Epilogue: The Protagonists' Fate

AuthorCraig Forcese
The Protagonis’ Fate
As a naval ocer, drawing near to the close of a long life spent, as I tru,
not without credit in the service of my country, I address your Lordship in
the conf‌ident hope of obtaining a candid and favourable consideration of a
claim . . . That claim is one for indemnity again losses brought upon me by
the performance of a dicult and important duty.
— rear adMiral andrew drew to visCount PalMerston, PriMe Minister of
Great Britain (3 noveMBer 1863)1
T   north of Buf‌falo, New York, on the Canadian
side of the Niagara River, a plaque marks the spot where
William Lyon Mackenzie f‌led Upper Canada in December
1837, to renew his insurgency among his American supporters. That
brief memorial reveals nothing of his fate, or the consequences of
his actions.
After his occupation of Navy Island failed in January 1838, Mack-
enzie opposed further invasion attempts by the insurgents and their
“Patriot” supporters, seeing them as disorganized ventures that simply
drove persecution of reformers in Upper Canada. His inf‌luence while
in exile in New York State soon waned. In 1839, a US court convicted
him of violating the US neutrality law. Beset with f‌inancial dicul-
ties and in ill health, he was pardoned in less than a year after Presi-
dent Martin Van Buren responded to domestic political pressure.2
Mackenzie then worked as an itinerant journalist in New York State.
Among his publications was The Caroline Almanac — described by
the Canadian Newspaper Directory in 1892 as “a curious publication
altogether. On the cover was a picture of the steamer Caroline as she
was going over Niagara Falls, and in the foreground was a prostrate

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