1837Rebellion

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Rebellion of 1837

Stuart D. Scott's 1837 Rebellion site!!! Have a look!!

As the title explains, my little history section deals with a little skirmish that my third great-grandfather, Peter Matthews , was involved in with William Lyon Mackenzie, the first mayor of Toronto, Canada. This is just a brief overview of the events, and more information as well as pictures and illustrations will be added in the near future. Also on this site is William Lyon Mackenzie's Proclamation to the People of Upper Canada, Elizabeth Lount's letter to the Chief Justice of Upper Canada, the Petition of Peter Matthews, accounts by William Lyon Mackenzie , a 'friend' at the Christian Guardian and Rev. John Ryerson of the last days of Peter Matthews and Samuel Lount and an overview of the Rebellion in Upper Canada. The notes below are taken from my father, Charles Edward Gailer's, personal effects.

    Mr. Mckenzie had been preaching rebellion for years.  His favourite target was the 'Family Compact', a close-knit group of aristocratic and interrelated families which included Lieutenant-Governor Sir Francis Bond Head.

  Peter Matthews was the son of a family of United Empire Loyalists who settled in Pickering, Ontario, Canada after the American Revolutionary War, and he was one of the first supporters of Mackenzie in his plan to establish an Upper Canada Republic.

   By 1837, politics in Upper Canada had become serious business.  The lieutenant-governors had been primarily military figures with immense power over who could overrule Parliament whenever they liked.

   In November, 1837, Mackenzie, who had been the city's first mayor in 1834, published his 'Declaration Of Independence.  In it, he reminded everyone that there had been 19 successful strikes for independence from tyranny on this continent and called for support for a rebellion.

   The majority of the people knew Mackenzie to be a courageous and incorruptible man, but when he called for an armed revolt he lost the support of most of them.

   He expected more than 5,000 to join him at Montgomery's Tavern on Yonge St. , north of Eglinton Ave. and planned to march on Toronto.   The city had a population, then of little more than 10,000.  But only a few hundred supporters arrived for the march. They had marched down from farms north of Toronto, and many had spent the night hiding in the low-lying area that is now a park at Yone and Lawrence Ave.

  The idea was simple enough..to head south from the tavern to Toronto, which lay south of Bloor St., and topple the government of Sir Francis Bond Head. Some had guns, but others had only knives, pikes and pitchforks as weapons. Unfortunately, they weren't all trained as soldiers, for example when rebel leader Samuel Lount told the men in front to drop (to let the men behind fire over their heads), those behind thought the who front row had been shot, and ran back to Montgomery's Tavern!

    Sir Francis Bond Head never believed Mackenzie would attack the city and had sent his troops to Lower Canada, leaving only three cannons in the garrison, one soldier and 6,000 unpacked muskets in the city hall.

   On Dec. 5, the rebels marched down Yonge St., but were routed by a handful of defenders.

   On Dec. 7, a force of more than 1,000 militia marched up Yonge St., mounted their cannon on a hill just north of today's Mt. Pleasant Cemetery and fired on Montgomery's Tavern.

   The rebels streamed out of the tavern and fled in all directions.  There was a skirmish that lasted little more than 15 minutes and the fight was over.

   Mackenzie had sent his captain, Peter Matthews, with a group of 60 men to burn the Don Bridge on King St., to cut communicated from the town and draw as many of the town's defenders as possible to the east end of the city.

  While the bridge was burning, word reached Matthews that the rebels had been overpowered at Montgomery's Tavern.  Matthews and his men fled into the woods and hid for two nights in the Rosedale Ravine.

   On Dec. 10, they moved north to the house of a friend, John Ducan, who lived near the corner of today's Leslie and Steeles.  Within hours of their arrival, the militia attacked the house and took the men prisoners.( The house, 125 Aspenwood Dr. in Don Mills, still stands)

  As one of the principal leaders, Peter Matthews was one of the first to be tried.  He was sentenced to be hanged and died with Samuel Lount on April 12, in a public hanging in front of the jail on King St. Peter Matthews wife, Hannah, presented a petition containing over 5,000 names and went down on her knees to the lieutenant governor to plead for her husbands life, but he refused to reverse the court's decision.

  they were the only ones to be hanged.  But more that 500 rebels were captured and imprisoned.  The government had soon discovered where to find them. When Mackenzie fled from Montgomery's Tavern, he forgot his carpet bag.   Inside it were the names and addresses of every one of his supporters!

  When they died, Matthews and Lount were called 'traitors', after their deaths, they were called "the first martyrs to Canadian liberty" Matthews and Lount were first buried in Potter's Field Cemetery at Yonge and Bloor Streets, but were later placed in one grave at the west side of Necropolis cemetery just east of Parliament St. where they had a small tablet with just their names as an inscription.

A memorial ,Clifton Gate, Niagara Falls Canada was unveiled on Monday June, 18, 1938  to commemorate the Rebellion of 1837, by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, grandson of the rebel leader.

William Lyon Mackenzie escaped across the border to the United states at Niagara.  He said that the only reason they were hanged was because the government couldn't hang him, as there were many others more guilty who received no punishment at all.

  They had failed miserably, but they stirred things up and, four years later, Britain replaced its appointed administrators with elected provincial governments in Upper and lower Canada

 

    

Cutting Down Rebellion Right in its Tracks

(From Charles Gailer's papers, taken from the Toronto Star, Dec. 14,1985)

Below, illustration from "The Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion" showing William Lyon Mackenzie firing at the fleeing figure of the young John Powell

 

 

johnpowell.gif (6578 bytes)John Powell

It has become the most famous battle in Toronto's history but the rebellion in Upper Canada in 1837 was not lost at the battle at Montgomery's Tavern on Dec. 7.  It was lost three nights earlier when two men rode north from the city towards the tavern and, shortly before midnight, became central figures in the event that was the real "death blow" to the rebellion.

    For days, during that first week in December, there had been rumors that William Lyon Mackenzie and his followers were gathering at the tavern on north Yonge St. preparing to march on the city.  The two men who rode north that night were both loyal supporters of the government and before they reached the outskirts of the city they were captured by a party of the rebels led by Mackenzie himself.  In the skirmish and confusion that followed, one of the two men, John Powell, shot and killed one of the rebels and came close to killing Mackenzie.   Powell then managed to escape and fled back to the city.

In most accounts of the rebellion, the events of that night appear as a relatively minor incident but the man whom Powell killed was Captain John Anderson, who was to lead the rebels in a surprise attack on Toronto the following morning, Dec. 5. In the words of every major historian who has written in depth about the rebellion, if Anderson had not been killed, there is little doubt that the rebels would have captured Toronto.

    Anderson was the only military man the rebels trusted.  They would have followed him anywhere.  His death, on the very eve of their march on the city totally demoralized all Mackenzie's followers.  The following morning, the attack on Toronto failed and on Dec. 7 at the celebrated battle at Montgomery's Tavern, the rebels were soon routed.

    In the weeks that followed, Powell was hailed as the man who had saved the city.  In 1838, this young man, who was then only 28 years old, was enthusiastically elected mayor of Toronto.  He was re-elected the following year and again in 1840.  Even prior to the rebellion, he had scarcely been an unknown figure in the life of the city.  He was the son of one of the most prominent families in the early history of Toronto.

    But, as Victor Loring Russell, the manager of the City of Toronto Archives in 1985, records in his book (Mayors of Toronto 1834-1899, Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont. 1982), it was the events of a few brief moments on the evening of December 4, 1837 that would make his name famous for years after his death. Powell's own memories of the night (published in The Christian Guardian on Feb. 17, 1838), were that he spent most of the early hours working at the city hall, swearing in constables and distributing arms to the militia. There had been reports that William Lyon Mackenzie, the most outspoken and rebellious of the new "reformers," had been seen riding  through the countryside calling for supporters for an armed rebellion to overthrow the government and a warrant had been issued for his arrest on the charge of treason. The latest rumors that his followers were at that moment gathering at Montgomery's Tavern were, in fact, true.

    Late on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 3, Samuel Lount had arrived at the tavern with 90 men.  Shortly afterwards, Captain John Anderson had arrived with 40 men who had marched with him from Holland Landing. So may men were now arriving that there were fears that the city would learn of the proposed attack that Mackenzie planned for Dec.7, As a result it was agreed to move the day of this attack forward to Dec. 5.

   To Mackenzie there was little doubt that his attack would succeed. The lieutenant-governor, Sir Francis Bond Head, was so confident that Mackenzie would never dare march on the city that he had sent all of the government's troops to Lower Canada to aid the governor there.  In early December, there were less than 300 men in Toronto prepared  to defend the city against Mackenzie.  by Dec. 5, Mackenzie fully expected to have more than 500 men at Montgomery's Tavern and with the element of a surprise attack in his favor, success appeared assured.

(Some parts missing) Four men, including Captain John Anderson, volunteered to accompany him and, shortly before midnight, they rode from the tavern at the corner of Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. and galloped south.  Meanwhile, at city hall John Powell had decided he could be of more use if he took charge of several volunteers who had assembled to patrol the approaches to the city.  Borrowing one of sheriff W.B. Jarvis' prized horses, Charley, and a brace of pistols, he and a friend , Archibald Macdonald, rode north from the town.

    Just as they climbed the hill near St. Clair Ave., at a point then known as Gallows' Hill, they found themselves suddenly surrounded by four rebels led by Mackenzie. Mackenzie shouted to the men to surrender and when Powell asked by what authority, Anderson called back that their authority was their rifles.

   Then the most curious incident of that night occurred. Mackenzie asked if they were carrying arms and the two men said they were not.   In Mackenzie's account of that evening, he said that he told the two men," Well, gentlemen, as you are my townsmen and men of honour I would be ashamed to show that I questioned your word by ordering you to be searched." It was a foolish and fatal mistake if the words were ever said. Powell said they were not.) By refusing to search them, Mackenzie was risking the lives of his men by trusting the word of two people he knew despised him.

   Mackenzie now ordered Anderson and one of his aides to escort Powell and Macdonald back to the tavern as prisoners. Moments later, a horseman rode by, who recognized Powell and shouted that the rebels had killed one of his friends, Colonel Moodier, who had tried to ride past the rebels at the tavern and warn the town.   Powell was now convinced that Mackenzie and his men were "assassins."

    "I decided to make my escape at any hazard as I felt confident the salvation of the town depended upon correct information being given at once."

    Drawing one of the pistols he had concealed under his cloak, he fired a shot that struck Anderson squarely in the neck. Anderson fell from his horse like a sack. His spinal cord had been severed and he died almost instantly.   Turning his horse around, Powell began galloping as fast as he could towards the city.  Within minutes he caught up with Mackenzie and the rest of his party who were still proceeding south.  Mackenzie shouted  to him to stop.  When Powell refused, Mackenzie fired.  Powell heard a bullet whistle by him and, now enraged, he stopped, turned back and rode directly towards Mackenzie. Placing his second gun against Mackenzie's chest, he fired. There was a spark but the gun failed "A flash in the pan had saved the life of the insurgent chief."

  There was no time to reload. Powell turned and rode at full gallop towards town. To escape his pursuers, he dismounted near Davenport Rd., and hid in the bushes, then ran the rest of the way through the fields that are now Queen's park until he reached Government House.  Minutes later, alarm bells rang throughout the city.  The following morning, Mackenzie's plan for a "surprise" attack failed and on Dec. 7, more that 1,000 fully armed militiamen with cannon marched north and the battle of Montgomery's Tavern was over in less than 15 minutes, with a full rout of the now-thoroughly confused and frightened rebels.

    Powell became on of the heroes of the decade and was mayor of Toronto for the next three terms.  In 1841, he retired from public life and for close to the last 40 years of his life he served as registrar for Lincoln county until his death in St. Catharine's on Feb. 24, 1881, at the age of 72.

    Four years later, that century's most comprehensive book about the rebellion was published, a massive two-volume work, entitled   The Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion. In a gesture that everyone at the time understood, but that most modern readers overlook, the author, historian John Charles Dent, chose as the illustration for the title page of volume one, the scene of Mackenzie firing at the fleeing figure of the young John Powell who was remembered by all early generations of Torontonians as "the savior of the city".

 

 

1837
William Lyon Mackenzie
Proclamation to the People of Upper Canada

We have planted the Standard of Liberty in Canada, for the attainment of the following objects:

 Perpetual Peace, founded on a government of equal rights to all, secured by a written constitution, sanctioned by yourselves in a convention to be called as early as circumstances will permit.

 Civil and Religious Liberty, in its fullest extent, that in all laws made, or to be made, every person to be bound alike....

 The Abolition of Hereditary Honors, of the laws of Entail and Primogeniture, and of hosts of pensioners who devour our substance.

 A Legislature, composed of a Senate and Assembly chosen by the people.

 An Executive, to be composed of a Governor and other officers elected by the public voice.

 A Judiciary, to be chosen by the Governor and Senate, and composed of the most learned, honorable, and trustworthy, of our citizens. The laws to be rendered cheap and expeditious.

 A Free Trial by Jury -- Sheriffs chosen by you, and not to hold office, as now, at the pleasure of our tyrants. The freedom of the press. Alas for it, now! The free presses in the Canadas are trampled down by the hand of arbitrary power.

 The Vote by Ballot -- free and peaceful township elections.

 The people to elect their Court of Request Commissioners and Justices of the Peace -- and also their Militia Officers, in all cases whatsoever.

 Freedom of Trade -- every man to be allowed to buy at the cheapest market, and sell at the dearest.

 No man to be compelled to give military service, unless it be his choice.

 Ample funds to be reserved from the vast natural resources of our country to secure the blessings of education to every citizen.

 A frugal and economical Government, in order that the people may be prosperous and free from difficulty.

 An end forever to the wearisome prayers, supplications, and mockeries attendant upon our connection with the lordlings of the Colonial Office, Downing Street, London.

 The opening of the St. Lawrence to the trade of the world, so that the largest ships might pass up to Lake Superior, and the distribution of the wild lands of the country to the industry, capital, skill, and enterprise of worthy men of all nations.

 ***

Source: Lindsay, Charles. Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie, Vol. I. Toronto: 1862, pp. 364-65.

 


 


Petition of Peter Matthews to Sir George Arthur

To His Excellency Sir George Arthur... 

The petition of Peter Matthews late of the Township of Pickering, now a prisoner in the Gaol of the Home District under sentence of death for High Treason- 

Humbly Sheweth, 

That he has been given to understand that there is a strong suspicssion abroad against your petitioner as having set fire to the house of the late Simon Washburn deceased and the Don Bridge, and as also having given orders to set fire to other houses- that your petitioner, duly sensible of the awful situation in which he stands, solemnly declares that he not only did not set fire to either the house or the bridge, but used his utmost exertions to prevent the bridge from being fired-that he was not aware of the house being set fire to until he saw the flames, being at the time about half a quarter of a mile on the west side of the bridge-that the men who were sent with him were the most of them perfect strangers to your petitioner and over whom he had no controul; That altho sworn to, your petitioner is informed, he solemnly denies as he shall answer to his Maker ever giving orders to set fire to the house of William Smith or that of any other person

Your petitioner further states, that he took no active part in stopping the stage that was going down from Toronto, that as your petitioner was informed it was stopped by some of the advanced party but that nothing whatever was taken from it- that with regard to the mail horses which were detained on their way up to Toronto, it was done without any orders from your petitioner and by a portion of the men over whom petitioner had no controul, that no mail was taken upon this or any other occasion by your petitioner or any of the men under him, the whole of which facts your petitioner is of opinion he can substantiate by affidavit- 

Your petitioner would further beg leave to state that during the last war with the United States of America he served as a Sergeant in the Militia under Capt. Duncan Cameron, (1)Capt. Howard and other officers; That your petitioner never attended but one public meeting upon politics in his legend should never have been seduced from his allegiance but for a number of his neighbours coming to his home on Saturday the second day of December last and insisting

December last and insisting upon your petitioner being their Captain- 

- That he has a wife and eight children(,) the youngest only about six months old (,) besides two step children who depend upon your petitioner for support (-) Under all these circumstances, and the crime with which he now stands charged and convicted tho' heinous being the first of his life, your petitioner humbly prays that your Excellency in the exercise of the prerogative with which you are invested will be pleased to respite the awful sentence under which your petitioner is most justly placed, in order to afford your petitioner an opportunity of pleading at the foot of the Throne of Her Most Gracious Majesty by petition for mercy and such a commutation of his Awful sentence as to Her Majesty may seem meet, and your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray with a broken hearted and distressed family for your Excellencies happines here and in eternity- 
 

1. This was probably the Duncan Cameron who had arrived in York, Upper Canada, from Scotland by 1801. This Duncan Cameron served in the War of 1812 and commanded a company of York militia at Queenston Height. In 1817 he served as provincial secretary and was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1820. He held the latter appointment until his death.

1837
William Lyon Mackenzie
Proclamation to the People of Upper Canada

We have planted the Standard of Liberty in Canada, for the attainment of the following objects:

 Perpetual Peace, founded on a government of equal rights to all, secured by a written constitution, sanctioned by yourselves in a convention to be called as early as circumstances will permit.

 Civil and Religious Liberty, in its fullest extent, that in all laws made, or to be made, every person to be bound alike....

 The Abolition of Hereditary Honors, of the laws of Entail and Primogeniture, and of hosts of pensioners who devour our substance.

 A Legislature, composed of a Senate and Assembly chosen by the people.

 An Executive, to be composed of a Governor and other officers elected by the public voice.

 A Judiciary, to be chosen by the Governor and Senate, and composed of the most learned, honorable, and trustworthy, of our citizens. The laws to be rendered cheap and expeditious.

 A Free Trial by Jury -- Sheriffs chosen by you, and not to hold office, as now, at the pleasure of our tyrants. The freedom of the press. Alas for it, now! The free presses in the Canadas are trampled down by the hand of arbitrary power.

 The Vote by Ballot -- free and peaceful township elections.

 The people to elect their Court of Request Commissioners and Justices of the Peace -- and also their Militia Officers, in all cases whatsoever.

 Freedom of Trade -- every man to be allowed to buy at the cheapest market, and sell at the dearest.

 No man to be compelled to give military service, unless it be his choice.

 Ample funds to be reserved from the vast natural resources of our country to secure the blessings of education to every citizen.

 A frugal and economical Government, in order that the people may be prosperous and free from difficulty.

 An end forever to the wearisome prayers, supplications, and mockeries attendant upon our connection with the lordlings of the Colonial Office, Downing Street, London.

 The opening of the St. Lawrence to the trade of the world, so that the largest ships might pass up to Lake Superior, and the distribution of the wild lands of the country to the industry, capital, skill, and enterprise of worthy men of all nations.

 ***

Source: Lindsay, Charles. Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie, Vol. I. Toronto: 1862, pp. 364-65.

 

1838
Elizabeth Lount
Open Letter to John Beverley Robinson, Chief Justice of Upper Canada

[published in the Pontiac, Michigan, Herald, June 12, 1838, two months after her husband Samuel was hanged for taking part in the Rebellion of 1897]

 Pontiac, June 12, 1838

 SIR: Woman cannot redress her wrongs. Her feeble arm is powerless; even were justice to be reached with certainty through fatigues in the tented field, and liberty be given to an oppressed, enslaved and insulted people, 'tis not woman who should lead the way. It belongs to the "lion heart and eagle eye" of your sex, sir, to lead in war, to maintain a people's rights, to do or die on redressing their wrongs, to save their country from oppression and slavery. But to you, sir, Canada can never look for assistance. It has been said by an eminent author that every man has his price, and however unjust the remark is with regard to others, I conceive it well applies to yourself.

 In this letter, intended as a partial exposť of the sufferings of myself and family, and of the execution for treason of my beloved husband, Samuel Lount, M.P., I would remark that my husband was born in the state of Pennsylvania, in the year 1791, and emigrated to Canada when about 29 years of age. He had taken the oath of allegiance, and had become an adopted citizen of the Province. He was a reformer and a loyal subject. He had become familiar with the constitution and the laws of Great Britain, and where they were regarded and justly administered it always gave him pleasure. During his lifetime he had frequently been requested by his fellow citizens to become a candidate for a seat in the Provincial Parliament, but refused repeatedly. At length, however, he was taken up and elected. While in Parliament he became acquainted with the leading men of the country, and being a liberalist in his opinions, united his political fortunes with Doctor Ralph, Mr. Mackenzie, and other distinguished gentlemen, who beheld with regret the corruptions of the government. They saw a rich and fertile country, almost prostrate and ruined - a hopeful people possessed of the feelings and sympathies of men, trampled upon by the mercenary wretches, whose places in office gave them power. Year after year Canadian grievances became more alarming, until almost the entire population groaned for relief - groaned beneath the yoke of their bondage. This, sir, no one knows better than yourself. And while seated upon the judicial bench, enjoying one of the highest offices in Canada, you, together with others, conceived the noble thought of working a civil revolution in the Province, to give liberty to a people whose chains you have, since the outbreak of that war, most diligently labored to rivet yet closer upon them. He whom you have been instrumental in consigning to the grave, and whose spirit is pure as the angels in heaven, testifies to your guilt - a guilt despicable and most horrid - as friend, co-patriot, traitor and Judge! True it is that my dear husband, whom your laws have torn from me and from his helpless children, espoused sincerely the cause of reform. Had their plans succeeded, that reform would have been obtained - the Governor secured - and the Province freed without shedding of a drop of human blood. Had not the mistake been made for the rally, the arms of the Province would have been seized by the patriots, Toronto would have been taken by consent and Sir Francis held in their power to answer for his oppressions. Those with whom my husband acted were moved by the impulses of noble and generous sympathies. They panted not for offices, for those they enjoyed - they thirsted not for blood, for Canadians were their brothers - they were determined to drive a Nero from his throne, to rid Canada of a tyrant, and to effect a civil revolution that would give happiness and prosperity to the country. Had they been successful, Canadians to the latest posterity would have blest them. But, sir, all is not over yet. No government whose only acts are those of violence and cruelty, whose statute book is stained with the blood of innocent sufferers, and whose land is watered by the tears of widows and orphans, can long stand contiguous to a nation abounding in free institutions. 0 Canada, my own country, from which I am now exiled by a party whose mercy is worse than death - I love thee still. Destruction has overtaken thy brightest ornaments, and the indignant feelings of thy sons b their hearts, but they dare not give utterance to their thoughts. How many mothers have suffered, like m loss of a home and all that could make that home plea ant. This, however, could have been borne. They who love liberty, and prize their independence above all earthly things, regard not the loss of property. I do not write to excite your sympathy, for that I neither respect or covet. I write that Canada may know her children will not silently submit to the most egregious outrages upon private property, and even life itself. Sir, it beggars description, and is beyond my competency to relate my sufferings while a subject of Canada. For the generous acts of a brave and noble hearted man I have seen his son taken before his mother's eyes, tied like a galley slave and driven to prison as a felon - aye, more, I have seen the innocent youth covered with wounds received from a drunken and brutal soldiery whose election it was to do the work of the officials. I have seen my husband's house pillaged, and his parlor made a soldiers' camp, his property confiscated, and his heartbroken wife and six children cast upon the charity of the cold world. I have beheld the husband and father in prison, condemned to death without the least shadow of a crime against him. I ask in the name of my country, are acts like those to be tolerated by an English Government, or is there on this earth an Englishman who does not blush at the recital of such acts of cruelty?

 Sir, the officers of the government of Canada, civil and military, are placed over the people without their consent. They form a combination too powerful for the prayers of an humble citizen to move. Be their acts however corrupt, the law is by themselves administered, and consequently they are beyond its reach; while if the private citizen offend he is neither safe in his property or person. If these things are so, I ask you, sir, how long will the people of Canada tamely submit? Will they not soon rise in their strength, as one man, and burst asunder the chains that bind them to the earth and revolutionize and disenthrall Canada from the grasp of tyrants?

 Sir, savage nations respect my sex, and their female captives are treated with kindness. Your Governor and his Council, together with a majority of your party during the late difficulties neither respected private property nor harmless unoffending women. With him and his minions all were fit subjects upon whom to practise cruelty.

 After my lamented husband had been convicted, I learned that Governor Arthur had visited the prison and it was hoped that mercy had called him thither. But there was no mercy in his obdurate heart - cruelty is the reigning demon of his passions. When Mr. Lount was arrested and carried bound to Toronto, I immediately repaired there, but was not allowed by the Governor to see him. He told me that my husband "looked well." This I afterwards found to be false as he had suffered much. Captain Fuller finally obtained a pass for me, and I was allowed to go with him and once more see my husband. I found him a shadow, pale and debilitated. Poor man! here I beheld him in prison, not that he had burned a city, for he had saved Toronto from flames - not that he had taken the lives of his enemies, for he was opposed to the shedding of blood. But he opposed himself to the oppressors of his countrymen - and for this was doomed to suffer death, which sentence was pronounced by Your Honor, and on which occasion, I am informed, you trifled with his feelings and acted the demon.

 When I learned the result of the trial I was again permitted to see my husband. Learning that the Governor has been to see him, I was anxious to know the result of the interview. He told me "it would give me no satisfaction to know." I asked him if the Governor spoke kindly? He said "No, he spoke harsh and only added insult to injury. The day before my husband was executed, I, in company with a lady of Toronto, visited the Governor. On entering the room he requested me to sit down - but my errand was of importance. I told him I was the wife of Samuel Lount, and had come before him to plead for mercy. He appeared obstinate, and refused my petition. Thirty-five thousand of his subjects also asked him to interpose his power and save my husband from the sentence of the law. I then kneeled before him in behalf of my husband. With an air of disdain he told me "not to kneel to him, but to kneel to my God!" I replied that I was kneeling in prayer to the Almighty that he would soften his heart. I told him that my husband did not fear to die - that he was prepared for death, but it was his wife and children asking for his life to be spared. To this he sneeringly replied "that if he was prepared for death he might not be so well prepared at another time!" O monster that he was to rule a virtuous people. He said they did not condemn my husband because he was guilty - "I do think," said he, "if Rolph and Mackenzie were here mercy would be shown to them. Two lives were lost at Montgomery's and two must now suffer."

 At another time he said "there were others concerned in the rebellion," and intimated that if my husband would expose them he might yet go clear; but my husband always said he would never expose others or bring them into difficulty - the cause they enlisted in was a good one, and before he would expose Mackenzie's Council he would himself be sacrificed.

 Thus far neither prayer nor petitions could subdue the hard heart of the Governor, and I gave up my husband as lost to me and Canada. The sad morning came - the victim was led forth - and the endearing husband and father fell a martyr in the cause of Canadian reform. Though thousands had petitioned for his respite that his case might be laid before the Home Government, all was of no avail. Petitions moistened by virtuous tears, nor the humble supplications of an almost heartbroken wife at the feet of the Canadian Governor could touch his heart or move his compassion. Did the law of honor or of justice require this useless flow of blood then I could not censure him. Everything high and honorable, all that was generous and great in Canada, called upon Sir George Arthur to interpose his power and rescue the life of a citizen whom thirty-five thousand Canadians had petitioned to save. Call you this English humanity? Call you him a fit Governor to rule Canada?

 Sir, could a tale of human suffering lead you to feel another's woe, I would relate a series of hardships brought upon me and my orphaned children by you, and others of the Tory party in Canada, that would call the full grown tears to manly eyes.

 Was it for fear of an enraged and insulted people that Governor Arthur refused a defenseless woman the corpse of her murdered husband? No, for that people had no arms to defend themselves with. Why then when upon my bended knee I begged the body of my husband, did he send me from his presence unsatisfied? The wrongs of Canada, and the blood of that innocent man continually preyed upon his mind, and he, like a coward and a tyrant, dared not let my husband's friends behold the iniquitous work he had done. He feared that, when they saw the manly corpses of Lount and Matthews, the generous sympathies of a noble people, who have been too long ruled by threats, might rise, and in retributive justice fall with tenfold force upon himself and those who were his chief advisers.

 But, sir, this painful relation is sickening and heart-rending, and I shall close my letter to you that I may draw my mind from the horrible subject. Canada will do justice to his memory. Canadians cannot long remain in bondage. They will be free. The lion will give way, and a bold star will eventually ornament the Canadian standard sheet. Then will the name of Canadian martyrs be sung by poets and extolled by orators, while those who now give law to the bleeding people of Canada will be loathed or forgotten by the civilized world.

 And now, by the cruelty of the government, I find myself a widow, driven from home and kindred and a stranger in a strange land. I shall close this letter by saying that my husband, just before his tragic death, said "that he freely forgave them (the Tories) for their cruelty, and that he was prepared to meet his God in peace."

 Elizabeth Lount

From the Christian Guardian, Toronto, 27 June 1838

by "A Friend" The Latter Days of Lount and Matthews

   Rev. and Dear Sir, - My second and last visit to them was on the evening of Wednesday, about twelve hours before the solemn event of their execution.  they were alone; and scarcely had the   door closed upon us, when Lount, in cheerful accents, announced to me that a most happy change had taken place in his state of mind since our previous interview, and that he now had no doubt of his peace with god through our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the earlier part of the day, while engaged in meditation and prayer, pacing his room, and lifting up his heart to God, divine comfort arose within him, and he obtained such an assurance of mercy from heaven, as he was obliged to fall on his knees, and weep and praise and pray. "Since then," he added, "all my fears have been entirely removed."...

    I ventured to ask his views of the late Rebellion, and of his conduct in relation to it; when he readily admitted its unlawfulness, and deeply regretted the part he had taken in it.   Notwithstanding his character  for shrewdness and good sense, he himself assured me he had been beguiled to become a party in the conspiracy by the most flagrant misstatements of Mackenzie, who visited him in the country, for that object.  some particulars of these Lount mentioned to me, and which I knew to be outrageously false.   He remarked that he discovered the delusion on reaching Montgomery's; but then he appeared to have been too far committed to the proceeding to retrace his steps from it...

    both the prisoners had declared that the punishment of death was nothing more than what they had expected from the first moment of their apprehension. Both had acknowledged the justice of their sentence.  Lount said, "Life is sweet; and I should be glad to live, and endeavor to train up my children in the fear of god, which great duty I confess I have most criminally neglected." "However,' he added, "who can tell?  No man ought to put any trust in himself.  Perhaps were we to live, we might turn back again to sin as formerly; and it may be immediately replied, "Yes; and we out to be thankful we were not suddenly cut down during the fighting, and that we have had time and space to turn to God!"...

W.L. Mackenzie's and Charles Durand's comments on the Executions

[The Caroline Almanac...for 1840 (Rochester, 1839), pp. 40-1]

April 12, 1838, Messrs. LOUNT and MATTHEWS, two of the bravest of the Canada patriots, were executed this day, by order of Sir George Arthur, and at the urgent request of Chief Justice Robinson; Hagerman the Attorney General; and Sullivan, Baldwin, Elmsley2, Allan and Draper, the Executive council.  Petitions to Arthur, signed by upwards of 30,000 persons were presented, asking him to spare their lives, but in vain.  He knew that Victoria and the English Ministry and Peerage thirsted for Canadian blood - he had been told to follow Head's example, by Lord Glenelg, and he obeyed orders.  Capt. Matthews left a widow and fifteen fine children, and Colonel Lount a widow and seven children.  He was upwards of six feet in height, very good looking, and in his 47th year.  Arthur was earnest to know of Lount who the leaders were, but, except that he told him that Dr. Rolph was the Executive, he answered him not a word.  They behaved with great resolution at the gallows; they would not have spoken to the people, had they desired it.  The spectacle of LOUNT after the execution was the most shocking sight that can be imagined.   He was covered over with his blood; the head being nearly severed from his body, owing to the depth of the fall.  More horrible to relate, when he was cut down, two ruffians seized the end of the rope and dragged the mangled corpse along the ground into the jail yard, some one exclaiming "this is the way every d___d rebel deserves to be used." their families are impoverished...Mr. Lount's wife was, for two months prevented from even seeing her husband, by the monster Head.  When she was allowed to enter his dungeon (his son writes, that) " his eyes were settled in their sockets, his face pale as paper, he was worn down to the form of living skeleton, and bound in heavy chains..."...

    Mr. Charles Durand, then under sentence of death, gives the following account of the last days of these glorious martyrs:-

   "Matthews always bore up in spirits well.  he was, until death, firm in his opinion of the justice of the cause he had espoused.  He never recanted.  He was ironed and kept in the darkest cell in the prison like a murderer.  He slept sometimes in blankets that were wet and frozen.  he had nothing to cheer him but the approbation of his companions and his conscience.  Lount was ironed, tho' kept in a better room.  he was in good spirits.  He used to tell us often, in writing, not to be downcast, that he believed 'Canada would yet be free,' that we were 'contending in a good cause.'  He said he was not sorry for what he had done, and that 'he would do so again.'  this was his mind until death.  Lount was a social and excellent companion, and a well informed man.  He sometimes spoke to us under the sill of our door.  He did so on the morning of his execution! he bid us 'farewell! that he was on his way to another world.'  he was calm. He and Matthews came out to the gallows, that was just before our window grates.  We could see all plainly.-They ascended the platform with unfaltering steps like men. Lount turned his head at his friends who were looking through the iron-girt windows, as if to say a 'long farewell!' He and Matthews knelt and prayed, and were launched into eternity without almost a single struggle. Oh! the horror of our feelings, who can describe them!"...

Extract of A Letter From Rev. John Ryerson

[Egerton Ryerson, "the Story of My Life," edited by J.G.Hodgins (Toronto, 1883), pp., 183-4]

At  eight o'clock to-day, Thursday, 12 April, Lount and Mathews were executed.  The general feeling is in total opposition to the execution of those men.  Sheriff  Jarvis burst into tears when he entered the room to prepare them for execution.  They said to him very calmly, "Mr. Jarvis, do your duty; we are prepared to meet death and our Judge."  They then, both of them, put their arms around his neck and kissed him.  they were then prepared for execution.  They walked to the gallows with entire composure and firmness of step. Rev. J. Richardson3, walked alongside of Lount, and Dr. Beatty4, alongside of Mathews.  They ascended the scaffold and knelt down on the drop.  The ropes were adjusted while they were on their knees.   Mr. Richardson engaged in prayer; and when he came to that part of the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us," the drop fell!