Friday, 30 November 2018

Earl of Aberdeen, Prime Minister

George Hamilton-Gordon, the 4th Earl of Aberdeen and Prime Minister from 1852 to 1855, was born in 1784. 

He was a member of the Cabinet under the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1828 and as Foreign Secretary from 1828 to 1830.

He served in the government of Sir Robert Peel as Secretary for War and the Colonies (1834-5) and as Foreign Secretary (1841-6). In this latter role he did much to improve relationships with France and the United States.

In 1846 he resigned, along with Peel, over the Corn Laws issue, but succeeded him as leader of the Peelite faction. 

In 1852 he formed a government consisting of Peelites and Whigs but was forced to resign in 1855 over his mismanagement of the Crimean War.

Apart from his political activities, Lord Aberdeen had scholarly interests, presiding over the Society of Antiquaries from 1812 to 1846. In 1843 he tried unsuccessfully to prevent the “Disruption” of the Church of Scotland when a large number of clergy and laity broke away to form the Free Church of Scotland.

He died in 1860.

©John Welford

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