John George Lambton Durham, earl of, an English statesman, born at Lambton Castle, county of Durham, April 12, 1792, died at Cowes, Isle of Wight, July 28, 1840. He was educated at Eton, served a short time in a regiment of hussars, and was returned to parliament in 1813, where he was one of the most liberal members of the whig party. During the reform excitement of 1819 he advocated the cause of the people, not only in parliament, but in public meetings. He was one of the defenders of Queen Caroline, and in 1821 promulgated a scheme of parliamentary reform, which, though then unsuccessful, was embodied in the reform act ten years later. In 1826 his feeble health compelled him to relax his labors; he passed a year in Naples, and on his return was raised to the peerage as Baron Durham. He was lord privy seal in Earl Grey's ministry of 1830, and was one of the four who prepared the reform bill of the ensuing year, and the duty of defending this and the succeeding bills in the house of lords devolved upon him. In 1833 he retired from the cabinet, and was made an earl. In 1836-'7 he was ambassador to Russia. In 1838 he was sent with extraordinary powers as governor general to Canada, then in a state of rebellion; but returned in December, 1839, in consequence of a disagreement with the home ministry.
He prepared an elaborate report on Canadian affairs, setting forth liberal principles of colonial government, and proposing the union of the two provinces.