1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Liverpool, Earls of

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search


LIVERPOOL, EARLS OF. Charles Jenkinson, 1st earl of Liverpool (1729-1808), English statesman, eldest son of Colonel Charles Jenkinson (d. 1750) and grandson of Sir Robert Jenkinson, Bart., of Walcot, Oxfordshire, was born at Winchester on the 16th of May 1729. The family was descended from Anthony Jenkinson (d. 1611), sea-captain, merchant and traveller, the first Englishman to penetrate into Central Asia. Charles was educated at Charterhouse school and University College, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in 1752. In 1761 he entered parliament as member for Cockermouth and was made under-secretary of state by Lord Bute; he won the favour of George III., and when Bute retired Jenkinson became the leader of the “king's friends” in the House of Commons. In 1763 George Grenville appointed him joint secretary to the treasury; in 1766, after a short retirement, he became a lord of the admiralty and then a lord of the treasury in the Grafton administration; and from 1778 until the close of Lord North's ministry in 1782 he was secretary-at-war. From 1786 to 1801 he was president of the board of trade and chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and he was popularly regarded as enjoying the confidence of the king to a special degree. In 1772 Jenkinson became a privy councillor and vice-treasurer of Ireland, and in 1775 he purchased the lucrative sinecure of clerk of the pells in Ireland and became master of the mint. In 1786 he was created Baron Hawkesbury, and ten years later earl of Liverpool. He died in London on the 17th of December 1808. Liverpool was twice married: firstly to Amelia (d. 1770), daughter of William Watts, governor of Fort William, Bengal, and secondly to Catherine, daughter of Sir Cecil Bisshoff, Bart., and widow of Sir Charles Cope, Bart.; he had a son by each marriage. He wrote several political works, but except his Treatise on the Coins of the Realm (1805) these are without striking merits. They are, Dissertation on the establishment of a national and constitutional force in England independent of a standing army (1756); Discourse on the conduct of the government of Great Britain respecting neutral nations (1758, new ed., 1837); and Collection of Treaties between Great Britain and other Powers 1648-1783 (1785). His Coins of the Realm was reprinted by the Bank of England in 1880.

His son, Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd earl (1770-1828), was educated at Charterhouse and at Christ Church, Oxford, Where he had George Canning, afterwards his close political associate, for a contemporary. In 1790 he entered parliament as member for Appleby; he became master of the mint in 1799 and foreign secretary in Addington's administration in 1801, when he conducted the negotiations for the abortive treaty of Amiens. On the accession of Pitt to power in 1804, he obtained the home office, having in the previous year been elevated as Baron Hawkesbury to the House of Lords, where he acted as leader of the government. He declined the premiership on the death of Pitt in 1806, and remained out of office until Portland became prime minister in 1807, when he again became secretary of state for home affairs. In 1808 he succeeded his father as earl of Liverpool. In the ministry of Spencer Perceval (1809-1812) he was secretary for war and the colonies. After the assassination of Perceval in May 1812 he became prime minister, and retained office till compelled in February 1827 to resign by the illness (paralysis) which terminated his life on the 4th of December 1828.

The political career of the 2nd Lord Liverpool was of a negative character so far as legislation was concerned; but he held office in years of great danger and depression, during which he “kept order among his colleagues, composed their quarrels, and oiled the wheels to make it possible for the machinery of government to work” (Spencer Walpole). The energy of Castlereagh and Canning secured the success of the foreign policy of his cabinet, but in his home policy he was always retrograde. The introduction of the bill of pains and penalties against Queen Caroline greatly increased his unpopularity, originated by the severe measures of repression employed to quell the general distress, which had been created by the excessive taxation which followed the Napoleonic wars. Lord Liverpool was destitute of wide sympathies and of true political insight, and his resignation of office was followed almost immediately by the complete and permanent reversal of his domestic policy. He was twice married but had no children, and he was succeeded by his half brother Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson, 3rd earl (1784–1851), who left three daughters. The baronetcy then passed to a cousin, and the peerage became extinct. But in 1905 the earldom was revived in the person of the 3rd earl's grandson, Cecil George Savile Foljambe (1846–1907), who had been a Liberal member of parliament from 1880 to 1892, and in 1893 was created Baron Hawkesbury. He was succeeded in 1907 by his son, Arthur (b.1870).

For the life of the 2nd earl see the anonymous Memoirs of the Public Life and Administration of Liverpool (1827); C. D. Yonge, Life and Administration of the 2nd Earl of Liverpool (1868); T. E. Kebbel, History of Toryism (1886); and Sir S. Walpole, History of England, vol. ii. (1890).