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Eden Colvile (12 February 1819 – 2 April 1893) was born in Langley, near Beckenham, Kent, England, son of Andrew Colvile and Mary Louisa Eden. His father was a merchant and member of the Hudson's Bay Company's Board of Governors. Colvile was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] After graduating from Cambridge in 1841, he travelled overseas to Lower Canada to manage the seigneury of Beauharnois for the North American Colonial Association of Ireland, of which his father was deputy governor. He served one year in the Legislative Assembly for Beauharnois in 1844.

His relationship with the Hudson's Bay Company began in 1848 when he accompanied George Simpson to Rupert's Land, travelling as far as the Red River Settlement. After his return to England, he was soon appointed Governor of Rupert's Land, relieving Simpson of his obligations inland. After seeing the troubles which rocked the Red River Settlement in the late 1840s with the Guilleume Sayer trial, the Foss-Pelly slander trial and the difficulties between the Presbyterian Scots and the Anglicans, the Company needed someone like Colvile who would wield a firm hand in the Settlement. He spent his first winter on the Pacific coast, sorting out the affairs of the troubled Pugets Sound Agricultural Company.

In August 1850, he arrived in the Red River Settlement with his wife, Anne Maxwell. They took up residence in the "Big House" at Lower Fort Garry. He quickly took charge of the affairs at the Red River Settlement. He took over as president of the Council of Assiniboia, removed Adam Thom from his position of power, and arranged a compromise between the Presbyterians and Anglicans. Solving the difficulties which arose from the Foss-Pelly slander trial took more delicate manoeuvering, but he succeeded by removing the major players in the trial from the Settlement. After accomplishing the tasks he was sent to fix, he and his wife returned to England in 1852.

He took on many of his father's directorships which included the chairmanship of the board of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. He joined the London committee of the HBC in 1854. After a reorganization of the HBC in the mid 1860's where he was only one of two to remain, he became deputy governor in 1871, governor in 1880 and retired in 1889. He died in Devon on Easter Sunday 1893.

References

  1. ^ Colvile, Eden in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.

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