Third Gladstone ministry

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The Third Gladstone Ministry was one of the most short-lived ministries in British history. It was led by William Ewart Gladstone, from February 1886 until August of that same year.

Formation[edit]

Gladstone speaking during a Commons debate on Irish Home Rule on 8 April 1886.

The Liberal Party under the leadership of William Ewart Gladstone came to power in the United Kingdom in February 1886 after they, with the support of the Irish Nationalists, defeated the Conservative government of Lord Salisbury. The ministry was to become one of the most short-lived in British history. Gladstone, aged 76, became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for the third time. Sir William Vernon Harcourt became Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hugh Childers Home Secretary and future Prime Minister the Earl of Rosebery Foreign Secretary. Lord Selborne and Sir Henry James both rejected the Lord Chancellorship, a post, which, however, was accepted by Sir Farrer Herschell, who was ennobled as Baron Herschell. Former Foreign Secretary Lord Granville became Secretary of State for the Colonies, while another political veteran, Lord Kimberley, resumed the post of Secretary of State for India which he had held from 1882 to 1885. The influential Joseph Chamberlain was appointed President of the Local Government Board while future party leader and Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman was made Secretary of State for War. The government also saw John Morley hold his first ministerial post as Chief Secretary for Ireland.

The ministry is chiefly remembered for Gladstone's first attempt to introduce the Home Rule Bill for Ireland. The bill was defeated by a majority of 30 (93 Liberal MP's having voted against it) on 8 June and on 26 June Parliament was dissolved. The issue split the Liberal Party. Lord Hartington, who had refused to serve under Gladstone because of his Irish policies, became leader of the Liberal Unionists. He was joined by Joseph Chamberlain, who had resigned over Home Rule in April.

Fate[edit]

The Conservative Party, with the support of the Liberal Unionists, gained a decisive victory in the July 1886 general election, and Lord Salisbury once again became Prime Minister. The Liberal were to remain out of office until 1892, when Gladstone became Prime Minister for a fourth time.

Cabinet[edit]

February 1886 - August 1886[edit]

OFFICE NAME TERM
First Lord of the Treasury
Lord Privy Seal
Leader of the House of Commons
William Ewart Gladstone February–August 1886
Lord Chancellor The Lord Herschell February–August 1886
Lord President of the Council The Earl Spencer February–August 1886
Home Secretary Hugh Childers February–August 1886
Foreign Secretary The Earl of Rosebery February–August 1886
Secretary of State for the Colonies
Leader of the House of Lords
The Earl Granville February–August 1886
Secretary of State for War Henry Campbell-Bannerman February–August 1886
Secretary of State for India The Earl of Kimberley February–August 1886
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir William Harcourt February–August 1886
First Lord of the Admiralty The Marquess of Ripon February–August 1886
President of the Board of Trade Anthony John Mundella February–August 1886
President of the Local Government Board Joseph Chamberlain February–April 1886
  James Stansfeld April–August 1886
Chief Secretary for Ireland John Morley February–August 1886
Secretary for Scotland George Otto Trevelyan February–April 1886


Changes[edit]

April, 1886: James Stansfeld succeeds Joseph Chamberlain at the Local Government Board. George Otto Trevelyan leaves the Cabinet. His successor as Secretary for Scotland is not in the Cabinet.

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 1 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir William Vernon Harcourt 6 February 1886  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Arnold Morley 6 February 1886  
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Henry Fowler 6 February 1886  
Junior Lords of the Treasury Sir Edward James Reed 13 February 1886 – 20 July 1886  
Cyril Flower 13 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
George Leveson-Gower 13 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
Lord Chancellor Sir Farrer Herschell 6 February 1886 created Lord Herschell 8 February 1886
Lord President of the Council The Earl Spencer 6 February 1886  
Lord Privy Seal William Ewart Gladstone 17 February 1886  
Secretary of State for the Home Department Hugh Childers 6 February 1886  
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Henry Broadhurst 6 February 1886  
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Earl of Rosebery 6 February 1886  
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs James Bryce 7 February 1886  
Secretary of State for War Henry Campbell-Bannerman 6 February 1886  
Under-Secretary of State for War The Lord Sandhurst 6 February 1886  
Financial Secretary to the War Office Herbert Gladstone 6 February 1886  
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance William Woodall 6 February 1886  
Secretary of State for the Colonies
and Leader of the House of Lords
The Earl Granville 6 February 1886
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies George Osborne Morgan 6 February 1886  
Secretary of State for India The Earl of Kimberley 6 February 1886  
Under-Secretary of State for India Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth 7 February 1886  
Stafford Howard 12 April 1886
First Lord of the Admiralty The Marquess of Ripon 9 February 1886  
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty John Tomlinson Hibbert 9 February 1886  
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Robert Duff 15 February 1886  
Chief Secretary for Ireland John Morley 6 February 1886  
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl of Aberdeen 8 February 1886  
President of the Local Government Board Joseph Chamberlain 6 February 1886  
James Stansfeld 3 April 1886
Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board Jesse Collings 6 February 1886  
William Copeland Borlase 3 April 1886
Secretary for Scotland George Trevelyan 8 February 1886  
The Earl of Dalhousie 5 April 1886
President of the Board of Trade A. J. Mundella 17 February 1886  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade Charles Dyke Acland 6 February 1886  
Vice-President of the Committee on Education Sir Lyon Playfair 13 February 1886  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Edward Heneage 6 February 1886  
Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth 16 April 1886
Paymaster-General The Lord Thurlow 3 April 1886  
Postmaster-General The Lord Wolverton 17 February 1886  
First Commissioner of Works The Earl of Morley 17 February 1886  
The Earl of Elgin 16 April 1886
Attorney General Sir Charles Russell 9 February 1886  
Solicitor General Sir Horace Davey 16 February 1886  
Judge Advocate General John William Mellor 22 February 1886  
Lord Advocate John Balfour 13 February 1886  
Solicitor General for Scotland Alexander Asher 13 February 1886  
Attorney General for Ireland Samuel Walker February 1886  
Solicitor General for Ireland The Macdermot February 1886  
Lord Steward of the Household The Earl Sydney 10 February 1886  
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Earl of Kenmare 10 February 1886  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Viscount Kilcoursie 19 February 1886  
Master of the Horse The Earl of Cork 10 February 1886  
Treasurer of the Household The Earl of Elgin 17 February 1886  
Comptroller of the Household Edward Marjoribanks 10 February 1886  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Sudeley 10 February 1886  
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Lord Monson 10 February 1886  
Master of the Buckhounds The Lord Suffield 17 February 1886  
Mistress of the Robes vacant  
Lords in Waiting The Lord Methuen 16 February 1886 – 20 July 1886  
The Lord Thurlow 16 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
The Lord Camoys 16 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
The Lord Houghton 16 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
The Lord Kensington 1 March 1886 – 20 July 1886
The Lord Hothfield 1 March 1886 – 20 July 1886
The Lord Ribblesdale 1 March 1886 – 27 March 1886
Extra Lord in Waiting The Lord Sackville 1 October 1876 – 1 October 1888  

References[edit]

C. Cook and B. Keith, British Historical Facts 1830-1900

Preceded by
First Salisbury Ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1886
Succeeded by
Second Salisbury Ministry