Heir to the Cavendish family's dukedom and a Palmerstonian Whig, Hartington was an MP at 24 and a cabinet minister at 34. Elected Liberal leader in the Commons after Gladstone's retirement in 1875, he was undermined by the latter's political comeback and, when offered the premiership after the Liberal victory of 1880, recommended Gladstone instead. He broke with Gladstone over Home Rule in 1886 and, as the leader of the Liberal Unionists, maintained Salisbury's Conservatives in power until 1892. In 1895 Devonshire, as he had become, joined Salisbury in a unionist coalition and served as lord president. In 1904 he resigned from Balfour's government in protest at Joseph Chamberlain's campaign for imperial preference.
Subjects: British History.