Canada's Governors General, 1847-1878: Biography and by Barbara Messamore

By Barbara Messamore

Oft-ignored within the research of Canadian historical past or brushed aside as a vestige of colonial prestige, the governor general's workplace presents crucial historic perception into Canada's constitutional evolution. within the 19th century, as this day, person governors normal exercised significant scope in reading their method of the place of work. The period 1847-1878 witnessed profound adjustments in Canada's dating with Britain, and during this new booklet, Barbara J. Messamore explores the character of those adjustments via an exam of the function of the governor general.

Guided via outdated directions and constitutional conventions that weren't but firmly confirmed, the governors common of the time - Lord Elgin, Sir Edmund Head, Lord Monck, Lord Lisgar, and Lord Dufferin - all wrestled with the results of colonial self executive. The imprecision of the viceregal position made the nature of the appointee particularly vital and biographical info are therefore necessary to an figuring out of ways the recent test of colonial self-government was once placed into perform. Messamore's ebook marries constitutional historical past and biography, offering illumination on the various key figures of nineteenth-century Canadian politics.

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His later correspondence showed a deeply rooted spirit of obligation to the duties associated with Broomhall, the heavily encumbered Scottish estate to which he fell heir. James was educated at Eton, and Christ Church, Oxford, where his contemporaries included Lord Canning, James Ramsay (later Lord Dalhousie), the Duke of Newcastle, and William Ewart Gladstone. 10 In 1832 he was elected Fellow of Merton College. 11 For seven years, James took over the thankless task of managing Broomhall, which at least offered the opportunity to gain business experience.

46 He rejected Grey's arguments that Canada would ultimately benefit by such large-scale immigration and insisted that the condition of many of the immigrants made it inevitable that they would become a public charge. As the province's financial crisis became acute, Elgin wrote to Grey that 'I am much annoyed at being obliged to dun you again about Immigration expenditure ... '47 He also challenged Grey's assertion that Canada enjoyed military protection at British expense. 49 Elgin also played Canada's advocate in the debate over the repeal of the Navigation Laws.

77 Herman Merivale, permanent undersecretary at the Colonial Office, pointed out that the governor, who was 'the only political link connecting the colony with the mother country ... must see that the mother country receives no detriment. 79 Interestingly, Head described his dilemma in strikingly similar terms. '80 Decades later, the ambiguity had not been resolved. 81 It should be stressed, however, that the fact that the governor general was accountable to the imperial government in no way implied that he would be more likely to intervene in a domestic constitutional matter.

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