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EARLS OF ELGIN AND KINCARDINE

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Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 268 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EARLS OF ELGIN AND KINCARDINE. THOMAS BRUCE, 7th earl of Elgin (1766-1841), British diplomatist and art collector, was born on the loth of July 1766, and in 1771 succeeded his brother in the Scottish peerage as the 7th earl of Elgin (cr. 1633), and rrth of Kincardine (cr. 1647). He was educated at Harrow and Westminster, and, after studying for some time at the university of St Andrews, proceeded to the continent, where he studied international law at Paris, and military science in Germany. When his education was completed he entered the army, in which he rose to the rank of general. His chief attention was, however, devoted to diplomacy. In 1792 he was appointed envoy at Brussels, and in 1705 envoy extraordinary at Berlin; and from 1799 to 1802 he was envoy extraordinary at the Porte. It was during his stay at Constantinople that he formed the purpose of removing from Athens the celebrated sculptures now known as the Elgin Marbles. His doing so was censured by some as vandalism, and doubts were also expressed as to the artistic value of many of the marbles; but he vindicated himself in a pamphlet published in 181o, and entitled Memorandum on the Subject of the Earl of Elgin's Pursuits in Greece. In 1816 the collection was purchased by the nation for £36,000, and placed in the British Museum, the outlay incurred by Lord Elgin having been more than £50,000. Lord Elgin was a Scottish representative peer for fifty years. He died at Paris on the 14th of November 1841.
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