James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin

James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin and 12th Earl of Kincardine, KT, GCB, KCSI, PC, FSA Scot (20 July 1811  20 November 1863) was a British colonial administrator and diplomat. He served as Governor of Jamaica (1842–1846), Governor General of the Province of Canada (1847–1854), and Viceroy of India (1862–1863).[1] In 1857, he was appointed High Commissioner and Plenipotentiary in China and the Far East to assist in the process of opening up China and Japan to Western trade. In 1860, during the Second Opium War in China, in retaliation for the torture and execution of almost twenty European and Indian prisoners, he ordered the destruction of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, an architectural wonder with immeasurable collections of artworks and historic antiques, inflicting invaluable loss of cultural heritage.[2] Subsequently, he compelled the Qing dynasty to sign the Convention of Peking, adding Kowloon Peninsula to the British crown colony of Hong Kong.


The Earl of Elgin

Viceroy and Governor-General of India
In office
21 March 1862  20 November 1863
MonarchVictoria
Preceded byThe Earl Canning
Succeeded bySir Robert Napier
As Acting Governor-General
Governor General of the Province of Canada
In office
1847–1854
MonarchVictoria
Preceded byThe Earl Cathcart
Succeeded bySir Edmund Walker Head
Governor of Jamaica
In office
1842–1846
MonarchVictoria
Preceded bySir Charles Metcalfe
Succeeded byGeorge Berkeley
As Acting Governor
Personal details
Born(1811-07-20)20 July 1811
London, England
Died20 November 1863(1863-11-20) (aged 52)
Dharamshala, Punjab, British India
NationalityBritish
Spouse(s)
  • Elizabeth Cumming-Bruce
    (m. 1841; died 1843)
  • (m. 1846)
ChildrenVictor Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin
ParentsThomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin
Elizabeth Oswald
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Signature