Place Published: Washington
Publisher: National Intelligencer
Date Published: 1818 & 1819
Edition: 1st Edition
Binding: No binding
National Intelligencer, Washington, newspaper
• 1818, May 12, P.1, col.1 - FROM UPPER CANADA. Gourlay, a political reformer 3 col. inches
• 1819, April 25, P.3, col.1 - FROM UPPER CANADA GAZETTE Mr. Gourlay has been brought up by writ of habeas corpus, examined and remanded to prison. On this subject the public mind is much agitated. High and low rich or poor, saints or sinners, all seem to unite in condeming the measures which has deprived him of his personal liberty... 5-1/2 col. inches.
• 1819, June 26, P.2, col.5 - The Parliament of Upper Canada was to meet at York (Toronto) on the 17th, instant for the dispatch of public business. Mr. Robert Gourlay of whom we have not heard nothing for some time past, on this occastion began to stir himself. From the place of his confinement he has written a long dated May 24, of May last to the resident land-owners of Upper Canada. 3 col. inches.
P.1, col.1 - SLAVERY ARTICLE, 13 col. inches.
Robert Gourlay was a scientific farmer, reformer, and author. A successful farmer and writer who fell into financial difficulties in UK. He emmigrated to UPPER CANADA in 1817 to take up land he owned in Dereham Township and to write an immigrant's guide. His wife, a niece of Robert Hamilton, had inherited 866 acres in Dereham Township, and her cousins, Thomas Clark and William Dickson. He attacked the FAMILY COMPACT and became its most celebrated victim. In February 1818 Gourlay published a second address, demanding an inquiry into the abuses he had uncovered, but the legislature failed to act. He now saw not only the system of landholding as corrupt but the whole system of government as unresponsive to the needs of the settlers. In yet another pamphlet he urged the people to petition collectively for needed reforms.
The ruling oligarchy in Upper Canada now began to move against Gourlay. Arrested twice in June 1818 on charges of criminal libel, he was tried in August but acquitted of both charges by juries sympathetic to his aims.
Gourlay now unsuccessfully turned to the newly arrived governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland. Frustrated, Gourlay became more radical in his pronouncements. In December 1818 he was arrested once more and given 10 days to leave the province. When he refused, he was jailed, and in August 1819 he was ordered to leave the province, with the threat of death if he returned. He went to the United States and returned to England before the end of the year.
In 1822 Gourlay published a Statistical Account of Upper Canada, detailing the conditions in the province. In 1842 the government of Canada erased the 1819 sentence against Gourlay. He returned to Canada in 1856 and in 1860 ran for a seat in the Legislative Assembly. He lost and shortly afterward returned to Scotland, where he died, in Edinburgh, on Aug. 1, 1863.
Good. Item #8260