Among the men of high distinction whose names are associated with the Dominion, and who have added impulse to its progress, the Right Honorable Sir Frederick Temple holds an eminent place. Before the appointment of Lord Dufferin to the administration of Canadian affairs, there had been at different times confided to him many important trusts, all of which were honored with a large measure of success. He had also rendered valuable service to his Sovereign in foreign countries; but his labors were so quietly performed, and all his movements in the execution of his work were so free from ostentation, that he had gained but little publicity abroad; and surprise even was manifested in many quarters at his appointment. We see in this unassuming character no mean indication of his superior worth; for the man of true merit never seeks publicity as an end, nor works for notoriety. He rather aims in all his endeavors, to promote human good as the object of his chief pursuit. Lord Dufferin was known for his literary ability and works: the productions of his pen were highly esteemed among cultivated readers. The blood of the Sheridans flows in his veins, and Mrs. Caroline Norton, a distinguished literary genius, was his aunt. From the time of his appointment to the close of his administration, his Lordship always manifested a deep interest in Canadian affairs. He left nothing unnoticed that might tend to the advantage of the Dominion. He visited every part, and applied himself thoroughly to the attainment of that knowledge of the country so necessary to the just and prosperous management of its government. He made himself acquainted with its geography, its history, its resources, and its adaptation to mining, grazing and agriculture. As in his travels he came in contact with the people, he addressed them with so much ability, eloquence and sense, that the knowledge of their country, its interests, and the means of advancing those interests, was greatly increased; and as his speeches were published, and extensively read, they have served to make Canada better known abroad. Thus have they aided in the advancement of the country by promoting the various enterprises of emigration from other lands to this part of the world. Everywhere the words of his Lordship have been uttered to a purpose, for they have been succeeded by good results. His character and his deeds among us have elicited honor from all, regardless of political distinction.
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The Earl of Dufferin was born June 21, 182G. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford. On the death of his father, July 21, 1841, he succeeded as the 5th Baron Dufferin and Viscount Clandeboye in the Peerage of Ireland. He was created Baron Clandeboye of the United Kingdom, in 1850; and Earl of Dufferin and Viscount Clandeboye (both of the United Kingdom), in 1870. After taking his degree in 1840-47, he devoted himself to the amelioration of Ireland, for at that time this unfortunate country was suffering the horrors of famine from the prevalence of the potato rot. From 1849 to 1852 he was a Lord in waiting on the Queen, and again from 1854 to 1858. He was attached to Earl Russell’s special mission to Vienna in February, 1855. Afterwards he served in the capacity of Under Secretary of State for War, and in the same capacity at the India Office. These services were rendered from 1864 to 1867. In 1860, as Commissioner of the Crown, he accomplished with success the important and delicate mission of settling the difficulties between the natives and Christians in Syria. This work earned for him much renown, and he received for it the order of Knight Commander of the Bath. Till this time those difficulties had been of a most serious nature, often resulting in bloodshed. He was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Paymaster-General from 1868 to 1872. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of County Down, Ireland, in 1864, and Governor-General of Canada, May 22, 1872. In addition to the satisfactory arrangement of the Turkish troubles, mentioned above, he also compromised certain differences between the French and the warlike Druses. In proof of his ability as a statesman and a diplomatist, he gave a Constitution to Lebanon. Soon after this he was offered the Governorship of Bombay, which, on account of the failing health of his mother, he felt himself obliged to decline.
In the year 1862 he married Harriet Georgiana Hamilton, eldest daughter of Archibald Rowan Hamilton, Esq., of Killyleagh Castle, County Down, Ireland. Lord Dufferin is a Liberal in politics, and is decided in his convictions, though free from the rancor which often accompanies party spirit. The ascendancy of the Liberal party in 1872 gave him, under the ministry of Mr. Gladstone, the appointment of Governor-General of the Dominion. His success in Syria and the fitness he there manifested for dealing with Oriental peoples, have caused his name to be frequently mentioned in connection with the Vice Royalty of the Indian Empire.
As an instance of the high regard in which he is held at home, when he received his appointment as Governor-General, the people of Belfast, as soon as they learned the fact, determined to tender him a public banquet, which was held at Ulster Hall, attended by representatives of every creed and class. At the close of his term of office in the Dominion he had the satisfaction of seeing a marked advancement in the condition of the country, and a healthy growth in its development, as having been gained during the six years of his administration. An equal satisfaction is the high regard which he continues to hold in the hearts of the Canadian people. In 1879 Lord Dufferin received further proof of the confidence of the Home Government in his judgment, skill and ability, by being gazetted to succeed Lord Loftus as British Ambassador at St. Petersburg. The mission is one of the highest importance, especially in the light of recent events; but, with his ripened political tact, ready wit, and extensive knowledge of men and affairs, he is sure to earn for both England and himself, additional fame and new honors.