Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Ryder, Dudley Francis Stuart

RYDER, DUDLEY FRANCIS STUART, third Earl of Harrowby (1831–1900), second son and eventual heir of Dudley Ryder, second earl of Harrowby [q. v.], by Lady Frances Stuart, fourth daughter of John, first marquis of Bute, was born at Brighton on 16 Jan. 1831. He was educated at Harrow and ths university of Oxford, where he matriculated from Christ Church on 31 May 1849, graduated B.A. in 1853, and proceeded M.A. in 1878. On leaving the university, Viscount Sandon, as he was styled during his father's lifetime, made a tour in the East with Lord Carnarvon, visiting Syria and the Lebanon (see Carnavon's Recollections of the Druses of the Lebanon, London, 1860, 8vo). On his return to England he did garrison duty as captain in the 2nd Staffordshire militia regiment during the Crimean war and Indian mutiny. He entered parliament in 1856, being returned (30 May) for Lichfield as a supporter of Lord Palmerston, and gained experience of affairs as private secretary to Henry Labouchere (afterwards Lord Taunton) [q. v.] at the colonial office. Defeated at the general election of April 1859, he remained without a seat until 1868, when he was returned (19 Nov.) as third member for Liverpool, which constituency he continued to represent until his accession to the peerage on the death of his father (19 Nov. 1882). He was a member of the select committees on the Hudson's Bay Company (1857) and the Euphrates Valley (1871-2), and continued throughout life to devote much time and attention to the study of imperial and colonial questions. It is, however, by his labours in the cause of national education that he is most likely to be remembered. To W. E. Forster's measure he gave from the first a hearty support. He was a member of the first London school board, and took an active part in its work, both as chairman of the statistical committee and as a firm though moderate supporter of voluntary schools and religious instruction. On the return of his party to power in 1874 he was sworn (2 March) of the privy council, and appointed vice-president of the committee of council on education. In his official capacity he was largely responsible for the Education Act of 1876 and the revised codes. On 4 April 1878 he was transferred to the presidency of the board of trade, which he retained with a seat in the cabinet until the fall of the administration (April 1880). He was lord privy seal in Lord Salisbury's short administration (June 1885-February 1886), and served on the royal commission appointed on 15 Jan. 1886 to inquire into the working of the Education Acts. An earnest though moderate churchman, he was credited with a voice in the distribution of ecclesiastical patronage during the Beaconsfield administration, and in 1886 became president of the British and Foregn Bible Society, and representative for the diocese of Lichfield in the laymen's house of convocation. He was elected member and chairman of the Staffordshire county council in 1888. His health was hardly equal to the strain of public life, and in his later years he was almost a chronic invalid. He died at Sandon Hall, Staffordshire, on 26 March 1900, leaving no issue by his wife, Lady Mary Frances Cecil (married 3 Oct. 1861), eldest daughter of Brownlow, second marquis of Exeter. He was succeeded in title and estate by his only brother, Henry Dudley, fourth earl of Harrowby, who died at Algiers on 11 Dec. 1900 (Times, 13 Dec.)

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Burke's Peerage, 1899; Members of Parliament (official lists); Hansard's Parl. Debates. 3rd ser. cxciv. to 4th ser. lxvi.; Parl. Papers (H. C.), 1857 c. 224. 260, 1872 c. 322; Reid's Life of W. E. Forster; Dale's Life of E. W. Dale; Benson's Life of Archbishop Benson, ii. 664; Davidson and Benham's Life of Archbishop Tait, ii. 105; British and Foreign Bible Society's Reports, 1886-99; Men and Women of the Time (1895); Haydn's Book of Dignities, ed. Ockerby.]

J. M. R.