Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2

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Author: Lord Durham

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The Report of Lord Durham on British North America (London, 1902), pp. 23 sqq. World History

Section 89.

The Dominion of Canada

317.

Extracts from Lord Durham’s Account of Anglo-French Rivalry in Canada

The two races thus distinct have been brought into the same community, under circumstances which rendered their contact inevitably productive of collision. The difference of language from the first kept them asunder. It is not anywhere a virtue of the English race to look with complacency on any manners, customs, or laws which appear strange to them; accustomed to form a high estimate of their own superiority, they take no pains to conceal from others their contempt and intolerance of their usages. They found the French Canadians filled with an equal amount of national pride,—a sensitive but inactive pride, which disposes that people not to resent insult, but rather to keep aloof from those who would keep them under.

The English treat the French as inferiors

The French could not but feel the superiority of English enterprise; they could not shut their eyes to English success in every undertaking in which they came into contact, and to the constant superiority which the English were acquiring. They looked upon their rivals with alarm, with jealousy, and finally with hatred. The English repaid them with a scorn which soon also assumed the same form of hatred. The French complained of the arrogance and injustice of the English; the English accused the French of the vices of a weak and conquered people, and charged them with meanness and perfidy. The entire mistrust which the two races have thus learned to conceive of each other’s intentions induces them to put the worst construction on the most innocent conduct; to judge every word, every act, and every intention unfairly; to attribute the most odious designs; and to reject every overture of kindness or fairness as covering secret designs of treachery and malignity.

Religious differences

Religion formed no bond of intercourse and union. It is, indeed, an admirable feature of Canadian society that iris entirely devoid of any religious dissensions. . . . But though the prudence and liberality of both parties has prevented this fruitful source of animosity from imbittering their quarrels, the difference of religion has, in fact, tended to keep them asunder. Their priests have been distinct; they have not met even in the same church.

There is no common educational system

No common education has served to remove and soften the differences of origin and language. As they are taught apart, so are their studies different. The literature with which each is the most conversant is that of the peculiar language of each; and all the ideas which men derive from books come to each of them from perfectly different sources. Those who have reflected on the powerful influence of language on thought will perceive in how different a manner people who speak in different languages are apt to think; and those who are familiar with the literature of France know that the same opinion will be expressed by an English and French writer of the present day, not merely in different words, but in a style so different as to mark utterly different habits of thought.

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Chicago: Durham, "The Dominion of Canada," Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2 in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, ed. James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1908), 316–318. Original Sources, accessed December 9, 2019, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=VUHSHIWL4WUKUP3.

MLA: Durham. "The Dominion of Canada." Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2, in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, edited by James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard, Vol. 2, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1908, pp. 316–318. Original Sources. 9 Dec. 2019. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=VUHSHIWL4WUKUP3.

Harvard: Durham, 'The Dominion of Canada' in Readings in Modern European History, Vol. 2. cited in 1908, Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.316–318. Original Sources, retrieved 9 December 2019, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=VUHSHIWL4WUKUP3.