Statesman and Viceroy of India. The son of James Bruce, the 8th Earl of Elgin (1811-63), Bruce was born in Canada, during this father's tenure as Governor-General. He was educated at Glenalmond College, Eton and Balliol College (Oxford). He served as Minister of Works in William Gladstone's Liberal administration of 1866.
Bruce was known as a modest and retiring man. However, he was persuaded by his friend the Foreign Secretary, Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847 - 1929) to take the position of Viceroy of India. His father had held this post briefly 30 years previously. Bruce served between 1894-99, a particularly troubled period in India's history, but his tenure was not seen as successful.
He served as Chairman of a Royal Commission which investigated the conduct of the Boer War (1902-03). He went on to become Colonial Secretary (1905-8) in the government of Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836 - 1908) and was partly responsible for the much praised settlement with the Boers in South Africa, although his cautious approach was over-shadowed by energetic and forceful speeches made by his ambitious young under-secretary Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965).
Bruce was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh in 1893 and was appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1899. He died in Dunfermline.