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Hunters' Lodges.

When the insurrection broke out in Canada in 1837, the Americans strongly sympathized with the insurgents, regarding them as patriots seeking political freedom. This sympathy was most vehement along the frontier between the United States and Canada. Men banded in secret organizations with a view to give material aid to the insurgents, and this was given pretty freely by bodies of excitable citizens, led by such men as Van Rensselaer, who took possession of Navy Island in the Niagara River, belonging to Canada, or William Johnson, who was called the “Pirate of the thousand Islands,” and was outlawed by the governments of the United States and Great Britain. These secret organizations were called Hunters' Lodges. Among their members were many Canadian refugees, and William Lyon Mackenzie, the chief agitator in Upper Canada, who had been driven from the province, organized an executive committee in Buffalo, N. Y., for the purpose of directing the invasion of Canada. These Hunters' Lodges organized invading parties at Detroit, Sandusky, Oswego, and Watertown, in northern New York, and in Vermont. At one time, Van Rensselaer and Johnson had under them about 2,000 men, at an island a little below Kingston, Canada, It is said that the Hunters' Lodges within the American lines numbered, at one time, nearly 1,200, with a membership of 80,000. They were kept up after the insurrection was crushed and its leaders were hanged, imprisoned, or exiled. Hunters' Lodges were suppressed by order of President Tyler in 1842.

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Solomon Van Rensselaer (2)
William Johnson (2)
Moses Coit Tyler (1)
William Lyon Mackenzie (1)
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