The Role of the British in the Launching of Confederation

  • Ged Martin
Part of the Cambridge Commonwealth Series book series


In seeking to assess the role played by the British in the achievement of Canadian Confederation, it is natural to look to the years of action between 1864 and 1867. Yet it may be that the two most important British contributions had been made well before the delegates gathered at Charlottetown. The British had succeeded, first, in setting the agenda by defining the aim of intercolonial union. Secondly, and arguably even more crucially important, they had found a formula which preserved imperial control over the process of constitutional change while conceding effective autonomy of action to the politicians of British North America.


North America Nova Scotia British Government Royal Commission Constitutional Change 
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Notes and References

  1. 8.
    CO 42/283, Durham to Glenelg, no. 58, 13 September 1838, fos 162–3; Chester W. New, Lord Durham: A Biography of John George Lambton First Earl of Durham (Oxford, 1929) chs 19–20.Google Scholar
  2. 13.
    Earl Grey, The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell’s Administration (2 vols, London, 1853) i, p. 207.Google Scholar
  3. 20.
    Lucas, ii, p. 282, and see also Ged Martin, The Durham Report and British Policy (Cambridge, 1972) pp. 54–60.Google Scholar
  4. 49.
    Memorandum by Prince Albert, 21 February 1858, in A.C. Benson and Lord Esher (eds), The Letters of Queen Victoria (First Series, 1837–1861) (3 vols, London, 1908 ed.), p. 267.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ged Martin 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ged Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre of Canadian StudiesUniversity of EdinburghUK

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