John FitzGerald

John FitzGerald

Posted on 06/19/2017


Photo taken on June 18, 2017


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Robert Gourlay

Robert Gourlay
St. James Park, Toronto. The bust is by Adrienne Alison.

The inscription on the right reads:

Robert Gourlay
1778-1863
Banished from Upper Canada in 1819 on false charges of sedition brought by the Family Compact. His writing had an impact on events leading to the 1837 rebellion.


The plaque reads:

Robert Gourlay championed reforms ahead of his time.
In Scotland -- a vote for every man who could read and write.
In England -- a living wage for workers.
In Canada -- fair land distribution.


The Family Compact was a caste established in Upper Canada by Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe with the intent of establishing a Canadian aristocracy. The Rebellion of 1837 was provoked by Lord John Russell, whose Ten Resolutions removed any trace of responsible government in the British North American colonies.

The aristocracy never took root, the rebellion failed (Gourlay didn't support it, by the way), and the British North American colonies started winning responsible government in 1848. Full independence for their federation -- Canada -- came in 1931.

All of this explains, by the way, why Canada is the only one of the former Dominions not to play cricket. Cricket was the game of the Family Compact and the other colonial oligarchies in British North America, so the people played baseball instead.

Will S., * Boes René * have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Keith Burton
Keith Burton
A very nice bust with a nice patina. Nicely taken John.

Interesting narrative too. I suspect this guy is better known in Canada than in England and Scotland.
5 months ago.
John FitzGerald has replied to Keith Burton
Thanks, Keith. Gourlay's not well known here, either, but he obviously has fans in Toronto. We honour colonizer and rebel alike here -- Queen's Park, which is where the provincial legislature is, has statues of Simcoe and of William Lyon Mackenzie, who led the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada.
5 months ago.
Sarah Paris
Sarah Paris
Happy Canada Day!
4 months ago.
John FitzGerald has replied to Sarah Paris
Thanks, Sarah. Highlight of my weekend was the Canada Day fireworks at the Legion in Merlin, ON (pop. 750).

Sorry I missed wishing you and my other American contacts a happy 4th.
4 months ago. Edited 4 months ago.