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Palmerston

Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Viscount (an Irish peer), was born at Romsey, Hants, in 1784. Educated at Harrow, he succeeded to the title at the age of eighteen, and, after twice unsuccessfully contesting the university of Cambridge, finally obtained, in 1807, a seat for Newport, Isle of Wight. He at once became a Junior Lord of the Treasury in the Tory Ministry of the Duke of Portland, and two years later was appointed Secretary-at-War, retaining this post till Canning's death in 1827, though he never entered the Cabinet until just before that event. After clinging for a few months to Lord Goderich and the Duke of Wellington, he finally went into Opposition along with Huskisson. He now felt himself more closely drawn to the Liberals than to the Conservatives, and in 1830 took charge of the Foreign Office under Lord Grey. One of his earliest strokes of policy was the creation of the kingdom of Belgium, with Leopold of Coburg at its head. He next used his best endeavours to suppress the Carlists in Spain, and he vigorously supported Turkey against Russian aggression. He resumed office in 1835, and during the next six years brought about the combination of the other Powers against France, and the frustration of Mehemet Ali's schemes in Egypt. From 1841 to 1846 he was once more in Opposition. With some reluctance, he was admitted to his old position in Lord John Russell's Administration, when he supported the premature risings in Italy and Hungary; but in 1851 his irresponsible approval of the coup d'etat compelled his retirement from office, and he never resumed his control over foreign relations. In 1853 he accepted the Home Office, and on Lord Aberdeen's resignation undertook to form a Ministry. From 1855 to his death, in 1865, he was at the head of affairs, except during a few months of 1858-59, when his complaisance to Napoleon III. as regards Orsini's conspiracy rendered him unpopular. He died almost suddenly in October, 1865. Lady Palmerston, to whom so much of his success was due, survived her husband four years.