A Victim of His Times
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.
Chapter 3: Governor of New South Wales
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Governor of New South Wales
Earl Beauchamp was Governor of New South Wales, Australia from 18 May 1899 to 30 August 1901. He was offered the post at the end of December 1898. He was travelling in Europe with his friend, and at the time sightseeing in Greece, when the letter with this offer reached him. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, Joseph Chamberlain,1 had suggested Beauchamp’s appointment, and the Earl later recorded the circumstances in his diary:2
Landon & I left London just before the Christmas of 1898 & had spent it in Paris – mostly in the restaurants. … we were joined by my uncle Philip Stanhope & aunt Ina for our Xmas dinner. It was much too large & much too rich, but more than excellent. Frederics – as much a statesman to look at as ever had risen from a bed of sickness to cook for us & the result was beyond comparison. High Mass we saw at Notre Dame where I had seen it before with Eddie on one of the Sundays in Oct. 95. This occasion of course was far finer & the Cardinal Abp Richard – most saintly of cardinals celebrated mass with great pomp. I was in the front row on the south side outside the rails & saw completely. The music was not very striking but the procession with its long line of tapers in the dim...
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