The Marquess of Lansdowne
Portrait by Henry Walton, c. 1805
Leader of the House of Lords
In office
6 July 1846 – 27 February 1852
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byThe Duke of Wellington
Succeeded byThe Earl of Derby
Lord President of the Council
In office
6 July 1846 – 27 February 1852
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byThe Duke of Buccleuch
Succeeded byThe Earl of Lonsdale
In office
23 April 1835 – 3 September 1841
MonarchsWilliam IV
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Melbourne
Preceded byThe Earl of Rosslyn
Succeeded byThe Lord Wharncliffe
In office
22 November 1830 – 14 November 1834
MonarchWilliam IV
Prime MinisterThe Earl Grey
The Viscount Melbourne
Preceded byThe Earl Bathurst
Succeeded byThe Earl of Rosslyn
Secretary of State for the Home Department
In office
16 July 1827 – 22 January 1828
MonarchGeorge IV
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Goderich
Preceded byWilliam Sturges Bourne
Succeeded byRobert Peel
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
5 February 1806 – 26 March 1807
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterThe Lord Grenville
Preceded byWilliam Pitt the Younger
Succeeded bySpencer Perceval
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
16 November 1809 – 31 January 1863
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne
Succeeded byThe 4th Marquess of Lansdowne
Member of Parliament
for Cambridge University
In office
15 December 1806 – 27 April 1807
Preceded byWilliam Pitt the Younger
Succeeded byVicary Gibbs
Member of Parliament
for Calne
In office
31 August 1802 – 24 October 1806
Preceded bySir Francis Baring, Bt
Succeeded byOsborne Markham
Personal details
Born(1780-07-02)2 July 1780
Lansdowne House, Mayfair, Middlesex, England
Died31 January 1863(1863-01-31) (aged 82)
Bowood House, Derry Hill, Wiltshire, England
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Lady Louisa Fox-Strangways
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Trinity College, Cambridge

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, KG, PC, FRS (2 July 1780 – 31 January 1863), known as Lord Henry Petty from 1784 to 1809, was a British statesman. In a ministerial career spanning nearly half a century, he notably served as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer and was three times Lord President of the Council.

Background and education

Lansdowne was the son of Prime Minister William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne (better known as the Earl of Shelburne), by his second marriage to Lady Louisa, daughter of John FitzPatrick, 1st Earl of Upper Ossory. He was educated at Westminster School, the University of Edinburgh, and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1][2]

Political career

He entered the House of Commons in 1802 as member for the family borough of Calne and quickly showed his mettle as a politician. In February 1806 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord Grenville's Ministry of All the Talents, being at this time member for the University of Cambridge, but he lost both his seat and his office in 1807. In 1809 he became Marquess of Lansdowne, and in the House of Lords and in society he continued to play an active part as one of the Whig leaders. His chief interest was perhaps in the question of Roman Catholic emancipation, a cause which he consistently championed, but he sympathised also with the advocates of the abolition of the slave trade and with the cause of popular education. Lansdowne, who had succeeded his cousin, Francis Thomas Fitzmaurice, as 4th Earl of Kerry in 1818, took office with George Canning in May 1827 and was Secretary of State for the Home Department from July of that year until January 1828.[1]

He was Lord President of the Council under Earl Grey and then under Lord Melbourne from November 1830 to August 1841, with the exception of the few months in 1835 when Sir Robert Peel was prime minister. He held the same office during the whole of Lord John Russell's ministry (1846–1852), and, having declined to become prime minister, sat in the cabinets of Lord Aberdeen and of Lord Palmerston, but without office. In 1857 he refused the offer of a dukedom, and he died on 31 January 1863. Lansdowne's social influence and political moderation made him one of the most powerful Whig statesmen of the time; he was frequently consulted by Queen Victoria on matters of moment, and his long official experience made his counsel invaluable to his party.[1] In Kenmare, he donated the site of the Holy Cross Church to the town. In 1864, Father John O'Sullivan (1806–1874) built the church on that site.

Other public appointments

Lansdowne chaired the inaugural meeting of the London Statistical Society, and was its first president (1834–1836). He later served a second term (1842–1844). (See The Times 15 and 17 March 1834, and John Bibby (1987) HOTS: History of Teaching Statistics.)


Photograph of Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, c. 1857

Lord Lansdowne married Lady Louisa Fox-Strangways, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Ilchester, in 1808. They had two sons and one daughter:

Louisa died in April 1851, aged 65, and Lord Lansdowne in January 1863, aged 82. His eldest son, the Earl of Kerry, had predeceased him and he was succeeded in the marquessate by his only surviving son, Henry. The latter was the father of Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, who also became a distinguished statesman.


  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lansdowne, William Petty Fitzmaurice, 1st Marquess of s.v. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 184.
  2. ^ "Fitzmaurice, Lord Henry Petty (FTSY798HP)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
In A Great Stream from a Petty-Fountain (1806), James Gillray caricatured the budget of Petty, then the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, as a stream from which his fellow Whigs fed. Petty is the fountainhead at the upper right.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byJoseph Jekyll Francis Baring, Bt Member of Parliament for Calne 18021806 With: Joseph Jekyll Succeeded byJoseph Jekyll Osborne Markham Preceded byWilliam Pitt the Younger Earl of Euston Member of Parliament for Cambridge University 18061807 With: Earl of Euston Succeeded byEarl of Euston Sir Vicary Gibbs Preceded byRobert Adair Viscount Maitland Member of Parliament for Camelford 1807–1809 With: Robert Adair Succeeded byRobert Adair Henry Brougham Political offices Preceded byWilliam Pitt the Younger Chancellor of the Exchequer 1806–1807 Succeeded bySpencer Perceval Preceded byWilliam Sturges Bourne Home Secretary 1827–1828 Succeeded bySir Robert Peel, Bt Preceded byThe Earl Bathurst Lord President of the Council 1830–1834 Succeeded byThe Earl of Rosslyn Preceded byThe Earl of Rosslyn Lord President of the Council 1835–1841 Succeeded byThe Lord Wharncliffe Preceded byThe Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry Lord President of the Council 1846–1852 Succeeded byThe Earl of Lonsdale Preceded byThe Duke of Wellington Leader of the House of Lords 1846–1852 Succeeded byThe Earl of Derby Party political offices Preceded byThe Viscount Melbourne Leader of the Whigs in the House of Lords 1842–1855 Succeeded byThe Earl Granville Preceded byThe Viscount Melbourne Leader of the British Whig Party 1842 – 1846 – with Lord John Russell Succeeded byLord John Russell Peerage of Great Britain Preceded byJohn Petty Marquess of Lansdowne 1809–1863 Succeeded byHenry Petty-Fitzmaurice Peerage of Ireland Preceded byFrancis Thomas-Fitzmaurice Earl of Kerry 1818–1863 Succeeded byHenry Petty-Fitzmaurice Academic offices Preceded byThomas Campbell Rector of the University of Glasgow 1829–1831 Succeeded byHenry Thomas Cockburn Honorary titles Preceded byThe Earl of Pembroke Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire 1827–1863 Succeeded byThe Marquess of Ailesbury Preceded byThe Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale Senior Privy Counsellor 1851–1863 Succeeded byThe Viscount Palmerston