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Viscount Palmerston - Parliament Square, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.057 W 000° 07.624
30U E 699395 N 5709448
Quick Description: Palmerston's statue is along the northern edge of Parliament Square with those of Lloyd George and Jan Smuts.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/28/2012 12:40:45 PM
Waymark Code: WMEQR1
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Metro2
Views: 9

Long Description:
Lord Palmerston is without a doubt one of the most famous people ever to serve as Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was a man dedicated to his country and to politics and spent the majority of his adult life in and around the Palace of Westminster and government offices. He was seen as a great reforming Prime Minister, desperate to keep Britain great by working hard to get a better deal for everyone.

This slightly larger than life-size bronze statue of Viscount Palmerston is by the sculptor H Young and was cast in 1859. The statue shows Palmerston standing with his left leg slightly in front of his right. His left arm is bent at the elbow with his forearm extended and the fingers on his hand extended with the palm up. His right arm is down by his side with a cape or cloak resting over his rest. He is wearing a knee length double=breasted coat that is fully buttoned. He is bare headed and has luxurious side whiskers. His gaze is slightly to the left towards the Palace of Westminster.

The statue is Grade II listed and its entry, at the English Heritage website (visit link), describes it thus:

"Statue of Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston G.V. II Memorial statue. Unveiled 1876, by T Woolner, the pedestal designed by E M Barry. Bronze standing figure on granite pedestal."

The Spartacus Educational website (visit link) tells us:

"Henry John Temple, son of the Irish peer, Viscount Palmerston, was born at Broadlands, Hampshire, on 29th October, 1784. Educated at Harrow School and St. John's College, Cambridge, he succeeded to the Irish peerage on his father's death on 16th April 1802.

At the age of twenty-two Palmerston, a Tory, paid £1,500 to became the MP for Horsham. The legality of the election was challenged and the following year Sir Leonard Holmes, arranged for Palmerston to become MP for his pocket borough of Newtown on the Isle of Wight (in 1811 he became MP for Cambridge University). One of the conditions set by Holmes was that Palmerston was not allowed, even during election campaigns, to visit Newtown. Later that year, Palmerston's guardian, Lord Malmesbury, arranged for him to become appointed as lord of the admiralty in the government of the Duke of Portland.

In October 1809, the new Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval, offered Palmerston the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. As he was only twenty-five years old, Palmerston thought he was too young for this high office and instead accepted the post of Secretary at War. Lord Palmerston held this post for twenty years serving five Prime Ministers, Lord Liverpool, George Canning, Lord Goderich and the Duke of Wellington.

Although he had always been a member of Tory administrations, Lord Palmerston accepted the offer to join Lord Grey and his Whig government in 1830. Palmerston became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and for the next two years was preoccupied with persuading France and Holland to accept that independence of Belgium.

One of the condition of being a member of Lord Grey's government was to support the Whig policy of parliamentary reform. Although Palmerston had previously been opposed to parliamentary reform, he agreed to support Grey's proposed measures. The decision upset his electors at Cambridge University and he was forced to move to Bletchley and when this seat disappeared as a result of the 1832 Reform Act he became the MP for South Hampshire.

Between 1832 and 1852 Lord Palmerston served both Whig (Lord Melbourne, Lord John Russell) and Tory (Sir Robert Peel) governments. Although Palmerston had the support of most of Parliament, he was strongly disliked by Queen Victoria. Palmerston believed the main objective of the government's foreign policy should be to increase Britain's power in the world. This sometimes involved adopting policies that embarrassed and weakened foreign governments. Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, on the other hand, believed that the British government should do what it could to help preserve European royal families against revolutionary groups advocating republicanism. This was very important to Victoria and Albert as they were closely related to several of the European royal families that faced the danger of being overthrown.

Queen Victoria also objected to Palmerston's sexual behaviour. On one occasion he had attempted to seduce one of Victoria's ladies in waiting. Palmerston entered Lady Dacre's bedroom while staying as Victoria's guest at Windsor Castle. Only Lord Melbourne's intervention saved Palmerston from being removed from office.

In the summer of 1850, Queen Victoria asked Lord John Russell to dismiss Palmerston. Russell told the queen he was unable to do this because Palmerston was very popular in the House of Commons. However, in December 1851, Palmerston congratulated Louis Napoleon Bonaparte on his coup in France. This action upset Russell and other radical members of the Whig party and this time he accepted Victoria's advice and sacked Palmerston. Six weeks later Palmerston took revenge by helping to bring down Lord John Russell's government.

In 1855 Lord Palmerston, aged seventy, became Prime Minister. Queen Victoria found it difficult to work with him but their relationship gradually improved. She later wrote in her journal: "We had, God knows! terrible trouble with him about Foreign Affairs. Still, as Prime Minister he managed affairs at home well, and behaved to me well. But I never liked him."

Palmerston first period as Prime Minister lasted for three years. His second period started in 1859 when he was seventy-five years old. The main foreign events that he had to deal with during this period included the American Civil War and Napoleon III's war with Austria. The main domestic issue involved the continuing debate over parliamentary reform. Palmerston was totally opposed to any extension of the franchise and during 1864 came into conflict with William Gladstone, his Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was a strong supporter of reform. Palmerston won the argument and Gladstone had to wait until he became Prime Minister before he could introduce these measures.

Parliament was dissolved on 6th July 1865. Although nearly eighty-one years old, Palmerston refused to retire and once again was elected to Parliament. However, before he could take up office he became very ill and was forced to stay at his estate at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire.

Lord Palmerston died on 18th October, 1865."

URL of the statue: [Web Link]

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