Liberal Unionist Party
The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party, formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the Liberal Party. Led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain, the party formed a political alliance with the Conservative Party in opposition to Irish Home Rule; the two parties formed the ten-year-long coalition Unionist Government 1895–1905 but kept separate political funds and their own party organisations until a complete merger was agreed in May 1912. The Liberal Unionists owe their origins to the conversion of William Ewart Gladstone to the cause of Irish Home Rule; the 1885 General Election had left Charles Stewart Parnell's Irish Nationalists holding the balance of power, had convinced Gladstone that the Irish wanted and deserved reinstatement of Home Rule for Ireland and so end 85 years of union. Some Liberals believed that Gladstone's Home Rule bill would lead to independence for Ireland and the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which they could not countenance.
Seeing themselves as defenders of the Union, they called themselves "Liberal Unionists", although at this stage most of them did not think the split from their former colleagues would be permanent. Gladstone preferred to call them "dissentient Liberals" as if he believed they would come back like the "Adullamites", Liberals who had opposed the extension of the franchise in 1866 but had come back to the main party after the Conservatives had passed their own electoral reform bill in 1867. In the end it did not matter what the Liberal Unionists were called, the schism in the Liberal party grew wider and deeper within a few years; the majority of Liberal Unionists, including Hartington, Lord Lansdowne, George Goschen, were drawn from the Whig faction of the party and had been expected to split from the Liberal Party anyway, for reasons connected with economic and social policy. Some of the Unionists held extensive landed estates in Ireland and feared these would be broken up or confiscated if Ireland had its own government, while Hartington had suffered a personal loss at the hands of Irish Nationalists in 1882 when his brother was killed during the Phoenix Park Murders.
The anti-Home Rule Liberals formed a Committee for the Preservation of the Union in early 1886, were soon joined by a smaller radical faction led by Joseph Chamberlain and John Bright. Chamberlain had taken office in the Gladstone government, formed in 1886 but resigned when he saw the details of Gladstone's Home Rule plans; as Chamberlain had been a standard bearer of radical liberalism against the Whigs, his adherence to the alliance against the Gladstonian Liberals came as a surprise. When the dissident Liberals formed the Liberal Unionist Council, to become the Liberal Unionist party, Chamberlain organised the separate National Radical Union in Birmingham; this allowed Chamberlain and his immediate allies to distance themselves from the main body of Liberal Unionism and left open the possibility that they could work with the Liberal party in the future. In 1889 the National Radical Union changed its name to the National Liberal Union and remained a separate organisation from the main Liberal Unionist Council.
Historian R. C. K. Ensor reports that after 1886, Gladstone's main Liberal Party was deserted by the entire whig peerage and the great majority of the upper-class and upper-middle-class Liberals. High prestige London clubs that had a Liberal base were split. Ensor notes that "London society, following the known views of the Queen ostracized home rulers". Chamberlain used anti-Catholicism to build a base for the new party among "Orange" Nonconformist Protestant elements in Britain and Ireland. John Bright popularised the catchy slogan, "Home rule means Rome rule." The 1886 election left the Conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons, but without an overall majority. The leading Liberal Unionists were invited to join the Conservative Lord Salisbury's government. Salisbury said he was willing to let Hartington become Prime Minister of a coalition ministry but the latter declined. In part, Hartington was worried this would split the Liberal Unionists and lose them votes from pro-Unionist Liberal supporters.
The Liberal Unionists, despite providing the necessary margin for Salisbury's majority, continued to sit on the opposition benches throughout the life of the parliament, Hartington and Chamberlain uneasily shared the opposition Front Bench with their former colleagues Gladstone and Harcourt. In December 1886, when Lord Randolph Churchill resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Salisbury offered the position to Goschen, by far the most conservative of the leading Liberal Unionists. After consulting Hartington, Goschen agreed to join the Conservative government and remained Chancellor for the next six years. While the Whiggish wing of the Liberal Unionists cooperated informally with the Conservative Government, the party's Radical Unionist wing held a series of meetings with their former Liberal colleagues. Led by Chamberlain and Sir George Trevelyan, the Round Table Conference was an attempt to see if reunion of the Liberal party was possible. Despite some progress, the problem of Home Rule for Ireland could not be resolved.
Neither Hartington nor Gladstone took a direct part in these meetings, there seemed to be no other Liberal statesman who could reunite the party. Within a few months the talks were over, though some Liberal Unionists, including Trevelyan rejoined the Liberal Party soon after; the failed talks
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served for twelve years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times. Gladstone was born in Liverpool to Scottish parents, he first entered the House of Commons in 1832, beginning his political career as a High Tory, a grouping which became the Conservative Party under Robert Peel in 1834. Gladstone served as a minister in both of Peel's governments, in 1846 joined the breakaway Peelite faction, which merged into the new Liberal Party in 1859, he was Chancellor under Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. Gladstone's own political doctrine—which emphasised equality of opportunity, free trade, laissez-faire economic policies—came to be known as Gladstonian liberalism, his popularity amongst the working-class earned him the sobriquet "The People's William". In 1868, Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time.
Many reforms were passed during his first ministry, including the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the introduction of secret voting. After electoral defeat in 1874, Gladstone resigned as leader of the Liberal Party, his Midlothian Campaign of 1879–80 was an early example of many modern political campaigning techniques. After the 1880 general election, Gladstone formed his second ministry, which saw the passage of the Third Reform Act as well as crises in Egypt and Ireland, where his government passed repressive measures but improved the legal rights of Irish tenant farmers. Back in office in early 1886, Gladstone proposed home rule for Ireland but was defeated in the House of Commons; the resulting split in the Liberal Party helped keep them out of office—with one short break—for twenty years. Gladstone formed his last government in 1892, at the age of 82; the Second Home Rule Bill passed through the Commons but was defeated in the House of Lords in 1893. Gladstone left office in March 1894, aged 84, as both the oldest person to serve as Prime Minister and the only Prime Minister to have served four terms.
He died three years later. Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as "The People's William" or the "G. O. M.". Historians call him one of Britain's greatest leaders. Born in 1809 in Liverpool, at 62 Rodney Street, William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth son of the merchant John Gladstone, his second wife, Anne MacKenzie Robertson. In 1835, the family name was changed from Gladstones to Gladstone by royal licence, his father was made a baronet, of Fasque and Balfour, in 1846. Although born and brought up in Liverpool, William Gladstone was of purely Scottish ancestry, his grandfather Thomas Gladstones was a prominent merchant from Leith, his maternal grandfather, Andrew Robertson, was Provost of Dingwall and a Sheriff-Substitute of Ross-shire. His biographer John Morley described him as "a highlander in the custody of a lowlander", an adversary as "an ardent Italian in the custody of a Scotsman". One of his earliest childhood memories was being made to stand on a table and say "Ladies and gentlemen" to the assembled audience at a gathering to promote the election of George Canning as MP for Liverpool in 1812.
In 1814, young "Willy" visited Scotland for the first time, as he and his brother John travelled with their father to Edinburgh and Dingwall to visit their relatives. Willy and his brother were both made freemen of the burgh of Dingwall. In 1815, Gladstone travelled to London and Cambridge for the first time with his parents. Whilst in London, he attended a service of thanksgiving with his family at St Paul's Cathedral following the Battle of Waterloo, where he saw the Prince Regent. William Gladstone was educated from 1816–1821 at a preparatory school at the vicarage of St. Thomas' Church at Seaforth, close to his family's residence, Seaforth House. In 1821, William followed in the footsteps of his elder brothers and attended Eton College before matriculating in 1828 at Christ Church, where he read Classics and Mathematics, although he had no great interest in the latter subject. In December 1831, he achieved the double first-class degree. Gladstone served as President of the Oxford Union, where he developed a reputation as an orator, which followed him into the House of Commons.
At university, Gladstone was a denounced Whig proposals for parliamentary reform. Following the success of his double first, William travelled with his brother John on a Grand Tour of Europe, visiting Belgium, France and Italy. Upon his return to England, William was elected to Parliament in 1832 as a Tory Member of Parliament for Newark through the influence of the local patron, the Duke of Newcastle. Although Gladstone entered Lincoln's Inn in 1833, with intentions of becoming a barrister, by 1839 he had requested that his name should be removed from the list because he no longer intended to be called to the Bar. In the House of Commons, Gladstone was a disciple of High Toryism and, as a scion of one of the largest slave-holding families in the world, he opposed both the abolition of slavery and factory legislation. Gladstone's father was a slave owner.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom, having financed the European coalition that defeated France during the Napoleonic Wars, developed a large Royal Navy that enabled the British Empire to become the foremost world power for the next century; the Crimean War with Russia and the Boer wars were small operations in a peaceful century. Rapid industrialisation that began in the decades prior to the state's formation continued up until the mid-19th century; the Great Irish Famine, exacerbated by government inaction in the mid-19th century, led to demographic collapse in much of Ireland and increased calls for Irish land reform. The 19th century was an era of rapid economic modernisation and growth of industry and finance, in which Britain dominated the world economy. Outward migration was heavy to the United States; the empire was expanded into much of South Asia. The Colonial Office and India Office ruled through a small number of administrators who managed the units of the empire locally, while democratic institutions began to develop.
British India, by far the most important overseas possession, saw a short-lived revolt in 1857. In overseas policy, the central policy was free trade, which enabled British and Irish financiers and merchants to operate in many otherwise independent countries, as in South America. London formed no permanent military alliances until the early 20th century, when it began to cooperate with Japan and Russia, moved closer to the United States. Growing desire for Irish self-governance led to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted in most of Ireland seceding from the Union and forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the Union, the state was renamed to the current "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" in 1927; the modern-day United Kingdom is the same country as the one from this period—a direct continuation of what remained after the secession—not an new successor state. A brief period of limited independence for Ireland came to an end following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which occurred during the British war with revolutionary France.
The British government's fear of an independent Ireland siding against them with the French resulted in the decision to unite the two countries. This was brought about by legislation in the parliaments of both kingdoms and came into effect on 1 January 1801; the Irish had been led to believe by the British that their loss of legislative independence would be compensated with Catholic emancipation, that is, by the removal of civil disabilities placed upon Roman Catholics in both Great Britain and Ireland. However, King George III was bitterly opposed to any such Emancipation and succeeded in defeating his government's attempts to introduce it. During the War of the Second Coalition, Britain occupied most of the French and Dutch overseas possessions, the Netherlands having become a satellite state of France in 1796, but tropical diseases claimed the lives of over 40,000 troops; when the Treaty of Amiens ended the war, Britain agreed to return most of the territories it had seized. The peace settlement was in effect only a ceasefire, Napoleon continued to provoke the British by attempting a trade embargo on the country and by occupying the city of Hanover, capital of the Electorate, a German-speaking duchy, in a personal union with the United Kingdom.
In May 1803, war was declared again. Napoleon's plans to invade Great Britain failed, chiefly due to the inferiority of his navy, in 1805 a Royal Navy fleet led by Nelson decisively defeated the French and Spanish at Trafalgar, the last significant naval action of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1806, Napoleon issued the series of Berlin Decrees, which brought into effect the Continental System; this policy aimed to eliminate the threat from the British by closing French-controlled territory to foreign trade. The British Army remained a minimal threat to France. Although the Royal Navy disrupted France's extra-continental trade—both by seizing and threatening French shipping and by seizing French colonial possessions—it could do nothing about France's trade with the major continental economies and posed little threat to French territory in Europe. France's population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of the British Isles, but it was smaller in terms of industry, mercantile marine and naval strength.
Napoleon expected that cutting Britain off from the European mainland would end its economic hegemony. On the contrary Britain possessed the greatest industrial capacity in the world, its mastery of the seas allowed it to build up considerable economic strength through trade to its possessions and the United States; the Spanish uprising in 1808 at last permitted Britain to gain a foothold on the Continent. The Duke of Wellington pushed the French out of Spain, in early 1814, as Napoleon was being driven back in the east by the Prussians and Russians, Wellington invaded southern France. After Napoleon's surrender and exile to the island of Elba, peace appeared to have returned. Napoleon reappeared in 1815; the Allies united and the armies of Wellington and Blücher defeated Napoleon once and for all at Waterloo. To defeat France, Britain put heavy pressure on the Americans
1st Argyll and Bute Artillery Volunteers
Not to be confused with the Argyll and Bute Artillery MilitiaThe 1st Argyll & Bute Artillery Volunteers was a part-time unit of the British Army's Royal Artillery formed in Scotland in 1860 in response to a French invasion threat. It 1908 it became the only Mountain Artillery unit in the Territorial Force, saw action at Gallipoli and Salonika during World War I. Before World War II it became the first Territorial Anti-Tank unit. One of its successor units was captured at Saint-Valery-en-Caux during the Battle of France, but others saw action in the campaigns in North Africa and Sicily, in North West Europe from D Day to VE Day, including Arnhem and the Rhine Crossing, it continued in the postwar Territorial Army until 1955. The enthusiasm for the Volunteer movement following an invasion scare in 1859 saw the creation of many Rifle and Artillery Volunteer Corps composed of part-time soldiers eager to supplement the Regular British Army in time of need; the 1st Administrative Brigade, Argyll Artillery Volunteers, was formed with headquarters at Oban, on 10 October 1861 to include the following corps of Argyllshire Artillery Volunteer Corps: 1st Corps formed at Easdale on 7 March 1860 2nd Corps formed at Tarbert, Loch Fyne, on 12 April 1860 3rd Corps formed at Oban on 8 March 1860 4th Corps formed at West Tarbert on 12 April 1860.
9th Corps formed at Tobermory, Mull on 15 May 1862. 10th Corps formed at Lochgilphead on 15 May 1862 11th Corps formed at Tarbet on 13 February 1866 12th Corps formed at Inveraray on 2 April 1867 In 1863 the 1st Bute Artillery Volunteers at Rothesay were added to the unit. In 1867 the 2nd Bute Artillery Volunteers from Millport, Cumbrae were added to the unit. In 1864 brigade HQ moved to Lochgilphead, in 1870 to Rothesay. In May 1880 the brigade was consolidated as the 1st Argyll and Bute Artillery Volunteers, with twelve and a half batteries, distributed as follows: Nos. 1 and 2, Easdale No. 3, Oban Nos. 4 and 5, Campbeltown No. 6, Port Ellen, Islay No. 7, Castle Toward. No. 8, Rothesay No. 9, Millport No. 10, Lochgilphead No. 11, Tarbert No. 12, Inveraray Half-battery, Mull In 1887 a new 12th battery was formed at Rothesay, in the following year the 8th Battery moved to Dunoon. In 1882 all the artillery volunteers were affiliated to one of the territorial garrison divisions of the Royal Artillery and the 1st Argyll & Bute AVC became part of the Scottish Division.
In 1889 the structure was altered, the corps joined the Southern Division. In 1899 the RA was divided into separate field and garrison branches, the artillery volunteers were all assigned to the Royal Garrison Artillery. In 1902 their titles were changed, the unit becoming the 1st Argyll & Bute Royal Garrison Artillery, with its HQ at Tarbert. During the South African War in 1900, 211 men of the 1st Argyll and Bute volunteered their services, but only eight were accepted for active service; the corps was one of the most scattered in Britain. For example, No 6 Company had detachments at Bowmore and Ardbeg. Personnel of the corps were spread over fifteen localities in some of the largest and least accessible country in Scotland. Owing to the varying occupations of the men, 75% were Gaelic-speaking, three training camps were arranged at different times of the year. In addition the corps had to maintain 15 carbine ranges. Many prizes were won by the corps, both in gun practice and repository exercises, at the Scottish National Artillery Association camps - the King's Cup was won at Barry Buddon in 1903 by the Easdale companies.
The pipe band consisted of over thirty pipers. When the Volunteers were subsumed into the new Territorial Force under the Haldane Reforms of 1908 the bulk of the personnel of the 1st Argyll & Bute RGA formed IV Highland Brigade, RGA, while the remainder formed one company of the Forth and Clyde Royal Garrison Artillery; the new brigade, which included the Lochcarron, Ross-shire, company from the former Highland Artillery Volunteers, was the only TF mountain artillery unit. It formed part of the Highland Division and had the following organisation: IV Highland Brigade, RGA HQ at Russell Street, Rothesay Argyllshire Bty at Campbelltown Ross and Cromarty Bty at Lochcarron Buteshire Bty at Rothesay 4th Highland Ammunition Column at TarbertThe batteries were equipped with the 10-pounder mountain gun, a 2.75-inch calibre'screw gun' developed for the Indian Army's mountain batteries. The Highland Division received a warning order for mobilisation on 29 July 1914, the order to mobilise was received at 17.35 on 4 August.
IV Highland Mtn Bde arrived at Bedford on 10 August, where the division concentrated over the following days. During the winter of 1914–15 a number of units left the division to join other formations in the field. On 10 March 1915 IV Highland Mtn Bde transferred to the 29th Division; this was a new division formed from Regular Army units returned from stations round the Empire, was allocated to the forthcoming Dardanelles operation
Elizabeth Campbell, Duchess of Argyll
Elizabeth Georgiana Campbell, Duchess of Argyll was a British noblewoman and abolitionist. Born into the wealthy Sutherland-Leveson-Gower family, she was the eldest daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland by his wife, the political hostess Lady Harriet Howard. In 1844 Elizabeth married George Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, eldest son and heir to the 7th Duke of Argyll, she became the Duchess of Argyll in 1847. Like her mother, the Duchess of Argyll was a prominent opponent of slavery; the pair helped write a letter titled An Affectionate and Christian Address of Many Thousands of Women of Great Britain and Ireland to Their Sisters, the Women of the United States of America, calling for an end of slavery. The two hosted the American abolitionist and author Harriet Beecher Stowe when she visited England. Lady Campbell and Beecher Stowe maintained a correspondence. In 1868, the Duchess of Argyll succeeded the Duchess of Wellington as Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria, holding the position until 1870, when she resigned due to ill health.
Soon after being appointed a member of the newly created Order of the Crown of India, she died in 1878 whilst eating with William Ewart Gladstone in London. Lady Elizabeth Georgiana Leveson-Gower was raised amidst great wealth, her paternal grandmother, the great heiress Elizabeth Gordon, was suo jure Countess of Sutherland, overseeing estates that spanned 800,000 to one million acres of Scottish Highlands. The Sutherland lands were further augmented with Gordon's 1785 marriage to George Leveson-Gower. In 1823, their son George married Lady Harriet Howard, daughter of George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle. Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower was born the following year as their eldest daughter, on 30 May 1824. Three brothers and two sisters followed. With family estates in Scotland and England, Elizabeth's upbringing involved much travel, their main residence was the lavish Stafford House, which they acquired in 1827. The couple Harriet, led vibrant social lives, she was a political hostess known for her friendship and position as Mistress of the Robes to the young Queen Victoria.
In 1833, the 1st Duke died and Elizabeth's father succeeded as 2nd Duke of Sutherland, inheriting extensive property. The historian Eric Richards writes that the first half of the nineteenth century saw the height of the House of Sutherland's social and economic influence, with its wealth being derived from rents, various stocks, dividends from transportation firms. While accompanying Queen Victoria to Taymouth Castle in 1842, Lady Elizabeth met George Douglas Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, the eldest son of the 7th Duke of Argyll, they married at the Leveson-Gower estate Trentham Hall on 31 July 1844. The Archbishop of York, Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt, presided over the wedding; the Argyll estate was in debt, so Elizabeth's wealth was much needed. Their union resulted in the further joining of two of Scotland's largest landowning families; the young couple was given Rosneath by his father at the time of their marriage. Religious, Elizabeth had been raised in the Anglican faith but converted to the Church of Scotland upon her marriage, taking her first communion in the faith that year.
Like many of her predecessors, Elizabeth was a strong supporter of the Scottish Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles. The couple possessed similar interest in liberal politics. Elizabeth was dignified and cultured, Lorne found in his new wife "more than all, told me by her numerous friends... On some subjects, excepting philosophy and the natural sciences, she was more read than I was at the time." Lorne succeeded his father as 8th Duke of Argyll on 25 April 1847, whereupon Elizabeth became Duchess of Argyll. The family's primary estates included Argyll Lodge in London, the family seat of Inveraray Castle in Argyllshire, Rosneath, their first child, was born within a year of their marriage. They would have seven daughters; the Argyll household was sober and driven by routine with prescribed times for prayer, breakfast and dinner. The children were not expected to show emotion such as crying, except for "real causes" like the death of a family pet; the Scottish scholar John Stuart Blackie enjoyed the solemnity of the couple's lifestyle and visited them often.
The historian Anne Jordan writes that Lady Campbell was "old before her time," having given birth to twelve children. She suffered from ill health, in part due to an 1868 stroke which left her incapacitated, her third daughter Lady Victoria, who suffered from ill health due to a contraction of poliomyelitis, nursed her mother. Once adults, the children's marriage settlements were a drain on the family's resources, with all but one marrying, their eldest son John married the Queen's fourth daughter Princess Louise in 1871, became the Governor General of Canada in 1878. Like her mother the Duchess of Sutherland, the Duchess of Argyll was a prominent supporter of the abolitionist movement. Elizabeth was one of many Englishwomen affected by the 1852 anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin; the following year at her mother's house, the Duchess helped draft a letter titled An Affectionate and Christian Address of Many Thousands of Women of Great Britain and Ireland to Their Sisters, the Women of the United States of America.
The letter signed by 562,848 women, called for an end to slavery beca
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and won a landslide victory in the following year's general election. Under Prime Ministers Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith, the Liberal Party passed the welfare reforms that created a basic British welfare state. Although Asquith was the party's leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of coalition Prime Minister and Lloyd George replaced him as Prime Minister in late 1916, but Asquith remained as Liberal Party leader; the pair fought for years over control of the party.
Historian Martin Pugh in The Oxford Companion to British History argues: Lloyd George made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war introduction of Britain's social welfare system. Furthermore, in foreign affairs, he played a leading role in winning the First World War, redrawing the map of Europe at the peace conference, partitioning Ireland; the government of Lloyd George was dominated by the Conservative Party, which deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had replaced the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rival; the party went into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no more than six seats at general elections. Apart from notable by-election victories, its fortunes did not improve until it formed the SDP–Liberal Alliance with the newly formed Social Democratic Party in 1981. At the 1983 general election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, but only 23 of the 650 seats it contested. At the 1987 general election, its share of the vote fell below 23% and the Liberal and Social Democratic parties merged in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
A splinter group reconstituted the Liberal Party in 1989. It was formed by party members opposed to the merger who saw the Liberal Democrats diluting Liberal ideals. Prominent intellectuals associated with the Liberal Party include the philosopher John Stuart Mill, the economist John Maynard Keynes and social planner William Beveridge; the Liberal Party grew out of the Whigs, who had their origins in an aristocratic faction in the reign of Charles II and the early 19th century Radicals. The Whigs were in favour of increasing the power of Parliament. Although their motives in this were to gain more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs came to support an expansion of democracy for its own sake; the great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox and his disciple and successor Earl Grey. After decades in opposition, the Whigs returned to power under Grey in 1830 and carried the First Reform Act in 1832; the Reform Act was the climax of Whiggism, but it brought about the Whigs' demise.
The admission of the middle classes to the franchise and to the House of Commons led to the development of a systematic middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for many years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the party. In the years after Grey's retirement, the party was led first by Lord Melbourne, a traditional Whig, by Lord John Russell, the son of a Duke but a crusading radical, by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and a conservative, although capable of radical gestures; as early as 1839, Russell had adopted the name of "Liberals", but in reality his party was a loose coalition of Whigs in the House of Lords and Radicals in the Commons. The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the manufacturing towns which had gained representation under the Reform Act, they favoured social reform, personal liberty, reducing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England, avoidance of war and foreign alliances and above all free trade.
For a century, free trade remained the one cause. In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, but their period in opposition was short because the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, a free trade issue; this allowed ministries led by Russell and the Peelite Lord Aberdeen to hold office for most of the 1850s and 1860s. A leading Peelite was William Ewart Gladstone, a reforming Chancellor of the Exchequer in most of these governments; the formal foundation of the Liberal Party is traditionally traced to 1859 and the formation of Palmerston's second government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not become a true modern political party while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the "Two Terrible Old Men", Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could become the first leader of the modern Liberal Party; this was brought about by Palmerston's death in 1865 and Russell's retirement in 1868. After a brief Conservative government, Gladstone won a huge victory at the 1868 election and formed the first Liberal government.
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council known as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords; the Privy Council formally advises the sovereign on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, corporately it issues executive instruments known as Orders in Council, which among other powers enact Acts of Parliament. The Council holds the delegated authority to issue Orders of Council used to regulate certain public institutions; the Council advises the sovereign on the issuing of Royal Charters, which are used to grant special status to incorporated bodies, city or borough status to local authorities. Otherwise, the Privy Council's powers have now been replaced by its executive committee, the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. Certain judicial functions are performed by the Queen-in-Council, although in practice its actual work of hearing and deciding upon cases is carried out day-to-day by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The Judicial Committee consists of senior judges appointed as Privy Counsellors: predominantly Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and senior judges from the Commonwealth. The Privy Council acted as the High Court of Appeal for the entire British Empire, continues to hear appeals from the Crown Dependencies, the British Overseas Territories, some independent Commonwealth states; the Privy Council of the United Kingdom was preceded by the Privy Council of Scotland and the Privy Council of England. The key events in the formation of the modern Privy Council are given below: In Anglo-Saxon England, Witenagemot was an early equivalent to the Privy Council of England. During the reigns of the Norman monarchs, the English Crown was advised by a royal court or curia regis, which consisted of magnates and high officials; the body concerned itself with advising the sovereign on legislation and justice. Different bodies assuming distinct functions evolved from the court; the courts of law took over the business of dispensing justice, while Parliament became the supreme legislature of the kingdom.
The Council retained the power to hear legal disputes, either in the first instance or on appeal. Furthermore, laws made by the sovereign on the advice of the Council, rather than on the advice of Parliament, were accepted as valid. Powerful sovereigns used the body to circumvent the Courts and Parliament. For example, a committee of the Council—which became the Court of the Star Chamber—was during the 15th century permitted to inflict any punishment except death, without being bound by normal court procedure. During Henry VIII's reign, the sovereign, on the advice of the Council, was allowed to enact laws by mere proclamation; the legislative pre-eminence of Parliament was not restored until after Henry VIII's death. Though the royal Council retained legislative and judicial responsibilities, it became a administrative body; the Council consisted of forty members in 1553, but the sovereign relied on a smaller committee, which evolved into the modern Cabinet. By the end of the English Civil War, the monarchy, House of Lords, Privy Council had been abolished.
The remaining parliamentary chamber, the House of Commons, instituted a Council of State to execute laws and to direct administrative policy. The forty-one members of the Council were elected by the House of Commons. In 1653, Cromwell became Lord Protector, the Council was reduced to between thirteen and twenty-one members, all elected by the Commons. In 1657, the Commons granted Cromwell greater powers, some of which were reminiscent of those enjoyed by monarchs; the Council became known as the Protector's Privy Council. In 1659, shortly before the restoration of the monarchy, the Protector's Council was abolished. Charles II restored the Royal Privy Council, but he, like previous Stuart monarchs, chose to rely on a small group of advisers. Under George I more power transferred to this committee, it now began to meet in the absence of the sovereign, communicating its decisions to him after the fact. Thus, the British Privy Council, as a whole, ceased to be a body of important confidential advisers to the sovereign.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of the word privy in Privy Council is an obsolete meaning "of or pertaining to a particular person or persons, one's own". It is related to the word private, derives from the French word privé; the sovereign, when acting on the Council's advice, is known as the King-in-Council or Queen-in-Council. The members of the Council are collectively known as The Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council; the chief officer of the body is the Lord President of the Council, the fourth highest Great Officer of State, a Cabinet member and either the Leader of the House of Lords or of the House of Commons. Another important official is the Clerk, whose signature is appended to all orders made in the Council. Both Privy Counsellor and Privy Councillor may be used to refer to a member of the Council; the former, however, is preferred by the Privy Council Office, emphasising English usage of the term Counsellor a