Sir James Graham, 2nd Baronet

Sir James Graham, 2nd Baronet

Sir James Robert George Graham, 2nd Baronet (1 June 1792–25 October 1861) was a British statesman. Graham Land in Antarctica is named after him.

Early life

He was born at Naworth, Cumberland, and was educated at Westminster School and Oxford University. In 1818 he was elected to parliament as a Whig member for Hull, but he lost his seat in 1820. In 1824 he succeeded to the baronetcy; and in 1826 he re-entered parliament as representative for Carlisle, a seat which he soon exchanged for the county of Cumberland. In the same year he published a pamphlet entitled "Corn and Currency", which brought him into prominence as a man of advanced Liberal opinions; and he became one of the most energetic advocates in parliament of the Reform Bill. On the formation of Earl Grey's administration he received the post of First Lord of the Admiralty, with a seat in the cabinet. From 1832 to 1837 he sat for the eastern division of the county of Cumberland. He resigned over the Irish Church question in 1834, and eventually joined the Conservatives in 1837. Sir James married on 8th July 1819, a famous society beauty Frances (Fanny) Callander of Craigforth and Ardkinglas. Their descendants are still Baronets of Netherby.

Tory years

Rejected by his former constituents in 1837, he was in 1838 elected for Pembroke, and in 1841 for Dorchester. In the latter year he took office under Sir Robert Peel as Home Secretary, a post he retained until 1846. As home secretary he incurred considerable odium in Scotland, by his unconciliating policy on the church question prior to the disruption of 1843; and in 1844 the detention and opening of letters at the post-office by his warrant raised a storm of public indignation, which was hardly allayed by the favorable report of a parliamentary committee of investigation. When the party broke up over the Corn Laws he followed Peel. From 1846 to 1852 he was out of office; but in the latter year he joined Lord Aberdeen's cabinet as first lord of the admiralty, in which capacity he acted also for a short time in the Palmerston ministry of 1855. The appointment of a select committee of inquiry into the conduct of the Crimean War ultimately led to his withdrawal from official life. He died at Netherby, Cumberland, on the 25 October 1861.


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