|Henry Labouchere, 1st and last Baron Taunton, was a prominent British Whig and Liberal politician of the mid-19th century.
Labouchere was born on 15 August 1798 at Over Stowey in Somerset, into a Huguenot merchant family. His parents were Peter Caesar Labouchere and Dorothy Elizabeth Baring. He took his B.A (1821) and his M.A. (1828) at Oxford. In 1826 he became Whig M.P. for St. Michael’s Borough, a rotten borough in Cornwall. In 1830, he moved to the Taunton seat, which he held until 1859. He was first named to office by Earl Grey in 1832, serving as Civil Lord of the Admiralty. After beginning the second Melbourne ministry as Master of the Mint, Privy Counsellor and Vice-President of the Board of Trade (and, later, Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies), Labouchere was raised to a cabinet post, President of the Board of Trade, which he held from 1839 until the Melbourne government fell in 1841. When the Whigs, now led by Lord John Russell, returned to office in 1846, Labouchere returned to the cabinet, this time as Chief Secretary for Ireland. The following year, he once again became President of the Board of Trade, and stayed in that post until Russell’s government fell in 1852.
Labouchere’s final cabinet posting came during the first Palmerston ministry, for which he served as Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1855 to 1858. In 1859, Labouchere was raised to the House of Lords as Baron Taunton.
Lord Taunton died, aged 70, at his home, Quantock Lodge in Over Stowey, on 13 July 1869. He had married Frances Baring, daughter of Sir Thomas Baring, in 1840 and, after her death, Lady Mary Howard, daughter of the 6th Earl of Carlisle, in 1852. He had three daughters but no sons, so his barony became extinct at his death. His nephew, also Henry Labouchere, inherited part of Labouchere’s fortune, and was later to become a well-known newspaper editor and politician. He also, in 1885, drafted a notorious amendment to the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
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