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James Bruce Elgin, 8th earl of

Elgin, James Bruce, 8th earl of (ĕlˈgĭn) [key], 1811–63, British statesman, son of the 7th earl. He served as governor of Jamaica (1842–46) and in 1847 was appointed governor-general of Canada. There he put into operation the proposals for responsible government outlined by his father-in-law, the earl of Durham. Elgin improved education and helped the Canadian economy, which was depressed by the new British policy of free trade. After personally negotiating the reciprocity treaty of 1854 with the United States, he returned to England. He later negotiated (1857–60) British trade agreements with China and Japan. Shortly before his death he was appointed governor-general of India.

See biographies by W. P. Kennedy (1926) and J. L. Morrison (1928, repr. 1970).

His son, Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th earl of Elgin, 1849–1917, was viceroy of India (1894–99) during an extremely troubled period in that country's history and served as colonial secretary from 1905 to 1908.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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