on the affairs of British North America
(Also known as The Durham Report.)
Charged with finding the roots of the unrest that had led to the
uprisings in Lower Canada, Durham states that he expected to find
that the problem lay between those who sought free government
and those in the executive
protecting their own authority. What he found instead was "two
nations warring in the bosom of a single state
not of principles, but of races." Most of the blame for this
he attributed to French Canadians.· Refers to French Canadians
as backward and illiterate.
- Argues that irresponsible leaders easily manipulate them.
- The English minority, in contrast, is practical and interested
in improving the province.
In Upper Canada, Durham blamed the Constitutional
Act, 1791, which gave too much power to the lieutenant-governor
and his appointed advisors.
In his conclusion
and recommendations, he warns that if government does not
change, Canadians might turn to the United States for a solution.
He then makes several key recommendations:
- The colonies should have control over their internal affairs
(although he severely restricted the kind of legislation this
- The Colonial Office should retain control of many areas including
"the constitution of the form of government, the regulation
of foreign relations and trade
and the disposal of the
- There must be responsible
government, with a proper cabinet
system as in Britain.
- Responsible government should only be given to an English-speaking
majority (as he does not believe that French Canadians are ready).
- A program of education to make French Canadians more progressive.
- In order to assimilate French Canadians, there should be a
union of the Canadas with the possibility of including the other
British North American Colonies later.