William Wilkie

William Wilkie, merchant, radical (b at Halifax c 1795; d unknown). The son of a sea captain, Wilkie went into business just as the War of 1812 ended. Peacetime Halifax experienced acute economic dislocation and, provoked by slumping trade and rising taxes, Wilkie turned to protest.

Wilkie, William

William Wilkie, merchant, radical (b at Halifax c 1795; d unknown). The son of a sea captain, Wilkie went into business just as the War of 1812 ended. Peacetime Halifax experienced acute economic dislocation and, provoked by slumping trade and rising taxes, Wilkie turned to protest. In 1820 he published a pamphlet alleging that distress derived from elitism, extravagance and corruption within government. Remedial action, he suggested, required extreme measures, including assassination. Seeking to intimidate protestors, the authorities charged Wilkie with sedition. Convicted by the Supreme Court, he went to prison and then disappeared into self-imposed exile. Although a failure, Wilkie won the sympathy of many and his denunciation of oligarchy would eventually be revived by the campaign for RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.