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