Biography of Lansdowne, marquess of - Archontology
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Lansdowne, marquess of

Henry Charles Keith Petty-FitzMaurice

b. 14 Jan 1845, London, England
d. 3 Jun 1927, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Irish Free State

Title: Governor General in and over the Dominion of Canada = Gouverneur Général dans et sur la Puissance du Canada
Term: 23 Oct 1883 - 11 Jun 1888
Chronology: 18 Aug 1883, appointed by Commission under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet
  23 Oct 1883, oath of allegiance, oath of office and oath of Keeper of the Great Seal of Canada taken, Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament Buildings (Hôtel du Parlement), Québec City, Québec [1]
  11 Jun 1888, termination of appointment with the installation of a successor
Names/titles: 26th Baron of Kerry and Lixnaw (Ireland), 6th Earl of Kerry and Viscount Clanmaurice (Ireland), 6th Viscount FitzMaurice and Baron Dunkeron (Ireland), 6th Earl of Sherburne, Co. Wexford (Ireland), 6th Baron Wycombe, of Chipping Wycombe, Co. Bucks. (Great Britain), 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, Earl of Wycombe, and Viscount Calne and Calstone, Co. Wilts. (Great Britain) [all peerages inherited 5 Jul 1866]; 9th Baron of Nairne, of Nairne, Co. Perth (Scotland) [from 26 Jun 1895]
  Viceroy and Governor-General of India [10 Dec 1888 - 27 Jan 1894]

The great-grandson of the British prime minister Earl of Shelburne, Henry Petty-FitzMaurice was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. Upon the death of his father (1866), he entered the Lords as a Liberal and served as a Lord of the Treasury (1869-1872), as Under-Secretary for War (1872-1874) and, after Gladstone's Liberals returned to power in 1880, as Under-Secretary of State for India. As Governor General of Canada, the Marquess of Lansdowne presided over the turbulent political period of the North-West Rebellion (1885), which posed a serious threat to the stability of Canada. Lansdowne was a supporter of scientific development. Soon after he arrived in Canada he organized the dispatch of the Nile Expedition. Lansdowne seemed to regard his Canadian years as a respite from the more arduous duties of British public life. However, he proved himself as an adept statesman, helping to negotiate a peaceful settlement over the issue of fishing rights between the United States and Canada. When he completed his term as governor general, Lansdowne succeeded Marquess of Dufferin as Viceroy and Governor-General of India (10 Dec 1888 - 27 Jan 1894). Returning to England, he was sworn in as U.K. Privy Councelor (4 Jul 1895) and Secretary of State for War (1895-1900) in the third administration of the Marquess of Salisbury. Appointed Foreign Secretary (1900-1905), he served in the fourth administration of Salisbury and in the cabinet of Arthur James Balfour. In 1906-1910 he was leader of the Conservative opposition in the House of Lords and also served as Minister without Portfolio (1915-1916) in the coalition government of H.H.Asquith.

[1] The New York Times. Oct. 24, 1883. P. 5.
[2] The Canadian encyclopedia: year 2000 edition. McClelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto.
  Image: contemporary photograph by William James Topley, National Archives of Canada.