Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MACKENZIE, William Lyon, Canadian journalist, born in Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland, 12 March, 1795; died in Toronto, 28 August, 1861. He was educated imperfectly, owing to the death of his father, Daniel, when the son was an infant, and was obliged to work at an early age for his own support. When a mere lad, he entered a shop in Dundee, went thence into the countinghouse of a wool-merchant, and when seventeen years of age engaged in business himself by opening a small general store and circulating library at Alyvth. He was unsuccessful in business, and going to England in 1817 became managing clerk to a canal company in Wiltshire, and subsequently was for a short period in London. After visiting France, in the spring of 1820, Mr. Mackenzie emigrated to Canada, where he was made superintendent of the works of the Lachine canal, and afterward opened a drug and book store at Little York (now Toronto), in partnership with John Lesslie. This partnership was dissolved in 1823, and Mackenzie removed to Queenstown, where he opened a store, but abandoned it soon afterward to enter politics. In May, 1824, he issued the first number of the "Colonial Advocate," which he continued to publish until 1833. In June, 1826, the office of the "Advocate," which had been removed to Toronto, was forcibly entered, its contents destroyed, and most of the type thrown into Toronto bay. This act, which was doubtless prompted by persons that had been attacked by Mr. Mackenzie in his paper, made him more popular than before, and the large damages he received as a compensation for the outrage enabled him to continue more successfully than ever his appeals for reform in the government, and his denunciations of the official classes. In 1827 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the provincial parliament from York, and was elected in 1828; but, for alleged libel on the assembly, was expelled five times, only to be as often re-elected, until the government finally refused to issue another writ of election. In April, 1832, he went to London to present, to the home government a petition of grievances from the Reformers of Canada, and while there secured from the Whig ministry the dismissal from office of the attorney-general, and the solicitor-general of Upper Canada, and a veto of the Upper Canada bank bill. In March, 1834, the name of York was changed to Toronto, and Mr. Mackenzie was chosen its first mayor, thus being the first mayor in Upper Canada. In July, 1836, he issued the first number of " The Constitution," in which he attacked Sir Francis Bond Head, the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, for his arbitrary acts and interference with the freedom of election. In August, 1837, a manifesto appeared in " The Constitution," which was virtually a declaration of independence, and in December of that year he crowned his defiance of the government by instigating rebellion. He and Van Egmond, a retired soldier of the first Napoleon, who had been appointed general of the insurgents, appeared on Yonge street, near Toronto, at the head of an armed force, and demanded of the lieutenant-governor a settlement of all provincial difficulties by a convention, which demand was not acceded to. He now determined to march on the city, secure a quantity of arms that were stored there, arrest the governor and the members of his cabinet, and declare Canada a republic; but the government was soon in the field with a superior force. An encounter took place at Montgomery's hill, about four miles from the city, 7 December, 1837, when, after some skirmishing, in which several lives were lost, the insurgents fled, and took up a position on Navy island, in Niagara river. Here they were ***recuffreed by 500 American sympathizers, and Mackenzie established a provisional government, offering by proclamation, in the name of the new government, 300 acres of land and $100 to all volunteers to the army on Navy island, and a reward of £500 for the apprehension of Sir Francis Head, the governor-general. Navy island was now cannonaded by a force of royalists, and this and the opposition of General Winfield Scott, of the United States army, forced the insurgents to break up their camp. Mackenzie was taken prisoner, and sentenced to twelve months' confinement in Rochester jail. On being set at liberty, he found employment on the press of the United States, and was for five or six years a contributor to the "New York Tribune." During that period he published some political pamphlets, one of which, "Sketches of William L. Marcy, Jacob Barker, and Others" (1845), was compiled from papers that he found in the custom-house, where he held a clerkship for a short time. On the proclamation of amnesty in 1849, he returned to Canada, and in 1850, as an opponent of George Brown, was again elected to parliament, where he sat till 1858. From his retirement almost up to the time of his death he published in Toronto "Mackenzie's Message," a weeldy journal. Toward the close of his life his friends raised a sum to purchase for him an annuity and a homestead near the city, but, notwithstanding their liberality, he died in comparative poverty. All the reforms for which he contended so persistently for years, and for which he finally headed an armed insurrection, have been since granted. He was the author of "Sketches of Canada and the United States" (London, 1833). See "Life of William Lyon Mackenzie," by Charles Lindsev (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1862).
McKEON, John, lawyer, born in Albany, New York, in 1808; died in New York city, 22 November, 1883. He was graduated at Columbia in 1825, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began to practise in New York city. He was a member of the lower house of the iegislature from 1832 till 1834, and subsequently was elected to congress as a Democrat, serving from 7 December, 1835, till 3 March, 1837, and from 31 May, 1841, till 3 March, 1843. He was appointed district attorney of the county of New York early in 1846, and the following year, the office having become elective, he was chosen for the full term of three years. He was resolute in the discharge of his duties, notably in securing the conviction of the notorious malpractitioner, Madame Restell, and in his determined hostility to criminals of all classes. After serving during the unexpired term of Charles O'Conor as United States district attorney for the southern district of New York, he resumed the practice of law in 1858. While holding the latter office he was engaged in prosecuting a number of important eases. Among them were the attempt to enlist men to serve in the British army during the Crimean war; the seizure of the filibustering ship "Northern Light," and the trial of Officer Westervelt, who had been captured on board the "Nightingale " by government cruisers, that vessel having in her hold 960 slaves. Although well advanced in years, he was nominated for district attorney in the autumn of 1881, and was elected to the same office that he had held more than thirty years before.
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