Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Rosebery
KG PC
RoseberyMillais.png
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
5 March 1894 – 22 June 1895
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by William Ewart Gladstone
Succeeded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Leader of the Opposition
In office
22 June 1895 – 6 October 1896
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by Sir William Harcourt
Lord President of the Council
In office
10 March 1894 – 21 June 1895
Preceded by The Earl of Kimberley
Succeeded by The Duke of Devonshire
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
6 February 1886 – 3 August 1886
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by The Earl of Iddesleigh
In office
18 August 1892 – 10 March 1894
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by The Earl of Kimberley
First Commissioner of Works
In office
13 February 1885 – 9 June 1885
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by George Shaw-Lefevre
Succeeded by David Plunket
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
In office
August 1881 – June 1883
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by Leonard Courtney
Succeeded by J. T. Hibbert
Personal details
Born Archibald Philip Primrose
(1847-05-07)7 May 1847
Mayfair, Middlesex, England
Died 21 May 1929(1929-05-21) (aged 82)
Epsom, Surrey, England
Resting place Dalmeny Parish Church, Edinburgh
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Hannah de Rothschild
(1878–1890; her death)
Children 4
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Religion Anglican[1]
Signature

Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian, KG, PC (7 May 1847 – 21 May 1929) was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister. Between the death of his father, in 1851, and the death of his grandfather, the 4th Earl, in 1868, he was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny.

Rosebery first came to national attention in 1879–1880 by sponsoring the successful Midlothian campaign of William Ewart Gladstone. He briefly was in charge of Scottish affairs. This finest performance in office came as chairman of the London County Council in 1889. He entered the cabinet in 1885 and served twice as foreign minister, paying special attention to French and German affairs. He succeeded Gladstone as prime minister and leader of the Liberal party in 1894; the Liberals lost the 1895 election. He resigned the party leadership in 1896 and never again held political office. He was widely known as a brilliant orator, an outstanding sportsman and marksman, a writer and historian, connoisseur and collector. All of these activities attracted him more than politics, which grew boring and unattractive. Furthermore, he drifted to the right of the Liberal party and became a bitter critic of its policies. Winston Churchill, observing that he never adapted to democratic electoral competition, quipped: "He would not stoop; he did not conquer."[2]

Rosebery was a Liberal Imperialist who favoured strong national defence and imperialism abroad and social reform at home, while being solidly anti-socialist. Historians judge him a failure as foreign minister[3] and as prime minister.[4][5]

Origins and early life[edit]

Archibald Philip Primrose was born on 7 May 1847 in his parents' house in Charles Street, Mayfair, London. His father was Archibald Primrose, Lord Dalmeny (1809–1851), son and heir apparent to Archibald Primrose, 4th Earl of Rosebery (1783–1868), whom he predeceased. Lord Dalmeny was a courtesy title used by the Earl's eldest son and heir apparent, during the Earl's lifetime, and was one of the Earl's lesser Scottish titles. Lord Dalmeny (d.1851) was MP for Stirling from 1832 to 1847 and served as First Lord of the Admiralty under Lord Melbourne. Rosebery's mother was Lady Catherine Lucy Wilhelmina Stanhope (1819–1901), a historian who later wrote under her second married name "the Duchess of Cleveland", a daughter of Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope. Lord Dalmeny died on 23 January 1851, having predeceased his father, when the courtesy title passed to his son, the future Rosebery, as the new heir to the earldom. In 1854 his mother remarried to Harry Powlett, 4th Duke of Cleveland. The relationship between mother and son was very poor. His elder and favourite sister Lady Leconfield was the wife of Henry Wyndham, 2nd Baron Leconfield.[6]

Education and youth[edit]

Dalmeny attended preparatory schools in Hertfordshire and Brighton and went on to Eton which he attended between 1860 and 1865. His remarkable intellect, displayed in debates, attracted the attention of William Johnson Cory. Michael Matthew Kaylor's Secreted Desires: The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde (2006) explores their personal relationship. Dalmeny proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, through the years 1865 until 1869. Remarkably the three Prime Ministers from 1880 to 1902, namely Gladstone, Salisbury and Rosebery, all attended both Eton and Christ Church. Whilst at Christ Church, in 1868 Dalmeny bought a horse named Ladas, although a rule banned undergraduates from owning horses. When he was found out, he was offered a choice: to sell the horse or to give up his studies. He chose the latter, and subsequently was a prominent figure in British horseracing for 40 years.

Rosebery toured the United States in 1873, 1874 and 1876. He was pressed to marry Marie Fox, the sixteen-year-old adopted daughter of Henry Fox, 4th Baron Holland. She declined him and later married Prince Louis of Liechtenstein.

Succession to earldom[edit]

When his grandfather died in 1868, Dalmeny became 5th Earl of Rosebery. The earldom did not however entitle Archibald Primrose to sit in the House of Lords, nor disqualify him from sitting in the House of Commons, as the title is part of the old Peerage of Scotland, from which 16 members (representative peers) were elected to sit in the Lords for each session of Parliament. However, in 1828, Rosebery's grandfather had been created 1st Baron Rosebery in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, which did entitle Rosebery to sit in the Lords like all peers of the United Kingdom, and barred him from a career in the House of Commons.

Career[edit]

Rosebery is reputed to have said that he had three aims in life: to win the Derby, to marry an heiress, and to become Prime Minister.[7] He managed all three.

Early political career[edit]

At Eton, Rosebery notably attacked Charles I of England for his despotism, and went on to praise his Whig forebears – his ancestor, James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope, was a minister to George I of Great Britain.

Benjamin Disraeli often met with Rosebery in the 1870s to try to recruit him for his party, but this proved futile. Disraeli's major rival, William Ewart Gladstone, also pursued Rosebery, with considerable success.

As part of the Liberal plan to get Gladstone to be MP for Midlothian, Rosebery sponsored and largely ran the Midlothian Campaign of 1879. He based this on what he had observed in elections in the United States. Gladstone spoke from open-deck trains, and gathered mass support. In 1880, he was duly elected Member for Midlothian and returned to the premiership.[8][9]

Rosebery served as Foreign Secretary in Gladstone's brief third ministry, 1886. He served as the first chairman of the London County Council, set up by the Conservatives in 1889. Rosebery Avenue in Clerkenwell is named after him.

He served as President of the first day of the 1890 Co-operative Congress.[10]

Rosebery's second period as Foreign Secretary, 1892–1894, predominantly involved quarrels with France over Uganda. To quote his hero Napoleon, Rosebery thought that "the Master of Egypt is the Master of India"; thus he pursued the policy of expansion in Africa.

Rosebery helped Gladstone's Second Home Rule Bill in the House of Lords; nevertheless it was defeated overwhelmingly in the autumn of 1893. The first bill, in 1886, had been defeated in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister[edit]

Rosebery became a leader of the Liberal Imperialist faction of the Liberal Party and when Gladstone retired, in 1894, Rosebery succeeded him as Prime Minister, much to the disgust of Sir William Harcourt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the more left-wing Liberals. Rosebery's selection was largely because Queen Victoria disliked most of the other leading Liberals. Rosebery was in Lords, but Harcourt controlled the House, where he often undercut the prime minister.

Rosebery's government was largely unsuccessful. He took a strongly pro-Armenian and anti-Turkish policy but was unable to do anything to stop the massacres of Armenians.[11] His designs in foreign policy, such as expansion of the fleet, were defeated by disagreements within the Liberal Party. He angered all the European powers.[12] The Unionist-dominated House of Lords stopped the whole of the Liberals' domestic legislation. The strongest figure in the cabinet was Rosebery's rival, Harcourt. He and his son Lewis were perennial critics of Rosebery's policies. There were two future prime ministers in the Cabinet, Home Secretary H. H. Asquith, and Secretary of State for War Henry Campbell-Bannerman.[13]

Rosebery rapidly lost interest in running the government. In the last year of his premiership, he was increasingly haggard: he suffered insomnia due to the continual dissension in his Cabinet.

On 21 June 1895, the government lost a vote in committee on army supply by just seven votes. While this might have been treated merely as a vote of no confidence in Secretary for War Campbell-Bannerman, Rosebery chose to treat it as a vote of censure on his government. On 22 June, he and his ministers tendered their resignations to the Queen, who invited the Unionist leader, Lord Salisbury, to form a government. The following month, the Unionists won a crushing victory in the 1895 general election, and held power for ten years (1895–1905) under Salisbury and Arthur Balfour. Rosebery remained the Liberal leader for another year, then permanently retired from politics.

Lord Rosebery's government, March 1894 – June 1895[edit]

Changes[edit]

  • May 1894: James Bryce succeeds A.J. Mundella at the Board of Trade. Lord Tweedmouth succeeds Bryce at the Duchy of Lancaster, remaining also Lord Privy Seal.

Later life[edit]

Rosebery caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1901

Rosebery resigned as leader of the Liberal Party on 6 October 1896, to be succeeded by Harcourt and gradually moved further and further from the mainstream of the party, but a much-trailed speech at Chesterfield in December 1901 was expected to mark his return to active politics. He broke with the mainstream of the Liberal Party by supporting the Boer War and opposing Irish Home Rule. His positions made it impossible to join the Liberal government that returned to power in 1905. Rosebery turned to writing, including biographies of Lord Chatham, Pitt the Younger, Napoleon, and Lord Randolph Churchill. Another one of his passionate interests was the collecting of rare books.

The last years of his political life saw Rosebery become a purely negative critic of the Liberal governments of Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith. His crusade "for freedom as against bureaucracy, for freedom as against democratic tyranny, for freedom as against class legislation, and... for freedom as against Socialism"[14] was a lonely one, conducted from the crossbenches in the Lords. He joined the die-hard unionist peers in attacking Lloyd George's redistributive People's Budget in 1909 but stopped short of voting against the measure for fear of bringing retribution upon the Lords. The crisis provoked by the Lords' rejection of the budget encouraged him to reintroduce his resolutions for Lords reform, but they were lost with the dissolution of parliament in December 1910.

After assaulting the "ill-judged, revolutionary and partisan" terms of the 1911 Parliament Bill,[15] which proposed to curb the Lords' veto, he voted with the government in what proved to be his last appearance in the House of Lords. This was effectively the end of his public life, though he made several public appearances to support the war effort after 1914 and sponsored a "bantam battalion" in 1915. Though Lloyd George offered him "a high post not involving departmental labour" to augment his 1916 coalition, Rosebery declined to serve.[16]

Death and burial[edit]

The last year of the war was clouded by two personal tragedies: his son Neil's death in Palestine in November 1917 and Rosebery's own stroke a few days before the armistice. He regained his mental powers, but his movement, hearing, and sight remained impaired for the rest of his life. His sister Constance described his last years as a "life of weariness, of total inactivity, and at the last of almost blindness". John Buchan remembered him in his last month of life, "crushed by bodily weakness" and "sunk in sad and silent meditations".[17]

Rosebery died at The Durdans, Epsom, Surrey, on 21 May 1929, to the accompaniment, as he had requested, of a gramophone recording of the Eton Boating Song. Survived by three of his four children, he was buried in the small church at Dalmeny. His estate was probated at £1,500,122 3s. 6d.; (equivalent of £63 million now) and he was thus the richest Prime Minister ever, followed by Salisbury, then by Palmerston.

Marriage[edit]

On 20 March 1878 in the Board of Guardians in Mount Street, London, at the age of 31 Rosebery married the 27-year-old Hannah de Rothschild (1851–1890), only child and sole heiress of the Jewish banker Mayer Amschel de Rothschild (d.1874), and the wealthiest British heiress of her day. Her father had died four years previously in 1874, and bequeathed to her the bulk of his estate. Later on the same day the marriage was blessed in a Christian ceremony in Christ Church, Down Street, Piccadilly. In January 1878 Rosebery had told a friend that he found Hannah "very simple, very unspoilt, very clever, very warm-hearted and very shy ... I never knew such a beautiful character." Both Queen Victoria's son the Prince of Wales and her cousin, the army commander George, Duke of Cambridge attended the ceremony. Hannah's death in 1890 from typhoid, compounded by Bright's disease, left him distraught.

Following his wife's death it was speculated that Rosebery intended to marry the widowed Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany, widow of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, 4th son of Queen Victoria.[18]

It was also speculated that Rosebery was bisexual. Like Oscar Wilde, he was hounded by John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, for his association with Francis Douglas, Viscount Drumlanrig, one of Queensberry's sons.[19] — who was his private secretary.

Progeny[edit]

By his wife Hannah de Rothschild, Rosebery had four children, with whom he loved to play, according to Margot Asquith, two sons and two daughters:

Sons[edit]

Daughters[edit]

Sporting interests[edit]

Horse racing[edit]

As a result of his marriage to Hannah de Rothschild, Rosebery acquired the Mentmore Towers estate and Mentmore stud near Leighton Buzzard which had been built by Mayer Amschel de Rothschild. Rosebery built another stable and stud near Mentmore Towers at Crafton, Buckinghamshire, called Crafton Stud.

Rosebery won several of the five English Classic Races. His most famous horses were Ladas who won the 1894 Derby, Sir Visto who did it again in 1895 (Rosebery was Prime Minister on both occasions), and Cicero in 1905.

Football[edit]

Rosebery became the first president of the London Scottish Rugby Football Club in 1878, also developed a keen in interest in association football and was an early patron of the sport in Scotland. In 1882 he donated a trophy, the Rosebery Charity Cup, to be competed for by clubs under the jurisdiction of the East of Scotland Football Association. The competition lasted over 60 years and raised thousands of pounds for charities in the Edinburgh area.

Rosebery also became Honorary President of the national Scottish Football Association, with the representative Scotland national team occasionally forsaking their traditional dark blue shirts for his traditional racing colours of primrose and pink. This occurred 9 times during Rosebery's lifetime, most notably for the 1900 British Home Championship match against England, which the Scots won 4–1. These colours will be used for Scotland's away kit in 2014.

Literary interests[edit]

He was a keen collector of fine books and amassed an excellent library. It was sold on 29 October 2009 at Sothebys, New Bond Street. Rosebery unveiled the statue of Robert Burns in Dumfries on 6 April 1882.[21]

Landholdings[edit]

Dalmeny House was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Rosebery and the setting for Lord and Lady Rosebery's political houseparties.

Rosebery was the owner of twelve houses. By marriage, he acquired:

  • Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, a huge neo-Renaissance stately home, sold in the 1970s
  • Number 40, Piccadilly, in London.

With his fortune, he bought:

  • a shooting lodge at Carrington in Midlothian
  • a Georgian villa at Postwick in Norfolk
  • In 1897, he bought Villa Delahante in Posillipo, overlooking the Bay of Naples, currently residence of the President of the Italian Republic, still known as "Villa Rosebery"
  • 38 Berkeley Square, London
  • The Durdans, Epsom, where he died in 1929.

As Earl of Rosebery, he was laird of:

He rented:

Additionally, he rented Holland House for a period before its owner, Henry Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland, reached adulthood.[22][dubious ]

Place-name tributes[edit]

The Oatlands area in the South Side of Glasgow was laid out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, contemporary with Rosebery's most prominent period. Several of the street names have an association with him or areas around his estate to the North-West of Edinburgh: Rosebery Street, Dalmeny Street, Queensferry Street, Granton Street and Cramond Street.[23]

Rosebery, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney, is named after him. A major street, Dalmeny Avenue, runs through the area. Rosebery, Tasmania is also named after him, via the name of a mining company. Dalmeny, New South Wales, a suburb on the New South Wales South Coast, is named after him. Roseberry Avenue in the suburb of South Perth, Western Australia, is also named after him.

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.oxforddnb.com/templates/article.jsp?articleid=35612&back=
  2. ^ Jon Lawrence (2009). Electing Our Masters : The Hustings in British Politics from Hogarth to Blair. Oxford UP. p. 1. 
  3. ^ Martel, Gordon (1986). Imperial Diplomacy: Rosebery and the Failure of Foreign Policy. McGill-Queen's UP. 
  4. ^ Peter Stansky, Ambitions and Strategies: The Struggle for the Leadership of the Liberal Party in the 1890s (1964)
  5. ^ Robert Rhodes James, Rosebery: a biography of Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery (1963)
  6. ^ Footprints in Time. John Colville. 1976. Chapter 2, Lord Roseberys lamb.
  7. ^ http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=TO18940505.2.25&srpos=13&e=01-05-1894-10-05-1894--10--11----0Ladas--
  8. ^ David Brooks, "Gladstone and Midlothian: The Background to the First Campaign," Scottish Historical Review (1985) 64#1 pp 42–67
  9. ^ Robert Kelley, "Midlothian: A Study In Politics and Ideas," Victorian Studies (1960) 4#2 pp 119–140.
  10. ^ "Congress Presidents 1869–2002" (PDF). February 2002. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008 
  11. ^ Haniamp, M. Sukru (1995). The Young Turks in Opposition. Oxford UP. pp. 61–62. 
  12. ^ Gordon Martel (1986). Imperial Diplomacy: Rosebery and the Failure of Foreign Policy. McGill-Queen's UP. 
  13. ^ James
  14. ^ The Times, 16 February 1910
  15. ^ R. R. James, Rosebery: a biography of Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery (1963), p. 469.
  16. ^ R. O. A. Crewe-Milnes, Lord Rosebery, (1931), vol. 2. p. 51.
  17. ^ Rhodes James, p. 485.
  18. ^ Lord Rosebery to marry a Princess?, New York Times, 11 July 1901.
  19. ^ Murray, Douglas Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas ISBN 0-340-76770-7
  20. ^ Englefield, Dermot; Seaton, Janet; White, Isobel: Facts about the British prime ministers. A compilation of biographical and historical information. London: Mansell, 1995.
  21. ^ http://www.burnsscotland.com/000-000-135-599-C
  22. ^ Princess Marie Liechtenstein (1875). "II, Sir Stephen Fox and the First Lord Holland". Holland House (3 ed.). London: Macmillan. p. 50. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  23. ^ http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=6347
  24. ^ a b Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 415
  25. ^ a b Venn and Venn, "Primrose, Archibald John (Lord Dalmeny)", Alumni Cantabrigenses
  26. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 415 ; she was sister of the fourth Duke of Argyll and daughter of Hon. John Campbell and Elizabeth, daughter of John Elphinstone, eighth Lord Elphinstone.
  27. ^ "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses
  28. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, p. 415
  29. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 415 ; she was the daughter of Lt-Gen. Thomas Howard.
  30. ^ J. Davis, "Primrose, Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery and first earl of Midlothian (1847–1929)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004
  31. ^ Complete Peerage, p. 416
  32. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 416 ; Venn and Venn, "Primrose, Archibald John (Lord Dalmeny)", Alumni Cantabrigenses
  33. ^ S. Farrell, "Bouverie, Hon. Bartholomew (1753–1835), of 21 Edward Street, Portman Square, Mdx.", History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820–1832 ; she was the daughter of John Alleyne of Four Hills, Barbados.
  34. ^ Venn and Venn, "Primrose, Archibald John (Lord Dalmeny)", Alumni Cantabrigenses ; she was the first wife; Archibald Primrose, Lord Dalmeny, was born in 1809, during this marriage (see Venn and Venn, "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses).
  35. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 416 ; Lodge, British Peerage, 1832, p. 24 ; he was the third son of Henry Arundell, sixth Lord Arundell.
  36. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 416
  37. ^ Lodge, British Peerage, 1832, p. 24 ; she was the daughter of John Wyndham of Ashcombe, Wiltshire.
  38. ^ a b Lodge, British Peerage, 1832, p. 353
  39. ^ W.P. Courtney, "Stanhope, Charles", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 54 ; she was a daughter of Charles Hamilton, Lord Binning, and sister to Thomas Hamilton, seventh Earl of Haddington.
  40. ^ a b c Venn and Venn, "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses
  41. ^ W.P. Courtney, "Stanhope, Charles", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 54 ; he was a younger brother of the Earl Temple.
  42. ^ W.P. Courtney, "Stanhope, Charles", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 54.
  43. ^ Burke and Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 1841, pp. 34–35 ; M.M. Drummond, "Grenville, Henry (1717–84), of Shrub Hill, Dorking, Surr.", The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754–1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964 ; Daughter of Sir Joseph Banks of Revesby Abbey, Lincolnshire.
  44. ^ Venn and Venn, "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses ; J. Davis, "Primrose, Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery and first earl of Midlothian (1847–1929)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004
  45. ^ A.F. Pollard, "Smith, Robert (1752–1838)", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 53
  46. ^ A.F. Pollard, "Smith, Robert (1752–1838)", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 53 ; daughter of Thomas Bird of Barton, Warwickshire.
  47. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, 1913, p. 63 ; of Cave Castle, Yorkshire.
  48. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, 1913, p. 63
  49. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, 1913, p. 63 ; she was the daughter of William Popplewell of Monk Hill, near Pontefract.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Leo McKinstry, Rosebery: Statesman in Turmoil ISBN 0-7195-5879-4.
  • Dick Leonard, Nineteenth-Century British Premiers: Pitt to Rosebery (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

External links[edit]

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