Cavendish, Frederick Charles (DNB00)

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CAVENDISH, Lord FREDERICK CHARLES (1836–1882), chief secretary for Ireland, was second son of William Cavendish, seventh duke of Devonshire, by his marriage, 6 Aug. 1829, with Blanche Georgiana Howard, fourth daughter of George, sixth earl of Carlisle. He was born at Compton Place, Eastbourne, on 30 Nov. 1836, and after being educated at home, matriculated in 1855 from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1858, and then served as a cornet in the Duke of Lancaster's own yeomanry cavalry. From 1859 to 1864 he was private secretary to Lord Granville. He travelled in the United States in 1859–60, and in Spain in 1860. He entered parliament as a liberal for the northern division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 15 July 1865, and retained that seat until his death. After serving as private secretary to the prime minister, Mr. Gladstone, from July 1872 to August 1873 he became a junior lord of the treasury, and held office until the resignation of the ministry. He performed the duties of financial secretary to the treasury from April 1880 to May 1882, when on the resignation of Mr. W. E. Forster, chief secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, he was appointed to succeed him. In company with Earl Spencer, lord-lieutenant, he proceeded to Dublin, and took the oath as chief secretary at the Castle, Dublin, on 6 May 1882; but on the afternoon of the same day, while walking in the Phœnix Park in company with Thomas Henry Burke [q. v.], the under-secretary, he was attacked from behind by several men, who with knives murdered Mr. Burke and himself. His body being brought to England, was buried in Edensor churchyard, near Chatsworth, on 11 May, when three hundred members of the House of Commons and thirty thousand other persons followed the remains to the grave. The trial of the murderers in 1883 [see Carey, James] made it evident that the death of Cavendish was not premeditated, and that he was not recognised by the assassins; the plot was laid against Mr. Burke, and the former was murdered because he happened to be in the company of a person who had been marked out for destruction. A window to Cavendish's memory was placed in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, at the cost of the members of the House of Commons. He was known as an industrious administrator, who seldom spoke in the house except upon subjects of which he had official cognisance or special experience, but he took an interest in educational questions, and on every side was highly esteemed for his urbanity and devotion to business. He married, on 7 June 1864, Lucy Caroline, second daughter of George William Lyttelton, fourth baron Lyttelton, and maid of honour to the queen.

[Graphic, 13 May 1882, with portrait, and 20 May; Illustrated London News, 10 Feb. 1866, with portrait, 13 May 1882, with portrait, and 20 May; Annual Register for 1882 and 1883; Cornelius Brown's Life of Earl of Beaconsfield (1882), ii. 237, with portrait; Yorkshire Notes and Queries, 1886, with portrait.]

G. C. B.