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Cavendish, Lord Frederick

Cavendish, Lord Frederick (1836–82). The second son of the 7th duke of Devonshire, Cavendish entered Parliament as a Liberal for the northern division of the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1865. His wife was the niece of Mrs Gladstone and Cavendish became Gladstone's private secretary. He held office as a junior lord of the Treasury in Gladstone's first administration and in 1882, when W. E. Forster resigned, was sent to Ireland as chief secretary to replace him. Arriving in Dublin on 6 May he walked in Phoenix Park with T. H. Burke, the under-secretary, and was attacked and stabbed to death by a gang known as the Invincibles. One of their number, James Carey, subsequently turned queen's evidence but was tracked down by his fellow-conspirators while on a vessel bound for South Africa under a false name and shot. Cavendish's murder caused a sensation and a new Coercion Act was brought in. He was buried at Chatsworth at the top end of Edensor churchyard at a funeral attended by 300 MPs, brought from London by special train, with the duke of Devonshire and Mr Gladstone leading 30,000 mourners. There is an impressive effigy in the church at Edensor and a copy at Cartmel priory. His widow appealed for conciliation, telling Gladstone, ‘Uncle William, you did right to send him to Ireland.’

J. A. Cannon

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