First Palmerston ministry

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Palmerston addressing the House of Commons

The Viscount Palmerston, of the Whigs, first formed a government by popular demand in 1855, after the resignation of the coalition government of Lord Aberdeen. He was heavily criticised by Parliament in 1857 over the conduct of the Second Opium War and called a dissolution, but the nation voiced its support in the resulting general election and he remained in power. In 1858 he resigned when defeated "on a measure for removing conspiracies to murder abroad from the class of misdemeanour to that of felony",[clarification needed] and was succeeded by another short-lived Conservative government under Lord Derby.

Cabinet[edit]

February 1855 – February 1858[edit]

Changes[edit]

  • Later in February 1855 – Sir George Cornewall Lewis succeeds Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lord John Russell succeeds Herbert as Colonial Secretary. Sir Charles Wood succeeds Sir James Graham as First Lord of the Admiralty. R.V. Smith succeeds Wood as President of the Board of Control
  • July 1855 – Sir William Molesworth succeeds Russell as Colonial Secretary. Molesworth's successor as First Commissioner of Public Works is not in the Cabinet.
  • November 1855 – Henry Labouchere succeeds Molesworth as Colonial Secretary
  • December 1855 – The Duke of Argyll succeeds Lord Canning as Postmaster-General. Lord Harrowby succeeds Argyll as Lord Privy Seal. Harrowby's successor as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is not in the Cabinet
  • 1857 – M.T. Baines, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, enters the Cabinet.
  • February 1858 – Lord Clanricarde succeeds Harrowby as Lord Privy Seal.

List of Ministers[edit]

Members of the Cabinet are indicated by bold face.

Office Name Date Notes
Prime Minister,
First Lord of the Treasury
and Leader of the House of Commons
The Viscount Palmerston 6 February 1855 – 21 February 1858  
Chancellor of the Exchequer William Ewart Gladstone 30 December 1852 continued in office
Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bt 28 February 1855  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury William Goodenough Hayter 5 January 1853 continued in office
Financial Secretary to the Treasury James Wilson 5 January 1853 continued in office
Junior Lords of the Treasury Lord Alfred Hervey 1 January 1853 – 7 March 1855 continued in office
Lord Elcho 1 January 1853 – 7 March 1855
Chichester Fortescue 6 March 1854 – 16 April 1855
The Viscount Monck 7 March 1855 – 21 February 1858  
Viscount Duncan 7 March 1855 – 21 February 1858
Henry Brand 16 April 1855 – 21 February 1858
Lord Chancellor The Lord Cranworth 28 December 1852 continued in office
Lord President of the Council
and Leader of the House of Lords
The Earl Granville 8 February 1855  
Lord Privy Seal The Duke of Argyll 4 January 1853 continued in office
The Earl of Harrowby 7 December 1855  
The Marquess of Clanricarde 3 February 1858
Secretary of State for the Home Department Sir George Grey, Bt 8 February 1855  
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Henry Fitzroy 28 December 1852 continued in office
William Cowper 16 February 1855  
William Nathaniel Massey 13 August 1855
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Earl of Clarendon 21 February 1853 continued in office
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Lord Wodehouse 28 December 1852 continued in office
Earl of Shelburne 5 July 1856  
Secretary of State for War The Lord Panmure 8 February 1855  
Under-Secretary of State for War Frederick Peel February 1855  
Sir John Ramsden, Bt May 1857
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sidney Herbert 8 February 1855  
Lord John Russell 23 February 1855
Sir William Molesworth, Bt 21 July 1855
Henry Labouchere 21 November 1855
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies John Ball 8 February 1855  
Chichester Fortescue June 1857
First Lord of the Admiralty Sir James Graham, Bt 30 December 1852 continued in office
Sir Charles Wood, Bt 13 March 1855  
First Secretary of the Admiralty Ralph Bernal Osborne 6 January 1853 continued in office
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Sir Robert Peel, Bt 13 March 1855  
Thomas Baring 27 May 1857
President of the Board of Control Sir Charles Wood, Bt 30 December 1852 continued in office
Robert Vernon Smith 3 March 1855  
Joint Secretary to the Board of Control Henry Danby Seymour 3 April 1855  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster vacant    
The Earl of Harrowby 31 March 1855
Matthew Talbot Baines 7 December 1855
Minister without Portfolio The Marquess of Lansdowne 28 December 1852 – 21 February 1858  
Postmaster-General The Viscount Canning 5 January 1853 continued in office
The Duke of Argyll 30 November 1855  
President of the Board of Trade Edward Cardwell 28 December 1852 continued in office
The Lord Stanley of Alderley 31 March 1855 entered the Cabinet 27 November 1855
Vice-President of the Board of Trade The Lord Stanley of Alderley 4 January 1853 continued in office
Edward Pleydell-Bouverie 31 March 1855  
Robert Lowe 13 August 1855
First Commissioner of Works Sir William Molesworth, Bt 5 January 1853 continued in office
Sir Benjamin Hall, Bt 21 July 1855  
Vice-President of the Committee on Education William Cowper 5 February 1857  
President of the Board of Health Sir Benjamin Hall, Bt 14 January 1854 continued in office
William Cowper 13 August 1855  
William Monsell 9 February 1857
William Cowper 24 September 1857
Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir John Young, Bt 6 January 1853 continued in office
Edward Horsman 1 March 1855  
Henry Arthur Herbert 27 May 1857
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl of Carlisle 7 March 1855  
Master-General of the Ordnance The Lord Raglan 30 September 1852 Board of Ordnance abolished 25 May 1855
and duties vested in Secretary of State for
War; the post of Surveyor-General remained
but was not filled.
Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross 6 May 1854
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance vacant
Storekeeper of the Ordnance Sir Thomas Hastings 25 July 1845
Clerk of the Ordnance William Monsell 13 January 1853 clerkship abolished 1857
Paymaster-General Lord Stanley of Alderley 4 January 1853 continued in office
Edward Pleydell-Bouverie 31 March 1855  
Robert Lowe 13 August 1855
President of the Poor Law Board Matthew Talbot Baines 30 December 1852 continued in office
Edward Pleydell-Bouverie 13 August 1855  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board Grenville Berkeley 7 January 1853 continued in office
Ralph Grey 9 May 1856  
Attorney General Sir Alexander Cockburn, Bt 28 December 1852 continued in office
Sir Richard Bethell 15 November 1856  
Solicitor General Sir Richard Bethell 28 December 1852 continued in office
James Stuart-Wortley 22 November 1856  
Sir Henry Singer Keating 28 May 1857
Judge Advocate General Charles Pelham Villiers 30 December 1852 continued in office
Lord Advocate James Moncreiff 30 December 1852 continued in office
Solicitor General for Scotland Edward Maitland 14 February 1855  
Attorney General for Ireland Abraham Brewster April 1853 continued in office
William Keogh March 1855  
John Fitzgerald March 1856
Solicitor General for Ireland William Keogh April 1853 continued in office
John Fitzgerald March 1855  
Jonathan Christian March 1856
Lord Steward of the Household The Earl Spencer 10 January 1854 continued in office
The Earl of St Germans 23 November 1857  
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Marquess of Breadalbane 15 January 1853 continued in office
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Lord Ernest Bruce 30 December 1852 continued in office
Master of the Horse The Duke of Wellington 21 January 1853 continued in office
Treasurer of the Household Earl of Mulgrave 4 January 1853 continued in office
Comptroller of the Household Viscount Drumlanrig 4 January 1853 continued in office
Viscount Castlerosse 25 July 1856  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Foley 30 December 1852 continued in office
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Viscount Sydney 30 December 1852 continued in office
Master of the Buckhounds The Earl of Bessborough 30 December 1852 continued in office
Chief Equerry and Clerk Marshal Lord Alfred Paget 30 December 1852 continued in office
Mistress of the Robes The Duchess of Sutherland 15 January 1853 continued in office
Lords in Waiting The Earl Somers 13 January 1853 – 22 February 1857  
The Lord Camoys 13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Lord Rivers 13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Lord Waterpark 13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Lord de Tabley 13 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
The Earl of Listowel 1 October 1853 – 21 February 1856
The Lord Dufferin and Clandeboye 28 November 1854 – 21 February 1858
The Earl of Caithness 15 April 1856 – 21 February 1858
The Lord Cremorne 22 February 1857 – 21 February 1858

References[edit]

  • C. Cook and B. Keith, British Historical Facts 1830–1900
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition
Preceded by
Aberdeen Ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1855–1858
Succeeded by
Second Derby Ministry