In a series of posts last month, I made what I consider a comprehensive argument that whisky in Canada has an American origin both as to the social custom of drinking it and the materials entering its manufacture.
Whisky of course is ultimately of British origin, Irish and Scottish*, but it implanted in the American colonies early and received in particular a boost from Ulster Scots immigration in the 1700s.
The page set out below (via HathiTrust)provides further support and context for this view. It is authored by John Mercier McMullen, an Irish immigrant of the 19th century who is often termed Canada’s first historian. It is from his History of Canada, issued in multiple editions in the 19th century. One may note its compressed but forceful explanation of the immense importance of “Yankee ways” in the early development of Ontario.
McMullen confirms what I inferred earlier, that the British settlers who arrived after the initial Loyalist and other American influx did not alter the social fabric of society. While McMullen speaks of “rural” society, it must be recalled that almost all Ontarians lived outside of Toronto then – the majority still do – and the province counted numerous regional centres of importance.
Rather than impose their customs, the British incomers adapted easily to “Yankee ways”. McMullen notes this was facilitated by a common ancestry (British) and language. Further in the chapter he mentions the numerous varieties of the Protestantism these peoples shared while noting some Catholic presence as well.
McMullen was almost certainly born Irish Protestant, probably in Ulster. In any event he understood well the cultural unity of the Anglo-Saxon groups he described.
He was born in 1820 and, unusually for his time, lived all the way to 87. He lived in Brockville, ON, a heartland of Loyalist settlement. The first edition of his History was published in 1855, and further editions appeared into the 1890s. Thus, he lived through the period when much of the history he wrote took form or followed upon events still within living memory.
For example, some Canadians who were, say, 80 in 1855 arrived as children with their Loyalist parents in the 1780s. And many Americans came here after the 1780s Loyalist migrations, so some were first-generation even in the 1850s.
A portrait of McMullen and some further biographical detail appear in this source, a webpage maintained by Doug Grant who is a local historian in Brockville.
*There may be a Germanic component to the first American whiskeys in the form of rye in the mash. I discussed earlier the theory that German-origin whiskey-makers influenced bourbon, see here.