Unrest in Upper Canada
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Unrest in Upper Canada
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Unrest in Upper Canada

In the autumn of 1837, while anger was brewing in Lower Canada and the Patriotes were encouraging people to rise up and rebel, unrest was also spreading in Upper Canada.

William Lyon Mackenzie, a member of the Upper Canada House of Assembly and Mayor of Toronto, gave up all his expectations of Great Britain.
In 1837, William Lyon Mackenzie traveled around the Upper Canada countryside to mobilize support for political reform. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
In 1837, William Lyon Mackenzie traveled around the Upper Canada countryside to mobilize support for political reform. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
London had rejected the Patriotes' demands, in the form of the 92 Resolutions.

Mackenzie saw the events of Lower Canada as a portent of what would happen in his own colony:

"People of Upper Canada.... Canadians... Fellow colonists.... Behold the oppressors!
In order to enslave a free People encamp soldiers all over their country! (...)
If the British Kingdom can tax the People of Lower Canada against their will, they will do so with you when you dare to be free."

For several weeks, Mackenzie travelled through the countryside north of Toronto, mobilized dissatisfied people who for years had been asking in vain for schools, roads, and bridges.

"Oh, men of Upper Canada, would you murder a free people! Before you do so pause, and consider the world has its eyes on you -- history will mark your conduct -- beware lest they condemn.

"Oh who would not have it said of him that, as an Upper Canadian, ...
William Lyon Mackenzie's supporters began to train with weapons as they moved closer to open rebellion in 1837. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
William Lyon Mackenzie's supporters began to train with weapons as they moved closer to open rebellion in 1837. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
he died in the cause of freedom! To die fighting for freedom is truly glorious. Who would live and die a slave?"

Mackenzie organized more than a dozen public meetings. He wanted to show the British government and the "Family Compact", the political and economical elite of the colony, that people wanted reform. Mackenzie supported the Patriote cause in Lower Canada. The protest movement gathered momentum in Upper Canada. Mackenzie's supporters began training with weapons.
These activities did not go unnoticed.

John Macaulay, the surveyor general of Upper Canada, wrote to his mother:

"In the rear of the Town the disaffected meet in squads with arms and are drilling and I have no doubt they are in correspondence with the Lower Canadian Malcontents - The time may not be far distant when our muskets may again (bear) requisition - not in foreign, but civil war - The Papineau and Mackenzie faction seem almost infuriated and I do not see how matters can end but in a resort to arms."

Despite the popular unrest, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Francis Bond Head, wanted to show that he had the situation under control and sent all his troops to Lower Canada, which was considered the real threat.
By the late autumn of 1837, not one professional soldier remained in Toronto

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