Henry Goulburn - Encyclopedia

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HENRY GOULBURN (1784-1856), English statesman, was born in London on the 19th of March 1784 and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1808 he became member of parliament for Horsham; in 1810 he was appointed undersecretary for home affairs and two and a half years later he was made under-secretary for war and the colonies. Still retaining office in the Tory government he became a privy councillor in 1821, and just afterwards was appointed chief secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, a position which he held until April 1827. Here although frequently denounced as an Orangeman, his period of office was on the whole a successful one, and in 1823 he managed to pass the Irish Tithe Composition Bill. In January 1828 he was made chancellor of the exchequer under the duke of Wellington; like his leader he disliked Roman Catholic emancipation, which he voted against in 1828. In the domain of finance Goulburn's chief achievements were to reduce the rate of interest on part of the national debt, and to allow any one to sell beer upon payment of a small annual fee, a complete change of policy with regard to the drink traffic. Leaving office with Wellington in November 1830, Goulburn was home secretary under Sir Robert Peel for four months in 1835, and when this statesman returned to office in September 1841 he became chancellor of the exchequer for the second time. Although Peel himself did some of the chancellor's work, Goulburn was responsible for a further reduction in the rate of interest on the national debt, and he aided his chief in the struggle which ended in the repeal of the corn laws. With his colleagues he left office in June 1846. After representing Horsham in the House of Commons for over four years Goulburn was successively member for St Germans, for West Looe, and for the city of Armagh. In May 1831 he was elected for Cambridge University, and he retained this seat until his death on the 12th of January 1856 at Betchworth House, Dorking. Goulburn was one of Peel's firmest supporters and most intimate friends. His eldest son, Henry (1813-1843), was senior classic and second wrangler at Cambridge in 1835.

See S. Walpole, History of England (1878-1886).

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