Previous Index Next




Since the beginning of the war Upper Canada had had many different governors, but most of them had quickly fallen tinder the influence of the Family Coin-_ pact, and every year the people grew more discontented with their rulers.

Robert   In 1817 Robert Gourlay, a Scotchman,

Gourlay going into business as a land agent, sent a number of questions to the principal people in each town-ship of Upper Canada. The answers showed how badly the country was governed, and Gourlay began to stir up the people to demand reform. At last he called a meeting at York to petition the British government to look into the matter. This was more than the Compact could bear. Twice they had Gourlay tried for libel, but each time he was declared not guilty. Then they thought of an, old law called the Alien Act, by which foreigners suspected of plotting against the government could be forced to leave the province. Gourlay, though a British subject, was ordered to leave Upper Canada. Not obeying, he was arrested and kept for over six months shut tip in Niagara jail. Then he was brought to trial, but the hardships he had suffered had broken his health and bewildered his mind so much that he was utterly unable to defend himself. A jury, unfairly chosen by the men in power, declared him guilty, and he was ordered, on pain of death, to leave Upper Canada within twenty-four hours. This time he obeyed, but though the officials were rid of him, they could not long silence the angry people.


Previous Index Next