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UPPER CANADIAN REBELLION, 1837-38 211

 

arms, drill, and discipline; the artillery had no guns, and, with the exception of a few rifle companies, the infantry had no muskets. "Yet," he says, "they were a fine body of men, the cavalry were all well mounted and equipped, the artillery well exercised by the regular gunners, and the infantry from their woodland habits were generally used to and dexterous in the management of the firelock and rifle." And Sir James Alexander adds, "when after-wards embodied and drilled by regular officers in 1838, there was not a finer militia in the world."

The imminent and ugly menace of armed rebellion, and the folly of the insurgents in killing Moodie, brought to the surface the latent loyalty of thousands of men who had been anything but friendly to Head. They had demanded responsible government in the past, and they would demand it in the future, but for the present they were chiefly concerned with the fact that the peace and security of their country was threatened. The con-sequence was that, while the rebels hesitated, any chance of success they might have had disappeared. Every day brought an increasing stream of loyalists into Toronto, from Hamilton, Niagara, Oakville, Port Credit, and many other centres. The great majority were members of one or other of the various militia corps, and knew how to shoot, if they had not much know-ledge of drill. But as the numbers increased it became apparent that it would be difficult to find accommodation for so many, and impossible to arm them all, so that a large number were necessarily sent back to their homes. The remainder were quickly organized into an effective force for the protection of the Capital.

On the evening of Tuesday, December 5th, a number of the rebels were led towards the city by Mackenzie and Lount. Meeting a militia picket, they exchanged shots with them; then, as Mackenzie himself says, "took to their heels with a speed and steadiness of purpose that would have baffled pursuit on foot." On Thursday morning the militia marched out against Mackenzie,


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