He was born at Belvoir Castle on the 13th of December 1818, being the younger son of the 5th Duke of Rutland by Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Byron's guardian, the 5th Earl of Carlisle. Lord John Manners, as he then was, was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1841 he was returned for Newark in the Tory interest, along with Gladstone, and sat for that borough until 1847. Subsequently he sat for Colchester, 1850–57; for North Leicestershire, 1857–85; and for East Leicestershire from 1885 until in 1888 he took his seat in the House of Lords upon succeeding to the dukedom.
In the early 1840s Manners was a leading figure in the Young England movement, led by Benjamin Disraeli. During the three short administrations of Lord Derby (1851, 1858, and 1866) he sat in the cabinet as First Commissioner of Public Works. On the return of the Conservatives to power in 1874 he became Postmaster-General under Disraeli, and was made GCB on his retirement in 1880. He was again Postmaster-General in Lord Salisbury's administration, 1885-86, and was head of the department when sixpenny telegrams were introduced. Finally, in the Conservative government of 1886-92 he was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
He had succeeded to the dukedom of Rutland in March 1888, upon the death of his elder brother. He died on the 4th of August 1906 at Belvoir Castle.
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