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Blackwood, Frederick Temple

SKU: AUT627

$35.00



Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (21 June 1826 – 12 February 1902) was a British public servant and prominent member of Victorian society.

 He is now best known as one of the most successful diplomats of his time. His long career in public service began as a commissioner to Syria in 1860, where his skillful diplomacy maintained British interests while preventing France from instituting a client state in Lebanon. After his success in Syria, Dufferin served in the Government of the United Kingdom as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Under-Secretary of State for War.

In 1872 he became the third Governor General of Canada, bolstering imperial ties in the early years of the Dominion, and in 1884 he reached the pinnacle of his diplomatic career as eighth Viceroy of India. Autograph Letter Signed, 01/29/1878 - 5 x 8  recto and verso, written in blk ink with toning and a portion missing on left corner. Two-fold with minimal arhieva repair on verso overall, fine condition. 

"Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (21 June 1826 - 12 February 1902) was a British public servant and prominent member of Victorian society. In his youth he was a popular figure in the court of Queen Victoria, and became well known to the public after publishing a best-selling account of his travels in the North Atlantic.

He is now best known as one of the most successful diplomats of his time. His long career in public service began as a commissioner to Syria in 1860, where his skillful diplomacy maintained British interests while preventing France from instituting a client state in Lebanon. After his success in Syria, Dufferin served in the Government of the United Kingdom as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Under-Secretary of State for War. In 1872 he became the third Governor General of Canada, bolstering imperial ties in the early years of the Dominion, and in 1884 he reached the pinnacle of his diplomatic career as eighth Viceroy of India.

Following his retirement from the diplomatic service in 1896, his final years were marred by personal tragedy and a misguided attempt to secure his family's financial position. His eldest son was killed in the Second Boer War and another son badly wounded. He was chairman of a mining firm that went bankrupt after swindling people, although he was ignorant of the matter. His biographer Davenport-Hines says he was "imaginative, sympathetic, warm-hearted, and gloriously versatile." He was an effective leader in Lebanon, Canada and India, averted war with Russia, and annexed Burma. He was careless of money but charming and gay in high society in three continents.

Following his return from India, Dufferin resumed his ambassadorial career, serving as ambassador to Italy from 1888 to 1891. On 17 November 1888, he was advanced in the peerage as Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, in the County of Down and the Province of Burma, and Earl of Ava, in the Province of Burma. As ambassador to France from 1891 to 1896, he presided over some difficult times in Anglo-French relations, and was accused by some sections of the French press of trying to undermine Franco-Russian relations. During this time he helped establish the Anglo-French Guild which has since evolved into the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP). After returning from France, Dufferin became President of the Royal Geographical Society, and Rector of the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews.

Throughout his life, Dufferin was known for living beyond his means, and had heavily mortgaged his estates to fund his lifestyle and improvements to the estates. In 1875, with his debts approaching £300,000, he was facing insolvency and was forced to sell substantial amounts of land to pay off his creditors. After he retired from the diplomatic service in 1896, he received several offers from financial speculators hoping to use his high reputation to attract investors to their companies. In 1897, worried about the family financial situation, he was persuaded to become chairman of the London and Globe Finance Corporation, a mining promotion and holding company controlled by Whitaker Wright, but in November 1900 shares in the company crashed and led to its insolvency. It subsequently transpired that Wright was a consummate fraudster. Dufferin lost substantial money on his holdings in the company, but was not guilty of any deception and his moral standing remained unaffected."