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242   HISTORY OF CANADA.

malcontents and they rapidly dispersed. It appears to be doubtful whether there was any loss of life, though circumstantial accounts have been given of one man's death. The few prisoners who were taken were dismissed by the lieutenant-governor with a caution against meddling with treason. Mackenzie himself escaped with some difficulty, and, by way of the head of Lake Ontario, reached Buffalo. In the following week an insurgent force, under Dr. Duncombe, which had collected at the village of Scotland, near Brantford, dispersed at the approach of Colonel MacNab, and the rebellion in Upper Canada was at an end, though for a time Mackenzie threatened invasion on the Niagara frontier.

Mackenzie Establishes Himself on Navy Island.—Mackenzie had been received in Buffalo with much popular demonstration. On the 13th of December, with a few of the Canadian refugees, he took his station upon the British soil of Navy Island in the Niagara River. Here a "Provisional Government" for Upper Canada was established. A proclamation having been issued for the enforcement of the United States neutrality laws, the more reputable of the American "sympathizers" held aloof, and only the lawless element joined the Canadian insurgents on Navy Island. Van Rensselaer, who undertook to lead the "Patriot" army, was of dissolute habits, and nothing was done beyond spasmodic drilling. Colonel MacNab was in command of the Canadian militia on the opposite shore.

The "Caroline" Affair.—On the 29th of December an event occurred which for some time threatened to embroil Great Britain in war with the United States—the capture and destruction of the steamer Caroline. She had been plying between the American shore and Navy Island, carrying supplies and men to the rebel camp, and MacNab determined to put a stop to this work. A volunteer force, under Captain Drew, crossed in small boats to Navy Island, and, not finding the steamer there, proceeded to the American side, where they found her moored to the wharf. They boarded her, drove her crew ashore, towed her into midstream, set fire to her, and sent her flaming over Niagara Falls. This invasion of American territory was bitterly complained of by the United States, and Great Britain afterwards apologized, though at the time MacNab was knighted for his exploit. Navy Island was abandoned by the rebels on the 13th of January, 1838.


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