Date Published: 1921
GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA, 1883–1888
Signature along with letter from his secretary dated September 21, 1921 providing this signature.
Lord Lansdowne was Governor General during turbulent times in Canada. Sir John A. Macdonald's government was in its second term and facing allegations of scandal over the building of the railway (the Pacific scandal), and the economy was once again sliding into recession. The North-West Rebellion of 1885 and the controversy of its leader, Louis Riel, posed a serious threat to the stability of Canada. Yet Lord Lansdowne took the opportunity to travel extensively throughout western Canada in 1885, meeting many of Canada's First Nations peoples. While the railway to British Columbia was not completed, this did not stop the Governor General from travelling throughout the Rockies on horseback and by boat. On his second trip out west, Lord Lansdowne took the new Canadian Pacific Railway, and was the first Governor General to use the line all the way out west.
His experiences in western Canada gave Lansdowne a great love of the Canadian outdoors and the physical beauty of Canada. He was an avid salmon fisherman, and was also intently interested in winter sports. His love of the wilderness and Canadian countryside led him to purchase a second residence on the Cascapédia River in Quebec. It was with the issue of fishing rights between the United States and Canada that Lansdowne proved himself as an adept statesman, helping to negotiate a peaceful settlement to a potentially serious dispute between both countries. Lord Lansdowne departed Canada with a true appreciation of the beauty of the wilderness and an equal appreciation of the diversity of Canadian society. He was considered a very able Governor General, and gave his wife a great deal of the credit for his success in Canada. One of her happiest and most successful endeavours while at Rideau Hall was a party she threw for 400 Sunday school children. Lady Lansdowne was decorated with the Order of Victoria and Albert and the Imperial Order of the Crown of India. Lord Lansdowne's military secretary, Lord Melgund, benefited greatly from serving the Governor General. He later became Lord Minto and served as Governor General between 1898 and 1904.