Henry Goulburn

Henry Goulburn

Henry Goulburn (1784 – 1856) was an English Conservative statesman and a member of the Peelite faction after 1846.


He was born in London on 19 March 1784, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1808, he became member of parliament for Horsham.

In 1810, he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs, and two and a half years later, he was made Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. It was in this capacity that James Meehan named Goulburn, New South Wales after him, a naming that was ratified by Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

Still retaining office in the Tory government, he became a Privy Counsellor in 1821, and shortly afterwards was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, a position which he held until April 1827. Here, although frequently denounced as an Orangeman, his period of office was on the whole a successful one, and in 1823 he managed to pass the Irish Tithe Composition Bill. In January 1828 he was made Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Duke of Wellington; like his leader he disliked Roman Catholic emancipation, which he voted against in 1828.

In the domain of finance, Goulburn's chief achievements were to reduce the rate of interest on part of the national debt, and to allow anyone to sell beer upon payment of a small annual fee, a complete change of policy with regard to the drink traffic. Leaving office with Wellington in November 1830, Goulburn was Home Secretary under Sir Robert Peel for four months in 1835, and when this statesman returned to office in September 1841 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer for the second time. Although Peel himself did some of the chancellor's work, Goulburn was responsible for a further reduction in the rate of interest on the national debt, and he aided his chief in the struggle which ended in the repeal of the Corn Laws. With his colleagues, he left office in June 1846.

After representing Horsham in the House of Commons for over four years, Goulburn was successively member for St Germans, for West Looe, and for the city of Armagh. In May 1831, he was elected for Cambridge University, and he retained this seat until his death on 12 January 1856.



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