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GEORGE STEPHEN - LORD MOUNT STEPHEN 1ST CANADIAN PEER
FOUNDER OF CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILROAD, PRESIDENT BANK OF MONTREAL

A lovely letter by the First Canadian elevated to a Peer of the Realm. Noted Financier, Railroad Magnate and Philanthropist George Stephen advises the Lord High Chancellor of England, Lord Halsbury that: "These are all securities in which I myself am interested & which I think sound & safe though not which are called "Trusted Securities" No's 1 & 2 are Bonds & yield about 5% interest, the other three securities are all shares & not unlikely to increase in value as well as in income. Do not hesitate to let me know whenever you think I can be of any further use to you. Always yours, Mount Stephen"  Unfortunately we are not told what bonds and securities to which he refers, but it does show the Good Old Boy network in play. A nice autograph letter signed by Lord Mount Stephen.

Historical Note

GEORGE STEPHEN, 1st BARON MOUNT STEPHEN
FIRST CANADIAN PEER

George Stephen, 1st Baron Mount Stephen (1829–1921) was a Scots-Quebecker Financier, Bank of Montreal, and Founder of the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

Born in Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland, the son of a carpenter, he was educated at the parish school, after which he worked as a farm worker. At the age of 21 he emigrated to Canada where for the next 15 years he laboured in a relative's textile business. Driven by a desire to succeed and his strong work ethic, Stephen also demonstrated a strong business acumen. By 1866 he was running his own successful wool-importing company then began investing in other enterprises. In the 1860s he entered the railroad business by purchasing a major share position in the Montreal Rolling Stock Company. In 1868 Stephen joined with Richard Bladworth Angus, Andrew Paton, and his cousin Donald Alexander Smith to establish the textile manufactory, Paton Manufacturing Company in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Finance was a key element in the development of the Quebec and Canadian economies, and Stephen's abilities saw him appointed a director of
the Bank of Montreal in 1871, he became vice-president in 1873 and was made president in 1876. There he exercised a major influence over the Montreal business community and the Canadian economy. He became acquainted with Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Conservative Prime Minister, and became an unofficial advisor to Macdonald and his government.

George Stephen partnered with Donald Smith, James Jerome Hill, and Norman Kittson to purchase the near-bankrupt St. Paul and Pacific Railway in Minnesota in the United States. They turned the business around, restoring profitability and expanding its lines. Renamed the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway, Stephen and his partners then sold it out for an enormous profit. In 1880, Macdonald encouraged Stephen to tackle the task of building the Canadian Pacific Railway from Montreal to British Columbia. He became the founding president in 1881 and oversaw the huge and difficult task of constructing the costly Transcontinental railroad. Because of his banking experience, Stephen proved capable of putting together the complicated financing needed to complete the project, despite cost overruns from numerous unanticipated engineering and other problems. Having risked most of his wealth to build the CPR, the success of the railroad soon made George Stephen enormously rich.

In 1880 he built, at an estimated cost of $600,000, a magnificent mansion on Drummond Street in Montreal. Designed by William Tutin Thomas, it remains one of the most opulent buildings in Montreal. After his passing in 1928 it was converted to the Mount Stephen Club. Today it has a gourmet restaurant and is open to the public; the building is regarded as one of the city's most important heritage properties. A pioneer of the development of the sport fishery in Quebec, Stephen fished the salmon rivers of eastern Quebec from the 1870s onwards. In 1880 he built a fishing camp at La Fourche, Causapscal, at the confluence of the Matapédia and the Cascapédia rivers. His fishing lodge, now known as "Matamajaw" is a museum open to the public. In 1886 he acquired several properties at Grand-Metis. His fishing camp, which he called Estevan Lodge, was completed in 1887. He also became a generous philanthropist. In 1887 he and Donald Smith donated $500,000 each for the construction of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. In England, he continued his generosity to hospitals, donating $5 million to the King Edward's Hospital Fund during his lifetime. He left the residue of his estate of more than $4 million to the fund. He died at Brocket Hall on 27 November 1921.

In 1890 Stephen retired to England, establishing residences at 25 St. James's Place and later 17 Carlton House Terrace in London and at
Brocket Hall. Brocket Hall was Lord Mount Stephen's country estate in Hertfordshire, England. Built in 1760, Brocket Hall was the home to two British Prime Ministers, Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston. Stephen married Charlotte Kane in 1853, they had no children but adopted Alice Brook as a girl. She married Sir Stafford Northcote, who was Governor of Bombay and the Governor-General of Australia from 1904 to 1908. Lady Mount Stephen was presented to Queen Victoria in 1887. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family, the Duchess of Albany, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, and the Duchess of Teck were their guests at Brocket. An avid fisherman as well, Lady Mount Stephen fished with her husband in Canada and the rivers of Scotland. She apparently introduced the canoe to Scotland during one of her stays there. She died in 1896. She died in 1896. In 1897 Lord Mount Stephen married Gian Tufnell, who had been Lady-in-waiting to Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck, the mother of Queen Mary. She was a lifelong friend and confidant of Queen Mary and she and Lord Mount Stephen regularly entertained the Queen at Brocket Hall. She bequeathed her collection of jewels and her diamond tiara to her.

George Stephen was awarded a barony in 1891, becoming the first Canadian to attain the status of peer. His assumed title, Baron Mount Stephen, was derived from a mountain in the Kicking Horse River Valley of Yoho National Park in British Columbia previously named in his honour. He lived at Brocket Hall in Welwyn, Hertfordshire until his death in 1921.

Document Specifications:
 This is a handwritten autographed letter my Lord Mount Stephen dated 4 August 1908 and addressed to Lord Halsbury, the Lord High Chancellor of England. The letter is four pages on one folded sheet on batonne laid paper and watermarked "HENNINGHAM MOUNT ST LONDON EST.D 1889". Writing is on two pages. Each page measures 4˝" wide by 7" tall (115mm x 180mm). Condition is Very Fine with normal folds.
 

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. .................................  $ Listed on eBay

End of Item - BSL -

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