Lord Derby became a Liberal Unionist, and took an active part in the general management of that party, leading it in the House of Lords till 1891, when Lord Hartington became duke of Devonshire.
He was succeeded by Lord Hartington, afterwards duke of Devonshire.
Lord Hartington soon found himself pushed aside from his position of titular leadership. For four years, from 1876 to 1880, Gladstone maintained the strife with a courage, a persistence and a versatility which raised the enthusiasm of his followers to the highest pitch.
When Lord Beaconsfield resigned, the queen sent for Lord Hartington, the titular leader of the Liberals, but he and Lord Granville assured her that no other chief than Gladstone would satisfy the party.
When Mr Gladstone resigned the leadership of his party in 1875, Bright was chairman of the party meeting which chose Lord Hartington as his successor.
Lord Hartington replied that the government did not consider that a demonstration of this kind could be effective, and again suggested stronger measures.
Buller most wisely decided to withdraw the Desert Column from a position of extreme danger, it was determined at Korti that the River Column should proceed to attack Berber, and Lord Wolseley accepted the proposal of the government to make a railway from Suakin, telegraphing to Lord Hartington: By all means make railway by contract to Berber, or as far as you can, during summer.
It was inevitable that he should follow Hartington rather than Gladstone over Irish Home Rule.