CANADA Governor General Lansdowne 51.3mm silver medal 69.15 grams Clowery CL 104, Leroux 1550, Breton 93
Obverse: conjoined busts of the Marquess & Marchioness of Lansdowne facing right MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE G.C.M.G. GOV: GEN: OF CANADA . MARCHIONESS OF LANSDOWNE 1884 / J.S. & A.B. WYON
Reverse: coat of arms and motto of the Marquess of Lansdowne PRESENTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR GENERAL / VIRTUE NON VERBIS (By Valour Not By Boasting)
Freeman Clowery in his publication, Medals of the Governors General of Canada indicates that only 301 were issued in silver.
The Marquess of 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, and the economy was once again sliding into recession. The Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and the controversy of its leader, Louis Riel, posed a serious threat to the stability of Canada.
Yet the Marquess of 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 the Marquess of 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 Cascapedia River in Quebec.
It was with the issue of fishing rights between the United States and Canada that the Marquess of Lansdowne proved himself as an adept statesman, helping to negotiate a peaceful settlement to a potentially serious dispute between both countries. He was also a supporter of scientific development, presiding over the inaugural session of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1884.
The Marquess of 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, Lady Maud Evelyn Lansdowne, 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.
It is interesting to note that the Marquess of 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