First Gladstone ministry

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The Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli had been defeated at the General Election, so in December 1868 the victorious William Ewart Gladstone formed his first government. He introduced reforms in the Army (including the abolition of the purchase system), the legal system (establishing the Supreme Court of Judicature) and the Civil Service, and disestablished the Church of Ireland. In foreign affairs he pursued a peaceful policy. His government was defeated in the General Election of 1874, whereupon Disraeli formed another government and Gladstone retired as Leader of the Liberal Party.[1]

Cabinet[edit]

December 1868 – February 1874[edit]

Robert Lowe - Chancellor John Bright - Board of Trade George Campbell, Duke of Argyll - India George Villiers, Earl of Clarendon - Foreign Affairs Henry Bruce, Baron Aberdare - Home Secretary William Wood, Baron Hatherley - Lord Chancellor George Robinson, Marquess of Ripon Granville Leveson-Gower, Earl Granville - Colonies John Wodehouse, Earl of Kimberley - Privy Seal George Goschen - Poor Law Gladstone - Prime Minister Spencer Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington - Postmaster GeneralDuke of Devonshire Fortescue Chichester Parkinson-Fortescue, Baron Carlingford - Secretary for War Hugh Childers Use your cursor to explore (or Click icon to enlarge)
Gladstone's Cabinet of 1868, painted by Lowes Cato Dickinson.[2] Use a cursor to see who is who.[3]
OFFICE NAME TERM
First Lord of the Treasury
Leader of the House of Commons
William Ewart Gladstone December 1868 – February 1874
Lord Chancellor The Lord Hatherley December 1868 – October 1872
  The Lord Selborne October 1872 – February 1874
Lord President of the Council The Earl de Grey December 1868 – August 1873
  The Lord Aberdare August 1873 – February 1874
Lord Privy Seal The Earl of Kimberley December 1868 – July 1870
  The Viscount Halifax July 1870 – February 1874
Home Secretary Henry Austin Bruce December 1868 – August 1873
  Robert Lowe August 1873 – February 1874
Foreign Secretary The Earl of Clarendon December 1868 – July 1870
  The Earl Granville July 1870 – February 1874
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl Granville December 1868 – July 1870
  The Earl of Kimberley July 1870 – February 1874
Secretary of State for War Edward Cardwell December 1868 – February 1874
Secretary of State for India The Duke of Argyll December 1868 – February 1874
Chancellor of the Exchequer Robert Lowe December 1868 – August 1873
  William Ewart Gladstone August 1873 – February 1874
First Lord of the Admiralty Hugh Childers December 1868 – March 1871
  George Joachim Goschen March 1871 – February 1874
President of the Board of Trade John Bright December 1868 – January 1871
  Chichester Fortescue January 1871 – February 1874
President of the Poor Law Board George Joachim Goschen December 1868 – March 1871
  replaced by the Local Government Board
President of the Local Government Board James Stansfeld March 1871 – February 1874
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Hugh Childers August 1872 – September 1873
  John Bright September 1873 – February 1874
Postmaster General Marquess of Hartington December 1868 – January 1871
  incumbent not in cabinet
Chief Secretary for Ireland Chichester Fortescue December 1868 – January 1871
  Marquess of Hartington January 1871 – February 1874
Vice President of the Council William Edward Forster July 1870 – February 1874
Leader of the House of Lords The Earl Granville December 1868 – February 1874


† The Earl de Grey was created the Marquess of Ripon in 1871. ‡ Henry Austin Bruce was created Baron Aberdare in 1873.

Notes[edit]

  • William Ewart Gladstone served as both First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer between August 1873 and February 1874.

Changes[edit]

  • July 1870: On the death of Lord Clarendon, Lord Granville succeeds him as Foreign Secretary. Lord Kimberley succeeds Granville as Colonial Secretary, and Lord Halifax succeeds Kimberley as Lord Privy Seal. W.E. Forster enters the Cabinet as Vice President of the Council.
  • January 1871: Chichester Fortescue succeeds Bright at the Board of Trade. Lord Hartington succeeds Fortescue as Chief Secretary for Ireland. Hartington's successor as Postmaster-General is not in the Cabinet.
  • March 1871: G.J. Goschen succeeds Childers at the Admiralty. James Stansfeld succeeds Goschen at the Poor Law Board (which becomes the Local Government Board later that year).
  • August 1872: Hugh Childers returns to the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
  • October 1872: Lord Selborne succeeds Lord Hatherley as Lord Chancellor.
  • August 1873: Lord Aberdare (formerly Henry Austin Bruce) succeeds Lord Ripon as Lord President. Robert Lowe succeeds Aberdare as Home Secretary. Gladstone himself takes over the Exchequer.
  • September 1873: John Bright returns to the Cabinet, succeeding Childers at the Duchy of Lancaster.

List of Ministers[edit]

Cabinet members are listed in bold face.

Office Name Date Notes
Prime Minister,
First Lord of the Treasury
and Leader of the House of Commons
William Ewart Gladstone 3 December 1868 – 17 February 1874 the Government resigned 13 March 1873 and resumed 19 March 1873
Chancellor of the Exchequer Robert Lowe 9 December 1868  
William Ewart Gladstone 11 August 1873
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury George Glyn 9 December 1868  
Arthur Peel 1 August 1873
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Acton Smee Ayrton 9 December 1868  
James Stansfeld 2 November 1869
William Edward Baxter 17 March 1871
John George Dodson 11 August 1873
Junior Lords of the Treasury James Stansfeld 16 December 1868 – 2 November 1869  
The Marquess of Lansdowne 16 December 1868 – 25 April 1872
William Patrick Adam 16 December 1868 – 8 August 1873
John Cranch Walker Vivian 16 December 1868 – 4 August 1870
William Henry Gladstone 2 November 1869 – 17 February 1874
Lord Frederick Cavendish 8 August 1873 – 17 February 1874
Algernon Greville 8 August 1873 – 17 February 1874
Lord Chancellor The Lord Hatherley 9 December 1868  
The Lord Selborne 15 October 1872
Lord President of the Council The Earl de Grey and Ripon 9 December 1868 created Marquess of Ripon 23 June 1871
Henry Bruce 9 August 1873 created Lord Aberdare 23 August 1873
Lord Privy Seal The Earl of Kimberley 9 December 1868  
The Viscount Halifax 6 July 1870
Secretary of State for the Home Department Henry Bruce 9 December 1868  
Robert Lowe 9 August 1873
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen 10 December 1868  
George Shaw-Lefevre 11 January 1871
Henry Winterbotham 17 March 1871
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Earl of Clarendon 9 December 1868  
The Earl Granville 6 July 1870 also Leader of the House of Lords
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Arthur Otway 12 December 1868  
Viscount Enfield 9 January 1871
Secretary of State for War Edward Cardwell 9 December 1868  
Under-Secretary of State for War The Lord Northbrook 10 December 1868  
The Marquess of Lansdowne 26 April 1872
Financial Secretary to the War Office John Cranch Walker Vivian 5 August 1870  
Henry Campbell-Bannerman 15 November 1871
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance Sir Henry Storks 5 August 1870  
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl Granville 9 December 1868 also Leader of the House of Lords
The Earl of Kimberley 6 July 1870
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies William Monsell 10 December 1868  
Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen 14 January 1871
Secretary of State for India The Duke of Argyll 9 December 1868  
Under-Secretary of State for India M. E. Grant Duff 10 December 1868  
First Lord of the Admiralty Hugh Childers 9 December 1868  
George Goschen 24 March 1871
First (later Parliamentary) Secretary to the Admiralty William Edward Baxter 18 December 1868  
George Shaw-Lefevre 17 March 1871
Civil Lord of the Admiralty George Trevelyan 21 December 1868  
The Earl of Camperdown 11 July 1870
Vice-President of the Committee on Education William Edward Forster 9 December 1868 entered the Cabinet July 1870
Chief Secretary for Ireland Chichester Fortescue 16 December 1868  
Marquess of Hartington 12 January 1871
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl Spencer 18 December 1868  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Lord Dufferin and Clandeboye 12 December 1868 created Earl of Dufferin 13 November 1871
Hugh Childers 9 August 1872  
John Bright 30 September 1873
President of the Poor Law Board George Goschen 9 December 1868  
James Stansfeld 24 March 1871 Board abolished 14 August 1871
Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board Arthur Peel 10 December 1868
President of the Local Government Board James Stansfeld 19 August 1871  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board John Tomlinson Hibbert 19 August 1871  
Postmaster-General Marquess of Hartington 9 December 1868  
William Monsell 14 January 1871
Lyon Playfair 18 November 1873
President of the Board of Trade John Bright 9 December 1868  
Chichester Fortescue 14 January 1871
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade George Shaw-Lefevre 9 December 1868  
Arthur Peel 14 January 1871
Paymaster-General The Lord Dufferin and Clandeboye 12 December 1868 created Earl of Dufferin 13 November 1871
Hugh Childers 9 August 1872  
William Patrick Adam 30 September 1873
First Commissioner of Works Austen Henry Layard 9 December 1868  
Acton Smee Ayrton 26 October 1869
William Patrick Adam 11 August 1873
Attorney General Sir Robert Collier 12 December 1868  
Sir John Coleridge 10 November 1871
Sir Henry James 20 November 1873
Solicitor General Sir John Coleridge 12 December 1868  
Sir George Jessel 10 November 1871
Sir Henry James 26 September 1873
Sir William Vernon Harcourt 20 November 1873
Judge Advocate General Sir Colman O'Loghlen 16 December 1868  
John Robert Davison 28 December 1870
Sir Robert Phillimore 17 May 1871
Acton Smee Ayrton 21 August 1873
Lord Advocate James Moncreiff 10 December 1868  
George Young 14 October 1869
Solicitor General for Scotland George Young 14 December 1868  
Andrew Rutherfurd-Clark 14 October 1869
Attorney General for Ireland Edward Sullivan 12 December 1868  
Charles Robert Barry 26 January 1870
Richard Dowse 13 January 1872
Christopher Palles 5 November 1872
Solicitor General for Ireland Charles Robert Barry 12 December 1868  
Richard Dowse 14 February 1870
Christopher Palles 6 February 1872
Hugh Law 18 November 1872
Lord Steward of the Household The Earl of Bessborough 12 December 1868  
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Viscount Sydney 9 December 1868  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Viscount Castlerosse 12 December 1868 succeeded as 4th Earl of Kenmare 26 December 1871
Lord Richard Grosvenor 25 February 1872  
Master of the Horse The Marquess of Ailesbury 12 December 1868  
Treasurer of the Household The Lord de Tabley 12 December 1868  
The Lord Poltimore 1 March 1872
The Lord Monson 1 January 1874
Comptroller of the Household Lord Otho FitzGerald 12 December 1868  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Foley 12 December 1868  
The Marquess of Normanby 27 December 1869
The Earl Cowper 20 April 1871
The Earl of Ilchester 1 January 1874
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Duke of St Albans 22 December 1868  
Master of the Buckhounds The Earl of Cork 12 December 1868  
Mistress of the Robes The Duchess of Argyll 17 December 1868  
The Duchess of Sutherland 22 January 1870
Lords in Waiting The Marquess of Normanby 17 December 1868 – 27 December 1869  
The Earl of Camperdown 17 December 1868 – 11 July 1870
The Lord Camoys 17 December 1868 – 17 February 1874
The Lord Suffield 17 December 1868 – 25 February 1872
The Lord Methuen 17 December 1868 – 17 February 1874
The Earl of Morley 22 December 1868 – 17 February 1874
The Lord Lurgan 27 January 1869 – 17 February 1874
The Lord Wrottesley 27 December 1869 – 17 February 1874
The Marquess of Huntly 21 July 1870 – 1 March 1873
The Earl of Kenmare 25 February 1872 – 17 February 1874
The Earl of Breadalbane 1 March 1873 – 17 February 1874

References[edit]

  1. ^ C. Cook and B. Keith, British Historical Facts 1830–1900
  2. ^ Gladstone's Cabinet of 1868, Lowes Cato Dickinson, ref. NPG 5116, National Portrait Gallery, London, accessed January 2010
  3. ^ Shannon, Richard (1984). Gladstone: 1809-1865 (p.342). p. 580. ISBN 0807815918. Retrieved January 2010. 
Preceded by
First Disraeli Ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1868–1874
Succeeded by
Second Disraeli Ministry