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GOURLAY, ROBERT FLEMING, scientific farmer, reformer, and author; b. 24 March 1778 at Craigrothie, Fifeshire, Scotland, third of four children of Oliver Gourlay, a substantial landowner, and Janet Fleming; m. first in 1807 Jean Henderson, and they had four children, and secondly in 1858 Mary Reenan; d. 1 Aug. 1863 in Edinburgh, Scotland. In memory of his mother, who died in 1827, he took Fleming as his middle name.

Robert Fleming Gourlay’s tumultuous moment at the centre of the Upper Canadian stage was foreshadowed in his earlier life. He received a gentleman’s education, graduating ma from St Andrews in 1797, and studying agriculture for two more years at the University of Edinburgh. In 1799 he carried out for Arthur Young, secretary of the Board of Agriculture, a study of the condition of farm labourers in two English shires which was later published and cited by Thomas Malthus. From 1800 to 1809 he managed one of his father’s farms and from 1809 to 1817 was tenant to the Duke of Somerset at Deptford Farm, Wiltshire. In both places he earned a reputation as an improving farmer and kindly landlord.

Gourlay was an agrarian radical with strong similarities to William Cobbett; both detested the Poor Laws, sympathized with the rural poor, and hoped to restore them to the world that enclosing landlords had stolen from them. They also shared a taste for personal invective. Unlike Cobbett, Gourlay was a dreamer and a visionary; out of his brain, teeming with two generations of radical polemics, he spun “new political edifices” for the transformation of a corrupted world. Some of his radicalism he inherited from his father, who had welcomed the French revolution. Gourlay himself was a democrat of a kind, but his political thought was deeply contradictory. Believing at once in human perfectibility and in the evil of all government because of the inherent vices of mankind, he proposed elaborate systems of reform, whether for land redistribution or universal education, plainly requiring complex bureaucracies to administer. These reforms he hoped to achieve by peaceful petitioning, a form of political action that depended upon corrupt governors reforming themselves, or stepping aside, when confronted by the united voice of the people.

A specific plan for organising the people, and for obtaining reform independent of parliament . . . to the people of Fife . . . of Britain!, an overgrown pamphlet published in London in 1809, is typical of his early writings. In it, Gourlay saw governments as conspiracies of the powerful to shackle mankind by “mysterious ceremonies” and “subtle machinery,” as great engines defended by the forms and quibbles of lawyers and by those “whitewashers of iniquity,” the kept clergy. Governments promoted war, abhorred by Gourlay together with all other forms of violence, solely for the selfish ends of the powerful classes. Revolution would sweep away the rotten structure, nor need revolution under proper supervision be bloody and violent; “it depends all on the management.” Change would come not from the “tainted pool” of aristocracy but from “the dwellings of the poor”; through universal suffrage a simple form of government and the rule of “pure unhampered virtue” would be created.

Gourlay’s specific plan (or “darling system”) divided Britain into voting units of 300 on a literacy suffrage. Every May Day, at six in the morning, voters would march, in dead silence, into their polling places, and there confront a voting machine of “curious workmanship.” In turn, each voter would deposit 30 voting balls in his choice of 300 chambers. At noon, the 30 men so elected were to converge with their fellows from neighbouring parishes upon a district centre, there to repeat the process. By seven in the evening, county representatives to a national assembly would have been chosen; their first task would be the preparation of a petition to the king; and they would have “nothing to do with the present Parliament.” In a revealing passage Gourlay envisioned man regenerated by his system, and himself as architect of the new world of virtue: “Lord of artless truth, of simple nature, if e’er, in time regenerating, thou giv’st me office, let it be this, to burn the lumber of antiquity! . . . O rescued man! O noble savage! now again thyself, when this is done, I’ll meet thee on the smooth green lawn, and sketch the outline of our future garden.”

“Through life,” Gourlay disarmingly said of himself, “I have been enthusiastic in my pursuits.” At Deptford Farm, both enthusiasm and bad judgement brought him into collision with his neighbours and with the Duke of Somerset. His efforts to found a national organization of tenant farmers against great landlords, “the last cohort of feudal power,” caused his expulsion from the Bath and Wiltshire agricultural societies. With the duke he waged a long and costly lawsuit over the terms of his lease; the price of victory was loss of tenancy and impoverishment.

During these years, through practical philanthropy and incessant pamphleteering, Gourlay made his chief concern the state of the rural poor. Why, he inquired in his address To the labouring poor of Wily parish (1816), should millions be expended on bloody wars when “not one in ten of you has been taught to read or write”? From a reading of Malthus he drew an optimistic answer: it was not man – “a ductile animal, and a good one, when not crossed with tyranny” – but the system that was at fault. Vicious institutions like the Poor Laws had pauperized and brutalized the peasantry, and deprived them of motive and opportunity to better their condition. He petitioned parliament to abolish them and to educate the poor as part of a vast scheme of national regeneration. In another petition, to the House of Commons in 1817, he argued for a vast transfer of land to the poor. Property ownership would transform them. His simple plan (and bureaucratic nightmare) provided for governmental acquisition of 100 acres in every parish in England, to be parcelled out in half-acre allotments to paupers. Prompt payment of rent and proper tillage would win promotion from pauper to “parish holder.” £100 in a government savings bank would bring a government-built cottage of that value, and the rank of “cottage holder”; a further £60 meant the rank of “freeman” and eligibility for parish office. Thus the poor would achieve both respectability and independence.

“I am quite a radical, but I am one of my own sort,” Gourlay said of himself with much truth. “I am known both in England and in Scotland because of my peculiar opinions, and these opinions are by many misunderstood.” It was with this reputation that he departed in 1817 for Upper Canada, in hopes of retrieving his fortunes. His wife, a niece of Robert Hamilton*, had inherited 866 acres in Dereham Township, and her cousins, Thomas Clark* and William Dickson*, had both visited Deptford Farm and suggested emigration. Gourlay landed at Quebec on 31 May, intending to return to England in the autumn.

In Upper Canada he was to be accorded an importance he had never attained in Britain. The province was simmering with discontent. The end of the war with the United States had ended wartime prosperity as well. Immigration had slowed to a trickle, partly because of an imperial decision, strongly endorsed by the local administration, to forbid the granting of land to Americans. Those who had suffered losses at American hands during the war had not been compensated; militiamen who had served actively had not been awarded their promised lands. Discontent was particularly acute in the Niagara District, not only because it had been the chief cockpit of the war, but also because its local oligarchy, headed by Dickson and Clark and including Samuel Street*, Robert Nichol*, and the heirs of Robert Hamilton, held huge amounts of wild land that only immigration would render profitable. In April 1817, Nichol had boldly moved in the assembly at York (Toronto) for the lifting of the ban upon Americans and for the sale of the crown reserves. Only Lieutenant Governor Francis Gore*’s hurried prorogation prevented the adoption of all Nichol’s resolutions. Gore was also forced to dismiss Dickson, a legislative councillor, from the commission of the peace because of his refusal to deny the oath of allegiance to prospective American settlers. Here, among the province’s ruling class, were ready-made collaborators and a set of grievances for Gourlay to exploit, should he so choose.

For six weeks Gourlay stayed with Thomas Clark, nursing his mosquito bites and absorbing the Niagara viewpoint of provincial affairs. He was downcast to find that Clark could lend him no money because his capital was tied up in land, and that his wife’s property was unsaleable “because of an illegal and arbitrary order of the Lieutenant Governor,” that is, the ban upon American immigration. After a walking tour of the Genesee country of New York, however, he decided to prolong his stay. He had resolved to become a land agent, he told his wife, “to cross the Atlantic annually, and at once make my own fortune, establish a grand system of emigration, and render Upper Canada prosperous and happy.” As well, in keeping with the long-established tradition of Scottish agricultural and statistical scholarship, he intended to compile a statistical account of the province.

To these several ends, he prepared an address to the resident landowners of Upper Canada, and appended to it a list of 31 questions based upon those used by Sir John Sinclair in his Statistical account of Scotland. It was this source, and no secret design, that inspired the well-known 31st question: “What, in your opinion, retards the improvement of your township in particular, or the province in general; and what would most contribute to the same?” Through introductions provided by his Niagara friends, Gourlay met most of the leading men of York (with the notable exception of John Strachan), secured the permission of Samuel Smith*, administrator of the province, for insertion of his address in the Upper Canada Gazette, and mailed an additional 700 copies to township officials. While in York he also applied for a land grant. It appears he asked for special consideration, probably because he required a large acreage to float his emigration scheme.

The address was a skilful and effective appeal, though some found it patronizing. Disavowing any interest in political matters, Gourlay contrasted the province’s actual state with its rich prospects. Since Upper Canada had been peopled chiefly by the poor, inevitably it had a society “crude, unambitious and weak.” What was needed was not the resumption of American immigration but a plan to attract British capitalists to invest in the province and to bring out immigrants. Should that happen, then a superior society “with all the strength and order and refinement” of Britain would spring up. Gourlay proposed his statistical account as a first step in the awakening of British interest, and invited Upper Canadians to hold township meetings in order to reply to his questionnaire.

In February 1818, while township meetings were still being held in many parts of the province, Gourlay abruptly altered his tone and tactics. In a second address, he announced that he had changed his mind about American immigration; Governor Gore, he thought, should have been impeached for forbidding it. Were Upper Canada part of the United States, its lands would double in value. Gourlay was not advocating annexation, though many so construed him. He was, however, throwing down the gauntlet to the provincial government, accusing it of “a system of paltry patronage and ruinous favouritism” and calling for a legislative inquiry into the state of the province followed by a commission to proceed to England with the results.

Gourlay’s decision to challenge the colonial government and one of its central policies, and to come forth not as scientific investigator but in his more accustomed guise as anti-authoritarian, was a fateful one. He offered a number of reasons for it. On a walking tour through western Upper Canada, a region settled mainly by Americans, he had found them to be “active, intelligent, friendly, and adept in the arts of settlement.” Moreover, he “could not help sympathizing” with the plight of his friends Dickson and Clark because of the ban on American immigration. As well, his application for land had been refused “by the dirty ways of Little York” and “the loathsome things of the Land Granting Department” (on the quite proper ground that he was not proposing to become an actual settler). In this, he detected the hand of that “monstrous little fool of a parson,” Strachan. Though that supposition was incorrect, he was probably right in laying at Strachan’s door the fact that not a single township report had come in from the populous Home District, and only scattered reports from districts east of York. Strachan had tried to persuade Chief Justice William Dummer Powell* and Samuel Smith that Gourlay was a “dangerous incendiary” when he had seen the first address in type at the government printer’s, and he continued to work against him behind the scenes.

All these setbacks, in combination with a number of depressing letters from his wife about Deptford Farm, threw him into “an absolute fever of care, perplexity and feeling.” Through the columns of the Niagara Spectator he poured out an extraordinary torrent of abuse against “the vile, loathsome and lazy vermin of Little York” and others hostile to him. During his provincial tours, he had picked up scandal as well as statistics, and the facility and vehemence with which he now drew upon it shook the genteel little polity of Upper Canada to its foundations. When Thomas Clark ventured to caution him, Gourlay heedlessly rushed a reply into print. Why, he asked Clark, should someone who had “contended with the second Peer of England” moderate his language when dealing with a contemptible little man who “has got on horseback.” Strachan should stop dabbling in politics and get himself to a penitentiary, as should his tool, the Reverend John Bethune* Jr, “a fool, a busybody and a slanderer.”

Even more important in polarizing opinion was Gourlay’s third address, published on 2 April 1818. He had written it “at a downsitting” on hearing that Smith had prorogued the legislature because of a collision between the two houses over money bills, thus killing an assembly motion for a legislative inquiry into the state of the province. “The Constitution of the province is in danger,” he announced; “all the blessings of social compact are running to waste.” In sweeping language, open to the most damaging interpretation, he declared that “it is the system that blasts every hope of good; and till the system is overturned, it is vain to expect anything of value from change of Representatives or Governors.” The constitution of the province being useless, he called for a direct approach to the Prince Regent through a series of meetings at the township and district levels, culminating in a provincial convention at York to draft a petition. Debate was to be avoided; “the one thing needful” for his followers to keep in mind was “a radical change of system in the government of Upper Canada.”

Though Gourlay lost his most powerful allies at this point – Clark, for example, warned the people of Niagara against “visionary enthusiasts” and the possible illegality of conventions – by early May a Niagara District meeting had been held and a draft petition adopted. One thousand copies of this petition and the Niagara proceedings were printed, and in May and June Gourlay set about distributing the pamphlet through eastern Upper Canada, arousing great controversy. In a blow-by-blow account of his eastern tour in the Spectator, he told his readers that the “grovelling wretches” he encountered in the east had “never soared into the regions of benevolence because they cannot see through the midst of their own iniquity.” In Kingston he clashed with Daniel Hagerman, John Macaulay*, and Stephen Miles, and in Prescott with Jonas Jones*. Philip VanKoughnet* followed him about ripping down his placards. At Cornwall he was assaulted by Richard Duncan Fraser*, a magistrate; in Kingston he was horsewhipped by Christopher Hagerman* for refusing to withdraw from the press a story that Hagerman’s brother “was many years confined in the States’ prison for forgery, now reported to be hanged.”

In both Kingston and Cornwall Gourlay was charged with seditious libel. In April, at Strachan’s urging, the administrator had directed Attorney General John Beverley Robinson to seize the first opportunity for prosecution in order to check “the very threatening career now entered upon.” In Robinson’s opinion, both the third address and the Niagara pamphlet contained grossly libellous passages subversive of government. Though he feared that if acquitted Gourlay would be “immediately elevated into a Champion for liberty against imaginary oppression,” the Kingston charge was laid at his instance; that of Cornwall was R. D. Fraser’s own idea.

Members of the administration were particularly apprehensive about the coming convention. Robinson, for instance, thought conventions extremely dangerous “as they pointed out the mode by which popular movements, on pretences less specious than the present, can be effected:” On 4 July he compared “Mr. Gourlay’s wild measures” to those proceedings “which in another era and in other Colonies of the British Empire, terminated in Rebellion.” But neither he nor the judges could find any clearly constitutional means to suppress the convention and to punish its most active members.

The convention met in York from 6 to 10 July 1818. It was an anticlimax. Only 14 of the 25 elected district representatives came; Gourlay had hoped for 25 to match the assembly’s numbers. Although Strachan alleged that Gourlay “directed them like children,” the members showed themselves nervous about the stir they had created. They decided to call themselves “The Upper Canadian Convention of Friends to Enquiry” to distinguish their meeting from “conventions formed to control and command public affairs.” Instead of a petition to the Prince Regent, they voted to present one to the new lieutenant governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland*, and to ask him to call provincial elections. Gourlay himself seems to have been disconcerted by the poor attendance and by the criticism he received from two delegates. His own speech was singularly flat; and had it not been for his trials, he later claimed, he would have abandoned the convention on its second day “to get out of the mud of Little York by its own shifts.”

Gourlay was tried in Kingston on 15 August and in Brockville on 31 August. In both cases he defended himself; in both the jury found him innocent. Immediately after his second acquittal, he went to New York, hoping for recent letters from his wife. During his sojourn in Upper Canada, she had been braving his creditors, scraping up rent for the farm, and warding off the duke’s agents. From her husband she had heard that “I have all eyes on me here,” and that “our affairs are banished from my mind by my present avocations.” In response to the plea to “come home my dearest Gourlay” that awaited him in New York, Gourlay sent his wife a power of attorney to do what she could, for “the very effort of thought” about Deptford Farm was “painful.” “I am tossed on the capricious wave,” he wrote, “and my destiny is beyond my direction.” By October he was back in Kingston organizing township meetings to call for a provincial election. At about the same time his wife gave up the farm and took the children to Edinburgh.

Gourlay’s control over events in Upper Canada melted even more rapidly than his prospects at home. Maitland, persuaded that Gourlay was “half Cobbett and half Hunt,” obtained from the legislature, with only one dissentient in the assembly, an act banning seditious meetings. He then refused to accept from the Friends to Enquiry the petition on which so much effort had been expended, because the convention was “an unconstitutional proceeding.” Gourlay’s counterblast, a letter headed “Gagged, gagged, by Jingo!” caused the arrest of the editor of the Spectator, Bartimus Ferguson*, on a charge of seditious libel. The warrant was issued by William Dickson and William Claus*, on information from Isaac Swayze*, a Niagara assemblyman and a confidant of Dickson’s. Swayze informed Maitland’s secretary that Gourlay himself would shortly be “in Safe Keeping” or else “sent across the River.”

On 18 Dec. 1818 Swayze swore before the same two legislative councillors that Gourlay was a person of “no particular or fixed place of residence,” that he was “an evil minded and seditious person,” that he had not been an inhabitant of the province for the previous six months (having been out of the country), and that he had not taken the oath of allegiance (that is, in Upper Canada). These allegations were carefully framed to fit the provisions of the sedition act of 1804, originally passed to meet an apprehended danger from French revolutionaries and Irish radicals, and never before used against a British subject. Gourlay was to contend for the rest of his life that as a British subject the act could not apply to him, yet it is clear from the express intentions of the framers, from the sweeping language of the act itself, and from the construction given it by the judges in an opinion of 10 Nov. 1818 that he fell within its scope.

A particularly vicious provision of the act placed the burden of proof upon the accused. When Gourlay, in an appearance before Dickson and Claus, “did not give full and complete satisfaction,” he was ordered to leave the province as the act provided. On his refusal to obey, he was committed on 4 Jan. 1819 to Niagara jail to await trial. Except for a court appearance in York on 8 February to seek bail, a relief denied him by the chief justice as expressly forbidden by the act, he remained in jail until 20 August.

It was not the government which had taken the initiative in applying this “unchristian, unconstitutional, wicked, deceitful, atrocious” act. Maitland and his advisers believed with some reason that Gourlay’s influence was in decline. Strachan’s view was that his arrest was inexpedient, that sooner or later the ordinary laws of libel would have tripped him up, and that Gourlay himself was “an object of pity” who “from his youth has been restless and turbulent.” Maitland told the Colonial Office that he was “perplexed” by the arrest, but had decided to let the law take its course. Gourlay had been trapped, not by government, but by the inconvenient revival of what Strachan called “long dormant” Niagara loyalty. To Dickson and some of his friends, Gourlay had outlived his usefulness, and, with a new and tough-minded governor, become a positive danger to themselves. Seeking to re-establish their positions at York, they threw Gourlay to the wolves. Gourlay himself blamed Dickson alone; “your cousin,” he wrote his wife, “has proved himself little better than a madman.”

From jail Gourlay continued to write vigorously in the Niagara Spectator, including a fourth address to the resident landowners on 20 May. Further publications in June were voted libels by the assembly, and he was more closely confined. Want of vent for his pen and the excessive heat of his cell broke his spirit and his health. At his trial on 20 Aug. 1819, according to Gourlay and to John Charles Dent*, whose graphic account in The story of the Upper Canadian rebellion seems to be based in part on eyewitness testimony, he was mentally incapable of defending himself. Robinson, his prosecutor, termed Gourlay’s description of the trial “a tissue of falsehoods,” but there is little reason to doubt its substantial accuracy. In any event the jury’s verdict was a foregone conclusion, since in essence the trial was to determine whether or not the accused had disobeyed a legal order to leave the province. On 21 August Gourlay was on the New York side of the Niagara, a free man and a banished Briton.

The chief monument to Gourlay’s stay in Upper Canada was his Statistical account, which he published in two volumes (a third was projected but not published) in London (1822). Its shrillness, irrelevancies, and disorder reflected his bitter sense of grievance and the mental depression which followed the death of his wife in 1820. With all its deficiencies, however, it is easily the best compendium of information about Upper Canada for his period. Though Gourlay made no attempt to analyse them, the 57 township reports he printed present an unrivalled picture of provincial social and economic life.

It is less easy to discern Gourlay’s relevance to the provincial reform movement, though some have contended for it. Beyond providing the useful myth of his martyrdom at the hands of a reactionary oligarchy, and perhaps some useful organizational techniques, he seems temporarily to have short-circuited reform. His egotism obscured its aims, his style brought it disrepute, and his petitioning technique was a tactical blind alley. In a real sense Gourlay was not a Upper Canadian but a British and imperial reformer. “I have little care about Canada,” he later said, “my chief efforts were made . . . for the poor of England.” He disclosed no real programme until the publication of his letter “To the parliamentary representatives of the people of Upper Canada” (otherwise “my clodhopping brothers – most august legislators”), written from Niagara jail on 7 June 1819. Here he argued (and the township reports bore him out) that the chief impediment to Upper Canadian growth was the existence of huge amounts of idle land in public and speculative hands. The more rapidly that land was converted to productive use the better, and therefore he proposed direct imperial control of land granting, the taxation of cultivated and wild lands, both public and private, and the use of the revenue and the provincial credit so established to finance both British emigration and large-scale developmental projects. In advocating the taxing of wild land and the sale of crown reserves he was only a few years in advance of his time, and in suggesting by these means the alleviation of English poverty through financed emigration he directly influenced Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Yet had he disclosed these ideas at an earlier point in his Upper Canadian career, it is most doubtful whether he would have won any following whatever.

The rest of Gourlay’s long life was warped by his Upper Canadian experience and his quest for vindication. His flair for self-advertisement and for martyrdom never deserted him. In 1822 he won notoriety in the press as the “amateur pauper” by cracking flints on the roads of Wily parish. In 1824 he was committed to Cold Bath Fields as a dangerous person of unsound mind, having tapped Henry Brougham with a riding crop in the House of Commons lobby for failing sufficiently to advocate his cause. He chose continued incarceration rather than give weight to the charge of insanity by seeking bail. His chronicle of this episode, An appeal to the common sense, mind and manhood of the British nation (1826), declared that “the world is still against me, the same world which poisoned Socrates, crucified Christ, and imprisoned Galileo.” Released in 1828, he stood unsuccessfully for the chair of agriculture at Edinburgh in 1831 and for parliament in 1832. In 1833 he went to stay with friends in Ohio, but failed to interest Ohioans in a statistical account of their state or in a project to sink pits to sea level to furnish data about the earth’s crust. The same fate befell the plans he submitted to a number of cities for their improvement. Bostonians, for example, were cold to his suggestion for a 40-foot addition to Faneuil Hall because it had “no length sufficient for its width.” From 1846 to 1856 Gourlay lived in Scotland, running for parliament in 1846 on a platform of “a bed, an umbrella and a bannock.” In 1856 he returned to Upper Canada to settle on his land at Dereham. At age 80 he contested the riding of Oxford and married Mary Reenan, his 28-year-old housekeeper. Neither venture proving successful, he left Upper Canada for Edinburgh, living there until his death.

Through all these years Gourlay sought justice from British and colonial authorities. This quest was chronicled, in part, in The banished Briton and Neptunian, his personal newspaper, bound together in 39 numbers and published in Boston in 1843. Despite everything, he remained “A Briton, and to Britain ever shall be true.” Thus, at the time of the Upper Canadian rebellion, he publicly damned William Lyon Mackenzie, whom he thought lacked stability, for his treasonable conduct, and provided Sir Francis Bond Head* with information about Patriot activities in the United States. From time to time his cause was taken up by sympathetic Canadian politicians, but he frustrated them all by his rejections of pensions and pardons as insulting. He wanted nothing less than a reversal of history. To the end, he remained convinced of the rightness of his cause and the wickedness of those who had crushed him. John Neilson*, who tried to help in 1841, told him in a kindly letter that “you must not suppose, that in the difficulties in which you engaged in Canada, you also were entirely exempt from error.” But, Gourlay replied, that was precisely the point: “I was exempt from error, and I do most earnestly beg you to review all my writings in Canada, and detect error if you can.”

S. F. Wise

[Some of Robert Gourlay’s publications, notably The banished Briton and Neptunian: being a record of the life, writings, principles and projects of Robert Gourlay . . . (Boston, 1843) and Chronicles of Canada: being a record, of Robert Gourlay . . . (St Catharines, [Ont.], 1842), contain primary material no longer extant elsewhere, such as material from missing files of the Niagara Spectator (Niagara, [Ont.]). Gourlay’s other printed works include A specific plan for organising the people, and for obtaining reform independent of parliament . . . to the people of Fife . . . of Britain! (London, 1809); . . . To the labouring poor of Wily parish ([Bath, Eng., 1816]); General introduction to statistical account of Upper Canada, compiled with a view to a grand system of emigration, in connexion with a reform of the Poor Laws (London, 1822; repr. [East Ardsley, Eng.], 1966, and London, 1966); Statistical account of Upper Canada, compiled with a view to a grand system of emigration (2v., London, 1822; repr. [East Ardsley, Eng.], 1966, and [New York, 1966]); and An appeal to the common sense, mind and manhood of the British nation (London, 1826).

The only full length biography of Gourlay, Lois Darroch Milani, Robert Gourlay, gadfly: the biography of Robert (Fleming) Gourlay, 1778–1863, forerunner of the rebellion in Upper Canada, 1837 ([Thornhill, Ont., 1971?]), contains much material, especially from Scotland, which is unavailable elsewhere. The introduction to R. F. Gourlay, Statistical account of Upper Canada, ed. S. R. Mealing (Toronto, 1974), is a most perceptive and balanced account, and is especially good on the Scottish background to Gourlay’s statistical work.  s.f.w.]

PAC, MG 24, B33; RG 5, A1. PAO, Gourlay family papers; Macaulay (John) papers; Robinson (John Beverley) papers; Strachan (John) papers. PRO, CO 42/359–62. Niagara Spectator (Niagara, [Ont.]), 1818–19. Sir John Sinclair, The statistical account of Scotland: drawn up from the communications of the ministers of the different parishes (21v., Edinburgh, 1791–99). [John Strachan], The John Strachan letter book, 1812–1834, ed. G. W. Spragge (Toronto, 1946). S. D. Clark, Movements of political protest in Canada, 1640–1840 (Toronto, 1959). Craig, Upper Canada. Dent, Upper Canadian rebellion. E. A. Cruikshank, “Post-war discontent at Niagara in 1818,” OH, XXIX (1933), 14–46. W. R. Riddell, “Robert (Fleming) Gourlay,” OH, XIV (1916), 5–133.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

S. F. Wise, “GOURLAY, ROBERT FLEMING,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 24, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gourlay_robert_fleming_9E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gourlay_robert_fleming_9E.html
Author of Article:   S. F. Wise
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1976
Year of revision:   1976
Access Date:   February 24, 2024