The cost of loyalty: the Upper Canada Rebellion and the claims for losses commission, 1837-1840

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of New Brunswick


The Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-1838 was an armed uprising in Toronto from December 4-7, 1837, followed by the ensuing ‘Patriot War.’ Despite the shock the insurrection caused the government, notably Lieutenant-Governor Sir Francis Bond Head and the ‘Family Compact,’ the rebellion had been years in the making due to governmental injustices carried out by these individuals. In the aftermath of the rebellion, the legislative assembly of Upper Canada created a Claims for Losses Commission to handle restitution for individuals who suffered losses at the hands of the rebels. The commission not only had to contend with losses far exceeding their initial estimates, but damages caused by their own representatives. Due to the nature and number of losses, the reports of the commissioners from 1838-1840 provide tremendous insight into the impact of the Upper Canada Rebellion on common citizens, and the relationship between the governors and governed at that time.