Devonshire, Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th duke of (kăvˈəndĭsh, dĕvˈənshĭr) [key], 1833–1908, British statesman. He became marquess of Hartington in 1858. He frequently held office in Liberal cabinets and by 1880 was a recognized leader of the conservative (Whig) faction of the Liberal party with regard to social legislation. He led the Liberal Unionists who broke (1886) with Gladstone over Home Rule for Ireland. Devonshire (he became duke in 1891) later (1904) left the Liberal Unionists because the majority of that group, led by Joseph Chamberlain, had come to favor the abandonment of free trade.
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