadas. Mackenzie was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison for violation of the neutrality laws. An Act of Amnesty (1949) provides for W.L. Mackenzie's return from exile in the U.S. After his return he lived in Toronto. His home (82 Bond Street) where he lived his last three years is now a museum. Buried in Toronto's Necropolis

The gravestone of the Mackenzies

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