When Charles Clarke settled in Elora, Ontario, in 1848 he joined the ranks of the province’s radical reformers, changing into a vigorous critic of every thing in Canada that smacked of the previous regime – rank, privilege, and monopoly – and an enthusiastic supporter of every thing promised by the brand new – fairness, democracy, and particular person alternative. He performed a distinguished position in drafting the ‘Clear Grit’ platform of 1851, supporting such concepts as a householder’s suffrage, the key poll, and illustration by inhabitants. He later espoused the 2 nice causes of nineteenth-century Anglo-Canadian liberalism – provincial rights in Canada and Irish House Rule in Britain. Equally concerned in native affairs – from the Sons of Temperance to the Pure Historical past Society – Clarke tirelessly promoted the pure beauties of Elora and tried to guard the setting of the Grand River gorge from the ravages of business and human carelessness. Utilizing Clarke’s journalistic writings, his personal diary, and a memoir he wrote later in life, Kenneth Dewar paints a vivid image of Clarke’s evolving sense of himself and his world in an age of profound transformation.
Kenneth C. Dewar