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Goschen, George Joachim, 1st Viscount

Goschen, George Joachim, 1st Viscount (1831–1907). A front-rank and long-serving politician in his day, Goschen is now remembered chiefly in one phrase. He was the grandson of a Leipzig publisher: his father settled in London as a merchant in 1814. Goschen was sent to Rugby and Oxford to get an English education, took first-class honours in classics, and was president of the Union. By 1858 he was a director of the Bank of England, entered the Commons in 1863 as the Liberal member for London, and remained in Parliament all his life. Given junior office by Russell in 1865, he was brought into the cabinet the following year as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and served as president of the Poor Law Board 1868–71, 1st lord of the Admiralty 1871–4 and 1895–1900, and chancellor of the Exchequer 1887–92. Given a viscountcy in 1900, he was chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1903. A financial expert, useful speaker, good administrator, Goschen was a safe pair of hands. ‘A violent moderate’ was his own description and he became increasingly uneasy at the Liberals' drift towards radicalism, refusing to serve in Gladstone's second ministry. After the Home Rule crisis of 1886, he joined Hartington in leading the Liberal Unionists. When Lord Randolph Churchill resigned dramatically from Salisbury's government in 1886, expecting to be recalled, his place was filled by Goschen, and not a dog barked. ‘I forgot Goschen,’ explained Lord Randolph ruefully.

J. A. Cannon

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