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Les Patriotes de 1837@1838 - Leader réformiste: Anthony van Egmond (1771-1838)
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Leader réformiste: Anthony van Egmond (1771-1838)
Article diffusé depuis le 20 mai 2000
 




A veteran of the Napoleonic wars, a major land owner and a baron in one of the oldest Dutch noble families, Van Egmond would appear to have more in common with the Family Compact than the small farmers who made up most of the reform movement in Upper Canada. Born a count in the Netherlands in 1778, he followed his father into a military career and served as an officer in the Dutch army during the French invasion of 1793-94. He later served in the Dutch contingent conscripted under Napoleon and took part in the retreat from Moscow in 1812. He then joined the anti-French forces again, and with the rank of colonel, fought at the battle of Waterloo which saw the final defeat of Napoleon and the end of more than 25 years of continuous war. After the wars, Van Egmond, his wife Susanna and their children settled in Pennsylvania, but eight years later moved to the British colony of Upper Canada. In 1828, Van Egmond acquired a huge parcel of land in the what was called the Huron Tract from the Canada Company on condition that he build roads and open it up for settlement. The Canada Company, established by John Galt in 1827, operated as a virtual monopoly of the Family Compact. Van Egmond was soon at odds with the Canada Company when he learned that settlers had been forced of their land so it could be resold for more money to newly arriving settlers. Van Egmond himself had not been paid for his road building activities. He made several complaints to the government in Toronto about the plight of his settlers, but received no help, and was drawn into the circle of other anti-Family Compact reformers, led by the mayor of Toronto, William Lyon Mackenzie. When the rebellion was in planning, Van Egmond agreed to be the military commander, to train and organize an army. However, Mackenzie struck before Van Egmond had any chance to properly train and equip any such rebel force. He arrived only a few hours before the 400 or so rebels gathered at Montgomery's Tavern north of Toronto were attacked by more than 1000 government troops (many of these, however, as inexperienced as the rebels). Van Egmond, in fact, upon arrival at the camp argued for an immediate retreat but Mackenzie refused. After the defeat of the rebels, Mackenzie and Van Egmond fled, but while Mackenzie got away, Van Egmond was found hiding in a farmhouse, and was locked up in the Toronto jail to await trial. In damp and cold conditions he became seriously ill. He was moved to a hospital too late and he died on January 5, 1838. The government confiscated all of the colonel's land holdings except the property on which the Van Egmond house now stands. Even though there was an eventual pardon, the land was never returned to the family. Van Egmond's name is remembered in the small village of Egmondville just south of Seaforth in southwest Ontario. A two-storey Georgian house built in 1846 by the pioneer's eldest son Constant has been restored and is open to the public. Nearby is an old cemetery where Van Egmond and members of his family are buried. Some of their descendants still live in the area.

 


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Consulté 4611 fois depuis le 20 mai 2000
 Geykume  (5 juin 2019)
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