Sir James Graham, 2nd Baronet

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Sir James Graham

Home Secretary
In office
6 September 1841 30 June 1846
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel
Preceded by The Marquess of Normanby
Succeeded by Sir George Grey
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
22 November 1830 7 June 1834
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister The Earl Grey
Preceded by The Viscount Melville
Succeeded by The Lord Auckland
In office
30 December 1852 13 March 1855
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Aberdeen
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by The Duke of Northumberland
Succeeded by Sir Charles Wood
Personal details
Born(1792-06-01)1 June 1792
Naworth, Cumberland
Died25 October 1861(1861-10-25) (aged 69)
Netherby, Cumberland
Nationality British
Political party Whig
Spouse(s)Frances Callander (d. 1857)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Sir James Robert George Graham, 2nd Baronet, GCB , PC (1 June 1792 – 25 October 1861) was a British statesman. He was descended from a family long famous in the history of the English border. He was the eldest son of Sir James Graham, 1st Baronet, by Lady Catherine, eldest daughter of the 7th Earl of Galloway. In 1819, he married Fanny Callander, youngest daughter of Sir James Campbell of Craigforth and Ardkinglas Castle. Sir James was created Doctor of Laws at the University of Cambridge in 1835, was Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow, 1840. He was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1830 to 1834 when he resigned on account of the government pressing for a reform of the Irish Church. He became Secretary of the Home Department from September 1841 to July 1846 and again First Lord of the Admiralty from December 1852 until February 1855. He was a member of the Council of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Deputy Lieutenant for county of Hertfordshire. He represented Kingston upon Hull from 1818 to 1820; [1] for St Ives in 1820; for Carlisle from 1826 until 1829; [2] for East Cumberland from 1830 until 1837; [2] for Pembrokeshire District from 1838 until 1841; [3] for Dorchester from 1841 until 1847; [4] for Ripon from 1847 until July 1852; [5] and was again returned for Carlisle from 1852 until his death in 1861. Graham Land in Antarctica is named after him.[ citation needed ]

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, commonly known as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or simply the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway British peer

John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway KT was a Scottish peer, styled Viscount Garlies from 1747 until 1773, who became the 7th Earl of Galloway in 1773 and who served as a Member of Parliament from 1761 to 1773.

University of Cambridge university in Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The academic standards, history, influence and wealth of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.


Background and education

Graham was born at Naworth, Cumberland, the son of Sir James Graham, 1st Baronet, by his wife Lady Catherine, daughter of John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway. He was taught at a private school at Dalston in Cumberland, kept by the Rev. Walter Fletcher, before attending Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He left Oxford after two years and while travelling for his pleasure abroad, he took up a position of private secretary to Lord Montgomerie, British diplomat in Sicily, during the period of the Napoleonic Wars. When Montgomerie became ill the responsibility for the mission fell on Graham. When Lord William Bentinck returned to the Embassy he agreed that Graham should retain the post. During this time he conducted the negotiations which led to the separation of Joachim Murat from Napoleon. When the war ended he returned to England. [6] Back in London he became friends with Wilfrid Lawson, who was to become a politician, a baronet, Graham's brother-in-law and father of another more famous radical. [7]

Dalston, Cumbria village and civil parish in Cumbria, England

Dalston is a large village and civil parish within the Carlisle district of Cumbria, England. It is situated on the B5299 road about four miles (6 km) south-south-west of Carlisle city centre, and approximately five miles (8 km) from Junction 42 of the M6 motorway.

Cumberland Historic county of England

Cumberland is an historic county of North West England that had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. It was bordered by Northumberland to the east, County Durham to the southeast, Westmorland and Lancashire to the south, and the Scottish counties of Dumfriesshire and Roxburghshire to the north. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria.

Westminster School School in Westminster, United Kingdom

Westminster School is a historic Public School in London, England, located within the precincts of Westminster Abbey and immediately beside the Palace of Westminster. Westminster's origins can be traced to the charity school established by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey before the Norman Conquest in 1066, documented by the Croyland Chronicle and one of the Abbey's treasures, a charter of King Offa. Its continuous existence is certain from the early fourteenth century. Boys are admitted to Under School at the age of seven and by examination to the senior school at the age of thirteen; girls are admitted to the Sixth Form at the age of sixteen. The school has around 750 pupils; around a quarter are boarders, who mostly go home at weekends after Saturday morning school.

Early Whig beginnings

Back in London, Graham immersed himself in political affairs. Although his father was a staunch Tory he made his headquarters in Brooks’s Club where he made many Whig contacts. On 10 June 1818 he announced that he would contest the mercantile borough of Hull. Known at the time as the Yorkshire Dandy on account of his fine appearance and flowery speech, he stood on the Whig doctrine of Parliamentary reform, the abolition of unnecessary positions and pensions, peace, retrenchment, the abolition of the slave trade, and religious and civil liberties. After three days of open voting and official scrutiny, Graham entered parliament as the junior member by a mere four votes. However, he had gained the seat at great personal expense and notwithstanding other donations accrued a debt of £6,000. In January 1820, George IV succeeded thus forcing a dissolution of parliament. As a result of his past support for radical measures he failed to gain the necessary support to retain the Yorkshire seat and in consequence he stood and won the Cornish seat of St Ives, heading the poll with 205 votes. At Westminster, Graham maintained his campaign for economy, generally opposing the Government’s proposed increase in the Royal Family’s Civil List. However his parliamentary career, although undistinguished, now became brief: when charged with bribing the electorate he resigned rather than contest an expensive suit. [8]

Tory A conservative political philosophy

A Tory is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved in the English culture throughout history. The Tory ethos has been summed up with the phrase "God, Queen, and Country". Tories generally advocate monarchism, and were historically of a high church Anglican religious heritage, opposed to the liberalism of the Whig faction.

Brookss London gentlemens club

Brooks's is a gentlemen's club in St James's Street, London. It is one of the oldest and most exclusive gentlemen's clubs in London.

The Whigs were a political faction and then a political party in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with their rivals, the Tories. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic. The Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained totally dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy (1715–1760) was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels. The Whigs thoroughly purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from roughly 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy. The first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.

Agricultural improver

Netherby Hall Netherby Hall - - 280055.jpg
Netherby Hall

Graham returned to Cumberland and began a programme of improving the family estate at Netherby, with the intention that such improvements would benefit both the landowner and the tenant. He began with a one-off gesture, wiping out the arrears of his tenants debts. He reduced the number of small uneconomic farms on the estate; he rebuilt the cottages and farm-buildings, introduced tile drains whereby much marshy land was reclaimed, and improved the breed of stock on the estate, spending in excess of £100,000 over a twenty-year period. He eventually studied the Corn Laws and their effects upon the community, publishing his conclusions in a pamphlet of 114 pages entitled Corn and Currency, which brought him into prominence as a man of advanced Liberal opinions. He argued that liberal economics rather than protection would best serve the interests of the landowners. High duties on foreign corn had failed to help British agriculture and should be cut to a level where they simply balanced the landowner’s taxes and rates. Whereas high prices increased rents to the benefit of the landowners they conferred no advantage to the labourer and were an injury to the productive and a tax on the unproductive classes of the community. His general conclusions were in favour of free trade and free banking. [9] He was also a founder member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (later RSPCA). [10]

Arthuret civil parish in the Carlisle district of Cumbria, England

Arthuret is a civil parish in the Carlisle district of Cumbria, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 2,434, increasing to 2,471 at the 2011 Census. The parish includes the small town of Longtown and the village of Easton. It is bounded by the River Esk to the west and the River Lyne to the south.

The Corn Laws were tariffs and other trade restrictions on imported food and grain ("corn") enforced in the United Kingdom between 1815 and 1846. The word "corn" in British English denotes all cereal grains, such as wheat and barley. They were designed to keep grain prices high to favour domestic producers, and represented British mercantilism. The Corn Laws blocked the import of cheap grain, initially by simply forbidding importation below a set price, and later by imposing steep import duties, making it too expensive to import grain from abroad, even when food supplies were short.

Pamphlet unbound booklet containing text

A pamphlet is an unbound book. Pamphlets may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths, called a leaflet or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddle stapled at the crease to make a simple book.

On 8 July 1819, Graham married Frances ("Fanny") Callander, of Craigforth and Ardkinglas, a famous society beauty. In 1824 he succeeded to the baronetcy.

Baronet A hereditary title awarded by the British Crown

A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess, is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown. The practice of awarding baronetcies was originally introduced in England in the 14th century and was used by James I of England in 1611 as a means of raising funds.

Representative for Cumberland

Sir James Graham Sir James Graham.jpg
Sir James Graham

At the general election of 1826, Graham, who stood upon principles identical to those advocated when contesting Hull, became the senior member for the city of Carlisle. It was a remarkable contest. When Sir Philip Musgrave, 8th Baronet (1794–1827), the Tory candidate, ventured into one of the poorest districts of the city, he was confronted by a group of non-electors seeking his opinions relating to the Corn Laws. When his views failed to meet with their approval he received a storm of abuse followed by a shower of stones, and a general disturbance ensued. Members of the corporation and the constabulary were man-handled and thrown into the Milldam. In the course of the afternoon a detachment of the 55th regiment of Foot appeared to quell the disturbance. The mob received the troops with a volley of stones, the troops reacted with a hail of ball cartridges and when the smoke cleared two young women lay dead and numerous others lay wounded. [11] In 1828, the death of John Christian Curwen caused a vacancy in the representation of the county of Cumberland. As a result, Graham resigned his seat and entered parliament in an uncontested election on their behalf. [12] In 1830 the celebrated "Dalston Dinner" took place, a public dinner given to Graham by a number of the freeholders of the county in testimony of their approbation of his conduct in parliament. During the proceedings Graham declared himself a "party man" under the Blue flag of freedom; declaring.

Sir Philip Musgrave, 8th Baronet was an English baronet and politician.

A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body, including cities, counties, towns, townships, charter townships, villages, and boroughs. The term can also be used to describe municipally owned corporations.

Constabulary may have several definitions:

I became a Blue, Blue I am, Blue I have always been, and Blue I trust I shall ever continue to be; I am not ashamed to own it, and God forbid the Blues shall ever have cause to be ashamed of me ... The Tories are a "Court Party" aiming at the advancement of kingly power, while the Whigs, the "Country Party", fought to uphold popular rights, defend popular feelings, and forward the happiness of the people. [13]

At the end of July, following the dissolution of parliament, Graham and Sir John Lowther both returned for Cumberland. In 1830 he first made a name in the House of Commons by a motion for the reduction of official salaries, and he increased his reputation by an attack on the salaries received by privy councillors. This gave him a position as one of the more advanced reformers, and in November Earl Grey offered him the post of First Lord of the Admiralty. He was also sworn of the Privy Council. [14] Although this precipitated the need for a new election he was returned unopposed. Graham later became a member of the committee, along with Lord Durham, Lord Duncannon and Lord John Russell charged with the task of compiling and introducing the Great Reform Act of 1832. [15] From 1832 to 1837 he sat for the eastern division of the county of Cumberland. [2]

Break with Whiggism

Sir James Graham as a child Sir James Graham as a child.jpg
Sir James Graham as a child

By the summer of 1834, Graham had become a successful minister, the navy was reformed, apart from impressments, and seamen’s conditions had improved. The Reform Act was assured, and European peace secured. All was well except in Ireland where the unfair system of raising tithes for the church and the problems relating to land tenure prevailed. The discontent of the Irish Catholic majority was strong enough to prevent the collection of tithes to support an antagonistic and as they believed heretical church. Parliament proposed that all compositions for tithes should cease, and that an annual land tax should be paid, out of which provision should be made for the clergy and other tithe owners. As such in 1833, the British Government introduced the Irish Church Temporalities Bill which proposed the administrative and financial restructuring of the Church. The bill sought to reduce the number of both bishoprics and archbishoprics from 22 to 12, to change the structure of the leases of Church lands and to apply the revenues saved by these changes for the use of parishes. [11] Since Graham believed that the union of the two countries principally rested on the church and that any meddling with the establishment would inevitably lead to its downfall he resigned from the government. He did not act alone, Lord Stanley, Lord Ripon and the Duke of Richmond also tendered their resignations. [16] He now became a member of the Derby Dilly. In January 1835, notwithstanding criticism from significant parts of the Cumbrian electorate, Graham reassured his supporters that he still favoured peace, retrenchment and reform and in consequence he was returned unopposed at the general election. [17] On 30 June that year Graham crossed the floor of the House and henceforth sat on the Tory side. Graham now joined the Cumberland Conservative Association, and forsook the Carlisle Journal in favour of the Carlisle Patriot.

Cumberland rejection

Graham’s conduct in parliament alienated him from many of his traditional Whig supporters. In 1837, upon the death of William IV and the announcement of a general election, a requisition signed by over 2,500 county freeholders sought the election of two alternative Whig candidates. On the day of the election, freeholders flocked from every part of the division, to offer support for the reform candidates. The cavalcade of horsemen, four a breast, man of whom had ridden many miles that morning, stretched over half a mile. Flags and banner, advertising the disapproval of Graham, flew profusely, many of them bearing skits relating to Grahams past conduct. On the hustings, Graham found it difficult to obtain a hearing, and in consequence he submitted to his opponents cries. At the close of the poll the numbers were: for Francis Aglionby 2,294; for William James 2,124; for Graham 1,505. Thus ending Grahams' influence in his home county. [11]

Early conservative years

In 1838, Sir Hugh Owen, 2nd Baronet (1803–1891), the sitting member for the Pembroke constituency accepted the Chiltern Hundreds on his father’s instruction and Graham re-entered parliament unopposed. In 1838 he was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow, an award quickly followed with the Freedom of the same city. [18] However, Grahams representation in Wales was short lived. In 1838 Owen's mounting debts led him to flee from his creditors and by 1841 he found it necessary to return to his borough seat; a situation which Graham felt honour bound to comply. In the 1841 general election Robert Williams (1811–1890) gave up his seat and influence to Graham who returned to parliament unopposed as member for the Dorchester constituency. When Robert Peel became Prime Minister he rewarded Graham with a cabinet position of Home Secretary. In 1842 Graham tried to improve state education in the industrial districts by introducing a new Factories Bill to replace existing Factories Act of 1833, which limited children under 13 to an eight-hour day and provided for 2 hours compulsory education. However, a disagreement between the Anglicans and the Dissenters forced a withdrawal of the measure. Graham re-introduced the bill on 7 March 1843, [19] which when passed allowed children aged between 8 and 13 to work 6.5 hours per day, with 3.5 hours of education, and women and young persons a maximum of 12 hours each day. Northern reformers expressed a hatred for Graham; after a fierce parliamentary battle, the bill finally received royal assent after both Peel and Graham threatened to resign. As home secretary he incurred considerable odium in Scotland, by his unconciliating policy on the church question prior to the Disruption of 1843.

Mazzini letters

In June 1844, Thomas Slingsby Duncombe brought parliament's attention to an event where certain letters addressed to a foreign refugee had been opened and copied in the course of transmission through the London Post Office under the warrant of Graham at the Home Office. [20] The letters sent by Emilio and Attilo Bandiera residing at the time in Corfu, were addressed to Giuseppe Mazzini, an Italian freedom fighter, in which they disclosed their intention to take part in an armed insurrection upon the coast at Calabria. Duncombe suggested that the Foreign Office had then passed the information to the Neapolitan court through a link with the Austrian authorities. When the group landed at the pre-arranged place they were instantly killed. Although a secret committee at parliaments request exonerated the government, the discussion was renewed in the following session, after Richard Lalor Sheil censured the government for its actions. Graham vigorously defended his actions stating that the Secretary of State had been invested by Parliament with the power in certain cases, of issuing, of issuing warrants directing letters to be opened. The division took place in a very thin house and the government survived by a mere 16 votes. The events haunted Graham for the rest of his life as he told his nephew: "he knew, when he was gone, none of his reforms would be recollected, but that he would only be remembered as the man who opened the letters of the Italians." [21]

Free trade

Notwithstanding his apparent support for a degree of relaxation in the Corn Law legislation as stated ‘Corn and Currency’, Graham remained hostile to major reform. In 1839, he argued that repeal would ruin British agriculture; he supported protection and defended a fixed duty. He supported William Huskisson’s policy in 1828, he drew up the 1833 report, supported the continuation of the Corn Laws in 1834, and opposed Lord John Russell’s fixed duty plan in 1836. However, by 1842 his hard line approach had begun to soften. Henceforth he played a leading role in planning a policy which began by including the introduction of a sliding scale for a levy on the price of corn, the reintroduction of income tax, and a massive change in overall tariffs. Old prohibitions were removed and duties on raw, partly manufactured and fully made imports were limited to a maximum of 5, 12 and 20 per cent. It was argued that the loss occasioned by reducing duties on 769 of some 1200 durable articles would be covered by increased trade and production. [22] In 1843, Graham admitted to the Commons that ‘free Trade’ principles were the principles of common sense. In 1845, with Graham’s support, 430 of the remaining 813 dutiable articles were freed, and other duties lowered, all export taxes abolished, payments on raw cotton and glass ended and timber and sugar preferences modified. In early 1846, Peel proposed, in a three-hour speech, that the Corn Laws would be abolished on 1 February 1849, after three years of gradual reductions of the tariff, leaving only a 1 shilling duty per quarter. [23] Benjamin Disraeli and Lord George Bentinck emerged as the most forceful opponents of repeal in Parliamentary debates, arguing that repeal would weaken landowners socially and politically and therefore destroy the ‘territorial constitution’ of Britain by empowering commercial interests. [24] On the third reading of Peel's Bill of Repeal (Importation Act 1846) on 15 May, MPs voted 327 votes to 229 (a majority of 98) to repeal the Corn Laws. [25] On 25 June the Duke of Wellington persuaded the House of Lords to pass it. On that same night Graham's Preservation of Life Bill (Irish Coercion) was defeated in the Commons by 292 to 219 by ‘a combination of Whigs, Radicals, and Tory protectionists’. [26] On 29 June Peel resigned as Prime Minister. As a result, the Conservative Party divided and the Whigs formed a government with Russell as Prime Minister. Those Conservatives who were loyal to Peel became known as the Peelites, they included Graham, the Earl of Aberdeen and William Ewart Gladstone.


In the 1847 general election, the Ripon constituency returned Graham unopposed. He had resigned from the Carlton Club, and although he received offers of cabinet positions from both sides of the political spectrum, he remained loyal to Peel and hostile to any reversal of Free Trade legislation. He saw the repeal of the Navigation Acts as a vital step in the liberal march, protection or no protection was the battlefield between reaction and progress. After Peel’s untimely death, Graham and Aberdeen became the unofficial leaders of the 100 conservative members who had supported free trade. However Graham had lost the support of the influential men who controlled the Ripon seat and while he contemplated his next move a reacquisition arrived from Carlisle, in which almost 500 electors had promised support. On 7 July 1852, Graham returned in triumph at the head of the poll. [27] At the victory dinner, Graham mocked protection calling it ‘outdoor relief to distressed landlords’, he also reaffirmed is support for restrained reform. [28] In December that year the Tory government resigned and Lord Aberdeen became prime minister of a Whig, Peelite, Radical, Liberal alliance. Graham now returned to the Cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty. Shortly afterwards the Eastern Question raised its ugly head and within weeks the Britain and France drifted into the Crimean War with Russia. Graham ordered the fleet to sail through the Dardanelles and eventually into the Black Sea. In April 1854, Queen Victoria recognised Graham services by awarding him the Civil Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. [29] However, once installed notwithstanding previously stating that “If driven to war, he was for waging it with the utmost vigour and inflicting as much injury as they could on Russia” the naval action stalled and the war dragged on. Graham was responsible for the choice of Sir Charles Napier to command the fleet in the Baltic. Sir Charles did not relish the inactivity to which he was reduced by the strength of the fortresses of Cronstadt and Sveaborg, which he was forbidden to attack, except in conjunction with the French fleet. The French refused to join in the attempt, and Sir Charles loudly complained on his return of his treatment by the admiralty. It does not seem that Graham was to blame; the shutting up of the Russian fleet was a service of sufficient importance without the glory of an attack upon fortresses which would have cost much bloodshed without an adequate return. On 29 January 1855, John Arthur Roebuck carried a motion demanding an inquiry into the conduct of the war [30] and three weeks later Aberdeen and Graham tendered their resignations. In 1857, Graham opposed Lord Palmerston’s Gunboat diplomacy when bombarding Canton after the Chinese authority’s seized the Lorcha Arrow. Notwithstanding the unpopularity of this decision he was returned in the election at Carlisle. However the Peelite party had been routed, to all intent it was no more. He contested Carlisle again in 1859, where with his nephew their joint election went against the general trend and returned two liberal candidates. Later that year a group of 280 like minded members, including Graham and Lawson, met in Willis's Rooms to form the Liberal Party. A two party system had returned to British politics. On 25 October 1861, Graham died, exactly four years after the death of his wife.


Graham was as a speaker exceedingly polished, but tended to pomposity, and carried the habit of quotation to inordinate lengths. His speeches were enlivened by epigrams and by passages of splendid rhetoric; but their construction was always artificial. He is remembered as an orator for a number of brilliant sayings rather than for any great speech. He never succeeded in getting outside himself and identifying himself with his audience. Similarly his political judgment was too much swayed by personal considerations, and he said of himself: ‘In a party sense it must be owned that mine has been a devious career.’ He was too self-conscious in all that he did to be a great statesman; but he was an impressive personality in the House of Commons, and was an able administrator. Where he failed he failed not through want of foresight or political intelligence, but through a defect of personal sympathy. [31]


At the time of his death the Oxford dandy, the amateur diplomat, and the glamorous parliamentarian had served in many fields, and become an important force in the creation of Victorian Britain. But what did Graham think of his own achievements? In 1852, he reminded the Carlisle electorate of his past achievements:

I helped, when out of office, to secure for a large body of my fellow subjects in the United Kingdom a perfect equality of civil rights without regard to religious distinction. In the service of the crown I helped to emancipate the slaves in the British dominions, and to wash away that great reproach from British freedom by emancipating the Negroes in our colonies. In office along with Lord Grey and Lord John Russell I was entrusted with the preparation of the Reform Act, and on that occasion I had the good fortune greatly to extend the popular rights of my fellow citizens. In power I was a party to the issuing of that commission of inquiry from which emanated the great measure of municipal reform that established the principle of self-government in the corporations of the kingdom. Then, I am sure there is not a popular assembly in the kingdom in which the name I am about to mention will not be received with silence and respect, in conjunction with my departed friend Sir Robert Peel. I contributed greatly to supply the people of this country with cheap food, absolutely to repeal the duties on raw materials of manufacture, thus cheapening the price of food and clothing to the poor and needy. Still more I did my best, and not unsuccessfully, to establish peace in Europe on a rock of safety, by leading to those amicable relations with all the foreign powers, which free trade and extended commerce never fail to bring in their train. Before I left office I prepared the County Courts Bills, and gave it to my successor, and almost without any change that bill became the law of the land. The other day, when out of office, unbought, and without any personal object, I devoted almost the whole of my time to a commission to inquire into the abuse of the Court of Chancery, from which has emanated that measure of Chancery reform for which Lord Derby’s Government takes so much credit. [11]

His nephew offered a fitting tribute:

It seemed to me that Sir James Graham's actions, often wrong no doubt, were ever actuated by a deesire for his country's and not for his own, advancement, and what higher credit can there be for a statesman? I believe he was the principal factor (after Cobden and Bright in converting Sir Robert Peel to Free Trade, the only great political reform which in my day has been an absolute and complete success. I have heard Mr Bright say that he was one of the cleverest men whom he ever met. [21]


Graham married Frances ("Fanny") Callander, of Craigforth and Ardkinglas, a famous society beauty, on 8 July 1819. She died in October 1857. Graham died at Netherby, Cumberland, on 25 October 1861, aged 69, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son, Frederick.

He was godfather to James Graham Goodenough (who was named after him). [32]

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The Derby Dilly was a name given to a group of dissident Whigs who split from the main party under the leadership of Edward, Lord Stanley on the issue of the reorganisation of the Church of Ireland in 1834. Stanley and three others resigned from the cabinet of Lord Grey on this particular issue but other factors included their fear that the Whigs were appeasing their radical and Irish allies with further reforms.

Sir Frederick Fergus Graham, 5th Baronet was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom.

East Cumberland is a former county constituency in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) by the bloc vote system of election.

Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 2nd Baronet of Isel was an English politician.

Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 3rd Baronet, of Isell British politician

Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 3rd Baronet of Isell FRS was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1718 to 1737.

Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 1st Baronet, of Brayton businessman

Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 1st Baronet, of Brayton, was an English landowner, businessman and investor in the new industrial age. He was of the Lawson baronets.

Montague Gore, was a British politician and author.

Sir Gilfrid Lawson, 9th Baronet, was one of the Lawson Baronets.

John Hodgson-Hinde, known as John Hodgson until 11 August 1836, was a British Conservative and Tory politician.

Sir Frederick Fletcher-Vane, 2nd Baronet politician

Sir Frederick Fletcher-Vane, 2nd Baronet, was a British politician, landowner and aristocrat. He was MP for the pocket borough of Winchelsea, between 1792 and 1794, the borough of Carlisle, between 1796 and 1802, and again for Winchelsea, between 1806 and 1807. Sir Frederick was the 2nd Baronet of Hutton and a descendant of Sir Henry Vane the Elder. In 1788 he served as High Sheriff of Cumberland.


  1. House of Commons: Horncastle to Hythe
  2. 1 2 3 House of Commons: Cornwall to Cynon Valley
  3. House of Commons: Paddington to Platting
  4. House of Commons: Devizes to Dorset West
  5. House of Commons: Radcliffe-cum-Farnworth to Rochdale
  6. Torrens pages 77-78
  7. Ward page 25
  8. Ward pages 24-45
  9. Corn and Currency
  10. Arthur W. Moss, Valiant Crusade: The History of the RSPCA (London: Cassell, 1961), p 23. Kathryn Shevelow, For the Love of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement (New York: Henry Holt, 2008) p 269.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Carlisle Journal, 26 October 1861
  12. Carlisle Journal, 17 January 1829
  13. Carlisle Journal, 6 August 1830
  14. "No. 18748". The London Gazette . 23 November 1830. p. 2449.
  15. Ward pages 97-105
  16. Ward page 136
  17. Carlisle Patriot, 17 January 1835
  18. Ward pages 165-166
  19. Hansard, 7 March 1843 vol67 cols 422–424
  20. Hansard 14 June 1844 vol 75 cols 892–906
  21. 1 2 Russell page 24
  22. Ward pages 172-189
  23. Hirst, p. 35.
  24. Coleman, p. 135–136.
  25. Hansard 15 May 1846 vol 86 cols 616-727
  26. Hansard, 25 June 1846 vol 87 cols 966-1027
  27. Carlisle Journal, 8 July 1852
  28. Wood page 257
  29. Wood page 276
  30. Hansard 29 January 1855 vol 136 cols 1121-233
  31. Mandell Creighton (1890). "Graham, James Robert George"  . In Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of National Biography . 22. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  32. Wikisource:Goodenough, James Graham (DNB00)

Further reading

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Staniforth
George Denys
Member of Parliament for Kingston upon Hull
With: John Mitchell
Succeeded by
John Mitchell
Daniel Sykes
Preceded by
Sir Walter Stirling
Samuel Stephens
Member of Parliament for St Ives
With: Lyndon Evelyn
Succeeded by
Lyndon Evelyn
Sir Christopher Hawkins
Preceded by
William James
Sir Philip Musgrave
Member of Parliament for Carlisle
With: Sir Philip Musgrave 1826–1827
James Law Lushington 1827–1829
Succeeded by
James Law Lushington
Sir William Scott
Preceded by
Sir John Lowther
John Cristian Curwen
Member of Parliament for Cumberland
With: Sir John Lowther 1829–1831
William Blamire 1831–1832
constituency divided
New constituency Member of Parliament for East Cumberland
With: William Blamire 1832–1836
William James 1836–1837
Succeeded by
William James
Francis Aglionby
Preceded by
Hugh Owen Owen
Member of Parliament for Pembroke
Succeeded by
Sir John Owen
Preceded by
Henry Ashley
Robert Williams
Member of Parliament for Dorchester
With: Henry Ashley
Succeeded by
George Lionel Dawson-Damer
Henry Sturt
Preceded by
Sir George Cockburn
Edwin Lascelles
Member of Parliament for Ripon
With: Edwin Lascelles
Succeeded by
Edwin Lascelles
William Beckett
Preceded by
William Nicholson Hodgson
Philip Henry Howard
Member of Parliament for Carlisle
With: Joseph Ferguson 1852–1857
William Nicholson Hodgson 1857–1859
Wilfrid Lawson 1859–1861
Succeeded by
Edmund Potter
Wilfrid Lawson
Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Melville
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
The Lord Auckland
Preceded by
The Marquess of Normanby
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
Sir George Grey
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Wood
Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Peel
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Marquess of Breadalbane
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
James Graham
(of Netherby)
Succeeded by
Frederick Graham