Unionist government, 1895–1905

A coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Unionist parties took power in the United Kingdom following the 1895 general election. Conservative leader Lord Salisbury was appointed Prime Minister and his nephew, Arthur Balfour, became Leader of the House of Commons, but various major posts went to the Liberal Unionists, most notably the Leader of the House of Lords, the Liberal Unionist Duke of Devonshire, who was made Lord President, and his colleague in the Commons, Joseph Chamberlain, who became Colonial Secretary. It was this government which would conduct the Second Boer War from 1899–1902, which was exploited by the government to help win a landslide victory at the 1900 general election.

Lord Salisbury led the Government from 1895–1902 and was succeeded by Arthur Balfour.
Balfour led the Government from 1902 before resigning in 1905. The Liberals formed a government thereafter.

The government consisted of three ministries, the first two led by Salisbury (from 1895–1902) and the third by Balfour (from 1902 onwards).

Trade reformEdit

Balfour succeeded Salisbury as Prime Minister in 1902. Eventually, the Unionist government would falter after Chamberlain proposed his scheme for tariff reform, whose partial embrace by Balfour led to the resignation of the more orthodox free traders in the Cabinet.

Chinese miners in South AfricaEdit

 
Punch cartoon, 1903. The Rand mine-owners' employment of Chinese labour on the Transvaal gold mines in British-controlled South Africa was controversial and contributed to the 1906 Liberal landslide.

After the conclusion of the Boer War, the British Government sought to rebuild the South African economy which had been devastated by the war. An important part of the rebuilding effort was to get the gold mines of the Witwatersrand, the richest in history and a major cause of the war, back in production as soon as possible. Because the government decreed that White labour was too expensive and Black labourers were reluctant to return to the mines,[1] the government decided to import over 60,000 contracted workers from China.[2]

This was deeply unpopular at the time, as popular opinion in much of the Western world, including Britain; was hostile to Chinese immigration. It also happened at a time when poverty and unemployment amongst working-class British people was at very high levels.[3] On 26 March 1904, a demonstration against Chinese immigration to South Africa was held in Hyde Park and was attended by 80,000 people. The Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress then passed a resolution declaring that:

That this meeting consisting of all classes of citizens of London, emphatically protests against the action of the Government in granting permission to import into South Africa indentured Chinese labour under conditions of slavery, and calls upon them to protect this new colony from the greed of capitalists and the Empire from degradation.

— Yap & Leong Man (1996, p. 107)

Fall from powerEdit

With his majority greatly reduced and defeat in the next election seeming inevitable, Balfour resigned as Prime Minister in December 1905, leading to the appointment of a minority Liberal government under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. In the general election which followed in 1906, all but three members of Balfour's Cabinet lost their seats, including Balfour himself.

CabinetsEdit

Salisbury ministryEdit

Salisbury ministries
Unionist coalition of the United Kingdom
  • 1895–1900
  • 1900–1902
 
Salisbury (1897)
Date formed
  • Third: 25 June 1895 (1895-06-25)
  • Fourth: 24 October 1900 (1900-10-24)[4]
Date dissolved
  • Third: 24 October 1900 (1900-10-24)[4]
  • Fourth: 11 July 1902 (1902-07-11)
People and organisations
Monarch
Prime MinisterLord Salisbury
Prime Minister's history1895–1902
Member parties
Status in legislature
Opposition partyLiberal Party
Opposition leaders
History
Election(s)
Legislature term(s)
PredecessorRosebery ministry
SuccessorBalfour ministry

June 1895 to November 1900Edit

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
 The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury*25 June 1895 (1895-06-25)11 July 1902 (1902-07-11)Conservative
 Arthur Balfour25 June 1895 (1895-06-25)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Lord Chancellor The Earl of Halsbury29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Devonshire29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)19 October 1903 (1903-10-19)Liberal Unionist
Lord Privy Seal The Viscount Cross29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)Conservative
Secretary of State for the Home Department Sir Matthew White Ridley29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)Conservative
Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)16 September 1903 (1903-09-16)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War The Marquess of Lansdowne4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for India Lord George Hamilton4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Conservative
First Lord of the Admiralty George Goschen1895 (1895)1900 (1900)Conservative
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Michael Hicks Beach29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Conservative
President of the Board of Trade Charles Ritchie29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)7 November 1900 (1900-11-07)Conservative
President of the Local Government Board Henry Chaplin29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)Conservative
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Viscount Cross29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)Conservative
 The Lord James of Hereford4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Liberal Unionist
First Commissioner of Works Aretas Akers-Douglas4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Conservative
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl Cadogan29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland The Lord Ashbourne29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)1905 (1905)Conservative
Secretary for Scotland The Lord Balfour of Burleigh29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture Walter Long4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)16 November 1900 (1900-11-16)Conservative

November 1900 to July 1902Edit

In November 1900, the Cabinet was reformed for the first time.

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
 The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury*25 June 1895 (1895-06-25)11 July 1902 (1902-07-11)Conservative
 Arthur Balfour25 June 1895 (1895-06-25)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Lord Chancellor The Earl of Halsbury29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Devonshire29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)19 October 1903 (1903-10-19)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Home Department Charles Ritchie12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)12 July 1902 (1902-07-12)Conservative
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Marquess of Lansdowne12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)16 September 1903 (1903-09-16)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War St John Brodrick12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)6 October 1903 (1903-10-06)Conservative
Secretary of State for India Lord George Hamilton4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Conservative
First Lord of the Admiralty The Earl of Selborne1900 (1900)1905 (1905)Liberal Unionist
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Michael Hicks Beach29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Conservative
President of the Board of Trade Gerald Balfour12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)12 March 1905 (1905-03-12)Conservative
President of the Local Government Board Walter Long1900 (1900)1905 (1905)Conservative
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Lord James of Hereford4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Liberal Unionist
First Commissioner of Works Aretas Akers-Douglas4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Conservative
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl Cadogan29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland The Lord Ashbourne29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)1905 (1905)Conservative
Secretary for Scotland The Lord Balfour of Burleigh29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture Robert William Hanbury16 November 1900 (1900-11-16)28 April 1903 (1903-04-28)Conservative

Balfour ministryEdit

Balfour ministry
1902–1905
 
Date formed12 July 1902 (1902-07-12)
Date dissolved4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)
People and organisations
MonarchEdward VII
Prime MinisterArthur Balfour
Member parties
Status in legislatureMajority (coalition)
Opposition partyLiberal Party
Opposition leaders
History
Legislature term(s)27th UK Parliament
PredecessorFourth Salisbury ministry
SuccessorCampbell-Bannerman ministry
Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
 Arthur Balfour*12 July 1902 (1902-07-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Lord Chancellor The Earl of Halsbury29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
 The Duke of Devonshire29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)19 October 1903 (1903-10-19)Liberal Unionist
Lord President of the Council The Marquess of Londonderry19 October 1903 (1903-10-19)11 December 1905 (1905-12-11)Conservative
Leader of the House of Lords The Marquess of Lansdowne13 October 1903 (1903-10-13)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Home Department Aretas Akers-Douglas12 July 1902 (1902-07-12)5 December 1905 (1905-12-05)Conservative
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Marquess of Lansdowne12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)16 September 1903 (1903-09-16)Liberal Unionist
 Alfred Lyttelton11 October 1903 (1903-10-11)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War St John Brodrick12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)6 October 1903 (1903-10-06)Conservative
 H. O. Arnold-Forster6 October 1903 (1903-10-06)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for India Lord George Hamilton4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Conservative
 St John Brodrick9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
First Lord of the Admiralty The Earl of Selborne1900 (1900)1905 (1905)Liberal Unionist
Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Ritchie11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Conservative
 Austen Chamberlain9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Liberal Unionist
President of the Board of Trade Gerald Balfour12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)12 March 1905 (1905-03-12)Conservative
 The 4th Marquess of Salisbury12 March 1905 (1905-03-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Secretary for Scotland The Lord Balfour of Burleigh29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Conservative
 Andrew Murray9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)2 February 1905 (1905-02-02)Conservative
 The Marquess of Linlithgow2 February 1905 (1905-02-02)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Chief Secretary for Ireland George Wyndham9 November 1900 (1900-11-09)12 March 1905 (1905-03-12)Conservative
 Walter Long12 March 1905 (1905-03-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
President of the Local Government Board Walter Long1900 (1900)1905 (1905)Conservative
 Gerald Balfour1905 (1905)11 December 1905 (1905-12-11)Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture Robert William Hanbury16 November 1900 (1900-11-16)28 April 1903 (1903-04-28)Conservative
President of the Board of Education The Marquess of Londonderry11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland The Lord Ashbourne29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)1905 (1905)Conservative
First Commissioner of Works The Lord Windsor11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04)Conservative
Postmaster General Austen Chamberlain11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)Liberal Unionist

ChangesEdit

List of ministersEdit

Cabinet members are listed in bold face.

Office Name Date
Prime minister[a] The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury[b] 25 Jun 1895 – 11 Jul 1902
Arthur Balfour[b] 12 Jul 1902 – 4 Dec 1905
29 Jun 1895 – 4 Dec 1905
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Michael Hicks Beach 29 Jun 1895
Charles Ritchie 11 Aug 1902
Austen Chamberlain 9 Oct 1903
Sir William Walrond 29 Jun 1895
Sir Alexander Acland-Hood 8 Aug 1902
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Robert William Hanbury 29 Jun 1895
Austen Chamberlain 7 Nov 1900
William Hayes Fisher 8 Aug 1902
Arthur Elliot 10 Apr 1903
Victor Cavendish 9 Oct 1903
Junior Lords of the Treasury Henry Torrens Anstruther 6 Jul 1895 – 11 Oct 1903
William Hayes Fisher 6 Jul 1895 – 8 Aug 1902
Lord Stanley 6 Jul 1895 – 7 Nov 1900
Ailwyn Fellowes 7 Nov 1900 – 15 Mar 1905
Henry Forster 8 Aug 1902 – 4 Dec 1905
Lord Balniel 11 Oct 1903 – 4 Dec 1905
Lord Edmund Talbot 16 Jun 1905 – 4 Dec 1905
Lord Chancellor The Lord Halsbury[c] 29 Jun 1895
Lord President of the Council The Duke of Devonshire[d] 29 Jun 1895
The Marquess of Londonderry 19 Oct 1903
Lord Privy Seal The Viscount Cross 29 Jun 1895
The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 12 Nov 1900
Arthur Balfour[b] 14 Jul 1902
The 4th Marquess of Salisbury 17 Oct 1903
Secretary of State for the Home Department Sir Matthew White Ridley 29 Jun 1895
Charles Thomson Ritchie 12 Nov 1900
Aretas Akers-Douglas 11 Aug 1902
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Jesse Collings 3 Jul 1895
Thomas Cochrane 11 Aug 1902
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 29 Jun 1895
The Marquess of Lansdowne[e] 12 Nov 1900
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs George Curzon 20 Jun 1895
St John Brodrick 15 Oct 1898
Viscount Cranborne[f] 12 Nov 1900
Earl Percy 9 Oct 1903
Secretary of State for War The Marquess of Lansdowne 4 Jul 1895
St John Brodrick 12 Nov 1900
H. O. Arnold-Forster 12 Oct 1903
Under-Secretary of State for War St John Brodrick 4 Jul 1895
George Wyndham 10 Oct 1898
The Lord Raglan 13 Nov 1900
The Earl of Hardwicke 8 Aug 1902
The Earl of Donoughmore 12 Oct 1903
Financial Secretary to the War Office Joseph Powell Williams 3 Jul 1895
Lord Stanley 1 Jan 1901
William Bromley-Davenport 12 Oct 1903
Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain 29 Jun 1895
Alfred Lyttelton 9 Oct 1903
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl of Selborne 28 Jun 1895
The Earl of Onslow 26 Nov 1900
The Duke of Marlborough 22 Jul 1903
Secretary of State for India Lord George Hamilton 4 Jul 1895
St John Brodrick 9 Oct 1903
Under-Secretary of State for India The Earl of Onslow 5 Jul 1895
The Earl of Hardwicke 17 Jan 1901
Earl Percy 18 Aug 1902
vacant 29 Nov 1904
The Marquess of Bath 20 Jan 1905
First Lord of the Admiralty George Goschen 29 Jun 1895
The Earl of Selborne 12 Nov 1900
The Earl Cawdor 27 Mar 1905
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty William Ellison-Macartney 29 Jun 1895
H. O. Arnold-Forster 7 Nov 1900
E. G. Pretyman 11 Oct 1903
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Austen Chamberlain 6 Jul 1895
E. G. Pretyman 7 Nov 1900
Arthur Lee 11 Oct 1903
President of the Board of Agriculture Walter Long 4 Jul 1895
Robert William Hanbury 16 Nov 1900
The Earl of Onslow 20 May 1903
Ailwyn Fellowes 14 Mar 1905
President of the Board of Education The Duke of Devonshire 3 Mar 1900
The Marquess of Londonderry 11 Aug 1902
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education Sir William Anson 11 Aug 1902
Chief Secretary for Ireland Gerald Balfour 4 Jul 1895
George Wyndham 9 Nov 1900
Walter Long 12 Mar 1905
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Earl Cadogan 29 Jun 1895
The Earl of Dudley 11 Aug 1902
Lord Chancellor of Ireland The Lord Ashbourne 29 Jun 1895
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Viscount Cross 29 Jun 1895
The Lord James of Hereford 4 Jul 1895
Sir William Walrond 11 Aug 1902
President of the Local Government Board Henry Chaplin 29 Jun 1895
Walter Long 12 Nov 1900
Gerald Balfour 14 Mar 1905
Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board Thomas Russell 30 Jun 1895
John Lawson 12 Nov 1900
Arthur Frederick Jeffreys 27 Jun 1905
Postmaster General The Duke of Norfolk 6 Jul 1895
The Marquess of Londonderry[g] 10 Apr 1900
Austen Chamberlain 11 Aug 1902
Lord Stanley 9 Oct 1903
Secretary for Scotland The Lord Balfour of Burleigh 29 Jun 1895
Andrew Murray 9 Oct 1903
The Marquess of Linlithgow 2 Feb 1905
President of the Board of Trade Charles Ritchie 29 Jun 1895
Gerald Balfour 12 Nov 1900
The 4th Marquess of Salisbury 14 Mar 1905
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade The Earl of Dudley 29 Jun 1895
Bonar Law 8 Aug 1902
First Commissioner of Works Aretas Akers-Douglas 4 Jul 1895
The Lord Windsor 11 Aug 1902
Vice-President of the Committee on Education[h] Sir John Eldon Gorst 4 Jul 1895
Paymaster General The Earl of Hopetoun 16 Jul 1895
The Duke of Marlborough 1899
Sir Savile Crossley Nov 1902
Attorney General Sir Richard Webster 8 Jul 1895
Sir Robert Finlay 11 May 1900
Solicitor General Sir Robert Finlay 30 Aug 1895
Sir Edward Carson 11 May 1900
Lord Advocate Sir Charles Pearson 11 Jul 1895
Andrew Murray 14 May 1896
Charles Dickson 17 Oct 1903
Solicitor General for Scotland Andrew Murray 11 Jul 1895
Charles Dickson 14 May 1896
David Dundas 17 Oct 1903
Edward Theodore Salvesen 2 Feb 1905
James Avon Clyde 17 Oct 1905
Attorney-General for Ireland John Atkinson 8 Jul 1895
Solicitor-General for Ireland William Kenny 28 Aug 1895
Dunbar Barton
George Wright 30 Jan 1900
James Campbell 8 Jul 1903
Lord Steward of the Household The Earl of Pembroke 16 Jul 1895
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Earl of Lathom 16 Jul 1895
The Earl of Hopetoun 7 Dec 1898
The Earl of Clarendon 21 Sep 1900
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Ailwyn Fellowes 10 Jul 1895
Sir Alexander Acland-Hood 3 Dec 1900
The Lord Wolverton 17 Nov 1902
Master of the Horse The Duke of Portland 16 Jul 1895
Treasurer of the Household Marquess of Carmarthen[i] 10 Jul 1895
Viscount Curzon 11 Feb 1896
Victor Cavendish 4 Dec 1900
Marquess of Hamilton 13 Oct 1903
Comptroller of the Household Lord Arthur Hill 10 Jul 1895
The Viscount Valentia 19 Oct 1898
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Belper 16 Jul 1895
The Earl of Limerick 16 Jul 1895
The Earl Waldegrave 26 Aug 1896
Master of the Buckhounds[j] The Earl of Coventry 16 Jul 1895
The Lord Chesham 1 Nov 1900
Mistress of the Robes The Duchess of Buccleuch 16 Jul 1895
Lords-in-Waiting The Lord Churchill 16 Jul 1895 – 4 Dec 1905
The Lord Harris 16 Jul 1895 – 4 Dec 1900
The Lord Henniker 16 Jul 1895 – 1 Nov 1895
The Lord Lawrence 16 Jul 1895 – 4 Dec 1905
The Earl of Ranfurly 16 Jul 1895 – 21 Apr 1897
The Earl Waldegrave 16 Jul 1895 – 9 Sep 1896
The Earl of Clarendon 17 Jul 1895 – 30 Oct 1900
The Viscount Bridport 30 Jun 1884 – 18 Feb 1901
The Earl of Kintore 1 Nov 1895 – 4 Dec 1905
The Lord Bagot 9 Sep 1896 – 2 Jul 1901
The Earl of Denbigh 22 Apr 1897 – 4 Dec 1905
The Earl Howe 30 Oct 1900 – 1 Oct 1903
The Lord Kenyon 4 Dec 1900 – 4 Dec 1905
The Earl of Erroll 19 Oct 1903 – 4 Dec 1905

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The position of Prime Minister was not a formal ministerial office.
  2. ^ a b c Also served as Leader of the House of Lords.
  3. ^ Halsbury was created the 1st Earl of Halsbury on 19 January 1898.
  4. ^ Devonshire also served as Leader of the House of Lords from 12 July 1902 to 13 October 1903.
  5. ^ Lansdowne also served as Leader of the House of Lords from 13 October 1903 to 4 December 1905
  6. ^ Cranborne succeeded as the 4th Marquess of Salisbury on 22 August 1903.
  7. ^ Londonderry entered the Cabinet on 7 November 1900.
  8. ^ Office abolished on 8 August 1902 and replaced by that of Secretary to the Board of Education.
  9. ^ Carmarthen succeeded as the 10th Duke of Leeds on 23 December 1895.
  10. ^ Office abolished in 1900.

ReferencesEdit

SourcesEdit

  • Cook, Chris; Keith, Brendan (1975). British Historical Facts: 1830–1900 (first ed.). Palgrave Macmillan UK. ISBN 978-1-349-01348-7.
  • Butler, David; Butler, Gareth (2010). British Political Facts (tenth ed.). Palgrave Macmillan UK. ISBN 978-0-230-29318-2.
  • Englefield, Dermot; Seaton, Janet; et al. (1995). Facts About the British Prime Ministers. Mansell. ISBN 978-0-7201-2306-7.
  • Tout, T. F. (1910). An Advanced History of Great Britain from the Earliest Times to the Death of Edward Vii. New York: Longmans, Green. pp. 740–741. OL 13991885M.
  • Yap, Melanie; Leong Man, Dainne (1996). Colour, Confusion and Concessions: The History of the Chinese in South Africa. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 978-962-209-424-6.
Preceded by
Rosebery ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1895–1905
Succeeded by
Campbell-Bannerman ministry