AuthorCraig Forcese
Chapter 8
Men do not huzza, they grit their teeth, and talk of vengeance.
— ColuMn in the Buffalo Star extra1
“T   cutting out the ‘Caroline,’” wrote Lieutenant-
Governor Francis Bond Head to London in early January
1838, “is one which ref‌lects so much credit upon those by
whom it was executed, that I shall feel it my duty to bring their gal-
lant conduct under the especial consideration of Her Majesty’s Gov-
ernment.”2 But while heroes in Upper Canada, Commander Drew’s
Caroline raiders were villains — even monsters — in American eyes.
The American reaction in the northern frontier states was noisy, ani-
mated, and alarming. A newly restive northern frontier enormously
complicated British-American relations. The two countries teetered
on the edge of a broader conf‌lict, with the Caroline as casus belli. Given
this reaction, Mackenzie’s son-in-law and f‌irst biographer would later
excoriate the Canadian commander Allan Napier MacNab’s judgment
in launching the raid, calling it an act of “great rashness”:
A militia colonel, without the least authority from his superior,
orders the invasion of the territory of a nation with whom his gov-
ernment is at peace; and when that nation was using ef‌forts, not
very successful it must be confessed, to maintain neutrality in a
contest in which they were in no way concerned.3

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