John Richardson (author)

John Richardson (Author)

John Richardson (author)

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John Richardson (4 October 1796 – 12 May 1852) was a British Army officer and the first Canadian-born novelist to achieve international recognition.

He was born at Queenston, Ontario on the Niagara River in 1796. His mother Madelaine was the daughter of the fur trader John Askin and an Ottawa woman. His father Dr Robert Richardson was a surgeon with the Queen's Rangers. As a young boy he lived for a time with his grandparents in Detroit and later with his parents at Fort Malden, Amherstburg.

At the age of 16 he enlisted as a gentleman volunteer with the British 41st Foot. This is when he met Tecumseh and General Isaac Brock, whose personalities marked his imagination and whom he would later immortalize in his novel The Canadian Brothers and in other writings. During the War of 1812, he was imprisoned for a year in the United States after his capture during the battle of Moraviantown.

He was commissioned into the 8th Foot in 1813 and exchanged into the 2nd Foot in 1816 and the 92nd Foot in 1818. His later military service took him to England and, for two years, to the West Indies. His biographers pointed out that, during his stay in the West Indies, he was appalled by the inhuman treatment to which slaves were subjected, and argued that his own racial background made him both uneasy in his relations with his fellow officers, and also may have contributed to the very compassionate treatment of the Native Others in his novels. Unlike the stereotypical Indians of Fenimore......
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