Henry Goulburn

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Henry Goulburn

Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
26 January 1828 22 November 1830
Monarch George IV
Prime Minister The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by John Charles Herries
Succeeded by Viscount Althorp
In office
3 September 1841 27 June 1846
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by Francis Baring
Succeeded by Sir Charles Wood, Bt
Home Secretary
In office
15 December 1834 18 April 1835
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by The Duke of Wellington
Succeeded by Lord John Russell
Personal details
Born(1784-03-19)19 March 1784
Died12 January 1856(1856-01-12) (aged 71)
Political party Tory, Peelite
Spouse(s)Hon. Jane Montagu (died 1857)
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Henry Goulburn PC FRS (19 March 1784 – 12 January 1856) was a British Conservative statesman and a member of the Peelite faction after 1846.


Background and education

Born in London, Goulburn was the eldest son of Munbee Goulburn, of London, by his wife Susannah, eldest daughter of William Chetwynd, 4th Viscount Chetwynd. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. [1]

Goulburn lived in Betchworth, Dorking in Betchworth House for much of his life.

Sugar plantation owner

Goulburn's inheritance included a number of sugar estates in Jamaica, Amity Hall in the parish of Vere, now Clarendon Parish being the most important. Slave labour was still being used to work the sugar plantations when he inherited the estates. [2] [3]

Goulburn never visited Jamaica himself, due his health and political work, he relied on attorneys to manage his estates on his behalf. One attorney in particular, Thomas Samson, held the top job at the estate from 1802–1818 and earned a reputation for cruelty towards Goulburn's slaves.

By 1818 the income from his Jamaican estates halved to less than £3,000 'although he did console himself that the condition of his slaves had probably improved'. [2]

Political career

In 1808, Goulburn became Member of Parliament for Horsham. In 1810, he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs, and two and a half years later, he was made Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. It was in this capacity that James Meehan named Goulburn, New South Wales after him, a naming that was ratified by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Still retaining office in the Tory government, he became a Privy Counsellor in 1821, and shortly afterwards was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, a position which he held until April 1827. Here, although he was frequently denounced as he was considered an Orangeman, he had a successful period of office on the whole, and in 1823 he managed to pass the Composition for Tithes (Ireland) Act 1823. 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 anyone 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.

Goulburn was a member of the Canterbury Association from 27 March 1848. [4]


Frederick Goulburn (1788–1837), the first Colonial Secretary of New South Wales, was his younger brother. Henry Goulburn married the Hon. Jane, third daughter of Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby, in 1811. They had four children. He died on 12 January 1856, aged 71. His wife died the following year.


  1. "Goulburn, Henry (GLBN801H)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. 1 2 "Rt. Hon. Henry Goulburn". Legacies of British Slave-ownership. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  3. Morgan, Kenneth (2012). "Labour Relations during and after Apprenticeship: Amity Hall, Jamaica, 1834–1840". Slavery & Abolition. 33 (3): 457–478. doi:10.1080/0144039X.2011.606629. ISSN   0144-039X.
  4. Blain, Rev. Michael (2007). The Canterbury Association (1848–1852): A Study of Its Members' Connections (PDF). Christchurch: Project Canterbury. pp. 36–37. Retrieved 20 March 2013.

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Further reading

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Love Jones-Parry
Sir Samuel Romilly
Member of Parliament for Horsham
With: Joseph Marryat
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Piggott
Robert Hurst
Preceded by
Matthew Montagu
Charles Philip Yorke
Member of Parliament for St Germans
With: William Henry Pringle
Succeeded by
Seymour Bathurst
Charles Arbuthnot
Preceded by
Henry Fitzgerald-de Ros
Sir Charles Hulse
Member of Parliament for West Looe
With: Sir Charles Hulse
Succeeded by
John Buller
Charles Buller
Preceded by
William Stuart
Member of Parliament for Armagh
Succeeded by
Viscount Ingestre
Preceded by
The Viscount Palmerston
William Cavendish
Member of Parliament for Cambridge University
with William Yates Peel 1831–1832
Charles Manners-Sutton 1832–1835
Hon. Charles Law 1835–1850
Loftus Wigram 1850–1856
Succeeded by
Loftus Wigram
Spencer Horatio Walpole
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Jenkinson
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
John Hiley Addington
Preceded by
Robert Peel
Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
With: Henry Edward Bunbury 1812–1816
Succeeded by
R. W. Horton
Preceded by
Charles Grant
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
William Lamb
Preceded by
John Charles Herries
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Viscount Althorp
Preceded by
Viscount Duncannon
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
Lord John Russell
Preceded by
Francis Baring
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Wood, Bt