The Durham Report

The seriousness of the troubles in British North America caused deep concern in Great Britain, where memories of the American Revolution could be recalled. At the request of Queen Victoria, who came to the throne in 1837, John George Lambton, earl of Durham, accepted appointment as governor in chief of British North America with special powers as lord high commissioner. He arrived in Quebec in the spring of 1838; though he ended his stay before the year was out, his Report on the Affairs of British North America is one of the most important documents in the history of the British Empire.

Durham recommended that Upper and Lower Canada be united under a single parliament. He said that if the colonies were given as much freedom to govern themselves as the people of Great Britain, they would become more loyal instead of less so. He even forecast the possibility of a union some day of all the British colonies in North America. His only serious error of judgment occurred when he said that the French-speaking Canadians might be expected to be absorbed by a growing English-speaking majority. Durham drove himself and others tirelessly to gather the information he required for his report during the few months he was in the country. His political opponents at home, however, continued to attack him, and, stung by their criticisms, he returned to England to submit his findings. He did not live to witness the action that was taken on his report, for within a year he became ill and died.

Discovery of Canada

Rediscovery and Exploration

Cartier's Explorations

End of the First Colonizing Effort

The Founding of New France

The Father of New France

For the Glory of God

Seigneur and Habitant

Governor, Intendant, and Bishop

French and English Rivalry

The Final Struggle for the Continent

Early British Rule

The Quebec Act of 1774

The United Empire Loyalists

Upper and Lower Canada

Settlement and Exploration in the West

The Selkirk Settlement

The War of 1812

Struggle for Self-Government

Mackenzie and Papineau Rebel

The Durham Report

Canada West and Canada East

The Colonies Grow Up

Settlement on the Pacific Coast

The Confederation Idea

Dominion from Sea to Sea

New Dominion Is Launched

Macdonald's National Policy

The Age of Laurier

Canada and World War I

Canada Between the Wars

The British Commonwealth of Nations

Canada and World War II

Postwar Developments

Centennial of Canadian Confederation

Quebec Separatism

Modern Canadian Leadership

Native Peoples Issues