Upper Canada / Great Britain 1851 Great Exhibition 37mm copper award medal by B. Wyon 35.58 grams , Leroux 920; McLachlan 300; Allen HP-D010 (Rare)
Obverse: similar to the arms of the Earl of Elgin,* consisting of a St. Andrew's cross occupying lower two-thirds of a shield ; in the upper left hand corner is a lion rampant crest, an earl's coronet. On either side of the shield are Scotch thistles.
Reverse: A wreath of laurel ; at the top a beaver THE EARL OF ELGIN AND KINCARDINE K.T. / B. WYON SC.
* McLachlan notes - The device is intended to represent the arms of the Earl of Elgin, which are however, as given in Burke's Peerage as follows: - Or, a saltire and chief gules ; on a canton argent a lion rampant azure armed and langued gules. Crest, a lion (passant) with tail extended azure. Supporters, two savages proper , wreathed about the temples and loins with laurel vert. Motto, fuimus. The saltire and chief are for Bruce of Annandale and the canton for Bruce of Skelton
This medal was awarded to Canadian exhibitors at the Great Exhibition in London
in 1851, by the Earl of Elgin, who was at that time Governor General of Canada.
The new administration passed the Rebellion Losses Bill in 1849, evoking vehement Tory opposition. When Elgin gave the bill his assent, he was attacked by angry mobs and the Parliament buildings in Montréal were burned. Elgin weathered this crisis without compromise, ensuring that responsible government would prevail. Elgin is also noted for the diplomatic finesse with which he secured ratification by the US Senate of the Reciprocity Treaty in 1854, a measure much desired by Canadians at the time as an antidote to economic stagnation.
After leaving Canada in 1854, Elgin was special commissioner to China in 1857-59 and 1860-61. In between these appointments he served as postmaster general in the Palmerston Cabinet. In 1862 he was appointed viceroy and Governor General of India.