The successor of so popular a Governor-General as Lord Dufferin had before him a difficult task, if he would occupy as high a place in the estimation of Canadians as did that distinguished Irish Peer. Under the circumstances, therefore, the appointment of one so closely allied to the Throne as the Marquis of Lorne, was one of the wisest selections that Her Majesty could have made, especially in view of the fact that he would be accompanied by Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise. Endowed with excellent qualities of mind and heart, of varied and extensive knowledge, he will doubtless exercise a potent influence on the affairs of the Dominion; and, judging from the sentiment that already prevails, will be as much beloved as was his eminent predecessor. The present Governor-General is descended from one of the most illustrious and ancient families in Scottish history, the annals of whose ancestors are traced back until they become dim in the twilight of tradition. But since Gillespie Campbell, in the eleventh century, acquired by marriage the Lordship of Lochow, in Argyleshire, the records of the family may be plainly followed. From him descended Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, who became distinguished both in war and in peace, and who received the surname of “Mohr,” or Great.” From him the chief of the house is to this day styled, in Gaelic, “MacCailean Mohr,” or “The Great Colin.” In 1280, he was knighted by Alexander III., and eleven years later he was slain in a contest with his powerful neighbor, the Lord of Lorne. This event occasioned bitter feud between the two families, which existed for many years, but was finally terminated romantically by the marriage of the first Earl of Argyle to the heiress of Lorne. For hundreds of years after this time, the history of the family is inseparably in woven with the history of Scotland. The first and also the last Marquis of Argyle was Gillespie Grumach, or Archibald the Grim, who was beheaded during the reign of Charles II. His son, taking part against the reigning Power, escaped to the Continent, but subsequently returned to Scotland to invade that Kingdom simultaneously with the Duke of Monmouth’s unlucky rising in the South. His small force was defeated while marching on Glasgow, and he was captured and suffered the same fate as his father. The estates were confiscated, and the family seemed doomed to extinction; but the Revolution of 1688 brought it once more into prominence, and its representative was created the Duke of Argyle and Marquis of Lorne.
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The next successor to the titles played a very conspicuous part in the history of his time, and has been immortalized in verse by Pope, and in prose by Sir Walter Scott. The head of the family at the present time is the eighth Duke of Argyle, a celebrated statesman who has filled several important offices under different administrations, and who has achieved considerable reputation as a man of science and of letters. Upon the formation of Mr. Gladstone’s Cabinet in December, 1868 he became Secretary of State for India, and conducted its affairs with marked ability until the Liberal Government was deposed in February, 1874. General Grant has said that the Duke of Argyle inspired in him a higher respect than any other man in Europe. This, from the ex-President of the United States, whose discriminating sense and judgment in observing men is unsurpassed, and who has met nearly all the distinguished men in the world, is a rare compliment, but doubtless as deserving as true. In 1844, the Duke married Lady Elizabeth Georgina Sutherland Leveson-Gower, eldest daughter of the second Duke of Sutherland, and late Mistress of the Royal Robes. By this union he has twelve children, the eldest of whom, the Right Hon. Sir John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, K. T., G. C. M. G., Marquis of Lorne, and Governor-General of Canada, is the subject of this sketch. He was born at the Stafford House, St. James’ Park, London, on the 6th day of August, 1845. He was early educated at Eton, and afterwards passed successively to the University of St. Andrew’s, and Trinity College, Cambridge.
In 1866 he became connected with the military by appointment as Captain of the London Scottish Volunteers, and in 1868 was commissioned Lieut.Colonal of the Argyle and Bute Volunteer Artillery Brigade. For literary and artistic pursuits the Marquis possesses much natural ability as well as a cultivated taste, the result of study, observation, and experience.
His first published work was, “A Tour in the Tropics,” the result of his observations during a trip through the West Indies, and the eastern part of North America, in 1866. Although the author was very young at this time, the appearance of this work displayed to the public the keen sense of observation and discriminating judgment which he inherits from his father. During this trip he made his first visit to Canada and conceived a very favorable impression of this country. His next publication was, “Guida and Lita, a Tale of the Rivieta,” a meritorious poem which attracted much interest, not so much on account of its titled author, as because of the genuine worth and beauty of its composition. In 1877 appeared from his pen “The Book of Psalms, Literally Rendered in Verse,” which is doubtless the best of his literary productions. It called forth considerable praise, and is really a work of great merit.
In 1868 he became a Member of the House of Commons, representing the constituency of Argyleshire, and was re-elected by acclamation in two subsequent General Elections, and continued in Parliament until his appointment to Canada. During part of the Duke of Argyle’s term of office in Mr. Gladstone’s Cabinet, the Marquis acted as his private secretary, displaying much aptitude for affairs of State.
On the 21st of March, 1871, he was united in marriage to Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Duchess of Saxony, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, who was born on the 18th of March, 1848. Since her marriage brought her prominently before the public, she has been regarded with much affectionate interest by the people, and her personal qualities, independently of her high rank, are such as to have earned for her love and respect. She is very accomplished in art and music, and has gladly taken her part in the duties of hospitality devolving on the Governor-General, since her advent to Canada.
Her marriage with the Marquis took place at Windsor, in St. George’s Chapel, and was solemnized with imposing ceremonies. Soon after this event the Marquis of Lorne was mentioned in connection with the Governor-Generalship of Canada, and it was generally believed that he would be the successor of Sir John Young, but the appointment was finally given to Lord Dufferin. Upon the expiration of the latter’s term of office, however, it was deemed expedient to offer the appointment to the Marquis for various reasons, and he and his Royal wife were received in the Dominion with great popular demonstrations of welcome. On the occasion of their visits to all the principal cities in Canada, during the Summer of 1879, they were accorded a welcome which could scarcely be more enthusiastic, and all classes seemed to vie in doing honor to their Queen’s representatives; and if their reception be any criterion of the success of the Marquis administration, it will be unsurpassed in brilliancy by any preceding one.