UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Bishop’s gambit : the transatlantic brokering of Father Alexander Macdonell Prevec, Eben


This thesis examines the transatlantic life and journey of Father Alexander Macdonell within the context of his role as a broker in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While serving as a leader for the Glengarry Highlanders throughout the British Isles and Upper Canada, Macdonell acted as a middleman, often brokering negotiations between his fellow Highlanders and the British and Upper Canadian governments. This relationship saw Macdonell and the Glengarry Highlanders travel to Glasgow, Guernsey, and Ireland, working as both manufacturers and soldiers before they eventually settled in Glengarry County, Upper Canada. Once established in Upper Canada, Macdonell continued to act as a broker, which notably led to the participation of the Glengarry Highlanders in the colony’s defence during the War of 1812. Over time, Macdonell’s role as a broker aided him to progressively grow in reputation. Furthermore, it helped him rise through the religious and political ranks of the Roman Catholic Church and Upper Canada politics, ultimately resulting in his appointment as the Bishop of Regiopolis and a member of the colony’s Legislative Council. From his new positions, Macdonell attempted to implement his vision of a Highland future for Upper Canada, rooted in Roman Catholicism, loyalism, and Scottish tradition.

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