Hugh Cecil, 1st Baron Quickswood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
The Lord Quickswood
PC
Hugh Cecil, 1st Baron Quickswood, ca. 1914.jpg
Lord Hugh Cecil, circa 1914
Personal details
Born 14 October 1869
Hertfordshire, England
Died 10 December 1956
Sussex, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Unmarried
Relations Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (father), Georgina Caroline Alderson (mother)
Alma mater University College, Oxford

Hugh Richard Heathcote Gascoyne-Cecil, 1st Baron Quickswood PC (14 October 1869 – 10 December 1956), styled Lord Hugh Cecil until 1941, was a British Conservative Party politician.[1]

Background and education[edit]

Cecil was the eighth and youngest child of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Georgina Alderson, daughter of Sir Edward Hall Alderson. He was the brother of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, Lord William Cecil, Lord Cecil of Chelwood and Lord Edward Cecil and a first cousin of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour. He was educated at Eton and University College, Oxford. He graduated with first-class honours in Modern History in 1891 [2] and was a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford from 1891 to 1936.[3]

Political career[edit]

"Greenwich". Cecil as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, October 1900.

After his graduation, Cecil was Assistant Private Secretary from 1891 to 1892 to his father, who was Foreign Secretary,[3] and entered the Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for Greenwich in 1895.[4][5] He took a keen interest in ecclesiastical questions and became an active member of the Church party, resisting attempts by nonconformists and secularists to take the discipline of the Church out of the hands of the archbishops and bishops, and to remove the bishops from their seats in the House of Lords. In a speech on the second reading of Balfour's Education Bill of 1902, he maintained that for the final settlement of the religious difficulty there must be cooperation between the Church of England and nonconformity, which was the Church's natural ally; and that the only possible basis of agreement was that every child should be brought up in the belief of its parents. The ideal to be aimed at in education was the improvement of the national character. In the later stages of the bill's progress, he warmly resented an amendment approved by the House and taken over by the Ministry giving the managers, instead of the incumbent of the parish, the control of religious education in non-provided schools. This was not the only point on which he showed considerable independence of the government of which Balfour, his cousin, was the head.[6]

During the early 20th century, Cecil (known to his friends as "Linky") was the eponymous leader of the Hughligans, a group of privileged young Tory Members of Parliament critical of their own party's leadership. Modelled after Lord Randolph Churchill's Fourth Party, the Hughligans included Cecil, F. E. Smith, Arthur Stanley, Ian Malcolm, and, until 1904, Winston Churchill. In 1908, Cecil was the best man at Churchill's wedding. Cecil dissented from the beginning from Joseph Chamberlain's policy of tariff reform, pleading in Parliament against any devaluation of the idea of empire to a "gigantic profit-sharing business". He took a prominent position among the "Free Food Unionists", and consequently was attacked by the tariff reformers and lost his seat at Greenwich in 1906.[6]

In 1910 Cecil became an MP for Oxford University, which he represented for the next 27 years.[7] He threw himself immediately with passion into the struggle against the Ministerial Veto Resolutions, comparing the Asquith government to "thimble riggers". In the next year, he was active in the resistance to the Parliament Bill, treating Asquith as a "traitor" for his advice to the Crown to create peers, and taking a prominent part in the disturbance which prevented the Prime Minister from being heard on 24 July 1911. But he never quite regained the authority which he had possessed in the House in the early years of the century. He strongly opposed the Welsh Church Bill, and he denounced the 1914 Home Rule Bill as reducing Ireland from the status of a wife to that of a mistress — she was to be kept by John Bull, not united to him.[6] In 1916 Cecil was part of the Mesopotamia Commission of Inquiry. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1918.[8]

Apart from his political career Cecil served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. In that capacity, he severely censured, in debate in 1918, the treatment of General Trenchard by the government. He pleaded for lenient treatment of conscientious objectors, and endeavoured unsuccessfully to relieve them of disability.[6] He left the House of Commons in 1937 to become Provost of Eton College, a post he retained until 1944.[3] In 1941 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Quickswood, of Clothall in the County of Hertford.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Lord Quickswood never married. He died in December 1956, aged 87, at which time the barony became extinct.[3]

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Annan, Noel (1955). "The Intellectual Aristocracy". In J. H. Plumb, ed., Studies in Social History: A Tribute to G. M. Trevelyan, London: Longmans, Green & Co.
  • Gardiner, A. G. (1913). "Lord Hugh Cecil." In Pillars of Society, James Nisbet & Co., Limited.
  • Griffith-Boscawen, A. S. T. (1907). Fourteen Years in Parliament, London: John Murray.
  • Lucy, Henry (1917). "Lord Hugh Cecil," The Nation, Vol. CIV, No. 2705.
  • Quigley, Carroll (1981). "The Cecil Bloc." In The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. New York: Books in Focus.
  • Rose, Kenneth (1975). The Later Cecils, London: Macmillan.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Boord
Member of Parliament for Greenwich
18951906
Succeeded by
Richard Jackson
Preceded by
Sir William Anson, Bt
John Gilbert Talbot
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
Jan. 19101937
With: Sir William Anson, Bt 1910–1914
Rowland Prothero 1914–1919
Sir Charles Oman 1919–1935
Sir A. P. Herbert 1935–1937
Succeeded by
Sir A. P. Herbert
Sir Arthur Salter
Academic offices
Preceded by
M. R. James
Provost of Eton
1936–1944
Succeeded by
Henry Marten
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Quickswood
1941–1956
Extinct