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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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Abbot, Joseph 80, 87, 124 Aberconway, Lady, 276–7 Aberconway, Lord 290 Aberdare, Lord 183 Aldrich, Henry 9 Ampthill, Lady 41, 106, 131, 131, 450 Ampthill, Lord 170 Ashby St Ledgers, Lord 292 Ashton, Julian 47, 83–4, 127 Asquith, Herbert Henry 158, 172, 186–7, 192–6, 197n., 198–9, 200, 222, 252–3, 252n., 277, 287, 307–14, 318, 327, 331, 336, 339, 349, 369, 386n., 425n. Asquith, Margot 172, 196–7, 309n., 312, 331 Aunet, Georges Biard d’ 51–2, 54, 65, 69, 73, 75, 96–7 Australian Constitution Bill 122n. Baldwin, Stanley 336–7, 378n., 385, 409, 430, 432–3, 468 Balfour, Alice 152 Balfour, Arthur 155–7, 352–3, 381 Balfour of Burghley, Lord 155–6, 180, 182, 207, 212, 304, 352, 381 Balfour, Patrick 469 Barton, Edmund 78–81, 84n., 122 Beauchamp (the name) 1 Beauchamp, 6th Earl (William’s father) 4 Beauchamp, 7th Earl birth and upbringing 6 Elmley title 6 at Eton 6–8 Oxford career 8–10, 15–23 succession to title 10 entrance to House of Lords 25–31 and the London School Board 31–3 Mayor of Worcester 26 appointed Governor of New South Wales 39–42 Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) 40 the Governor’s life (diary) 84–101 ‘birth-stain’ faux pas 48–50 welcome in Sydney 50–61 wrangling with French Consul 64–75, 91–101 functions at Government House 61–3 visits to various places 128–9, 135 resignation...

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