Sunday, December 26, 2010


I decided to start this Newsletter which will gather information and new research about Canada’s first novelist and which will include comments, criticisms and suppositions by readers of his works because there is a small but growing circle interested in him and there should be a place where it can all be found. I know of a collector or two of his works as I have been approached to part with my three volume first edition of Wacousta, the only copy extant which Richardson signed. I am pleased that his works have become available [some from my web site]. I await the discovery of others such as Jack Brag in Spain, which someone somewhere must have saved. My discovery of his Montreal newspaper, The Weekly Expositor; or, Reformer of Public Abuses and Railway and Mining Intelligencer, the only copy of which was in the Bibliothêque et Archives Nationales du Quebec, I discussed in my 2004 revision of Richardson’s biography, The Canadian Don Quixote. Also, my discovery of Richardson’s play, The Miser Outwitted, which was reprinted in The Theatre History in Canada, Spring 1986, with my comments, led to more conjecture in the revised biography. Years ago a lady who ran a theatre in Connecticut wanted to find a copy of Richardson’s court martial in Spain to use as a drama but a search of courts martial in the National Archives at Kew Gardens and for the papers of the British Legion in Spanish archives has had zero returns. More information on Richardson’s first wife Jane Marsh and what really happened to her would be welcome news. Their marriage certificate stated that she was from Leamington Spa, England, which was a fast growing centre in the early 1800s. When I was researching for the biography in the 1960s, a librarian from there sent me a photograph of a Mrs. Marsh of Leamington but with no definite relationship to Jane. I speculated a little more about her in my 2004 revision.
Since much of Richardson’s fiction is based on real events, readers may wish to add details about his characters. For instance, concerning his Westbrook, the Outlaw, it was Richardson’s uncle, Alexander Askin, who arrested Andrew Westbrook and took him to gaol in Niagara. In researching for my From Bloody Beginnings, I discovered that Billy Fairchild went back to Delaware and persuaded the Westbrook brothers to come to Canada whereas years earlier I had found sources that claimed the family came from Massachusetts, which I wrote in Andrew Westbrook’s biography for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I am interested in knowing more about Betsy Hickman, whom Richardson wrote about in his A Canadian Campaign and his The Canadian Brothers, that is after she married a Kentucky judge in 1823 and bore him a son in 1824. 
Comments about articles and books on Richardson are welcome, for instance on Michael Hurley’s brilliant The Borders of Nightmare; The Fiction of John Richardson—and on James Reaney’s stage adaptations of Wacousta and The Canadian Brothers, and on the acting careers they started. If someone will be giving presentations on Richardson or writing articles, they could announce them in the Newsletter and add critiques of what they are thinking.
I shall add bits of information from time to time but I trust that others will oblige to make it an interesting Newsletter. 


  1. Good news for students and readers of Richardson!
    Hugh MacDougall, Cooperstown, NY

  2. A newsletter dedicated to Major John Richardson? Good idea! Few Canadians have heard of Canada's first native-born novelist. Fewer still have read one of his books. Of course his best-known novel, Wacousta, is still in print, but Richardson's Latinate, wordy prose discourages any but the most scholarly contemporary readers. And this is a shame, for Wacousta is the best work of Canadian historical fiction published in the nineteenth century. Wacousta is, of course, about the Pontiac uprising of 1763. This novel, first published in 1832, has been compared favourably to the Last of the Mohicans. It is a literary treasure that, despite its Gothic excesses, illuminates Canada's distant past brilliantly! . . . I myself tried to make Wacousta more accessible by editing it. For a year I performed literary surgery, removing a word here, a sentence there. Eventually I cut the book in half while keeping all the essentials. My version of Wacousta was published by Winding Trail Press of Ottawa in 1995. It got good reviews in the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the OHS Bulletin, etc., but unfortunately Winding Trail Press went out of business almost immediately after publishing my Wacousta, and the book did not get the promotion needed for respectable sales. Several years later, Wayne State University Press in Detroit, Michigan, took over distribution of my version of Wacousta. But then the recession hit, book sales were generally down, and WSUP had to withdraw from its contractual obligations regarding Wacousta. At present, my version of Wacousta is an orphan with no distributor except me. I do intend to seek another publisher to take over this book. Perhaps the Major John Richardson Newsletter might help me accomplish this. For more information about my version of Wacousta, including reviews, please see my website at

  3. Richardson's first novel, Ecarte or the Salons of Paris, published in December 1829 in London, seems to owe its title to a short play by Scribe, Melesville et de Saint-George, first presented at the Theatre de Madame, Paris by "les comediens ordinaires de Son Altesse Royals" in November 14, 1822, when Richardson undoubtedly saw it performed. L'Ecarte ou Un Coin du Salon (Tableau-Vaudeville) has a young gambler, Leon, who like Delamaine in Richardson's novel, loses heavily at cards and depends on his rich uncle to help him as well as a young woman who sacrifices her own money for Leon's sake. The scene of the play is in the quartier of la Chauseee d'Antin where Richardson places scenes from his novel. The short play obviously gave a suggestion for a larger and more complex plot to Richardson who depicted the obsession for gambling with dramatic intensity and its negative affect on his relatives and friends so powerfully that it was ranked among the best masters of romantic fiction. Scribe's play was printed in Paris in 1829.

  4. Major John Richardson, who liked to be called by his second name Frederick, was close to his brother Robert, two years younger, and mentioned him in his writings. Robert died when he was 19 as a result of being wounded in the War of 1812. Robert left his personal ring to the next oldest brother, William, whom Richardson never mentions. In his Eight Years in Canada the Major writes of visiting Brantford, where William was postmaster but makes no mention of him, although he was to stay two days there; when he came to London he described how his cousin Alexander Hamilton, sheriff, welcomed and entertained him. Also his youngest brother Charles, justice of the peace in Niagara and MPP, figures in his memoirs. The Major did contribute proposals for reforms for the Post Office in a Report to the Commissioners in other parts of which his brother William was mentioned, proposals which may have resulted from his talks with his brother. The following is a description of William who was known for his activities in helping to put down the Rebellion of 1837-38.
    William Richardson, 7/1/1801 to 14/9/1847
    "Wm. Richardson was first Postmaster of Brantford and Indian agent in 1824 and had a general store where Patterson biscuit establishment is now. He was Colonel of the 10th Gore Regiment in 1837. Was buried from his house on Darling Street, a large white frame house with a verandah was built by Lewis Burwell; it is now moved away. J.J. Hawkins as a boy saw the funeral. He said it was a very large funeral. Mr. Richardson was buried in Grace Church yard, Brantford. He was a very tall fine looking man and much liked by all people. He married Jane Cameron Grant at her sister's, Mrs. Alex Duff, at Chippewa - 11 th dau. of the Hon. Commodore Alex Grant of Grosse Pointe Farm in 1824. They drove from Chippewa to Brantford which was a hamlet in the woods. She was the first lady to arrive there. Mr. & Mrs. Richardson are worthy to be remembered for their kindness and hospitality to the people in the early days of Brantford. Her first house was on the hill opposite the armories, a small cottage, living in Brantford many years until she left to take charge of two grandchildren in Quebec whose mother had died. Mrs. Richardson died April 1875 aged 76 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. The funeral going from the house of her nephew Col. Jasper T. Gilkison. She had two sons, Thomas and Charles and two daughters, Mary (Mrs. Henry Racey) and Mrs. Hayden of Quebec. Her picture in her younger days came out in [Brantford] Expositor September 26, 1914. (The Women's Patriotic Expositor)" Taken from Darcy McKeough's Family Tree Re: #29 Richardson.

  5. These items come from Hugh MacDougall of Cooperstown, N.Y. The first explains why the publishers replaced their name on the title page with "Printed for the Trade"—
    I have found a couple more Monk Knight items that go beyond mere listings, viz:

    Auburn (NY) Cayuga Chief, October 22, 1850

    “THE MONK KNIGHT OF ST. JOHN,” is announced by many of our contemporaries, as a novel of surpassing merit, written by Major Richardson, author of “Wacousta,.” It was said of Gates, that his “Northern laurels degenerated into Southern willows.” Major Richardson’s laurels, have degenerated more rapidly than that. The “Monk Knight” is of the Eugene Sue order of Literature, a moral miasma pervading its pages. While we condemn the poisonous trash that vitiates the public taste, we are glad to exonerate the publishers, Dewitt & Davenport, from all blame. Upon the strength of Richardson, they bought the MSS. of the “Monk of St. John” and gave it to their compositors without a perusal.-- They now repudiate the work, and under the circumstances, the public will, we doubt not, exonerate them from all blame. They are not like Van Dion who published the “National Temperance Offering,” engaged at the same time in flooding the book trade with poison.


    Green bay (WI), Green Bay Advocate, Oct. 3, 1850, p. 2

    THE MONK KNIGHT OF ST. JOHN; by Major Richardson, author of “Wacousta,” Ecarte,” Hardscrabble, &c. Price, 50 cents.

    This is a new publication of some 200 pages, which has been sent us by the publishers, Messrs. DEWITT & DAVENPORT, Tribune Buildings, N.Y. On first tearing off the wrapper, and bringing to light the “yaller kiver” and taking title in great letters -- “The Monk Knight of St. John” -- we at once determined to pitch it to the boys as a newly born Ingraham-ism; but the perusal of a few pages satisfied us of our mistake, and we anticipate pleasure in going through with it at leisure. The principal character is Abdallah, a monk and a knight in the Crusades -- during the time of which the scene is laid. Any history, or any story based upon the history of these memorable Crusades, will be eagerly welcomed.

  6. This announcement of the book publication of Westbrook, the Outlaw shows that his publishers had it in hand before his death on May 12, 1852, which was fortunate if his papers and manuscripts were stolen. I found and printed the version serialized in an 1851 newspaper. Note that the book version included 'other Tales."

    New York Daily Tribune, May 21, 1852
    DEWIT & DAVENPORT have in press
    WESTBROOK, THE OUTLAW; or, The Avenging
    Wolf; and other Tales. By Major Richardson, author of
    * Wacousta," " Ecarte," Price 25 cents.
    Also, now ready, new editions of his celebrated works,
    WACOUSTA, or The Prophecy. Price 56 cents.
    ECARTE, or The Salons of Paris. Price 50 cents.
    MATILDA MONTGOMERIE, or The Prophecy Fulfilled. Price 50 cents. DEW1TT& DAVENPORT, Tribune Buildings, Nassau-st.

    C. A. Wilkinson wrote in part in reply to a query by E [or B] Morris [whose query I quote in part]:
    New York Sun, June 17, 1906, p. 8
    Major Richardson.-- Referring to the query of E. Morris asking for information as to John Richardson, late Lieutenant Ninety-second Highlanders and Major in the Spanish service, I would say I have several of his works, notably, “The Guards in Canada,” “Wacousta” and Canadian Brothers.” published from 1832 to 1848. Major Richardson left Amherstburg, Canada, in 1849 or 1850 and drifted to New York city, where he died in 1852. He had many decorations from the Spanish service, but after his death in this city his friends in Canada could find none of his papers or medals. They were supposed to have been stolen, as he was alone in the city....

    The Sun May 27, 1906
    I have the honor to ask that in case you cannot answer right off the reel you will refer my question to the intelligent forum of your readers. I am
    seeking information about Richardson, the Canadian Novelist, who spent the last years ot hls life In New York.... In Canada there is a revival of Interest in his works, but so far his biographers have failed to trace his grave... His remains were taken outside the city for burial: but where? It
    would be well if the "War of 1812" manuscript could also be traced. The second volume was never published, though he had all the material
    for it. This would be invaluable to historians, as it dealt with the operations of the centre division of the army. Any light thrown on these points will be appreciated by admirers of this Canadian
    author....—B. Morris
    Since I just published R's narrative of the 1812 War, his second volume interests me too!

  7. Further to the above reviews of The Monk Knight of St John is the publisher's announcement of its publication—fulsome in praise and slightly defensive of its content:

    New York Tribune, August 24, 1850, page 4
    THE MONK KNIGHT OF ST. JOHN. A Tale of the Crusades.
    BY MAJOR RICHARDSON,KNIGHT of the Military Order of St. Ferdinand, Author of "Ecarte," "Wacousta," "Hardscrabble" &c.
    "Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
    Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime,
    Where the rage of the vulture and the love of the turtle
    Now melt into sorrow-now madden to crime!
    "Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,
    And all save the spirit of man is divine;
    'Tis the clime of the East, 'tis the land of the sun-
    Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done?
    Oh, wild as the accents of lovers' farewell
    Are the hearts which they bear and the tales which they tell!"
    The celebrated author of "Wacousta" and Ecarte" has chosen a new subject and a new field, one in which his pre-eminent talents shine forth in all their luster. He has produced a book rich in incident, gorgeous in scenery, and warm (almost too much so) in detail. We predict that it will create the greatest sensation of anything written for many a day. The author's views are peculiarly his own and though we do not agree with him in many of them we have felt it our duty to publish them without alteration. The scene is laid in the glorious East, at the time of the Crusades, when licentiousness ran riot through the land, and female purity was a thing comparatively unknown.- The struggles of the pure and holy Monk-Knight, with the fierceness of his own passions, and the blandishments of the beautiful Syrens who surround him, and who in the end prove too powerful for a warm and passionate nature to withstand, though aided by the cold philosophy of the Stoics, are most vividly portrayed, and then what a striking and beautiful contrast in the female characters, between the lovely, the melting and tender Zuliema, ever ready to pour the richness of her love upon the object of her adoration, and the noble, majestic, impassioned and soul-subduing Lady Ernestina, and the humble yet beautiful Henrietta.

              Some objection may be made to the work on the score of morality; but all must recollect that its author is describing scenes and characters, not as they now are in modern society, but as they then existed in Palestine.

              The proof-sheets of this gorgeous romance having been sent to London, the work will appear almost simultaneously in Europe and the United States.

              Agents and the Trade will please send in their orders in order that there may be no delay in filling them.
    DEWITT & DAVENPORT, Publishers, Tribune Buildings.

  8. Another and later notice of Westbrook, the Outlaw demonstrates that the book version of the novel merited another printing.

    From the New York Daily Tribune, Aug 19, 1854

    WAC0USTA; Or,THE PROPHECY Price 50 cents.
    ECARTE Or, THE SALONS or PARIS. Price 60 cents.
    HARDSCRABBLE Or. THE FALL of CHICAGO. Price 25 cents.
    Nearly ready.
    WESTBROOK, THE OUTLAW. Price 25 cents.
    These romances each in their way, are written with great ability

  9. Concerning the above, George Thompson (1823-ca. 1873) was a prolific writer of "sensation" novels, featuring sex and violence, beginning in the 1840s. He lived mostly in New York City, where he also edited periodicals peddling the same sort of materials. His "Auto-Biography", according to the Editors of "Venus in Boston..." "contains many of the standard elements of Thompson's novels, including pious hypocrites, adulterous spouses, bleak cityscapes, and violent death of various kinds."
    This paragraph about Richardson is of a sort not found elsewhere in the "Auto-Biography" and seems to reflect genuine admiration and a fairly close relationship with Richardson. It thus fleshes out the little that is known of Richardson's last years and months in New York.
    Hugh MacDougall, Cooperstown, NY

  10. The two items above from Hugh MacDougall should have the first following the second. Hugh communicated with me about them before posting them.
    I commented on Thompson's remarks to him in two emails which I add here because of some question regarding Thompson's facts:
    Hugh, When you put it in the Newsletter would you please comment on it. The book was printed in 1854, two years after Richardson's death. The city of brotherly love is usually thought of as Philadelphia. Was Thompson in Philadelphia or New York? Or is he just being sarcastic? The actors he mentioned Junius Booth Sr., Ned Forrest and J R Scott I discuss in my book McKee Rankin and the Heyday of the American Theater. Then there is the line: "His remains received a handsome and appropriate burial; and many a tear was shed o'er the grave of him who had been a gallant soldier and a celebrated author, but a truly wronged and most unfortunate man." The city records say he was buried outside the city. I saw the notation in the burial book of the Church of the Holy Communion of his death. [The Rev Elliott of that Church was the father of a boy I taught in grades 7 and 8 at Grace Church School on 4th Avenue]. It had a burial ground at Greenwood Cemetery in Queens which I walked over looking for a trace of Richardson's grave but there was none. I cannot visualize anyone crying over his grave because one could not find it. Perhaps this is just a bit of purple prose. Their drinking a bottle of whisky together may have happened; I hope Thompson paid for it. It reminds me of Frank Lundberg [The Rich and Superrich] who told me that when he lived in Greenwich Village in the thirties, Thomas Wolfe used to drop by to talk with other authors and bring two bottles of whisky—one for the group and one for himself. David
    Hi Hugh, Junius Brutus Booth Sr, one of the three great actors of the first half of the 19th century, played seldom after Tom Flynn accidentally broke his nose and destroyed his voice. He performed last in New Orleans in November 1852. He could have been in New York in 1851 or Philadelphia. Edwin Forrest on behalf of whom his fans created the Astor Square riots in 1849 could have been in both cities; there are so many biographies of him, it should be easy to see where he was at a particular time [he was involved in a court case over his divorce in NYC in 1851]; JR Scott, a follower of Forrest's robust acting, acted continuously at the New York Bowery Theatre until 1852 when he joined Purdy's National Theatre on Chatham St, NYC. So Scott is the name that places the scene definitely in NYC. Richardson was not in Philadelphia in 1841, but he was in NYC to buy a press in 1840. He was in Brockville in 1841. Richardson knew George Foster and Rufus Griswold and R H Stoddart. I suggested in my biography that he probably knew Richard Kimball. David

  11. On reading over the above, I think it is possible that Thompson met Richardson in Philadelphia in 1849 where he lived briefly to give his manuscript of Hardscrabble to Mrs Kirkland, the editor of the Union Magazine, which published it. Richardson was in New York city in October 1849 and most of Thompson's description of him transpired in New York. Mrs. Kirkland had a home in New York where she held literary soirees attended by the literati and probably included Major Richardson.
    Richardson's manuscripts and letters from notable persons such as Lord Durham disappeared [or were stolen, according to one commentator] after his death. Could one of these literati have taken them and may they be found extant in the nachlass of one of them, possibly in some remote archive or university special department?

  12. The following passage from George Thompson has had trouble being accepted by the Newsletter. We post it once more.

    ....[While visiting Philadelphia] I became a regular frequenter of the theatres and other places of amusement, and formed the acquaintance of many actors and literary people. It was here that I had the honor of being introduced to... Major Richardson, the author of "Wacousta," and the "Monk Knight of St. John," the latter being one of the most voluptuous works ever written. Poor Major! his was a melancholy end. He was formerly a Major in the British army, and was a gentleman by birth, education and principle. Possessing a fine person, a generous heart and the most winning manners, he was a general favorite with his associates. He became the victim of rapacious publishers, and grew poor. Too proud to accept of assistance from his friends, he retired to obscure lodgings and there endeavored to support himself by the productions of his pen. But his spirit was broken and his intellect crushed by the base ingratitude of those who should have been his warmest friends. Often have I visited him in his garret--for he actually occupied one; and, with a bottle of whiskey before us, we have condemned the world as being full of selfishness, ingratitude and villainy. Winter came on, and the Major had no fuel, nor the means of procuring any. I have repeatedly called upon him and found him sitting in the intensely cold atmosphere of his miserable apartment, wrapped in ablanket and busily engaged in writing with a hand that was blue and trembled with the cold. He firmly refused to receive aid, in any shape, from his friends; and they were obliged to witness his gradual decay with sad hearts. The gallant Major always persisted in denying that he needed anything; he swore his garret was the most comfortable place in the world, and that the introduction of a fire would have been preposterous; he always affirmed with a round military oath, that he "lived like a fighting-cock," and was never without his bottle of wine at dinner; yet I once came upon him rather unexpectedly, and found him dining upon a crust of bread and a red herring. Sometimes, but rarely, he appeared at the theatres, and, upon such occasions, he was always scrupulously well-dressed, for Major Richardson would never appear abroad otherwise than as a gentleman. Want, privation and disappointment finally conquered him; he grew thin, and haggard, and melancholy, and reserved, and discouraged the visits of his friends who used to love to assemble at his humble lodgings and avail themselves of his splendid conversational powers, or listen to his personal reminiscences and racy anecdotes of military life. One morning he was found dead in his bed; and his death caused the most profound grief in the breasts of all who knew him as he deserved to be known, and who respected him for his many excellent qualities of head and heart. His remains received a handsome and appropriate burial; and many a tear was shed o'er the grave of him who had been a gallant soldier and a celebrated author, but a truly wronged and most unfortunate man.
    The reader will, I am sure, pardon this digression, for I was anxious to do justice to the memory of a much-valued friend and literary brother. I now resume the direct course of my narrative, and come to the darkest portion of my career.
    Hugh MacDougall, Cooperstown, NY

  13. I have come across this unusual tribute to John Richardson, in George Thompson, “My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson, being the Auto-Biography of an Author”. (Boston: Federhen & Co., 1854), Chapter IV. ,
    and is also included in George Thompson, “Venus in Boston and Other Tales of Nineteenth-Century Life”, ed. by David S. Reynolds and Kimberly R. Gladman, (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002).

    ....[While visiting Philadelphia] I became a regular frequenter of the theatres and other places of amusement, and formed the acquaintance of many actors and literary people. It was here that I had the honor of being introduced to... Major Richardson, the author of "Wacousta," and the "Monk Knight of St. John," the latter being one of the most voluptuous works ever written. Poor Major! his was a melancholy end. He was formerly a Major in the British army, and was a gentleman by birth, education and principle. Possessing a fine person, a generous heart and the most winning manners, he was a general favorite with his associates. He became the victim of rapacious publishers, and grew poor. Too proud to accept of assistance from his friends, he retired to obscure lodgings and there endeavored to support himself by the productions of his pen. But his spirit was broken and his intellect crushed by the base ingratitude of those who should have been his warmest friends. Often have I visited him in his garret--for he actually occupied one; and, with a bottle of whiskey before us, we have condemned the world as being full of selfishness, ingratitude and villainy. Winter came on, and the Major had no fuel, nor the means of procuring any. I have repeatedly called upon him and found him sitting in the intensely cold atmosphere of his miserable apartment, wrapped in ablanket and busily engaged in writing with a hand that was blue and trembled with the cold. He firmly refused to receive aid, in any shape, from his friends; and they were obliged to witness his gradual decay with sad hearts. The gallant Major always persisted in denying that he needed anything; he swore his garret was the most comfortable place in the world, and that the introduction of a fire would have been preposterous; he always affirmed with a round military oath, that he "lived like a fighting-cock," and was never without his bottle of wine at dinner; yet I once came upon him rather unexpectedly, and found him dining upon a crust of bread and a red herring. Sometimes, but rarely, he appeared at the theatres, and, upon such occasions, he was always scrupulously well-dressed, for Major Richardson would never appear abroad otherwise than as a gentleman. Want, privation and disappointment finally conquered him; he grew thin, and haggard, and melancholy, and reserved, and discouraged the visits of his friends who used to love to assemble at his humble lodgings and avail themselves of his splendid conversational powers, or listen to his personal reminiscences and racy anecdotes of military life. One morning he was found dead in his bed; and his death caused the most profound grief in the breasts of all who knew him as he deserved to be known, and who respected him for his many excellent qualities of head and heart. His remains received a handsome and appropriate burial; and many a tear was shed o'er the grave of him who had been a gallant soldier and a celebrated author, but a truly wronged and most unfortunate man.
    The reader will, I am sure, pardon this digression, for I was anxious to do justice to the memory of a much-valued friend and literary brother. I now resume the direct course of my narrative, and come to the darkest portion of my career.
    Hugh MacDougall, Cooperstown, NY

  14. Having now read Thompson's My Life [published in 1854], I agree that he was enamored of Richardson, not only as a very respectable friend but as an esteemed writer. I do not think that he was trying to raise his own prominence by referring to the prominent actors and Richardson but he was emphasizing his exalted standing at age 18 [because of his writing] from an inauspicious beginning. But how to account for connecting Richardson with Philadelphia in 1841, the year that Richardson was in Brockville, Canada West? He could have met Richardson in New York in 1840 when Richardson was seeking to buy a press to ship to Canada. Thompson wrote that he was making money contributing to magazines in New York and could have been introduced along with other writers to the famous author of Wacousta. His meetings with Richardson in his "garret" must have taken place in the winter of 1851-52 when he renewed their acquaintance. Although Thompson was domiciled in Boston then, he could have traveled to New York on business and called on Richardson. He took poetic license by setting their meetings as if continuing after his introduction to him.

    Richardson's death by "starvation" was widely reported in the newspapers and an angry letter denouncing rich publishers who underpaid their writers appeared in a prominent newspaper. His cause of death was registered as erysipelas which can be brought on by an insufficient diet. Also, since he died in the second week in May, a period when he was visited by a recurring fever, the fever would have contributed to his physical weakness. Thompson touches the scene with some purple prose such as "eating a crust of bread" and shedding tears over his grave but he was a writer of melodrama and knew how to touch his readers' hearts.

  15. David Ricketts O.N.,UE,July 3, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Thanks David for the blog about John Richardson. Being related to the family it is nice to see that folks still have an interest. It is also informative. I did not have his wifes name in my tree. I do now.
    We have met...I am a 1st cousin of John's... 5 times removed being a a descendant of George Hamilton (3rd great grandson).
    Thanks for doing this and stay in touch.

  16. I recommended to David Ricketts and other relatives and descendants of the Richardson and Hamilton families to read my biography of John Richardson, The Canadian Don Quixote, and my creative non-fiction, From Bloody Beginnings; Richard Beasley's Upper Canada, which includes members of the Hamilton family. Both books cover a good deal of Canadian history found nowhere else; moreover they are comprehensive treatments.
    Speaking of relationships, the great Canadian actor, McKee Rankin was related to Richardson [see my McKee Rankin and the Heyday of the American Theater]. Rankin was the great grandson of the fur trader John Askin whereas Richardson was John Askin's grandson. Both had connections to Indian nations—Richardson with the Ottawa nation on Lake Michigan owing to Askin's first wife, [Richardson's grandmother] an Ottawa woman; Rankin with the Shawnees owing to his maternal ancestors, Colonel Alexander McKee and Thomas McKee—Alexander marrying Tecumseh's sister and Thomas being their son. Thomas married Therese Askin, John Askin's daughter and aunt to John Richardson. Growing up in Amherstburg, Richardson knew Tecumseh and last saw him at the Battle of the Thames. He was a favorite of Tecumseh and hero-worshipped the great Chief as may be seen from my edition of A Canadian Campaign.

    1. I discovered an old-fashioned scam relating to Major Richardson. First, I quote from Wilkinson's reply in 1906 to B Morris asking about Richardson's manuscripts after his death, the first part of which I cited above.
      "The Major was accounted a rather peculiar man in Canada, though probably a type of the English half pay officer of his day. He took advantage of the order of the War Department allowing officers to retire on half pay in order to take commissions in the Spanish service. On retiring from that service he came to Canada and married a very estimable American lady. This fact may have had a good deal to do with the many affairs of honor in which he was a principal, as there was a question with each relieving regiment in Montreal of the social standing of the Major and Mrs. Richardson, and it was said in Montreal that he was compelled to call out an officer of each succeeding regiment to maintain the social position to which they were entitled by rank. Though only a half pay Lieutenant in the English service, he was a Major in the Spanish and really had seen more active service than officers higher in rank. The fact that Mrs. Richardson was an American, though the daughter of an American officer, and accounted a very beautiful woman seems to have created something of a jealous feeling among the English and Canadian ladies of Montreal. However this may be, the Major was nearly always at enmity with company officers in the regiments stationed at Montreal, although held in esteem by the older and field officers. I should very much like to get certain information of his place of burial."  C.A. WILKINSON
      Richardson's wife, Maria Caroline Drayson was English and from a well-respected old family connected to the military. Wilkinson must have been picking up a rumour that may have begun back in 1852, after Richardson's death. Here is a paragraph from the New York Evening News, Monday June 27, 1852:

      We would draw the attention of the benevolent to the case of Mrs. Richardson, relict of the late Major Richardson, whose sudden death in this city we noticed some weeks since. She is said to be a lady of worthy character and good education, and any person having it in his power to put her into the way of gaining subsistence would do an act of charity. She would be willing, (we are given to understand,) to undertake the charge of house-keeping, or would be happy to obtain needlework. Application or reference may be made to Mr. Howard,—I Broadway. Major Richardson, it will be recollected, was the author of various popular Indian novels and tales of the war of 1812.

      Such was the guilt felt by the literary community that perhaps the fraud was successful and the supposition that Richardson's wife was American remained as rumour. Maria Caroline died in 1835 of apoplexy as I described in The Canadian Don Quixote.

      Another interesting item was brought to my attention by a lady researching the life of Locke Richardson, the actor and elocutionist of the 19th century. He was the son of George McGregor Richardson, who was the first son born of Major Richardson's father Dr. Richardson and his second wife Ann McGregor.

  17. The Autumn 1993 edition [v.23, no.3] of The American Review of Canadian Studies printed my review of Michael Hurley's book on Richardson's novels. I came across it when cleaning my computer of old stuff and think, on rereading it, that I should add it to the Newsletter because newcomers to Richardson will be unaware of Hurley's important work. Owing to its length it must be added in parts. [see below]

  18. Literature Michael Hurley. The Borders of Nightmare: The Fiction of John Richardson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992. xi + 236 pp. $40.00 cloth, $16.95 paper.

    In this impressive analysis of Richardson's novels, particularly Wacousta (1832), its sequel, The Canadian Brothers (1840), and The Monk Knight of St. John (1850), Michael Hurley identifies the novelist's technique by using the word enantiodromia, a process in which things turn into their opposites. In so saying, he finds Richardson's work comparable to Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, published fifteen years after Wacousta, because they are preoccupied by a fusion of opposites and violent exchanges of identity.

    Hurley sets out to distinguish Richardson from his forerunners in the historical novel; for example, "the dual nature of the morally ambiguous Byronic hero" in Richardson's writing contrasts with Walter Scott's "passionless protagonists" embracing a materialistic society. The idyllic American dream experience found in James Fenimore Cooper's work becomes a nightmare to Richardson, "whose gothic portrayal of a heart of darkness" challenges the "optimistic, unified world-view of Scott and Cooper." "Unlike Cooper," Hurley writes, in separating Canada from the United States, "Richardson is fascinated not by a marriage of males but by a struggle of brothers over a woman" (22). A challenging remark in itself!

    Hurley carefully develops an understanding of Richardson's vision, demonstrates the psychological connection between it and the Ontario pioneer experience, and relates the writing of Canadians today, such as that of Marian Engel, James Reaney, and Robertson Davies, back to Richardson. Through this skillful interpretation, Richardson becomes the Father of Canadian Literature writ large. To support his thesis, Hurley calls on Joseph Campbell, Northrop Frye, James Reaney, and other literary and sociological critics quite convincingly. Indeed, his references are so apt that they inspire the casual reader to chase down the works of any of these writers unfamiliar to him. He mentions his indebtedness to Robert Bly, the explorer of the male psyche, and Marion Woodman, the Jungian analyst, for their influence on his insights into Richardson and the Southern Ontario Gothic experience. As a result, the many images, Doppel-gangers, halls of mirrors, mort-vivants, and so forth in Richardson's experimentation with the descent narrative are made clearer to readers familiar with the three Richardson novels with which Hurley deals at length. Particularly helpful is Hurley's reference to Jay Macpherson's use of the Narcissus triangle to illuminate Richardson's work: "the Narcissus motif is characterized by a tendency toward triangular groups of persons, roughly corresponding to Narcissus, the other self, and Echo, or in Blake's convenient terms, 'subject,' 'spectre,' and 'emanation'" (128-129). The double and triangular relationships in Richardson's novels are particularly susceptible to the Narcissus interpretation. And they in turn relate to the border dichotomy between civilization and wilderness, in which the motif of the struggles of brothers (that is, like Cain and Abel) is played out, first in Wacousta between Wacousta and De Haldimar and later in The Canadian Brothers between Wacousta's son, Desborough, and Gerald Grantham of the De Haldimar clan. American individualism confronts Canadian sense of community. "Richardson's border doubles," writes Hurley, "take on an iconic character which permits a grand staging of our collective Canadian neurosis, our notorious fractured psyche. In its characters and structure, the epic gives expression to that contradictory wish for both freedom and stability, so frequently identified as characteristic of the Canadian personality" (18).


  19. PART TWO
    Yet Richardson seems to question the myths of nation-building and to parody the naive optimism and cultural security of Scott and Cooper. "For Richardson," Hurley writes,

    ... it is dramatically and mythically necessary that, at the very beginning of our history, the 'lost' causes if such there be, appear to be both that of the Indian and the European one of the conquest of a forbidden and wild continent. Indeed, as at the end of The Canadian Brothers, we have the feeling that both sides lose. The Europeans are as doomed as the Indians .... Both are victims and tormentors. Both feel threatened and nearly extinct .... The historical situation dictates that [Richardson] not work within the mode of comic romance. A deep-seated cultural fear and an intolerable anxiety demand expression. Richardson writes from out of the perspective offered by 'the deep gloom that envelops every part of the abyss' that swallows everyone and everything at the end of The Canadian Brothers. (154)

    But here we pause. Richardson has now been revealed as a writer of enormous talent and of infinite resourcefulness. Hurley has shown us the complicated and intricate craftsmanship of his work which arose intuitively from his experience in the Upper-Canadian wilderness. Upon finishing the book we feel as if we have been taken through a funhouse at a circus—the halls of mirrors, the terrible specters, the horrors and the abysses on all sides, all the while depending faithfully on the intelligent architect who constructed all this chaos to bring us through safe and sound. Back in the sunlight we think of it as an experience which may have revealed to us something of ourselves, but we cannot make any meaning from it. In other words, the series of reflections, of mirrors in mirrors, reveals only the surface. Hurley seizes upon interpretations of myths at appropriate moments in these reflections to give us glimpses into the profundity of Richardson's imagination but, as he remarks, he is barely penetrating the surface. The "Nightmare" of Richardson is described well and its "Borders" are identified as a major cause of his bad dreams. Hurley has laid out the markers, given us the tools, shown us where to cast, and then we, like him, become petrified—unsure of how to proceed. Hurley concludes: "Having cast my hat widely, I have sought to [show] that in the work of our first poet-novelist are adumbrated imaginative patterns which illuminate the work of Richardson's successors in the canon of English-Canadian fiction" (206).

    Faced with a complexity that, for the moment at least, defies further analysis, our literary critic falls back on mysticism and points to metaphors in Richardson's works that are repeated in the works of a score of Ontario writers following a century later, all of whom had not heard of Richardson, let alone read his works before they published their fiction. The reader will have to be acquainted with the works of these later writers to see the connection, because Hurley touches lightly upon them in weaving his web of mythology and dark fantasy. If he inspires the American reader to demand access to these works, he will have contributed to the destruction of the iron curtain which keeps Canadian books from entering the United States and, like Richardson, prove to be dangerous to American hegemony.


  20. PART 3 [FINAL]

    Certainly he has distinguished Canadian from American fiction by this study of Richardson, and he will astound those who thought Richardson was no more than a writer of adventure with a knack for describing American Indians. But the more we explore the relationships among Richardson's characters and between man and nature as Richardson saw them, the more we become aware of the depth of meaning yet to be discovered in the works of a writer whom Michael Hurley has elevated close to the pinnacle of North American literature. The use of myth and psychology to interpret fiction is unpopular with some critics who dislike the subjectivity which must accompany it. Yet, in the case of John Richardson, Hurley has dramatized its aptness successfully and, in so doing, enriched our appreciation of Southern Ontario Gothic.

    David Beasley, Simcoe, Ontario

    Regarding an interpretation of Richardson's The Monk Knight of St John, please see my essay The Undermining of the Myth of the Crusades and the Sexual Liberation of Women on my website [] under Essays.

  21. Dear Mr. Beasley,
    Several years have passed since you first wrote to me. After several years of research I believe that Chief Shabbona attended a play at the Rice Theater in Chicago on either December 19 or 20, 1856. In examining the history of Chicago theater, only two plays were performed on stage which had Native Americans as main characters: "Wacousta" in February 1855; and "Chicago in 1812" in December 1856. Since Shabbona was an active participant in saving the survivors imprisoned at John Kinzie's house; on the evening of the day of the Fort Dearborn Massacre - which he did not take part of; I firmly believe he attended the play, "Chicago in 1812," or the "Massacre of Fort Dearborn." Although I cannot add to the mystery of who killed Tecumseh; it is apropos that Shabbona attended a historical drama based on the events of his earlier years on the siege of Fort Dearborn. Attached is a copy of a short article I am trying to publish with the Chicago Tribune. Also, I submitted a paper proposal to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, hopefully to be accepted for the Fall of 2013 conference to be held in Springfield.

    Best Regards,
    Brian G Bardy

    Post Script: Chicago Daily Journal, December 18, 1856

    “Benefit of Mr. J. H. Wright – The New Historical Drama of “Chicago in 1812,” or the “Massacre of Fort Dearborn,” is to be performed tomorrow evening at Mr. Rice’s Theatre, for the Benefit of Mr. J. H. Wright. It will be produced with new costumes, and new scenery painted by Mr. R. S. Smith. Among the latter is a beautiful view, by moonlight, of Fort Dearborn and the Lake Shore, as they appeared in 1812. The play is founded upon Major Richardson’s celebrated historical romance of Wau-nan-gee. Every citizen of Chicago will wish to witness this dramatic embodiment of the thrilling scenes of its early history.”

  22. Hello David:

    It is a pleasure to finally connect with you. I am Sandy Antal, author of /A Wampum Denied: Procter's War of 1812/. Although this blog is mainly literary in focus, the historical angle might be of interest, especially as we are into the bicentennial of that conflict.

    /Richardson's War of 1812/ has been used as a core reference in generations of secondary works for the War in the west. Indeed this work covers all the operations of the British Right Division from the outbreak of war to the finale at Moraviantown. In addition, it is a thrilling read, as rich in style as it is in detail.

    I thought my forward to the recent reprint of /Richardson's War of 1812/ by the Essex County Historical Society might be of interest. (Given HTML limitations, I could include select part of the forward as follows:

    "One cannot but feel for the young man,
    a hardened veteran at sixteen years of age, as he recalls [during his lengthy and harsh captivity], “Existence itself nearly lost its value with its
    charms, and, in our then tone of feeling, liberty or captivity were situations of indifference.”

    Having endured much, Richardson felt shortchanged by the war experience...His account bristles at any suggestion of inadequacy on the part of the defenders. In
    response to Governor Prevost’s public vilification of the 41st Regiment after its defeat at Moraviantown,
    he assumes the mantle of the “…impartial chronicler of its deeds and the vindicator of its sullied name.”
    He unceremoniously dismisses Prevost as “…incompetent to appreciate…the general excellence” of that
    unit. Moreover, he labels Prevost’s condemnation as sheer hypocrisy, holding the governor “…first on
    the list of calumny” for his “marked imbecility and want of resolution” in allowing the 41 st to degenerate
    into a condition of “physical disorganization and…utter destitution.” In defending himself and his
    regiment, Richardson sometimes takes liberties with the facts, as when he asserts “…3000 men…dashed
    through the front line” at the battle of Moraviantown when the actual number was 500.

    Richardson’s animosity against his former commander, Major-General Henry Procter also
    emerges prominently in this book. In his view, Procter had afforded all four gentleman volunteers
    equal credit at the battle of Fort Meigs even though, he insists, it was he who had been in the thick
    of the action while the general’s son, Henry Procter Jr., remained in camp, never “…either then or
    heretofore, suffered to be exposed to the enemy’s fire.” In point of fact, his observation is incorrect
    as the transcripts of the trial of Lt. Benoit Bender reveal the younger Procter commanding one of
    the “forlorn hope columns” in the heavy fighting at Ft. Stephenson. When headquarters inexplicably
    promoted Richardson to ensign over his peers, Procter complained that this had been done without his
    approval, adding that “the others had demonstrated energy and initiative that he [Richardson] had not.”
    In any event, Richardson’s suspicion that the general was using his position to elevate his own son was
    misplaced as the one Procter groomed for promotion was neither his son or Richardson but Alexander
    Wilkinson, who he considered the most experienced and deserving of the four.
    ...Richardson betrays a deep-seated bias that has skewed
    subsequent accounts. Generations of writers have freely incorporated his opinionated views at face
    value as a convenient substitute for in-depth research.
    ...His views continue to project a tremendous impact on secondary accounts to the
    present day.

    Sandy Antal

    Cameron, Ontario

  23. Sandy Antal has written some challenging criticisms of Richardson's veracity. I think the criticisms may be too harsh and may have arisen as a defence of Major-General Proctor whom Richardson criticized for his poor generalship and cowardice in battle.

    Richardson's words "3000 men dashed through the front line" may be found, not in his description of the Battle of Moraviantown but in his "Rebuttal of Procter's Defense" at Procter's court martial and Richardson's defending the honour of his 41st Regiment against Procter's denigration of his men. "It has been seen that 3,000 men, 1,500 of whom were mounted rifle men, dashed through the front line, composed of something less than 200 men, receiving the only two volleys there was time to pour in before they had completely surrounded them," Richardson wrote in his The War of 1812. The number 3,000 comes from the American General Harrison who writes in his report, which Richardson included in his book: "The troops at my disposal consisted of about 120 regulars of the 27th regiment, five brigades of Kentucky volunteer militia infantry, under his Excellency Governor Selby, averaging less than 500 men; and Col Johnson's regiment of mounted infantry, making, in the whole, an aggregate of something above 3,000." Richardson does take Harrison to task for exaggerating the numbers opposing him, however. which victorious commanders are prone to do.

    As for Procter's son, Henry Jr., I find Richardson's complaint justified. Major Chambers had mentioned Richardson for his bravery in his report to Procter, who, in his account of the battle suppresses Richardson's action and equates him with his son, who did not leave the encampment, and the other two Gentlemen Volunteers, all of whom he recommends equally for promotion. Mr Antal has discovered in a court martial trial that Procter's son was courageous in another action; it would be interesting to know whether General Procter was sitting in judgment at the trial and if the Procter mentioned was Lt William Procter, brother of the General, who would be more likely than a Gentleman Volunteer to be commanding a forlorn hope column.

    General Procter would have been informed of the condemnation of him for abandoning the wounded to revengeful Indians after the Battle of the Raisin, especially from Surgeon Robert Richardson and his son John written to John Askin, who would have made their complaints known. [see The Canadian Don Quixote, 2nd ed p.14] This could explain Procter's remarks on the young Richardson at the subsequent battle of Fort Stephenson. Maybe Headquarters, by promoting Richardson, could see that Procter, not Richardson had "deep-seated bias."

  24. The response "Sandy Antal has written some challenging criticisms of Richardson..." is hardly surprising, considering the sparse research done on the war of 1812 on the western theatre on the Anglo-Native side. In researching the first comprehensive account of that conflict, I spent thirty years gathering the much scattered materials. In the process, I found numerous errors in Richardson's book and some of them seemed contrived as they served to support his bias.

    Reference the previous
    a. Richardson did not testify at Procter's trial as you assert. Nor did he read its findings which contradict many of his accusations, As the court martial transcripts were unavailable in Canada, I had them brought over from Britain thirty years ago and read them thoroughly. Richardson was definitely not a witness (although by his grandiose pronouncements, one might mistake him for a judge.)

    b. Look at page 222 of Richardson's War and you will see that the "3000 Americans" statement was indeed part of his own argument in defense of the condemnations of the 41st in Prevost's strictures. As I said in my last, his figure is wildly inflated as only 5-600 of Johnson's Mounted Regiment actually charged the British lines. In short, Richardson either erred in his impressions (thirty years previously) or he was deliberately falsifying the facts. Read Harrison's report again and you will find that he declared his entire strength as 3000 men of whom only 500 actually charged the British line, as I stated at the outset.
    c. On another point, Richardson makes a big deal of the fact that the six pounder did not fire during the battle (blaming Procter for that, of course). He is wrong, again as shown in the testimony of Adam Muir. The gun was loaded but did not fire because the gun crew became distracted with the limber carried off by the horses just before the action.

    c. On Henry Procter, Jr., your speculations are simply incorrect. Procter did not chair the trial as as he was a witness (as was his son), testifying on Bender's behalf. No, Lt. William Procter was definitely not the younger Procter in question as he never served with the Right Division. See summary of the various Procters in my book, ///A Wampum Denied: Procter's War of 1812/// For the Bender trial transcripts, see ///Proceedings of a Court Martial Holden at at Quebec for the Trial of Lt. Benoit Bender...July 1815. Montreal: J. Lane, 1817///. In short, Richarson's suggestion that nepotism (ie Procter favouring his son) simply does not hold water. More broadly, Richardson's suspicion that his contributions were unappreciated forms a consistent theme of his writings (his dispute with de Lacy Evans in Spain and his frequent brawls/duels on returning to U.C.)

    c. You mention Richardson's account of the battle of the Raisin. This is another one of his creative interpretations as he expresses astonishment at Procter's tactics in not charging the American positions immediately. If you read the accounts by other participants (British and American) none share Richardson's confusion. They consistently declare not just Procter but all the British officers as mistaking the pickets for formed infantry in the semi-darkness. Interestingly, Richardson's letter of the day is an accurate and unbiased description of the events, containing none of the criticisms found in his 1842 work.

    As for headquarters promoting Richardson against Procter's wishes, the simple fact is that since Procter's prerogative in the chaim of command had been violated, he had every right to be annoyed. But once again, Richardson misrepresented the facts since Procter had groomed Wilkinson (being the most experienced of the bunch)for promotion and not his son (as Richardson insinuates.)


    1. Sandy Antal has begun an interesting dialogue about Richardson that I hope will bring in other voices. I shall reply to his above assertions.

      (a I did not say that Richardson was at Procter's trial but by the time he compiled his War of 1812 [1841 in The New Era] he had seen a copy of it [see Richardson's War of 1812 ECHS ed. p.221]

      (b) I question that Harrison would use only a fraction of his force to charge the British line. As I quoted [in my statement above] Harrison said 3000 men were under Johnson's command and we know Johnson was active in the charge and is believed to have killed Tecumseh.Johnson had the MOUNTED infantry. Richardson does say that Selby with his 500 militia captured him and other British trying to evade them. (c) The six-pounder did not go off. Richardson and Muir it appears differed as to why.

      (c) The General then was a witness on behalf of the accused which is all the more reason why the accused would favour the General. As for my speculation about who led the forlorn hope, if one looks at Cassellman's footnote on p.120 one sees that Lt William Procter, brother of the General, and Lt-Col Short, brother-in-law of the General, were in the 41st Regiment and Lt-Col Short was killed in the assault on Ft. Stephenson [possibly with the forlorn hope].

      (c) The accounts of the Battle of the Raisin that I referred to are in letters by Robert Richardson and by John Richardson to John Askin. I believe they can be found in the John Askin Papers. [It has been decades since I did the research] Both letters severely criticize Procter for not leaving men to guard the wounded prisoners who were massacred later by Indians.

      Richardson shows no bias against Wilkinson and merely states the facts about young Procter. By the time Richardson compiled his War of 1812 he had read the documents. [When he wrote A Canadian Campaign in 1826 he lived in Paris, France] Richardson's criticisms of General Procter were common among officers of the day. It was Procter who was found guilty by a court martial. Sandy Antal's effort to put Richardson on trial seems alarming. A defence of General Procter at this late date is an attempt to salvage the General's reputation. One must read Antal's book A Wampum Denied to understand this, which I intend to do. It must be said, though, that Richardson, a lowly Ensign at the time of Procter's trial, had no influence and no voice in the condemnation of General Procter. Richardson as a writer of some genius may offer a target but the real targets are the senior officers who condemned General Procter.

  25. Several points need fine tuning. Precision matters.

    a. Richardson is culpable whether he read the court martial transcripts or not. If he read them, he should have deferred to the testimony of those who actually witnessed the events re. the cannon etc. rather than project his opinions as fact. If he did not read them, he has passed off his contrived and creative portrayal of events as history.

    b. Harrison was limited by the frontage of the British line between swamp and river thus he sent only Johnson's men against the enemy -half (500) against the Br. line and the other half against the warriors. These are the facts and both British and American accounts are agreed on them. In short, Richardson's fanciful description of 3000 Americans dashing through the British lines is utter fantasy, another example of his willingness to bend the facts to his self interest.

    c. Lt. Wm. Procter was indeed in the 41st but he never took part in the operations of the Right Division. The man in question (an ensign during the Bender court martial) was Henry Procter Jr. As he was identified as leading one of sub-units under Shortt, Richardson had again misrepresented the facts in saying that the general's son never came under fire. As the officers mess at Amherstburg was small, consisting of perhaps twelve officers, richardson was certainly aware of the truth but chose to misrepresent it, again in support of his contrived version of events.

    d. Actually, Robert Richardson's "shameful transaction" version of Procter's alleged role in the "massacre" at Frenchtown is not supported by any other British participant/ observer. Procter's "monster of fiend-like depravity" role springs from a very active propaganda machine. Far from criticizing Procter on this score, Richardson actually defends him (this being the only time that he actually presents Procter in a positive light although he could not bring himself to utter Procter's name). He states "Every possible means were tried by the officer commanding at Amherstburg (guess who?) to soften the warlike habits of natives."

    Richardson played no part in Procter's trial which ruined his career; however, it was his vitriolic writings that have assured Procter's place in history. Many have recognized the trial as Prevost's orchestrated effort to divert attention from his own failures (as with Sheaffe and de Rottenberg); however, Richardson factual misrepresentations form a clear pattern aimed at discrediting Procter. He actually declares his motive in doing this -that Procter afforded him only equal recognition as his peers.

    In all this, the aim is not to vindicate Procter's reputation although the facts do that on their own. There are much bigger issues of interest. Why is it that no account of the war (American. British or Canadian) bothers to mention that after capturing Detroit, Brock publicly "ceded" Michigan to Britain or that to secure Native support, he promised to recover their lands north of the Ohio River. These are not minor points.

    Richardson was either oblivious to these points or disregarded them as inconvenient truths. Secondary works also deserve blame in placing undue faith in a single source. The simple fact is that Procter inherited a mess from Brock, one that never had the support of Prevost or the British government, leaving him to rely on the tribesmen who outnumbered his soldiers by as much as six to one. The western was was doomed to wither on the vine. All that remained was for Prevost to delegate blame and Richardson to play the scenario for his own purpose.

    Remember, one or two points per blog from here on, please.

  26. I don’t think Sandy Antal’s last reply has advanced at all over his first except to say that Richardson was culpable of misrepresenting the court martial report on General Procter, which is a matter of opinion.

    Davus secured Sandy Antal’s book on Procter on a visit and will find time to read it soon when Davus can make comments on Procter’s role. The first version of Richardson’s War of 1812, that is “A Canadian Campaign”, does not make the judgments on Procter that Antal objects to. Only after having seen documentation when compiling the War of 1812 does Richardson become more judgmental. Whether it is bias or elucidation is the question at hand. In the Introduction to “A Canadian Campaign” Davus included a passage from Richardson’s Eight Years in Canada which depicts Procter’s hasty defensive action [at Moravian village] dictated by his attempt to preserve his “pots and kettles and frying pans” from capture. This batterie de cuisine “did not the less fall into the hands of the triumphant enemy, who, had the party pursing succeeded in capturing their gallant proprietor, would, without a doubt, have cut him to pieces and boiled him in one of his largest saucepans.” Whether one considers this passage bias or justified anger, it is very funny.

    Regarding the General’s son, Richardson wrote that he was in the camp during the Battle of Fort Meigs. He was not making a general assessment of the boy. He did not mention Procter’s son as fighting at Fort Stephenson for the same reasons he did not mention dozens of officers in that fiasco, if he even knew what the son was doing.

    I don’t think that Richardson’s writings had anything to do with Procter’s place in history. The court martial of Procter did the damage and it happened many years before Richardson wrote about the Right Division in the War of 1812. As for Richardson covering Brock’s “diplomacy”, he might have done so had he been allowed to complete his three volume history [that is, of the Centre and Left divisions].

    As for Surgeon Robert Richardson’s criticism of Procter at the Battle of the Raisin, the Americans testified to the truth of his version to the point of making it a national obsession—”Remember the Raisin!” Moreover Robert Richardson was a writing a private letter to his father-in-law. It would have been foolhardy for any officer to make an official complaint.

    By the way this is my blog and one can make as many points as one wishes.

  27. Davus your books arrived a couple of days after you did. Thanks.

    Re Canadian Campaign, it is clearly Richardson's writing, although he published it anonymously. Much of the text is identical to R's War of 1812.

    As you remain unconvinced, note the following points on CC that I noticed after a preliminary read.

    a. In CC, Procter's name does not appear at all until the Detroit campaign was concluded. In R's War, he does mention the arrival of Procter but nothing more until after Brock's departure.

    The facts are these: Procter arrived at Amhersburg shortly after the outbreak of war with just ten men to take over from St. George. In the next few days, he halted the militia desertions, joined with Tecumseh to swing onside the Michigan Wyandot who with the redcoats, cut Hull's communications, forcing Hull to evacuate Upper Canada. Procter then established artillery batteries at Sandwich threatening Hull (now isolated at Ft. Detroit) in his very stronghold, having completely reversed the desperate military situation on the Detroit River. As R. made no mention of Procter's role, the reader is left to infer that these developments simply happened on their own.

    Note that while Procter's contributions were fully appreciated in Brock's reports, R. ignored them completely to the point of not even mentioning Procter in CC. In so doing, R. emerges as unfair and biased, limiting his commentaries on Procter consistently in the negatives. This is a clear and consistent pattern in R's writings. Take the blinkers off and you will see this.

    b. In CC, he greatly exaggerates the number of defenders at the capture of Detroit (3500 men p.21). Note the pattern of inflating the enemy size (3000 vs. 500 charging the Br. lines at Moraviantown).

    c. The pots and pans affair is indeed funny but again, at Procter's expense. Is it true, though? According to eye-witness Shadrach Byfield, Procter's baggage wagon was plundered well to the east of Moraviantown, clearly contradicting R's assertion that the pots determined the battle site. The pots issued saw no mention at the trial. In R's War, R expands this story, so as to include Procter's family. Yet the Moravian records clearly have these leaving Moraviantown early in the morning, well up the road during the battle. Again, as there is no mention of Procter's family in the trial transcripts, this is another example of R's aspersions. Surely this must be evident to Davus.

    By the way, in a previous blog, you alluded to Procter's alleged "cowardice" (also found among secondary works). The finding of the court on this head was clear "as to any defect or reproach to his character, the court fully and honourable acquits the major general". So no it was not the documents that prompted R to come down on Procter. On the contrary the documents disprove R's assertions, betraying once again, his deep seated bias.

    Davus's assertion that R's writings have nothing to do with Procter's place in history is woolly. If you Google /Henry Procter/ in the online ///Dictionary of Canadian Biography/// and you will find otherwise. The examples are numerous but a prominent one is the first edition of J. M. Hitsman's ///Incredible War of 1812/// Hitsman states "Of the British commanders, only Procter managed to bugle consistently." Now review his bibliography as relating to the war in the west and you will find that his sole source was none other than Richardson!

    Old chap, please don't get defensive over my desire to limit these to a few points. Blog space limitations have now compelled me to cut out entire paragraphs. Thus, to do the points justice I am favouring limiting their number.

    I will review CC in detail but as I have to prepare for six presentations in the new year, I must withdraw and lie low on the blogs for a while.


  28. At the commencement of Richardson’s “A Canadian Campaign” Richardson wrote: “This narrative is intended rather as a private memoir than a relation of the incidents of the war....”

    The mounted infantry under Johnson numbered more than 2,500 which with the Kentucky volunteers under Shelby of 500 made more than 3000 [according to Harrison] who charged the British lines. [The British and Canadians fought alongside their Indian allies not like the Americans, 200 yards behind them]. “I determined to refuse my left to the Indians,” wrote General Harrison, “and to break the British lines at once, by a charge of the mounted infantry.” [p.238] Harrison describes the action on p239 of The War of 1812 which is consistent with Richardson’s description, except that Richardson reported that 1,500 were mounted riflemen [of the 3,000] who dashed through the front line.[Rebuttal of Procter’s defense, p.222]. Harrison had formed Col Johnson’s mounted infantry in two lines. Possibly just the first line’s charge on 200 Britishers unable to reload their rifles was sufficient to rout them—on the centre and left. On the right “where the horsemen opposed to us were less numerous, the action was of at least twenty minutes.”

    Richardson’s New Era newspaper of 1841 was not widely read. His War of 1812 sold only a handful of copies. Casselman’s reprint of the War of 1812 in 1906 effected an interest in Richardson but in the 1960s I saw a shelf of them in Dora Hood’s Bookstore in Toronto which were not secondhand. If scholars quoted his views on Procter so much the better for Richardson, so much the worse for Procter, “who was without the confidence of his army.”

    As for the Canadian General Prevost, Richardson wrote: “a commander whose marked imbecility and want of resolution, on more than one occasion (reflecting the deepest disgrace on the British arms) had doubtless been ordained as a fitting punishment for his arrogant censure of the conduct of a corps...” Procter had company.

  29. The argument over numbers at Moraviantown is becoming tedious. How in God's green earth could Johnson lead a charge of 2500 followers when his entire unit numbered only 900 mounted infantry? Your figures are contrary those give by both Harrison and Johnson. Indeed, historians are unanimous that the battle of Moraviantown was essentially won by Johnson's men alone. Richardson is plain wrong on this as he was in his figures at Detroit.

    We can agree that Richardson was a gifted novelist with a delightful writing style but as a historian he oscillated the facts freely for his own ends.

    Another major error is found on p 27 of CC where he describes the arrival of Dickson and a horde of 1200 western Indians (Sac, Fox, Menominee and even Sioux) in the fall of 1812. In fact, Dickson was on his way to Quebec City at this time and these tribesmen would not arrive until eight months later.

    Not only did these not arrive until the following year but R. also fails to mention that in the fall, Tecumseh abandoned the alliance (on hearing about Prevost's armistice). Thus Procter found himself facing the 2nd NW army with only 300 redcoats, the local militia and the tribes of the immediate area, hard-pressed to halt the American advance. Tecumseh would remain absent for seven months but on hearing of Frenchtown, he would rejoin his allies, although more suspicious of British intentions to keep Brock's promise.

    Richardson duplicates the error of wesrern Indians' arrival in R's War; however, I believe his error to be an honest of faulty memory since it actually detracted from the dramatic victory of Frenchtown in which he took part.

  30. The numbers I cited and that Richardson cited are from Harrison's report p239 of War of 1812. As for Dickson, Richardson wrote about this period [not the fall of 1812] which reminds us that he was not writing a history of the war.

  31. The difficulties with Richardson's writings on the War of 1812 are that historians have relied on his assertions exclusively. As Richardson wrote Canadian Brothers not as history but historical fiction, the real culprit is not Richardson but those lazy historians who failed to distinguish. On the other hand, he certainly presented War of 1812 as history since it was intended to be taught in schools as such.

    In any event, as there is no single comparable primary source to deny or refute his assertions, secondary writers have freely incorporated his opinions as fact. That is where his damaging views on Procter have created a very skewed version of events.

    That is why I have spent thirty years gathering the much scattered materials, to systematically reconstruct the events. In the process, Richardson's errors and bias became evident in CC, R's War, Eight Years, Canadian Brothers, etc.

    This discussion has produced a significant benefit. Your reprint of Canadian Campaign has brought to light something new, unmentioned on any accounts, mine included.

    It is the fresh first hand details contained in his letter to the /New Monthly Magazine/ (in response to the one by the "stripling"). Of particular interest is his view of the matter (a big deal in the Madison propaganda press) of the "massacre" after the battle of Frenchtown. As none of his other writings discuss this event (I always wondered why not), it provides further illumination to that controversy. His details on the "massacre" not only support the other accounts that I have encountered but provide further details.

  32. Sandy Antal’s A wampum Denied gives a good account of the American propaganda taxing the British with inhumanity after the Battle of the Raisin in “After Frenchtown.” We have seen the American propaganda machine in operation after attacks on Grenada, Panama, Haiti, the first and second wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and through all American wars such as Vietnam, the Spanish-American War [when the term “yellow journalism” was coined] to the American Revolution. As the late writer Gore Vidal said, “The only art form that Americans have invented is the television commercial.” Antal has shown that Procter expected Harrison’s troops to arrive at the scene of the Battle within hours of his leaving. He needed every available man. Those who stayed behind to keep guard over the wounded prisoners disappeared as 200 Wyandot warriors came into the encampment during the night; they would have been quickly dispatched had they opposed them. Dr. Richardson and his young son John, unaware of the closeness of Harrison’s relieving force as neither were privy to the staff officers’ intelligence communications, were understandably upset by the massacre, and, knowing the Indians’ hatred for Americans, who had butchered Indian families without a second thought, complained that Procter should have arranged for their protection. I cannot see that their anger against General Procter was bias. Harrison’s relief force retreated rather than advanced, thus the guarding of the wounded by a large force turned out to be the wiser choice.

    As for the number of American forces at Moraviantown, Antal writes: ‘Harrison left Sandwich with 3500 men, which were reduced to “something above 3000” by the 5th. This is an accurate estimate.... Procter’s estimate agrees with Harrison’s figure of three thousand Americans facing him on the battlefield.’ [p.337] John Richardson in “A Canadian Campaign”, which became his book, The War of 1812, with editing and additions, does not give a figure for the mounted infantry overrunning the British and Indians. Nor does he edit a figure into the account in The War of 1812. He does cite the figures in “Rebuttal of Procter’s Defense” appended to his account in The War of 1812. Antal agrees with him and with Harrison that Harrison pursued the British with 3000 men; he disagrees with Harrison and Richardson [who took the figures from Harrison] on the number of mounted infantry charging the British lines. Antal takes his figures [600 mounted infantry] from Warburton, Procter’s second in command, and Captain Dixon from testimony they presumably gave at Procter’s court martial. {Was Warburton, taken prisoner and carried to Kentucky, actually at the trial?} Antal calls Warburton’s estimate of Americans pursuing the British [6000] “grossly inflated.” Why would he believe Warburton’s figure for those numbers charging the British line? Moreover how could Warburton and Dixon who were overwhelmed in two minutes know the number of mounted infantry charging through their ranks? Contention over the correct number of enemy charging the line cannot distract from Procter’s poor leadership. The Prince Regent expressed “high disapprobation of his conduct”. He condemned Procter’s judges for “mistaken lenity.” Col. Maclean, Procter’s staff officer, claimed that Procter was on bad terms with his regiment: “Discontent and dissatisfaction corrode discipline.... The bands of discipline were relaxed, and broke at the first strain, and the result was ruin.” {William F. Coffin, The War and Its Moral}

  33. Antal’s assertion [after Ensign Cochran] that “An Officer’s Diary” added by Richardson to The War of 1812 was written by Richardson [A Wampum Denied, p324] and thus animadversions uttered against Procter cited therein are suspect, William Coffin describes a confrontation between Tecumseh and Procter which Colonel Elliott translates. “Procter in a passion turned on Elliott with “Sir, you are a traitor.” Elliott instantly, half drawing his sword, answered, “Sir, you [shit] short and not sweet.” Procter put his hand on his sword hilt.” Officers intervened. Elliott called Procter out but Procter did not oblige. Elliott would have delighted in repeating the Prophet’s desire to tear off Procter’s epaulettes. Why should one believe Ensign Cochran, who must have written his “Notes on Richardson’s War of 1812” after he returned from army service in Asia in 1845 and long after the events. Antal calls Cochran’s 1814 narrative of the war “abounding in material inaccuracies.” Why think he could be more accurate after 30 years. Also, for those who have read my biography of Richardson, The Canadian Don Quixote, recall that Richardson was “at war” with much of the British Army at this time, and, like many career officers, Cochran followed ”silent” orders to try to discredit him. To say that Richardson would quote an anonymous diary, which was really by himself, in order to slander Procter is absurd. Richardson was not afraid of criticizing Procter in his own name, which he did quite forcefully.

  34. Davus has covered much ground. Amid the contradictory post war bickering over who did what, it is difficult to establish the truth.

    What I am saying is that since Richardson wrote most extensively on the matter in the west, it was his writings that historians have relied upon, sometimes exclusively. As pointed out before, many of Richardson's assertions relating to the war of 1812 are factually incorrect. This in itself is not surprising, since he wrote about the events years afte the fact. The big concern is the consistent pattern in which he ignores Procter's positive contributions while showcasing his errors in judgment. In particular, his nasty statements on Procter allegedly sacrificing the troops to safeguard his family and possessions is totally wrong and downright malicious. None of the other participants share his views on this. Nor did these points even surface at the trial. It was entirely R's fabrication, clearly aimed at lending support to his opinionated argument that Procter was a nasty piece of work.

    If every commander was assessed on the basis of his errors in jedgment, they would all be found guilty. Consider Drummond (generally considered the best of the bunch in Canada). At Lundy's Lane did he take the best measures conceivable when he left his artillery exposed and captured? Or at Ft. Erie when he sent the troops against the walla with ladders that did not reach the top. Having ordered the men to remove their flints, they found themselves milling around outside the walls and shot down like dogs. Drummond blamed this defeat on the "disgraceful conduct" of the troops. Yet no disciplinary action was taken while historians regard him as the best all-round British commander of the war.

    How about Prevost's even more srious bungles at Sackett's Harbour and later, Plattsburg where he lad the largest professional army ever assembled in North America into defeat.

    This same Prevost who expected Procter to sustain himself on unfulfilled promises was quick to blast Procter in public general orders on the basis of doubtful accounts before even receiving Procter's official report of the action at Moraviantown? Moreover when required to press charges, it took him a year to do so. Those charges were also peculiar. One would expect things like "cowardice" or "negligent performance of duty". Instead, we see him holding Procter against impossible standards: "did not take the best measures conceivable." Nonetheless, Procter was acquited of 11 of 15 specifications, while the Prince Regent threw out one more, leaving three guilt findings. Note that London was not surprised by the defeat in the west and hastened to tell Prevost not to lay blame on Procter, his officers or men. But that direction arrived too late as Prevost had already put thing into motion. On receiving the trial findings, the Prince regent had the option of ordering a new trial (and tying up senior commanders time for six more weeks in wartime) or upholding the findings. He split the difference, by reducing the guilty findings, along with the punishment (to a reprimand, alone). While that is how the wheels of military justice work, it has been widely recognized that the entire exercise was engineered by Prevost to divert attention from his direct role that left Procter in an impossible situation.

    I still don't think you understand that R's crediting 3000 Americans dashing through the British lines is plain wrong, aimed at absolving the troops (himself included) from blame.
    The entire battle was fought only by Johnson's regiment, half of which (some 500) dealt with the British line. There is absolutely no argument on this head among historians at large. Whatever his reason, R is simply wrong on this and other points, yet, far from admiting uncertainty, he represents such major points as undeniable fact which he peddled as history to be taught in schools!

  35. Davus: Lets put the American troop numbers to bed. Richardson criticised Harrison for giving the British line as 600 when it was only 450. But then he goes on to say "3000 Americans dashed through the British line". In this he is misrepresenting Hrrison's report as Harrison never said that! What he did say was his combined force on site was 3000 of which he employed only the mounted infantry (about a third of his total).

    Further to my last, I wanted to comment on some of your other points. I am aware of the comments you mention(Squire Reynolds, Coffin st al)
    On Elliott,I have no doubt that the incident occurred but what was it about? Reynolds does not tell us but it is easy to guess. Elliott was so long associated with the tribesmen that Brock declared him "biased in everthing as relates to the Indians". So much so that when Procter's guns could not batter down the walls of the largest wooden fortification built anywhere in North America, he supported Tecumseh's insistence that something must be done to reduce Ft. Meigs (located in the heart of Indian territory). Yet, there was no meaningful alternative. That said, Elliott was not very helpful in siding with Tecumseh at a time when allied relations were already strained. Note that Procter had wanted to destroy this fort in the winter while building but Prevost would not allow it. He held back the troops, declaring the venture "too hazardous." This incident merely underlines the mess that Procter contended with -left to maintain an ambitious promise by Brock to the Natives that went unresourced by Prevost, leaving him dependent on tribesmen who were demanding in the extreme. Richardson was oblivious to all this.

    Coffin's inclusion of the M'Clean interview is significant. Unlike Richardson's youthful reminiscences based on a worm's eye point of view, McLean was Procter's aide, a fly on the wall, privy to the command correspondence and decision making. His observation that discipline collapsed during the Thames campaign is likely. By this time, many of the soldiers were barefoot, their uniforms in rags. They had not been paid for six and even nine months. Under these circumstances the morning inspections were allowed to lapse since they could not be held responsible for their sad appearance. So yes, discipline was relaxed, a fatal thing in the British army but what was the alternative?

    For a new view of all this, you (being a literary man) might want to google ///Procter's Ghosts/// on the internet. It is an interesting take on Procter's experience but done through a play. The writer had a reasonable understanding of the complexities Procter faced. In the play, Procter is in his final years, contemplating his fate. After taking some medicine, three ghosts appear to him -Brock, Tecumseh and Prevost. Each appears in succession and each expresses regret at how things turn out. Brock (who believed all things possible) regrets learning the limits of possibility and leaving Procter with a mess. Tecumseh regrets his failure to understand the importance Procter's proposal to attack Erie (where the US ships were built). Prevost regrets that priorities prevented him from supporting Procter properly and also for putting the blame on him. Procter forgives them all but interestingly, his wife, Elizabeth, forgives all except Prevost.

  36. Sorry Sandy, you are misquoting figures. Richardson does not say that the British did not number 600; he says that of the 600, quoted by Harrison, many were sick and wounded and lists the number of officers and rank and file which my calculator adds up to 367 [not 400] who were capable of fighting. [War of 1812 p220]. Two pages later he writes that 1,500 mounted rifle men dashed through the front line of British "composed of something less than 200 men." Harrison said that the mounted rifle men were about 2,500 [more than 3,000—620]. Harrison sent the mounted men against the British line but, as I wrote earlier with one line behind the other so that Richardson's figure of 1,500 under Harrison was correct; the other line of 1000 under Johnson had trouble with the Indians.

    McLean was severely critical of Procter who demoralized his troops; this had nothing to do with rags etc.

    I think I have cleared Richardson's reputation of preformed bias against General Procter.

  37. No! No! No! To get correct numbers, one must look at the actual returns of the day. These are contained in appended to the Procter court martial transcripts which clearly show the British in two lines mustering 429 OR's and 22 officers. There can be no doubt about this one.

    Harrison's letter implied 600 were captured that day when that number was actually an aggregate total of those taken on the entire campaign (150 in the boats alone). He certainly did not have 2500 mounted rifle men as his army left their horses corralled on the Portage Peninsula prior to crossing Lake Erie. Where did you get such a number?

    Harrison specifically mentioned that the only horse, a pony, that he found on crossing was given to the elderly Shelby. These were then joined by Johnson's 900 mounted men who crossed over at Detroit.

    The remaining 246 which marched into Ancaster were mainly the advanced elements of the retreat (ie regimental hospital, support staff etc) joined by those who eluded capture on the field.

    These are not just my figures. Sugden's //Tecumseh's Last Stand// reflects these numbers too.

    As for the Americans you must quote Richardson's assertion in its entirety. On p. 222 he writes "...3000 men, 1500 of whom were mounted riflemen, dashed through the front line."

    As stated earlier, R is wrong on both points. First, Harrison did not have 1500 mounted men, only 900. Second, it was only some 500 dashed through the line as the remaining mounted men took on the tribesmen in the swamp. AS (Richardson is very muddled on all this. His story is at odds with the official accounts.)

    If you read the other principal American accounts (McAffee, Johnson's report etc.) you will find my numbers confirmed.

    My point is that in this and the other cases, Richardson oscilates the facts to suit his particular argument.

  38. Sandy, your point is not taken. Richardson only had HARRISON'S REPORT ON NUMBERS WHICH HE USED CORRECTLY. He did not try to mislead, obfuscate, etc. He did not try to defame Procter but he did express his opinion of Procter once he had the documents. I sense that you are trying to lessen the charges against Procter by blaming Richardson for some imagined denigration of Procter that influenced all historians thereafter. You are accusing later historians of inadequate research, and blame Richardson for their research. No one questions that 3000 Americans were involved, but you question if there were 1500 mounted rifle men dashing on the British line which Procter says overwhelmed the British within a minute. Whatever the numbers, they can not be read as Richardson's bias against Procter. Richardson was concerned with the reputation of the 41st regiment after its bad showing in this disastrous battle. Procter earned his anger since Richardson's life and the lives of his fellow officers were at stake and the reputation of his regiment had been sullied. If you think he overstated the number of mounted rifle men, you should be happy as that helps give Procter some cover—that is, overwhelmed by more Americans and more excuse for losing and running away. I leave this discussion with a request that interested readers will read the material and draw their own conclusions.

  39. Davus: since we have beaten the thing to death I am more than willing to put it to bed. But I am disappointed at your narrow view of things and your refusal to accept some quite apparent and widely recognized aspects of the Richardson legacy. The following points apply.

    A. Richardson's bias (as evidenced by the conspicuous and consistently negative portrayals of Procter) is self evident and well known among historian circles (ie the DCB entry on on Procter). Quite simply he ignores Procter's quite commendable role in the crucial opening phase of the war and nit picks his subsequent role for things that are readily overlooked in other commanders.

    b. Richardson's self acknowledged bias originates with his perceived sense of unfairness in not having his services at Ft. Meigs recognized. He wrongly concluded that Procter favoured his own son, something disproven above.

    c. Richarson's writings done many years after the fact contain significant factual errors. While this might be explained by the fact that he was not privy to the specific events, he shoots himself in the foot with his sanctimonious tone of absolute certainty when too often his facts are quite erronious.

    d. While Richardson's account is rich in minute detail, his writings make no mention of the two overriding considerations associated with the war in the west regarding the Native connection -Brock's commitment to recover Native lands and his cession of Michigan territory toward that end. Anyone who does not see the struggle in this context essentially misses the boat. Thus R depicts the crisis at Amherstburg as a question of fighting or not fighting. This is simplistic to the point of childish. The argument was about how to keep Brock's commitment when winter was approaching and there was no food to be had.

    e. As there were no comparable works extant, historians (with a couple of noteworthy exceptions ie Berton, Lauriston and Couture, have) relied exclusively on Richardson's account for the war in the west, regurgitating his skewed and biased perceptions as a convenient alternative to balanced research. As noted, the best and most extreme example of this is J. McKay Hitsman's //Incredible War of 1812// whose sole authority for the war in the west was R.

    f. I have not spent much time delving into R's psychological makeup (it being beyod my scope) but the pattern of his behaviour reveals something between hypersensitivity and a persecution complex. It was unusual for a British officer to go public over a personal(promotion related)feud with Gen. de Lacey, his commander in Spain. Loose cannons were not appreciated in the army and it comes as little surprise that R's military career ended.

    g. The pattern becomes even more apparent upon his return to Canada where he engaged in numerous feuds over slights to his sense of self importance. Indeed, his remaining life was punctuated by quarrels over issues that most would let pass. In //General Brock and the 41st Regiment// he even criticized Brock's assessment that "the 41st was an uncommonly fine regiment but wretchedly officered//. What Brock was saying was that the 41st (like the 49th) was short of experienced officers. But the sensitive Richardson took the worst possible interpretation to criticize and contradict Brock as well as Tupper (Brock's nephew/biographer) for not suppressing the statement.

    Richardson was a gifted and prolific writer and I would be the first to say that he deserves more credit as Canada's first novelist than he received. But his historic works (as relating to the war of 1812) are flawed, being error-ridden, self-serving and highly opinionated. By the way, on his impact on subsequent accounts of the war, google //Procter's Ghosts//.

    Good night!

  40. Wow! Sandy Antal has it in for John Richardson, even to the point of psychoanalyzing him.

    We are concerned here with Richardson’s so-called bias. For his troubles in Spain, Montreal, St Catharines and New York city, I refer the reader to my biography of Richardson, The Canadian Don Quixote, available from

    When a general is court-martialed for charges brought by his own staff officers, found guilty, and is strongly condemned by the Prince Regent later to be George IV in that age of reverence for authority, the critical comments of a Brockville-based Canadian writer twenty-seven years later can have had little if any influence in the greater world, especially as its distribution was minuscule. It is very important to note that Richardson’s anonymously published A Canadian Campaign of 1826-27 which he reissued with some editing and additions and documentation as his War of 1812 in 1841 [which is the subject of Antal’s criticism], did not criticize General Procter. If Richardson wished to blacken Procter’s name, this article in a prestigious London periodical would have been the time and place to do it. Only many years later after Richardson had seen the documentation provided to him by the Canadian archivist, Winder, did he reveal Procter’s character and flight.

    In the 1840s Procter, a forgotten figure, was not the issue, however; the pride of the 41st Regiment was. The regiment’s quick defeat at the Battle of the Thames was the greatest humiliation suffered by the British army in its history. Procter, as its commanding officer and responsible for its deployment in battle, must take the blame for this debacle.

    Major Sandy Antal’s claim of bias on Richardson’s part seems to stem from A.M.J. Hyatt’s defensive biography of General Procter for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, who wrote: “... the censure seems to derive mainly from John Richardson’s vitriolic criticism, which was apparently caused by Procter’s failure to praise sufficiently Richardson’s role in the fighting on the Maumee River.” There is no evidence for this assertion.

    This discussion brought to my attention The Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin, picaresque reflections on an army career by a major in the 41st Regiment which like Richardson expresses admiration for the noble-looking Saukie Indians when Ravelin fought alongside them in the Right Division as did Richardson. The book was printed in London, England in 1823, reprinted in 1824 and issued in German translation in 1825. The latter edition alone gives the author’s name as “G. Procter, novelist.” I pursue the interesting thought that the real author was John Richardson in the following entry.

  41. Major Antal informs us that George Procter was the nephew and son-in-law of General Henry Procter and that The Lucubrations were actually written by General Procter and published by his nephew. George Procter, who was the same age as Richardson and must have known Richardson very well when they fought alongside one another in the 41st Regiment, wrote no novels. The History of the Ottoman Empire issued in 1854, Dissertation on the State of Europe at the Fall of the Roman Empire of the West printed in Historical Essays in 1859 and History of the Crusades, their Rise, Progress and Results published in 1854 all by Colonel George Procter appeared long after the death of General Procter’s nephew, George, in 1842, and consequently cannot have been written by him. Was there another Colonel Procter, who like Richardson, was interested in the Crusades?

    The Lucubrations refer to subjects dear to Richardson’s heart and which he wrote about in his essays and novels; for instance chivalry, knights in the middle ages, even mentioning Mills’ History of the Crusades which Richardson cites in his novel The Monk Knight of St John [1850], Colonel Picton and the Peninsular War, the exploitation of an innocent girl by an officer libertine, the West Indies “climate where vice and disease, debauchery and death, go hand in hand.... utterly depriving [the private soldier] of the shadow of hope that he one day may return to his native land,” and the American Indians in exact sentiments that Richardson expressed in his acknowledged writings, even referring to Norton, whom Richardson knew well, and to the skinning of Tecumseh.
    Most of the book’s subjects would not have interested General Procter whose military experience was limited to North America. One passage referring to the author himself, the Major [the title-page of the first edition reads “Late Major in xx Regiment of Infantry”], records his receiving the Companionship of the Bath and the art of rising [promotion] through using the softer sex, a subtle dig at George Procter’s marriage to General Procter’s daughter.

    Could the book have been written by Richardson? If so, it is the first of his writings to be published. The German edition mentions that “Major Ravelin” modeled his style on the humorous writings of Geoffrey Crayon, [Washington Irving’s pseudonym]. Absent any evidence that George Procter could write, it is very possible that our “writer of genius” penned this humorous pastiche.

    General Procter died the year before it appeared. If his nephew George Procter was a major by then, his rise was meteoric at a time when the army was being demobilized, and he most certainly never went near the death trap of the West Indies. To credit this anonymous work to him was not beyond Richardson’s sense of humour. This bears further study.

  42. The authorship of the Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin must be, at least in great part, attributed to George Procter. His History of Italy from the Fall of the Western Empire to the Commencement of the French Revolution appeared from the same publisher Whitaker in 1825 and was inscribed by him to Charles Mills, whom he had mentioned in the Lucubrations appreciatively for his History of the Crusades. The author’s complaints of military life for its dissipation and idleness and the insolence of power appear to be more Procter than Richardson. The 60-year old Ravelin’s faithful servant Havresack is obviously taken from the short play featuring Corporal Haversack which was popular then, which reveals Procter’s acquaintance with the theatre which may have been as great as Richardson’s. The section on the duplicitous Danville who ruins an innocent young woman and brings death to her honest father was a common theme of the day. “Your systematic libertine is ever a man of honour,” wrote the author sarcastically, a theme that runs through Richardson’s writings but could reflect young Procter’s thoughts as well. The disbanding of the 2nd battalion of the — Regiment with its ironic display of pennants and flags decorating the mess room makes one think of Richardson’s experience in Portsmouth with the disbanding of his 2nd battalion of the 8th Regiment. By following it up with a description of the West Indies in terms that Richardson used in his Recollections of the West Indies, the author reveals himself to be Richardson more than Procter who did not go to the West Indies. The author’s description of the Anglo East Indian, however, is more likely to have come from Procter although he had not then been to India at that time, although Richardson, who was in touch with former comrades who were there, could have met the insufferable Anglo East Indian in England just as well as Procter.

    The section on Indian Warfare begins with “However I may have wandered through the images of fancy, I shall here confine myself to the region of fact.” The observations are close to Richardson’s but certain details differ from Richardson’s such as the description of an Indian sharpshooter at the Canard River rather than the two privates who held up the American advance and the assertion that Senator Clay of Virginia possessed a razor strop made from Tecumseh’s skin.

    The section on gambling could be by Richardson because it is close to what he wrote in two novels and his protagonist here is called Frederick as is the hero in Ecartè, Richardson’s novel of gambling in Paris. But lacking definitive proof, my hunch that Richardson contributed to this book remains just a hunch. Nowhere in his writings does Richardson mention George Procter, not even in his pamphlet on Isaac Brock in which he names seventeen officers “and some half dozen others, whose names it is not necessary to enumerate—”

    The histories by Procter I mentioned in the former entry appeared after his death, but they may have been later editions or held in manuscript by his faithful publisher Whitaker and printed posthumously. George Procter does not appear in a list of Richardson’s fellow prisoners in Kentucky. Possibly he was on his uncle’s staff and escaped after the Battle of the Thames to Burlington Heights. But, at least, The Lucubrations gives prospect for future investigation into Richardson’s activities should one have the time and inclination.

  43. Davus: You have muddied the waters with speculative opinions that fly in the face of facts. As I am preoccupied with upcoming presentations, I will only identify your errors and point you toward authoritative sources.

    a. Procter's Court martial was not brought on by his officers as you assert. It was brought on by Governor Prevost who was prominent in assigning responsibility for his failures to subordinates -not just Procter but Sheaffe and de Rottenberg, as well.

    b. Your assertion that R's Canadian Campaign "did not criticise Procter" is incorrect. As you yourself had pointed out, he attributes Procter's selection of the battle site west of Moraviantown to Procter's (alleged) aim to defend his "quisine". This cheap and speculative explanation on r's partis also quite wrong. As I pointed out, Procter's effects were already well up the road, well east of Moraviantown.

    c. You say there is "no evidence" to support R's bias against Procter and that I base this viiew on Hyatt's writings. Wrong on both counts as R himself reveals the root of his enmity in his account of the battle of Ft. Meigs (Richardson's War) where he maintains he was not afforded sufficient recognition (the same complaint of de Lacy Evans in Spain).

    d. All your references to George Procter as R's peer are false. The reason that George Procter was not "prisoner in Kentucky" was that he was never in the western theatre in the first place. Thus he was not "probably on his uncle's staff." Indeed, he never set foot in North America until 1814,well after the battle of Moraviantown. He got his information on the war in the west entirely from his uncle (Henry Procter). The much more detailed Quartely Review Article "Campaigns in the Canadas" was certainly written by Henry Procter, although the editing and publishing was done by his nephew, George. For biographical info on George Procter, see Wampum Denied, p. 393, fn 61.

    e. Your assertion that Lucubrations was written by Richardson is hardly an "interesting thought"; it is utter fantasy. For an authoritative examination of George Procter's anonymous writings, see Carl. F. Klinck's excellent article "Some Anonymous Literature on the War of 1812" (Ontario History 49, no.2, (1957); 49-62 he sorts all this out.

    f. Your suggestion that Lucubrations could have been written by Richardson since General Procter had served nowhere outside of North America is (again) plain wrong since he had served not only in Ireland and New England but also in the West Indies with the 43rd Foot.

    Finally, my books are authored by Sandy Antal, not "Major Sandy Antal". That is a literary pretentiousness that Richardson afforded himself.

    Sandy Antal

  44. Sandy, I am glad you cleared up my suppositions about George Procter. His expressions were so close to Richardson’s and their interests so similar that questions arose. I read that George Procter was in Canada earlier than 1814.[Could you give us a source for checking on his career?] I read Hyatt’s article on General Procter in the DCB which referred to his service in North America not the West Indies. The sentiments expressed in Lucubrations seem so unlike General Procter who seemed not to care much for the common soldier or the North American Indian. Those sentiments, however, could reflect the thoughts of the younger generation, that is George Procter and John Richardson.

    I say again that Richardson does not criticize General Procter in “A Canadian Campaign” of 1826-27. He refers to the problems of defence at the Battle of Moraviantown and to General Procter’s court martial in a straight-forward manner: “Being subsequently tried for his conduct in this affair on charges brought by Lieutenant-colonel Warburton, inspecting field officer, and Brevet-Major Chambers, acting deputy quarter-master general, he was suspended from rank and pay for six months.” [p.51]

    I agree there is nothing more to say on the subject. Those interested, and I don't suppose there is much interest in this esoteric fact, can research the issue and draw their conclusions.

  45. Davus:

    The best info to be had on George Procter is the Klinck article I mentioned in my last.

    You have brought to light two additional errors in Richardson's account. Both have been frequently regurgitated in secondary accounts, more signs of his corrosive impact on the historical record.

    a. R is plain wrong in saying the court martial was brought on by Warburton and Chambers since both were incommunicado for a year, held in captivity in Kentucky. In the meantime, the charges were ordered by Lord Bathurst and the Duke of York in response to Prevost's representations. W and C would be released some months later that on the basis of their pre-trial statements, the charges actually formulated.

    b. R erroneously refers to the court martial recommendations rather than the findings. In fact, the Prince Regent threw out the six months suspension with pay business because of irregularities in the proceedings. He reduced the punishment to a simple reprimand.

  46. Finally I walked across the street to the Donly Museum to check the Klinck article “Some Anonymous Literature of the War of 1812” in Ontario History v.49, no. 2 (1957).

    Professor Klinck tells us that The Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin was the subtitle of “Probings by a Veteran” which appeared in the Quarterly Review in October 1822. “Probings....” was dropped when the article appeared in book form. The essay, “Indian Warfare”, in this Quarterly Review article, was altered when copied in the book by the addition of white men: Givens, Norton and Dickson, and the erasing of General Henry Procter’s name in the book version [which appeared the year after Henry Procter died].

    Klinck states that George Procter was with the 5th Regiment of Foot when it landed at Sorel in Quebec on August 7, 1813, took part in the attack on Plattsburg in September 1813, was stationed with his regiment near Montreal, and returned to Europe on June 8, 1815. Thus George Procter was not in the west, nowhere near Niagara, and could not have known Tecumseh.

    Klinck suggests that the anonymous author of “Campaign in the Canadas”, about the disastrous attack on Plattsburg with strong criticism of General Prevost, was written by George Procter, son-in-law (though not nephew) of General Henry Procter (whom he praised in the article like a good son-in-law). The anonymously-written article was printed also in the Quarterly Review in 1822.

    At the start of his article Klinck states that his attempt to identify George Procter as author of “Lucubrations...” is supposition only: “No claim to positive identification will be made, but a most interesting train of speculation . . . follows from a study of the facts . . . .” As he develops his argument he suggests that George Procter took some material for the article [and later book] from the reminiscences of his father-in-law Henry Procter before Henry died, but there is far less evidence of this than his uncertain identity of George as the author. Klinck does say that Henry Procter’s regiment was in the West Indies for seven years in the 1790s.

    Klinck’s most interesting supposition, however, concerns the anonymous author of Tales of Chivalry and Romance, published in 1826. The author, born in Quebec, wrote a long poem entitled “Tecumthe” and printed “Indian Warfare” [the same as in Lucubrations. . . printed in 1823] with it in the Tales of Chivalry and Romance. To have reprinted an article from another author’s book opened the anonymous author to a charge of theft, unless, of course, the anonymous author wrote “Indian Warfare” in the first place.

    John Richardson makes his appearance in Klinck’s article. Richardson published his long poem “Tecumseh” in 1828 and Klinck suggests there was rivalry between Richardson and the anonymous fellow Canadian poet because Richardson mentioned that he wrote his poem five years before, that is, in 1823, when he was in Paris [that is, three years before “Tecumthe” appeared]. What Klinck did not know was that John Richardson’s article “A Canadian Campaign” was printed in an English periodical in 1826-27; this was competitive with the author of “Campaign in the Canadas”, which may not have been written by George Procter but by the anonymous poet from Quebec. Stay tuned.

  47. Alan Finalyson corresponded by email with me on Richardson and John Norton.

    I re-read Norton's Journal/Diary regarding the Trip dates and visit to Askin. I can't see how he could have visited on Sept.9,1809 since he is fairly specific as to his travels. He sets out on Ap.27,1809 & I followed his trail through July. He is at a Council on Sept.27 & visiting relations by early November. Unfortunately he is not precise between July & September as to dates, but is busy visiting in the South (eg Look-Out Mt) and gives no hint of going north to visit. That's why I wonder if the year noted could be incorrect. Al.

    The diary entry date is correct. I saw it in the Ontario Archives in the 1960s when doing the research. The diary was a small notebook kept by Askin. . . I was helped when doing my research there by Dr Sprague who knew where everything was. . . David

    I also used the Norton Papers and checked the Askin Diary entry at the Archives. Clearly your citation is correct--sorry for questioning you--but I haven't been able to resolve the conflict--being at Askin's in early Sept.1809 and his Journal account which indicates his presence in the South (at a Treaty signing & Lookout Mountain area in July, p56) and another Council on Sept.27 (p73) with no indications of a visit back "home" in between. I'm going to ask Carl Benn about this to see if he can account for the conflict.
    On another note, I haven't been able to find the "Tales of Haldimand--John Norton" account of the Hamilton Spectator, Ap.14.1945 which you cited regarding Richardson's visit to Norton in 1816. This was a reprint of the Mary Hoggan letter of March 19,1913 in the Grand River Sachem but I can't find a copy of it or her earlier May 4,1904 article either.(Klinck in his "Biographical Intro" of Norton's Journal mentions them (pxci,fn2). Can you offer any direction as to where I might find copies? Thanks, Al

    I took notes on Hillhouse and Norton etc when researching for From Bloody Beginnings. I believe I saw the Sachem on microfilm in the library of Caledonia. I wasn't looking up references that Klinck made; just interested in Norton's last days in Caledonia. David

    I contacted Professor Carl Benn of Ryerson who has written about Norton & asked him about the Askin Diary reference to Norton coming to dinner when he seemed to be on his Cherokee trip. He in turn checked with Professor Tim Willig who is writing a biography of Norton. Thought you might be interested in their findings:

    My friend, Professor Timothy Willig from Indiana University South Bend – who is writing a biography of Norton – checked the materials at the Ontario Archives, and we discussed the matter over dinner last night. Basically, the entry you mentioned is not for ‘John Norton’ coming to dinner, but to ‘John Martin’ coming to dinner. The first two letters of the surname are ‘M’ and ‘a.’ As well, within a line or two of that entry in the diary, Askin spoke about the schooner Nancy, and it is very clear that his capital ‘N’ for ‘Nancy’ was a completely different letter than his capital ‘M’ for ‘Martin.’

    He follows this with the following finding in the Askin Diary:

    17 May 1810:  ‘This Afternoon Jno Norton passed on Horseback going to the Grand River he says he is returning from the Cherokee Country where he has been these 13 months.’ (And then the diary goes on to discuss the financial problem between the two men.) Al Finlayson.

    Thanks for the info. Sorry if I misled you. It looked like John Norton to me. But the reason I included it was to make the point that Askin and Norton were on familiar terms. The second entry shows that as well. The question remains—who was John Martin? 

    . . . I speak of Norton in From Bloody Beginnings and in the pamphlet "Richard Beasley and Early Days on Burlington Heights", pg 9, referring to Norton's purchases at Beasley's store.

    It will be interesting to know how Norton died—in 1832 fighting for the Cherokee cause? David

  48. Back to the Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin, supposedly authored by George Procter. With little research I found that Mary-Lu MacDonald has brought George Longmore to light, born in Quebec city in 1793, author of numerous poems published in Montreal periodicals between summer 1819 and November 1824 and most likely author of the Lucubrations. He used to signal his authorship of his anonymous poetry by plays on his name such as Longstaff when he was an officer in the Royal Staff Corps. Ravelin is an outwork constructed beyond the main fortification as a first line of defence in the parlance of military fortification in which Longmore was employed in the Royal Staff Corps; thus a hint to his identity. Longmore was in the Peninsular War and fought at Badajoz which he described in a chapter in Lucubrations. Longmore wrote “Tecumthe” [reprinted by the poetry society at University of Western Ontario]. He published Tales of Chivalry when in Scotland in 1826-7. He was in Mauritius for five years from 1827 and after the Royal Staff Corps was disbanded in 1832, he was in South Africa as a magistrate where he continued to write until his death in 1867.

    Did George Longmore know John Richardson? They probably knew of one another but were never in proximity through their military careers and consequently never met. It seems that Longmore was the author of “Campaign in the Canadas.” MacDonald unearths an interesting note from the Montreal Morning Courier of December 13, 1839 by an editorialist remarking on the scarcity of Canadian writers: “A gentleman, named Longmore, some years hence, published some poetry.” We know that John Richardson was the editor of the Montreal Courier from 1846 into 1849. We know that he was in Montreal in the first week of November 1839 and left for the West in February 1840. His connection with the paper may have given him editorial employment while in Montreal in December 1839 when he could have written the item on Longmore. He was glad to pick up payment wherever he could and he is known for lamenting the lack of Canadian authors.

    For more on Longmore see Mary-Lu MacDonald, “George Longmore: a New Literary Ancestor,” Dalhousie Review 59:2 (1979), p.265-85.

  49. On attending a wedding in Halifax on August 31/13 I took the opportunity to visit the Killam Library, Dalhousie University to see the Quarterly Review for 1822. (v.27) and peruse “Campaigns in the Canadas” which was the subject of Prof Klinck’s article “Some Anonymous Literature of the War of 1812”, in Ontario History, v.49, no. 2 and is said by Sandy Antal to be dictated by General Procter to his son-in-law George Procter. The article is a review of three books—An Account of the Military Occurrences of the Late War. . . by William James; Historical Sketches of the Late War . . . by John Lewis Thomson; The Letters of Veritas . . . Anonymous [but later identified as the Honorable John Richardson, the Montreal merchant]. Veritas’s brief book [which I read as a boy} attacked the pusillanimity of Sir George Prevost. In 44 pages [405—449], 2 pages deal with General Procter and castigate Prevost for casting the odium of failure from himself onto Procter. The anonymous author of the article writes: “With the assistance of these works and that of other sources of information, on which our readers may confidently rely, we shall proceed to offer a sketch of the war in the Canadas from its commencement to the termination of hostilities.” [p/408]. It is very unlikely that General Henry Procter or George Procter had anything to do with this review. Could George Longmore have written it? Interestingly the reviewer spells Tecumseh as Tecumthè, which is the spelling used by Longmore in his long poem on the Shawnee Chief. The reviewer’s criticism of Prevost obviously came from Veritas’s book.

    Klinck referred in his essay to the Lucubrations appearing first as “Probings by a Veteran” in the Quarterly Review, 1822, v.28, p.405-449, the same page numbers as “Campaigns in the Canadas” in v. 27. I did not find “Probings”, nor was it in the cumulative Index.

    A review article in v.27 of the Quarterly Review (p.71) of four books of tours in the United States “Views, Visits and Tours of North America,” strongly defends General Procter’s conduct at Frenchtown, claiming he did not march off his troops to leave wounded prisoners to be massacred by Indians—”a more infamous and detestable falsehood than this was never fabricated.” This reviewer may have been the same to review “Campaigns in the Canadas” and more likely to be a patriotic Englishman than General Procter or his son-in-law. His chauvinism appears again when he calls the authoress of one of the books [Fanny Wright] a pseudo-Englishwoman for praising Americans as against the English.

    Finally in “The North American Indians” [Quarterly Review, v.31, April 1824] a review of two books on the Indians, I noticed the same style as in “Campaigns in the Canadas”, particularly with the use of “our”. “Our acquaintance with the peculiarities of Indian customs and character has unfortunately in general been derived from the reports of traders—usually the most ignorant and depraved and dishonest part of the transatlantic white population; or of persons totally uneducated who have lived in captivity or from choice among them; or of well-meaning but illiterate and simple missionaries. . .” but also from “our troops on the western frontier” in the late war “in close contact . . . with the most warlike and least corrupted of their bands.” This reviewer refers to Prevost’s mismanagement after the Plattsburg fiasco and failure to answer Yeo’s charges since Prevost did not live to be tried. No resident of the Canadas would have characterized traders and captives in this manner. Veterans from the “western frontier” such as Watson were living in London then. Author John Richardson was in Paris.

  50. To continue discussing the article “The North American Indian” I quote from its pages 78 to 80 to show that the reviewer had been active on the western frontier during the late war, was curious about Indian mores and wrote very much in the style of the author John Richardson. It begs the question, how could the man who denigrated traders and captives and claim no personal knowledge of the frontier be John Richardson, the veteran of the western frontier? I assume that the reviewer, after writing the first part of the review, asked Richardson, from Paris, to write most of it. The spelling Tecumthè was not Richardson’s spelling but was the required form used by the journal.

    “The heroic and desperate spirit which animated them against their American oppressors; their mysterious and appalling mode of warfare; the native talents, the wild energy and eloquence, and the touching fate of the extraordinary man who started up as a leader among them; all these were points of new and uncommon excitement for the imagination, and gave to the nature of the service on which our troops were engaged with them, something original, and strange, and totally distinct from the ordinary operations of warfare. Opportunities were thus afforded for gaining an insight into the Indian character under some of its most striking forms; where it was thrown into fearful action, and wrought to the utmost intensity of enthusiasm and frenzy.

    . . . . The number of Indian warriors who were assembled in the summer of 1813 about the head-quarters of the right division of the Canadian army exceeded three thousand; and as they brought their squaws and children with them into the Michigan country, (of which it was intended to give them lasting possession, and thus to form a point of support for the western flank of our frontier,) the total number of their people could not be less than twelve thousand.* . . . a singularly wild and imposing spectacle. The effect was strongest by night, when the blazing watch-fire threw its red glare upon the swarthy figures which danced or grouped in indolence around it; and the sound of the war-song, the shout, the yell, were strangely varied at intervals by the plaintive cadence of the Indian flute, or the hollow tone of the Indian drum; while the dark foliage of the forest slumbering in the calm brilliance of a Canadian night, was half hidden, half revealed, as the light of the fires shot up to heaven, or sunk into gloomy embers. . . . Their warriors plunged into the forest to hunt as usual, in the intervals between the business of hostility; and the desultory expeditions on which they accompanied our troops, perfectly resembled their usual warfare, except in the scale of superior numbers. . . the vivid recollection of these scenes . . . . we may just notice one satisfactory coincidence in his [Mr. Hunter's] narrative with our own knowledge. . . . as resident with a tribe of the Osages . . . he mentions the arrival among them of the famous Tecumthè with his brother the Shawanee prophet. The object of the two chiefs in this visit, which was without success, was to induce the Osages to join the confederation of the northern Indians, in concert with the British, against the Americans. . . .Now we happen to know that Tecumthè did certainly after the capture of Detroit by our forces in August 1812, quit our headquarters there; that, proceeding down the Mississippi, he traversed an immense extent of Indian country . . . and that he did not return to the Michigan territory until the following January. . . . in general his [Hunter’s] descriptions of Indian manners and customs are minutely accurate, as far as we have been able to compare them with our own recollection and that of others.

    * Indeed, we know that above 12,000 rations per diem were, for a considerable time, issued to them, and that this number of their people was actually provisioned.”

    Richardson kept in touch with his fellow officers from the war who now lived in London and Paris.

  51. I have just returned from vacationing in London where I checked in the British Library “Some Account of the Public Life of the late Sir George Prevost, Bart. Particularly of his service in the Canadas; including a Reply to the Strictures on his Military Character contained in an article in the Quarterly Review for October, 1822. (London, T. Cadell, 1823). [This has been attributed to E. B. Brenton, assistant-secretary to Prevost).

    The Account details Prevost’s distinguished service in various islands in the West Indies, in Nova Scotia, in Martinique, and Quebec (where he won the confidence of the people which was important in the ensuing war with the Americans) and replied point by point to all the criticisms with detail and authority. Referring to the debacle of Sackett’s Harbour which was heavily defended by the Americans, the small British force at Kingston had to march several miles over the ice to U.S. territory and another 15 to the Harbour; the attack failed because of the small British force, the want of artillery, and the wind against the ship squadron which could not be brought into action. Prevost accompanied the expedition but was not in command of it. Regarding General Procter, “These operations [by Procter in the west] though not always attended with success on the part of General Procter, and though they occasioned a considerable diminution of his small force from his reported losses, were yet favorably viewed by Sir George Prevost, who, as it appears from the correspondence. . . was always disposed to give him full credit for his exertions, and to put the most favorable construction upon his failures.” [p.92] No neglect of sending reinforcements was imputed to Prevost, which is verified by Procter’s correspondence, parts of which were excluded by the reviewer writing the critical article. It was Admiral Yeo who was responsible for sending reinforcement of sailors to Barclay on Lake Erie, following Prevost’s instructions. Prevost gave his generals “discretionary orders” because of the long border with few men defending it but did not discourage aggressive action. “It was in fact the prompt and decided measures of Sir George Prevost, as soon as the truth, with regard to General Procter’s defeat, was made known to him, that alone prevented General Vincent from continuing his retreat, and led to those offensive operations which followed shortly afterwards on the Niagara Frontier, and which, not withstanding the attempt made the Reviewer to give sole credit of them to General Vincent and Colonel Murray, originated in the instructions which the former officer had received from General de Rottenburg, then commanding in Upper Canada.” [p.118].

    The Account adds the findings of the Court Martial on Procter held in Montreal from Dec 21, 1814 to Jan 28, 1815 and adds a comment on the 5th Charge of his failure to rally the troops for the battle, which the Court found was not proven. The Judge Advocate officiating at the trial, nevertheless, stated strong arguments for making the charge, and that failure of proof in support of it was “partial.”

  52. In an interview conducted by Allen Gregg, Gregg stated that Tecumseh did not speak English. Presumably he was quoting from some writing on Tecumseh. In my book, From Bloody Beginnings, I referred to Tecumseh's addressing the Six Nations on Burlington Heights in English as reported later in life by Hannah VanEvery, one of Richard Beasley's daughters, from her experience. Since Tecumseh's family was intermarried with the Irish McKees [as related in my book McKee Rankin and the Heyday of the American Theater] with whom he had much interaction and since John Richardson claimed that Tecumseh regarded him as a favourite [vide, my biography of Richardson and Richardson's A Canadian Campaign] and Richardson spoke no Shawnee, it seems Tecumseh, who spoke other Indian languages, must have spoken English. Possibly because on formal occasions, such as interacting in diplomatic or military exchanges, Tecumseh used his language and relied on an interpreter to relate the correct meaning [eg. Matthew Elliott] it was construed that Tecumseh did not speak English.

  53. Jonny Silver, a film producer and director, wanted to make a film of Richardson’s “Westbrook” for the commemoration of the War of 1812 but the Canadian government, so supportive of other projects, told him his application was too late and thus this worthwhile endeavor lies in abeyance. Johnny has been teaching film in Haiti for some time and has offered the idea to anyone who could make the film, anyone, that is, with the talent to make it a first-rate entertainment which is what the story and Richardson deserve. I submit here the presentation which Jonny compiled.


    WESTBROOK, THE OUTLAW or THE AVENGING WOLF written by Canada’s first novelist, Major John Richardson, was lost for a century until it surfaced at an auction in its original serial form from an 1851 New York newspaper. The discovery was made by scholar, Dr David Beasley who went on to publish the work along with the author’s other five novels, and who wrote the definitive Richardson biography, “The Canadian Don Quixote; The Life and Works of Major John Richardson, Canada’s First Novelist.”

    Richardson was born in 1796 at Fort George, Upper Canada, in what is now, Niagara-on-the-Lake. A Scottish doctor’s son but from a line of Irish fur traders on his mother’s side, Richardson also had native blood from his grandmother who was a member of the Ottawa tribe. He saw duty as a professional soldier in the Loyalist forces defending Canada in the War of 1812 and later served in England, France, Spain and Barbados. He was an adventurer, dreamer, gambler, duelist, landowner, political activist and correspondent for the Times of London; “a man whose life was filled with dramatic events, whose career brought him in contact with important historical figures and episodes, and who first showed that Canadian history was interesting enough to be matter for literature.”

    Opportunities were non-existent for writers in nineteenth century Canada so Richardson was forced to relocate to New York to find publishers for his works. It was there he penned, WESTBROOK, THE OUTLAW, his last novel, and darkest among his adventure stories. It was set during The Battle of Longwoods, a key border skirmish of the 1812 war in which Richardson had fought, and was based on a real character, Andrew Westbrook, a traitor who aided American raiding parties in revenge for a dispute with Upper Canada authorities. Whereas, the real Westbrook fled to the US to escape prosecution, in Richardson’s fictionalized version, he meets brutal punishment and death. The year after the 1852 publishing of WESTBROOK, Richardson died in New York, penniless and in obscurity.

    Dr David Beasley

    He is an expert on the history of Upper Canada and the War of 1812 specializing in the geographical location of his family roots in Southern Ontario. "From Bloody Beginnings," his sprawling family saga told from the point of view of his loyalist great-great-great grandfather, and, "Sarah's Journey," his novel about a Virginian slave woman who finds freedom in Upper Canada, exemplifies how rare and compelling his particular brand of scholarship is. Beasley unearthed the lost works of Major John Richardson (1796-1852), Canada's first novelist, and went on to write the definitive biography of Richardson entitled, "The Canadian Don Quixote." In it, Beasley introduced to the world the colourful figure of Richardson, a man who fought in the War of 1812 and who used the war as the backdrop for one of his novels, "Westbrook, The Outlaw or, The Avenging Wolf." Beasley published this book along with Richardson's other five novels and remains the foremost authority on Richardson's life and works..

    Jonny’s Outline for the film is too long to transmit here. Anyone seriously interested in developing the film can get in touch with me and I shall send it to him or her.

  54. On June 11, 2013 of this Newsletter [back a few entries] I entered correspondence with Alan Finalyson about mistaking an entry in John Askin's diary—that is John Martin for John Norton. I then asked who was John Martin and recently came across an entry in my notebooks taken some years ago which answers my question.
    In reference to whom John Martin may be, I happened to be perusing one of my notebooks and discovered his name. From Canadian Geographer v.19 Land Speculation in Upper Canada (1975); “Askin 1786 partner in Miami and Wabash River Co.—with 6 leading Detroit firms: John Askin, Leith and Shepherd, James Abbott, Angus McIntosh, Meldrum and Park, Sharp and Wallace.
    Askin—County of Kent see E J. Lajeunesse (ed) The Windsor Border Region (Toronto 1960) p. cxvi. Wm Robertson and John Martin had separate agreements with Askin. Askin also linked to James McGill and Issac Todd, founder of the North West Company.”
    Thus Martin was a dealer in land and more may be discovered about him in the Lajeunesse volume.

    I found too that I noted “Teller of Tales” an anthology by Somerset Maugham had the first story by Walter Scott, “Two Drovers” in which a Highland drover takes in revenge the eye of an Englishman, one who had been his friend—remarks “Revenge must have been as familiar to their habits of society [i.e. Highland Society] as to those of the Cherokees or Mohawks.” Norton knew Walter Scott. Could it be, wondered a commentator, that this sentence in the story was based on information that Norton had given him? It reminds me of Richardson’s Wacousta in which, I show, Richardson fashioned the Scottish-Indian warrior after Norton. At the end of the story Wacousta’s earlier life as a soldier in Scotland is revealed and the reason for his revenge on the commander of the Fort Niagara explained—that it was in revenge for the commander as a young officer and close friend stealing away his fiancé.

    Another coincidence: Lt-Col. Charles Bain, graduate of Edinburgh University, a lawyer, a mason in the same Lodge as Walter Scott and Col. Heywood, whose name and his daughter Amy are in Scott’s Kenilworth. Charles Bain acquired Hillhouse, 975 acres on the river road near York village, which had been the home of John Norton. Apparently Norton bought the land from Henry Nelles who bought it from old Mrs. Young who leased it from the Six Nations Indians. Norton, when he had to flee Canada after killing Joe in a duel, left his affairs in the hands of Robert Thomson. Joe was a cousin to Katie Mous Norton over whom the duel was fought. Their son tried to get their Cayuga friends to negotiate with Joe’s angry family while Norton was at the Forty (Niagara). Thomson wrote to Norton that to conciliate Joe’s family he settled on Joe’s widow and children a portion of grain yearly. Abraham Nelles took possession of Norton’s property and put a tenant on it. Bain must have bought it shortly afterwards. Bain and his family must have known Norton’s story because in the May 4, 1904 issue of the Grand River Sachem Col. Bain’s widow refuted an article by a Nelles in the previous issue which told of the duel. She said that Katie Norton, upon whom Norton left a fixed income, married a white man later. The Norton’s son married Ann Logan, grandchild of Lord O’Connor of Sligo, Scotland.

  55. Chicago Daily Journal, December 18, 1856

    “Benefit of Mr. J. H. Wright – The New Historical Drama of “Chicago in 1812,” or the “Massacre of Fort Dearborn,” is to be performed tomorrow evening at Mr. Rice’s Theatre, for the Benefit of Mr. J. H. Wright. It will be produced with new costumes, and new scenery painted by Mr. R. S. Smith. Among the latter is a beautiful view, by moonlight, of Fort Dearborn and the Lake Shore, as they appeared in 1812. The play is founded upon Major Richardson’s celebrated historical romance of Wau-nan-gee. Every citizen of Chicago will wish to witness this dramatic embodiment of the thrilling scenes of its early history.”

  56. I received the following email recently and because it adds to the richardson story I include it in the Newsletter with my response.

    Dear David

    I have just read your book about John Richardson and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it.  What a fascinating character! What great research you have undertaken.  I came by your book because I was delving into some family history and John Richardson was married to my great great grandfather Frederick's older sister Maria Caroline, so it was good to read about her too. I can't add anything to your research but that generation of Draysons has proved to be so interesting. Maria's younger brother Alfred Wilks Drayson became a well-known writer himself and wrote an early novel based on his experiences in South Africa.  He is also credited with having introduced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to spiritualism.  I am sure Maria would have written to her family - what a pity none of her correspondence has survived.

    Best wishes

    Sally Wilks (Drayson)

    Hello Sally, thanks for your email. I’m glad you liked the book. Did you read the 1977 edition or the later 2004 edition? Richardson has been an ongoing proposition to find answers to some of the gaps in our knowledge of him. I found several more things between the editions. Years ago I was interested in Alfred Wilkes and collected his articles on spiritualism and read his books on whist etc but I was interested in his astronomy as it related to spiritualism. It is a project I have put in abeyance all these years. Rear Admiral Edwin Drayson was a great help to me and he it was who informed me of Cooksditch and the Drayson—Norton connections, which I knew when the first edition appeared but included only in the later edition. It had importance for the Wacousta novel. In March I was in Leamington trying to find more about Jane Marsh in vain. As you see from my web site I reprinted several of Richardson’s works; they are worth reading. Years ago I received a letter from one of the Drayson descendants who said she worked in the government and had information about Richardson but although I wrote to her I heard nothing more. One of the side issues turned up in the research was the book kept by Major William Drayson tracing the family back to the early knights. Edwin lent it to a pastor and after my enquiries had to advertise for it in the newspapers. He received it back from the parson’s widow and gave it to his niece. I hope you will inform me if you come across information about Major John. Sincerely, David Beasley

  57. Perusing my notes about Procter, brought about by my rereading of the exchange in this blog with Sandy Antal, I think it useful to repeat here the findings on the charges brought against Procter in his court martial in Montreal on Dec 21, 1814, continued by adjournments to Jan 28, 1815 as reprinted in Some Account of the Public Life of the Late Sir George Prevost, Bart. Particularly of his services in the Canadas; including A Reply to the Strictures on his Military Character contained in an article in the Quarterly Review for October 1822 [London; T. Cadell, 1823]
    Charged with not immediately retreating after the loss of the fleet on Lake Erie but delaying from 10 to 27 of September when the enemy landed near Sandwich, Procter was not guilty.
    Charged with not taking proper measures to conduct the retreat, Procter was guilty.
    Charged with not securing boats, provisions and so on, Procter was guilty.
    Charged with assuring the Indians that the forks of the Thames river would be fortified and failing to do so and with neglecting to occupy the Heights above Moravian Village, Procter was guilty of neglecting to occupy the Heights, halting the Division two miles from the Village in an unfavorable position.
    Charged with failing to take a proper military disposition to resist attack, Procter was guilty. He did not rally his men or cooperate with the Indians. His judgment was “erroneous”; he was deficient in the energetic and active exertion required. The court ruled that his failure to rally his men was not proven, though the Judge Advocate officiating at the trial stated the arguments for making the charge were strong.
    Procter was publicly reprimanded and suspended from Rank and Pay for six months but the court acquitted him of “defect of personal conduct.” The Price Regent expressed “high disapprobation” of his conduct, accused the Court of “mistaken lenity” and ordered the findings to be entered into the General Order Book and read at the Head of every Regiment in His Majesty’s Service.

    I am, however, very interested in pursuing the Longmore—Richardson connection brought to light by my interchange with Sandy Antal. What connection did George Procter have with them? Why did George Procter’s historical works appear many years after his demise? Herein lies more information about Richardson. If anyone can help with the investigation, please reply.

  58. Last fall, of 2015, the journalist Richard Gwyn spoke to the members of the Norfolk Historical Society in Port Dover about his biography of John A MacDonald, Canada’s first prime minister after Confederation in 1867. Mr. Gwyn emphasized MacDonald’s foresight and dedication to the process. In the question period, I asked whether he knew of any influence of Lord Durham on MacDonald because of Durham’s vision for such a union thirty years earlier when he was Governor-General of Upper and Lower Canada. Gwyn was quite certain that here was no influence.
    In my biography of Major Richardson [2004 ed, p.196], I wondered about the Major’s influence on MacDonald on the issue of Confederation. Richardson revitalized the Conservatives with his Kingston, Ontario newspaper The Canadian Loyalist and Spirit of 1812 . As Corresponding Secretary of the newly-formed United Empire Association he laid the forming of the Conservative Party. He knew well the young Kingston lawyer MacDonald when MacDonald tried to defend Von Schoultz, the leader of the invasion at Prescott, from the gallows. Richardson befriended Von Schoultz and intervened with the political leaders to save him in vain. The young MacDonald joined with Richardson in the Conservative cause and seconded Richardson’s motion to support Governor-General Metcalfe against his Executive Council made up of Reformers. MacDonald undoubtedly read Richardson’s newspaper in which Richardson kept the ideas of Lord Durham alive. He had formed a close association with Durham before Durham was recalled to England. In his newspaper of December 7, 1843, Richardson wrote an article headlined “Lord Durham and the Union” in which he contradicted the statement that Lord Durham wanted the Union of the two provinces rather than the Federation of the British North American provinces. He quoted a letter from Lord Durham to him, dated at Quebec City, October 2, 1838 in which Durham wrote that the “Union was a pet Montreal project beginning and ending in Montreal selfishness.”
    Richardson hoped to be the Conservative nominee to run for the Assembly but swallowed his disappointment when the young MacDonald was selected and worked to elect him. Richardson had spent his journalistic career on pushing Durham’s goals, including for a federation of Canada’s provinces, which MacDonald must have absorbed and realized years later.

  59. Returning to the question whether John Richardson and George Longmore knew one another, we looked again at The Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin [by Late Major in the xx Regiment of Infantry] published in London in 1823.

    Mary-Lu MacDonald is right, I think, to credit Longmore with its authorship, for the most part. The first essay on retirement from the army cast Ravelin as a veteran of 37 years retired in a bucolic setting and avoiding the romantic impositions of a young Miss Bridget which caused him ‘sufferings. . . not as bad as a French prison from 1794 or Walcheren fever and ague.” Longmore was never in a French prison but he could have suffered from Walcheren fever. Walcheren is a Dutch Island that Britain invaded in late July 1809. George Longmore graduated from the Royal Military College at Great Marlowe in 1809 and joined the Royal Staff Corps as a military engineer. The British expedition was a failure owing to fever which killed over 4000 soldiers. A later essay in the book “Emily Milburne” describes the survivors of a regiment returning from the Scheldt River in the Netherlands and settling in an English village where Ravelin and an officer named Danville, enfeebled by the Walcheren fever, are nursed back to health by a young lady. Years later Ravelin learns that Danville seduced the girl and deserted her. She died and her father went mad. Longmore may or may not have been in Walcheren but he seems to have experienced the fever, whether as a survivor or a witness.

    The second essay, Literary Promotion, tells of Humphrey’s birth in 1775 and his early life, his enlistment, promotion to Lieutenant and return to England after nine years in Jamaica. He mentions the classics such as Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, Greek and Roman authors, and his efforts at writing. Longmore was born in Quebec city 1793. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1811 and fought Napoleon’s armies under Wellington in Portugal, Spain and France between 1812 and 1814. Ravelin complains that his nephew thinks his literary efforts are “horribly dry.” The essay writer’s reference to childhood and army service gives background to the fictional character of Ravelin, retired on half-pay in a rural English village. His references to the classics etc reveals Longmore’s interests.

    The following essay “Title-pages” refers to contemporary writers such as William Hazlitt, Wordsworth, Mills’ History of the Crusades, a book that John Richardson also cited as influential for him, Shakespeare, and the painters Rembrandt and Claude. Again it reflects Longmore’s interests.

    The essay “The Day of Badajos” gives Ravelin the opportunity to reminisce with his servant Havresack about 9 years before when they were on picquet before the old castle and of their friends killed in the battle. Longmore was in that battle. He uses his experience to give the old Ravelin more credence as a character.

    The Disbanding refers to the 2nd battalion of the — Regiment being reduced to half-pay at the close of 2015. The burning of the Regiment’s colours, etc happened to Richardson’s 2nd battalion of the 8th Regiment stationed in Portsmouth at this time. Longmore was stationed in Hythe, Kent, quite a distance from Portsmouth; moreover the 2nd battalion he refers to served in Spain. There were many regiments disbanded as the government had to demobilize the troops. Longmore seemed to be describing a widespread disillusionment and anger.

    The essay “The West Indies” does not reflect Longmore’s experience because he was not there. Many of the remarks in the essay could have been made by Richardson as we see from Richardson’s Notes on the West Indies.
    [continued in next submission]

  60. The Anglo-East Indians, A Welcome Visitor, and Military Life essays are reflections on the difficult personality of the former, an old friend who served with Ravelin, the miseries of campaigning and some reference to Greek literature—all in the conversational style of an old soldier. Longmore may be drawing on his military experiences and again revealing his love of literature. Unforeseen Pleasures tells of romance between an officer and a young lady, problems with creditors and with the relationship—a story told by Ravelin.

    “Indian Warfare” about the mode of warfare and character of the North American Indians reveals an intimate knowledge of the battles and actions of Right Division of the British Army in the War of 1812, which Richardson detailed in his A Canadian Campaign. This could have been written only by someone who was involved, but emphases in the essay differ from Richardson’s. For instance, Richardson saw the Saks as the finest body of men like noble Romans whereas this writer calls the “Sieus” as the finest, in terms that Richardson would have used. Longmore could not have written this essay. He could not have known Givens, Norton and Tecumseh as he was in Europe for the War of 1812 and returned to Montreal only in 1819. Richardson might have written it but it appears that someone even more aware of the actions did write it—someone who knew John Norton well, as did Richardson, and with a slightly different take on the events. Of course, this essay was written for publication in 1823. Richardson may have given his view then but later when his A Canadian Campaign appeared in 1826-7 he told another side of the same story, in which, by the way, he did not mention the Sioux.
    This leads to speculation about why Longmore would write a long poem on Tecumseh, a personage he could not have known and a part of the country he had not seen. He must have listened to someone describe Tecumseh and the war in that quarter. Richardson said he had finished his Tecumseh poem in 1823, possibly in response to the publication of Longmore’s version in Montreal in December 1824 and again in Tales of Chivalry and Romance in England in 1826. Could Longmore have listened to Richardson describe his 1812 war experiences and his close friendship with Tecumseh? If so, when? Longmore was back in England from the continent in 1815 when Richardson arrived in London. Longmore was stationed at Hythe in Kent from 1815-19 when he sailed for Canada. Richardson knew and was known by many of the military men, the dandies, the adventurers of the day in 1815 until he was shipped to the west Indies in the fall of 1816. Longmore, who had published stories of his experiences in the Peninsular War, may have crossed paths with him and Richardson been attracted to him because he was Canadian and learned in literary matters as well as a veteran of European campaigns.
    When Richardson returned from the West Indies at the close of 1818, he lived in London on half-pay before going to Paris in mid-1820. He could have known Longmore after his arrival in 1818 to June 1819 when Longmore went to Quebec with his regiment. Longmore wrote Tecumthe in 1824 before leaving for Hythe in November 1824.

    When else could they have met? Possibly in England between the summer of 1832 and November 1834 when Longmore was on half-pay in England before leaving for the Cape Colony and Richardson was volunteering at the Horse Guards in London. Richardson’s first three novels appeared between 1829 and December 1832, the last being the famous Wacousta, which Longmore would have noted.

    How is it that General Henry Proctor’s son-in-law George Proctor has been assigned the authorship of The Lucubrations? And why was he called “novelist” when the historical works attributed to him appeared years after his death? A mystery remaining to be solved.

  61. The George Procter whom I mentioned earlier as the author of historical works on the Ottomans and the Crusades printed in the 1850s published The History of Italy in 1825 under the pseudonym George Perceval. Possibly he is the G. Proctor who is credited with Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin as Procter and Proctor were interchangeable.
    I doubt that this author was the son-in-law of General Procter for reasons stated far above, chiefly being that he was dead before the histories appeared in the 1850s. There was a printer George Proctor who brought out a book in Durham in 1864. He could have printed Lucubrations thirty years earlier and been credited as the author in lieu of a single author, for I have suggested that John Richardson contributed essays to the book, which Longmore may have welcomed in addition to his own. I suggest that Richardson contributed “The Disbanding” [the notoriety of the extreme protest by Richardson’s battalion was known throughout the service and thus a subject that either Longmore or Richardson could have seized upon—more likely Richardson whose first-hand experience and fury gave him greater reason to describe it], and “The West Indies.”

    G Proctor was either the historian or the printer who collated the essays and published Lucubrations. The term “novelist” may have been a literary flourish or referred to the historian who had unpublished novels. Some day the truth will out.

    Perhaps Professor Klinck was correct in his surmise that Richardson’s note in his poem “Tecumseh”, printed in 1828, that he had written it in 1823, indicated a competition with the author of “Tecumthe” [i.e. Longmore]. It may indicate that his poem in manuscript had not found a printer in 1823 but was known to Longmore whose version of “Tecumthe,” appeared the following year in Quebec and was included in Tales of Chivalry printed in Edinburgh in 1826.

  62. Regarding the mystery surrounding the publication of the Lucubrations of Major Humphrey Ravelin in 1823, we believe that George Longmore was the main author, that John Richardson contributed to it and that George Procter, nephew of General Henry Procter was credited with writing it.

    I checked the British Army Lists for 1839 through 1843 to trace George Procter’s career. Strangely he ranks before Major are blank. He became a Major on December 26, 1837 at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst where he was Adjutant. {His Regimental Rank was Captain}. He was listed as unattached [to a Regiment]. The date of his appointment to the Royal Military College, 24 February, 1818 was given in the List for 1841. His salary was £163/2/0 per annum.

    Army Lists for the 1812 War were not available to me but assuming Professor Klinck is right, that Procter returned from Lower Canada to England in 1815, we assume that he was able to stay on full pay until he was appointed to Sandhurst in 1818. {Klinck states that George Procter was with the 5th Regiment of Foot when it landed at Sorel in Quebec on August 7, 1813, took part in the attack on Plattsburg in September 1813, was stationed with his regiment near Montreal, and returned to Europe on June 8, 1815}. Did he know George Longmore who was educated at the Junior College of the Royal Military College in Great Marlowe? Longmore graduated in 1809 and in 1811 he became a Lieutenant in the Royal Staff Corps, Quarter-Master-General’s Department at Hythe, Kent. In 1812, the Junior College left Marlowe for buildings in Sandhurst where it was joined a few years later by the Senior College. At this time, 1818, George Procter joined the College in Sandhurst as Major, no doubt to teach history. While Procter was soldiering in Canada, Longmore was soldiering as an engineer in Europe. Both returned to England. We have to discover what Procter was doing between 1815 and 1818 and what Longmore was doing between 1815 and his departure for Quebec in the summer of 1819. Since the Royal Military College was set up to train officers in engineering, it may be that George Procter was educated in the Junior College at the same time as Longmore—they were about the same age—and Procter would have needed an engineering background to join the staff at the College.

    There is no evidence that Procter wrote fiction. His first book, The History of Italy, appeared in 1825 under the pseudonym George Perceval. The military mistrusted officers who showed a scholarly talent which is why officers used pseudonyms or published anonymously as did Richardson. By 1844 when the second edition appeared, the army bias against intelligence had softened. There were six editions between 1825 and 1844, which meant that the first edition was reprinted five times, and after Procter died in 1843, a new edition appeared. His other histories, of the Crusades and of the Ottoman Empire were issued after his death and must have lain in manuscript during his life time. Procter’s will mentions his papers. One of his executors was either the widow or sister of the historian of the Crusades Charles Mills—also admired by Longmore and Richardson. The mystery deepens.

  63. From this point, we spell George Proctor with a final o rather than e, which is how he is listed in the Army Lists.

    Regarding the mystery surrounding the publication of the Lucubrations of Major Humphrey Ravelin in 1823, we believe that George Longmore was the main author, that John Richardson contributed to it and that George Proctor, son-in-law of General Henry Procter was credited with writing it.

    I checked the British Army Lists for 1839 through 1843 to trace George Proctor’s career. Strangely his ranks before Major are blank. He became a Major on December 26, 1837 at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst where he was Adjutant. {His Regimental Rank was Captain}. He was listed as unattached [to a Regiment]. The date of his appointment to the Royal Military College, 24 February, 1818 was given in the List for 1841. His salary was £163/2/0 per annum.

    Army Lists for the 1812 War were not available to me but assuming Professor Klinck is right, that Proctor returned from Lower Canada to England in 1815, we assume that he was able to stay on full pay until he was appointed to Sandhurst in 1818. {Klinck states that George Proctor was with the 5th Regiment of Foot when it landed at Sorel in Quebec on August 7, 1813, took part in the attack on Plattsburg in September 1813, was stationed with his regiment near Montreal, and returned to Europe on June 8, 1815}. Did he know George Longmore who was educated at the Junior College of the Royal Military College in Great Marlowe? Longmore graduated in 1809 and in 1811 he became a Lieutenant in the Royal Staff Corps, Quarter-Master-General’s Department at Hythe, Kent. In 1812, the Junior College left Marlowe for buildings in Sandhurst where it was joined a few years later by the Senior College. At this time, 1818, George Proctor joined the College in Sandhurst as Major, no doubt to teach history. While Proctor was soldiering in Canada, Longmore was soldiering as an engineer in Europe. Both returned to England. We have to discover what Proctor was doing between 1815 and 1818 and what Longmore was doing between 1815 and his departure for Quebec in the summer of 1819. Since the Royal Military College was set up to train officers in engineering, it may be that George Proctor was educated in the Junior College at the same time as Longmore—they were about the same age—and Proctor would have needed an engineering background to join the staff at the College.

    There is no evidence that Proctor wrote fiction. His first book, The History of Italy, appeared in 1825 under the pseudonym George Perceval. The military mistrusted officers who showed a scholarly talent which is why officers used pseudonyms or published anonymously as did Richardson. By 1844 when the second edition appeared, the army bias against intelligence had softened. There were six editions between 1825 and 1844, which meant that the first edition was reprinted five times, and after Procter died in 1843, a new edition appeared. His other histories, of the Crusades and of the Ottoman Empire were issued after his death and must have lain in manuscript during his life time. Proctor’s will mentions his papers. One of his executors was either the widow or sister of the historian of the Crusades Charles Mills—also admired by Longmore and Richardson. The mystery deepens.

  64. I checked the British Army Lists for the earlier dates at the War Museum Library in Ottawa [which has the full complement obtainable within minutes whereas it takes the National Archives 3 days to get them]. In the 1812 List George Proctor was not listed; George Longmore was a Lieutenant as of October 16, 1811 with the Royal Staff Corps.

    In the 1814 and 1815 lists, George Proctor was in the 5th Northumberland Regiment of Foot as a Lieutenant as of June 23, 1813 [after which he spent time with his regiment in Quebec]
    George Longmore was listed in 1815 as Captain as of Oct 16, 1811, which indicates he became Lieutenant and then Captain on the same day in the Royal Staff Corps.

    [As an aside in 1815 Henry Procter, son of the General, was listed as Ensign with the 41st Regiment as of January 7, 1813 (2nd battalion disbanded). John Richardson was in the 2nd battalion. In 1818, Henry Procter was a Lieutenant as of July 20, 1815 with the 64th Regiment and went on half-pay as of March 25, 1817. Possibly the influence of his father the General gave him two more years of full pay. Richardson, owing to the influence of John Norton, Chief Toyoninhokawaren, went from half-pay in 1815 to a lieutenancy in the 92nd Regiment on July 25. He went on half-pay again on October 10, 1818 owing to poor health caused by the West Indies.]

    In 1818 George Proctor was listed as a Lieutenant with the 5th Regiment as of July 20,1815. He went on half-pay on March 25, 1817. From the Army List of 1841 we had learned that he was hired as Adjutant in the Junior Department of the Royal Military College on February 25, 1818, thus he was out of the army for less than a year.

    Sir Benjamin D’Urban, who shepherded Longmore’s military career, had come off half-pay as a Major in 1800 to join the Royal Military College to instruct officers in staff duties and the higher branches of the military profession and became superintendent of the Junior Department in 1803. He left the College to go on foreign service in 1805. George Longmore, who graduated from the Junior Department in 1809, must have been there for five years at least and would have known D’Urban. In 1809 D’Urban was the Quartermaster General of the British Army in the Peninsular War and fought in all the battles as a staff officer in which Longmore was also engaged. It is presumed that the closeness of the two came about through Longmore’s marriage to D’Uban’s niece. D’Urban returned to England in April 1816 as Colonel of the Royal Staff Corps. Longmore had returned to England with the Royal Staff Corps in 1815 still a Captain. D’Urban was also Deputy Quartermaster General of the Horse Guards. The Royal Staff Corps was under the control of the Horse Guards from the time of the Commander-in Chief, Frederick, Duke of York, in 1815. Longmore, stationed in Hythe, Kent, probably visited both the Junior College in Sandhurst and the Horse Guards. It appears likely that he knew George Proctor at the Royal Military College in 1818-1819 as both were scholars and interested in literature and history. When The Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin was issued in London in 1823, Longmore was still in Quebec. He must have asked his friend, Lieutenant George Proctor, Adjutant at the Royal Military College, to oversee its publication, hence it was credited to G. Proctor, novelist.

    Lieutenant John Richardson’s contributions to the Lucubrations may have been in Longmore’s possession in 1819 before he left for Canada and before Richardson left for Paris. Longmore must have left them with George Proctor who included them in the book. Richardson’s journalism from 1818 to 1820 has not yet come to light.

  65. Allibone's Critical Dictionary of English Authors lists Colonel George Procter, Royal Military College, Sandhurst and his histories. It seems that his manuscripts of his histories of the Ottoman Empire and of the Crusades were left to Mills' widow who had them published posthumously. John Richardson's admiration for Mills' history of the crusades which he alludes to in his The Monk Knight of St John seems to put him in the Procter-Mills-Longmore circle for a time.

    1. In the Will of George Procter, obtained from the Public Record Office, Procter's connection to Charles Mills becomes clear. “I desire,” wrote Procter, “that out of the portions of those policies all my just debts shall first be discharged and the residue of these sums amounting in all to one thousand pounds bequeathed to my dear wife [Susanna, his executor] to be employed as she shall judge best for her own benefit and that of our children. The two original policies of the assurances in my own name and in the assignment of Edward Tisdoll Esq.of the order will be found with this will under the will of our dear lamented friend Charles Mills. I am entitled in case George William Mills, Catherine Edwards and Charlotte Mills all shall die without issue to one moiety of the property specified in the accompanying paper (marked cf) signed by Augustus Skottowe Esq now of HIs Majesty’s Navy Pay Office Portsmouth and myself of the order in moiety having been bequeathed in like manner to the said Augustine Skottowe,” executor of Charles Mills’ will and of Mills’ mother’s will. The closeness of the two families underscores the common interest that Charles Mills and George Procter had in the Middle Ages and the Crusades. Procter’s praise of Mills’ book on chivalry seems to have attracted Richardson to the subject and given him a lifelong interest. Richardson’s praise of Mills writings came when he wrote The Monk Night of St John at the end of his life. My interest in Procter’s will, however, is to discover any mention of manuscripts that were published posthumously. “Paper writings” testified to be in Procter’s handwriting by John Pickering and George Clarke of the Royal Military College were annexed to the will. Although these officers’ testimony pertain to the authenticity of the will, it may also refer to manuscripts in Procter’s writing that eventually appeared in print.

      Procter used the pseudonym George Perceval for his History of Italy issued in 1825. An army officer had to hide his identity when involved in any intellectual activity which was thought below an officer’s station. He may have taken the pseudonym from the English author John Perceval who published The Case of John Perceval Esquire (Dublin, 1704) regarding the breach of privilege in the House of Commons in arresting Robert Procter, Mr. Perceval’s servant.

      On a quite different subject, that is my Introduction to Richardson’s Westbrook, the Outlaw [2004 ed.] I referred to the Cloghers of Northern Ireland but should have been more specific. Richardson, I believe, was referring to Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher whom a soldier accused of sexually attacking him in the 1820s. The authorities believed the Bishop’s denial and the soldier was hanged. Later when Jocelyn was discovered with a soldier in a tavern, the authorities knew they were mistaken. Jocelyn escaped to France.
      I addition, here is a letter to the editor covering another aspect of Richardson's writings:
      Casino foreshadowed in 1829 novel
      For those opposed to or favouring a casino in downtown Hamilton, I recommend a reading of the first Canadian novel, Eearte; Or, the Salons of Paris, by John Richardson, published in London, England in 1829. The main protagonist is caught up in the gambling world with its attractions, duplicities, betrayals and fatalities in Paris during the Restoration Period. The state supported the gambling salons to help its ailing economy after the Napoleonic Wars and to attract Englishmen, who gambled away their fortunes and drowned themselves in the Seine. The novel became the theme of sermons from English pulpits and might well become a moral lesson again, since its brilliant characterizations and realism keep it alive. Hailed as "worthy of the best masters of romantic fiction," it has love and adventure to bring the heart in tune with the mind. DAVID BEASLEY .SIMCOE ON Hamilton Spectator 1/14/ 03

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  67. Those interested in Richardson will find my article "The Search for Major John Richardson's Unknown Writings" in Ontario History, Autumn 2021, surprising. I demonstrate that Richardson wrote the powerful novels The Roué and The Oxonians and that he co-authored The Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin.