Sir Alan Napier Mcnab, a Canadian statesman, born at Niagara, Feb. 19, 1798, died in Toronto, Aug. 8, 1862. His grandfather was a royal forester of Scotland, and his father was lieutenant of dragoons and principal aide-de-camp to Gen. Simcoe during the revolution. In 1813 Alan became a midshipman on board Sir James Yeo's ship, and accompanied the expedition to Sackett's Harbor and other American lake ports; but he soon abandoned the navy for the army, was present as ensign of the 100th regiment at the capture of Fort Niagara, and commanded the advanced guard at the battle of Plattsburgh. After the war he studied law, and practised in Hamilton, acting also as clerk of the journals in the assembly of Upper Canada. In 1829 he was elected a member of the assembly for the county of Wentworth, and after serving three terms was returned by the electors of Hamilton. He was subsequently chosen speaker of the lower house. During the insurrection of 1837-'8 he commanded the militia on the Niagara frontier, having the rank of colonel.
He routed the insurgents near Toronto, Dec. 7, 1837. A portion of these, under W. L. Mackenzie, then took possession of Navy island in Niagara river, where they were joined by sympathizers from the American side, and commenced cannonading the Canadian village of Chippewa. Supplies were brought to them from the American side by the steamer Caroline. McNab sent over a body of men, who seized the Caroline in American waters, set fire to her, and sent her adrift over the falls of Niagara. This act, which gave rise to much angry feeling in the United States, was formally sanctioned by the British government. For his services during the insurrection McNab was knighted, July 14, 1838. After the union of the two provinces of Canada (1841) he became speaker of the legislature. He was prime minister under the governorship of the earl of Elgin, and for a short time under Sir Edmund Head, 1854-'6. He was made a baronet in 1858, and in 1860 a member of the legislative council.