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

By Barbara Messamore

Oft-ignored within the examine of Canadian background or brushed off as a vestige of colonial prestige, the governor general's workplace offers crucial old perception into Canada's constitutional evolution. within the 19th century, as this day, person governors normal exercised substantial scope in reading their method of the workplace. The period 1847-1878 witnessed profound adjustments in Canada's courting with Britain, and during this new booklet, Barbara J. Messamore explores the character of those alterations via an exam of the function of the governor general.

Guided via outdated directions and constitutional conventions that weren't but firmly verified, the governors common of the time - Lord Elgin, Sir Edmund Head, Lord Monck, Lord Lisgar, and Lord Dufferin - all wrestled with the consequences of colonial self govt. The imprecision of the viceregal function made the nature of the appointee particularly vital and biographical info are therefore necessary to an realizing of ways the recent test of colonial self-government used to be placed into perform. Messamore's publication marries constitutional background and biography, supplying illumination on the various key figures of nineteenth-century Canadian politics.

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90 Unfortunately, the uncertainty was not restricted to matters of protocol and social expectations. Dufferin approached constitutional expert Alpheus Todd with specific questions, and canvassed two former governors general about the limits of the role. '91 Even two years later, he displayed uncertainty about correct procedure and the limits of his authority. ' 'Must the bill be disallowed by the Governor General in Council or can he disallow it proprie moto'l - that is, under his own influence - he wanted to know.

He enjoins the Scottish people: 'Such thy son could be! / England! 6 The seventh Earl also had to bear the shame of his widely publicized marital troubles. While based in Turkey, Elgin fell victim to a mysterious ailment that ate away his nose. 8 While detained in Paris by Napoleon's forces, she sought comfort in the arms of Robert Fergusson, the young and handsome heir to an estate in Fife. Her husband learned of her adultery through correspondence intercepted by friends and began divorce proceedings.

While at least one contemporary observer labelled the new system 'Elginism/52 Elgin did not invent the idea of self-government for a colonial possession. 55 Lord Durham had made the recommendation that the Canadas be allowed self-government after the rebellions of 1837-8. '57 Charles Buller, a radical member of parliament who had accompanied Durham on his mission to Canada, published a pamphlet in 1840 that explained the necessity for responsible government in the colonies that enjoyed representative institutions.

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