Unionist government, 1895–1905

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Lord Salisbury led the Government from 1895–1902 and was succeeded by Arthur Balfour.
Balfour led the Government from 1902 until his resignation in 1905. The Liberal Party formed a government thereafter.
Punch cartoon, 1903. The Rand mine-owners' employment of Chinese labour on the Transvaal gold mines in British-controlled South Africa was controversial and contributed to the Liberal victory in the 1906 elections.

A coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Unionist parties took power in the United Kingdom following the 1895 general election. Conservative leader Lord Salisbury was appointed Prime Minister and his nephew, Arthur Balfour, became Leader of the House of Commons, but various major posts went to the Liberal Unionists, most notably the leader of the House of Lords, the Liberal Unionist Duke of Devonshire, who was made Lord President, and his colleague in the Commons, Joseph Chamberlain, who became Colonial Secretary. It was this government which would conduct the Second Boer War from 1889 to 1902, which was exploited by the government to help win a landslide victory in the 1900 general election.

The government consisted of two ministries: the third Salisbury ministry (from 1895 to 1902) and then the Balfour ministry (from 1902 onwards).

Trade reform[edit]

Balfour succeeded Salisbury as Prime Minister in 1902. Eventually, the Unionist government would falter after Chamberlain proposed his scheme for tariff reform, whose partial embrace by Balfour led to the resignation of the more orthodox free traders in the Cabinet.

Chinese miners in South Africa[edit]

After the conclusion of the Boer War the British government sought to rebuild South Africa's economy which had been devastated by the war. An important part of the rebuilding effort was to get the gold mines of the Witwatersrand, the richest in history and a major cause of the war, back in production as soon as possible. Because the government decreed that white labour was too expensive and black labourers were reluctant to return to the mines (Yap & Leong Man 1996:104), the government decided to import over 60,000 contracted workers from China (Yap & Leong Man 1996:103).

This was deeply unpopular at the time as popular opinion in much of the Western world, including Britain, was hostile to Chinese immigration. It also happened at a time when poverty and unemployment amongst lower class British workers was very high (Yap & Leong Man 1996:107). On 26 March 1904 a demonstration against Chinese immigration to South Africa was held in Hyde Park and was attended by 80,000 people. The Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress then passed a resolution declaring that:

That this meeting consisting of all classes of citizens of London, emphatically protests against the action of the Government in granting permission to import into South Africa indentured Chinese labour under conditions of slavery, and calls upon them to protect this new colony from the greed of capitalists and the Empire from degradation.

— Yap & Leong Man (1996), p. 107

Fall from power[edit]

With his majority greatly reduced and defeat in the next election seeming inevitable, Balfour resigned as Prime Minister in December 1905, leading to the appointment of a minority Liberal government under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. In the general election which followed in 1906, all but three members of Balfour's Cabinet lost their seats, including Balfour himself.

Cabinets[edit]

Salisbury ministry[edit]

Third Salisbury ministry
Unionist coalition of the United Kingdom
1895–1902
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury - Project Gutenberg eText 13103.jpg
Salisbury (1897)
Date formed 25 June 1895 (1895-06-25)
Date dissolved 11 July 1902 (1902-07-11)
People and organisations
Head of state
Head of government Lord Salisbury
Member parties
Status in legislature Majority (coalition)
Opposition party Liberal Party
Opposition leaders
History
Election(s)
Legislature term(s)
Predecessor Rosebery ministry
Successor Balfour ministry

June 1895 to November 1900[edit]

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
  The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury* 25 June 1895 (1895-06-25) 11 July 1902 (1902-07-11) Conservative
  Arthur Balfour 25 June 1895 (1895-06-25) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Lord Chancellor   The Earl of Halsbury 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Lord President of the Council   The Duke of Devonshire 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 19 October 1903 (1903-10-19) Liberal Unionist
Lord Privy Seal   The Viscount Cross 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) Conservative
Secretary of State for the Home Department   Sir Matthew White Ridley 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) Conservative
Secretary of State for the Colonies   Joseph Chamberlain 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 16 September 1903 (1903-09-16) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War   The Marquess of Lansdowne 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for India   Lord George Hamilton 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
First Lord of the Admiralty   George Goschen 1895 (1895) 1900 (1900) Conservative
Chancellor of the Exchequer   Sir Michael Hicks Beach 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Conservative
President of the Board of Trade   Charles Ritchie 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 7 November 1900 (1900-11-07) Conservative
President of the Local Government Board   Henry Chaplin 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) Conservative
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster   The Viscount Cross 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) Conservative
  The Lord James of Hereford 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Liberal Unionist
First Commissioner of Works   Aretas Akers-Douglas 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Conservative
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland   The Earl Cadogan 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland   The Lord Ashbourne 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 1905 (1905) Conservative
Secretary for Scotland   The Lord Balfour of Burleigh 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture   Walter Long 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 16 November 1900 (1900-11-16) Conservative

November 1900 to July 1902[edit]

In November 1900, the cabinet was reshuffled for the first time.

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
  The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury* 25 June 1895 (1895-06-25) 11 July 1902 (1902-07-11) Conservative
  Arthur Balfour 25 June 1895 (1895-06-25) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Lord Chancellor   The Earl of Halsbury 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Lord President of the Council   The Duke of Devonshire 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 19 October 1903 (1903-10-19) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Home Department   Charles Ritchie 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) 12 July 1902 (1902-07-12) Conservative
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs   The Marquess of Lansdowne 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Colonies   Joseph Chamberlain 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 16 September 1903 (1903-09-16) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War   St John Brodrick 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) 6 October 1903 (1903-10-06) Irish Unionist
Secretary of State for India   Lord George Hamilton 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
First Lord of the Admiralty   The Earl of Selborne 1900 (1900) 1905 (1905) Liberal Unionist
Chancellor of the Exchequer   Sir Michael Hicks Beach 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Conservative
President of the Board of Trade   Gerald Balfour 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) 12 March 1905 (1905-03-12) Conservative
President of the Local Government Board   Walter Long 1900 (1900) 1905 (1905) Conservative
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster   The Lord James of Hereford 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Liberal Unionist
First Commissioner of Works   Aretas Akers-Douglas 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Conservative
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland   The Earl Cadogan 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland   The Lord Ashbourne 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 1905 (1905) Conservative
Secretary for Scotland   The Lord Balfour of Burleigh 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture   Robert William Hanbury 16 November 1900 (1900-11-16) 28 April 1903 (1903-04-28) Conservative

Balfour ministry[edit]

Balfour ministry
1902–1905
Arthur Balfour, photo portrait facing left.jpg
Date formed 11 July 1902 (1902-07-11)
Date dissolved 5 December 1905 (1905-12-05)
People and organisations
Head of state Edward VII
Head of government Arthur Balfour
Member parties
Status in legislature Majority (coalition)
Opposition party Liberal Party
Opposition leaders
History
Legislature term(s) 27th UK Parliament
Predecessor Third Salisbury ministry
Successor Campbell-Bannerman ministry
Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
  Arthur Balfour* 11 July 1902 (1902-07-11) 5 December 1905 (1905-12-05) Conservative
Lord Chancellor   The Earl of Halsbury 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
  The Duke of Devonshire 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 19 October 1903 (1903-10-19) Liberal Unionist
Lord President of the Council   The Marquess of Londonderry 19 October 1903 (1903-10-19) 11 December 1905 (1905-12-11) Conservative
Leader of the House of Lords   The Marquess of Lansdowne 13 October 1903 (1903-10-13) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Home Department   Aretas Akers-Douglas 12 July 1902 (1902-07-12) 5 December 1905 (1905-12-05) Conservative
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs   The Marquess of Lansdowne 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Colonies   Joseph Chamberlain 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 16 September 1903 (1903-09-16) Liberal Unionist
  Alfred Lyttelton 11 October 1903 (1903-10-11) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War   St John Brodrick 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) 6 October 1903 (1903-10-06) Irish Unionist
  H. O. Arnold-Forster 6 October 1903 (1903-10-06) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for India   Lord George Hamilton 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
  St John Brodrick 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Irish Unionist
First Lord of the Admiralty   The Earl of Selborne 1900 (1900) 1905 (1905) Liberal Unionist
Chancellor of the Exchequer   Charles Ritchie 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
  Austen Chamberlain 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
President of the Board of Trade   Gerald Balfour 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12) 12 March 1905 (1905-03-12) Conservative
  The 4th Marquess of Salisbury 12 March 1905 (1905-03-12) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Secretary for Scotland   The Lord Balfour of Burleigh 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
  Andrew Murray 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) 2 February 1905 (1905-02-02) Conservative
  The Marquess of Linlithgow 2 February 1905 (1905-02-02) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Chief Secretary for Ireland   George Wyndham 9 November 1900 (1900-11-09) 12 March 1905 (1905-03-12) Conservative
  Walter Long 12 March 1905 (1905-03-12) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
President of the Local Government Board   Walter Long 1900 (1900) 1905 (1905) Conservative
  Gerald Balfour 1905 (1905) 11 December 1905 (1905-12-11) Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture   Robert William Hanbury 16 November 1900 (1900-11-16) 28 April 1903 (1903-04-28) Conservative
President of the Board of Education   The Marquess of Londonderry 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland   The Lord Ashbourne 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29) 1905 (1905) Conservative
First Commissioner of Works   The Lord Windsor 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) 4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Postmaster General   Austen Chamberlain 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11) 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Liberal Unionist

Changes[edit]

List of ministers[edit]

Cabinet members are listed in bold face.

Office Name Date
Prime Minister[note 1] The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury[note 2] 25 June 1895 –
11 July 1902
Arthur Balfour[note 2] 12 July 1902 –
4 December 1905
First Lord of the Treasury Arthur Balfour 29 June 1895 –
4 December 1905
Leader of the House of Commons
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Michael Hicks Beach 29 June 1895
Charles Ritchie 11 August 1902
Austen Chamberlain 9 October 1903
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
& Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons
Sir William Walrond 29 June 1895
Sir Alexander Acland-Hood 8 August 1902
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Robert William Hanbury 29 June 1895
Austen Chamberlain 7 November 1900
William Hayes Fisher 8 August 1902
Arthur Elliot 10 April 1903
Victor Cavendish 9 October 1903
Junior Lords of the Treasury Henry Torrens Anstruther 6 July 1895 –
11 October 1903
William Hayes Fisher 6 July 1895 –
8 August 1902
Lord Stanley 6 July 1895 –
7 November 1900
Ailwyn Fellowes 7 November 1900 –
15 March 1905
Henry Forster 8 August 1902 –
4 December 1905
Lord Balniel 11 October 1903 –
4 December 1905
Lord Edmund Talbot 16 June 1905 –
4 December 1905
Lord Chancellor The Lord Halsbury[note 3] 29 June 1895
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Devonshire[note 4] 29 June 1895
The Marquess of Londonderry 19 October 1903
Lord Privy Seal The Viscount Cross 29 June 1895
The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 12 November 1900
Arthur Balfour[note 2] 14 July 1902
The 4th Marquess of Salisbury 17 October 1903
Secretary of State for the Home Department Sir Matthew White Ridley 29 June 1895
Charles Thomson Ritchie 12 November 1900
Aretas Akers-Douglas 11 August 1902
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Jesse Collings 3 July 1895
Thomas Cochrane 11 August 1902
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 29 June 1895
The Marquess of Lansdowne[note 5] 12 November 1900
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs George Curzon 20 June 1895
St John Brodrick 15 October 1898
Viscount Cranborne[note 6] 12 November 1900
Earl Percy 9 October 1903
Secretary of State for War The Marquess of Lansdowne 4 July 1895
St John Brodrick 12 November 1900
H. O. Arnold-Forster 12 October 1903
Under-Secretary of State for War St John Brodrick 4 July 1895
George Wyndham 10 October 1898
The Lord Raglan 13 November 1900
The Earl of Hardwicke 8 August 1902
The Earl of Donoughmore 12 October 1903
Financial Secretary to the War Office Joseph Powell Williams 3 July 1895
Lord Stanley 1 January 1901
William Bromley-Davenport 12 October 1903
Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain 29 June 1895
Alfred Lyttelton 9 October 1903
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl of Selborne 28 June 1895
The Earl of Onslow 26 November 1900
The Duke of Marlborough 22 July 1903
Secretary of State for India Lord George Hamilton 4 July 1895
St John Brodrick 9 October 1903
Under-Secretary of State for India The Earl of Onslow 5 July 1895
The Earl of Hardwicke 17 January 1901
Earl Percy 18 August 1902
vacant 29 November 1904
The Marquess of Bath 20 January 1905
First Lord of the Admiralty George Goschen 29 June 1895
The Earl of Selborne 12 November 1900
The Earl Cawdor 27 March 1905
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty William Ellison-Macartney 29 June 1895
H. O. Arnold-Forster 7 November 1900
E. G. Pretyman 11 October 1903
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Austen Chamberlain 6 July 1895
E. G. Pretyman 7 November 1900
Arthur Lee 11 October 1903
President of the Board of Agriculture Walter Long 4 July 1895
Robert William Hanbury 16 November 1900
The Earl of Onslow 20 May 1903
Ailwyn Fellowes 14 March 1905
President of the Board of Education The Duke of Devonshire 3 March 1900
The Marquess of Londonderry 11 August 1902
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education Sir William Anson 11 August 1902
Chief Secretary for Ireland Gerald Balfour 4 July 1895
George Wyndham 9 November 1900
Walter Long 12 March 1905
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl Cadogan 29 June 1895
The Earl of Dudley 11 August 1902
Lord Chancellor of Ireland The Lord Ashbourne 29 June 1895
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Viscount Cross 29 June 1895
The Lord James of Hereford 4 July 1895
Sir William Walrond 11 August 1902
President of the Local Government Board Henry Chaplin 29 June 1895
Walter Long 12 November 1900
Gerald Balfour 14 March 1905
Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board Thomas Russell 30 June 1895
John Lawson 12 November 1900
Arthur Frederick Jeffreys 27 June 1905
Postmaster General The Duke of Norfolk 6 July 1895
The Marquess of Londonderry[note 7] 10 April 1900
Austen Chamberlain 11 August 1902
Lord Stanley 9 October 1903
Secretary for Scotland The Lord Balfour of Burleigh 29 June 1895
Andrew Murray 9 October 1903
The Marquess of Linlithgow 2 February 1905
President of the Board of Trade Charles Ritchie 29 June 1895
Gerald Balfour 12 November 1900
The 4th Marquess of Salisbury 14 March 1905
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade The Earl of Dudley 29 June 1895
Bonar Law 8 August 1902
First Commissioner of Works Aretas Akers-Douglas 4 July 1895
The Lord Windsor 11 August 1902
Vice-President of the Committee on Education[note 8] Sir John Eldon Gorst 4 July 1895
Paymaster General The Earl of Hopetoun 16 July 1895
The Duke of Marlborough 1899
Sir Savile Crossley 11 March 1902
Attorney General Sir Richard Webster 8 July 1895
Sir Robert Finlay 11 May 1900
Solicitor General Sir Robert Finlay 30 August 1895
Sir Edward Carson 11 May 1900
Lord Advocate Sir Charles Pearson 11 July 1895
Andrew Murray 14 May 1896
Charles Dickson 17 October 1903
Solicitor General for Scotland Andrew Murray 11 July 1895
Charles Dickson 14 May 1896
David Dundas 17 October 1903
Edward Theodore Salvesen 2 February 1905
James Avon Clyde 17 October 1905
Attorney-General for Ireland John Atkinson 8 July 1895
Solicitor-General for Ireland William Kenny 28 August 1895
Dunbar Barton
George Wright 30 January 1900
James Campbell 8 July 1903
Lord Steward of the Household The Earl of Pembroke 16 July 1895
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Earl of Lathom 16 July 1895
The Earl of Hopetoun 7 December 1898
The Earl of Clarendon 21 September 1900
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Ailwyn Fellowes 10 July 1895
Sir Alexander Acland-Hood 3 December 1900
The Lord Wolverton 17 November 1902
Master of the Horse The Duke of Portland 16 July 1895
Treasurer of the Household Marquess of Carmarthen[note 9] 10 July 1895
Viscount Curzon 11 February 1896
Victor Cavendish 4 December 1900
Marquess of Hamilton 13 October 1903
Comptroller of the Household Lord Arthur Hill 10 July 1895
The Viscount Valentia 19 October 1898
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Belper 16 July 1895
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
& Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords
The Earl of Limerick 16 July 1895
The Earl Waldegrave 26 August 1896
Master of the Buckhounds[note 10] The Earl of Coventry 16 July 1895
The Lord Chesham 1 November 1900
Mistress of the Robes The Duchess of Buccleuch 16 July 1895
Lords-in-Waiting The Lord Churchill 16 July 1895 –
4 December 1905
The Lord Harris 16 July 1895 –
4 December 1900
The Lord Henniker 16 July 1895 –
1 November 1895
The Lord Lawrence 16 July 1895 –
4 December 1905
The Earl of Ranfurly 16 July 1895 –
21 April 1897
The Earl Waldegrave 16 July 1895 –
9 September 1896
The Earl of Clarendon 17 July 1895 –
30 October 1900
The Viscount Bridport 30 June 1884 –
18 February 1901
The Earl of Kintore 1 November 1895 –
4 December 1905
The Lord Bagot 9 September 1896 –
2 July 1901
The Earl of Denbigh 22 April 1897 –
4 December 1905
The Earl Howe 30 October 1900 –
1 October 1903
The Lord Kenyon 4 December 1900 –
4 December 1905
The Earl of Erroll 19 October 1903 –
4 December 1905

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The position of Prime Minister was not a formal ministerial office.
  2. ^ a b c Also served as Leader of the House of Lords.
  3. ^ Halsbury was created the 1st Earl of Halsbury on 19 January 1898.
  4. ^ Devonshire also served as Leader of the House of Lords from 12 July 1902 to 13 October 1903.
  5. ^ Lansdowne also served as Leader of the House of Lords from 13 October 1903 to 4 December 1905
  6. ^ Cranborne succeeded as the 4th Marquess of Salisbury on 22 August 1903.
  7. ^ Londonderry entered the Cabinet on 7 November 1900.
  8. ^ Office abolished on 8 August 1902 and replaced by that of Secretary to the Board of Education.
  9. ^ Carmarthen succeeded as the 10th Duke of Leeds on 23 December 1895.
  10. ^ Office abolished in 1900.

References[edit]

Preceded by
Rosebery ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1895–1905
Succeeded by
Campbell-Bannerman ministry