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Sir William Molesworth, 8th Bt

(1810-1855), Politician, First Commissioner of Works and Colonial Secretary

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 20 portraits
Studied at Cambridge and in Germany and Italy. He returned to Britain in 1831, during the parliamentary struggle over reform and was elected as an MP in 1832. Declaring himself a radical, he championed national education, free trade, the secret ballot, removal of property qualifications for MPs and abolition of the House of Lords. As a radical baronet, he attracted the attentions of George Grote MP, a City banker, and his wife, Harriet, a political activist. He was recruited to their circle; through them he met John Stuart Mill and in 1835 agreed to finance the launch of the London Review and its merger with the Westminster Review. He was a co-founder of the Reform Club.

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