Biography of Devonshire, duke of - Archontology
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Devonshire, duke of

Victor Christian William Cavendish

b. 31 May 1868, London, England
d. 6 May 1938, Chatsworth House, Devonshire, England

Title: Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada = Gouverneur général et Commandant en chef du Dominion du Canada
Term: 11 Nov 1916 - 11 Aug 1921
Chronology: 8 Aug 1916, appointed by Commission under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet
  11 Nov 1916, oath of allegiance, oath of office and oath of Keeper of the Great Seal of Canada taken, Red Chamber, Province House, Halifax, Nova Scotia [1]
  11 Aug 1921, termination of appointment with the installation of a successor
Names/titles: 9th Duke of Devonshire (England), 9th Marquess of Hartington (England), 12th Earl of Devonshire (England), 4th Earl of Burlington (UK), 12th Baron Cavendish of Hardwick (England), 4th Baron Cavendish of Keighley (UK) [from 24 Mar 1908]

A descendant of the British prime minister 4th Duke of Devonshire, Victor Christian William Cavendish was educated at Eton and carried on his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1891 he was returned for West Derbyshire becoming the youngest member of the House of Commons. In 1892 he married a daughter of Lord Lansdowne, Governor General of Canada (1883-1888). He served as Treasurer to His Majesty's Household (1900-1903) and Financial Secretary to the Treasury (1903-1905). Upon the death of his uncle, best known as Lord Hartington, Cavendish succeeded to the dukedom and entered the House of Lords. He was also Mayor of Eastbourne (1909-1910) and of Chesterfield (1911-1912), and a Civil Lord of the British Admiralty (1915-1916). The appointment of Devonshire as Governor General of Canada caused political tensions between the British Cabinet and the government of Canada, which had not been not consulted prior to the appointment. Devonshire encouraged reconciliation in the issue of conscription introduced by the Canadian government soon after his arrival. However, he was careful to consult with the Prime Minister Robert Borden and the opposition leaders, and to not interfere in political matters. As a result, there were none of the problems there had been with his predecessor, the Duke of Connaught. As one of Britain's great landowners, Devonshire took a particular interest in Canadian agriculture. In 1921, the Duke of Devonshire Trophy for the Ottawa Horticultural Society was established. One of his major projects was to encourage the establishment of experimental farms in Canada. After returning home, the Duke of Devonshire worked for the League of Nations. In 1924 he succeeded Winston Churchill as Secretary of State for the Colonies (25 Oct 1922 - 23 Jan 1924) in the Cabinets of Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin.

[1] The New York Times. Nov. 12, 1916. P. 14.
[2] The Canadian encyclopedia: year 2000 edition. McClelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto.
  Image: photograph of the Duke of Devonshire; photographer: Dupras & Colas; National Archives of Canada.