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4th earl of Carnarvon, Henry Molyneux Herbert

(1831—1890) politician


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(1831–90). Inheriting the earldom between Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Carnarvon became a leading advocate of colonial federation, both amongst colonies and between them and the mother country. Colonial secretary under Derby and Disraeli, he federated the Canadian provinces into a self-governing dominion by the British North America Act (1867) but his similar attempt in southern Africa, including the Boer Transvaal, came to grief. Carnarvon, distrustful of democracy, had been one of the cabinet to resign over the Conservatives' Reform Bill in 1867. In 1878, insistent on British neutrality and, as a high churchman sympathetic to Orthodox Christians, he resigned over Disraeli's policy on the Eastern Question. Lord-lieutenant of Ireland under Salisbury in 1885, he pursued a policy of conciliation and held secret talks with the nationalist leader Parnell, who later claimed Home Rule had been discussed. Carnarvon resigned (again) as his policy crumbled, though he opposed Gladstone's Irish Home Rule initiative.

From The Oxford Companion to British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.


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