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UPPER CANADIAN REBELLION, 1837–38 209

 

and a Legislative Assembly. The Lieutenant-Governor practically centred in himself all the powers of government now possessed by the Cabinet, Senate, and House of Commons of the Dominion. He appointed his own Executive Councillors, they were responsible only to him, and he consulted them when, and only when, he saw fit. The members of the Assembly alone were elected by the people; yet they had practically no voice in the government of the province. Public offices were controlled by a small group of very estimable gentlemen who formed a clique known then and since as the Family Compact.

Is it to be wondered that a large section of the population of Upper Canada called themselves Reformers, and demanded the same right of self-government which Englishmen enjoyed in the home land? Unquestionably this movement would have steadily grown in strength, because of the entire reasonableness of its objects; and as unquestionably it must ultimately have prevailed, with-out stepping outside the boundaries of constitutional agitation. But the methods of the majority of the Reformers were too slow for the radical wing of the party which, under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie, decided to follow the example of the Fils de la Liberte of Lower Canada, and appeal to arms.'

Mackenzie, in his narrative of the rebellion, says that it had been the intention to assemble at Montgomery's Tavern, three miles north of Toronto, on December 7th, march into the city, where the insurgents expected to be joined by a large number of sympathizers, seize the arms which Head had placed in the City Hall, take the Governor and his chief advisers into custody, and set up a government of their own. Through some misunderstanding between Mackenzie and the other leaders, the rising was precipitated on the 4th with a few hundred half-armed men, instead of the thousands that Mackenzie had confidently expected to lead into the capital. Even as it was,

I See Lindsey, Charles: William Lyon Mackenzie, " Makers of Canada" Series.


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