Cadogan, George Henry (1840–1915), 5th Earl Cadogan , lord lieutenant of Ireland (1895–1902), was born 9 May 1840 at Durham, eldest son of Henry Charles Cadogan, 4th earl, and Mary Cadogan (née Wellesley), niece of the 1st duke of Wellington (qv). Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, in 1873 he was elected conservative MP for Bath, and the same year he entered the lords after his father's death. He was under-secretary for war (1875–8), under-secretary for the colonies (1878–80), and as lord privy seal (1886–92) was responsible for Irish business in the house of lords, most notably the land act of 1887. Salisbury appointed him viceroy of Ireland (29 June 1895–11 August 1902). He was determined to be more than a figurehead and, holding a seat in cabinet, he exerted considerable influence on the government's Irish policy. A strong supporter of the 1896 land act of Gerald Balfour (qv), he helped persuade the treasury to grant more generous terms for tenant purchase than first proposed. He appointed commissions to investigate intermediate (1899) and university education (1901), and sponsored the act of 1899 which established a new department of agriculture, and technical instruction for Ireland. He took a keen interest in industrial and charitable initiatives, and gave financial and moral support to the Cork exhibition of 1901. While supporting remedial legislation for Ireland he also took care to retain the confidence of Irish unionists in government policy. His relations with George Wyndham (qv), Irish chief secretary 1900–05, were poor. Cadogan disagreed with the sweeping nature of Wyndham's land purchase plans and claimed that agrarian agitation justified more coercion, consistently urging the cabinet to proclaim troubled areas and to take action against seditious newspapers. Wyndham claimed that dealing with Cadogan was like ‘speaking through a megaphone with a pudding in its orifice’. Cadogan's viceroyalty was noted for its munificence, and in April 1900 he hosted Queen Victoria's visit to Ireland in particularly regal style. He held the position of viceroy in quiet years and was a relatively popular incumbent, not least because of his extravagant spending. Throughout his time in office he enjoyed the support of his friend Salisbury, and resigned after Salisbury's retirement in 1902. He presented his portrait by Solomon Joseph Solomon, in which he is shown wearing the cloak and insignia of the order of St Patrick, to Dublin Castle in 1904. He retired into private life and died in London 6 March 1915. He married first (1865) Lady Beatrix Craven (d. 1907), who was a popular hostess during his viceroyalty, and with whom he had eight children; and secondly (1911) his cousin, Countess Adele Palagi.
Ir. Times, 12 Aug. 1902; DNB; Times, 8 Mar. 1915; Charles O'Mahony, The viceroys of Ireland (1912), 309–17; Edward Cadogan, Before the deluge (1961), 49–65; NHI, ix, 499; Eunan O'Halpin, The decline of the union: British government in Ireland, 1892–1920 (1987); Róisín Kennedy, Dublin Castle art (1999)