Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/228

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Law
Law
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bury, whom in 1828 he successfully recommended to the Duke of Wellington for the bishopric of Chester (cf. Lane-Poole, Life of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, i. 25). After leaving college he made a tour in Sicily, and was ambitious of a military career, but by his father's desire he entered parliament as member for St. Michael's, Cornwall, in the tory interest in 1813, and gratified his military passion by specially devoting himself to army questions. As the best means of obtaining political influence appeared to him to be oratory, he assiduously cultivated his strong natural gifts of rhetoric. While supporting the tory administration he reserved, however, his independence on the catholic question.

In 1813 he married Lady Octavia Stewart, and was thus brought into close relations with her brother, Lord Castlereagh, visited him at Vienna during the congress, and became familiar with foreign affairs. Castlereagh offered him a post on the commission for carrying into effect the transfer of Genoa to Sardinia, but Law, whose sympathies were with Genoese independence then and with Italian unity in 1860, declined the offer, and in debates both on the treaty of Vienna and on the Six Acts he criticised with some freedom the proposals of the government. At the end of 1818 he succeeded his father in the peerage, and after Canning's appointment as foreign secretary he spoke not unfrequently in opposition, actively attacked the ministerial policy with regard to the French intervention in Spain in 1823, and complained of the slight to Spain, England's old ally, which he thought was implied in Canning's recognition of the new South American republics. On 24 April 1823 he even proposed an address of censure upon the ministry for its policy in regard to the congress of Verona and the negotiations at Paris and Madrid. When Lord Liverpool resigned early in 1827, Ellenborough openly avowed his hostility to Canning's administration, and, inclining to a junction with Grey, endeavoured to induce him to join the Duke of Wellington. In the Wellington administration of 1828 he accepted the office of lord privy seal, which, as he was anxious for work and responsibility, soon became irksome to him. He desired promotion to a higher post, but he had opposed the third reading of the King's Property Bill in 1823, and had consequently become personally obnoxious to the king. The foreign office was his especial ambition; he piqued himself on his capacity for business, diligently studied foreign affairs, and took a considerable share in the business of the foreign office, partly as a personal friend of the foreign secretary, Lord Dudley, partly as an unofficial assistant of the Duke of Wellington, who highly esteemed him for his talents and was generously tolerant of his failings. Accordingly he was bitterly disappointed when, in May 1828, Dudley was succeeded by Aberdeen. He drew up his resignation, but withheld it out of loyalty to the duke, then in great difficulties. His sympathies were strongly with Turkey in the dispute with Russia which culminated in the war of 1828 (cf. Correspondence of Earl Grey and Madame de Lieven, i. 101); he pressed for the despatch of the English fleet to the Bosphorus, and in office would probably have carried matters with a high hand against Russia. His general position in the cabinet had been that of an anti-Canningite, and he was in particular a personal opponent of Huskisson. Although favourable to free trade, so far as it seemed compatible with political necessities, he was anxious to see the cabinet cleared of Huskisson and his friends—the 'Canning leaven,' as he called them. Yet, in spite of this antipathy, he disappointed the expectations of the whigs by proving himself a tractable member of the government, and a useful debater in the House of Lords; and at length on 5 Sept. was transferred to the presidency of the board of control, where he found an ample field for his energies, and began his connection with Indian affairs. His administration was energetic, and he was popular with the permanent officials. The question of the revision of the East India Company's charter was approaching. He was strongly against any continuation of the monopoly of the China trade, and viewing India not as a commercial speculation, but as an administrative trust, he complained of the slowness of the company's mode of doing business, and the difficulty of getting the directors to realise that they were in truth the rulers of a state. Already he was for transferring the government of India directly to the crown. Apprehensive of the tendency of Russian policy, he was impressed with the general ignorance of the geography of Central Asia, a deficiency which might prove disastrous in the event of a Russian march towards India. His policy was to meet such an advance by a counter advance. He was also already eager to open up the Indus as a highway of commerce, to which it was then closed by the ameers of Scinde. Accordingly he despatched Alexander Burnes [q.v.] on a mission to Lahore, nominally to convey a present of English horses to Runjeet Singh, in fact to explore the Indus, and subsequently the passes of Cabul and the countries of Central Asia. Negotiations were entered into with the ameers for the opening of the Indus to trade, and although