Palmerston's first administration, and was sworn of the privy council. From December 1855 to December 1857 he was lord privy seal. He was intimate with Palmerston, and supported his foreign policy. During the closing episodes of the Crimean war he fully shared with his colleagues the consequent labours and anxieties; but his health gave way, and he was forced to resign, his services being subsequently recognised by his admission to the order of the Garter on 28 June 1859. The first standing committee of the cabinet, consisting of the political heads of the admiralty, war, and colonial departments, was established at his instance, and succeeded in redeeming many of the errors and shortcomings which had led to disaster in the early stages of the war.
Harrowby seldom made speeches in the House of Lords. But he spoke in July 1861 on behalf of Poland, and again in 1862 of the changes effected in Italy. His two most important interventions in public affairs were in the interests of the established church, to which he was earnestly devoted. On the first occasion, in 1869, he moved the rejection of Mr. Gladstone's Irish Church Bill in a speech of vigour and ability. Secondly, in 1880 in connection with the Burials Bill, he acted as peacemaker, being the author of the arrangement which was finally adopted. Harrowby did good public service as chairman of the Maynooth commission, member of the first Oxford University commission, of the ritual commission, and of the clerical subscription commission; he was also a governor of the Charterhouse and of King's College, London, a magistrate for the counties of Stafford and Gloucester, and was much interested in prison reform. As a speaker he was solid, sensible, and reasonable, remarkable for independent thought and felicity of expression, without attempting oratorical display.
He continued through life that connection with literary and scientific pursuits which he had commenced at the university. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society on 24 Nov. 1853, and frequently attended its meetings, and presided over one of the early meetings of the British Association; thus maintaining friendly relations with the chief scientific men of his time. He was an early member of the Geographical and Statistical Societies, and lengthened residences at Rome in his later years rendered him an acknowledged judge and authority on the works of the old masters. Being an accomplished French and Italian scholar, he cultivated relations with the leading men on the continent whom he had met in his father's house in Grosvenor Square when it was the centre of the leading diplomatic and official society of London.
As a landlord he was one of the earliest promoters of reform and of county agricultural societies, being a founder of that in Staffordshire. Till his eightieth year he was the active president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and pleaded its cause in English and French with equal facility and success.
Lord Harrowby died at Sandon, Stone, Staffordshire, on 19 Nov. 1882.
He married at Berne, in 1823, Lady Frances Stuart, fourth daughter of the first Marquis of Bute, a lady of great beauty and attractive character, who died in London in 1859. They had two daughters and four sons. Dudley Francis Stuart Ryder (1831–1900), his eldest surviving son, succeeded to the peerage.
His portrait by Richmond is at Sandon; it has been engraved, and there is an excellent copy at High Ashurst, Surrey, belonging to his second son, the Hon. Henry Dudley Ryder, who also has miniatures of Lady Harrowby.
[Notes and Memoranda supplied by the Earl of Harrowby; Documents kindly lent by the Hon. H. D. Ryder; a sermon preached in Sandon Church and a memoir, reprinted from the Staffordshire Advertiser, 25 Nov. 1882; Obituary notices: Times, 21 Nov. 1882; Morning Post, 21 Nov. 1882; Hertfordshire Express, 26 Nov. 1882; Tablettes Biographiques des Hommes du Temps, Paris-Neuilly, 1882; Dod's Peerage; Lists of the Fellows of the Royal Society; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Official Return of Members of Parliament; Doyle's Baronage; Torrens's Memoirs of Lord Melbourne.]
RYDER, HENRY (1777–1836), successively bishop of Gloucester and of Lichfield and Coventry, was the youngest son of Nathaniel, first baron Harrowby, of Sandon in Staffordshire, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Richard Terrick [q. v.], bishop of London [see under Ryder, Sir Dudley]. He was born on 21 July 1777, and was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. in 1798 and D.D. in 1813. In 1800 he was ordained by Bishop Cornwallis to the curacy of Sandon, the family seat of the Harrowbys; in 1801 he was presented by the crown to the rectory of Lutterworth in Leicestershire, and in 1805 to the neighbouring vicarage of Claybrook in addition. In his early ministerial life Ryder was regarded as a model parish priest; at the same time he found leisure to read the early fathers and to study