Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury

Marquess of Salisbury
Terms of Office:July, 1885 - February, 1886
August, 1886 - August, 1892
June, 1895 - July, 1902
PM Predecessors:William Gladstone
Lord Rosebery
PM Successors:William Gladstone
Lord Rosebery
Arthur James Balfour
Date of Birth:3 February 1830
Place of Birth:Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Political Party:Conservative

Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Earl of Salisbury, Viscount Cranborne, Baron Cecil of Essendon. Also known as Lord Robert Cecil (before 1865), and Viscount Cranborne (1865-1868). British statesman and Prime Minister.

Lord Robert Cecil was the second son of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury. After an unhappy childhood, in which he studied at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, he went into politics, entering the House of Commons as a Conservative in 1853.

In 1857, Cecil married Georgina Alderson, a woman of low social standing, in spite of his father's objections. The marriage proved a happy one, producing five sons and two daughters. In 1866 Cecil, now called Viscount Cranborne (due to the death of his older brother), entered the third government of Lord Derby as Secretary of State for India, but resigned the next year over the Reform Bill, which he opposed.

In 1868, on the death of his father, the new Marquess of Salisbury was raised to the House of Lords.

He returned to government again in 1874, serving once again as India Secretary in the government of Benjamin Disraeli. Gradually, Salisbury developed a good relationship with Disraeli, whom he had previously disliked and distrusted, at least partially due to the latter's Jewish origins. In 1878, Salisbury succeeded Lord Derby (son of the Prime Minister) as Foreign Secretary, in time to help lead Britain to "peace with honor" at the Congress of Berlin. For this he was rewarded with the Order of the Garter.

Following Disraeli's death in 1881, the Conservatives entered a period of turmoil. Salisbury became the leader of the Conservative members of the House of Lords though the overall leadership of the party was not formally allocated and so he struggled with the Commons leader Sir Stafford Northcote, a struggle in which Salisbury eventually emerged as the leading figureto become Prime Minister of a minority administration from 1885 to 1886. Although he was unable to accomplish much in this administration, due to his tenuous command over the Commons, the split of the Liberals over Irish Home Rule in 1886 enabled him to return to power with a parliamentary majority, and, with a short break (1892-1895) to serve as Prime Minister throughout the period from 1886 to 1902.

Salisbury's expertise was in foreign affairs, and uncharacteristically, for most of his time as Prime Minister he served not as First Lord of the Treasury, the traditional position held by the Prime Minister, but as Foreign Secretary. In that capacity, he skillfully managed Britain's foreign affairs, famously pursuing a policy of "Glorious Isolation," while at home he staunchly opposed Irish Home Rule. Among the important events of his premierships was the Partition of Africa, culminating in the Fashoda Crisis and the Boer War.

In 1902, Salisbury resigned from office, being succeeded by his nephew, Arthur James Balfour. He was the last peer to serve as Prime Minister.

Table of contents
1 Lord Salisbury's First Government, July 1885 - February 1886
2 Lord Salisbury's Second Government, August 1886 - August 1892
3 Lord Salisbury's Third Government, June 1895 - July 1902

Lord Salisbury's First Government, July 1885 - February 1886

Changes

Lord Salisbury's Second Government, August 1886 - August 1892

Changes
  • January, 1887 - Lord Salisbury succeeds Lord Iddesleigh as Foreign Secretary. William Henry Smith succeeds Salisbury as First Lord of the Treasury. Edward Stanhope succeeds Smith as Secretary for War. Sir Henry Holland (from 1888 Lord Knutsford) succeeds Smith as Colonial Secretary. George Joachim Goschen succeeds Lord Randolph Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Arthur Balfour succeeds Sir Michael Hicks Beach as Irish Secretary. His successor as Scottish Secretary is not in the Cabinet. Hicks Beach becomes a minister without portfolio. Charles Thomson Ritchie enters the Cabinet as President of the Local Government Board.
  • February 1888 - Sir Michael Hicks Beach succeeds Lord Stanley of Preston as President of the Board of Trade
  • 1889 - Henry Chaplin enters the Cabinet as President of the Board of Agriculture.
  • October, 1891 - Arthur James Balfour succeeds William Henry Smith as First Lord of the Treasury. William Lawies Jackson succeeds him as Irish Secretary.

Lord Salisbury's Third Government, June 1895 - July 1902

Changes November, 1900 - Complete reorganization of the ministry:
Preceded by:
William Gladstone
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
First term (1885-86)
Followed by:
William Gladstone

Preceded by:
William Gladstone
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Second term (1886-92)
Followed by:
William Gladstone
Preceded by:
Lord Rosebery
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Third term (1895-1902)
Followed by:
Arthur James Balfour
Preceded by:
James Gascoyne-Cecil
Marquess of Salisbury Followed by:
James Gascoyne-Cecil

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