Derby, 14th Earl of (17971869)

Derby, 14th Earl of, British statesman, born at Knowsley Hall, Lancashire; entered Parliament in 1820 in the Whig interest, and was hailed as an accession to their ranks by the Whigs; supported the cause of reform; in 1830 became Chief Secretary for Ireland under Earl Grey's administration; introduced a coercive measure against the Repeal agitation of O'Connell; contributed to the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832; seceded from the Whigs in 1834, and became Colonial Secretary in 1845 under a Conservative administration, but when Sir Robert Peel brought in a bill to repeal the Corn Laws, he retired from the Cabinet, and in 1848 became the head of the Protectionist party as Earl of Derby, to which title he succeeded in 1851; was after that Prime Minister three times over, and it was with his sanction Disraeli carried his Reform Act of 1867, though he spoke of it as “a leap in the dark”; he resigned his Premiership in 1868, and the last speech he made was against the Irish Disestablishment Bill; was distinguished for his scholarship as well as his oratory, and gave proof of this by his scholarly translation of the “Iliad” of Homer (17971869).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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