Henry John Temple (October 20, 1784 – October 18 1865), 3rd Viscount Palmerston, was a towering figure in Victorian England, he dominated British foreign policy from 1830 until his death, a period when Britain was at the height of its imperial power. He served as Prime Minister twice, the first time between 1855 – 1858 for the Whigs, and again between 1859 – 1865 for the Liberals. His handling of the end of the Crimean War was generally greeted favourably, even though he was personally in favour of continuing it. Although opposed to electoral reform his governments introduced a swathe of liberal laws at home including the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, which for the first time made it possible for courts to grant a divorce and removed divorce from the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts. However, following his failure to get the Conspiracy to Murder bill, which would have made it a crime to plot murders of someone abroad in Britain, he was forced to resign. He returned to Number 10, as a Liberal prime minister, during which time he passed the Offences against the Person Act 1861, which codified and reformed the law, and was part of a wider process of consolidating criminal law. He also passed the Companies Act 1862 which is the basis of modern company law. He died in office, at the age of 80, and was succeeded by John Russell, also a member of the Liberal party. One of his successors, the Conservative, Benjamin Disraeli, is named nearby.
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