St John Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Midleton
KP PC
1stEarlOfMidleton.jpg
Secretary of State for War
In office
12 November 1900 – 12 October 1903
Monarch Victoria
Edward VII
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Arthur Balfour
Preceded by The Marquess of Lansdowne
Succeeded by H. O. Arnold-Forster
Secretary of State for India
In office
9 October 1903 – 4 December 1905
Monarch Edward VII
Prime Minister Arthur Balfour
Preceded by Lord George Hamilton
Succeeded by John Morley
Leader of the Irish Unionist Alliance
In office
1910–1919
Preceded by Sir Edward Carson
Succeeded by Lord Farnham
Personal details
Born 14 December 1856 (1856-12-14)
Died 13 February 1942 (1942-02-14)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative (until 1891)
Irish Unionist Alliance (1891-1919)
Unionist Anti-Partition League (1919-1922)
Spouse(s) (1) Lady Hilda Charteris
(d. 1901)
(2) Madeleine Stanley
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
"War". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1901.

William St John Fremantle Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton, KP PC (14 December 1856 – 13 February 1942), known as St. John Brodrick until 1907 and as The Viscount Midleton between 1907 and 1920, was a British Conservative Party and Irish Unionist Alliance politician.

Background and education[edit]

He came of a Surrey family who in the 17th century, in the persons of Sir St John Brodrick and Sir Thomas Brodrick, obtained grants of land in the south of Ireland. Sir St John Brodrick settled at Midleton, between Cork and Youghal in 1641; and his son Alan Brodrick (1660–1728), Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, was created Baron Brodrick in 1715 and Viscount Midleton in 1717 in the Irish peerage.

In 1796 the title of Baron Brodrick in the Peerage of Great Britain was created. The English family seat at Peper Harrow, near Godalming, Surrey, was designed by Sir William Chambers. William Brodrick, 8th Viscount Midleton was a conservative in politics, who for a few years had a seat in the House of Commons, and who was responsible in the House of Lords for carrying the Infants Protection Act. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, where he served as president of the Oxford Union.

Political career[edit]

Brodrick entered Parliament as Conservative member for West Surrey in 1880.[1] In 1883 he was appointed to a Royal Commission examining the condition of Irish prisons.[2] He was Financial Secretary to the War Office 1886-92; Under-Secretary of State for War, 1895–1898; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1898–1900; Secretary of State for War, 1900–1903;[3][4][5] and Secretary of State for India, 1903–1905. In 1904, during a crisis in British relations with Russia, he became the first member of a Cabinet since 1714 to attend a meeting of the Privy Council without being summoned to it by the monarch.[6] At the general election of January 1906, the outcome of which was a Liberal landslide (the biggest at a British general election between 1832 and 1945), he lost his Parliamentary seat, at Guildford, which he had held since 1885.[7][8][9][10] In March 1907 he was made an alderman of the London County Council.

From 1910 he was regarded as the nominal leader of the Irish Unionist Alliance (IUA) in Southern Ireland, while Sir Edward Carson led the party in Ulster (the Ulster Unionist Council). He was a remote and condescending leader who relied on a few intimates and was suspected of being more interested in a future career in British conservative politics than in his Irish followers. In 1916 Midleton's lobbying helped to defeat an attempt to implement immediate Home Rule with Ulster exclusion; this was supported by the Ulster leader Edward Carson and the Home Ruler John Redmond, but Midleton believed it would be disastrous for the Southern Unionist minority.

In 1918, during the Irish Convention, Midleton tried to reach a compromise with Redmond which would allow Home Rule without partition subject to certain financial restrictions. This was rejected both by Redmond's followers (who saw it as too restrictive) and the hardline IUA rank-and-file, who deposed Midleton. He and his followers then formed the Unionist Anti-Partition League, an elite body mainly concerned with lobbying. It had some influence on the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, but none of the safeguards for Southern Unionist interests which it sought were included in the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. Successful lobbying by Midleton and associated Southern Unionists was instrumental in ensuring their representation in the Seanad of the Irish Free State.[11]

Honours and awards[edit]

In the 1920 New Year Honours, was created Earl of Midleton,[12] a title that became extinct with the death of his son in 1979.

He received the Honorary Freedom and was appointed a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Broderers in 1902, his family having been associated with the company since the early 17th century.[13]

Family[edit]

He married, first in 1880, Lady Hilda (died 1901), daughter of Francis Richard Charteris, 10th Earl of Wemyss, by whom he had five children, including George Brodrick, 2nd Earl of Midleton; and secondly in 1903, Madeleine Stanley, daughter of Lady St Helier by her first husband.

His sister, the Honourable Marian Cecilia Brodrick, married Sir James Whitehead, son of the inventor Robert Whitehead. Sir James Whitehead was to become the British Ambassador to Austria, and his daughter Agathe was the first wife of Georg Ludwig von Trapp; the story of their children and his second wife, Maria von Trapp was the basis of the musical The Sound of Music.

Another sister, Albinia, became an early supporter of Sinn Féin and became well known in Ireland under the name Gobnait Ní Bhruadair.

His grandson Sir Julian St. John Loyd (by his daughter Lady Moyra Brodrick) became land agent to Queen Elizabeth II at Sandringham. Julian's daughter Alexandra (Mrs. Duncan Byatt) was a Lady-in-Waiting to Diana, Princess of Wales.[14]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "House member declaration" (PDF). London Gazzette (London). London Gazzette. 6 April 1880. p. 2388. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "House of Lords news summaries" (pdf). The London Gazzette (25184). 2 January 1883. pp. 29–30. Archived from the original on 3 Sep 2014. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27246. p. 6923. 13 November 1900. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27272. p. 552. 24 January 1901. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27273. p. 558. 25 January 1901. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  6. ^ Sir Almeric Fitzroy, Memoirs (London & New York, 1925), vol. I, p. 222.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25609. p. 3495. 20 July 1886. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26311. p. 4311. 29 July 1892. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26651. p. 4485. 9 August 1895. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27244. p. 6774. 6 November 1900. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  11. ^ Provost of Trinity College to Middleton PRO 30/67 , Middleton Papers, National Archives, Kew
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31712. p. 1. 30 December 1919. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  13. ^ "Court Circular" The Times (London). Wednesday, 2 April 1902. (36731), p. 7.
  14. ^ "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Diana, Princess of Wales' Ladies-in-Waiting". Archived from the original on 4 Sep 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lee Steere
George Cubitt
Member of Parliament for West Surrey
18801885
With: George Cubitt
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Denzil Roberts Onslow
Member of Parliament for Guildford
18851906
Succeeded by
William Henry Cowan
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Monkswell
Under-Secretary of State for War
1895–1898
Succeeded by
George Wyndham
Preceded by
Hon. George Curzon
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
1898–1900
Succeeded by
Viscount Cranborne
Preceded by
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Secretary of State for War
1900–1903
Succeeded by
H. O. Arnold-Forster
Preceded by
Lord George Hamilton
Secretary of State for India
1903–1905
Succeeded by
John Morley
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
William Brodrick
Viscount Midleton
1907–1942
Succeeded by
George St John Brodrick
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Midleton
1920–1942
Succeeded by
George St John Brodrick