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The Earl was the eldest son of the 6th Earl of Carlisle and a grandson of the 5th Duke of Devonshire. He had a conventional aristocratic upbringing, and entered parliament as Whig member for the borough of Morpeth in Northumberland, which was controlled by his family, in 1826. He was styled Lord Morpeth from 1825 to 1848.
Lord Morpeth was a supporter of religious tolerance, Catholic emancipation, and parliamentary reform. In 1835 he was appointed as Chief Secretary to Ireland. He was defeated at the general election of 1841 and remained out of parliament until 1846. He introduced the Public Health Bill in 1848, and succeeded his father as Earl of Carlisle the same year. Between 1850 and 1852 he served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; then in 1855 he became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Carlisle resigned through ill-health in October 1864, and soon afterwards died at the family seat of Castle Howard in Yorkshire.
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