Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next



Lord Durham.—Lord Durham reached Quebec toward the end of May, 1838. As already intimated, the constitution of Lower Canada had been suspended by the Imperial parliament. Until some permanent form, of government should be adopted, that province was to be ruled by the governor and a "special council." Lord Durham, on his arrival, dissolved the council

which Colborne had appointed, and formed one more to his own liking. It consisted of members of his own staff, five of the judges, and two of the leading officials. Commissions of inquiry were at once appointed, and during the summer and autumn of 1838 Lord Durham collected a large mass of information concerning the state of all the provinces. He convened at Quebec a meeting of the lieutenant-governors and leading men of the different provinces to discuss the ques-

tion of a union of all the British colonies in North America. The time, however, was not yet ripe for such a project, and Lord Durham in his report merely mentions the idea with approval, without suggesting its adoption at that time. It was not until the different provinces had separately enjoyed a short period of self-government that of themselves they evolved the plan of Confederation under which we now live.

Durham's Policy in Lower Canada. —When Lord Durham arrived in Lower Canada he found many political prisoners awaiting trial. With a laudable desire to put a stop to further political excitement, he induced Dr. Wolfred Nelson and others of these prisoners to acquiesce in their own banishment from the province. Thereupon an Act was passed by the governor and his special council for their transportation to Bermuda. An amnesty was proclaimed as to all others, except Papineau and some of the other leaders, who at the time were in the United States. In England a violent attack was made by opponents of the govern-



Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next