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LETTERS AND JOURNALS OF
JAMES, EIGHTH EARL OF ELGIN

GOVERNOR OF JAMAICA, GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF CANADA,
ENVOY TO CHINA, VICEROY OF INDIA



EDITED BY THEODORE WALROND, C.B.



WITH A PREFACE BY ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, D.D.
DEAN OF WESTMINSTER




PREFACE.


Having been consulted by the family and friends of the late Lord Elgin as
to the best mode of giving to the world some record of his life, and
having thus contracted a certain responsibility in the work now laid
before the public, I have considered it my duty to prefix a few words by
way of Preface to the following pages.

On Lord Elgin's death it was thought that a career intimately connected
with so many critical points in the history of the British Empire, and
containing in itself so much of intrinsic interest, ought not to be left
without an enduring memorial. The need of this was the more felt because
Lord Elgin was prevented, by the peculiar circumstances of his public
course, from enjoying the familiar recognition to which he would else have
been entitled amongst his contemporaries in England. 'For' (if I may use
the words which I have employed on a former occasion) 'it is one of the
sad consequences of a statesman's life spent like his in the constant
service of his country on arduous foreign missions, that in his own land,
in his own circle, almost in his own home, his place is occupied by
others, his very face is forgotten; he can maintain no permanent ties with
those who rule the opinion, or obtain the mastery, of the day; he has
identified himself with no existing party; he has made himself felt in
none of those domestic and personal struggles which, attract the attention
and fix the interest of the many who contribute in large measure to form
the public opinion of the time. For twenty years the few intervals of Lord
Elgin's residence in these islands were to be counted not by years, but by
months; and the majority of those who might be reckoned amongst his
friends and acquaintances, remembered him chiefly as the eager and
accomplished Oxford student at Christ Church or at Merton.'

The materials for supplying this blank were, in some respects, abundant.
Besides the official despatches and other communications which had passed
between himself and the Home Government during his successive absences in
Jamaica, Canada, China, and India, he had in the two latter positions kept
up a constant correspondence, almost of the nature of a journal, with Lady
Elgin, which combines with his reflections on public events the expression
of his more personal feelings, and thus reveals not only his own genial
and affectionate nature, but also indicates something of that singularly
poetic and philosophic turn of mind, that union of grace and power, which,
had his course lain in the more tranquil walks of life, would have
achieved no mean place amongst English thinkers and writers.

These materials his family, at my suggestion, committed to my friend Mr.
Theodore Walrond, whose sound judgment, comprehensive views, and official
experience are known to many besides myself, and who seemed not less
fitted to act as interpreter to the public at large of such a life and
character, because, not having been personally acquainted with Lord Elgin,
or connected with any of the public transactions recorded in the following
pages, he was able to speak with the sobriety of calm appreciation, rather
than the warmth of personal attachment. In this spirit he kindly
undertook, in the intervals of constant public occupations, to select from
the vast mass of materials placed at his disposal such extracts as most
vividly brought out the main features of Lord Elgin's career, adding such
illustrations as could be gleaned from private or published documents or
from the remembrance of friends. If the work has unavoidably been delayed
beyond the expected term, yet it is hoped that the interest in those great
colonial dependencies for which Lord Elgin laboured, has not diminished
with the lapse of years. It is believed also that there is no time when it
will not be good for his countrymen to have brought before them those
statesmanlike gifts which accomplished the successful accommodation of a
more varied series of novel and entangled situations than has, perhaps,
fallen to the lot of any other public man within our own memory.
Especially might be named that rare quality of a strong overruling sense
of the justice due from man to man, from nation to nation; that
'combination of speculative and practical ability' (so wrote one who had
deep experience of his mind) 'which peculiarly fitted him to solve the
problem how the subject races of a civilised empire are to be governed;'
that firm, courageous, and far-sighted confidence in the triumph of those
liberal and constitutional principles (in the best sense of the word),
which, having secured the greatness of England, were, in his judgment,
also applicable, under other forms, to the difficult circumstances of new
countries and diverse times.

'It is a singular coincidence,' said Lord Elgin, in a speech at Benares a
few months before his end, 'that three successive Governors-General of
India should have stood towards each other in the relationship of
contemporary friends. Lord Dalhousie, when named to the government of
India, was the youngest man who had ever been appointed to a situation of
such high responsibility and trust. Lord Canning was in the prime of life;
and I, if I am not already on the decline, am nearer to the verge of it
than either of my contemporaries who have preceded me. When I was leaving
England for India, Lord Ellenborough, who is now, alas! the only surviving
ex-Governor-General, said to me, '"You are not a very old man; but, depend
upon it, you will find yourself by far the oldest man in India."' To that
mournful catalogue was added his own name within the brief space of one
year; and now a fourth, not indeed bound to the others by ties of personal
or political friendship, but like in energetic discharge of his duties and
in the prime of usefulness in which he was cut off, has fallen by a fate
yet more untimely.

These tragical incidents invest the high office to which such precious
lives have been sacrificed with a new and solemn interest. There is
something especially pathetic when the gallant vessel, as it were, goes
down within very sight of the harbour, with all its accumulated treasures.
But no losses more appeal at the moment to the heart of the country, no
careers deserve to be more carefully enshrined in its grateful
remembrance.

ARTHUR P. STANLEY.

_Deanery, Westminster:
March 4,1872._




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

EARLY YEARS.

Birth and Parentage--School and College--Taste for Philosophy--Training
for Public Life--M.P. for Southampton--Speech on the Address--Appointed
Governor of Jamaica.


CHAPTER II.

JAMAICA.

Shipwreck--Death of Lady Elgin--Position of a Governor in a West Indian
Colony such as Jamaica--State of Public Opinion in the Island--Questions
of Finance, Education, Agriculture, the Labouring Classes, Religion, the
Church--Harmonising Influences of British Connexion--Resignation
--Appointment to Canada.


CHAPTER III.

CANADA.

State of the Colony--First Impressions--Provincial Politics--'Responsible
Government'--Irish Immigrants--Upper Canada--Change of Ministry--French
Habitans--The French Question--The Irish--The British--Discontents; their
Causes and Remedies--Navigation Laws--Retrospect--Speech on Education.


CHAPTER IV.

CANADA.

Discontent--Rebellion Losses Bill--Opposition to it--Neutrality of the
Governor--Riots at Montreal--Firmness of the Governor--Approval of Home
Government--Fresh Riots--Removal of Seat of Government from Montreal
--Forbearance of Lord Elgin--Retrospect.


CHAPTER V.

CANADA.

Annexation Movement--Remedial Measures--Repeal of the Navigation Laws
--Reciprocity with the United States--History of the Two Measures--Duty of
Supporting Authority--Views on Colonial Government--Colonial Interests the
Sport of Home Parties--No Separation!--Self-Government not necessarily
Republican--Value of the Monarchical Principle--Defences of the Colony.


CHAPTER VI.

CANADA.

The 'Clergy Reserves'--History of the Question--Mixed Motives of the
Movement--Feeling in the Province--In Upper Canada--In Lower Canada--Among
Roman Catholics--In the Church--Secularisation--Questions of Emigration,
Labour, Land-tenure, Education, Native Tribes--Relations with the United
States--Mutual Courtesies--Farewell to Canada--At Home.


CHAPTER VII.

FIRST MISSION TO CHINA--PRELIMINARIES.

Origin of the Mission--Appointment of Lord Elgin--Malta--Egypt--Ceylon
--News of the Indian Mutiny--Penang--Singapore--Diversion of Troops to
India--On Board the 'Shannon'--Hong-Kong--Change of Plans--Calcutta and
Lord Canning--Return to China--Perplexities--Caprices of Climate--Arrival
of Baron Gros--Preparation for Action.


CHAPTER VIII.

FIRST MISSION TO CHINA--CANTON.

Improved Prospects--Advance on Canton--Bombardment and Capture--Joint
Tribunal--Maintenance of Order--Canton Prisons--Move Northward--Swatow
--Mr. Burns--Foochow--Ningpo--Chusan--Potou--Shanghae--Missionaries.


CHAPTER IX.

FIRST MISSION TO CHINA--TIENTSIN.

Advance to the Peiho--Taking of the Forts--The Peiho River--Tientsin
--Negotiations--The Treaty--The Eight of Sending a Minister to Pekin
--Return southward--Sails for Japan.


CHAPTER X.

FIRST MISSION TO CHINA--JAPAN.

Embark for Japan--Coast Views--Simoda--Off Yeddo--Yeddo--Conferences--A
Country Ride--Peace and Plenty--Feudal System--A Temple--A Juggler
--Signing the Treaty--Its Terms--Retrospect.


CHAPTER XI.

FIRST MISSION TO CHINA--THE YANGTZE KIANG.

Delays--Subterfuges defeated by Firmness--Revised Tariff--Opium Trade--Up
the Yangtze Kiang--Silver Island--Nankin--Rebel Warfare--The Hen-Barrier
--Unknown Waters--Difficult Navigation--Hankow--The Governor-General
--Return--Taking to the Gunboats--Nganching--Nankin--Retrospect--More
Delays--Troubles at Canton--Return to Hong-Kong--Mission completed
--Homeward Voyage


CHAPTER XII.

SECOND MISSION TO CHINA--OUTWARD.

Lord Elgin in England--Origin of Second Mission to China--Gloomy
Prospects--Egypt--The Pyramids--The Sphinx--Passengers Homeward bound
--Ceylon--Shipwreck--Penang--Singapore--Shanghae--Meeting with Mr.



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