statesman, orator, and scholar, born at Liverpool, son of a Liverpool merchant, sometime of Leith, and of Ann, daughter of Andrew Robertson, Stornoway; educated at Eton and Oxford; entered Parliament in 1832 as member for Newark in the Tory interest; delivered his maiden speech on slavery emancipation on May 17, 1833; accepted office under Sir Robert Peel in 1834, and again in 1841 and 1846; and as member for Oxford, separating from the Tory party, took office under Lord Aberdeen, and in 1859, under Lord Palmerston, became Chancellor of the Exchequer; elected member for South Lancashire, 1865, he became leader of the Commons under Lord John Russell; elected for Greenwich, he became Premier for the first time in 1869, holding office till 1875; after a brilliant campaign in Midlothian he was returned for that county in 1880, and became Premier for the second time; became Premier a third time in 1886, and a fourth time in 1892. During his tenure of office he introduced and carried a great number of important measures, but failed from desertion in the Liberal ranks to carry his pet measure of Home Rule for Ireland, so he retired from office into private life in 1895; his last days he spent chiefly in literary work, the fruit of which, added to earlier works, gives evidence of the breadth of his sympathies and the extent of his scholarly attainments; but being seized by a fatal malady, his strong constitution gradually sank under it, and he died at Hawarden, May 19, 1898; he was buried in Westminster Abbey at the expense of the nation and amid expressions of sorrow on the part of the whole community; he was a man of high moral character, transcendent ability, and strong will, and from the day he took the lead the acknowledged chief of the Liberal party in the country (1809-1898).

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.

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