From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham - 4th October 1834

 

THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF DURHAM WAS ADMITTED A FREE BURGESS OF THE ROYAL BURGH OF DUNDEE, AS A TESTIMONY OF THE RESPECT OF THE COUNCIL FOR HIS CHARACTER AS A SENATOR, AND AS A MARK OF THEIR APPRECIATION OF HIS SUCCESSFUL EXERTIONS IN THE CAUSE OF REFORM.


JOHN GEORGE LAMBTON, first EARL OF DURHAM, was the son of WILLIAM HENRY LAMBTON, Esquire of Lambton Castle, and of ANNE, daughter of the fourth EARL OF JERSEY. He was born on 13th April, 1792, and was trained in the midst of ultra Radicalism, his father having been the Chairman of the Society of the Friends of the People, which bad been founded by EARL GREY. In 1813 he was returned to Parliament as member for the County of Durham, and at once took a leading position in the extreme section of the Whig party. He advocated more sweeping reforms in representation than any of his colleagues, and in 1821 he suggested a scheme of equal electoral districts, which is in advance even of our own day. His marriage with a daughter of EARL GREY (his second wife) linked him more closely with that nobleman's party; and he joined the Ministry of his father in law as Lord Privy Seal in 1830, and was one of the Committee of the Cabinet that drew up the Reform Bill of 1832. He had been raised to the Peerage as BARON DURHAM in 1828, and was consequently in the House of Lords when that important measure was brought up, and gave it most effective support. In 1833 he was compelled through ill health to resign his office, and he was then created EARL OF DURHAM. During the summer of that year he was sent on a special mission to the EMPEROR OF RUSSIA, returning from that country in the following year. He was present at the National Festival held in Edinburgh 'on 15th September, 1834, in honour of EARL GREY, and delivered a speech of remarkable power, which seemed to mark him out as the probable successor of the veteran "Father of Reform" in the leadership of the advanced Whig party. But his indifferent health precluded him from facing the arduous labour which such a position would have necessitated. On 4th October he visited Dundee, and received his burgess ticket and an address from the Town Council in the presence of a large assembly of the inhabitants that met in front of the Town House, there being then no public hall of sufficient capacity in the burgh to accommodate them. In 1837 he returned to Russia upon another embassy, and shortly afterwards was sent to Canada as Governor General, being invested with extraordinary powers to enable him to quell the rebellion which then raged in that quarter. The Ministry of VISCOUNT MELBOURNE did not afford him the support which he required, and he resigned his appointment after holding it for a few months, and came back to England. The breach thus caused between himself and the Whig party seemed again to point him out as the coming leader of the Radicals, but his continued illness prevented him from engaging in political life. He started for the Continent in search of health in the summer of 1840, fell ill at Dover, was carried to the Isle of Wight, and died at Cowes on 28th July of that year. His eldest surviving son, GEORGE FREDERICK D'ARCY LAMBTON, succeeded him, and the son of the latter is now third EARL OF DURHAM.

 

 

Iain D. McIntosh, Friends of Dundee City Archives