Bruce was defeated at Merthyr Tydfil in the general election of 1868 but was found a seat in Renfrewshire in Jan. 1869 . He was invited by W. E. Gladstone to join the Cabinet as Home Secretary . In the reorganization of his Cabinet in 1873 Gladstone transferred Bruce to the Lord Presidency of the Council , and he was raised to the peerage . This proved to be the end of his political career, for the Gladstone administration was defeated in 1874 and lord Aberdare (as he now was) was free to devote himself to his special interests. These were in general social and educational questions.
In 1876 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society . He was also president of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Royal Historical Society . It was as president of the Geographical Society that he was asked to accept the governorship of the Royal Niger Company . From 1886 to his death he devoted careful attention to the operations of the company in its extensive African territory.
In 1880 lord Aberdare was appointed chairman of the Departmental Committee on Intermediate and Higher Education in Wales and Monmouthshire , whose report formed the basis for the Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889 , and it also stimulated the movement for the provision of university education in Wales . When the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire was founded in 1883 , lord Aberdare was elected its first president . In his inaugural address he expressed the opinion that the framework of Welsh education would not be complete until there was a university of Wales . He lived to see this hope realized and to be chosen as first chancellor of the University . He d. a fortnight later, that is, 25 Feb. 1895 .
Lord Aberdare was twice m. The second son of his second marriage, William Napier Bruce , is separately noticed.
Emeritus Professor Sir James Frederick Rees, Ll.D., (1883-1967), Tenby / Cardiff
Published date: 1959