Of Printers, Prophets, and Politicians: William Lyon Mackenzie, Mormonism, and Early Printing in Upper Canada

Richard E. Bennett

Richard E. Bennett and Daniel H. Olsen, “Of Printers, Prophets, and Politicians: William Lyon Mackenzie, Mormonism, and Early Printing in Upper Canada,” in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Ohio and Upper Canada, ed. Guy L. Dorius, Craig K. Manscill, and Craig James Ostler (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2006), 177–208

Richard E. Bennett was a professor of Church history and doctrine and Daniel H. Olsen was a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Waterloo when this was published.

Well-known in both Canadian and Latter-day Saint history is the arrival of Charles Ora Card and his faithful band of followers in southern Alberta in 1887. Less explored is the much earlier venture into Upper Canada (Ontario) of such prominent Mormon leaders as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, and scores of others during the 1830s in their concerted attempts to promulgate their new faith on Canadian soil.[1] Their success in converting hundreds of people, many of whom were British- and American-born Methodists or members of other nonconformist faiths, prompted Mormon leaders to send missionaries (many of whom were Canadian converts) soon afterward to the British Isles, an initiative that eventuated in the conversion and migration of tens of thousands of new Latter-day Saints to America.[2]

Rather than retrace the history of early Mormonism in pre-Confederation Canada, the purpose of this chapter is to shed new light on three particular episodes concerning printing in Canada. Specifically, we propose to investigate the following print-related questions: (1) Why did Mormon founder Joseph Smith Jr. seek to copyright the Book of Mormon in Canada in early 1830, and who in Canada could have printed the Book of Mormon? (2) Where and when was the first Mormon missionary tract printed in Canada and by whom? (3) And finally, to what extent did William Lyon Mackenzie, one of early Canada’s best known printers and politicians, and Parley P. Pratt, Mormon Apostle and writer, know of and support each other? And to what extent did the Latter-day Saints support Mackenzie’s Rebellion of late 1837?

The Book of Mormon Copyright Episode

One of the more puzzling episodes in early Latter-day Saint history is Joseph Smith’s attempt to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon in Upper Canada. Neither the Prophet Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon and the appointed leader of the expedition, left any record concerning it. The only written accounts were recorded several years later by those highly critical of Joseph Smith. Hiram Page, Cowdery’s brother-in-law and fellow travelling companion, recalled the incident in a recollection written in 1848 in which he pointed to it as failed revelation.[3] David Whitmer, another of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, although not a member of the expedition, likewise wrote critically of it in his 1887 Address to All Believers in Christ.[4] Commentators and historians since, such as B. H. Roberts, have concluded that though the “journey was not of God,” it taught a great lesson of faith; that “absolute certainty,” save in matters of salvation, “may not be expected”; and that even Church leaders make mistakes.[5] The fact that this revelation was never written down has only obscured matters further. More has been written on the lessons to be learned from this episode in Church history than on the experience itself.

If, indeed, Joseph Smith did seek to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon, or a portion thereof, what may have been his reasons? And why Canada? If Page and Whitmer can be believed, finances may well have been a factor. Joseph Smith had experienced difficulty finding a printer to publish the Book of Mormon. E. B. Grandin, his eventual printer, initially hesitated to accept this project, in part because of religious reasons but also because of the substantial investment of time, resources, and money required to complete the work. Joseph Smith wanted to print five thousand copies; however, the average print run of a book during this time period ranged between five hundred to six hundred copies, which made the task of printing the Book of Mormon both physically challenging and financially risky.[6] Grandin estimated the cost at approximately three thousand dollars and agreed to it only after Martin Harris, a well-known and respected area farmer and the third of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, signed a promissory note on his farm for three thousand dollars payable in eighteen months. The mortgage deed was recorded in late August 1829.[7] Since the book was not an instant bestseller, Harris did eventually sell a portion of his land to pay Grandin the agreed-upon amount.

Whitmer suggested that at some point during the printing process, Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith’s older brother, having heard of Canadian possibilities, became impatient with Harris’s efforts to raise the necessary funds and suggested that Joseph seek funding by selling the Book of Mormon copyright in Canada.[8] After prayerful consideration, Joseph Smith agreed and sometime in the winter of 1829–30 sent Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Knight Sr., Hiram Page, and Josiah Stowell to Canada (some 150 miles away) to identify parties who, if they proved sympathetic, might purchase the copyright to the Book of Mormon for the amazing sum of eight thousand dollars.[9]

Hiram Page goes so far as to say that the Canada trip was made covertly to prevent Martin Harris from sharing in the profits of the copyright sale.[10] Evidence would suggest otherwise. In mid-January 1830, having likely heard about the Canadian expedition, Harris approached Joseph Smith, concerned about his share in the profits of the sale of the book in order to defray his financial commitments.[11] Certainly Harris’s wife, Lucy, was opposed to his financial involvement with the young Palmyra prophet.[12] Joseph Smith soon signed a formal contract with Harris in which he promised him a share in any profits from subsequent sales until his three thousand dollars was repayed. The foray into Canada, therefore, may just as likely have been an attempt to ensure that Martin Harris be fully reimbursed for his financial commitment to the Book of Mormon printing project.

Furthermore, if it is true that Hyrum Smith had heard that a Canadian buyer could come up with so large an amount of money, it certainly could have helped out in other ways as well. One leading scholar argues that Joseph and his wife, Emma, were “completely destitute” and that Joseph’s parents “were also in economic straits.” Thus, the sale of the copyright, if not just for the publication of the book, might also guarantee “the income his family so desperately needed.”[13]

It is also unclear what kind of copyright Joseph Smith may have been seeking. In the early nineteenth century, authors were paid for their literary works in a number of ways. Commission entailed the author’s retaining the copyright to a work but remaining responsible for the costs of printing, binding, and advertising. Half or three-quarter profits involved a publisher’s bearing the costs of production, which were then taken from the profits of the book. Under the royalty system, publishers would pay an author a certain percentage of each unit sold. Short-run leases consisted of the publisher’s purchasing the right to print and sell a work for a short period of time or for a certain number of copies. Printers could also outright purchase an author’s copyright, where for a lump sum the printer could buy the rights to a work.[14] Joseph had gone to great lengths to translate and produce the Book of Mormon and to prevent its piracy by others, and he was determined to utilize the book as the missionary tool of his anticipated new church. It would seem inconsistent on his part to now sell it outright and lose control of his work merely for money. As “the custom of giving a royalty percentage on each copy sold [in Canada] was rare,”[15] Joseph Smith’s best option may well have been a short-run lease.

Whatever the financial considerations, he may have sought British copyright for another reason—intellectual control. Several months before the trip to Canada, Joseph Smith had secured American copyright to the Book of Mormon when he deposited the title page of the Book of Mormon in the office of R. R. Lansing, clerk of the Northern District of New York.[16] This he did to protect his work from those opposed to its publication. In fact, during the printing of the Book of Mormon, Abner Cole, a local Palmyra resident and ex-justice of the peace, began publishing portions of the book in his weekly periodical, the Reflector, under the pseudonym Obadiah Dogberry. Cole desisted only after being confronted by Joseph Smith, who informed Cole that he had obtained copyright for the Book of Mormon and threatened to take legal action if Cole’s pirating continued.[17]

While American copyright laws protected the book from being copied in the United States, there were no international laws that offered similar protection. The possibility of international dissemination of the Book of Mormon, including perhaps Cole’s printed excerpts, was real and well-known as copies of local New York newspapers invariably circulated in Canada. Copyright in Canada during this time came under jurisdiction of a 1709 British copyright act that gave the author of literary works sole right of printing.[18] Securing a Canadian printer, therefore, would have provided at least some international protection, though it must be admitted that previous to 1841 there was little copyright protection available in Canada, in part because so few books were published.[19] Nor did the 1709 law prevent the pirating of copies of literary works in other countries, as there were no international agreements in place pertaining to extending local copyright protection to other countries.[20] It was commonplace for books printed in Great Britain to be reprinted and sold in both Canada and the United States without the necessity of paying royalties to the original authors. Nevertheless, Joseph Smith in seeking British copyright, may have seen the opportunity to acquire both some needed funds and at least some semblance of intellectual protection for the Book of Mormon outside of America.[21]

If the purposes of the Canadian copyright expedition are yet open to debate, there is also confusion about their actual destination and speculation as to who would have printed it. It is commonly believed that Cowdery and his companions traveled to York (renamed Toronto in 1834).[22] However, according to Hiram Page, the men were actually sent to Kingston. As with many other winter travelers at the time, to save time and expense the party likely walked across frozen Lake Ontario from Sacketts Harbour near Oswego, New York, to their Canadian destination of Kingston, the former capital city of Upper Canada. Once in Kingston, however, they were informed that they had come to the wrong place and needed to go to the province’s new capital city of York, 150 miles west, where British copyright might be obtained and where there might be potential buyers.[23] As Page recalled, “When we got thier [Kingston]; there was no purcheser neither were they authoresed at kingston to buy right for the provence; but little york was the place where such buisaness had to be done.”[24]

Another probable reason they were directed to York is that although Kingston did have a thriving and competitive newspaper industry, with Stephen Miles, Hugh C. Thomson, and Brian J. MacFarlane running three rival newspapers during the 1820s, their book-printing capacity was decidedly limited.[25] Nor was the situation much better in York, then a city not much larger than Palmyra. Few, if any, book publishers in York had either the financial means to pay eight thousand dollars for a copyright or the capacity to print and bind so large a book. Robert Stanton, the “King’s Printer,” was publisher of the progovernment Upper Canada Gazette and worked for the Anglican-dominated colonial government. George Gurnett, likewise progovernment, was putting out the Courier. John Carey was publisher of the independent Observer, and Francis Collins, an independent and Roman Catholic, was publishing the Canadian Freeman, both of which were smaller productions. Egerton Ryerson, Methodist leader in the province, was responsible for the reform-minded Christian Guardian.[26]

Another possibility would have been William Lyon Mackenzie, whose life and career are more fully discussed later in this paper. As of 1828 Mackenzie had already made a name for himself as the leading critic of the dominant political establishment, which he dubbed the “Family Compact.” He had just won a major court settlement against those who had destroyed his press two years before in the so-called “Types Riot,” which provided money to get out of debt and reestablish his successful printing practice. In 1827 he had become printer for the Legislative Assembly (the lower house of Parliament).[27] A prolific book publisher, Mackenzie had printed thirteen small books (none more than one hundred pages) in 1827 and fourteen more in 1828. In 1831 he printed ten thousand copies of Poor Richard’s Almanac, a sixteen-page pamphlet, and by 1830 his newspaper, the Colonial Advocate, had become the second-largest newspaper in Upper Canada, at least in terms of postal circulation.[28]

Other factors may have made Mackenzie interested in the Book of Mormon. First, he was not averse to publishing controversial material, as in 1827 he had printed an anti-Mason book entitled Morgan’s Exposé of Masonry.[29] Second, during this time printers often served multiple roles as “publisher, journalist, bookseller, binder, retailer of office supplies, and sometimes owner of a stationary shop.”[30] While Mackenzie did not have bookbinding facilities in his shop, he did have an iron flat-bed press capable of turning out two hundred sheets an hour, “a second-hand ramage press, and a large and powerful standing press, as well as a small job press.”[31] Third, Mackenzie was known to speak out for the freedom of religion, writing on this theme in a number of his editorials.[32]

Yet even if he could have published so large a work as the Book of Mormon, it is highly doubtful he could have afforded eight thousand dollars (two thousand pounds) for an outright copyright, at least not without a substantial financial backer. More likely he could have only purchased a portion of the copyright, a short-term lease, or simply shared in possible royalties, though with all his other interests he may not have had the time or energy to take on so large a task.[33]

In the end, after their unsuccessful efforts in Kingston, the expedition apparently opted not to go to York but returned to Palmyra “nearly starved” because of the lack of funds to continue their quest.[34] That the trip failed to accomplish its various purposes did not prevent Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Hiram Page from testifying of the truth of the Book of Mormon. If doubts arose, they surfaced only many years later.

Orson Hyde and “A Prophetic Warning”

Six years later, in 1836, a second significant period in Mormon-Canadian print history began. Much, of course, had transpired by then in Church history, including the organization of the Church, various successful missionary initiatives, a failed attempt to establish Zion in Jackson County, Missouri, and the revelation of new doctrines that were gradually defining the new Church. During these busy times, Joseph Smith found time to visit the Brantford/Mount Pleasant regions of Upper Canada in 1833 as part of a never-ceasing commitment to missionary work and Church growth. To quote from Joseph Smith’s private journal: “Friday [18 October 1833] Arived at Freeman Nickerson’s in upper Canada having after we came into Canada passed through a very fine Country and well cultivated and had many peculiar feelings in relation to both the country and people. . . . We hope that great good may yet be done in Canada which O Lord grant for thy names sake.”[35]

In areas near Kingston, Brigham Young and his brothers Joseph and Phinehas proselyted for their newfound faith among former Methodist associates. In 1835 various members of the newly organized Quorum of the Twelve also proselyted in Upper Canada. By the spring of 1836, new Apostle Parley P. Pratt requested his colaborers and fellow Apostles Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt to come and assist him in his fruitful Toronto-area missionary labours. No doubt it was this brush with success that prompted Pratt to invite the young but intrepid thirty-one-year-old Orson Hyde to join him in his busy harvest of new converts.

Hyde was already an experienced and formidable missionary of the Restoration. Converted to Mormonism in 1831, he had walked several thousand miles and baptized many new converts, often in the face of suspicion, rejection, and persecution. During his first mission, in 1832, in company with Joseph Smith’s younger brother Samuel H. Smith, he walked more than two thousand miles all over New York and New England, “teaching from house to house, and from city to city, without purse or scrip, often sleeping in school houses after preaching in barns, in sheds, by the way side, [and] under trees.” “We were often rejected,” he later recalled, “in the after part of the day compelling us to travel in the evening, and sometimes till people were gone to bed, leaving us to lodge where we could.”[36] Thus, by the time he arrived in Canada, Hyde was a seasoned veteran.

When Hyde crossed into Canada near General Brock’s monument at Niagara Falls in 1836, he must have had mixed feelings. His deceased father, Nathan, had fought in the War of 1812 in the Connecticut militia and had been wounded on several occasions. The memory of that war was still strong in many minds, regardless of citizenship or persuasion. But by this time, Hyde was on a different kind of foray than his father. Soon after arriving in Toronto, he debated a seasoned, well-educated Calvinist minister named Jenkins, more than likely the well-known Reverend William Jenkins.[37] “The priest came with some less than a mule load of books, pamphlets, and newspapers containing all the slang of an unbelieving world,” Hyde wrote. Facing each other from opposing outdoor pulpits, the religious antagonists went at each other, chapter and verse. Hyde recalled:

The battle began with a volley of grape and canister from my battery which was returned with vigour and determined zeal. Alternate cannonading, half hour each, continued until dinner was announced. An armistice was proclaimed and the parties enjoyed a good dinner with their respective friends. After two hours the forces were again drawn in battle array. The enemy’s fire soon became less and less spirited, until at length, under a well-directed and murderous fire from the long “Eighteens” . . . the enemy raised his hand to heaven and exclaimed, with affected contempt, “Abominable. I have heard enough of such stuff.” [38]

Who Jenkins thought was the winner is not known, but, claiming victory, Hyde records that he and his companions soon afterward baptized “about 40 persons” near Scarborough.[39]

Jenkins’s ready collection of books and pamphlets, some of which may have been early anti-Mormon texts, may well have contributed to Hyde’s determination to print a response; according to one of his biographers, Hyde had long “felt that the printed word could be a powerful help to the work.”[40] He determined to produce a missionary tract in the form of a broadside entitled “A Prophetic Warning,” so that “every individual into whose hands it may fall . . . may know . . . of the fulfilment of the words of . . . the Prophets.”[41] Unique to this printing were the words identifying the author: “By O. Hyde, Preacher of the Gospel, and Citizen of the United States.” The fact that he had to identify himself as an American and that the words “Toronto, August, 1836” appear at the bottom of the sheet indicate that this work was probably published in Canada. How many copies were printed is unknown, but it appeared as a three-column broadside, 46.5 x 29.5 centimeters, and was obviously designed to be put up on pillars and posts throughout the region. The identity of the printer is still open to speculation; however, the most likely candidate is once again Mackenzie.[42]

Regardless of the printer, Hyde’s message was pointed and clear, predicting the pending millennial return of Jesus Christ, decrying the absence of the gift of the Holy Ghost and other related spiritual gifts, and blaming man’s fallen and corrupt state on the Apostasy from the original Church. “How, I ask, can the clergy of this day be of God, and yet deny all miraculous powers? How can God be with them when they have not abode in the doctrine of Christ?” He continued: “The Gentile churches have lost the original order. And have they not great reason to fear that a curse instead of a blessing will rest upon them? If the Jews were broken off because of unbelief, what must the Gentiles expect who have not continued in the goodness of the Lord? . . . The churches of this day bear but a faint resemblance to those which existed in the days of the Apostles.”

Because of this decline in Christianity and loss of faith, Hyde warned that terrible calamities were about to fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. “Pestilence and famine will soon show to this generation that the hour of God’s judgment hath come. This is the Lord’s recompense for the controversy of Zion.” He concluded his hard-hitting essay with only the slightest amelioration in tone: “I am sensible that I have written in great plainness; and some may consider me quite presumptuous. But I have nothing to retract. ‘What I have written, I have written.’. . . May the great Creator of the Universe have mercy upon a fallen and perishing world!”[43] Missing is any mention whatsoever of the name of the Church or of Mormons generally, references to Joseph Smith and the Restoration, allusions to the Book of Mormon, or to other distinguishing characteristics of early Mormonism. It was, in short, a doctrinal exposé on the subject of the Christian Apostasy and a forthright prediction of imminent catastrophes preparatory to Christ’s Second Coming.

Whatever its impact in Canada, Hyde’s circular was destined to travel far and wide for the cause. While in New York City on a mission to England the following year, Hyde distributed about 150 copies of the same circular “in leter form and directed to Every priest of Every profession in the city.”[44] And soon after his arrival in Preston, England, he published a second edition with the slightly reworded title A Timely Warning.[45]

Parley P. Pratt, William Lyon Mackenzie, and the Upper Canada Rebellion

The third and final chapter in early Canadian-Mormon print history begins with the meeting between William Lyon Mackenzie and Parley P. Pratt in Toronto in the summer of 1836. For his part, Mackenzie, that “firebrand” printer and politician extraordinaire, was poised to soon lead Upper Canada’s Rebellion with the aid of some Latter-day Saints. Pratt, likewise a writer, was at the start of his career as Latter-day Saint Apostle. Both would be arrested and imprisoned for the cause they so ardently supported. Both despised the same contemporary politicians, though for very different reasons. Eventually Pratt would be murdered in 1857 while doing duty for his Church far from the Mormon Zion in the West. Mackenzie died not long afterward, following years of exile in the United States.

Born in upstate New York in 1807, Pratt was very early on a lover of books and thoroughly enjoyed reading. “I always loved a book,” he wrote in his autobiography. “If I worked hard, a book was in my hand in the morning while others were sitting down to breakfast; the same at noon; if I had a few moments, a book! A book!”[46] And with no other book was he as well acquainted as he was the Bible. A believer in an apostasy from true Christian faith, in the need for restored divine authority, and in the imminency of the Millennium, Pratt became a follower of Alexander Campbell. However, after an unexpected encounter with the Book of Mormon, Pratt converted to Mormonism in September 1830 with a zeal and commitment that would last his lifetime. The following year he set out to Missouri with Oliver Cowdery on a “mission to the Lamanites,” during which he taught and helped to convert many former friends in Ohio, including Sidney Rigdon. Considering his devotion and commitment, it is little wonder that in 1835 he was ordained to the Church’s original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a unique body dedicated to the promulgation of the Church throughout the world.

Pratt’s apostolic calling led him in April 1836 to Toronto, by then a city of 9,654 people.[47] Although kindly received by John and Eleanor Taylor, Pratt was denied the opportunity of speaking to congregations and was turned back at nearly every door. Discouraged, Pratt was about to leave the city when Mrs. Matthew (Isabella) Walton suggested that he meet with several of her relatives then living north of the city. Before long, Pratt’s fortunes improved dramatically as he taught and baptized scores of new members near Charleston Settlement on Black Creek (near present-day Downsview in Toronto, Ontario), including Joseph Fielding and his sisters, Mary and Mercy, Isaac Russell, Theodore Turley, John Dawson, John Goodman, and many others.[48] Joseph Fielding wrote of his conversion at the hand of Pratt:

We had determined not to go to hear him but as an old friend (Bro. [John] Taylor) brought him to my house I could not refuse to hear and I soon discovered that he had the Spirit and Power of God.

Elder Pratt laid before us the Ordinances of the Gospel which were very plain being perfectly in accordance with the Scriptures, being still more clearly expressed in the Book of Mormon. I therefore with my two sisters then with me embraced it and entered the Church of Latter-day Saints by baptism.[49]

It was at this point, surprised and overwhelmed by his own success, that Pratt invited Orson Pratt and Orson Hyde to join him. Even Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon visited the area—Joseph Smith’s second visit to Canada—in 1837 to see firsthand the results of Pratt’s labors.[50] Pratt’s success was significant enough for Canada’s most prominent Methodist leader, Egerton Ryerson, to lament as follows: “The city circuit [Toronto] had a difficult year and barely held its own. The Mormons also took a heavy toll, but mainly outside the city on the Yonge Street circuit, which declined from 951 in 1833 to 578 in 1836.”[51] John Taylor, baptized May 9, 1836, eventually succeeded Brigham Young as the third President of the Church (1880–87).

Since most of Pratt’s converts hailed from England, their conversion led directly to an interest in their British relatives. As Pratt put it, “Several of the Canadian Elders felt a desire to go on a mission to their friends in that country.”[52] Pratt returned to Toronto again in the spring of 1837 to help select those of his new converts who were best prepared and most suited to serve missions to Great Britain. Their desires eventually led to the first missions to England in the late 1830s—an effort that eventuated in the conversion and migration of tens of thousands of new converts to America throughout the later half of the nineteenth century. After a sojourn in Missouri, where Pratt was put in jail because of his devotion to Mormonism, he accepted yet another call—this time to Great Britain. As author and publisher of his famous treatise, A Voice of Warning (New York City, 1837), and later as editor and printer of the British periodical the Millennial Star, Pratt proved himself a most effective missionary, writer, and promulgator of the new American faith.

Yet it was Pratt’s first engagement with another new religion that led to this chapter in Canadian imprint history. By the mid-1830s, the Catholic Apostolic Church, based on the teachings of the immensely popular Edward Irving (1792–1834), a former Presbyterian minister, had risen rapidly to prominence from its obscure beginnings in Scotland in 1835. Like Mormonism, it too featured a restoration of Christian powers and principles, the ordination of new apostles and prophets (including the well-known Henry Drummond and Thomas Carlyle). And like Pratt’s new faith, Irvingism preached such gifts of the Spirit as healings, prophecies, and speaking in tongues, and anticipated the pending millennial return of Christ.[53] One such Irvingite contender, Mr. Caird, was preaching his new religion in Kingston in the summer of 1836 at the same time Pratt was in Toronto. “Many persons greatly wondered that there should arise about the same time one church in America and another in England,” Pratt recalled, “both professing apostolic power and universal jurisdiction. Some of those who had heard both of us, tried to think that both systems were one and would run together.”[54]

Intrigued at what he heard and anxious to meet the new “champion” of Irvingism, Pratt set out for the “limestone city” of Kingston in late September or early October 1836, where he listened to Caird’s preachings and his denunciation of Mormonism. Sensing a rising interest in Irvingism and its close parallels organizationally and doctrinally to his own faith, the very next morning Pratt “published a printed handbill with a statement of [Mr. Caird’s] lying, a copy of the line I had really sent to him, and a statement of our doctrine as Latter-day Saints.”[55] Pratt circulated this handbill, entitled Doth our law judge a man before it hear him?, in the streets of Kingston by “hundreds.” An extant copy this imprint has not yet been discovered, but it was apparently something more descriptive and comprehensive of Mormon cardinal principles than the Hyde piece. It was obviously put out by a Kingston printer. Pratt sent many copies of it back to Toronto in advance of Caird’s arrival, and “there the newsboys met him in the face, and circulated the handbills which we had sent.” Hurrying back to Toronto, Pratt determined to confront Irvingism publicly and “applied to Wm. Lyon Mackenzie, a printer and editor, on King Street, for some large public halls or rooms of his, which would hold hundreds of people.” Not only did Mackenzie provide the needed space, but he was likely the one who helped Pratt and the Latter-day Saints “put out a bill, advertizing two meetings, and pledging to the public that we would prove . . . that Mr. Caird . . . was a false teacher.”[56] If Pratt is to be believed, during two nights of well-attended meetings, Mormonism prevailed.

Mackenzie, born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1795, was Pratt’s senior by twelve years.[57] After working as a clerk and bookkeeper in England, he had emigrated to Canada in the spring of 1820, where he soon pursued a career as a merchant and then as a printer and publisher, first at Queenston (near Niagara Falls) and then in “muddy York,” the capital city of the province, in 1824.[58] “A man of restless energy and an inveterate scribbler,” Mackenzie was never happy unless he was writing against someone or something.[59]

This five-feet-six-inch populist critic seemed ever agitated, always looking for a cause. He began several newspapers in his lifetime, none more successful than his Colonial Advocate. His early diatribes against the Tory establishment led to the “Types Riot” in June 1826 in which his press was destroyed. Winner of a subsequent lawsuit, Mackenzie used his newfound earnings to publish his newspaper even more widely and enthusiastically, gaining new agents and sending copies of his paper all over Upper Canada and upstate New York.

For Mackenzie, the Colonial Advocate, and indeed all of his future newspaper endeavors, were not only ambitious purveyors of news but also forums for agitation and change. The pages of the Advocate, in particular, are filled with his calls for fundamental change and reform in Upper Canada. Mackenzie was a fierce democrat, a supporter of land reform, free education, and public-funded internal improvements. An advocate of American-style freedoms, Mackenzie was, however, very early on suspicioned by many Canadians, especially the United Empire Loyalists and other British immigrants, and even the liberal reformers, who were wary of his pro-American sympathies and his unrelenting attack on the “establishment,” the so-called “Family Compact.”

Since the Revolutionary War, the province of Upper Canada (officially created in 1791) had become home to tens of thousands of United Empire Loyalists who had fled the United States, often at the risk of their lives, to be loyal to Great Britain. Promised protection, land, and territories because of their loyalty to the Crown, the UELs set a very pro-English, anti-American tone. They were wedded to the support of many British institutions, freedoms, and ideals, including widespread support of the ruling Church of England. They became the counterculture to the French-speaking, Catholic-dominated province of Lower Canada (Quebec) and the counterpoint to later American immigrants and their hope for greater independence.

Neither Loyalist nor American, Mackenzie was determined to see changes in Canadian society, beginning with the establishment he called the “Family Compact,” the ruling elite families in York bent on preserving the privileges of the aristocracy and blocking rapid democratic reforms. The Compact effectively monopolized the Legislative Council and government appointments, suppressed trade with America, encouraged and supported the Church of England, and set the cultural, political, and social tone of the province.

No aspect of the establishment riled Mackenzie more than the so-called “Clergy Reserves,” an act setting aside the proceeds of one-seventh of all land in the Canadas for the support of the established church, which most interpreted as the Church of England. To Mackenzie, a Scot, it was aristocratic tyranny to support one religious faith. As one scholar put it, Mackenzie wanted Upper Canada to be “a land of equal opportunity for all with no privileged clergy interfering in public affairs, with no grasping land speculators, . . . [or] privileged corporations, . . . but with education available to all.”[60] Mackenzie unabashedly called John Strachan and the Anglican clergy “parasites,” “State-paid Priests.—the whole race of them are a curse to any people.”[61] Mackenzie believed that the clergy reserves should be secularized; that is, used for schools and roads and not for religion.[62]

Not content to rely only on the printed word for change and reform, Mackenzie won election as an Independent member of the Legislative Assembly in 1828 where he served for most of the ensuing decade. A popular figure, Mackenzie was “obsessed with the need for honest and efficient government . . . [that] would respond immediately to the criticism and the wishes and the welfare of the people.”[63] After his first defeat as a legislator, he traveled to England in 1832 in an attempt to persuade the Colonial Office to make substantial changes in Upper Canada. Upon his return he sought for and won election as York’s first mayor in 1834. Then when he and many other reformers were defeated in the Assembly in 1836, Mackenzie returned to writing, starting yet another newspaper on July 4, 1836. His newspaper, the Constitution, was dedicated to promoting many American-style reforms and freedoms and to fomenting discontent with the political status quo. Admiring America at his peril and increasingly frustrated at the slow pace of reform, Mackenzie eventually led an armed rebellion for independence from British colonial rule.

As for his religious convictions, Mackenzie was a devout Presbyterian who attended church frequently and, like Pratt, was a voracious reader (between the ages of eleven and twenty-three he read “956 titles in religion, history, geography, science and literature” and came to “know the Bible thoroughly” in his youth).[64] Also like Pratt, he believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection, and a life hereafter in which he hoped to see many of his children who had died (of their thirteen children, five died in infancy).[65] Yet Mackenzie must be considered a practical, tolerant Christian, a religious pluralist who advocated the right of almost all Christian faiths to coexist and be supported equally (with the glaring exception of Catholicism). As he put it in the following editorial in 1836:

Again—how vehemently does the Presbyterian system assail English prelacy—as the eldest daughter of the scarlet whore—popery in disguise—an anti-christian hierarchy?

Once more—Are the five and twenty denominations left out in this calculation—the Quakers, Mormons, Tunkards, Independents, Irvingites, Congregationalists, Baptists, Unitarians, Seceders, Menonists, Children of Peace, Christians, etc. to have no share?[66]

Before Pratt’s brush with Caird, Mackenzie himself had earlier become acquainted with Irvingism, which may explain, at least in part, his interest in providing a hall for Pratt’s discourse. While in Great Britain in 1832, Mackenzie had attended several sermons of Edward Irving, a fellow Scot, and gained a high regard for the man and his doctrines. “There is such a power and energy in his discourses, such a simplicity in his manner, such convincing proofs of great judgment and sincere good-will towards men in his language and actions,” he wrote, “that I cannot but feel the greatest regard for him as a minister.”[67] Yet he was not enamoured with their practice of speaking in tongues.

If Mackenzie knew of Irvingism before 1836, what of Mormonism? Because of Mackenzie’s newspaper agents in Rochester and Canandaigua, New York, and because of widespread awareness in upstate New York of his American-leaning Colonial Advocate, upstate New Yorkers probably knew more about him than they did any other Canadian printer.[68] Considering his habit of acquiring American and particularly New York newspapers, his interests in religion, and his voracious reading habits, it is more than likely that he had heard of Joseph Smith and perhaps even of Pratt himself.[69]

Mackenzie had traveled through upstate New York in 1821 and had visited Canandaigua and the surrounding regions.[70] Eight years later, in 1829, just months before the printing of the Book of Mormon and while en route to Washington to visit President Andrew Jackson, Mackenzie had traveled via the newly built Erie Canal across the western regions of the Empire State. A great supporter of the American entrepreneurial spirit and of such internal improvements as the Erie Canal (“that splendid monument of the departed Clinton’s comprehensive genius”), Mackenzie praised former governor DeWitt Clinton for having “made the wilderness to blossom as the rose, and [having] created pastures for the lamb in the everlasting forest.” Remarking favorably on the recent growth in the region, he described Palmyra as “a town about two-thirds of the size of York; but the houses in general are finer and more substantial.” [71]

“Country First, Queen Second”

The newly emerging Latter-day Saint community in and about Toronto seemed somewhat sympathetic toward Mackenzie’s reforms. Some even supported his armed insurrection. Increasingly discontent with the political status quo and utterly disappointed with Sir Francis Bond Head, the newly appointed lieutenant-governor who proved to be far more conservative than his reform-minded appointees had expected, Mackenzie became increasingly restless. After losing his seat in the Assembly in 1836, he used the pages of the Constitution to promote independence. Following yet another visit to the United States, he returned to Toronto convinced of the need for action. In July 1837, with Pratt in town for a second time, Mackenzie published a desire for independence and formed a watchdog Committee of Vigilance to identify both government wrongs and would-be supporters. Encouraged at the news of a similar rebellion in Lower Canada in October (which eventually failed), Mackenzie set December 7 as the starting date of his planned uprising. Marshaling a force of several hundred rebel supporters, Mackenzie led his followers in hopes of toppling a sleepy, unprepared government. History suggests that he may have won the day had he secured better military leadership sooner since the government had greatly underestimated the threat.[72]

However, Mackenzie’s short-lived insurrection lacked adequate organization and financing, military leadership, and, above all, popular support. Few, if any, Loyalists appreciated Mackenzie’s pro-American leanings. Mackenzie’s rebellion never ignited the revolution which he anticipated. With the arrival of 1,500 government troops, the rebel force panicked and retreated in disarray. Many were captured and some were hanged, while Mackenzie and many of his men fled at the peril of their lives for Buffalo, New York. Still convinced that thousands on both sides of the border would rally to his cause, Mackenzie set up a new provisional government—”the Canadian Republic”—and a base for the “friends of liberty” on Canadian soil on Navy Island near Niagara Falls. Promising three hundred acres of good Canadian farmland for all who would support him, Mackenzie hoisted a new flag with the two stars of “Liberty and Equality” for the two Canadian provinces. While several hundred men rallied briefly to his cause and conducted various shore-raids on Canadian soil, Bond Head sent an army of 2,500 troops to Navy Island, burned the U.S. Ship Caroline that was ferrying goods and supplies to Mackenzie and his supporters, and ultimately sent pieces of it cascading over the falls.[73] Mackenzie, now outmanned and outmaneuvered, had no other choice but to retreat to America.

As for the Latter-day Saints in Canada, many seem to have sympathized with Mackenzie.[74] Most Canadian Mormons saw the deteriorating political climate as the ideal time, whatever the hardships, to follow the counsel of their religious leaders and emigrate to America and gather with the Saints. As Zadok Knapp Judd of North Crosby (near Ottawa) remembered: “About all the people who had joined the church sold their possessions and had counted on starting to Kirtland, Ohio in the spring of 1838. Owing to some trouble arising between some party and government, our folks thought it best to start mid-winter, with cold, deep snow, we hitched up.”[75] Several hundred new converts, many of whom were baptized by John E. Page in 1837–38, left eastern Upper Canada for Ohio and Missouri that winter.[76]

Hepsibah Richards, with the Latter-day Saints in Kirtland, told of the turmoil many newly arriving Canadian converts had experienced:

A young Canadian has just informed us that he has received a letter by the hand of Elder [Justin] Green informing him that two or three of his near relatives are shot. [Elder Green] says he saw nothing in the last war that would compare with the distress that is now experienced in Canada. . . . About 400 men have been stripped of their arms, convicted of treason and cast into prison, 40 of them were convicted of high treason. . . . Many others have fled to avoid a similar fate. . . .

President Joseph Smith told his Canada brethren last summer to sell while they could and get out of the place or blood would be upon their heels. Elder G[reen] was followed day and night and seriously threatened because, they said, he had prophesied evil respecting them.[77]

Moses Nickerson, a Latter-day Saint convert from Mount Pleasant since 1832, fought alongside Mackenzie at Navy Island and was later indicted as a traitor in absentia. James Gemmell, who later joined the Church, was one of the most active supporters in Mackenzie’s effort and later paid the heavy price of being tried, arrested, and shipped off by prison ship to Botany Bay in Van Diemen’s Land (Australia).[78] Jeremiah Willey and Michael Yeomans were accused of spreading “seditious doctrines” along with their religious beliefs and were forced to leave the country.[79] Still others, like Gilbert Belnap, fled Canada for fear of their lives and joined the Church once in America.[80] “My father was an ardent siypathiser [sic] of the Patriot cause,” David Seely of Whitby later recorded of the family’s ultimate conversion. “The Canadian Authorities, fearing that he would take William L. Mackenzie to the American or U.S. side of the lake [Ontario], he being the Patriot leader of the upper Province they dismantled and cut down both masts of the Enterprize of Windsor, one of my father’s vessels for which he could obtain no redress.”[81]

Meanwhile Mackenzie tried desperately to fan anti-British sentiment from New York City, where he began publishing his Mackenzie’s Gazette, whose motto was “Remember the Caroline.” After moving to Rochester in 1839 he was put reluctantly on trial in May by an American government bowing to international (British) pressure not to start or condone a conflict against Canada. Mackenzie was found guilty of violating American neutrality laws and put in jail for eleven months from June 1839 to May 1840, ironically at much the same time Parley P. Pratt was in a Richmond and later a Columbia, Missouri, jail awaiting charges of treason against the state of Missouri.[82]

Nor does the irony end with their coincidental jail terms. Pratt and virtually every other Latter-day Saint who escaped from Missouri to Illinois were more than crestfallen at the news that despite their appeals for redress, Washington utterly refused to intervene and offer reparations or assistance of any kind. Pratt, now out of jail, spent the winter of 1839–40 on the East Coast preparing for his mission to England and printed a “circular to each member of Congress, and to the President of the United States and his Cabinet,” presenting the Mormon case against Missouri’s unjust persecutions, extermination orders, and illegal expulsions.[83] President Martin Van Buren’s well-known rebuff of Joseph Smith’s passionate, personal plea—”Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you”—earned him the scorn and contempt of an entire people.[84]

When finally pardoned by President Van Buren and released from jail in May 1840, Mackenzie began publishing the Volunteer in April the following year in which he opposed the union of Canada in 1841. Mackenzie also became “increasingly hostile” toward Van Buren, in part because Van Buren’s pardon was so late in coming. Banned from returning to Canada (in fact, some tried to kidnap him and return him to Canada to stand trial for treason), he removed his family once again to New York City, where, in addition to working as a reporter for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, he published a highly critical biography of the president titled The Life and Times of Martin Van Buren. Mackenzie excoriated Van Buren for excessive patronage, alleged corruption, and ruthless personal ambition, and in the process became increasingly disillusioned with American government values, pretended idealism, and the continuation of American slavery. “Had Van Buren been a truly great and good man, his triumphs would have been a pleasant theme for the historian to dwell upon; but, as they were obtained . . . by deceit and hypocrisy, by seeming to be the man he was not, and by the ‘judicious puffs’ of artful followers, interested in his fortunes by personal ties, they are a source of regret.”[85] As one scholar argues, it was “a telling indictment not only against Van Buren but also against other factions of the Democratic Party.”[86]

Mackenzie greatly admired fellow journalist James Gordon Bennett, describing him as “a man of education and intelligence. . . . less attached to party than to truth.”[87] Indeed, the two men shared much in common. Of identical ages, both were from Scotland and both had come to Canada, Bennett in 1819 and Mackenzie the following year. Both admired Andrew Jackson and American republican ideals, although Bennett was an ardent admirer of Van Buren. While Mackenzie earned his reputation with the Colonial Advocate, Bennett began his stellar career in journalism in 1829 as coeditor of the Morning Courier and New York Enquirer which he developed into a leading eastern newspaper. In 1835 he established the New York Herald, a four-page daily selling for one cent a copy, which soon achieved a leading place among American newspapers. Both were keenly interested in the changing political landscape of the Canadas. And both men had experience with the Latter-day Saints.

In fact, Bennett had shown an “intense interest in the controversial new religion” and had been a pioneer in his reporting of early Mormonism. As early as 1831 he had traveled to Palmyra where he wrote a series of reports on Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Martin Harris. If not flattering, they were more comprehensive than any other published reports of the time. Throughout his career, Bennett “published hundreds of articles on the Mormons, and his reports on Joseph Smith were among the fairest that were printed about that extraordinary personality.”[88] His years of balanced reporting eventually earned him the approbation of Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints, as evident in the following memorial published in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons: “James Gordon Bennett, Esq., is deserving of the lasting gratitude of this community, for his very liberal and unprejudiced course towards us as a people, in giving us a fair hearing in his paper, thus enabling us to reach the ears of a portion of the community, who, otherwise would ever have remained ignorant of our principles and practices.”[89]

Despite Mackenzie’s publishing and reporting efforts in New York City (he published yet another newspaper, the New York-Examiner in 1843, which lasted but five issues), he struggled to support his family and longed to return to Canada. When amnesty was finally granted to the patriot exiles of the Rebellion, he returned with his family to Toronto in May 1850, where once again he was reelected to the Assembly (defeating the popular Reformer and Globe newspaper editor, George Brown) and published yet another newspaper, his sixth and last—Mackenzie’s Weekly Gazette.

Yet Mackenzie seemed out of touch with those political movements in Canada that had led to the unification of the Canadas in 1841. Mackenzie’s Rebellion of 1837 caught the attention of British reformers in London. Responding to the recommendations of newly appointed governor general Lord Elgin, the British government passed a series of reforms that culminated in the granting of increased Canadian self-rule and responsible government, greater democratic freedoms, and far less power for the Church of England—in short, those political and legal prerequisites for what would become a free and independent Confederation of Canada in 1867. Yet Mackenzie did not seem to appreciate the triumph of the very causes he once espoused. According to one of his biographers, “by 1858 he had come to detest the whole process of government in Canada” and resigned his seat.[90] Restless and dissatisfied to the end, he fought tirelessly for the poor, became increasingly suspect of all lawyers and politicians, and never developed a systematic political thought. Calling for American annexation of Canada, he never caught the vision of the coming Canadian confederation.

As for Pratt, he stayed in Nauvoo for three years before joining the Mormon exodus west, eventually arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in October 1847. He lead, along with John Taylor, the large emigration company that followed Brigham Young’s advance company of July 1847. In March 1851 he was dispatched to San Bernardino, California, where he published his Proclamation to the People of the Coasts and Islands of the Pacific, an effort to encourage the gathering of new converts from the South Pacific. Upon his return from a short mission to Chile late in 1851, and while still in San Francisco, he began yet another work, his famous theological treatise Key to the Science of Theology, published in 1855. While on his last mission to the Southern states he was murdered in May 1857 by the former husband of one of his plural wives.[91]

An inveterate collector of news clippings and stories, Mackenzie continued to follow Mormonism, including Pratt’s career. Though no correspondence between the two exists, his collection includes various articles on Pratt and his religion.[92] Mackenzie died in Toronto on August 28, 1861.


The purpose of this paper was to explore three episodes in Mormon print history. The first was to look at Joseph Smith’s attempt to acquire funds and some sort of copyright protection for the Book of Mormon in Upper Canada. While more remains to be discovered on this topic, there may have been more than mere financial interests involved. We also know that Oliver Cowdery and his colaborers originally went to Kingston but were told to go to York. The second was to reexamine the fact that Mormonism’s first published tract, by Orson Hyde, was printed in Toronto in 1836. The third episode concerns Parley P. Pratt and William Lyon Mackenzie. It would appear that the printer of choice for both Pratt and Hyde was almost certainly William Lyon Mackenzie, and he was probably the only person who would have considered printing the Book of Mormon in Canada. And due in part to Mackenzie’s interest and support, Mormonism made definite headway in Toronto, gaining enough of a return on its missionary efforts to send armies of missionaries to Great Britain, where, in the ensuing decades, tens of thousands joined the Church.

We cannot argue that Mackenzie was any more of a supporter of Pratt and of the Latter-day Saints than we can assert that Pratt was an avid supporter of Mackenzie’s rebellion and of his pro-American reforms.[93] The two men were climbing different Everests and for different purposes. Yet for all their differences, they were not traveling in entirely opposite directions. For all his political involvements, Mackenzie was out to change human nature, not simply modify institutions, to improve society, not to ride political partisanship. Pratt, though also later elected to the Utah Territorial Legislature, was ever the missionary, ever committed to change and conversion. Their meeting in 1836 was not coincidental but one Pratt deliberately sought out. The two men helped each other and saw some things much the same way. Compared to any other printer in Canada, Mackenzie was most supportive of the Latter-day Saints. And that support is of telling significance to Mormon history—if not in its dimension, than certainly in its timing. If friend and supporter are terms too strong to employ. Mackenzie was liberal enough in his thinking, strong enough in his religious toleration, and sufficiently independent in his politics to offer support when most needed and when others refused. And for Pratt and for the new Mormon movement, that made the critical difference.

As for supporting Mackenzie and his cause, whether Pratt and Joseph Smith encouraged their Latter-day Saint followers to support Mackenzie and his rebellion is not known. Yet if the Canadian Latter-day Saints, though few in number, did not flock to his Patriot cause, they supported his side more than the other. Their support cost them in the short run, as many had to flee the country, suspect not just for their religious convictions but also for their political sympathies. Many Canadians would figure large in the ensuing history of the Church in Missouri, Nauvoo, and the exodus west. Mormonism would not return to Ontario in any significant way for another eighty years. Today, a Latter-day Saint temple graces the city whose first mayor was a fiery Scot bent on changing the course of Canadian history.


[1] For the most thorough study of this topic, see Richard E. Bennett, “A Study of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Upper Canada, 1830–1850” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975); Darren Ferry, “The Politicization of Religious Dissent: Mormonism in Upper Canada, 1833–1843,” Ontario History 59, no. 4 (December 1997): 285–301; Melvin S. Tagg, A History of the Mormon Church in Canada (Lethbridge: Lethbridge Herald, 1978); and Richard E. Bennett, “Plucking, Not Planting: Mormonism in Eastern Canada, 1830–1850,” in The Mormon Presence in Canada, ed. Brigham Y. Card and others (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1990). The authors wish to thank Chris Raible for his assistance in preparing this work. A very careful scholar of the life and times of William Lyon Mackenzie and on the early history of printing in Toronto, Raible read over the preliminary drafts, offering many helpful suggestions.

[2] The most comprehensive study on early missionary work in Great Britain remains James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 1837–1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992). An excellent study on British Mormon migration is P. A. M. Taylor, Expectations Westward: The Mormons and the Emigration of Their British Converts in the Nineteenth Century (Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1965).

[3] Hiram Page to William E. McLellin, February 2, 1848, Archives of the Community of Christ, Independence, Missouri.

[4] David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon (Richmond, MO: David Whitmer, 1887), 30–31. Whitmer claims to have witnessed the return of those who had gone to Canada: “Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he inquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the [seer] stone: ‘Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.’”

[5] B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 1:165–66. Donna Hill suggests that this was a harsh moment in Joseph Smith’s life: “For the first time in the young prophet’s life, a revelation failed” (Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: The First Mormon [Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1977], 95).

[6] Larry C. Porter, “The Book of Mormon: Historical Setting for Its Translation and Publication,” in Joseph Smith: The Prophet, the Man, ed. Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1993), 49–64; see also Keith Wilson, “From Gutenberg to Grandin: Tracing the Development of the Printing Press,” in Prelude to the Restoration: From Apostasy to the Restored Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004), 279.

[7] Wilson, “From Gutenberg to Grandin,” 279; see also Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Gold Plates and Printer’s Ink,” Ensign, September 1976, 75.

[8] David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers, 30–31.

[9] Marvin S. Hill, Quest for Refuge: The Mormon Flight from Pluralism (Salt Lake: Signature Books, 1989), 19.

[10] Hiram Page to “William” (probably William E. McLellin), February 2, 1848, Archives of the Community of Christ.

[11] Richard Lloyd Anderson and Scott H. Faulring, Documentary History of Oliver Cowdery (publication pending), 104n2; used with permission of the authors.

[12] Lucy Mack Smith, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, ed. Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 148–59.

[13] Hill, Quest for Refuge, 19. Hiram Page wrote that the monies raised from selling the Book of Mormon copyright were to be “for the exclusive benefit of the Smith family and was to be at the disposal of Joseph” (Hill, Quest for Refuge, 20).

[14] Philip V. Allingham, “How Did Nineteenth-Century British and American Authors Get Paid?” www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/pva/pva77.html (accessed November 22, 2004).

[15] George L. Parker, The Beginnings of the Book Trade in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985), 106.

[16] Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 107.

[17] B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:161–62; see also Porter, “The Book of Mormon,” 57–58.

[18] John S. McKeown, Fox Canadian Law of Copyright and Industrial Designs, 4th ed. (Toronto: Thomson Carswell, 2003), 2–12; the 1709 British copyright act was titled A Bill for the Encouragement of Learning, and for securing the Property of Copies of Books to the rightful owners thereof.

[19] Parker, Book Trade in Canada, 106.

[20] Parker notes, “The term ‘copyright’ has two meanings, the right to own and dispose of the manuscript (that is, intellectual property), and the right to make copies of it. Copyright protects the form in which ideas are expressed; as such it is a kind of monopoly, and since the eighteenth century there have been many arguments to determine whom copyright serves, the author, the producers of the printed copy, or the public” (Book Trade in Canada, 105).

[21] “Canadian authors were covered by British acts but there was no copyright office to my knowledge. The first local act re: copyright was for the province of Canada in 1841. It is widely assumed that the first book to be copyrighted [in Canada] was Alexander Davidson’s ‘The Canada Spelling Book’ of 1840” (e-mail correspondence from Patricia Fleming to Richard E. Bennett, November 29, 2004).

[22] Whitmer, An Address to All Believers, 31.

[23] At the time, Canada was composed of two separate areas: Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec and the Maritime provinces). In 1841 the Act of Union was passed, uniting Upper and Lower Canada as the Province of Canada under the control of a central government.

[24] Recollection of Hiram Page, February 2, 1848, printed and analyzed in Anderson and Faulring, Documentary History of Oliver Cowdery, 1:103. It is unclear where in Toronto Oliver Cowdery and his companions would have gone to secure copyright to the Book of Mormon in order to allow them to sell it, whether a copyright office or the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. There was no specific Canadian copyright office in Toronto until 1841.

[25] H. Pearson Gundy, Book Publishing and Publishers in Canada before 1900 (Toronto: The Bibliographical Society of Canada, 1965), 12. In addition, MacFarlane was pro-Anglican, which would have made him uninterested in printing a controversial work like the Book of Mormon. For the definitive study on early Upper Canada printers and imprints, see Patricia Lockhart Fleming, Upper Canadian Imprints, 1801–1841: A Bibliography (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988).

[26] Frederick Armstrong, Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1985), 44.

[27] John Sewell, Mackenzie: A Political Biography of William Lyon Mackenzie (Toronto: James Lorimer, 2002), 44–45.

[28] Chris Raible, W. L. Mackenzie, Printer; His Newspapers and His Presses (Toronto: The Toronto Historical Board and the Mackenzie House, 1992), 6; see also “Research Paper Prepared for The Toronto Historical Board” (Toronto: Mackenzie House, 1992), 2. In 1827, Mackenzie had published two religious essays in a booklet of 120 pages by Alexander Stewart entitled “Two Essays . . . The First on the Gospel; the Second on the Kingdom of Christ: A Sermon on Baptism” in 1837, a thousand copies of the New Testament (Fleming, Upper Canadian Imprints, 97, 287–88).

[29] Chris Raible, e-mail correspondence to Richard E. Bennett, June 15, 17, 2004. The original title was Illustrations of Masonry by the Late William Morgan. It was 48 leaves, 96 pages long. The only known surviving copy is at the University of Chicago Library.

[30] John Hare and Jean-Pierre Wallot, “The Business of Printing and Publishing,” in History of the Book in Canada, Volume One: Beginnings to 1840, ed. Patricia Lockhart Fleming, Gilles Gallichan, and Yvan Lamond (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004), 73.

[31] J. J. Talman, “The Printing Presses of William Lyon Mackenzie Prior to 1837,” Canadian Historical Review 18, no. 4 (1937): 417.

[32] Chris Raible, A Colonial Advocate: The Launching of his Newspaper and the Queenston Career of William Lyon Mackenzie (Creemore, Ontario: Curiosity House, 1999), 31–33.

[33] Chris Raible, e-mail correspondence to Richard E. Bennett, June 15, 2004, and January 12, 2005. In addition, most booksellers kept between one to five copies of a particular title in stock, which would have made printing a few copies of the Book of Mormon at a time impractical (see Parker, Book Trade in Canada, 17).

[34] Anderson and Faulring, Documentary History of Oliver Cowdery, 105n14.

[35] Joseph Smith Jr., The Papers of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 2:7–8; see also Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1957), 1:421–23.

[36] Orson Hyde, “History of Orson Hyde,” typescript, 6, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

[37] Reverend William Jenkins (1779–1843), born in Scotland, first immigrated to America in 1800 before coming to Upper Canada in 1817. An outstanding Greek and Hebrew scholar, he had also studied several local Indian languages. He was a Secession Presbyterian minister who founded his first church in Mount Pleasant (Richmond Hill) and one later in Markham, near York. An admirer and good friend of William Lyon Mackenzie, he baptized two of Mackenzie’s children. Jenkins was known for his honesty, charity, moral rigidity and liberal political views (see Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 7 [Toronto: University of Toronto Press], www.biographi.ca/EN).

[38] Hyde, “History of Orson Hyde,” 8.

[39] Hyde, “History of Orson Hyde,” 8.

[40] Myrtle Stevens Hyde, Orson Hyde: The Olive Branch of Israel (Salt Lake City: Agreka Books, 2000), 73.

[41] Orson Hyde, quoted in Hyde, Orson Hyde, 73.

[42] The Hyde piece was printed in so-called Tuscan type, likely by a newspaper printer who also did job work, rather than a book or pamphlet printer. Which contemporary printer used such type has not yet been identified. Among the other possible candidates were Robert Stanton, Fothergills at Palladium, Dalton and Coates, Collins and Ward, John F. Ward, G. H. Hackstaff of the Courier, J. H. Lawrence at the Christian Guardian, W. J. Coates, Eastwood and Skinner, and Michael Reynolds (e-mail correspondence from Prof. Patricia Fleming to Richard E. Bennett, November 29, 2004).

Of these several printers, Robert Stanton printed the Upper Canada Gazette and as government printer would not have taken anything religious not of the Church of England. Charles Fothergill, the former government printer, would likely not have considered it. Lawrence printed the Guardian, a Methodist publication and would have avoided printing a competing religious sheet. Thomas Dalton was strongly Tory in politics and Anglican by religion. F. Collins’ operation was a very limited one. George Gurnett was an even more rabid Tory and printed for the Courier. W. J. Coates was printer for the Methodists. The two most obvious remaining choices were O’Grady (a renegade Catholic priest who turned political and started the Correspondent which merged with the Advocate in 1834) and Mackenzie who, with a new type and large press, “clearly wanted job printing” in 1836 (e-mail correspondence from Chris Raible to Richard Bennett, December 1, 2004; see also Chris Raible, Muddy York Mud: Scandal and Scurrility in Upper Canada [Creemore, Ontario: Curiosity House, 1992], 120–27).

[43] Orson Hyde, “A Prophetic Warning.”

[44] Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church: 1830–1847 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997), 1:64.

[45] Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:64. It was republished under this title in 1839 and twice more in the 1840s.

[46] Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, ed. Parley Pratt Jr. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1980), 20.

[47] Frederick Armstrong, Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1985), 272.

[48] Bennett, “A Study of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Upper Canada,” 57–60.

[49] Journal of Joseph Fielding, 5, 7; Joseph Fielding Collection, Church Archives, as quoted in Bennett, “Upper Canada,” 59.

[50] Whether or not Mackenzie met with Joseph Smith is uncertain; however, Mackenzie did report on Smith’s visit and may have been the only Canadian editor to do so. “We understand that Mr. Smith, a famed chief of the new sect called ‘Mormons,’” who suffered much persecution in Missouri, and the great preacher, Mr. Rigdon, are in town” (Constitution, August 2, 1837).

[51] Egerton Ryerson, quoted in Melvin S. Tagg, “A Collection of Historical and Chronological Items Concerning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Eastern Canada as copied from the Collection of Thomas S. Monson,” April 1963; in author’s possession; see also Fred Landon, Western Ontario and the American Frontier (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1941), 25–26; and Bennett, “Upper Canada,” 66.

[52] Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 168.

[53] For more on the history of Irvingism, see Edward Miller, The History and Doctrines of Irvingism (London: C. K. Paul and Co., 1878), Mrs. M. W. O. Oliphant, The Life of E. Irving (London: n.p., 1865), E. Shaw, The Catholic Apostolic Church, Sometimes Called Irvingite, A Historical Study (New York: King’s Crown Press, 1946), and Arnold Dallimore, Forerunner of the Charismatic Movement: The Life of Edward Irving (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983). For a comparison between the two churches, see R. L. Lively, Jr. “The Catholic Apostolic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A Comparative Study of Two Minority Millenarian Groups in Nineteenth-Century England” (PhD diss., Oxford University, 1977).

The Catholic Apostolic Church ceased to exist with the death of its last apostle in 1901. However, the New Apostolic Church, with some nine million members worldwide and presided over by a Chief Apostle, carries on with many of the same doctrines and beliefs. For more information on the New Apostolic Church, see www.nac-usa.org.

[54] Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 160.

[55] Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 163.

[56] Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 164–65. According to one scholar of the history of printing in Toronto, the hall in which Pratt preached, large enough for 300 people, was not owned but rented by Mackenzie and was located on the west side of Yonge Street, “just two doors up from Jesse Ketchum, . . . just north of Temperance Street, somewhat south of Queen Street (then called Lot Street)” (Chris Raible, e-mail correspondence to Richard Bennett, July 12, 2004). Raible also believes that in 1836 Mackenzie’s store was on Yonge Street, “west side, around the corner and a little north from King” (e-mail correspondence, January 12, 2005).

[57] For an excellent recent summary of Mackenzie, see Frederick H. Armstrong and Ronald Stagg, “William Lyon Mackenzie,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, vol. 9.

[58] Raible, W. L. Mackenzie, Printer, 2.

[59] Lillian F. Gates, After the Rebellion: The Later Years of William Lyon Mackenzie (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1988), 116.

[60] Gates, After the Rebellion, 324–25.

[61] Anthony W. Rasporich, William Lyon Mackenzie, ed. David Gagan and Anthony W. Rasporich (Toronto: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston of Canada, 1972), 125.

[62] Raible, Colonial Advocate, 31–32. Mackenzie also said, “Invest the ministers of all denominations with the ‘armour of faith and the sword of the spirit;’ allow them to teach, allow them to preach; but do not annoy or distract by civil disability” (Colonial Advocate, April 7, 1825; quoted in Rasporich, Mackenzie, 122). And on another occasion: “I never uttered a sentence against revealed religion. But I despise the policy which would denounce a whole party because persons of peculiar belief or religion might belong to it. Is this a free country: If so will you fetter thought?” (quoted in Rasporich, Mackenzie, 125).

[63] William Kilbourn, The Firebrand: William Lyon Mackenzie and the Rebellion in Upper Canada (London: Jonathan Cape, 1958), 36.

[64] Kilbourn, Firebrand, 15, 18; and Raible, Colonial Advocate, 19.

[65] For an excellent review of Mackenzie’s religious beliefs, see Chris Raible, “‘Hold Fast to That Which is Best’—Religion in the York/Toronto Life of William Lyon Mackenzie,” York Pioneer 85 (1990): 1–13.

[66] Constitution, December 14, 1836; see Margaret Fairley, ed., The Selected Writings of William Lyon Mackenzie (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1960), 102.

[67] Colonial Advocate, September 13, 1832; in Fairley, Selected Writings, 159.

[68] Included among Mackenzie’s upstate New York agents for the Colonial Advocate were the well known J. D. Bemis and Company of Canandaigua and E. Peek and Company of Rochester (see Colonial Advocate, May 18, 1824 and December 9, 1825).

[69] However, it must be admitted that in his published book sales throughout the 1830s no mention is made of the Book of Mormon in any of the book listings.

[70] William Lyon Mackenzie, Sketches of Canada (London: Effingham Wilson, 1833), 4

[71] Mackenzie, Sketches of Canada, 5, 6–7.

[72] Kilbourn, Firebrand, chapter 13.

[73] David Flint, William Lyon Mackenzie: Rebel Against Authority (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1971), 151–170.

[74] One writer believes that a Latter-day Saint may even have saved his life. During the summer of 1837 while speaking at Churchville, Mackenzie was attacked by a group of Orangemen “more like devils than human beings” armed with clubs until he was rescued by “armed reformers.” He then escaped to the home of a Mr. Law, perhaps that of William Law, a new Mormon convert in the area (Constitution, August 16, 1837). See Helen Warner, “William Lyon Mackenzie and the Mormon Connection,” 8, reprinted in this volume; see also Lyndon W. Cook, “William Law, Nauvoo Dissenter” BYU Studies 22, no. 1 (Winter 1982): 47–48.

[75] Journal of Zadok Knapp Judd, Church Archives, quoted in Bennett, “Upper Canada,” 64.

[76] Bennett, “A Study of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Upper Canada,” 45–53.

[77] Hepsibah Richards to Mrs. Rhoda Richards, January 28, 1838, Levi Richards Papers, Church Archives, quoted in Bennett, “Upper Canada,” 63.

[78] Cassandra Pybus and Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, American Citizens, British Slaves: Yankee Political Prisoners in an Australian Penal Colony 1839–1850 (Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2002).

[79] Darren Ferry, “The Politicization of Religious Dissent: Mormonism in Upper Canada, 1833–1843,” Ontario History 89, no. 4 (December 1997): 288.

[80] Biographical Sketch of Gilbert Belnap, Gilbert Belnap Papers, Church Archives.

[81] David Seely, “Autobiographical Sketch of David Seely,” The David Seely Papers, Church Archives; quoted in Bennett, “Upper Canada,” 62.

[82] Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 209–15, 219–29. Pratt’s time in prison extended from November 1838 to July 1839, a period of eight months.

[83] Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 297.

[84] Smith, History of the Church, 4:80. Van Buren went on to say, “If I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri.”

[85] William Lyon Mackenzie, The Life and Times of Martin Van Buren: The Correspondence of His Friends, Family and Pupils; Together with Brief Notices, Sketches and Anecdotes (Boston: Cooke and Company, Washington Street, 1846), 113; see also Kilbourn, Firebrand, 241.

[86] Gates, After the Rebellion, 125.

[87] William Lyon Mackenzie, The Lives and Opinions of Benj’n Franklin Butler and Jesse Hoyt (Boston: Cook and Company, 1845), 91.

[88] Leonard J. Arrington, “James Gordon Bennett’s 1831 Report on the ‘Mormonites,’” BYU Studies 10, no. 3 (Spring 1970): 353, 356, 364. It is interesting to speculate whether or not any of Bennett’s articles on the Latter-day Saints were based on reports from Mackenzie.

[89] Smith, History of the Church, 4:477–78.

[90] Gates, After the Rebellion, 304.

[91] Peter Crawley, “Pratt, Parley P.,” in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, ed. Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 940–42.

[92] See the Lindsey-Mackenzie Fonds F-37 Collection in the Ontario Archives, Toronto, Ontario. See also file 3275, “Smith, Joseph of Nauvoo—Mormonism” and “Mormonism—Joe Smith,” also in file 3275; see also “Superstition,” file 552.

[93] As Ferry has argued, “The position Mackenzie took regarding the Latter-day Saints was . . . ambivalent” (Ferry, “Politicization of Religious Dissent,” 289).