moved in committee had no influence on the course of the measure.
Notwithstanding his somewhat ambiguous course in this crisis, Grosvenor remained an independent liberal, and both in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords, in which he took his seat as third marquis of Westminster, in succession to his father, on 5 May 1870, gave a steady though silent support to the first Gladstone administration, on the fall of which he was created Duke of Westminster (27 Feb. 1874). He also adhered to Gladstone throughout the prolonged controversy on the Eastern question, and held the office of master of the horse during Gladstone's second administration (1880-5). He viewed, however, with profound misgiving the policy adumbrated in the Midlothian address of 17 Sept. 1885, joined with Lords Grey, Selborne, and other liberal peers in the manifesto of dissent published in the 'Times' of 4 Nov. following, and pronounced decisively and with vehemence against home rule in a speech at Chester on 12 Jan. 1886. Sympathy with the Armenians, for whose relief he organised a committee at Grosvenor House, brought him once more into accord with Gladstone in 1895, and his acceptance of the chairmanship of the Gladstone memorial committee, which held its first meeting at Grosvenor House on 21 June 1898, was a weighty testimony to the splendour of the services rendered by the deceased statesman to his country.
Westminster was elected K.G. on 6 Dec. 1870, sworn of the privy council on 28 April 1880, and appointed aide-de-camp to the queen in 1881, and lord-lieutenant of Cheshire in 1883, and of the county of London in 1888. He was also lord high steward of Westminster, hon. colonel of the Earl of Chester yeomanry cavalry, and hon. colonel of the 13th Middlesex rifle corps. He was a considerate landlord, and greatly improved his London property by rebuilding. He was also a promoter of agricultural and technical education, a judicious dispenser of ecclesiastical patronage, and a munificent donor to the church and charitable institutions. He made Grosvenor House a centre of far-reaching philanthropic effort. He was president of several metropolitan hospitals, of the Gardeners' Royal Beneficent Institution, of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, and of the United Committee for the Prevention of Demoralisation of Native Races by the Liquor Traffic.
Amid these serious preoccupations he, like his father and grandfather, cultivated a taste for art, by which he greatly enriched the noble gallery which he inherited, and indulged the love of manly sports characteristic of the English gentleman. He was a good shot, a fine horseman, and an excellent judge of horseflesh. He was also the most successful breeder of racehorses of his generation. Succeeding to an indifferent stud, he judiciously laid out fourteen thousand guineas in the purchase from Mr. James Merry of the magnificent thoroughbred Doncaster, who signally exemplified the Horatian adage, 'fortes creantur fortibus et bonis.' Doncaster won the Derby in 1873; Bend Or, a colt by Doncaster, won the Derby in 1880, and was sire of Ormonde, winner not only of the Derby but of the Two Thousand Guineas and St. Leger Stakes in 1883. Orme, a colt by Ormonde, unfortunately poisoned before his mettle could be tried for the Two Thousand Guineas in 1892, was sire of Flying Fox, who won the Derby and the St. Leger, Two Thousand Guineas, Prince of Wales, Jockey Club, and Eclipse Stakes in 1899. The Duke's filly Shotover also won the Derby and the Two Thousand Guineas Stakes in 1882.
The duke died on 22 Dec. 1899 at Lord Shaftesbury's seat, St. Giles's, Cranborne, Dorset. His cremated remains were interred on 28 Dec. in Eccleston churchyard, near Eaton Hall. Two portraits of him are at Grosvenor House, one a full-face crayon drawing done by George Richmond in 1856, and the other a side-face portrait in oils, painted by H. W. in 1872; at Eaton Hall is Millais's portrait of the duke in hunting costume.
Westminster married twice: first, on 28 April 1852, Lady Constance Gertrude Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, fifth daughter of George Granville, second duke of Sutherland; secondly, on 29 July 1882, the Hon. Catherine Caroline Cavendish, youngest daughter of William, second lord Chesham. He had issue by his first wife seven sons and four daughters; by his second wife two sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Victor Alexander, earl Grosvenor, who was born 28 April 1853, died in his father's lifetime on 22 Jan. 1884; leaving by his wife, Sibell Mary, daughter of Richard George Lumley, second earl of Scarborough, two daughters and a son, Hugh Richard Arthur, who succeeded his grandfather as second duke of Westminster; the countess Grosvenor married, secondly, the Right Hon. George Wyndham, M.P.
|[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Burke's Peerage, 1899; Official Lists of Members of Parliament;