1811 - 1863 (52 years)
Has more than 250 ancestors and 34 descendants in this family tree.
||James Bruce |
||20 Jul 1811
||Park Lane, London, Middlesex, England
||20 Nov 1863
||24 Dec 2014 |
||Elizabeth Mary Cumming-Bruce, b. Apr 1821, d. 7 Jul 1843, Jamaica (Age ~ 22 years) |
||22 Apr 1841
||Kinnaird House, Stirling
|+||1. Elma Bruce, b. 19 Jun 1842, d. 27 Nov 1923, Livingstone Drive, Liverpool (Age 81 years)|
| ||2. Mary Bruce, b. 4 Jun 1843, d. 7 Jun 1843 (Age 0 years)|
||24 Dec 2014 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Mary Louisa Lambton, b. 8 May 1819, d. 9 Mar 1896, Broomhall, Dumferline, Fifeshire, Scotland (Age 76 years) |
||7 Nov 1846
||St. Peter's, Eaton Square, London, Middlesex, England
| ||1. Earl Victor Alexander Bruce, b. 16 May 1849, Montréal, QC, Canada , d. 18 Jan 1917, Broomhall, Dumferline, Fifeshire, Scotland (Age 67 years)|
| ||2. Robert Bruce Preston, b. 4 Dec 1851, Montréal, QC, Canada , d. Yes, date unknown|
| ||3. Charles Bruce, b. 27 Apr 1853, d. Yes, date unknown|
| ||4. Frederick John Bruce, b. 16 Sep 1854, d. Yes, date unknown|
| ||5. Louisa Elizabeth Bruce, b. 1856, d. Yes, date unknown|
||12 Jan 2008 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- 8th Earl of Elgin, 11th Earl of Kincardine
British colonial administrator and diplomat, he was the Governor General of the Province of Canada, a High Commissioner in charge of opening trades with China and Japan, and Viceroy of India.
He had seven brothers and sisters and four half-sisters and one half-brother from his father's first marriage. Lord Elgin's father was reportedly improverished by the purchase of the Elgin Marbles. His father had acquired them at great expense, but sold them to the British government for much less.
James Bruce was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, graduated with a first in Classics in 1832. While at Oxford he became friends with William Ewart Gladstone.
He was elected at the 1841 general election as a Member of Parliament for Southampton, but the election was declared void on petition. He did not stand in the resulting by-election.
James Bruce became Governor of Jamaica in 1842, and in 1847 was appointed Governor General of Canada.
Under Lord Elgin, the first real attempts began at establishing responsible government in Canada. In 1848, the moderate reformers of both Canada East and Canada West, Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin, won their elections, and Lord Elgin asked them to form a government together. Lord Elgin became the first Governor General to remove himself from the affairs of the legislature, leading to the essentially symbolic role that the Governor-General has since had with regards to the political affairs of the country. As Governor-General, he wrestled with the costs of receiving high levels of immigration in the Canadas, a major issue in the constant debate about immigration during the 19th century.
In 1849 the Baldwin-Lafontaine government passed the Rebellion Losses Bill, compensating French Canadians for losses suffered during the Rebellions of 1837. Lord Elgin signed the bill despite heated Tory opposition and his own personal misgivings, sparking riots in Quebec, during which Elgin himself was assaulted by an English-speaking mob and the Parliament buildings were burned down. The French-speaking minority in the Canadian legislature also unsuccessfully tried to have him removed from his post.
In 1849, the Stony Monday Riot took place in Bytown on Monday September 17. Tories and Reformists clashed over the planned visit of Lord Elgin, one man was killed and many sustained injuries. Two days later, the two political factions, armed with cannons, muskets and pistols faced off on the Sappers Bridge. Although the conflict was defused in time by the military, a general support for the Crown's representative, triumphed in Bytown (renamed Ottawa by Queen Victoria in 1854). In 1854, Lord Elgin negotiated the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States in an attempt to stimulate the Canadian economy. Later that year, he signed the law that abolished the seigneurial system in Quebec, and then resigned as Governor-General.
In 1857 he became High Commissioner to China and traveled to China and Japan in 1858-59, where he led the bombing of Canton and oversaw the end of the Second Opium War by signing the Treaties of Tianjin on 26 June 1858.
In June 1860 he returned to China to assist with further attacks that were initially led by his brother. On October 18, 1860, Elgin, not having received the Chinese surrender and wishing to spare Beijing itself, ordered the complete destruction of the Yuan Ming Yuan (or Old Summer Palace) outside Beijing in retaliation for the imprisonment, torture, and execution of almost twenty European and Indian prisoners (including two British envoys and a journalist for The Times). The Old Summer Palace was a complex of palaces and gardens eight kilometers northwest of the walls of Beijing; it had been built during the 18th and early 19th centuries and was where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty resided and handled government affairs. An alternative account says that Elgin had initially considered the destruction of the Forbidden City, but fearing that it might interfere with the signing of the Convention of Beijing, which was where it was being negotiated, he opted for the destruction of the Old Summer Palace in its stead.
The destruction of the Old Summer Palace took 3,500 British troops to set the palace ablaze and three days for it to burn, an act still considered a painful vandalism and great shame in China. Elgin and his troops also managed to loot many treasures from Yuan Ming Yuan imperial gardens to Britain before the vandalism. Attacks on the Summer Palace, an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, was also carried out as part of the retaliatory act but the extent of destruction were not as great as to Yuan Ming Yuan. On 24 October 1860 Elgin signed the Convention of Beijing, which stipulated that China was to cede the part of Kowloon Peninsula, and Hong Kong in perpetuity to Britain.
Inbetween Elgin's two trips to China he had visited Japan and signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Japan in August 1858, an unequal treaty that gave Japan semi-colonial status. The negotiation of this treaty was much eased by the recent signing of the Harris Treaty between Japan and United States. Elgin was ambivalent about the British foreign policy on forcing illegal opium trades on the peoples of the Far East. It was not without internal struggle that he carried out the duty laid by Britain. In a letter to his wife, in regard to the bombing of Canton he wrote, "I never felt so ashamed of myself in my life."
He became Viceroy of India in 1861, and died in Dharamasala in 1863. He died of a heart attack while crossing a mountain bridge in Lahul-Spiti. He was buried in the churchyard of St. John in the Wilderness.