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William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

The Right Honourable
The Viscount Melbourne
PC FRS
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer.jpg
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
18 April 1835 – 30 August 1841
Monarch William IV
Victoria
Preceded by Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Succeeded by Sir Robert Peel, Bt
In office
16 July 1834 – 14 November 1834
Monarch William IV
Preceded by The Earl Grey
Succeeded by The Duke of Wellington
Leader of the Opposition
In office
30 August 1841 – October 1842
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Succeeded by Lord John Russell
In office
14 November 1834 – 18 April 1835
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by The Duke of Wellington
Succeeded by Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Home Secretary
In office
22 November 1830 – 16 July 1834
Prime Minister The Earl Grey
Preceded by Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Succeeded by The Viscount Duncannon
Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
29 April 1827 – 21 June 1828
Prime Minister George Canning
The Viscount Goderich
The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by Henry Goulburn
Succeeded by Lord Francis Leveson-Gower
Personal details
Born (1779-03-15)15 March 1779
London, England
Died 24 November 1848(1848-11-24) (aged 69)
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, England
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Lady Caroline Ponsonby (m. 1805; d. 1828)
Children 2
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Religion Church of England
Signature Cursive signature in ink

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, PC, FRS (15 March 1779 – 24 November 1848), usually addressed as Lord Melbourne, was a British Whig statesman who served as Home Secretary (1830–1834) and Prime Minister (1834 and 1835–1841). He is best known for his intense and successful mentoring of Queen Victoria, at ages 18–21, in the ways of politics. Historians have concluded that Melbourne does not rank high as a prime minister, for there were no great foreign wars or domestic issues to handle, he lacked major achievements, and he enunciated no grand principles. "But he was kind, honest and not self-seeking." Melbourne was dismissed by King William IV in 1834, the last British prime minister to be dismissed by a monarch.

Born in London in 1779 to an aristocratic Whig family, William Lamb was the son of The 1st Viscount Melbourne and Elizabeth, Viscountess Melbourne (1751–1818), though his paternity was questioned. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he fell in with a group of Romantic Radicals that included Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Against the background of the Napoleonic Wars, Lamb served at home as captain (1803) and major (1804) in the Hertfordshire Volunteer Infantry.


Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Goulburn
Chief Secretary for Ireland
1827–1828
Succeeded by
The Lord Francis Leveson-Gower
Preceded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Home Secretary
1830–1834
Succeeded by
Viscount Duncannon
Preceded by
The Earl Grey
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
16 July 1834 – 14 November 1834
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
(caretaker, followed by)
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Leader of the House of Lords
1834
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
18 April 1835 – 30 August 1841
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by
The Duke of Wellington
Leader of the House of Lords
1835–1841
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Lubbock
Charles Kinnaird
Member of Parliament for Leominster
1806
With: John Lubbock
Succeeded by
John Lubbock
Henry Bonham
Preceded by
Sir Oswald Mosley
Member of Parliament for Portarlington
18071812
Succeeded by
Arthur Shakespeare
Preceded by
William Elliot
George Ponsonby
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
1816–1819
With: William Elliot 1816–1819
Sir James Scarlett 1819
Succeeded by
Sir James Scarlett
Sir Robert Heron, Bt
Preceded by
Thomas Brand
Sir John Saunders Sebright
Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire
1819–1826
With: Sir John Saunders Sebright
Succeeded by
Sir John Saunders Sebright
Nicolson Calvert
Preceded by
George Canning
William Henry John Scott
Member of Parliament for Newport (Isle of Wight)
1827
With: William Henry John Scott
Succeeded by
William Henry John Scott
Spencer Perceval
Preceded by
William Russell
Charles Tennyson
Member of Parliament for Bletchingley
1827–1828
With: Charles Tennyson
Succeeded by
Charles Tennyson
William Ewart
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Grey
Leaders of the British Whig Party
1834–1842
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Lord John Russell
Whig Leader in the House of Lords
1834–1842
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Peniston Lamb
Viscount Melbourne
1828–1848
Succeeded by
Frederick Lamb
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peniston Lamb
Baron Melbourne
1828–1848
Succeeded by
Frederick Lamb

  • Cecil, David (1954). Melbourne. London.  major biography focused on his psychology
  • Cecil, David (1939). The Young Melbourne: And the Story of His Marriage with Caroline Lamb. 
  • Dunkley, Henry ("VERAX") (1890). Lord Melbourne. 
  • Mandler, Peter (1 January 2008) [1 September 2004]. "Lamb, William, second Viscount Melbourne (1779–1848)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press,. 
  • Marshall, Dorothy (1976). Lord Melbourne. 
  • Mitchell, L. G. (1997). Lord Melbourne, 1779-1848. 
  • Newbould, I. D. C. (December 1976). "William IV and the Dismissal of the Whigs, 1834". Canadian Journal of History. 11 (3). 
  • Newbould, Ian D. C. (1980). "Whiggery and the Dilemma of Reform: Liberals, Radicals, and the Melbourne Administration, 1835-9". Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. 53 (128). 
  • Ziegler, Philip (1976). Melbourne: A Life of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. London. 
  • Hilton, Boyd (2006). A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England 1783–1846. Oxford. 
  • Cameron, R. H. (1976). "The Melbourne Administration, the Liberals and the Crisis of 1841". Durham University Journal. 69 (1). 
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Wikipedia

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