Letter to Disraeli from Lord Cranborne, 1 Feb. 1867
Dep. Hughenden 92/1, fols. 39r-40r
Intent on 'extricat[ing]' themselves from the 'Reform Dilemma' by the 'extension to the Household suffrage', Derby and Disraeli encountered opposition within the Cabinet (Dep. Hughenden 110/2, fols. 216-9, 22 December 1866). Lord Cranborne, the future Marquess of Salisbury (1830-1903) who would serve under Disraeli as Foreign Secretary, was one of those strongly opposed to widening the franchise. He doubted the viability of 'neutralising' safeguards such as multiple votes for property owners. Having helped to defeat Lord John Russell's bill he marshalled statistics to counter his own party's plans. On 25 February Disraeli's attempt to commit the Government to legislation without Cabinet support led to 'the Ten minute bill' (so-called because of last-minute agreement) and scenes of high drama before its withdrawl. Cranborne, outlining his concerns about borough franchises to Disraeli in this letter of 1 February, was unpersuaded, and resigned as Secretary of State for India with Lord Carnarvon (1831-90) and Peel's younger brother, General Peel (1799-1879) on 2 March, a move likened by Roy Jenkins to Enoch Powell's resignation with Nigel Birch and Peter Thorneycroft from the Macmillan government in 1958 (Jenkins, Gladstone, p. 270).
Return to Chapter 10
Return to Disraeli home page