Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby

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Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby (1762-1847), the eldest son of Nathaniel Ryder, 1st Baron Harrowby (d. 1803), was born in London on the 22 December 1762. His grandfather Sir Dudley Ryder (1691?1756) became a member of parliament and Solicitor-General owing to the favour of Sir Robert Walpole in 1733; in 1737 he was appointed Attorney-General and three years later he was knighted; in 1754 he was made Lord Chief Justice of the King's bench and a privy councillor, the patent creating him a peer having been just signed by the king, but not passed, when he died on the 25 May 1756. His only son Nathaniel, who was member of parliament for Tiverton for twenty years, was created Baron Harrowby in 1776.

Educated at Harrow School and St John's College, Cambridge, Dudley Ryder became member of parliament for Tiverton in 1784 and joint-Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs in 1789. In 1791 he was appointed co-Paymaster of the Forces, having been made Vice-President of the Board of Trade in 1790, but he resigned the positions and also that of Treasurer of the Navy when he succeeded to his father's barony in June 1803. In 1804 he was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and in 1805 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under his intimate friend William Pitt; in the latter year he was sent on a special and important mission to the emperors of Austria and Russia and the king of Prussia, and for the long period between 1812 and 1827 he was Lord President of the Council. After Canning's death in 1827 he refused to serve George IV as prime minister and he never held office again, although he continued to take part in politics, being especially prominent during the deadlock which preceded the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832. Harrowby's long association with the Tories did not prevent him from assisting to remove the disabilities of Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters, or from supporting the movement for electoral reform; he was also in favour of the emancipation of the slaves. The earl died at his Staffordshire residence, Sandon Hall, on the 26th of December 1847, being, as Charles Greville says, "the last of his generation and of the colleagues of Mr Pitt, the sole survivor of those stirring times and mighty contests."


Preceded by:
The Lord Mulgrave and
The Duke of Montrose
Paymaster of the Forces
1791–1800
(jointly with Thomas Steele)
Succeeded by:
Thomas Steele and
George Canning
Preceded by:
Henry Dundas
Treasurer of the Navy
1800–1801
Succeeded by:
Charles Bragge
Preceded by:
Lord Hawkesbury
Foreign Secretary
1804–1805
Succeeded by:
The Lord Mulgrave
Preceded by:
The Earl of Buckinghamshire
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1805–1806
Succeeded by:
The Earl of Derby
Preceded by:
Robert Dundas
President of the Board of Control
1809
Succeeded by:
Robert Dundas
Preceded by:
The Viscount Sidmouth
Lord President of the Council
1812–1827
Succeeded by:
The Duke of Portland

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