You’re thinking “Who?” At least to me, Lord Monck, Viscount Monck, or any other variation isn’t exactly a household name. With confirmation yesterday, however, that Julie Payette will be the next Governor General of Canada, I started looking at the history of that position, and who the first person to hold it was.
Charles Monck, later 4th Viscount Monck, later still Baron Monck, was born in Ireland, has the distinction of being both the last Governor General of the Province of Canada, and the first Governor General of Canada after Confederation. He was also a lawyer, having done law school at Trinity College in Dublin and called the bar at King’s Inn in 1841. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, “Monck displayed considerable diplomatic skill in dealing with the serious Canadian-American tensions of the day. A keen advocate of the defence and political consolidation of BNA, Monck was one of the architects of the Great Coalition, devised to carry Confederation, and he worked assiduously to overcome opposition to Confederation in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.” Fun fact: Rideau Hall was purchased and established as official viceregal residence during his tenure. You can see here a picture of Lord Monck with his family and staff outside of the building in 1866:
When Lord Monck’s term was over, he returned to Ireland. He was succeeded by the second Governor General of Canada, with a name many of us are likely much more familiar with, at least in passing: John Young, 1st Baron Lisgar.