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Makers of Canada
William Lyon MacKenzie

William Lyon Mackenzie: A Friend To His Country


Mr. Charles Lindsey, the author of The Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie, which is republished in this volume in a considerably condensed form, with some additional matter supplied by the editor, died in Toronto, April 12th, 1908, at an advanced age. Sketches of his career as a veteran journalist and publicist, which appeared in the Toronto newspapers, contain references to this biography which bear out his own modest statement of the impartiality of the narrative. "The task of doing justice to the leader of a defeated movement, while the ashes of the conflagration were still hot, was not," said the Globe, "an easy one for a biographer who had no personal sympathy with the resort to physical force, but Mr. Lindsey accomplished it with such consummate skill that The Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie is still one of the most readable of Canadian biographies, and one of the most instructive of Canadian historical monographs." The Mail and Empire spoke of the book as "authoritative," and as "dealing with the origin of issues that continued to vex politics and journalism long after the Family Compact was disposed of." The World said, "The work is an exceedingly interesting and valuable contribution to the history of Canada, covering as it does a period of critical transition in our national life. The author and the subject of his biography differed widely in their political views, but their personal and private relations were necessarily intimate. The biographer has truly said that Mackenzie 'never concealed his hand' from him. One of the highest compliments paid the work was by an eminent critic and historical authority, who praised its impartiality, and said that it was impossible from its perusal to detect the politics of its author." Sir Francis Hincks, in his Reminiscences of his Public Life, said he had "no reason to doubt the general accuracy of the account, given in Lindsey's Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie, of the circumstances preceding the actual outbreak, and he adopted the account as strictly reliable. The Mackenzie Life still holds its place as an authoritative narrative of the events which it describes; it has never been supplanted by any other narrative historical or otherwise." The News spoke of the book as having "reserve and balance and absolutely nothing of the angry controversial temper. It is history written, perhaps, too close to the events with which it deals, and therefore all the more remarkable for its revelation of the true historical spirit."

The additional matter, supplied in the present volume, consists of a review, historical and political, of what may be called the Mackenzie period, and of Mackenzie's place in Canadian history as a constitutional Reformer and public man. Some prominence is given in this connection to the commentaries of Lord Durham in his splendid Report on the affairs of Canada, and to the testimony of public opinion since the publication of the Lindsey biography. These constitute, to say the least, an important contribution to the later literature on the subject. The work has been done by Mr. G. G. S. Lindsey, K.C., with care and judgment, and with the advantage of access to a large body of original material. Mr. Lindsey is a son of the author, and a grandson of William Lyon Mackenzie.


Chapter I - The Period and the Man
Chapter II - Early Years
Chapter III - Upper Canada under the Constitutional Act
Chapter IV - "The Colonial Advocate"
Chapter V - Silencing the Press
Chapter VI - Enters Parliament
Chapter VII - Expulsions from the Asssembly
Chapter VIII - MacKenzie's Mission to England
Chapter IX - Municipal and Later Parliamentary Career
Chapter X - Sir Francis Bond Head's Arbitary Methods
Chapter XI - Precursors of Civil War
Chapter XII - A Spurt of Civil War
Chapter XIII - Frontier Warfare
Chapter XIV - After the Rebellion
Chapter XV - The Trials of an Exile
Chapter XVI - Last Years, Illness and Death

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