Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe

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The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Crewe
KG PC
Robert Crewe-Milnes portrait.jpg
The Lord Houghton by Walter Osborne
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
18 August 1892 – 29 June 1895
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by The Earl of Zetland
Succeeded by The Earl Cadogan
Leader of the House of Lords
In office
14 April 1908 – 10 December 1916
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by The Marquess of Ripon
Succeeded by The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Lord President of the Council
In office
10 December 1905 – 12 April 1908
Monarch Edward VII
Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Preceded by The Marquess of Londonderry
Succeeded by The Lord Tweedmouth
In office
25 May 1915 – 10 December 1916
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith
Preceded by The Earl Beauchamp
Succeeded by The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
Personal details
Born Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes
12 January 1858 (1858-01-12)
Died 20 June 1945(1945-06-20) (aged 87)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) (1) Sibyl Graham (d. 1887)
(2) Lady Margaret Primrose
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe KG, PC (12 January 1858 – 20 June 1945), known as The Lord Houghton from 1885 to 1895 and as The Earl of Crewe from 1895 to 1911, was a British statesman and writer.

Background and education[edit]

Crewe was the son of Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton by his wife the Hon. Annabella, daughter of John Crewe, 2nd Baron Crewe, and was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1]

Political career[edit]

A Liberal in politics, Crewe became private secretary to Lord Granville when Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1883–84), and in 1886 he was made a Lord-in-Waiting. In the Liberal administration of 1892–1895 he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with John Morley as Chief Secretary.[2] In 1894 he succeeded to the estates of his uncle, Hungerford Crewe, 3rd Baron Crewe, and assumed the same year the additional surname of Crewe by royal licence.[3] In 1895 he was created Earl of Crewe, in the County Palatine of Chester. From 1905 to 1908 he was Lord President of the Council in the Liberal government; in 1908, in Asquith's cabinet, he became Secretary of State for the Colonies (1908–10), and Leader of the House of Lords.[2] In this latter role, he played a key part in bringing the Parliament Act 1911 (depriving the Lords of its veto) to the statute book. Asquith valued him highly as a colleague, for his commonsense and sound judgment rather than any exceptional brilliance. His colonial responsibilities included terms as Secretary of State for India (1910–11 and 1911–15). In that post, he was responsible for the removal of the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi, and the reunion of the two Bengals under a Governor-in-Council.[4] He was further honoured in 1911 when he was created Earl of Madeley, in the County of Stafford, and Marquess of Crewe.

Crewe served as Lord President of the Council again in 1915–16. However, he declined to take office under Lloyd George, and after his resignation he continued to lead the independent Liberal opposition in the House of Lords.[4]

He maintained a leading role in the education sector, serving as Chairman of the Governing Body of Imperial College London (1907–22), President of the Board of Education (1916) and Chancellor of Sheffield University. He was also chairman of London County Council in 1917. He was later Ambassador to France (1922–28), and Secretary of State for War in 1931. As Ambassador to France he launched a fund for the creation of a British Institute in Paris which has since developed into the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP).

Literary work[edit]

Crewe inherited his father's literary tastes, and published Stray Verses in 1890, besides other miscellaneous literary work,[2] including Gleanings from Béranger (privately printed in 1889). He also wrote a biography on his father-in-law, Lord Rosebery, published in 1931. A war poem, A Harrow Grave in Flanders—which touches on the theme of "what might have been"—was published in several anthologies during and following World War I.[5]

Family[edit]

Crewe married firstly Sibyl Marcia Graham (1857–1887), daughter of Sir Frederick Graham, 3rd Baronet of Netherby, in 1880. They had three daughters and one son, who died as a child:

In 1899, more than a decade after his first wife's death, Crewe married again to the eighteen-year-old Lady Margaret Etienne Hannah (Peggy) Primrose, daughter of the 5th Earl of Rosebery. They had two children:

Lord Crewe died in June 1945, aged 87. As he had no surviving male heir his titles became extinct.

Trivia[edit]

His father-in-law, Lord Rosebery, had been Liberal Leader six years before he himself became Leader in the House of Lords of that party. Rosebery thought Crewe a reliable politician but a poor speaker. When it was announced to him that his daughter, the Marchioness of Crewe, was in labour, Rosebery quipped, "I hope that her delivery is not as slow as Crewe's".[7] He also held the dinner party at which Winston Churchill met Clementine Hozier.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Milnes, the Hon. Robert Offley Ashburton (MLNS875RO)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Crewe, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Earl of". Encyclopædia Britannica 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  3. ^ Davis, John. Milnes, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-, marquess of Crewe (1858–1945), in: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (September 2004; January 2008), Oxford University Press, retrieved 23 January 2009 
  4. ^ a b Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Crewe, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of". Encyclopædia Britannica 30 (12th ed.). London & New York. p. 772. 
  5. ^ New York Libraries (Feb 1919) p. 161
  6. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-quentin-crewe-1185256.html
  7. ^ Leo McKinstry, Rosebery; Statesman in Turmoil

References[edit]

  • Lord Crewe, 1858–1945. The Likeness of a Liberal, James Pope Hennessy (Constable & Co, London, 1955).
  • Ian Packer, The Earl of Crewe in Brack et al. (eds.) Dictionary of Liberal Biography; Politico's, 1998 pp87–88

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Zetland
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
1892–1895
Succeeded by
The Earl Cadogan
Preceded by
The Marquess of Londonderry
Lord President of the Council
1905–1908
Succeeded by
The Lord Tweedmouth
Preceded by
The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine
Colonial Secretary
1908–1910
Succeeded by
Lewis Vernon Harcourt
Preceded by
The Marquess of Ripon
Lord Privy Seal
1908–1911
Succeeded by
The Earl Carrington
Leader of the House of Lords
1908–1916
Succeeded by
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Preceded by
The Viscount Morley of Blackburn
Secretary of State for India
1910–1915
Succeeded by
Austen Chamberlain
Preceded by
The Marquess of Lincolnshire
Lord Privy Seal
1912–1915
Succeeded by
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Preceded by
The Earl Beauchamp
Lord President of the Council
1915–1916
Preceded by
Arthur Henderson
President of the Board of Education
1916
Succeeded by
Herbert Fisher
Preceded by
Alfred Fowell Buxton
Chairman of the London County Council
1917–1918
Succeeded by
Ronald Collet Norman
Preceded by
Thomas Shaw
Secretary of State for War
1931
Succeeded by
The Viscount Hailsham
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Ripon
Leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords
1908–1923
Succeeded by
The Viscount Grey of Fallodan
Preceded by
The Marquess of Reading
Leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords
1936–1944
Succeeded by
The Viscount Samuel
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst
British Ambassador to France
1922–1928
Succeeded by
Sir William Tyrrell
Academic offices
Preceded by
Henry Fitzalan-Howard
Chancellor of the University of Sheffield
1917–1944
Succeeded by
Henry Lascelles
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Fife
Lord Lieutenant of the County of London
1912–1944
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Marquess of Crewe
1911–1945
Extinct
Preceded by
Richard Monckton Milnes
Baron Houghton
1885–1945