Lord Charles Beresford
Charles William de la Poer Beresford, 1st Baron Beresford, styled Lord Charles Beresford between 1859 and 1916, was a British admiral and Member of Parliament. Beresford was the second son of John Beresford, 4th Marquess of Waterford, thus despite his courtesy title as the younger son of a Marquess, he was still eligible to enter the House of Commons, he combined the two careers of the navy and a member of parliament, making a reputation as a hero in battle and champion of the navy in the House of Commons. He was a well-known and popular figure who courted publicity known to the British public as "Charlie B", he was considered by many to be a personification of John Bull, indeed was accompanied by his trademark, a bulldog. His career was marked by a longstanding dispute with Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher, over reforms championed by Fisher introducing new technology and sweeping away traditional practices. Fisher senior to Beresford and more successful, became a barrier to Beresford's rise to the highest office in the navy.
Beresford rose to occupy the most senior sea commands, the Mediterranean and Channel fleets, but failed in his ambition to become First Sea Lord. Beresford was born in Curraghmore, the second of five brothers, his older brother John joined the Life Guards, succeeding to the family estate and titles in 1866 on the death of their father. William joined the 9th Lancers, was awarded the VC in the Anglo-Zulu War and became military secretary to several viceroys of India. Marcus joined the 7th Hussars, became an equerry to King George V and in charge of the King's racehorses; the youngest brother, became a rancher in Canada. His family traced their ancestry to Englishmen who had invaded Ireland in the reign of James I and stayed to rule, their estate covered 100,000 acres at Curraghmore near Waterford in South East Ireland, had stables for 100 horses and employed 600 people. The family enjoyed hunting, to the extent that his uncle was killed in a riding accident, his brother was crippled in another, he himself managed ten broken bones at various times.
Beresford had a reputation for kindness to his men, saying'Any smart action performed by an officer or man should be appreciated publicly by signal... Everyone is grateful for appreciation'. At 46 and as captain, he took part in inter-ship rowing competitions, he married Ellen Jeromina Gardner, daughter of Richard Gardner and Lucy Mandesloh, on 25 June 1878 at London, England. They had two daughters, the Hon. Eileen Teresa Lucy de la Poer Beresford and the Hon. Kathleen Mary de la Poer Beresford. Beresford had been captivated by the sight of the Channel Fleet at age twelve, joined the Royal Navy in 1859 aged 13, following preparatory education at Stubbington House School, he started his training as a cadet at the naval training academy HMS Britannia completing his passing-out examination in March 1861. He was appointed a midshipman on the flagship of the Mediterranean fleet, the steam three-decker HMS Marlborough. Beresford described Marlborough as "the smartest and happiest ship that floated".
Beresford left Marlborough in early 1863, was appointed to HMS Defence in the summer of 1863. Defence was one of four new ironclads serving in the Channel Squadron. Beresford got into debt, his father consulted Admiral Eden, who arranged for Beresford's transfer in mid-1864 to the steam-corvette HMS Clio, where Beresford would be the senior midshipman, which it was hoped would develop his sense of responsibility. In 1865 Clio visited the Kingdom of Hawaii. Beresford and Sumner became friends, continued their friendship through correspondence. In 1865, Beresford was transferred to the steam-corvette HMS Tribune, commanded by Lord Gilford and was one of the smartest ships in the navy at the time. Beresford was promoted to acting sub-lieutenant in January 1866. A month Beresford was transferred to the steam-frigate HMS Sutlej, the flagship of the Pacific Squadron. Beresford passed his seamanship examination to qualify for lieutenant on board Sutlej, which he left in 1866. Beresford did a gunnery course on a hulk in Portsmouth harbour.
Beresford broke a bone in his foot whilst dismounting a gun on Excellent, an injury that caused him pain for the rest of his life. Beresford joined HMS Research still as a sub-lieutenant in 1867, in the summer of 1868 was one of the sub-lieutenants on the royal yacht Victoria and Albert. Beresford joined the steam-frigate HMS Galatea, commanded by Queen Victoria's son the Duke of Edinburgh, toured the world, witnessed executions in Japan and got tattooed. On a visit to the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1869, Beresford met Nancy Sumner again, he proposed to her, but she refused due to their social and racial differences. He entered Parliament as a Conservative in 1874, representing County Waterford and retained his seat until 1880; some difficulties arose with the Lords of the Admiralty, who objected to a junior officer debating the navy publicly in the House of Commons. Beresford's parliamentary career was saved by the intervention of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who feared the loss of the seat to an opposition party, should Beresford be forced to resign.
Whilst an MP he continued to serve in the navy, becoming a commander in 1875. In 1874, Beresford was one of thirty-two aides chosen to accompany the Prince of Wales on
Eleanor Gwyn, more known as Nell Gwyn, was a prolific celebrity figure of the Restoration period. Praised by Samuel Pepys for her comic performances as one of the first actresses on the English stage, she became best known for being a long-time mistress of King Charles II of England and Scotland. Called "pretty, witty Nell" by Pepys, she has been regarded as a living embodiment of the spirit of Restoration England and has come to be considered a folk heroine, with a story echoing the rags-to-royalty tale of Cinderella. Gwyn had two sons by King Charles: James Beauclerk. Charles was created Earl of Burford and Duke of St. Albans; the details of Nell's background are somewhat obscure. A horoscope in the Ashmolean manuscripts gives her date of birth as 2 February 1650. On the other hand, an account published in The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist in 1838 states that she was born about 1642; the earlier date of birth was asserted without documentation, but various scholars have supported both the earlier and dates.
The eight-year difference between these two possible birth years can offer different readings of what Nell achieved during her lifetime. The obscurity surrounding Nell’s date of birth parallels numerous other obscurities that run through the course of her entire life; the information we have about Nell is collected from various sources, including the plays she starred in, satirical poetry and pictures and letters. As such, much of this information is founded on hearsay and rumor, must therefore be handled with caution, her mother Ellen was born, according to a monumental inscription, in the parish of St Martin in the Fields, which stretched from Soho and Covent Garden to beyond Mayfair, is thought to have lived most of her life there in the West End. She is believed, by most Gwyn biographers, to have been "low-born", her descendant and biographer Charles Beauclerk calls this conjecture, based on what is known of her life. Madam Gwyn is sometimes said to have had the maiden surname Smith; this appears to be derived from a fragmentary pedigree by Anthony Wood that shows signs of confusion between different Gwyn families and it has not been established.
Nell's mother is said to have drowned. She was buried in her 56th year, at St Martin in the Fields. Nell Gwyn is reported in a manuscript of 1688 to have been a daughter of "Thos Guine a Capt of ane antient fammilie in Wales", although the reliability of the statement is doubtful as its author does not seem to have hesitated to create or alter details where the facts were unknown or unremarkable. There is some suggestion, from a poem dated to 1681, again of doubtful accuracy, that Nell's father died at Oxford in prison, it has been suggested, based on the pedigree by Anthony Wood, that Nell was a granddaughter of Edward or Edmund Gwyn, Canon of Christ Church from 1615 to 1624. However, administration records show. Moreover, Wood did not give a forename for the supposed grandfather of Nell and there are reasons to think that the "Dr... Gwyn" in the pedigree was intended to be not Edmund Gwyn but rather his brother Matthew. In either case, the available evidence indicates. Nell Gwyn was assigned arms similar to those of the Gwynnes of Llansannor.
However, her specific connection to that family, if any, is unknown. Three cities make the claim to be Nell Gwyn's birthplace: Hereford and Oxford. Evidence for any one of the three is scarce; the fact that "Gwyn" is a name of Welsh origin might support Hereford, as its county is on the border with Wales. London is the simplest choice since Nell's mother was born there and, where she raised her children. Alexander Smith's 1715 Lives of the Court Beauties says she was born in Coal Yard Alley in Covent Garden and other biographies, including Wilson's, have followed suit, her noble descendant Beauclerk pieces together circumstantial evidence to favour an Oxford birth. One way or another, Nell's father seems to have been out of the picture by the time of her childhood in Covent Garden, her "dipsomaniac mother, notorious sister", were left in a low situation, she experimented with cross-dressing between 1663 and 1667 going under the name "William Nell" and adopting a false beard. Old Madam Gwyn was by most accounts an alcoholic.
There, or in the bawdy house of one Madam Ross, Nell would spend at least some time. It is possible. A rare mention of her upbringing from the source herself might be seen to contradict the idea: A 1667 entry in Samuel Pepys' diary records, second-hand, thatHere Mrs. Pierce tells me that Nelly and Beck Marshall, falling out the other day, the latter called the other my Lord Buckhurst's whore. Nell answered "I was but one man's whore, though I was brought up in a bawdy-house to fill strong waters to the guests, it is not out of the question that Gwyn was echoing t
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, was a British statesman of the Conservative Party who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs, his political battles with the Liberal Party leader William Ewart Gladstone, his one-nation conservatism or "Tory democracy", he made the Conservatives the party most identified with the power of the British Empire. He is the only British prime minister to have been of Jewish birth, he was a novelist, publishing works of fiction as prime minister. Disraeli was born in Bloomsbury a part of Middlesex, his father left Judaism after a dispute at his synagogue. After several unsuccessful attempts, Disraeli entered the House of Commons in 1837. In 1846 the Prime Minister at the time, Sir Robert Peel, split the party over his proposal to repeal the Corn Laws, which involved ending the tariff on imported grain.
Disraeli clashed with Peel in the House of Commons. Disraeli became a major figure in the party; when Lord Derby, the party leader, thrice formed governments in the 1850s and 1860s, Disraeli served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. Upon Derby's retirement in 1868, Disraeli became Prime Minister before losing that year's general election, he returned to the Opposition, before leading the party to winning a majority in the 1874 general election. He maintained a close friendship with Queen Victoria, who in 1876 appointed him Earl of Beaconsfield. Disraeli's second term was dominated by the Eastern Question—the slow decay of the Ottoman Empire and the desire of other European powers, such as Russia, to gain at its expense. Disraeli arranged for the British to purchase a major interest in the Suez Canal Company. In 1878, faced with Russian victories against the Ottomans, he worked at the Congress of Berlin to obtain peace in the Balkans at terms favourable to Britain and unfavourable to Russia, its longstanding enemy.
This diplomatic victory over Russia established Disraeli as one of Europe's leading statesmen. World events thereafter moved against the Conservatives. Controversial wars in Afghanistan and South Africa undermined his public support, he angered British farmers by refusing to reinstitute the Corn Laws in response to poor harvests and cheap imported grain. With Gladstone conducting a massive speaking campaign, his Liberals bested Disraeli's Conservatives at the 1880 general election. In his final months, Disraeli led the Conservatives in Opposition, he had throughout his career written novels, beginning in 1826, he published his last completed novel, shortly before he died at the age of 76. Disraeli was born on 21 December 1804 at 6 King's Road, Bedford Row, London, the second child and eldest son of Isaac D'Israeli, a literary critic and historian, Maria, née Basevi; the family was of Sephardic Jewish Italian mercantile background. All Disraeli's grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Italy.
Disraeli romanticised his origins, claiming that his father's family was of grand Spanish and Venetian descent. Historians differ on Disraeli's motives for rewriting his family history: Bernard Glassman argues that it was intended to give him status comparable to that of England's ruling elite. Disraeli's siblings were Sarah, Naphtali and James, he was close to his sister, on affectionate but more distant terms with his surviving brothers. Details of his schooling are sketchy. From the age of about six he was a day boy at a dame school in Islington that one of his biographers described as "for those days a high-class establishment". Two years or so—the exact date has not been ascertained—he was sent as a boarder to Rev John Potticary's St Piran's school at Blackheath. While he was there events at the family home changed the course of Disraeli's education and of his whole life: his father renounced Judaism and had the four children baptised into the Church of England in July and August 1817. Isaac D'Israeli had never taken religion seriously, but had remained a conforming member of the Bevis Marks Synagogue.
His father, the elder Benjamin, was a devout member. After Benjamin senior died in 1816 Isaac felt free to leave the congregation following a second dispute. Isaac's friend Sharon Turner, a solicitor, convinced him that although he could comfortably remain unattached to any formal religion it would be disadvantageous to the children if they did so. Turner stood as godfather when Benjamin was baptised, aged twelve, on 31 July 1817. Conversion to Christianity enabled Disraeli to contemplate a career in politics. Britain in the early-nineteenth century was not a anti-Semitic society, there had been Members of Parliament from Jewish families since Samson Gideon in 1770, but until 1858, MPs were required to take the oath of allegiance "on the true faith of a Christian", necessitating at least nominal conversion. It is not known whether Disraeli formed any ambition for a parliamentary career at
Charles II of England
Charles II was king of England and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, king of England and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death. Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649, England entered the period known as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth, the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, Charles fled to mainland Europe. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England and Ireland. Charles spent the next nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands. A political crisis that followed the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in the restoration of the monarchy, Charles was invited to return to Britain. On 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday, he was received in London to public acclaim.
After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if he had succeeded his father as king in 1649. Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the Clarendon Code, designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England. Charles acquiesced to the Clarendon Code though he favoured a policy of religious tolerance; the major foreign policy issue of his early reign was the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1670, he entered into the Treaty of Dover, an alliance with his first cousin King Louis XIV of France. Louis agreed to aid him in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and pay him a pension, Charles secretly promised to convert to Catholicism at an unspecified future date. Charles attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters with his 1672 Royal Declaration of Indulgence, but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it. In 1679, Titus Oates's revelations of a supposed Popish Plot sparked the Exclusion Crisis when it was revealed that Charles's brother and heir, Duke of York, was a Catholic.
The crisis saw the birth of anti-exclusion Tory parties. Charles sided with the Tories, following the discovery of the Rye House Plot to murder Charles and James in 1683, some Whig leaders were executed or forced into exile. Charles dissolved the English Parliament in 1681, ruled alone until his death on 6 February 1685, he was received into the Catholic Church on his deathbed. Charles was one of the most popular and beloved kings of England, known as the Merry Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court and the general relief at the return to normality after over a decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans. Charles's wife, Catherine of Braganza, bore no live children, but Charles acknowledged at least twelve illegitimate children by various mistresses, he was succeeded by his brother James. Charles II was born at St James's Palace on 29 May 1630, his parents were Charles I, who ruled the three kingdoms of England and Ireland, Henrietta Maria, the sister of the French king Louis XIII.
Charles was their second child. Their first son died within a day. England and Ireland were predominantly Anglican and Catholic. Charles was baptised in the Chapel Royal, on 27 June, by the Anglican Bishop of London, William Laud, he was brought up in the care of the Protestant Countess of Dorset, though his godparents included his maternal uncle Louis XIII and his maternal grandmother, Marie de' Medici, the Dowager Queen of France, both of whom were Catholics. At birth, Charles automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, along with several other associated titles. At or around his eighth birthday, he was designated Prince of Wales, though he was never formally invested. During the 1640s, when Charles was still young, his father fought Parliamentary and Puritan forces in the English Civil War. Charles accompanied his father during the Battle of Edgehill and, at the age of fourteen, participated in the campaigns of 1645, when he was made titular commander of the English forces in the West Country.
By spring 1646, his father was losing the war, Charles left England due to fears for his safety. Setting off from Falmouth after staying at Pendennis Castle, he went first to the Isles of Scilly to Jersey, to France, where his mother was living in exile and his first cousin, eight-year-old Louis XIV, was king. Charles I surrendered into captivity in May 1646. In 1648, during the Second English Civil War, Charles moved to The Hague, where his sister Mary and his brother-in-law William II, Prince of Orange, seemed more to provide substantial aid to the royalist cause than his mother's French relations. However, the royalist fleet that came under Charles's control was not used to any advantage, did not reach Scotland in time to join up with the royalist Engager army of the Duke of Hamilton before it was defeated at the Battle of Preston by the Parliamentarians. At The Hague, Charles had a brief affair with Lucy Walter, who falsely claimed that they had secretly married, her son, James Crofts, was one of Charles's many illegitimate children who became prominent in British society.
Despite his son's diplomatic efforts to save him, King Charles I was beheaded in January 1649, England became a republic. On 5 February, the Covenanter Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II "King of Great Britain and Ireland" at the Mercat Cross, but refused to allow him to enter Scotland unless he accepted the imposition of Presbyterianism throughout Britain and Ireland; when negotiations with the Scot
Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick
Francis Richard Charles Guy Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick, styled Lord Brooke until 1893, was a British Conservative politician. Greville was the son of George Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick, his wife Lady Anne, daughter of Francis Wemyss-Charteris, 9th Earl of Wemyss, was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. On 28 February 1874, he was appointed a supernumerary sub-lieutenant in the Warwickshire Yeomanry. Brooke was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Warwickshire on 3 March 1875 and promoted to captain in the Yeomanry on 26 August 1876, he entered Parliament for Somerset East in an 1879 by-election, a seat he held until 1885, represented Colchester from 1888 to 1892. The following year, Greville entered the House of Lords. In August 1901 he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, serving as such until 1919, he was appointed deputy lieutenant of the county on 8 July 1919. In November 1901 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the new Essex Imperial Yeomanry Regiment, in late 1901 he was elected Mayor of Warwick for the following year.
He was a senior Freemason under the United Grand Lodge of England, rose to the high office of Deputy Grand Master under the Grand Mastership of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales King Edward VII. Lord Warwick married Frances Evelyn Maynard, daughter of the Hon. Charles Henry Maynard, in 1881, they had five children: Leopold Guy Francis Maynard Greville, 6th Earl of Warwick b. 10 September 1882 – d. 31 January 1928 Lady Marjorie Blanche Eva Greville b. 25 October 1884 – d. 25 July 1964 m. Charles Duncombe, 2nd Earl of Feversham Hon. Charles Algernon Cromartie Greville b. 22 November 1885 – d. 28 March 1887 Hon. Maynard Greville b. 21 March 1898 – d. 21 February 1960 Lady Mercy Greville b. 3 April 1904 – d. 21 November 1968. She married first Basil Dean and in 1936, Patrick Gamble; the youngest two children were reputedly fathered by one of the countess' lovers, millionaire bachelor Joseph Frederick Laycock. Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick died in January 1924, aged 70, is buried in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick.
He was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son Leopold. The Countess of Warwick died in July 1938, aged 76. Kidd, Williamson, David. Debrett's Baronetage. New York: St Martin's Press, 1990, Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage. Media related to Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick at Wikimedia Commons Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Warwick
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent was an American expatriate artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. He created 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings, his oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, the Middle East, Montana and Florida. He was born in Florence to American parents, trained in Paris before moving to London, living most of his life in Europe, he enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation. From the beginning his work is characterized by remarkable technical facility in his ability to draw with a brush, which in years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality, his commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air.
Art historians ignored "society" artists such as Sargent until the late 20th century. Sargent is a descendant of a colonial military leader and jurist. Before John Singer Sargent's birth, his father, FitzWilliam, was an eye surgeon at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia 1844–1854. After John's older sister died at the age of two, his mother, Mary Newbold Singer, suffered a breakdown, the couple decided to go abroad to recover, they remained nomadic expatriates for the rest of their lives. Although based in Paris, Sargent's parents moved with the seasons to the sea and the mountain resorts in France, Germany and Switzerland. While Mary was pregnant, they stopped in Florence, because of a cholera epidemic. Sargent was born there in 1856. A year his sister Mary was born. After her birth, FitzWilliam reluctantly resigned his post in Philadelphia and accepted his wife's request to remain abroad, they lived modestly on savings, living a quiet life with their children. They avoided society and other Americans except for friends in the art world.
Four more children were born abroad, of. Although his father was a patient teacher of basic subjects, young Sargent was a rambunctious child, more interested in outdoor activities than his studies; as his father wrote home, "He is quite a close observer of animated nature." His mother was convinced that traveling around Europe, visiting museums and churches, would give young Sargent a satisfactory education. Several attempts to have him formally schooled failed, owing to their itinerant life, his mother was a capable amateur artist and his father was a skilled medical illustrator. Early on, she gave him encouraged drawing excursions. Sargent worked on his drawings, he enthusiastically copied images from The Illustrated London News of ships and made detailed sketches of landscapes. FitzWilliam had hoped that his son's interest in ships and the sea might lead him toward a naval career. At thirteen, his mother reported that John "sketches quite nicely, & has a remarkably quick and correct eye. If we could afford to give him good lessons, he would soon be quite a little artist."
At the age of thirteen, he received some watercolor lessons from Carl Welsch, a German landscape painter. Although his education was far from complete, Sargent grew up to be a literate and cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art and literature, he was fluent in English, French and German. At seventeen, Sargent was described as "willful, curious and strong" yet shy and modest, he was well-acquainted with many of the great masters from first hand observation, as he wrote in 1874, "I have learned in Venice to admire Tintoretto immensely and to consider him second only to Michelangelo and Titian." An attempt to study at the Academy of Florence failed. After returning to Paris from Florence Sargent began his art studies with the young French portraitist Carolus-Duran. Following a meteoric rise, the artist was noted for his bold technique and modern teaching methods. In 1874 Sargent passed on his first attempt the rigorous exam required to gain admission to the École des Beaux-Arts, the premier art school in France.
He took drawing classes, which included anatomy and perspective, gained a silver prize. He spent much time in self-study, drawing in museums and painting in a studio he shared with James Carroll Beckwith, he became both Sargent's primary connection with the American artists abroad. Sargent took some lessons from Léon Bonnat. Carolus-Duran's atelier was progressive, dispensing with the traditional academic approach, which required careful drawing and underpainting, in favor of the alla prima method of working directly on the canvas with a loaded brush, derived from Diego Velázquez, it was an approach. This approach permitted spontaneous flourishes of color not bound to an under-drawing, it was markedly different from the traditional atelier of Jean-Léon Gérôme, where Americans Thomas Eakins and Julian Alden Weir had studied. Sargent was the star student in shor
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865, Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, Lord Salisbury until his death, was a British statesman, serving as Prime Minister three times for a total of over thirteen years. A member of the Conservative Party, he was the last Prime Minister to head his full administration from the House of Lords. Lord Robert Cecil was first elected to the House of Commons in 1854 and served as Secretary of State for India in Lord Derby's Conservative government from 1866 until his resignation in 1867 over its introduction of Benjamin Disraeli's Reform Bill that extended the suffrage to working-class men. In 1868 upon the death of his father, Cecil was elevated to the House of Lords. In 1874, when Disraeli formed an administration, Salisbury returned as Secretary of State for India, and, in 1878, was appointed foreign secretary, played a leading part in the Congress of Berlin, despite his doubts over Disraeli's pro-Ottoman policy.
After the Conservatives lost the 1880 general election and Disraeli's death the year after, Salisbury emerged as Conservative leader in the House of Lords, with Sir Stafford Northcote leading the party in the Commons. He became Prime Minister in June 1885 when the Liberal leader William Ewart Gladstone resigned, held the office until January 1886; when Gladstone came out in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, Salisbury opposed him and formed an alliance with the breakaway Liberal Unionists, winning the subsequent general election. He remained as Prime Minister until Gladstone's Liberals formed a government with the support of the Irish Nationalists, despite the Unionists gaining the largest number of votes and seats at the 1892 general election; the Liberals, lost the 1895 general election, Salisbury once again became Prime Minister, leading Britain to war against the Boers, the Unionists to another electoral victory in 1900 before relinquishing the premiership to his nephew Arthur Balfour. He died a year in 1903.
Historians agree that Salisbury was a strong and effective leader in foreign affairs, with a strong grasp of the issues. Paul Smith characterises his personality as "deeply neurotic, agitated, fearful of change and loss of control, self-effacing but capable of extraordinary competitiveness." A representative of the landed aristocracy, he held the reactionary credo, "Whatever happens will be for the worse, therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible." Searle says that instead of seeing his party's victory in 1886 as a harbinger of a new and more popular Conservatism, he longed to return to the stability of the past, when his party's main function was to restrain demagogic liberalism and democratic excess. Lord Robert Cecil was born at Hatfield House, the second son of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury and Frances Mary Gascoyne, he was a patrilineal descendant of Lord Burghley and the 1st Earl of Salisbury, chief ministers of Elizabeth I. The family owned vast rural estates in Dorset.
This wealth increased in 1821, when he married the rich heiress of a merchant prince who had bought up large estates in Essex and Lancashire. Robert had a miserable childhood, with few friends, he was bullied unmercifully at the schools he attended. In 1840, he went to Eton College, where he did well in French, German and Theology; the unhappy schooling shaped his pessimistic outlook on his negative views on democracy. He decided that most people were cowardly and cruel, that the mob would run roughshod over sensitive individuals. In December 1847 he went to Christ Church, where he received an honorary fourth class in mathematics conferred by nobleman's privilege due to ill health. Whilst at Oxford he found the Oxford movement or "Tractarianism" to be an intoxicating force. In 1853 he was elected a prize fellow of All Souls Oxford. In April 1850 he did not enjoy law, his doctor advised him to travel for his health, so in July 1851 to May 1853 Cecil travelled through Cape Colony, including Tasmania, New Zealand.
He disliked the Boers and wrote that free institutions and self-government could not be granted to the Cape Colony because the Boers outnumbered the British three-to-one, "it will be delivering us over bound hand and foot into the power of the Dutch, who hate us as much as a conquered people can hate their conquerors". He found the Kaffirs "a fine set of men – whose language bears traces of a high former civilisation", similar to Italian, they were "an intellectual race, with great firmness and fixedness of will" but "horribly immoral" as they lacked theism. In the Bendigo goldmine of Australia, he claimed that "there is not half as much crime or insubordination as there would be in an English town of the same wealth and population". Ten thousand miners were policed by four men armed with carbines, at Mount Alexander 30,000 people were protected by 200 policemen, with over 30,000 ounces of gold mined per week, he believed that there was "generally far more civility than I should be to find in the good town of Hatfield" and claimed this was due to "the government was that of the Queen, not of the mob.
Holding from a supposed right" and from "the People the source of all legitimate power," Cecil said of the Māori of New Zealand: "The natives seem when they have converted to make much better Christians than the white man". A Maori chief offered Cecil five acres near Auckland, which he declined