aberdeen, george hamilton gordon, 4th earl of

aberdeen, george hamilton gordon, 4th earl of defined in 1939 year

aberdeen, george hamilton gordon, 4th earl of - Aberdeen, GEORGE HAMILTON GORDON, 4TH EARL OF (1784-1860);
aberdeen, george hamilton gordon, 4th earl of - British statesman. Born at Edinburgh Jan. 28, 1784, he was educated at Harrow and St. John's College, Cambridge. In 1801 he succeeded his grandfather as earl of Aberdeen, and in 1813 went to Vienna as ambassador, afterwards representing his country at the peace of Paris in 1814. A Tory, he became a cabinet minister under Wellington in 1828, and foreign minister from June of that year until the end of 1830. In 1834 he was for a few months secretary for war and the colonies, and was again appointed foreign minister when Peel returned to office in 1841. He cultivated friendly relations with France at a time when serious trouble existed. He carried through smoothly the Oregon treaty of 1846, which ended a long dispute by fixing the 49th parallel of latitude as the boundary between Canada and the U.S.A., west of the Rocky Mts. He was also prominent in his efforts to avert the disruption of the Church of Scotland.

Aberdeen resigned with Peel in 1846, and after his leader's death was the recognized head of the party which had followed that statesman in his conversion to Free Trade. As such he became prime minister in Dec., 1852. The main event of his term of office was the opening of the Crimean War, into which the ministry was drawn somewhat against the will of its chief. Then came the rumours of suffering in the Crimea and of incompetence in the management of affairs at home. Clearly Aberdeen was not the man to organize the country for a vigorous war, and the passing of a vote of censure on the government was followed in Jan., 1855, by his resignation. He died Dec. 14, 1860, and was succeeded by his eldest son, George John James Hamilton Gordon (1816-64). There are biographies of Aberdeen by his younger son Lord Stanmore, 1893, and by Lady Frances Balfour, 1923.

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