Sir William George Granville
Venables Vernon Harcourt, Issue. 1827/1904, English statesman. A brilliant parliamentarian and a supporter of Gladstone, he entered Parliament in 1868 and had a notable career as solicitor general (1873/74), home secretary (1880/85), and chancellor of the exchequer (1886, 1892/95). On Gladstone's retirement (1894) he was passed over for the office of prime minister (see Victoria), but he effectively led (1894/99) the Liberal party in the Commons. He was also a noted writer on international law. Second to Gladstone, Sir William Vernon Harcourt, Q. C., M. P., is undoubtedly the foremost leader and spokesman of his party in the house of commons. Yet his succession to the chieftainship in the event of Gladstone's retirement is by no means certain. Harcourt was born in 1827, was educated at Trinity college, Cambridge, England, and in 1851 took a distinguished degree. He is a lawyer by profession; entered parliament in 1868 as member for the city of Oxford. In 1880 he became home secretary. In the liberal cabinet of 1886 he held the office of chancellor of the exchequer. He has exhibited remarkable power as a debater both in the house and on the stump. His attacks on the ministry have been almost cruel in their effectiveness. Some, indeed, say that his attacks ruined Mr. Goschen as a politician. This service, rendered in the darkest days of the liberal party, has, of course, helped to wipe out the memory of the vacillation which Sir William undoubtedly displayed in his earlier days. In 1874 it seemed very doubtful, after Gladstone's defeat, whether he would stand by him any longer or not. Reflection probably brought wisdom, and he has, since the Irish question came up, come to the discussion of it with the greatest experience.