Birth of James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, Whig politician and colonial administrator

In 1841, Elgin briefly served as MP for Southampton before being unseated on petition. He served as Postmaster General in Palmerston’s first administration but his main contribution was as Governor General of Canada, making important steps in establishing self-government and creating the essentially symbolic role for the Governor General which continues to this day, and as Viceroy of India where he died of a heart attack aged only 53. In the late 1850s Elgin served as High Commissioner to China where he opened up trade with Japan and concluded the Second Opium War.