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    Fatal cannon blast dampens Family Compact meeting

    A reform newspaper unleashes its most vitriolic prose in a report of a meeting by supporters of Upper Canada’s Family Compact. The meeting ended with a canon blast, apparently intended to emphasize the authority and glory of the Compact and the colonial administration. But when the canon backfired, killing a member of the Compact, it “threw a damp over the whole assemblage.” From the Hamilton Free Press, April 12, 1832, reprinted in the Brockville Recorder, April 26.

    We understand a meeting was called at the Village of Vittoria, in the London District, some time last week, by the officials lurking in that district, to approve of the abuses in the Government, and to send forth their praises in favor of corruption—family compact with sycophantic triumph endeavoring to get the farmers to affix their names to addresses in praise of those very men who will, ere long, ride in aristocratic pride, unearned wealth and vaunting splendor over the fair land of our fathers—polluting the alter of liberty with the viperous crown of vice and iron rule of power.

    A friend of reform, a Mr. Macmichael, we are told, addressed the meeting at some length, in an able manner, and was encouragingly backed by the independent yeomanry of London, many of whom, however, owing to the Sheriff’s having taken the Chair, and being surrounded by the Magistrates, were unwilling to come forward…

    Towards the close of this Meeting, a small cannon having been procured by the Magistrates, in a similar manner to that lately brought to the Hamilton Meeting in the dead of night, by a learned Chairman of the Gore Quarter Sessions, they commenced firing in praise of corruption and official triumph. But lamentable to say, the echo of the first shot hurried into an untimely eternity Mr. Donald Ross, a Merchant of that place—the gun having burst, tore off one of his legs and shattered his skull. This sudden misfortune, as if to warn them of their bad cause and needless huzza, threw a damp over the whole assemblage and closed the scene of the day.

    TAGS: Family Compact, Reform Party, Politic, Upper Canada, Accidents, Fatalities

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