Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BRUCE, Sir Frederick William Adolphus, British diplomatist, born in Broomhall, Fifeshire, Scotland, 14 April, 1814; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 19 September, 1867. He was the fourth son of the seventh earl of Elgin, a distinguished diplomatist. Sir Frederick was graduated at Oxford in 1834, and was called to the bar of Lincoln's Inn, but, his tendencies being strongly manifested toward diplomacy, he never attempted to gain practice as a barrister. In 1842 he was attached to Lord Ashburton's special mission to the United States for settling the northeastern boundary question. After this he filled various important diplomatic offices, and, while minister to China in 1861, distinguished himself by services toward Americans there. A controversy having arisen in 1864 between his country and the republic of Colombia, he was appointed umpire by the two governments, and discharged the delicate duties to general acceptance. In 1865, when Lord Lyons was removed from Washington to Constantinople, Sir Frederick was selected by the earl of Clarendon to fill the important and difficult position of minister to the United States. His course in the fulfillment of his duties was always judicious. The London "Times" (21 September, 1867) is authority for the statements that "it was in accordance with his repeated advice and exhortations that a wise overture toward a settlement" of the Alabama claims was made by the British government, and that it was greatly owing to his representations that the United States government interrupted the preparations for the Fenian raid into Canada in 1866.
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