«Combat, Memory and Remembrance in Confederation Era Canada: The Hidden History of the Battle of Ridgeway, June 2, 1866 Peter Wronski (Peter Vronsky) ...»
Bernard Porter points out, ―A strong aversion to the use of spies was one of the alien traditions of government which the British brought to India in the nineteenth century.‖18 While aware that there were connections between Fenian Irish-Americans and exiles in the U.S. and the IRB in Ireland, authorities would not appreciate the scope of this connection until Stephens travelled to the U.S. in the summer of 1864 to prepare the American Fenians for his planned uprising in Ireland.19 It would be, however, an incident in Toronto on Guy Fawkes‘ Night in 1864 that would trigger the British Consul in New York City—the Truro, Nova Scotiaborn Edward Mortimer Archibald20 to overlook the current British scruples on domestic spying and instead call for spies to be inserted into the Fenian organization in North America and to alert the Foreign Office to the possibility of a Fenian cell in Canada.21 On the night of November 5, 1864, reacting to rumours in Toronto‘s Catholic community that Orangemen planned to assemble and burn effigies of Daniel O‘Connell along with that of Guy Fawkes, the Hibernian Benevolent Society and a Fenian cell harboured within it, put three-hundred men armed with muskets into the streets of Toronto. Operating in small squads, they seized control of strategic points in the city and immobilized the Toronto Police.
For a sample of material and literature on Irish Catholic immigrant vs. Protestant settler relations is Canada 1815see: FitzGibbon to Baines, June 4, 1824, Upper Canada Sundries, RG 5, series A 1, Vol. 67; FitzGibbon to Hillier, June 10, 1824, CO 42, Vol. 373: p. 149. LAC; J.K. Johnson, ―Colonel James FitzGibbon and the Suppression of Irish Riots in Upper Canada,‖ Ontario History, Volume 58, No. 3, September, 1966; Donald
MacKay, Flight From Famine: The Coming of the Irish to Canada, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1990. pp. 48Howard Morton Brown, Lanark Legacy: Nineteenth Century Glimpses of an Ontario County, Perth, ON:
General Store Publishing House, 1984. pp. 43-55; Carol Bennett, The Robinson Settlers 1823-1825, Renfrew, ON:
Juniper Books, 1987; Mary Agnes FitzGibbon, A Veteran of 1812: The Life of James FitzGibbon, Toronto: William Briggs, 1894; Hereward Senior, Orangeism: The Canadian Phase, Toronto: McGraw Hill, 1972, p. 11; Michael S.
Cross, ―The Shiners War: Social Violence in the Ottawa Valley in the 1830‖, Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 54, No. 1, March 1973; Paul Romney, ―A Struggle for Authority: Toronto Society and Politics in 1834,‖ in Victor L Russell. (ed), Forging a Consensus: Historical Essays on Toronto, Toronto: University Of Toronto Press, 1984;
Paul Romney, ―From the Types Riot to the Rebellion: Elite Ideology, Anti-legal Sentiment, Political Violence, and the Rule of Law in Upper Canada,‖ Ontario History Vol.79, No. 2 (June 1987): pp. 115-140; Sean T. Cadigan, ―Paternalism and Politics: Sir Francis Bond Head, the Orange Order, and the Election of 1836,‖ Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 72, No. 3 (1991): pp. 319-347; J.F. Pringle, Lunenburgh or the Old Eastern District, Cornwall: 1890. pp. 159-160; Fitzgibbon to Joseph, June 24, 26; July 6, 1836, Civil Secretary‘s Letter Book, RG7G-16-C, Vol. 36. LAC; Ruth Bleasdale, Unskilled Labourers on the Public Works of Canada, 1840-1880, PhD dissertation, University of Western Ontario, 1984; Ruth Bleasdale, ―Class Conflict on the Canals of Upper Canada in the 1840s‖, Labour/Le Travailleur, 1981; reprinted in Laurel Sefton MacDowell & Ian Radforth (eds) Canadian Working Class History, 2nd Edition, Toronto: Canadian Scholar‘s Press, 2000, pp. 81-108; J. Lawrence Runnalls, The Irish on the Welland Canal, St. Catharines: St. Catharines Public Library, 1973; St. Catharines Journal, July 7, August 11, 1842; Michael J. Cottrell, ―Political Leadership and Party Allegiance Among Irish Catholics in Victorian Toronto,‖ in McGowan & Clarke (eds.), Catholics at the ―Gathering Place,‖ Toronto: Canadian Catholic Historical Association, 1993. p. 53; H.C. Pentland, ―The Development of a Capitalistic Labour Market in Canada‖, The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Nov., 1959) and see on Pentland, Donald Akenson, Being Had: Historians, Evidence and the Irish in North America, Toronto: P.D. Meany, 1985., p. 111; p.
136; William S. Prince to Attorney General John A. Macdonald, October 28, 1865; Letter Books of the Chief Constable 1859-1921, RG9/Fond 38 Toronto Police Service, Series 90, Toronto Archives. [Hereinafter ―LBCC‖];
Don Akenson, The Orangeman: The Life and Times of Ogle Gowan, Toronto: James Lorimer & Co., 1986; W. B.
Kerr, ―When Orange and Green United 1832-1839: The Alliance of Macdonell and Gowan,‖ Ontario History, Vol.
The last of the big bloody uprisings in Ireland before the dawning of Fenianism was the 1798 United Irishmen Rebellion: a fusion of sectarian nationalist republican rebellion with a predominantly Catholic peasant agrarian uprising which went on for months. Although the rebels consisted of both Catholics and Protestants (mostly Presbyterians), it targeted the so-called Protestant Ascendancy and its British patrons. With Protestants being broadly associated with loyalty to the Crown and Catholics traditionally associated with rebellion, the uprising was characterized by sporadic massacres of loyal Protestant populations by rebels wielding pikes24 and by brutally fierce reprisals from British troops and loyalist militia against the suspected Irish Catholic population, particularly in the rural regions. In the end it is estimated that the final death toll in the 1798 rebellion ranged between 30,000 and 50,000.25 The memories of these horrific events as depicted in unnecessarily exaggerated reports and portrayals of the massacres in British print and graphic media would be transplanted to Canada with the early waves of predominantly Irish Protestant immigrants arriving after the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815. When the Fenians invaded Canada in 1866, the atrocities in Ireland of 68 years before were still fresh in the collective memory and mythos of Protestants in 34, 1942; Herewerd Senior, Orangeism: The Canadian Phase, Toronto: McGraw Hill, 1972. pp. 7-10; Matthew Barlow, Fear and Loathing in Saint-Sylvestre: The Corrigan Murder Case, 1855-58, Master‘s Thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1998; J.R. Miller, ―Anti-Catholic Thought in Victorian Canada,‖ Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 66 (1985), pp. 474-494; Murray Nicolson, ―Irish Tridentine Catholicism in Victorian Toronto: Vessel for Ethnoreligions Persistence,‖ in Mark G. McGowan and David Marshall (eds.) Prophets, Priests and Prodigals: Readings in Canadian Religious History, 1608 to Present, (Toronto, 1992), pp. 117-134; J. Martin Galvin, ―The Jubilee Riots in Toronto, 1875,‖ CCHA Report, Vol 26 (1959), pp. 93-107; Emmet Larkin, ―The Devotional Revolution In Ireland, 1850-75, The American Historical Review, Vol. 77, No. 3 (June 1972), p. 651; Mark McGowan, The Waning of the Green: Catholics, The Irish, and Identity in Toronto, 1887-1922, Montreal & Kingston: McGillQueen‘s University Press, 1999. p. 7 Pikes traditionally associated with Irish rebellion are long staffed spears with a hook, designed for fighting cavalry. Well trained ‗pikemen‘ were a formidable force in the short-range and inaccurate smoothbore musket age and when deployed in force could make short work of cavalry or musketeers within pike range.
Thomas Pakenham, The Year of Liberty: The Great Irish Rebellion of 1798, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997, p. 107; Cathal Póirtéir (ed), The Great Irish Rebellion of 1798, Dublin: Mercier Press; Boulder, Colo.: Irish American Book Co., 1998; Ciarán Priestley, Clonsilla and the Rebellion of 1798, Dublin : Four Courts Press, 2009;
Jim Smyth (ed), Revolution, Counter-Revolution and Union : Ireland in the 1790s, Cambridge, UK; New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Canada: the bloody pike massacres of 1798 defined in their imagination what to expect from what they believed was Irish Catholic rebellion.
In the wake of the Guy Fawkes‘ Night incident in Toronto a Canada-wide fear of a ‗St.
Bartholomew‘s night massacre‘ obsessed Protestant commentators in the press26 while the term ―Fenian‖ now entered the lexicon of official Canadian correspondence.27 John A. Macdonald, as Attorney-General had initiated the formation of a special undercover police force in Canada West two months earlier, the Frontier Constabulary under Stipendiary Magistrate Gilbert McMicken. It original purpose was to respond to U.S. Army recruiters in Canada (―crimpers‖),28 but now it would be assigned to deal with the Fenian threat.29 Space does not permit to tell the full story of the Frontier Constabulary (and Toronto Police) undercover operations against the Fenians in Upper Canada and in the United States at places like Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Detroit, Cincinnati and Nashville.30 The operational history of what has been called Canada‘s first secret service between its founding in 1864 and the invasion at Fort Erie in June 1866 is preserved in the Canadian archives in the form of some 3,422 pages of reports by McMicken and his nearly 50 agents.31 Except for one journal article and an unpublished master‘s thesis, a comprehensive operational history of the Frontier Constabulary, its battle with crimpers, Globe, November 7; November 19, 1864 [n.a.] ―The Fenians‖, December 17, 1864, Macdonald Papers, MG26A, Volume 56, pp. 22219-22240 [Reel C1507], LAC;
William F. Raney, ―Recruiting and Crimping in Canada for the Northern Forces, 1861-1865‖, The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 10, No. 1. (June, 1923), pp. 21-33 Jeff Keshen, ―Cloak and Dagger: Canada West‘s Secret Police, 1864-1867‖, Ontario History, Vol. 79, December 1987, pp. 353-381(p. 356); Gregory S. Kealey, Presidential Address, ―The Empire Strikes Back: The NineteenthCentury Origins of the Canadian Secret Service‖, Journal of the CHA, New Series, Vol. 10, 1999, pp. 3-19 (p. 9);
W. A. Crockett, ―The uses and abuses of the secret service fund: the political dimension of police work in Canada, 1864–1877‖ (MA thesis, Queen‘s Univ., Kingston, Ont., 1982); and C.P. Stacey, ‗The Shadow of the Civil War‘ in Cloak and Dagger in the Sixties, pp. 3-4, [typescript], CBC Broadcast Script, February 1954, C.P. Stacey Papers, Box 47, University of Toronto Archives; Andrew Parnaby and Gregory S. Kealey, ―The Origins of Political Policing in Canada: Class, Law and the Burden of Empire, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol 41, Nos. 2 & 3 (2003) pp. 211See Peter Vronsky, ―Origins of the Canadian Secret Services, 1864-66‖, www.petervronsky.org/thesis-references Macdonald Papers, MG26A, McMicken [Police] Reports [―Secret Service Reports‖], Volumes 232-237, pp.100812-104234 [Reels C1660-1663] LAC Confederate operatives, ordinary criminals and then later the Fenians, remains to be still untangled and written.32 The appointment of Gilbert McMicken and the issue of his success or failure as secret service chief in Canada West is a controversial one and also beyond the scope of this thesis.33 Regardless of McMicken‘s success or failure in correctly assessing in June 1866 the mass of intelligence data he collected and forwarded to Macdonald, the raw reports serve as a Keshen, ―Cloak and Dagger‖ for operational history while the financial and administrative aspects of the Frontier Constabulary are treated by W. A. Crockett.
According to the DCB, a full-scale biography of Gilbert McMicken is being undertaken by Dale and Lee Gibson who in 1987 presented a paper based on their preliminary work at the Canadian Law in History Conference held at Carlton University, Ottawa, ―Who was Gilbert McMicken, and why should legal historians care?‖ There are shorter biographical sketches of McMicken in Canadian album (Cochrane and Hopkins), vol.3;