Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
|The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Crewe
KG KP PC
|Robert Offley Ashburton Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (William Strang, 1907)|
25 May 1915 – 10 December 1916
|Prime Minister||Herbert Henry Asquith|
|Preceded by||The Earl Beauchamp|
|Succeeded by||The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston|
|Lord President of the Council|
10 December 1905 – 12 April 1908
|Prime Minister||Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman|
|Preceded by||The Marquess of Londonderry|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Tweedmouth|
|Leader of the House of Lords|
14 April 1908 – 10 December 1916
|Prime Minister||H. H. Asquith|
|Preceded by||The Marquess of Ripon|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Curzon of Kedleston|
|Lord Lieutenant of Ireland|
18 August 1892 – 29 June 1895
|Prime Minister||The Earl of Rosebery|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Zetland|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Cadogan|
|Born||Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes
12 January 1858
|Died||20 June 1945(aged 87)|
|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, KP 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
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. 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.
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. 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 common sense 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. 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.
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).
Crewe inherited his father's literary tastes, and published Stray Verses in 1890, besides other miscellaneous literary work, 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.
Crewe married firstly Sibyl Marcia Graham (1857–1887), daughter of Sir Frederick Graham, 3rd Baronet, of Netherby in the County of Cumberland, in 1880. They had three daughters and one son, who died as a child:
- Lady Annabel Crewe-Milnes (1881–1948). In 1903 she married Arthur O'Neill (1876–1914), later Ulster Unionist MP for Mid Antrim. Their third son, Terence O'Neill, served as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. She later married Hugh Dodds. Their son was the writer Quentin Crewe.
- Hon. Richard Charles Rodes Milnes (1882–1890).
- Lady Celia Hermione Crewe-Milnes (1884–1985). She married Sir Edward Clive Milnes-Coates, 2nd Baronet.
- Lady Helen Cynthia Crewe-Milnes (1884–1968). Twin of Celia Hermione. She married the Hon. George Charles Colville (1867–1943) and was mother of Sir John Colville who served as a Private Secretary to Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.
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:
- Richard George Archibald John Lucian Hungerford Crewe-Milnes, Earl of Madeley (1911–1922),
- Lady Mary Evelyn Hungerford Crewe-Milnes (1915–2014), first wife of the 9th Duke of Roxburghe.
Lord Crewe died in June 1945, aged 87. As he had no surviving male heir his titles became extinct.
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". He also held the dinner party at which Winston Churchill met Clementine Hozier.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- "Milnes, the Hon. Robert Offley Ashburton (MLNS875RO)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Crewe, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Earl of". Encyclopædia Britannica 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- 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
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Crewe, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of". Encyclopædia Britannica 30 (12th ed.). London & New York. p. 772.
- New York Libraries (Feb 1919) p. 161
- Leo McKinstry, Rosebery; Statesman in Turmoil
- 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
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe.|
- "Milnes, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.