John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham
|The Right Honourable
The Earl of Durham
|Portrait of John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham|
|Lord Privy Seal|
22 November 1830 – March 1833
|Prime Minister||The Earl Grey|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Rosslyn|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Ripon|
|Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Gosford|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Sydenham|
|Governor General of the Province
|Preceded by||Sir John Colborne|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Sydenham|
|Born||12 April 1792
|Died||28 July 1840
Cowes, Isle of Wight
|Spouse(s)||(1) Lady Harriet Cholmondeley (d. 1815)
(2) Lady Louisa Grey
John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, GCB, PC (12 April 1792 – 28 July 1840), also known as "Radical Jack" and commonly referred to in Canadian history texts simply as Lord Durham, was a British Whig statesman, colonial administrator, Governor General and high commissioner of British North America.
Background and education 
Durham was born in London, the son of William Henry Lambton, and Lady Anne Barbara Frances, daughter of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Jersey. The Lambton family fortune was derived largely from mining on lands surrounding Lambton Castle, the ancestral family home in County Durham, which formed the basis of Lambton Collieries. Other properties in County Durham included Dinsdale Park and Low Dinsdale Manor. John George Lambton, Lord Durham, was born April 12, 1792, in London. After attending Eton he joined the army in 1809 as a cornet in the 10th Hussars, but resigned in 1811. From 1813 to 1828 he was a member of Parliament.
Political career 
Durham was first elected to Parliament for County Durham in the general election of 1812, a seat he held until 1828, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Durham, of the City of Durham and of Lambton Castle in the County Palatine of Durham. When his father-in-law Lord Grey (see below) became prime minister in 1830, Durham was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Lord Privy Seal. In this capacity he helped draft the Reform Bill of 1832. Lord Durham resigned from cabinet in 1833. Later the same year he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Lambton and Earl of Durham.
Between 1835 and 1837 he served as Ambassador to Russia. While in Russia he was invested as a Knight of the Order of Alexander Nevsky, of the Order of St. Andrew and of the Order of St. Anna. In 1837 he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.
Lord Durham was sent to The Canadas in 1837 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Lower Canada Rebellion of Louis-Joseph Papineau and the Upper Canada Rebellion of William Lyon Mackenzie, which had both occurred earlier that year. His detailed and famous Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839) recommended a modified form of responsible government and a legislative union of Upper Canada, Lower Canada and the Maritime Provinces.
Lord Durham has been lauded in English Canadian history for his recommendation to introduce responsible government. This was implemented and by 1848 Canada was a functioning democracy, as it has been ever since. He is less well considered for his idea of merging Upper and Lower Canada into one colony, since this was proposed with the express end of trying to encourage the extinction of the French language and culture through intermingling with the lesser English population. Although in the end the policy of assimilation failed during the Union (1840–1867) and after, in practice, the Act of Union prevented the granting of responsible government to the French Canadian people (as a majority in Lower Canada).
As soon as 1842, Lord Durham's intended policy of assimilation faced setbacks, as Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine's party in the House managed to force de facto re-establishment of French as a language of Parliament. Once responsible government was achieved (1848), French Canadians in Canada East succeeded by voting as a bloc in ensuring that they were powerfully represented in any cabinet, especially as the politics of Canada West was highly factional. The resulting deadlock between Canada East and West led to a movement for federal rather than unitary government, which resulted in the creation of confederation, a federal state of Canada, incorporating New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, in 1867.
Lord Durham was twice married. He married as his first wife Lady Harriet, daughter of George Cholmondeley, 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley, in 1812. They had three daughters, who all predeceased him. After Lady Harriet's death in July 1815 he married secondly Lady Louisa, daughter of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, in 1816. They had two sons and three daughters. Lord Durham died at Cowes on the Isle of Wight in July 1840, aged 48, and was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son, George. The Countess of Durham only survived her husband by a year and died in November 1841.
Lambton County, Ontario, Lambton, Toronto (including Lambton Mills, Lambton Mills Cemetery and Lambton House), Lambton Avenue in Toronto, Lambton, Québec, Lambton Quay in Wellington New Zealand, and Durham Heights and Cape Lambton (both in the southern tip of Banks Island in the Northwest Territories) are named in his honour. The Penshaw Monument in County Durham, on a hill west of Sunderland, was built in his honour.
Notes and references 
- Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation, Toronto. 2011< Retrieved 31 Jan 2011>
- thepeerage.com John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham
- The London Gazette: . 18 January 1828.
- The London Gazette: . 23 November 1830.
- The London Gazette: . 15 March 1833.
- S. T. Bindoff, E. F. Malcolm Smith and C. K. Webster, British Diplomatic Representatives 1789-1852 (Camden 3rd Series, 50, 1934).
- It was during Durham's trip to the Canadas aboard the Hastings that he experienced one of the first recorded cases of synesthesia. The observations were made by a friend of Durham's, Dr. William Henry Farrow, who was a young doctor travelling to the Canadas on Durham's invitation. New, Chester William (1929). Lord Durham. A Biography of John George Lambton, First Earl of Durham, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 612 p.
- Will Kaufman, Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson, ed. Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, Pages 819-820. ACB-CLIO, 2005. ISBN 978-1-85109-431-8
In English 
- Ouellet, Fernand. "Lambton, John George, 1st Earl of Durham", in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, University of Toronto, Université Laval, 2000
- Ajzenstat, Janet (1988). The Political Thought of Lord Durham, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University, 137 p. (ISBN 0773506373) (online excerpt)
- Martin, Ged (1972). The Durham Report and British Policy, Cambridge University Press, 120 p. (ISBN 0521085306) (preview)
- Wallace, W. Stewart. "John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham (1792-1840)", in The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411 p., pp. 253–254. (online)
- Shelley, Frances, and Richard Edgcumbe (1912). The Diary of Frances Lady Shelley. New York: C. Scribner's, 406 p.
- Bradshaw, Frederick (1903). Self-Government in Canada, and How it was Achieved: The Story of Lord Durham's Report, London: P.S.King, 414 p. (online)
- Lambton, John George, Charles Buller, Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1839). The Report and Despatches of the Earl of Durham, Her Majesty's High Commissioner and Governor-General of British North America, London: Ridgways, Piccadilly (online)
- Mill, John Stuart. "Radical Party and Canada: Lord Durham and the Canadians", in London and Westminster Review, VI & XXVIII, 502-33, January 1838 (online)
- Lambton, John George (1835). Speeches of the Earl of Durham on Reform of Parliament, London: James Ridgway and Sons, Piccadilly, 204 p. (online)
- Reid, John (1835). Sketch of the Political Career of the Earl of Durham, Glasgow: John Reid & Co. 400 p. (online)
In French 
- Viau, Roger (1963). Lord Durham, Montréal: Éditions HMH limitée, 181 p.
- Desrosiers, Léo-Paul (1937). L'Accalmie : Lord Durham au Canada, Montréal: Le Devoir, 148 p.
- Ouellet, Fernand (1988). "LAMBTON, JOHN GEORGE, 1st Earl of Durham". In Halpenny, Francess G. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. VII (1836–1850) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Durham
- Watch the 1961 short drama Lord Durham at the National Film Board of Canada
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, Bt
|Member of Parliament for County Durham
With: Viscount Barnard 1812–1815
Hon. William Powlett 1815–1828
Hon. William Powlett
The Earl of Rosslyn
|Lord Privy Seal
The Earl of Ripon
The Earl of Gosford
|Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada
The Lord Sydenham
Sir John Colborne
|Governor General of the Province of Canada
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Earl of Durham