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Birth of Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, Foreign Secretary under Gladstone

Granville was a fixture in every Whig and Liberal government from the 1840s to the 1880s. Serving as Whig MP for Morpeth 1837-40 and Lichfield 1841-46 before succeeding to the Earldom, he first saw office under Lord Melbourne and ended his career as Gladstone’s Colonial Secretary. He led the Liberal Party in the House of Lords for over 30 years. Granville’s chief legacy was his two spells at the Foreign Office (1870-74 and 1880-85). He avoided alliances and kept Britain out of European conflicts. He pioneered international arbitration and improved relations with the United States. Granville supported Gladstone over Home Rule but, after the fall of Gladstone’s Third Administration in 1886 he largely retired from public life.