Elliot, Gilbert (1782-1859) (DNB00)

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ELLIOT, GILBERT, second Earl of Minto (1782–1859), eldest son of Gilbert Elliot, first earl [q. v.], by his wife Anna Maria, daughter of Sir George Amyand, bart., was born at Lyons on 16 Nov. 1782. He was educated at Edinburgh University and was afterwards trained for the diplomatic service, without, however, any immediate object. In 1806 he was elected member of parliament for Ashburton, Devonshire, which he continued to represent till March 1814, when, on the death of his father, he took his seat in the House of Lords. He had allied himself with the whig party, and on the formation of Lord Grey's ministry was appointed a privy councillor. In August 1832 he went as British ambassador to Berlin, where he remained for two years. His tenure of office had been uneventful, but he was rewarded on his return with the G.C.B. On the appointment of Lord Auckland as governor-general of India, Minto succeeded to his post as first lord of the admiralty in September 1835, and continued to preside over naval affairs till the dissolution of Lord Melbourne's second administration in 1841. It was said at the time that his period of office was distinguished only by the outcry raised at the number of Elliots who found places in the naval service. In Lord John Russell's cabinet of 1846 Minto (whose daughter Russell had married) became lord privy seal, and in the autumn of the following year he was despatched on a diplomatic mission to Italy to ingratiate Sardinia and Tuscany, to assist in the carrying out of the reforms suggested by Pius IX on his accession to the papacy, and generally to report to the home government on Italian affairs. Partly owing, no doubt, to the French revolution of 1848, the tour was an acknowledged failure so far as any practical result was concerned, excepting that he induced the King of Naples to grant the Sicilians a separate parliament (Malmesbury, Memoirs, ed. 1885, p. 127); though it was alleged by the papal authorities that Minto had given them to understand that the English government would be favourable to the parcelling out of England into Roman catholic episcopal sees. On his return Minto resumed his ministerial duties till the resignation in 1852 of Lord John Russell, when he finally left office. He continued to sit and vote in the House of Lords, but otherwise took no part in politics. He died, after a long illness, on 31 July 1859, aged 76. He was an indifferent speaker and was undistinguished by administrative capacity, but he possessed considerable influence in affairs of state. He was a fellow of the Royal Society, an elder brother of Trinity House, and deputy-lieutenant for Roxburghshire. He assumed by royal license the additional surnames of Murray and Kynynmound. He married, on 28 Aug. 1806, Mary, eldest daughter of Patrick Brydone of Coldstream, Berwickshire, and by her, who died at Nervi, near Genoa, on 21 July 1853, he was the father of five sons and four daughters. His eldest son, William Hugh, succeeded to his titles.

[Anderson's Scottish Nation, ii. 132; Gent. Mag. 1859, 3rd ser. vii. 306; Times, 2 Aug. 1859.]

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