Forster, William Edward (18191886)

Forster, William Edward, statesman, born at Bradpole, Dorset, son of a Quaker; entered upon a commercial career in a worsted manufactory at Bradford, but from the first politics engaged his paramount attention, and in 1861 he became member of Parliament for Bradford; became in succession Under-Secretary for the Colonies, Vice-president of the Council of Education, and a Privy Councillor; his chief legislative measure was the Elementary Education Bill of 1870, which, as a member of Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet, he carried through Parliament, two years after which the Ballot Act was introduced by him; in 1874 he visited the United States, and on his return was elected Lord Rector of Aberdeen University; as Irish Secretary in 1880 he made an earnest effort to grapple with the Irish problem, but losing the support of his colleagues, over the imprisonment of Mr. Parnell and other Land League leaders, he resigned; he was married to Jane, eldest daughter of Dr. Arnold of Rugby; his transparent honesty and rugged independence of character won him universal esteem (18191886).

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

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