punishment, rather than rehabilitation. Judges believed that harsh penalties would convince others not to follow in criminals’ footsteps.
- Rebel leaders were openly hanged, while others were shipped to Bermuda or Australia. “Transportation” was a serious punishment as criminals were kept in cramped cells chained to walls or deck without ventilation or bathrooms. The heat of the tropics caused many to be sick, and die. Those who survived were put into slave labour; most of Australia’s earliest were slaved convicts.
- Despite the efficient repulsion of the rebels, the British realized change would have to come. The British created a group to scope the situation and recommend solutions. This was led by John Lambton, AKA Lord Durham. Politically, Durham was not openly appointed, and so Durham was expected to give solutions, without any title or authority to back them up.
- Durham arrived in early 1838, with Lady Durham, his wife. His attitude at first was sour because of his predicament, but soon it was obvious he had certain strengths other Governors did not. Durham was the representative of the Canadas, and went to the USA to stop rebels from operating from Northern USA.
- Durham appointed Charles Buller, Thomas Turton, and Gibbon Wakefield to his group of colonial experts. Durham was more lenient and pardoned most captured rebels. However, he advised Papineau to remain in exile.
- Unfortunately, without the British Councils, Durham was technically a dictator. Durham’s actions turned out good results, but those who lost property or monetary value to the rebels were displeased. Durham realized that the growing anger was toward him, and he resigned, and went home. Back home, Durham recommended that the colonies be unified under a single, responsible government. He died soon after.
- The Durham Report angered many French-Canadians; Durham’s prejudice against the French was well known. Durham’s ultimate goal was for the French to dissolve into the English culture.
- Durham was correct that peace in Canada would be impossible without democracy, especially with the close democratic USA.
The Responsible government did not have full control, as Durham wanted, but would only have power for internal affairs, such as taxation, that only affected the colonies. Others, such as foreign affairs would remain British reposnsibility.
- Over several years, Durham’s proposals gradually became reality; The Executive Council became the Cabinet, which would become elected. The Legislative Council would become the Senate. This is the basis of our government. The French were denied anything to do with the government until 1843.
- Lord Sydenham, Durham’s successor, built many roads and canals, and was instructed to try and unite the Canadas.
- Finally, in 1840, the Act of Union joined Upper and Lower Canada into Canada, or United Canada. Montreal became the capital. This was done without any input or agreement from the French