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.
List of Illustrations
Alfred Emmott, 1st Baron Emmott bromide print by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London
Edmond Warre mixed-method engraving probably by Thomas Lewis Atkinson, 1889, thought to be after Francis Hall © the National Portrait Gallery, London
William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp dry-plate glass negative by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London
Lady Mary Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis (née Lygon) as Marie de Lorraine, a lady at the court of Marguerite de Valois by Thomas Bennett & Sons; photogravure by Walker & Boutall, 1897, published 1899 © the National Portrait Gallery, London
Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson half-plate glass negative by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London
Sir Almeric William FitzRoy bromide print by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London
Arthur John Bigge, Baron Stamfordham whole-plate glass negative by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London ← xi | xii →
Eton College vintage snapshot print taken by Lady Ottoline Morrell, 1915 © the National Portrait Gallery, London
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