John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Kimberley
KG PC
1st Earl of Kimberley 1868.jpg
Carte de visite showing the Earl of Kimberley, ca. 1868.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
25 July – 28 December 1882
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by John Bright
Succeeded by John George Dodson
Lord President of the Council
In office
18 August 1892 – 10 March 1894
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by The Earl of Cranbrook
Succeeded by The Earl of Rosebery
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
10 March 1894 – 21 June 1895
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by The Earl of Rosebery
Succeeded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Personal details
Born 7 January 1826 (2014-07-05UTC05:08:50)
Wymondham
Died 8 April 1902(1902-04-08) (aged 76)
London
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Lady Florence FitzGibbon
(d. 1895)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley KG, PC (7 January 1826 – 8 April 1902), known as the Lord Wodehouse from 1846 to 1866, was a British Liberal politician. He held office in every Liberal administration from 1852 to 1895, notably as Secretary of State for the Colonies and as Foreign Secretary.

Early life and education[edit]

Kimberley was born in 1826 in Wymondham, Norfolk, the eldest son of the Hon. Henry Wodehouse (1799–1834) and grandson of John Wodehouse, 2nd Baron Wodehouse. His mother was Anne Gurdon (d. 1880), daughter of Theophilus Thornhagh Gurdon. In 1846 he succeeded his grandfather as third Baron Wodehouse. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he took a first-class degree in classics in 1847.[1]

Early career (1852–1870)[edit]

He was by inheritance a Liberal in politics, and in 1852–1856 and 1859–1861 he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Lord Aberdeen's and Lord Palmerston's ministries. In the interval (1856–1858) he had been envoy-extraordinary to Russia; and in 1863 he was sent on a special mission to Copenhagen in the hope of finding a solution to the Schleswig-Holstein question. However, the mission was a failure.

In 1864 Kimberley became Under-Secretary of State for India, but towards the end of the year was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In that capacity he had to grapple with the first manifestations of Fenianism, and in recognition of his services he was created Earl of Kimberley in 1866. In July 1866 he vacated his office with the fall of Lord Russell's ministry, but in 1868 he became Lord Privy Seal in Gladstone's cabinet, and in July 1870 was transferred from that post to be Secretary of State for the Colonies. It was the moment of the great diamond discoveries in southern Africa, and the town of Kimberley in the Cape Colony was named after him.

Later career (1871–1902)[edit]

Lord Kimberley, ca. 1897.

After an interval in opposition from 1874 to 1880, Lord Kimberley returned to the Colonial Office in Gladstone's next ministry; but at the end of 1882 he exchanged this office first for that of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and then for the secretaryship of state for India, a post he retained during the remainder of Gladstone's tenure of power (1882–1885, 1886, 1892–1894), though in 1892–1894 he combined with it that of the lord presidency of the council.

In Lord Rosebery's cabinet (1894–1895) he was Foreign Secretary. During this time he signed the landmark Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. Sir Edward Grey who served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary under Kimberley at the Foreign Office portrays him unfavourably as prolix and prone to irrelevant digressions in conversation although concise, definite and clear on paper.[2]

Other public positions[edit]

On 5 April 1850, he joined the Canterbury Association, formed to establish a colony (in the later Canterbury Region) on the South Island of New Zealand.

Lord Kimberley took interest in education, and after being for many years a member of the senate of the University of London, he became its chancellor in 1899.

Family[edit]

Lord Kimberley married Lady Florence FitzGibbon (d. 1895), daughter of Richard FitzGibbon, 3rd Earl of Clare, on 16 August 1847.[1] He died at 35 Lowndes Square in London on 8 April 1902,[1] aged 76, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, John. His second son, the Hon. Armine Wodehouse, was also a Liberal politician but died at an early age. His more distant relations include the writer P. G. Wodehouse.

Memorials[edit]

The following places were named after the 1st Earl of Kimberley:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bain 2007, p. 92.
  2. ^ Viscount Grey, Twenty Five Years, 1892–1916 (London, 1925) p.18.
  3. ^ Bain 2007, pp. 92–93.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Stanley
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
1852–1856
Succeeded by
The Earl of Shelburne
Preceded by
William Vesey-FitzGerald
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
1859–1861
Succeeded by
Austen Henry Layard
Preceded by
Hon. Thomas Baring
Under-Secretary of State for India
1864
Succeeded by
The Lord Dufferin and Claneboye
Preceded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
1864–1866
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Abercorn
Preceded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Lord Privy Seal
1868–1870
Succeeded by
The Viscount Halifax
Preceded by
The Earl Granville
Colonial Secretary
1870–1874
Succeeded by
The Earl of Carnarvon
Preceded by
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Bt
Colonial Secretary
1880–1882
Succeeded by
The Earl of Derby
Preceded by
John Bright
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1882
Succeeded by
John George Dodson
Preceded by
Marquess of Hartington
Secretary of State for India
1882–1885
Succeeded by
Lord Randolph Churchill
Preceded by
Lord Randolph Churchill
Secretary of State for India
1886
Succeeded by
The Viscount Cross
Preceded by
The Viscount Cross
Secretary of State for India
1892–1894
Succeeded by
Henry Fowler
Preceded by
The Viscount Cranbrook
Lord President of the Council
1892–1894
Succeeded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Foreign Secretary
1894–1895
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Granville
Leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords
1891–1894
Succeeded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords
1896–1902
Succeeded by
The Earl Spencer
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Herschell
Chancellor of the University of London
1899–1902
Succeeded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Kimberley
1866–1902
Succeeded by
John Wodehouse
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Wodehouse
Baron Wodehouse
1846–1902
Succeeded by
John Wodehouse