Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ROLPH, John, Canadian physician, born in Thorn-bury, England, 4 March, 1792; died in Toronto, Canada, 19 October, 1870. He emigrated to Canada, practised as a physician in Toronto, and took part in the insurrection of 1837. On 18 November of that year Rolph, William L. Mackenzie (q. v.), and others determined at a secret meeting to capture Toronto on 7 December, and then to summon a popular convention to which would be submitted a constitution that had already been drafted. In carrying out these plans Dr. Rolph was to be the sole executive authority, while Mackenzie was to arrange the details. Rolph, fancying that the government had heard of the proposed attack on Toronto, changed the date to 4 December, which so disarranged Mackenzie's plans that the attack on the city utterly failed. In the mean time Dr. Rolph, though suspected, was sent by the governor as one of the bearers of a flag of truce to the insurgents. At the same time Rolph induced Mackenzie to delay the attack until nightfall, when he promised that the disaffected in the city would join them. After the failure of the attempt upon Toronto, Dr. Rolph, despairing of success, fled to the United States, and subsequently went to Russia, where he resided for several years. He returned to Canada after the amnesty had been declared, and practised law and medicine in Toronto. He was a member of the Canadian parliament, and founded the " People's school of medicine," which is now (1888) a department of Victoria college, Cobourg.
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