Cardwell, Edward
b. 1813-07-24
d. 1886-02-15
Edward Cardwell, first Viscount Cardwell, was born 24 July 1813 in Liverpool, England. Cardwell was the Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1864-66, a position in which he managed the various dependent colonies of the United Kingdom.1
Although he did have a degree in classics and mathematics from Winchester and Balliol College, Cardwell was primarily a politician representing the Liberal and Peelite parties. One of Cardwell's early political positions was as Secretary to the Treasury for Sir Robert Peel. Cardwell left this position a year later, in 1846, when Peel left office. The following year, he became a Member of Parliament for Liverpool, and several years later in 1852 became the president of the Board of Trade for Aberdeen's coalition government. That year Cardwell also lost his Liverpool seat, but from 1853-74 served instead as Liberal Member of Parliament for Oxford City.2
Cardwell most successfully served as the Secretary of State for the Colonies, a position he held from 1864-66. In this position, he began withdrawing British battalions from British North America, an act which began to lay the foundations of the Canadian federation. Under William Ewart Gladstone in 1868, Cardwell became the Secretary of State for War for the Liberals. During his six years in this position, he instituted a series of reforms that came to be known as the Cardwell Reforms, which mainly dealt with reducing military budgets and abolishing the ability to purchase military titles.3
When Gladstone retired, Cardwell became a candidate for his succession, but due to his advancing age, Cardwell declined the position. After being re-elected in his Oxford seat, he accepted the peerage as Viscount Cardwell of Ellerbeck. By this time however, Cardwell was suffering from an unnamed and lingering illness and on 15 February 1886 at the Villa Como, Torquay, he died and was buried in Highgate cemetery.4
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