The son of the 2nd Earl, he was educated at Eton College and Oriel College, Oxford. He spent several years travelling and making acquaintance with famous people; and in 1841 he had only just been elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative, when his father died and he succeeded to the peerage. His political career, though unimpressive, attracted a good deal of contemporary attention, partly owing to his being Foreign Secretary in 1852 and again in 1858—1859 (he was also Lord Privy Seal in 1866—1868 and in 1874—1876), and partly from his influential position as an active Tory of the old school in the House of Lords at a time when the Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli were, in their different ways, moulding the Conservatism of the period. His long life, and the publication of his Memoirs of an Ex-Minister in 1884, contributed to his reputation. The Memoirs, charmingly written, full of anecdote, and containing much interesting material for the history of the time, remain his chief title to remembrance. Lord Malmesbury also edited his grandfather’s Diaries and Correspondence (1844), and in 1870 published The First Lord Malmesbury and His Friends. He was succeeded as 4th Earl by his nephew, Edward James Harris (1842—1899).
Text originally from 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica