Conservative Government 1866–68

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The Conservative government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that began in 1866, and ended in 1868, consisted of the two ministries: the Third Derby Ministry, and then the First Disraeli Ministry.

History[edit]

Lord Derby became Prime Minister for the third time after the fall of Lord Russell's Liberal government in 1866. His Chancellor of the Exchequer, Benjamin Disraeli, was instrumental in passing the Second Reform Act in 1867.

After the parliamentary session which produced the Second Reform Bill, Disraeli's eventual assumption of the leadership of the Conservative Party was all but assured. While he was still opposed by elements of the party's right wing (most notably the Marquess of Salisbury, himself a future Prime Minister), his role in securing the passage of the bill, in particular his showing against William Ewart Gladstone, had won him the adulation of a wide base of the parliamentary party. The only unknown was the health of the Earl of Derby, still very much Prime Minister, Conservative leader, and Disraeli's colleague.

Derby's health, however, had been in decline for some time, and he finally resigned in February and advised Queen Victoria to send for Disraeli. Thus on 27 February 1868 Benjamin Disraeli became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He reportedly said of the event later, "I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole." However, the Conservatives were still a minority in the House of Commons, and the enaction of the Reform Bill required the calling of new election. Disraeli's term as Prime Minister would therefore be fairly short, unless the Conservatives managed to win the general election.

Although all the cabinet posts were at his disposal, Disraeli made only a few changes: he replaced Lord Chelmsford as Lord Chancellor with Lord Cairns, and brought in George Ward Hunt as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Disraeli and Chelmsford had never got on, and in Disraeli's view, Cairns was a far stronger minister. He also chose the Earl of Malmesbury to succeed Derby as Leader in the House of Lords.

The Irish Church[edit]

The principal issue of the 1868 parliamentary session was the Irish Question, manifested this time in the debate over the Anglican Church of Ireland.

Fate[edit]

The Conservatives were defeated by the Liberals in the general election of 1868, and the new Liberal leader William Ewart Gladstone formed his first government.

Cabinets[edit]

The Earl of Derby's Cabinet, June 1866 – February 1868[edit]

The Derby Cabinet of 1867 as painted by Henry Gales.
OFFICE NAME TERM
First Lord of the Treasury
Leader of the House of Lords
The Earl of Derby June 1866 – February 1868
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chelmsford June 1866 – February 1868
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos June 1866 – March 1867
  The Duke of Marlborough March 1867 – February 1868
Lord Privy Seal The Earl of Malmesbury June 1866 – February 1868
Home Secretary Spencer H. Walpole June 1866 – May 1867
  Gathorne Hardy May 1867 – February 1868
Foreign Secretary Lord Stanley June 1866 – February 1868
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl of Carnarvon June 1866 – March 1867
  The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos March 1867 – February 1868
Secretary of State for War General Jonathan Peel June 1866 – March 1867
  Sir John Pakington, Bt March 1867 – February 1868
First Lord of the Admiralty Sir John Pakington, Bt June 1866 – March 1867
  Henry Thomas Lowry-Corry March 1867 – February 1868
Secretary of State for India Viscount Cranborne June 1866 – March 1867
  Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt March 1867 – February 1868
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Leader of the House of Commons
Benjamin Disraeli June 1866 – February 1868
President of the Board of Trade Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt June 1866 – March 1867
  The Duke of Richmond and Lennox March 1867 – February 1868
President of the Poor Law Board Gathorne Hardy June 1866 – May 1867
  incumbent not in the cabinet
First Commissioner of Works The Lord John Manners June 1866 – February 1868
Chief Secretary for Ireland Lord Naas June 1866 – February 1868
Minister without Portfolio Spencer H. Walpole May 1867 – February 1868

Notes[edit]

  • It may, or may not, be worthy of note that this Cabinet of Derby's is the first for which a complete collection of photographs exists of its various members.

Changes[edit]

  • March 1867: Lord Carnarvon, Lord Cranborne, and General Peel resign from the cabinet over the Reform Bill. They are succeeded by the Duke of Buckingham, Sir Stafford Northcote, and Sir John Pakington, respectively. Taking their places were three new members of the cabinet: the Duke of Marlborough, the Duke of Richmond, and Henry Lowry-Corry.
  • May 1867: Gathorne Hardy replaces Spencer Walpole as Home Secretary. Walpole remains in the cabinet as Minister without Portfolio. Hardy's replacement as President of the Poor Law Board is not in the cabinet.

Benjamin Disraeli's Cabinet, February 1868 – December 1868[edit]

OFFICE NAME TERM
First Lord of the Treasury
Leader of the House of Commons
Benjamin Disraeli February–December 1868
Lord Chancellor The Lord Cairns February–December 1868
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Marlborough February–December 1868
Lord Privy Seal
Leader of the House of Lords
The Earl of Malmesbury February–December 1868
Home Secretary Gathorne Hardy February–December 1868
Foreign Secretary Lord Stanley February–December 1868
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Duke of Buckingham February–December 1868
Secretary of State for War Sir John Pakington, Bt February–December 1868
Secretary of State for India Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt February–December 1868
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Ward Hunt February–December 1868
First Lord of the Admiralty Henry Thomas Lowry-Corry February–December 1868
President of the Board of Trade The Duke of Richmond February–December 1868
First Commissioner of Works The Lord John Manners February–December 1868
Chief Secretary for Ireland The Earl of Mayo February–September 1868
  successor not in the cabinet

Changes[edit]

  • September 1868: The Earl of Mayo leaves the cabinet to become Viceroy of India. His successor is not in the cabinet.

List of Ministers[edit]

Cabinet members are listed in bold face.

Office Name Date Notes
Prime Minister
and First Lord of the Treasury
The Earl of Derby 28 June 1866 – 25 February 1868 also Leader of the House of Lords
Benjamin Disraeli 27 February 1868 – 1 December 1868 also Leader of the House of Commons
Chancellor of the Exchequer Benjamin Disraeli 6 July 1866 also Leader of the House of Commons
George Ward Hunt 29 February 1868
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Thomas Edward Taylor 14 July 1866  
Gerard Noel 11 November 1868
Financial Secretary to the Treasury George Ward Hunt 14 July 1866  
George Sclater-Booth 4 March 1868
Junior Lords of the Treasury Gerard Noel 12 July 1866 – 2 November 1868  
Sir Graham Graham-Montgomery, Bt 12 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
Henry Whitmore 12 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
Lord Claud Hamilton 2 November 1868 – 1 December 1868
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chelmsford 6 July 1866  
The Lord Cairns 29 February 1868
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 6 July 1866  
The Duke of Marlborough 8 March 1867
Lord Privy Seal The Earl of Malmesbury 6 July 1866 also Leader of the House of Lords 27 February 1868 – 1 December 1868
Secretary of State for the Home Department Spencer Horatio Walpole 6 July 1866  
Gathorne Hardy 17 May 1867
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department The Earl Belmore 10 July 1866  
Sir James Fergusson, Bt 1 August 1867
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt 10 August 1868
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord Stanley 6 July 1866  
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Edward Christopher Egerton 6 July 1866  
Secretary of State for War Jonathan Peel 6 July 1866  
Sir John Pakington, Bt 8 March 1867
Under-Secretary of State for War The Earl of Longford 7 July 1866  
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance vacant  
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl of Carnarvon 6 July 1866  
The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 8 March 1867
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies Charles Adderley 6 July 1866  
Secretary of State for India Viscount Cranborne 6 July 1866  
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt 8 March 1867
Under-Secretary of State for India Sir James Fergusson, Bt 6 July 1866  
The Lord Clinton 31 July 1867
First Lord of the Admiralty Sir John Pakington, Bt 12 July 1866  
Henry Lowry-Corry 8 March 1867
First Secretary of the Admiralty Lord Henry Lennox 16 July 1866  
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Charles du Cane 12 July 1866  
Frederick Stanley 29 August 1868
Chief Secretary for Ireland Lord Naas 10 July 1866 Became Earl of Mayo in 1867  
John Wilson-Patten 29 September 1868
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Marquess of Abercorn 13 July 1866  
President of the Poor Law Board Gathorne Hardy 12 July 1866  
The Earl of Devon 21 May 1867
Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board Ralph Anstruther Earle 12 July 1866  
George Sclater-Booth 1 March 1867
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Bt 28 February 1868
Minister without Portfolio Spencer Horatio Walpole 17 May 1867 – 1 December 1868  
President of the Board of Trade Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt 6 July 1866  
The Duke of Richmond 8 March 1867
Vice-President of the Board of Trade Stephen Cave 10 July 1866 office abolished 12 August 1867 and replaced with a Parliamentary Secretaryship
First Commissioner of Works Lord John Manners 6 July 1866  
Vice-President of the Committee on Education Henry Lowry-Corry 12 July 1866  
Lord Robert Montagu 19 March 1867
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Earl of Devon 10 July 1866  
John Wilson-Patten 26 June 1867
Thomas Edward Taylor 7 November 1868
Paymaster-General Stephen Cave 10 July 1866  
Postmaster-General The Duke of Montrose 19 July 1866  
Attorney General Sir Hugh Cairns 10 July 1866  
Sir John Rolt 29 October 1866
Sir John Burgess Karslake 18 July 1867
Solicitor General Sir William Bovill 10 July 1866  
Sir John Burgess Karslake 29 November 1866
Sir Charles Hasper Selwyn 18 July 1867
Sir William Brett 10 February 1868
Sir Richard Baggallay 16 September 1868
Judge Advocate General John Mowbray 12 July 1866  
Lord Advocate George Patton 12 July 1866  
Edward Strathearn Gordon 28 February 1867
Solicitor General for Scotland Edward Strathearn Gordon 12 July 1866  
John Millar 6 March 1867
Attorney General for Ireland John Edward Walsh 25 July 1866  
Michael Morris 1 November 1866
Hedges Eyre Chatterton 1867
Robert Richard Warren 1867
John Thomas Ball 1868
Solicitor General for Ireland Michael Morris 3 August 1866  
Hedges Eyre Chatterton 8 November 1866
Robert Richard Warren 1867
Michael Harrison 1867
John Thomas Ball 1868
Henry Ormsby 1868
Lord Steward of the Household The Duke of Marlborough 10 July 1866  
The Earl of Tankerville 19 March 1867
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Earl of Bradford 10 July 1866  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Lord Claud Hamilton 10 July 1866  
Treasurer of the Household Lord Burghley 10 July 1866  
Percy Egerton Herbert 27 February 1867
Comptroller of the Household Viscount Royston 10 July 1866  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Earl of Tankerville 10 July 1866  
The Marquess of Exeter 20 March 1867
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Earl Cadogan 10 July 1866  
Master of the Buckhounds The Lord Colville of Culross 10 July 1866  
Chief Equerry and Clerk Marshal Lord Alfred Paget 1 July 1859 continued in office; no longer a political appointment after 1866
Mistress of the Robes The Duchess of Wellington 25 April 1861 continued in office
Lords in Waiting The Viscount Strathallan 13 July 1866 – 1 December 1868  
The Viscount Hawarden 13 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
The Lord Bagot 13 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
The Lord Polwarth 13 July 1866 – 16 August 1867
The Lord Crofton 13 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
The Lord Skelmersdale 13 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
The Lord Raglan 13 July 1866 – 1 December 1868
The Earl of Haddington 7 September 1867 – 1 December 1868

References[edit]

  • C. Cook and B. Keith, British Historical Facts 1830–1900
Preceded by
Second Russell ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1866–1868
Succeeded by
First Gladstone Ministry