Robert Fleming Gourley (Poem by James McIntyre)

Suggested Poem

Robert Fleming Gourley

By James McIntyre

Robert Fleming Gourley was a graduate of St. Andrew's University, Scotland. He was the first to agitate for popular rights in Canada. He was banished from the country and while crossing the Niagara River he asked for a brush to wipe Canadian dust from his feet. He became a champion of popular rights in England and he whipped Lord Brougham in the lobby of the House of Commons, for which breach of privilege he was sentenced by the House. Robert Fleming Gourley owned several farms in Oxford, Ontario, and sought to represent South Oxford in 1858, but Dr. Connor, an uncle of Hon. E. Blake, won the seat; Mr. Blake was his uncle's secretary through the contest when he was a youth.

There came to Oxford Robert Gourley,
In his old age his health was poorly;
He was a relic of the past,
In his dotage sinking fast;
Yet he was erect and tall
Like noble ruined castle wall.
In early times they did him impeach
For demanding right of speech,
Now Oxford he wished to represent
In Canadian parliament,
But him the riding did not honor,
But elected Doctor Connor.

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