Northcote, Stafford Henry (DNB00)
|←Northcote, John||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 41
Northcote, Stafford Henry
NORTHCOTE, STAFFORD HENRY, first Earl of Iddesleigh (1818-1887), born at 23 Portland Place, London, on 27 Oct. 1818, was the eldest son of Henry Stafford Northcote (1792-1851), the eldest son of Sir Stafford Henry Northcote (1792-1851), seventh baronet, of The Pynes, Upton Pyne, Exeter, a descendant of Sir John Northcote [q. v.] His mother, Agnes Mary, only daughter of Thomas Cockburn of the East India Company's service and Bedford Hill, Surrey, died 9 April 1840. As a child he displayed great quickness, and at the age of six wrote a romance for his brother and sister. From 1826 to 1831 he was a pupil of the Rev. Mr. Roberts, whose school at Mitcham was afterwards removed to Brighton. In April 1831 he went to Eton, to the house of the Rev. Edward Coleridge. There he was somewhat idle, and, according to his tutor, `had a disposition too inclined to sacrifice itself to the solicitations of others,' until a strong remonstrance produced steadiness of purpose. An indifferent cricketer, but a good oarsman, he rowed bow in the Eton eight in 1835. On 3 March 1836 he matriculated from Balliol College, Oxford, having been an unsuccessful candidate for a scholarship, and went into residence at Michaelmas, the interval being spent with a tutor named Shirley, at Shirley vicarage, Derby. At the end of November he was elected to a scholarship, being second to Arthur Hugh Clough [q.v.] `Northcote read and rowed in the college eight, and lived chiefly with Eton men' (Lang, Life, i. 27). Though sincerely religious, he remained untouched by the Oxford movement, but he was considerably influenced by his mother's leanings to Irvingism [see Irving, Edward]. He graduated B.A. on 21 Nov. 1839, with a first class in classics and a third in mathematics, proceeded M.A. in 1840, and was created D.C.L. on 17 June 1863. A year later he was an unsuccessful competitor against Arthur Penrhyn Stanley [q.v.] for the English essay, and decided not to try for a fellowship.
Northcote read for the bar, with chambers at 58 Lincoln's Inn Fields, and was called at the Inner Temple in 1840; but on 30 June 1842 he became, on the recommendation of Edward Coleridge, private secretary to Mr. Gladstone, then vice-president of the board of trade. Though his political opinions were still unsettled, he was of great assistance to that statesman in the Oxford elections of 1847, 1852, and 1853. At the request of Mr. Gladstone's committee he published (1853) a pamphlet entitled `A Statement connected with the Election of the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone as Member for the University of Oxford in 1847, with. his Re-elections in 1852 and 1853.' After Mr. Gladstone's resignation on the Maynooth grant, Northcote, while still acting as his private secretary, continued at the board of trade as legal assistant (February 1845-August 1850), but he was not called to the bar until 19 Nov. 1847. In 1849 he published a pamphlet entitled `A Short Review of the Navigation Laws from the earliest Times. By a Barrister.' It is a lucid summary, and the work of a convinced free-trader. On 3 Jan. 1850 he was appointed one of the secretaries of the Great Exhibition, and when, on the deaths of his father and grandfather (22 Feb. and 17 March 1851), he succeeded to the baronetcy, he was dissuaded from resigning his post by Prince Albert, who thought highly of him. Over-application, however, affected his heart; and the doctors ordered a rest after he had been created a C.B. (17 Oct. 1851).
His health restored, Northcote had thoughts of standing for Totnes, Taunton, and Exeter, but the negotiations fell through, though he issued an address to the last constituency in May 1852. Though `rather a stiff conservative,' he accepted Mr. Gladstone's proposal (December 1852) that he should serve with Sir Charles Trevelyan [q.v.] and J. Booth on a commission for reorganising the board of trade (Report, dated 20 March 1853, in Parl. Papers, 1853, xxviii. 161). In conjunction with Sir C. Trevelyan he also drew up a report (dated 23 Nov. 1853, Parl. Papers, 1854, xxvii. 1) on the permanent civil service. Its recommendations, which have been embodied in subsequent legislation, were 'the establishment of a proper system of examination' by a central board `before appointment;' the principle that`promotion and future prospects should depend entirely upon good conduct,' and `the introduction of the elements of unity into the service.' Of kindred purpose was his paper contributed to the publication of the Oxford Tutors' Association entitled `Suggestions under which University Education may be made available for Clerks in Government Offices, for Barristers, for Solicitors' (1854).
In December 1853 Northcote was taking lessons in elocution from Wigan the actor, and on 9 March 1855 he was returned for Dudley, a seat practically owned by Lord Ward, a staunch Peelite. His maiden speech, on the transport service, was delivered 23 March. `I was very well received,' he wrote, `especially considering that there were very few of my particular friends in the house, and that the subject of civil service reform, and particularly of the competition system, is exceedingly unpopular.' In the following session he spoke on civil service superannuation, but his chief effort was the conduct of a useful Reformatory and Industrial Schools Bill through its various stages. Already (April 1855) he had established a reformatory school for boys, under the act of 1854, at Brampford Wood, near Pynes, on the model of narwick Baker's farm school in Gloucestershire, and he read a paper at the first meeting of the Reformatory Union, held at Bristol (August 1856), `On Previous Imprisonment of Children sentenced to Reformatories.' When Palmerston's government was defeated (3 March 1857), Northcote voted with the opposition, much to Lord Ward's annoyance. He determined therefore to sever his connection with Dudley and stand for North Devon, but was defeated (6 April) after a very expensive contest.
For purposes of economy, Northcote went with his family to France, but on 17 July 1858 he was returned for Stamford, having contested the seat on Disraeli's suggestion. Again returned (29 April) at the general election, together with Lord Robert Cecil, the present marquis of Salisbury, he became in the following session a recognised opposition speaker. Thus on 21 Feb. 1860 he criticised the commercial treaty with France, and on 8 May moved an amendment, which missed success by nine votes only (210 to 219), to Mr. Gladstone's motion for the repeal of the paper duties. Another speech, delivered 2 May 1861, on the relative claims of paper on the one hand, and tea and sugar on the other, to be imported duty free, was considered by Disraeli `one of the finest he ever heard,' though the government secured a majority of eighteen. Soon afterwards he began his treatise, `Twenty Years of Financial Policy,' of which the dedication to Edward Coleridge is dated July 1862. The work, which was praised by Mr. Gladstone, is an admirable summary, though its conclusions are somewhat negative. Northcote was now greatly in Disraeli's confidence, and wrote him numerous letters on public affairs, particularly finance and the defences (for his speeches see Hansard, 17 March, 8 May, and 23 June 1862). Appointed a member of the Public schools commission (18 July 1862), he spoke on the report (Parl. Papers, 1864, vol. XX., Evidence, vol. xxi.) on 6 May 1864, arguing that parliament could not deal with studies or management, but could touch endowments, the constitution of governing bodies, and the removal of restrictions. In the same year he served on the school of art select committee (Report, Parl. Papers, 1864, vol. xii.), and on 20 Dec. 1865 was gazetted a member of the endowed schools commission (Report, Parl. Papers, 1867-8, vol. xxviii.)
At the general election of 1865 Northcote thought of standing for Oxford University, but was debarred by Mr. Gladstone's candidature, and Stamford again elected him without opposition (11 July). On the formation of the third Derby government he became president of the board of trade, with a seat in the cabinet (1 July 1866), Disraeli having made the latter position a condition of his own assumption of office. He delivered a tactful speech at Liverpool (30 Aug.), to celebrate the Great Eastern's departure with the Atlantic cable on board. Next year he sided with Disraeli on the question of reform. When Lord Cranborne, the present marquis of Salisbury, resigned, Northcote took his place (2 March) as secretary for India. He was in agreement with Lord Lawrence [q.v.] on the non-intervention in Afghanistan, but strongly and successfully opposed the annexation of Mysore. He advocated, however, in opposition to the viceroy, a large measure of financial decentralisation, and the creation of a separate government for Bengal, which was eventually carried out by Lord Mayo. He also desired a more systematic employment of natives in the public service (Lang, Life, vol. i. ch. ix.; R. Bosworth Smith, Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii. ch. x.; Speech on the Government of India Amendment Bill—ultimately withdrawn—23 April 1868; and on the Indian Budget 12 Aug. 1868). Northcote advocated the Abyssinian expedition (speech of 27 Nov. 1867), even when some of his colleagues wavered; but his argument addressed to Lawrence, that India ought to pay for her contingent, was not convincing. On the capture of Magdala, he was warmly praised by Mr. Gladstone for his conduct of affairs (2 July 1868). Later on, however, he was challenged (8 June 1869) for the excess of the costs over the original estimate, some 3,300,000l.; but Mr. Candlish's select committee, though containing a majority hostile to Northcote, negatived the conclusions of its chairman without a division. Before leaving office (December 1868), Northcote, though by no means rich, gave 1,000l. to hospitals and other institutions in India.
Meanwhile Northcote, having resigned his seat at Stamford, had been returned at a by-election for North Devon (9 May 1866). Again successful at the general election of 1868 (21 Nov.), he was returned unopposed on 5 Feb. 1874, and 5 April 1880 with Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, a liberal colleague. In 1869 he went on a yachting cruise with Sir George Stucley, and was present at the opening of the Suez Canal (17 Nov.) Elected chairman of the Hudson's Bay Company in January 1869, he was its governor from March 1869 to March 1874. On 24 March 1869 he persuaded the company to accept 300,000l. in return for the transfer of Prince Rupert's Land to the Canadian government. As difficulties existed between the home government, Canada, and the company, Northcote undertook to collect information, and left England on 6 April 1870. He started home again on 28 May, having visited New York, and ' gained a clear idea of American hostility, Fenian intentions, and the general medley of the situation' (Life, i. 338). His private opinions were that the British government had behaved shabbily in the matter of compensation for the half-breeds' raids, and supinely in not sending a lieutenant-governor to occupy the Red River district, and so averting the necessity of Colonel (now Viscount) Wolseley's expedition. In June 1871 he delivered an important speech to the company on the reorganisation of the fur trade.
On 13 Feb. 1871 Northcote joined the high commission which had been despatched to arrange various matters of dispute between Great Britain and the United States. His colleagues were Earl de Grey (the present Marquis of Ripon), Lord Tenterden, our ambassador (Sir E. Thornton), Montague Bernard [q. v.], and the Canadian commissioner, Sir John Alexander Macdonald [q. v.] The questions at issue were the Alabama and other claims arising from the American war, the Canadian fisheries, the San Juan boundary, and other international complications. Northcote's separate action cannot be traced in the official protocols (Parl. Papers, 1872, vol. xliii.), but it may be gathered that he wished to break up the conference on the San Juan dispute (Life, ii. 15). The treaty of Washington was signed, however, on 8 May 1871, and Northcote wrote to Disraeli that the settlement was `a fair and just one, giving no triumph to either party, containing nothing dishonourable to either, and having the merit of laying down principles which may be useful in the future.' He afterwards maintained, both in a speech at Exeter, 19 May, and in a letter to Lord Derby, 5 June 1872, that the American commissioners promised to abandon the indirect claims, and the language of protocol xxxvi fairly bears out his interpretation. On 6 Feb. 1873 he warmly defended the British commissioners from the charge of having thrown over the Canadians. On his return to England Northcote was gazetted (14 Jan. 1871) president of the commission appointed to inquire into the working of the friendly societies. According to his domestic letters, they discovered `lots of jobs,' and showed 'the rascality of a lot of scamps,' and the reports bear out the assertions (Parl. Papers, 1871 vol. xx., 1872 vol. xxvi., 1873 vol. xxii., and 1874 (with index) vol. xxiii.)
In Disraeli's ministry of 1874 Northcote, on 18 Feb., was appointed chancellor of the exchequer. His Friendly Societies Bill, introduced on 8 June, was withdrawn on 22 July, having passed its second reading. Brought in again, the second reading was carried without a division (25 Feb. 1875), and the measure became law on 11 Aug. It was criticised for its permissive character and the absence of compulsory supervision, but Northcote replied that government control was inexpedient in such cases (speech at Manchester, 8 Dec. 1875). His first budget was introduced on 16 April 1874, and in discussing the financial situation with Disraeli he pointed out that, contrary to Mr. Gladstone's view, the income-tax had lost its temporary character, and had become a fixed part of the fiscal system. In his speech Northcote acknowledged a surplus of 5,500,000l., and this he was accused of having frittered away. As a matter of fact he abolished the sugar duties (2,000,000l.), took a penny off the income-tax, applied one half-million to the reduction of the national debt by terminable annuities, and another half to the relief of local taxation. He also argued (speech at Liverpool, 25 Jan. 1877) that the surplus was `got up to a certain extent by putting off claims and charges which would ultimately have to be met. His second budget (15 April 1875), which showed a small surplus of 496,873l., was remarkable for the application of an annual sinking fund of 28,000,000l. to the reduction of the national debt. On 7 May and 8 June Mr. Gladstone attacked the idea, because it had `taken a flight into the empyrean,' and implied an annual surplus of 500,000l. until 1905. Northcote, however, carried the sinking fund by 189 votes against 122, and subsequently expressed his belief in the prudence of the step (speech at Edinburgh, 9 June 1881). Professor C. F. Bastable (Public Finance, 1892, pp. 559-60) praises the scheme, but adds that 'it is easy to find plausible excuses for cutting down the sum so fixed. Under Mr. Goschen the 28,000,000l. became, first 26,000,000l., and then only 25,000,000l., a sum which leaves a very small margin over the interest and terminable annuity payments.' In the same year he carried a Savings Bank Bill, which (27 May) he defended against Mr. Gladstone and Professor Fawcett. He was much annoyed by the ministerial blunders in connection with the Merchant Shipping Bill, and on 25 July offered apparently to take a less important office (Life, ii. 81), but Disraeli did not accept the suggestion. Northcote was privately opposed to the purchase of the Suez Canal shares (25 Nov.), on the ground that we `meant quietly to buy ourselves into a preponderating position and then turn the whole thing into an English property.' He defended the transaction, however, at Manchester (7 Dec. 1875), and in the house against Mr. Gladstone (14 and 21 Feb. 1876). The budget of 1876, while remedying a deficit of 800,000l. by an extra penny on the income-tax, placed the line of exemption at 150l. instead of 100l., and took 120l. instead of 80l. off incomes between 160l. and 400l. (speech of 3 April). The financial statement of 12 April 1877 contained little of moment; that of 4 April 1878 acknowledged a deficit of 2,640,000l., mainly due to the vote of credit of 6,000,000l. for military preparations against Russia, and it was met by the issue of exchequer bonds for 2,750,000l. Another deficit of 2,291,000l. in 1879 (speech on 3 April) caused by commercial depression and the Zulu war, produced a formidable impeachment of Northcote's finance by Mr. Gladstone on 18 April (see also Nineteenth Century for August 1879). Northcote, however, defended his policy, which was to throw a portion of the payment upon the following year rather than add to taxation. In the same year he placed a wholesome, though hardly sufficient, check upon local indebtness by his Public Works Loans Bill. On 10 March 1880 he confessed that the revenue had fallen short of the estimates by more than 2,000,000l., and that the fioating debt amounted to 8,000,000l. Of this he proposed to extinguish 6,000,000l. by the creation of terminable annuities to end in 1886. To that end he appropriated 600,000l. from his new sinking fund, but he repudiated (16 March) Mr. Gladstone's contention that he was `immolating' that contrivance.
Apart from finance, Northcote (16 March 1876) delivered a spirited speech in defence of the Royal Titles Bill, and obtained the rejection of Lord Hartington's amendment by a majority of 105 votes. When the rebellion in Herzegovina reopened the eastern question, Northcote thought that the British government on refusing to accept the Berlin memorandum of 18 May should put forward an alternative policy, but he was overruled by his colleagues. At the end of the session, on Disraeli's elevation to the peerage, Northcote succeeded him as leader of the house. At Nostell Priory (26 Sept.) and at Bristol (13 Nov.) he endeavoured to counteract the `Bulgarian atrocities' agitation, and during the following session he made two important speeches on eastern affairs (7 Feb. and 14 May), in the last of which he laid down the government's principle, namely, a strict neutrality provided the route to India were neither blocked nor stopped. Though he entertained grave doubts as to the expediency of Lord Lytton's interference in Afghanistan, Northcote spoke (13 Dec. 1878 and 14 Aug. 1879) in defence of the Cavagnari mission, and of the war entailed by its massacre [see Cavagnari, Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon], He also (31 March 1879) accepted full responsibility, on behalf of the government, for the proceedings of Sir Bartle Frere [q.v.] in Zululand, which also led to war.
In domestic affairs Northcote was much hampered by the beginnings of parliamentary obstruction, as perfected by Pamell and Biggar, in the debates on the South African Confederation Bill. His two resolutions of 27 July 1877 for altering the rules of the house, in the matters of 'naming' and suspending a disorderly member and the suppression of dilatory motions, were followed by the twenty-six hours' sitting of 80 and 31 July. Neither his rule of 24 Feb. 1879 prohibiting preliminary debate upon going into committee of supply, nor the proviso of 28 Feb. 1880, by which a member could be summarily suspended after being named from the chair, materially checked the practice. His last measure as leader of the House of Commons was the Irish Relief of Distress Bill, which, after a very rapid progress, became law on 18 March 1880.
On the reassembling of parliament on 20 May the conservatives only numbered 243 as against 349 liberals and 60 home-rulers. Northcote led the opposition, first as Beaconsfield's lieutenant, and, after his death in April 1881, as joint leader with Lord Salisbury. He soon found a section of his followers (comprising Lord R. Churchill, Mr. A. J. Balfour, Sir H. D. Wolff, and Mr. Gorst, and known as the `fourth party ') somewhat impatient of his conciliatory and judicious attitude towards the government. But he inflicted damaging defeats on the ministry in connection with Mr. Bradlaugh's claim to affirm instead of taking the oath, notably on 4 May 1883, when the Affirmation Bill was rejected by a majority of three. He also resisted Mr. Gladstone's closure resolution of 20 Feb. 1882, and the twelve resolutions for the curtailment of debate were postponed until the autumn session (24 Oct. to 2 Dec.) Upon Irish affairs his most notable speeches were those of 19 May on the Land Bill of 1881, in which he uttered a somewhat mild condemnation of that measure, though at Brecon on 27 Nov. 1880 he had declared that the `three Fs ' stood for fraud, force, and folly; and on the 'Kilmainham Treaty' (16 May 1882), in which he discovered `a good deal that required explanation.' He cordially supported the Prevention of Crime Bill introduced by Sir William Harcourt after the murder of Mr. Burke and Lord F. Cavendish [q.v.], against the determined opposition of the home-rulers (see especially speeches of 11 May and 24 May 1882). On 18 June 1883 he moved that Mr. Bright had committed a breach of privilege in a speech at Birmingham, in which the conservatives were described as `allies of the Irish rebel party,' but was defeated by 151 votes to 117. Northcote discouraged the fair trade movement, remarking at Newcastle on 12 Oct. 1881 that protection must be regarded as a `pious opinion,' not an article of faith (see also Maxwell, Life and Times of the Right Hon. W. H. Smith, ii. 54). He did not take a very prominent part in the debates on the Franchise Bill of 1884, but he spoke frequently during the campaign which followed the measure's rejection by the House of Lords, offering at Edinburgh (19 Sept.) that if the government would lay before parliament the whole plan, of reform and redistribution, it should receive the opposition's candid consideration. When parliament reassembled (24 Oct.) he, in conjunction with Lord Norton (SirC.Adderley), helped to arrange the compromise with the government, by which the opposition undertook that the Franchise Bill should pass forthwith, on condition that ministers would promptly produce the Redistribution Bill, and that the details of the latter scheme should be communicated to the opposition leaders. After a series of conferences between Lord Salisbury and himself on the one hand, and the committee of the cabinet (Lord Hartington, Mr. Shaw Lefevre, and Sir C. Dilke) on the other, the crisis terminated by Mr. Gladstone's production of the Redistribution Bill on 1 Dec. Northcote's most important speeches on foreign affairs were those on the Transvaal (25 June 1881), on Egypt (27 June 1882), and on the Soudan (12 Feb. 1884), when he moved a vote of censure on the government, which was negatived by 311 votes to 262. The terms of another vote of censure moved by Northcote on 23 Feb. 1885 were considered to be too mild by the majority of the conservatives, though the government escaped defeat by fourteen only (302 votes to 288). In other respects the opposition had become dissatisfied with his leadership (ib. ii. 143-148).
On the fall of Mr. Gladstone's government (8 June 1885) Northcote, with great self-sacrifice, accepted the almost sinecure office of first lord of the treasury, apart from the premiership, and on 6 July he took his seat in the House of Lords as Earl of Iddesleigh and Viscount St. Cyres. On 29 Aug. 1885 he was gazetted president of the commission to inquire into the depression of trade, the last report of which was dated 21 Dec. 1886 (Parl. Papers, 1886, vols. xxi.-xxiii.); at the end of January 1886 the government was replaced by Mr. Gladstone's third administration. On 8 March 1886 Northcote was entertained at Willis's Rooms by his political friends, both liberal and conservative, and presented with a handsome testimonial. On the formation of Lord Salisbury's second ministry, Iddesleigh became foreign secretary (27 July), and had to deal with the complications in the Balkan States, produced by the kidnapping of Prince Alexander of Bulgaria on 21 Aug. He was accused of adopting a policy of rash irritation, but his despatches by no means bear out the view (ib. 1887, xci. 1-317), though his remarks on 29 Sept. to the Russian ambassador, M. de Staal, about General Kaulbars's mission to Sofia were certainly outspoken. Iddesleigh also, on 17 Dec., expressed a strong objection to the Prince of Mingrelia's candidature for the vacant Bulgarian throne, because of `his being a vassal, or rather a subject, of Russia.' Disputes having arisen between the Dominion of Canada and the United States about the rights of American fishermen in Canadian waters, he advocated (30 Nov.) a settlement based on mutual concessions rather than an ad interim arrangement (ib. p. 753). On 23 Dec. Lord R. Churchill suddenly resigned, and Iddesleigh most unselfishly placed his seat in the cabinet at the premier's disposal, to facilitate a possible coalition with the liberal unionists. He learned that his offer had been accepted on 4 Jan., after an announcement to that effect had been allowed to appear in the newspapers, and a few days afterwards he declined the presidency of the council. On 7 Jan 1887 he spoke on the Prince of Wales's scheme of an Imperial Institute in commemoration of the queen's jubilee, at a meeting held at Exeter, over which he presided as lord-lieutenant of Devon. The last office he had filled since 8 Jan. 1886. Arrived in London on the 11th, with the object of speaking on behalf of that project at the Mansion House, he was on the following day seized bv an attack of syncope in the ante-room of the prime minister's house in Downing Street, and died at 3.5 p.m., in the presence of Lord Salisbury, his secretary, Mr. Henry Manners, and two doctors. On the 18th he was buried, according to his wish, at Upton Pyne, Devonshire, while services were simultaneously conducted at Westminster Abbey, Exeter Cathedral, and St. Giles's Cathedral, Edinburgh.
Northcote was elected lord rector of Edinburgh University on 3 Nov. 1883, and delivered his address on 29 Jan. 1884. He was also present in April at the Tercentenary Festival, and on 3 Nov. 1885 he delivered to the students a lecture on 'The Pleasures, the Dangers, and the Uses of Desultory Reading,' which was republished that year. His reprint for the Roxburghe Club of `The Triumphes of Petrarch' appeared after his death in 1887, while his 'Lectures and Essays,' 1887, 8vo, were edited by his widow. He was a man of wide and various reading, and wrote humorous poetry and plays for his family circle (Life, ii. xx). His portrait was painted by G. Richmond, R.A., in 1836, and by Edwin Long, R.A., in 1883; the first picture is at The Pynes, the second in the possession of the Viscountess Hambleden, and photogravures of both are prefixed to Mr. Andrew Lang's ' Life.' Two statues, executed in 1887 by Sir E. Boehm, R.A., stand, the one in the vestibule of the House of Commons, the other on Northemhay, Exeter.
Northcote was perhaps the most pureminded politician that has taken part in English public life since Lord Althorp. 'He seemed,' said Mr. Gladstone (Hansard, 27 Jan. 1887), 'to be a man incapable of resenting an injury: a man in whom it was the fixed habit of thought to put himself wholly out of view when he had before him the attainment of great public objects.' As a political leader he sometimes lacked initiative, but it would be quite incorrect to say that he was wanting in courage. Lord Salisbury remarked (ib.) that `he was eminently cautious … but the peculiarity of it was this, that the caution had in it no shade of timidity. When his temper was cold and abstract his counsel always erred, if it erred at all, on the side of caution; but when perplexity or real danger arose there was no man who was freer from any counsel of fear than Lord Iddesleigh.' As a speaker he was lucid, though without oratorical graces, and carried conviction by the force of his character. His opportunities for constructive statesmanship were not many, but as a financier he deserves high credit for one of the few serious attempts to reduce the national debt, and for his acknowledgment of the fact that the income-tax had ceased to be a temporary impost. He was an ardent Devonian, and took pleasure, without excelling, in country pursuits.
Northcote married, on 5 Aug. 1843, Cecilia Frances (b. 1822), the daughter of Thomas Farrer of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the sister of the present Lord Farrer, who survived him. Of his eight children Walter Stafford (b. 1845) succeeded him as second earl, while the second son, Henry Stafford (b, 1846), was created a baronet in 1887.
[Andrew Lang's Life, Letters, and Diaries of Stafford Northcote, first Earl of Iddesleigh, 1890; Worthy's Life of the Earl of Iddesleigh, containing some local information, but otherwise of little value; Sir M. E. G. Duff in Fortnightly Review, vol. xxxi.; Lord Coleridgein Macmillan's Magazine, vol. lvii. (an address delivered to the Exeter Literary Society); Viscount Cranbrook and Alfred Austin in the National Review, vol. viii.; the Times and other obituaries, 13 Jan. 1887.]