Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Gathorne-Hardy, Gathorne

GATHORNE-HARDY, GATHORNE, first Earl of Cranbrook (1814–1906), statesman, born on 1 Oct. 1814 at the Manor House, Bradford, was third son of John Hardy (d. 1855), of Dunstall Hall,' Staffordshire, the chief proprietor of Low Moor ironworks, judge of the duchy of Lancaster court at Pontefract and member of parlia- ment for Bradford, by his wife Isabel, the eldest daughter of Richard Gathorne of Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmoreland. After attending preparatory schools at Bishopton near Studley, at Hammersmith, and at Haslewood near Birmingham, Gathorne was admitted in 1827 to Shrewsbury school, and in January 1833 he entered Oriel College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1836 with a second class in classics, and proceeded M.A. in 1861 in order to vote against Gladstone. On 2 May 1840 Hardy was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, and joined the northern circuit. Shrewd business qualities combined with family interest and Yorkshire clannishness soon attracted clients. He rapidly attained prominence in his profession, and by 1855 he had acquired a complete lead on sessions and at the parliamentary bar. In the same year he applied for silk, but to his disappointment promotion was refused him. His father's death, however, in 1855 left him ample means, and allowed him to devote himself to politics.

Henceforth political interests became all-absorbing. In 1847 Hardy had unsuccessfully contested Bradford in the conservative interest, and in 1856 he entered the House of Commons as conservative member for Leominster, which he continued to represent till 1865. He rapidly won the esteem and confidence of Spencer Walpole [q. v.], and on his recommendation he was appointed under-secretary for the home department on 25 Feb. 1858, in Lord Derby's second administration. Like other members of the tory party, Hardy began by distrusting Benjamin Disraeli, then chancellor of the exchequer and leader of the House of Commons, as 'a shifty and unsafe tactician.' When a circular from the chief whip. Sir William Jolliffe [q. v.], requested closer attention to his parliamentary duties. Hardy impulsively tendered his resignation, which he withdrew on the interposition of Spencer Walpole. He remained in office till the fall of the Derby ministry on 14 June 1859. In opposition Hardy found more scope for initiative and independence. His dashing attacks on John Bright and Lord John Russell contributed to the withdrawal of the abortive reform bill of 1860; and at the end of the session he declined an offer of the post of chief whip. Active in championing the rights and privileges of the Church of England, he helped in 1862 to reject a bill relieving nonconformists from the payment of church rates. Devotion to the established church recommended Hardy to the electors of the University of Oxford when they were bent, in 1865, on opposing Gladstone's re-election. Hardy somewhat reluctantly accepted the nomination of the conservatives. His victory by a majority of 180 on 18 July gave him a foremost place in the affairs of his party.

On the formation of Lord Derby's third administration Hardy was appointed on 2 July 1866 president of the poor law board, and was sworn of the privy council. After an exhaustive inquiry he introduced a poor law amendment bill on 8 Feb. 1867, and carried it through all its stages without any substantial alteration. This measure for the relief of the London poor established a metropolitan asylum for sick and insane paupers, provided separate accommodation for fever and smallpox patients, and gave some relief to poor parishes by a more equitable re-apportionment of the metropolitan poor rate and by charging the salaries of medical officers upon the common fund.

Hardy remained in the cabinet amid the dissensions over the reform bill of 1867, to which, despite misgivings, he gave a full support. Disraeli's personality told upon him and he had become an enthusiastic disciple.

In May 1867, on the resignation of Spencer Walpole after the Hyde Park riots. Hardy accepted the difficult post of home secretary. The liberal opposition compelled him to withdraw a bill declaring it to be illegal to use the parks for the purposes of political discussion. But he faced the Fenian conspiracy with courage. He refused to commute the capital sentence passed on the Fenian murderers at Manchester, although a disorderly mob forced its way into the home office. His life was repeatedly threatened, and warnings which he received compelled him to impose special restrictions on Queen Victoria's movements. The intimate relations which he established with Queen Victoria [q. v. Suppl. I] at this critical period were maintained throughout her reign.

After the resignation of the Disraeli ministry in 1868 Hardy rendered telling service to his party in debate, especially in conflict with Gladstone. His impassioned speech on the second reading of the Irish church disestablishment bill on 25 March 1869 proved a formidable, if 'an uncompromising, defence of laws and institutions as they are' (Morley, Life of Gladstone, 1903, ii. 265). As occasional leader of the opposition in Disraeli's absence he lost few opportunities of provoking collision with the prime minister. The appointment of Sir Robert Collier (afterwards Lord Monkswell) [q. v.] to the judicial committee of the privy council and the Ewelme rectory presentation in 1872 prompted him to scathing criticism, which damaged the government.

On the formation of Disraeli's second administration Hardy was appointed secretary of state for war on 21 Feb. 1874. Soon after assuming office he had a passing difference with his chief on church matters. A moderate although sincere churchman, he opposed on 9 July 1874 the public worship regulation bill, despite the protection given it by Disraeli, and he supported Gladstone in a speech which was. listened to with some disapproval by his own side (Lucy, Diary of the Disraeli Parliament, 1885, p. 34). Hardy remained at the war office more than four years. The army reforms which Viscount Card well [q. v.] had inaugurated were still incomplete, and it fell to his successor to supplement and carry on his work. His regimental exchanges bill, which was passed in 1875, legalised the payment of money by officers to those desirous of exchanging regiments with them, and was denounced by the opposition as restoring the purchase system under another name. In the debates on the Eastern question (1876-8) Hardy took a prominent part, cordially supporting Disraeli's philo-Turkish policy, and busily occupying himself during 1878 in making preparations for the despatch of an expeditionary force to the Mediterranean in the event of war. In the debate on 4 Feb. 1878, when Gladstone urged the House of Commons to reject the vote of credit of 6,000,000l. which was demanded by the government. Hardy impressively denounced Gladstone's active agitation in the country {ibid. p. 385).

When Disraeli was forced by ill-health to leave the House of Commons in August 1876 Hardy expected to fill the place of leader, and he was disappointed by the selection of Sir Stafford Northcote [q. v.], but his strong instinct of party loyalty led him quickly to resign himself to the situation.

In the rearrangement of the cabinet which followed the resignation of the foreign minister, Edward Henry Stanley, fifteenth earl of Derby [q. v.], in March 1878, Hardy became secretary for India in succession to Lord Salisbury, who went to the foreign office. Reluctance to come into competition with Sir Stafford Northcote, the new leader of the House of Commons, mainly accounted for Hardy's retirement to the House of Lords on 11 May 1878, when he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Cranbrook of Hemstcd. He took his title from his country seat in Kent, and at the desire of his family he assumed the additional surname of Gathorne.

Lord Cranbrook's first official duty at the India office was to sanction the Vernacular Press Act of 1878, which empowered the government to silence Indian newspapers that promoted disaffection, but he struck out the clause exempting from the act editors who submitted their articles to an official censor. He expressed doubt of the general principle of the act, declaring that the vernacular press was a valuable and one of the few available means of ascertaining facts of the Indian people's social condition and political sentiment (Paul, History of Modern England, 1905, iv. 78). His relations with the viceroy. Lord Lytton, were invariably cordial. When Lytton exercised his prerogative of overruling his council on the question of reducing the cotton duties, Cranbrook in the council at home confirmed Lytton's action by his casting vote (East India Cotton Duties, White Paper, 1879). Lord Cranbrook fully shared the viceroy's apprehensions of Russian expansion in central Asia, and supported Lytton's forward policy on the north-west frontier, which aimed at restoring British influence in Afghanistan. When Ameer Shere Ali refused to receive the British envoy, he was at one with Beaconsfield in regarding war as inevitable. In a powerful despatch dated 18 Nov. 1878 he justified the coercion of the Ameer, assigning the responsibility for Shere All's estrangement to the action of Gladstone's government in 1873 (H. B. Hanna, The Seccmd Afghan War, 1899, ii. 135). On 5 Dec. 1878 he reaffirmed this conviction in the House of Lords, despite the attacks of Lord Northbrook [q. v. Suppl. II] and other liberals (Hansard, 3 S. ccxliii. 40). After the conclusion of the peace of Gandamak on 26 May 1879 Lord Cranbrook enthusiastically supported the appointment of a British resident to Cabul. But the murder of the resident. Sir Louis Cavagnari [q. v.], on 3 Sept. 1879 reopened the war. As soon as Lord Roberts' victories had once more restored Anglo-Indian supremacy he approved of Lytton's scheme for the separation of Kandahar from Kabul as the best means of counteracting Russian influence. But the practical difficulties of a partition proved stronger than he realised, for Abdurrahman, the new ameer, claimed the whole territory of his predecessor. The situation was still precarious when the ministers resigned on 22 April 1880.

After the fall of the Beaconsfield government Lord Cranbrook confined himself in opposition to occasional criticism of the government in the House of Lords. As an advocate of ecclesiastical reform on conservative lines he sat on the royal commission on cathedral churches from 1879 to 1885. His colleagues continued to place unbounded confidence in his integrity and shrewd judgment, but he played a less prominent part in public affairs. With Lord Salisbury he was in complete sympathy and on terms of close friendship. For Lord Randolph Churchill [q. v. Suppl. I] and the forward wing of the conservative party he had small regard. On 25 June 1885 he joined the conservative 'government of caretakers' as lord president of the council, a post which he again held in Lord Salisbury's second administration from 1886 to 1892. Owing to his inability to speak foreign languages he declined the foreign secretaryship in 1886, and likewise had the refusal of the Irish yiceroyalty. As lord president of the council Cranbrook was mainly concerned with education. His churchmanship made him anxious to protect the voluntary schools. He cherished doubts of the prudence of the education bill of 1891, which established free education in elementary schools, but as a government measure he felt bound to give it official support.

Lord Cranbrook resigned with Lord Salisbury's ministry on 12 August 1892, and was created earl of Cranbrook on 22 August. After Gladstone was again in power Cranbrook denounced with unusual vigour and fluency the government's home rule bill in the second reading debate in the House of Lords on 7 Sept. 1893, when the government was heavily defeated ; in 1886 and again in 1895 he refused the offer of the chairmanship of the house of laymen in convocation. After the general election of 1895 he retired from public life. He retained his clearness of mind to the end. He died at Hemsted Park on 30 Oct. 1906, and was buried at Benenden, Kent. Lord Cranbrook, who was elected to the Literary Society in 1860, was the recipient of many honours. In 1865 Oxford conferred on him the hon. degree of D.C.L. In 1868 he was made a bencher of the Inner Temple ; and in 1880, on his resignation of the India office, he became G.C.S.I. In 1892 he received the hon. degree of LL.D. from Cambridge, and in 1894 he was elected an hon. fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. A good portrait, painted by Frank Holl [q. v.], belongs to the family: a copy was presented to the Carlton Club by his eldest son. A drawing, made by George Richmond [q. v.] in 1857, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. A caricature appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1872.

Cranbrook was a competent and strenuous administrator, an admirable 'House of Commons man,' a good debater and platform speaker. His speeches were straightforward, dashing party attacks ; they excited the enthusiasm of his own side but reached no high intellectual level. Although combative by nature, he bore his political opponents no illwill. He had plenty of ambition, but was capable of suppressing it at the call of party and public interests. He was an ardent sportsman and a man of varied culture. Although he held strong views in church matters, he was free from prejudice. He disliked the opposition to the appointment of Frederick Temple [q. v. Suppl. II] to the bishopric of Exeter in 1869, and disapproved the attempt of the clerical party to oust Dean Stanley [q. v.] from the select preachership at Oxford in 1872. He regarded a broad and reasonable churchmanship as the foundation of conservatism.

Hardy married on 29 March 1838 Jane, third daughter of James Orr of Ballygowan and afterwards of Hollywood House, co. Down, She was made a Lady of the imperial order of the crown of India in 1878, and died on 13 Nov. 1897. By her he had issue four sons and five daughters, of whom one son and two daughters predeceased him. His eldest son, John Stewart, second earl (b. 1839), died on 13 July 1911, and was succeeded in the title by his eldest son, Gathorne, third earl of Cranbrook.

The third son, Alfred Erskine (b. 1845), M.P. for Canterbury from 1878 to 1880 and for East Grinstead from 1886 to 1895, became a railway commissioner in 1905 and published a memoir of his father in 1910.

[A. E. Gathorne Hardy, Gathorne Hardy, 1st Earl of Cranbrook, a memoir, 1910; The Times, 31 Oct., 5 Nov. 1906, and Lit. Suppl. 24 March 1910; Athenæum and Spectator, 9 April 1910; Saturday Review, 19 March 1910; Paul, History of Modern England, 1905, vols. iii. and iv.; Clayden, England under Lord Beaconsfield, 1880; Lucy, Diary of the Home Rule Parliament, 1896; Lady Betty Balfour, Lord Lytton's Indian Administration, 1899; Sir John Mowbray, Seventy Years at Westminster, 1900; Annual Register, 1860–80; Grant Duff, Notes from a Diary.]

G. S. W.