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The Seventh Earl Beauchamp

A Victim of His Times

Peter Raina

The 7 th Earl Beauchamp was a prominent figure in English public life in the years 1900–30, but his career ended in scandal. He was barred from English soil, his reputation was destroyed and his papers were withheld from public view. In this book, Peter Raina uses previously unreleased documents to reassess Beauchamp’s life and legacy.
Born into the aristocracy, Beauchamp was driven by a sense of noblesse oblige and devoted his life to public service. Though some of this was ceremonial, Beauchamp was keen to involve himself in practical politics, where he showed his independence of mind. He joined the Liberals as they pushed through change against obstruction from his own landowning class. He championed Irish Home Rule. In 1914 he opposed entry into the war and lost any chance of promotion. However, he remained deeply loyal to his party even after its split and decline, and worked tirelessly in its cause.
His life touched on great events such as the formation of Australia and, in Britain, the great reforms of 1906–9, the 1911 Parliament Act, the crisis of 1914, the creation of the Irish Free State, the Liberal collapse, the first Labour government and the economic slump. Through all these, he busied himself in party affairs, but one aspect of his private life worked against him and, in a Sophoclean twist, he fell from grace.
This book documents the Earl’s involvement in politics, explores his personality and looks carefully at the issues that brought him down. In the light of this analysis, it is hoped that historians will recognize his significant contribution to the events of his day.

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Acknowledgements

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The author gratefully acknowledges his debt to: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her gracious permission to use the Royal Archives at Windsor Professor Laurence Brockliss, Vice President, Magdalen College, Oxford Professor Sir David Nicolas Cannadine Professor David Clary, President, Magdalen College, Oxford Ms Julie Crocker, Archivist, Royal Archives, Windsor Castle Miss Judith Curthoys, Archivist, Christ Church, Oxford Dr Richard Davenport-Hines Mrs Isabel D. Holowaty, Bodleian History Librarian, Oxford Mr Peter Hughes Mrs Keeley Mortimer Mrs Elizabeth L. Taylor, National Portrait Gallery, London Professor Tom Melham, Praefectus, Holywell Manor, Balliol College, Oxford Sir Michael Wheeler-Booth, Honorary Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford Dr Helen Wicker also to: Mr Jon Ashby, copy-editor Mrs Lucy Melville, publisher The author records his debt of gratitude to the following archives: The Royal Archives, Windsor Bodleian (Weston) Library, Oxford The British Library, London Cambridge University Library, Cambridge Christ Church Library Archives, Oxford xxvi Acknowledgements Eton College Library Archives, Windsor Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucester Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone The Madresfield Archives, The Estate Office, Madresfield, Malvern The National Archives, Kew, London National Portrait Gallery, London Nuffield College Library Archives, Oxford and the Warden and Fellows of Nuffield College Oxford Union Library Archives, Oxford The Parliamentary Archives, London Senate House Library Archives, University of London, London State Library of New South Wales, The Mitchell Library, Sydney State Records of New South Wales Government, Australia Worcestershire Archives & Archaeology Service, Worcester While every effort has been made to trace copyright holders, if any have been inadvertently overlooked, the author will...

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