Cecil, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-, third Marquis of Salisbury 1830-1903, prime minister, the lineal descendant of Robert Cecil, first earl of Salisbury [qv.], was born at Hatfield on 3 Feb. 1830. His father, James Brownlow William Gascoyne-Cecil, second marquis (1791-1868), held the offices of lord privy seal and lord president of the council in the conservative administrations of 1852 and 1858 respectively, and assumed by royal licence the surname of Gascoyne before that of Cecil in 1821 on his marriage to Frances Mary, only child and heiress of Bamber Gascoyne (1758-1828), M.P. for Liverpool 1780-96, whose grandfather, Sir Crisp Gascoyne [qv.], was lord mayor of London in 1753. Cecil's mother was the friend and frequent correspondent of the first duke of Wellington. Of Cecil's brothers, the elder, James, Viscount Cranborne (1821-1865), who became blind at an early age, was an historical essayist of some power and a member of the Société de l'histoire de France and corresponding member of the Société de l'histoire de Belgique and of the Institut Génevois; and the younger, Lt.-col. Lord Eustace Cecil (b. 1834), was surveyor-general of the ordnance (M.P. 1865-85) in the conservative administration (1874-80). His elder sister, Lady Mildred, married Alexander Beresford-Hope [qv.], member for Cambridge University; the younger, Lady Blanche, married James Maitland Balfour of Whittinghame and was the mother of Mr. Arthur James Balfour, Salisbury's successor in the premiership, of Francis Maitland Balfour [qv.], and of Mr. Gerald William Balfour.
Cecil was at Eton from 1840 to 1845, and at Christ Church, Oxford, from 1847 to 1849. At Oxford he obtained the honorary distinction of a fourth class in mathematics. During Michaelmas term 1848 he was secretary and during Easter term 1849 treasurer of the Oxford Union. Subsequently in 1853 he was elected to a fellowship at All Souls College. Private memoranda show that he experienced the impact of the Oxford movement (eg. Every virtue is a narrow mountain ridge with a valley of sin on each side), though in these notes on religious and ethical subjects (written c. 1853-4) he maintains throughout a critical and sometimes hostile independence of judgment. After leaving the university he went between July 1851 and May 1853 to Australia—at the time considerably agitated by the recent gold discoveries—and visited the mines near Melbourne. On his return in 1853 he was elected in the conservative interest M.P. for Stamford, which he continued to represent until his succession to the peerage. His election address exhibits the readiness to abide by the fait accompli (in this case the abolition of the corn laws) which was one of his most salient characteristics. He made his maiden speech in Parliament on 7 April 1854, opposing the second reading of the Oxford University Bill (which embodied the recommendations of the recent commission) on the ground that endowments ought either to continue to be applied to those purposes for which they had been bestowed or else to revert to the donor's heirs. This speech in defence of property was followed within the year by speeches on religious education and foreign affairs. It was along these three lines of political thought that his mind was principally to travel.
The ability which he had shown led to his being selected on 17 July 1855 on behalf of the opposition to second the previous question after John Arthur Roebuck [qv.] had moved his famous vote of censure upon the late ministry of Lord Aberdeen, which had been responsible for the conduct of the Crimean war. The previous question was carried. On this occasion Cecil gave indirect support to Palmerston's government. Three years later he was amongst those who combined to defeat the same administration upon its Chinese policy. Palmerston was however returned at the ensuing general election of 1857. In the new parliament Cecil introduced a bill to substitute the use of voting-papers for personal attendance at the polling booths, urging that such a measure would prevent both disorder and intimidation, but the proposal had no success. He also entered upon a vigorous resistance to the abolition of compulsory church rates, which was prolonged until 1868, when, seeing that further opposition was hopeless, he supported the measure in a moderate form (speech, 19 Feb. 1868).
On 11 July 1857 he married Georgina Caroline, the eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hall Alderson [qv.], baron of the exchequer, and a woman of great ability. Owing to his father's disapproval of the union, his married life was started on a very limited income, and he was at this time partly dependent upon his pen. He wrote for Bentley's Quarterly Review (1859) and for the Saturday Review (the property of his brother-in-law, Alexander Beresford-Hope) between 1857 and 1865, and in 1860 he began the long series of articles in the Quarterly Review—thirty-three in all—which are perhaps the best mirror of his mind. In 1858 he contributed an article called Theories of Parliamentary Reform to the volume of Oxford Essays for that year. It is remarkable (i.) for its frank recognition of the utilitarian as the only genuine standpoint in modern politics; (ii.) for its definite abandonment of the feudal basis of the older toryism; and (iii.) for the selection of persons of substance as the class whose position and privileges it was the particular business of the conservative party, in the interest of equity, to defend. His distrust of democracy was in fact laid not in any distrust of the poorer classes as such—he regarded them as neither better nor worse than other men (speech in the House of Commons, 27 April 1866)—but in the belief that the law ought not to expose them to predatory temptations, which poverty encouraged and wisdom was not present to resist, nor to strip their more fortunate neighbours of that influence which was the single bulwark of wealth against the weight of numbers. The conclusion therefore was, that we must either change enormously or not at all. Since symmetrical constitutions like that of Sieyès were opposed to human nature, since an educational franchise could not be constructed so as to embody any logical principle, since a wide or geographical franchise imperilled property, the writer expressed himself in favour of leaving things where they were. Reform, however, was in the air, and as soon as Derby took office on the fall of the Palmerston administration in 1858 a reform bill was adumbrated, which Disraeli introduced in the following year with a view to settling the question on conservative lines. Cecil spoke on 21 March 1859 in favour of the clause depriving the forty-shilling freeholder, who voted in a borough, of the vote for the county which he had possessed as well. But the new government fell without being able to carry the measure, and from July 1859 to 1866 the conservatives were once more in opposition.
This period was the most interesting stage in Cecil's career (Traill). Inside Parliament he was making a name by incisive attacks upon the liberal government. He crossed swords with Gladstone both by supporting the action of the House of Lords in refusing to repeal the paper duties (1860-1) and by opposing the taxation of charitable corporations (1863), and it was his motion charging the vice-president of the council with the mutilation of the reports of school-inspectors, which brought about the resignation of Robert Lowe (afterwards Viscount Sherbrooke) [qv.] in 1864. By his speech of 8 Feb. 1861 on Villiers's motion for a committee to inquire into the relief of the poor he revealed an interest in and knowledge of social problems, and by that of 7 April 1862 a considerable mastery over finance. Outside Parliament his articles in the Quarterly Review were making an effect upon a public opinion still responsive to such influences. Their trenchancy was such that both Russell and Gladstone paid them the compliment of uncomplimentary references (see Quarterly Review, July 1860, p. 292, and July 1866, p. 266), and they still constitute a formidable and independent criticism of the conduct of the leaders of both parties during the period as well as a lively review of the problems and politics of the time. Singularly free of literary artifice as well as of literary allusion, seldom if ever attaining any great height of eloquence, their style has long been recognised as a rare model of restrained, pungent, and vigorous English.
The Russell ministry fell in June 1866 owing to the opposition of the whigs and conservatives to their reform bill, and Cecil (who by the death of his elder brother on 14 June 1865 had become Viscount Cranborne and his father's heir) was appointed to the Indian secretaryship in the Derby government and sworn of the privy council (6 July 1866). Within a week of taking office it fell to his lot to bring in the Indian budget, and the ability which he displayed added considerably to his credit. Otherwise his nine months' administration was uneventful. In the counsels of the cabinet, however, he played an important part. The July riot in Hyde Park converted the parliamentary agitation for a reform bill into a popular movement, and Disraeli resolved to anticipate his opponents in giving effect to it. He hoped to do so without losing the support of his more conservative colleagues, and two bills, one to establish in the boroughs a conditional household suffrage, the other a 6l. rating franchise, were submitted to the cabinet. On 23 Feb. 1867 Disraeli contrived by a judicious manipulation of statistics to get the more radical measure for household suffrage provisionally accepted by the whole cabinet. During the following day, however, which was Sunday, Cranborne had leisure to examine the figures more particularly, and by the evening had reached the conclusion that he could not support the measure. On the Monday morning he tendered his resignation to Derby, who was to address a party meeting the same afternoon. Peel and Carnarvon followed suit. To avoid a schism the ministry fell back, at the last minute, on the less violent project. But this maneuvre had no success with the House of Commons, and ten days later (4 March) Derby allowed his dissentient colleagues to withdraw, and proceeded with the household suffrage reform bill, which in due course became law, though not until it had been shorn of all its anti-democratic checks. Its passage was the occasion of some of Cranborne's most biting oratory and of the most famous of his Quarterly Review articles—The Conservative Surrender—in which he pressed home the great outrage upon political morality committed by the conservative leaders. A private letter (printed in the Life of Lord Coleridge, ii. 156) shows that he was near abandoning public life on the ground that his opinions were of the past, and that the new constitution should be worked by those who believed in it. In any case the scene of his activities was bound to change, for the death of his father on 12 April 1868 had made him a member of the House of Lords. His last speech in the lower house was delivered on 30 March in opposition to Gladstone's motion for the disestablishment of the Irish Church.
He continued his defence of that church establishment in the upper house, and counselled the lords to reject Gladstone's bill which temporarily suspended the exercise of the Irish crown patronage. This course was taken, and the question referred to the constituencies, which returned a substantial liberal majority. A bill to disestablish the Irish Church was then sent up to the lords. Prior to the general election (speech in House of Lords, 26 June 1868) Salisbury had laid down, in words often quoted since, what he conceived to be the function of the peers in the modern state. They must secure for the country, he said, an opportunity of expressing its firm, deliberate, and sustained conviction, whenever that opportunity was denied to it by the lower house. After that opportunity had once been secured, they must abide by the result whichever way it might go. He re-affirmed this doctrine after the general election in an impressive speech, advising them to pass the second reading of the bill (17 June 1869). It is no courage, he said, it is no dignity to withstand the real opinion of the nation. All that you are doing thereby is to delay an inevitable issue—for all history teaches us that no nation was ever thus induced to revoke its decision—and to invite besides a period of disturbance, discontent, and possibly of worse than discontent. In the ensuing division he went so far as to vote for the bill, which was passed. Difficulties, however, arose between the two houses in respect to the lords' amendments, but these were eventually overcome, mainly by the exertions of Archbishop Tait, but to some extent by his own (Life of Tait, chap. 19).
Towards the two other great Acts of this Parliament—the Irish Land Act and the Education Act of 1870—he showed a spirit of benevolent criticism and amendment, and his severest language was reserved for Gladstone's arbitrary abolition of army purchase. That step would produce, he said characteristically, not (as Cardwell had claimed) seniority tempered by selection but stagnation tempered by jobbery. His other activities included the introduction of a measure in March 1869 to carry over into the succeeding session bills which had been passed in one house and had lacked time to reach the other, as well as of a limited owners improvements bill, designed, in the interest of cottagers, to shift the financial burdens of administering an estate from the life-tenant to the corpus of the property. He failed, however, to carry either of them; nor did Russell's life peerage bill, which he supported, fare any better. He was equally unsuccessful in his resistance to the Universities Tests Abolition Act in 1871, and the lords, who on his advice had inserted in the bill a clause imposing a pledge on tutors, deans, and divinity lecturers to teach nothing contrary to the teaching of the Old and New Testaments, did not insist upon this amendment. A special importance attached to his opinion, as on 12 Nov. 1869 he had been elected to the chancellorship of Oxford University, vacant through Derby's death. He held that dignified office for his life, but took little active part in the university's affairs. In 1876 he made an unsuccessful attempt to get rid of idle fellowships. At his instigation the universities' commissions were appointed in 1877, and on their recommendation important changes were introduced into academic organisation. One reform limited the tenure of prize fellowships to seven years. Salisbury, however, though he approved the report of the commissioners, held aloof from university contentions.
His activities were, indeed, by no means confined to politics. On 16 Jan. 1868 he had been elected to the chairmanship of the Great Eastern railway, which he retained until 1872, and under a special act of parliament he became during part of 1871-2, in conjunction with Lord Cairns (who afterwards bore witness to the admirable character of his work), arbitrator of the disordered affairs of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Co. But in spite of his political pessimism and discouragement, political interests remained dominant in his nature. In October 1869 he had contributed a striking article to the Quarterly on The Past and the Future of Conservative Policy. He started from the thesis that the religious motive in politics, which has hitherto repressed the class motive, had passed away with the struggle over the Irish Church. The contest of the future would be a contest about material things. The new electorate was incontestably liberal. The conservatives therefore could not look for power at all and only for office on the same ignoble terms as those upon which they had obtained it for three short periods during the previous twenty years—that is to say, by allying themselves with the radicals to the discomfiture of the whigs. They would do better to look to nothing but their character and be guided by no rule except that of strict fidelity to conviction.
The diagnosis seemed plausible, but it was nevertheless to prove false. The liberal ascendancy could not survive five years of drastic legislation, and Disraeli returned to office in Feb. 1874. Salisbury resumed his place at the India office—an event which caused some surprise, as his relations with the leader of his party had long been of the coldest nature. In the later years of the administration these became, however, much more cordial, and Salisbury paid a sympathetic tribute to Beaconsfield on the occasion of the latter's death on 19 April 1881. His conviction and commonsense had, meanwhile, been brought once more into contrast with the opportunism of the prime minister on the introduction of the public worship regulation bill (1874), when Disraeli played upon the protestant sentiment of the country and took occasion to describe his colleague, who had shown a just appreciation of the futility of the proposed measure, as a great master of gibes and flouts and jeers. It was in criticising this bill that Salisbury defined his conception of the Church of England, over whose establishment and privileges he was ever on the guard. There are, he said, three schools in the church, which I might designate by other names, but which I prefer to call the sacramental, the emotional, and the philosophical. — They arise, not from any difference in the truth itself, but because the truth must necessarily assume different tints as it is refracted through the different media of various minds. But it is upon the frank and loyal tolerance of these schools that the existence of your establishment depends.
At the India office Salisbury's administration was marked by his refusal to check the export of corn during the famine in Bengal, contrary to the advice of the lieut.-governor, Sir George Campbell [qv.]. The difficulty, he told the House of Lords, was not to procure grain but to bring the supplies to the houses of the starving population. The event justified his policy. In this case Lord Northbrook [qv.], the governor-general, had seen eye to eye with him, but there was a difference of opinion between them about the advisability of appointing a mixed commission to try the Gaikwar of Baroda, which Northbrook aggravated by altering some of the customs duties without reference to the secretary of state. Afghan frontier policy proved a more serious source of friction. Northbrook belonged to the old Lawrence school of administrators, who were satisfied with the existing north-west frontier, and desired to avoid interference with the Amir. Salisbury, on the other hand, was of opinion that a diplomatic invasion of Afghanistan by Russia was taking place, and must be resisted by the establishment of a British agent at Herat. This forward policy was inaugurated by Lytton, who replaced Northbrook in April 1876. Salisbury defended it, as well as his personal integrity in respect of it, in a speech in the House of Lords on 10 Dec. 1878. Of a Russian military invasion of India he made light, advising one who feared it to use large maps (11 June 1877). But he maintained that, unless we took our precautions, there was a danger that the Russians might at some convenient moment prompt the Afghans to embarrass us upon the frontier:—Russia can offer to the Afghans the loot of India; we, if we desired to make a competing offer, can promise nothing—because there is nothing in Turkestan to loot (Quarterly Review, April 1881, p. 548).
It was not, however, from the India office that he was principally to oppose Russian designs and to win in the Tsar's eyes the character of being l'ennemi acharné de la Russie (Life of Lord Randolph Churchill, p. 719). The Eastern question, owing to a rebellion attended by Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria and the adjacent provinces, had become acute in 1876, and a conference between the great powers was arranged to meet in Constantinople. Salisbury was sent out in December as British plenipotentiary. His purpose was to secure so far as possible both the integrity of Turkey and the safety of its Christian subjects. Instead of any occupation of Bulgaria by Russia he brought the Powers to agree upon the appointment of an international commission to re-organise the territory with the support of six thousand Belgian troops, in the intention of placing it, together with Bosnia and the Herzegovina, under the control of governors nominated by the Sultan and approved by the Concert. To these terms, however, the Porte obstinately and unexpectedly refused its assent, and Salisbury returned to England in the end of Jan. 1877. War between Russia and Turkey followed in April, and the Russians were within reach of Constantinople by the end of the year. On 6 Dec. Cranbrook records in his diary, Salisbury is bent upon England having a share, if there should be a break up in the East, and evidently has no desire that Turkey should stand. The treaty of San Stefano (3 March 1878), however, put Russia clearly in the wrong, inasmuch as it was a violation of the integrity of Turkey, guaranteed by England, France, and Austria in 1856. The British government accordingly required all the terms of that armistice to be submitted to a European conference. The Russian reply reserved to Russia the right of excluding from discussion whatever clauses of the treaty it chose. This brought the two Powers to the brink of war, and Derby, who was constitutionally unprepared for that contingency, resigned the foreign secretaryship, under some misapprehension, however, as to the exact intentions of his colleagues, which resulted in a regrettable passage at arms in the House of Lords with his successor (see Life of Lord Cranbrook, ii. 77). Salisbury was appointed to the vacant office on 1 April 1878. His qualifications for filling it included, besides his recent mission to Constantinople, a prolonged study of foreign affairs, of which the evidence is to be found as well in early speeches (eg. House of Commons, 7 June 1855) as in some of his articles contributed to the Quarterly Review [Lord Castlereagh (Jan. 1862); Poland (April 1863); The Danish Duchies (Jan. 1864); Foreign Policy (April 1864)]. He brought to his work a clear conception both of the character and aim of English diplomacy, which is best stated in his own language. In our foreign policy, he said at Stamford in 1865, what we have to do is simply to perform our own part with honour; to abstain from a meddling diplomacy; to uphold England's honour steadily and fearlessly and always to be rather prone to let action go along with words than to let it lag behind them (Pulling's Life and Speeches of Lord Salisbury, i. 68). Five years before (Quarterly Review, April 1860, p. 528) he had approved (in contrast to the then existing policy of non-interference) the traditional part which England had played in Europe—England did not meddle with other nations' doings when they concerned her not. But she recognised the necessity of an equilibrium and the value of a public law among the states of Europe. When a great Power abused its superiority by encroaching on the frontier of its weaker neighbours, she looked on their cause as her cause and on their danger as the forerunner of her own.È(È(2a^n5@(ô,ÍÃû]bû®
It was in accordance with these precepts that a day after (2 April 1878) he took over the foreign office he issued the ‘Salisbury Circular,’ requiring that all the articles of the treaty of San Stefano should be submitted to the proposed conference, declaring emphatically against the creation of a ‘big’ Bulgaria, and arguing that, even though the Turkish concessions to Russia might be tolerated individually, taken together they constituted a serious menace to Europe. One of Salisbury's successors at the foreign office has pointed to this despatch as the masterpiece of Salisbury's diplomatic work (Lord Rosebery, speech at the Oxford Union, 14 Nov. 1904). It is at any rate remarkable for its promptitude, its lucidity, and its firmness, and it undoubtedly secured for the government a large measure of public support. England was clearly in earnest, and subsequent secret negotiations between Salisbury and Shuvalov, the Russian ambassador, resulted in an agreement to divide the proposed province into two parts-that south of the Balkans to be administered by a Christian governor, nominated by the Sultan. Through the treachery of Charles Thomas Marvin [q.v.], a foreign office copyist, the terms of this agreement appeared in the ‘Globe’ newspaper, and Salisbury's denial in the House of Lords of the authenticity of the statements, thus disclosed at a momentous diplomatic crisis, is the most debatable incident in a singularly honourable career. The secret convention with Russia, balanced by the ‘Cyprus’ convention with Turkey, secured the semblance of a diplomatic success for England at Berlin, and Salisbury, who in company with Lord Beaconsfield, the prime minister, represented this country at the congress (13 June-13 July 1878), returned bringing in the famous phrase ‘peace with honour.’ His services were rewarded with the garter, almost the only distinction which he was ever induced to accept (30 July 1878). A well-known epigram of Bismarck¾‘The old Jew means business, but his colleague is lath painted to look like iron’-may have strengthened the idea that Salisbury was at this time something of a tool in the hands of his chief. It is unlikely, however, that, when the diplomatic history of this period comes to be more fully told, this verdict will be endorsed.
The principal provisions of the treaty of Berlin were that the Slavonic settlement of the Eastern question, embodied in the idea of a ‘big Bulgaria,’ should be abandoned; that Austria, for which Salisbury, like his diplomatic model, Castlereagh, entertained a peculiar regard, should be entrusted¾and this was done at his particular instance¾with the administration of Bosnia and the Herzegovina; that Russia, who obtained Batum (together with Kars and Ardahan), should make of it ‘a free port, essentially commercial.’ The Cyprus convention transferred to England the protectorate of that island, so long as Russia retained the cities just named and on the understanding that if the Porte carried out the reforms desired in Armenia England should guarantee its Asiatic dominions. It is evident, therefore, if the history of the last thirty years be interrogated, that the diplomacy of 1878, whatever its immediate merit, has produced no lasting triumph. The cession of Cyprus did not result in any immunity of the Armenians from Turkish misgovernment, nor even, as was perhaps dreamed of, in the creation of an English sphere of influence in the Euphrates valley: the Russian port of Batum has been closed and fortified: Bosnia and the Herzegovina were annexed by Austria with the utmost cynicism when at length in 1908 the opportunity offered: and Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia were united by Prince Alexander in 1885, if not actually with Salisbury's post factum approval, at least without any active resistance on his part; though, as he was careful to point out (Newport speech, 7 Oct. 1885), the Bulgaria thus formed was not the ‘big Bulgaria’ of the San Stefano treaty, nor was it evolved under Russian influences. About the underlying principle of the English policy¾the maintenance of Turkey¾he was himself eighteen years later, in the height of the Armenian atrocities, to encourage the gravest doubt. The defence of the Berlin Treaty, he told the House of Lords on 19 Jan. 1897, lay in its traditional character, not in its inherent excellence. ‘The parting of the ways was in 1853, when the Emperor Nicholas's proposals were rejected. Many members of this house will keenly feel the nature of the mistake that was made, when I say that we put all our money upon the wrong horse. It may be in the experience of those that have done the same thing, that it is not very easy to withdraw from a step of this kind, when it has once been taken, and that you are practically obliged to go on. All that Lord Beaconsfield did was to carry out the policy which his predecessors had laid down. I am acquainted with Lord Beaconsfield's thoughts at that time; he was not free from misgiving; but he felt that the unity of the policy in this great country was something so essential, and that the danger of shifting from one policy to another without perfectly seeing all the results to which you would come was so paramount, that he always said that the policy of Lord Palmerston must be upheld. He still entertained hopes, which I did not entertain in quite the same degree. But those hopes have not been justified.’
The brilliant effect of the Berlin Congress was even more evanescent than its provisions. Two years later the conservatives were put in a minority by the election of 1880. Beaconsfield only survived his defeat by about a year, and at his death (19 April 1881) Salisbury was chosen (9 May) to lead the opposition in the House of Lords, Sir Stafford Northcote [q.v.] continuing to do so in the House of Commons, and the party being left without any recognised leader in the country. The years of this ‘dual control’ are perhaps the least effective of Salisbury's life. His great ability was not yet fully realised, and he had still to make himself a name for sagacity and moderation. Irish questions, involving the larger issue of interference with the established rights of property, were dominant, and much of his activity was devoted to opposing the Irish legislation of the government, represented by the land bill of 1881 and the arrears bill of 1882, which he did with partial success by means of amendments instead of open resistance. To the bill of 1884 introducing household suffrage in the counties he only offered opposition contingent on the refusal of the government to make public the complementary redistribution of seats bill. A compromise, which involved a constitutional innovation, was however eventually arrived at. Salisbury and Northcote were taken into counsel by the ministry, and, to the profound indignation of some members of the conservative party, their leaders privately negotiated the provisions of a redistribution bill, on the understanding that the House of Lords would pass the franchise bill (extending the vote to nearly twice as many persons as was done in 1867), without forcing an appeal to the country.
The domestic policy of the liberals was not easy to attack from any popular standpoint, but their conduct of affairs in the Sudan, in Egypt, in Afghanistan, and in Ireland gave Salisbury the opportunity for trenchant criticism. Northcote, on the other hand, as Lord Randolph Churchill [q.v.] was at pains to show, possessed little aptitude for turning occasion to advantage, and when the government fell on 12 June 1885, Salisbury, who had been Beaconsfield's choice (Life of Lord Cranbrook, ii. 149), and during the last year had been more and more taking the lead (ibid. p. 215) was summoned by the queen. With reluctance he accepted office on 23 June. He was embarrassed as well by his unwillingness to take precedence of Northcote as by Churchill's refusal to serve, if Northcote retained the leadership in the commons, but the pressure put on him by the queen, by the party itself (Life of Lord Randolph Churchill, p. 332), and by the exigencies of the political situation (Life of Sir Stafford Northcote, ii. 210) overcame his disinclination. He decided to take the foreign office himself, thus associating it with the premiership for the first time since it had been a distinct office. To Northcote, who went to the House of Lords as earl of Iddesleigh, he made over the post of first lord of the treasury, which had hitherto gone with that of prime minister. Sir Michael Hicks Beach became leader of the House of Commons.
With the assistance of Lord Dufferin, the Indian viceroy, Salisbury carried forward the Afghan frontier negotiations, which had been interrupted by the Penjdeh incident. All danger of war with Russia was removed by the protocol of 10 Sept. 1885, securing the Zulfikar pass to the Amir, though the final delimitation of the boundary between the Hari Rud and the Oxus was not completed until the treaty of St. Petersburg in July 1887. The eastern frontier of India was similarly secured against French influences by the annexation of Burmah. Other activities included the raising of a long-delayed Egyptian loan and, by a curious irony, the diplomatic support of Prince Alexander's action in uniting Eastern Roumelia to Bulgaria. Salisbury's foreign policy appeared very able to his contemporaries. Cranbrook thought it had secured a European reputation to its author, and Gladstone said that he could not object to one item in it (Life of Lord Cranbrook, ii. 239).
In Parliament Salisbury promoted and passed a bill for the housing of the working classes (based upon the report of a commission for which he had moved on 22 Feb. 1884), by which landlords were penalised for letting insanitary tenements and the local government board empowered to pull down dwellings unfit for habitation. It was a type of the only kind of ordinary legislation in which he really believed [¼ ‘Those matters on which parties do not contend we hold ¼ to be so far from objectionable that they and they alone are the proper work of Parliament, and that it is detained from its normal labours by the perpetual intrusion of revolutionary projects’ (Quarterly Review, Oct. 1873, p. 556)]. There is no dispute as to its salutary effect upon urban slums.
More sensational matter, however, occupied the public mind, as Ireland continued to be in a state of unrest. Salisbury dealt with the question at some length on 7 Oct. 1885 at Newport, and from the elaborate disquisition on local government which the speech contains it has been argued that his mind was at this time oscillating towards a home rule policy. This passage of the speech is, however, followed by an explicit repudiation of the federative principle in connection with Ireland, and in his private correspondence there is nothing to show that he ever contemplated anything more than the measure of Irish local government which in fact he afterwards granted. Any shadow of plausibility which the charge possesses is derived solely from the fact that Carnarvon, the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, had (with his previous assent and subsequent approval, but without the knowledge of the cabinet) held a secret conversation with Parnell in which, according to Parnell's but not Carnarvon's account, Carnarvon used words favourable to an extensive measure of home rule [see Herbert, Henry Howard Molyneux, fourth Earl of Carnarvon]. The general election of December 1885 left the Irish the real masters of the field, since neither side could retain office without their aid. In the course of the next month Gladstone matured his home rule convictions, thus attracting the Irish vote at the same time that the conservatives, contrary to the wishes of Carnarvon, whose resignation was, however, made in accordance with a previous understanding on grounds of health, were repelling it by the project of a coercion bill. The government was defeated on 27 Jan. 1886 and Salisbury resigned on the 28th. Gladstone resumed office, and introduced his first home rule bill in the following April, but the conservatives, materially aided by the secession of Hartington, John Bright, and Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, effected its defeat on 8 June. Parliament was dissolved, and the question referred to the country. In strong contrast to Gladstone's sentimental appeal for justice to Ireland Salisbury had declared (15 May 1886, speech at Union of Conservative Associations) for ‘twenty years of resolute government,’ introducing this statement of policy with the ill-judged remark, not to be forgotten or forgiven, that some races, like the Hottentots and the Hindus, were unfit for self-government. The electorate returned a majority of 118 for the maintenance of the union. In the hope of including liberal-unionists in the administration, Salisbury expressed his readiness to leave the premiership to Hartington, but the offer was declined. He therefore took office on 26 July 1886, and formed a conservative ministry dependent on a unionist majority. He himself became first lord of the treasury; Iddesleigh foreign secretary under his supervision; and Lord Randolph Churchill, chancellor of the exchequer and, through Sir Michael Hicks Beach's self-abnegation, leader of the House of Commons. Churchill, whose speeches were perfectly attuned to the ear of the new electorate, and who by virtue of them had become the best known of the unionist leaders, was not slow to try conclusions with the premier. He had already, in 1884, made a vigorous though, on the whole, unsuccessful attack upon his chiefs with the view of democratising the party organisation, and his attitude had facilitated the passage of the franchise bill through the commons. In the next year he had made his power felt by compelling the withdrawal of Northcote to the House of Lords, and he now took exception to Iddesleigh's foreign policy, threatening to resign unless the military estimates which that policy necessitated were reduced. Deeper differences lay in the antagonism between the spirit of the new tory democracy, of which Churchill was the exponent, and that of the old conservatism of opinion and method, which Salisbury represented. The prime minister made no effort to retain his rebellious lieutenant at the price of concession, and Churchill left the government in December 1886. Salisbury, after again ineffectually offering to serve under Hartington, induced George Joachim (afterwards Lord) Goschen [q.v.] to fill the breach and take the exchequer, and in the ensuing shuffle of places, necessitated by the transfer to W. H. Smith of the treasury with the leadership of the house (Life of Lord Cranbrook, ii. 273), himself took the foreign office, a little brusquely, out of Iddesleigh's hands into his own. It must be remembered, however, that Iddesleigh had volunteered to resign, and had refused any other office.
Subsequent events showed that the cabinet had disliked Churchill's dictation more than his policy. Not only the service estimates of Goschen's budget, but the greatest legislative achievement of the administration (the Local Government Act, 1888) and the new Closure Act regulating parliamentary procedure were framed in accordance with his ideas. But the prime minister, even though he had in his own department been content with less interference in the Near East than had commended itself to Iddesleigh, could never be induced to recall him (Life of Lord Randolph Churchill, p. 776).
More lasting interest attaches to Salisbury's African policy. By granting a royal charter to the British East Africa Co. (1888), lately founded by Sir William Mackinnon [q.v.], he recovered for England the hold over the upper sources of the Nile which Iddesleigh by an agreement with Germany in 1886 had nearly lost. It was not, however, until 1890 that, after the fall of Bismarck, the Kaiser relinquished any claim to this region and to Uganda, and acknowledged a British protectorate over Zanzibar. In return for this Salisbury gave up Heligoland and, to the dismay of constitutional theorists, invited the consent of parliament to the surrender (see Anson's Law and Custom, ii. 299). It was characteristic of his diplomacy that he never regarded concessions¾‘graceful concessions,’ as his critics called them¾as a heavy price to pay for a good understanding, and there is little doubt that, in the belief that the Triple Alliance furnished the best guarantee for European peace, his policy was at this time governed by the idea of a good understanding with Germany. But beyond a good understanding he was not disposed to go. Like all the great English foreign ministers from Wolsey downwards, he saw that England's true function and strength consisted in maintaining the balance of power. The charter granted to the British East Africa Company was followed in 1889 by one in favour of the British South Africa Company which, under the guidance of Cecil Rhodes, was to colonise what is now Rhodesia. This occasioned trouble with the Portuguese, who raised a shadowy claim to Matabeleland. Salisbury sent an ultimatum to Lisbon, requiring their withdrawal from the British sphere of influence. Portugal was obliged to yield, and shortly afterwards a treaty delimiting the frontiers of Rhodesia was concluded. Trouble had also arisen with France in the same region in 1888, but in 1890 the French protectorate in Madagascar was acknowledged by England in return for a recognition of the English protectorate in Zanzibar. At the same time the British sphere of influence in Bornu was admitted and the French were compensated with the sands of the Sahara. It is plain that here, as well as in respect of the agreements with Germany and Portugal, British diplomacy had got the best of the bargain, and these bloodless African settlements are probably the most enduring monument of Salisbury's skill.
To return to home affairs. In 1888 the prime minister himself introduced in the House of Lords a life peerage bill, empowering the crown to create fifty peers for life, selected from the superior ranks of judges, officers in the army and navy, civil servants, and diplomatists as well as from among ex-colonial governors. The bill passed its second reading, but was then withdrawn. In 1891 the government passed a Free Education Act, which Salisbury had foreshadowed in 1885 (Newport speech), when he argued that since the state had made education compulsory, it was not fair that the very poor should have to find the money for it. But it was neither by this non-controversial act nor by that introducing local government in 1888 that the government was judged. It had been constituted upon the Irish issue, and Irish affairs played a conspicuous part in its history. The appointment of the Parnell commission Salisbury supported on the ground that it was most nearly analogous to the practice adopted by the House of Commons in respect of exceptional cases of bribery and some other matters (speech in the House of Lords, 10 August 1888). The discretion which Mr. Balfour showed in defending the Crimes Act of 1887, and the indiscretion which brought Parnell into the divorce court in 1890, enabled the ministry to fulfil its natural term of office.
At the general election of 1892, however, Gladstone was returned with a coalition majority of forty, and Salisbury gave place to the liberal leader. Gladstone introduced his second home rule bill, which, on Salisbury's advice, was rejected by the House of Lords. The new government retained office, however, under Lord Rosebery's leadership, until its defeat in 1895, when Salisbury formed a coalition ministry with Devonshire and Mr. Chamberlain (June 1895). At the ensuing general election he secured a majority of 152, and the country, in accordance with his ideas, entered upon a seven-year period of singularly unobtrusive but not unimportant legislation, which included such measures as the Workmen's Compensation Act (1897), the Criminal Evidence Act (1898), and the Inebriates Act (1898) (see for a useful list of laws passed Mee, Lord Salisbury, Appendix II). His special activities, however, lay at the foreign office, which he again combined with the premiership. Between 1895 and 1900 England found herself on the brink of war with each of the four great powers of the world, but no war occurred. The first crisis was produced by President Cleveland, who in his message to the United States Congress on 17 Dec. 1895 declared that Salisbury's refusal to agree to arbitration in the matter of the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela amounted to a violation of the Monroe doctrine, and asked leave to appoint a boundary commission, whose finding should be enforced by the Republic. Salisbury took no immediate notice of this intemperate action, which roused American feeling to fever-point, but, when the clamour began to subside, supplied to the United States Commission, without prejudice, papers setting out the British case. That case was in fact so strong that the international tribunal, which in the end determined the dispute, decided almost wholly in its favour. A reaction in favour of England had meanwhile set in in America. Salisbury was careful to encourage it, by refusing to consent to European intervention in the Spanish-American war of 1898; thus reversing the traditional English policy of keeping Cuba out of the hands of a first-class power. He spared no effort to bring about a good understanding between the two Anglo-Saxon communities. Even though his project of a general treaty of arbitration was thrown out by the United States Senate in 1897, he continued to manifest goodwill by the surrender of the British rights in Samoa, including the harbour of Pago-Pago in 1899, while by the abrogation (Hay-Pauncefote treaty, 1901) of that part of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty of 1850 which stood in the way of a canal at Panama under American control, he allowed the United States to strengthen further their dominant influence over Central America.
The crisis in Anglo-German relations was destined to leave more durable memories. Within three weeks of Cleveland's message (on 3 Jan. 1896) the German Emperor despatched a telegram to President Kruger of the South African Republic congratulating him in imprudent language on the suppression of the Jameson Raid. English feeling rose high, but Salisbury contented himself with a naval demonstration in home waters which was probably so calculated as to produce an effect also in America.
At the close of the next year he suffered in the Far East what were perhaps the only considerable diplomatic reverses in his career. He was not able to prevent either the Germans from acquiring from China the lease of Kiao-Chau or Russia that of Port Arthur in 1897; nor was he prepared to resent the Russian representation that the presence of two British ships at the latter harbour, where they had a treaty right to be, had ‘produced a bad impression at St. Petersburg.’ Wei-hai-wei, which he secured for England as a set-off against these cessions to Russia and Germany, has admittedly proved to be a place of no strategic value. On the commercial side, however, his policy was successful. He checked the attempt of Russia to secure exclusive trading rights¾in violation of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858)¾within her recognised sphere of influence in Manchuria, and he obtained an undertaking from China not to alienate the Valley of the Yangtse, where British interests pre-eminently lay. This insistence upon the policy of the open door was followed by a very remarkable development of British enterprise in China.
His Far-Eastern policy, besides, must not be viewed alone. A dispute with France was already on the horizon. Early in 1897 a French expedition under Major Marchand had left the Congo, and the French flag was planted at Fashoda on the Upper Nile in July 1898. From this place Sir Herbert (Lord) Kitchener dislodged it shortly after the battle of Omdurman. The action was deeply resented in France, but Salisbury declined any compromise, and boldly faced the likelihood of war. The French eventually gave way, and relinquished any claims in the Sudan by the declaration of 21 March 1899. It is significant of Salisbury's far-sightedness that a secret agreement with Germany about Portuguese Africa was being concluded, when Marchand was discovered at Fashoda.
His most characteristic work is however to be found in his Near-Eastern policy. In 1897 the Armenian massacres had aroused great indignation, which was fostered by Gladstone. Salisbury, however, was not to be moved. He fully admitted the legitimacy of the feeling against Turkish rule; he solemnly warned the Sultan of the ultimate fate of misgoverned countries; but he steadily maintained that to endanger the peace of Europe for the sake of avenging the Armenians was not to be thought of. Hence he declined to act without the approval of the greater Powers¾of the ‘Concert of Europe,’ an expression which in his time became very familiar. And though nothing was effected in Armenia, the use of this cumbrous instrument of diplomacy was vindicated in Crete, where, after the Greco-Turkish war of 1897, an autonomous constitution was established in 1899 by the pressure which the Concert under his leadership brought to bear upon the Porte. His support of arbitration was of a piece with his support of the Concert, and the English deputation to the Hague Conference, which followed upon the Tsar's Rescript (1899), proved perhaps the most efficient of those sent to it.
Meanwhile events in South Africa had brought England into open war with the Boer republics there, as a result of long pending disputes between the Boer rulers and British settlers. It was something of an irony that the largest army England had ever assembled should have been put into the field under the administration of a man who so earnestly laboured for peace. But to the charge that he ever wavered in his belief in the justice and necessity of the South African war he returned an indignant denial (speech at Albert Hall, 7 May 1902). He firmly refused to entertain any idea of foreign mediation (statement in the House of Lords, 15 March 1900), and his diplomacy was probably never more skilful than during that period of acute European Anglophobia. But his pre-occupation with foreign affairs had necessarily restricted his activity as prime minister, and at the reconstitution of the ministry in Nov. 1900, after the ‘khaki’ election of that year had confirmed him in power by a majority of 134, he took the sinecure post of lord privy seal and resigned the foreign office to Lord Lansdowne, retaining, however, a special supervision over its business so that the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1902 was concluded under his eye. His health had been failing for some time, but he regarded it as a matter of duty to retain the premiership until the war was finished. During that interval Queen Victoria died on 22 Jan. 1901. His personal devotion to her had been one of the deepest springs of his energy, and she had compared him with Peel and spoken of him as a greater man than Disraeli (Boyd-Carpenter, Some Pages of my Life, p. 236). He was closely associated with some of the leading events in the great movement which gave lustre to the latter part of her reign. The Royal Titles Act making her Empress of India had been carried during his tenure of the India office. Both her jubilees fell within his premierships. The first Colonial Conference in 1887 was inaugurated under his administration. The ideal of pacific imperialism was one which he endeavoured to impress upon his countrymen, and with which he believed the future of his country to be closely bound up, though with characteristic caution he deprecated any factitious attempt to quicken or consolidate imperial sentiment. Almost his last public utterance (Albert Hall, 7 May 1902) was a warning not to hurry the affections of the mother-country and her daughter states. ‘They will go on,’ he told his audience, with a touch of mysticism very seldom to be found in his language, ‘in their own power, in their own irresistible power, and I have no doubt they will leave combinations behind them which will cast into the shade all the glories that the British Empire has hitherto displayed. But we cannot safely interfere by legislative action with the natural development of our relations with our daughter countries. ¼ There is nothing more dangerous than to force a decision before a decision is ready, and therefore to produce feelings of discontent, feelings of difficulty, which, if we will only wait, will of themselves bring about the results we desire.’
Peace was concluded with the Boers on 31 May 1902, and on 11 July he tendered his resignation. He had regarded it as a matter of public duty to see the war ended, and would thus, but for King Edward's illness, have attended the coronation ceremony of that year. His premiership had lasted through a total period of thirteen years and ten months, a tenure exceeding in duration by sixteen months that of Gladstone. On his recommendation his place as prime minister was filled by his nephew, Mr. A. J. Balfour, already first lord of the treasury and leader of the House of Commons. Salisbury died at Hatfield, a year after his retirement, on 22 Aug. 1903. In accordance with his wishes he was buried beside his wife (d. 20 Nov. 1899) to the east of Hatfield church; in this last point, as throughout his life, avoiding publicity so far as he was able. Parliament voted a monument to him in Westminster Abbey.
Owing to his great reserve, his character, so lovable to those few who knew him well, remained to the end something of an enigma to his countrymen. They were sensible of a sort of massive wisdom in his presence, and they came to trust him completely, because he was so evidently indifferent to all the baser allurements of place and power. But they hardly realised either the large simplicity of his nature or the profundity of his religion. His life, it was said, had been ‘a consecrated one.’ Each day at Hatfield was in fact begun in the chapel. The very deep belief in the greatness of goodness, which appears in his tribute to Dr. Pusey (speech at Arlington Street, 17 Nov. 1882), and in his constant insistence upon the superiority of character over intellect, was fortified as well as balanced by a very keen perception of the impenetrable mystery of the universe. He was to the end of his life, as his library and laboratory bore witness, a close student of science as well as of theology. These, though dominant and, as it sometimes seemed during his lifetime, conflicting interests, were curiously blended in the address on ‘Evolution’ which, as president of the British Association, he delivered at Oxford in 1894. He shows himself there as jealous for the honour of science that no guesses, however plausible, should be taken for solid proof of the theory of natural selection, as, for the honour of theology, that nothing should be allowed to overthrow the argument from design. The address (although one at least of its principal arguments¾that correlating the antiquity of man with the rate of the cooling of the earth's crust¾is no longer in date) exhibits a wide range of reading and reflection just as the brilliant article on ‘Photography’ (Quarterly Rev. Oct. 1864) exhibits great power of lucid exposition and of practical foresight, but it must nevertheless remain doubtful whether he possessed any real talent for original scientific work. The article ‘On Spectral Lines of Low Temperature’ (Philos. Mag. xlv. 1873, pp. 241-5) does not make for an affirmative conclusion. His early bent was towards chemistry, but he became much interested in electricity later in life.
Theology, science, and history filled his leisure moments. There seemed to be no inclination for any of the thousand forms of recreation which men ordinarily affect. He was accustomed to pass part of the year near the sea, sometimes at Walmer, which came to him in 1895 with the lord wardenship of the Cinque Ports, more usually at his villa in France, first at Puys near Dieppe and afterwards at Beaulieu on the Riviera. He was an interested observer of French developments and a careful student of French thought; his keen taste in literature made him a reader of the finely cut work of Mérimée and Feuillet. Yet no man was less of a doctrinaire. He considered questions on their merits, not in the light of a priori ideas. Politics, as he said, speaking on the question of hostile tariffs, were no exact science (speech at Dumfries, 21 Oct. 1884). He was all in favour of promising experiments, provided they were undertaken with caution. His mind was, indeed, of the broad English pattern; he enjoyed the poetry of Pope; he possessed an English contempt for the impracticable. The unfailing resolve to keep within the limits of the actual and the possible was, it has been said, at the root of the most familiar of his characteristics¾his so-called cynicism¾if cynicism be ‘the parching-up of a subject by the application to it of a wit so dry as to be bitter’ (Lord Rosebery, speech at the Oxford Union, 14 Nov. 1904). But also his cynicism was a continual protest against sentiment, for he dreaded more than all things the least touch of cant.
It is of a piece with this that the note of passion is wanting in his eloquence, for his emotion, instinctively repressed, seldom stirs the polished surface of his language. No great passage of oratory, no vivid imaginative phrase, keeps green the memory of his speeches. It is something of a satire upon this master of satire, that he is best remembered by certain casual and caustic comments, which criticism denominated ‘blazing indiscretions.’ His diplomatic caution and his extreme courtesy seemed to slacken in his public speeches, and he occasionally expressed himself before popular audiences with a humour as reckless as it was shrewd; not that he was, as was sometimes alleged, a blue-blooded aristocrat of the traditional type, but that he cordially detested all the plausible maneuvres by which party-managers set themselves to catch the vote of an electorate. He regarded democracy as inimical to individual freedom. A belief in letting men alone to develop their own thoughts and characters was native to his nature and at the heart of his creed. His relations with his colleagues, like his relations with his children, were characterised by this intense dislike of interfering with others. His conservatism itself rested upon the old conviction that by means of well-contrived checks and balances our ancestors had provided for the utmost possible freedom of the subject compatible with the maintenance of society. He desired to see the state just and not generous. And though his mind was too tenacious of experience, too intensely practical to allow of his making any very original contribution to conservative theory, his presentment of that theory was singularly penetrating. Whilst he saw ‘the test-point of conservatism’ in the maintenance of an hereditary second chamber (Quarterly Rev. July 1860, p. 281) he found ‘the central doctrine of conservatism’ in the belief ‘that it is better to endure almost any political evil than to risk a breach of the historic continuity of government’ (ib. Oct. 1873, p. 544). In regulating the franchise, he maintained that only a material and not any spiritual nor philosophic conception of the state was in point, and he vindicated the analogy between the state and a joint-stock company with singular ingenuity by an appeal to ‘natural rights.’ ‘The best test of natural right is the right which mankind, left to themselves to regulate their own concerns, naturally admit’ (ib. April 1864, p. 266). He was thus the inveterate enemy of the alliance of ‘philosophy and poverty’ against ‘property.’ He believed that the remedy for existing discontents¾so far as they were susceptible of remedy at all¾lay in the encouragement of forces diametrically opposed to free thought and legislative confiscation¾that is in dogmatic religion and in production stimulated by security. He was a merciless querist of the radical idea of progress (ib. ‘Disintegration,’ Oct. 1883, p. 575). After the more definite conservatism of his youth had become a lost cause, he urged the need of restoring ‘not laws or arrangements that have passed away, but the earlier spirit of our institutions, which modern theory and crotchet have driven out. ¼ The object of our party is not and ought not to be simply to keep things as they are. In the first place the enterprise is impossible. In the next place there is much in our present mode of thought and action which it is highly undesirable to conserve. What we require in the administration of public affairs, whether in the executive or legislative department, is that spirit of the old constitution which held the nation together as a whole, and levelled its united force at objects of national import instead of splitting it into a bundle of unfriendly and distrustful fragments.’
Above all things, then, he was a patriot. His conservatism, trenchant and thorough as it was, merged in a larger devotion to his country. The bitterest moment of his career (1867), when public life seemed to be slipping from his grasp, evoked the loftiest of his utterances: ‘It is the duty of every Englishman and of every English party to accept a political defeat cordially and to lend their best endeavours to secure the success, or to neutralise the evil, of the principles to which they have been forced to succumb. England has committed many mistakes as a nation in the course of her history; but their mischief has often been more than corrected by the heartiness with which after each great struggle victors and vanquished have forgotten their former battles, and have combined together to lead the new policy to its best results’ (ib. Oct. 1867, p. 535). Here was the secret spring of his greatness, and it enabled him to hold back the forces he feared for a full decade. For, though his special talent lay in the sphere of foreign affairs, he ranks with the greatest of prime ministers. He thrice led his party to decisive victory at the polls, and held the first place in the state for a longer period than any prime minister of the nineteenth century save one, Lord Liverpool. He retired in the enjoyment of the unabated confidence of the country. For seven years he held a coalition together in office, though the combination had shown symptoms of splitting before his ministry was formed (Life of the Duke of Devonshire, ii. 267-9), and a split at once followed the withdrawal of his influence. In all his nearly fourteen years of office only one member of his cabinets resigned on principle, and this was a man constitutionally unfit for cabinet government. Curiously enough it is Lord Randolph Churchill's son who has drawn attention to Salisbury's exceptional capacity for managing that machine (Winston Churchill's Life of Lord Randolph Churchill, p. 602).
In his relations with the rank and file of his party Salisbury was perhaps less successful. Though he was a most considerate host, society bored him; the ready word, the genial interest in unknown men's endeavour were not his to give; and he was frequently charged with availing himself too exclusively of the ability that lay close at hand. For all that something akin to reverence was felt for his person and his opinion. Like Pitt, one of the two statesmen on whom he formed himself, he seemed towards the end to move in an atmosphere of splendid aloofness from common cares and aims. Yet it is rather to the character which he drew of Castlereagh that the student of his life and work will turn for a concluding sentence: ‘He was that rare phenomenon¾a practical man of the highest order, who yet did not by that fact forfeit his title to be considered a man of genius.’
Among the honours bestowed on him he received, besides the Garter, the G.C.V.O. from King Edward VII on 22 July 1902. He was lord warden of the Cinque Ports and constable of Dover Castle from 1895 (installed 15 Aug. 1896); one of the Elder Brethren of Trinity House; high steward of Westminster and Great Yarmouth; and from 1868 to 1876 chairman of the Hertfordshire quarter sessions. Academic distinctions included a D.C.L. at Oxford (1869), a LL.D. at Cambridge (1888), and an hon. studentship of Christ Church (1894).
There are portraits of him (1) by G. Richmond (1872) at Hatfield, of which there is a replica at All Souls' College, Oxford; and (2) by the same artist (1887) at Windsor; (3) by Millais (1882) in the possession of the Hon. W. F. D. Smith; (4) by Watts (1884) at the National Portrait Gallery; (5) by Sir H. von Herkomer (1893) at the Carlton Club; and (6) by Anton von Werner as a study for the head in the picture of the Berlin Congress painted for the German Emperor. This portrait is in the possession of the present marquis of Salisbury. There is also in Lord Salisbury's possession a well-known crayon head by Richmond, which was done between 1865 and 1868. A statue of him by Sir G. Frampton stands just outside Hatfield Park gates, and another by Mr. H. Hampton at the foreign office. Both of these are posthumous. In the last year of his life he sat for the bust, by Sir G. Frampton, now in the debating hall of the Oxford Union Society. There is also a bust of him by W. Theed, jun. (1875), at Hatfield House. The monument near the west door of Westminster Abbey was designed by Mr. Goscombe John, who is now (1912) executing one for Hatfield church.
Of his sons, the present Lord Salisbury, who succeeded to the title, has been under-secretary of state for foreign affairs (1900-3), lord privy seal (1903-5), and president of the board of trade (1905); Lord William, the rector of Hatfield, is an hon. canon of St. Albans and chaplain to the King; Lord Robert, a K.C. and M.P. (1906-10 and 1911); Lord Edward, D.S.O., is under-secretary for finance in Egypt; Lord Hugh has been M.P. for Oxford University since 1910.
Pending the appearance of the authoritative Life of Salisbury by Lady Gwendolen Cecil, that by H. D. Traill (1890), though it closes in 1886, remains the best. S. H. Jeyes's Life and Times of the Marquis of Salisbury (4 vols. 1895-6) carries the story up to 1895. F. S. Pulling's Life and Speeches of the Marquis of Salisbury (2 vols. 1885) and H. W. Lucy's Speeches of the Marquis of Salisbury (1885) will also be found useful. The Third Salisbury Administration, by H. Whates (1900), gives a full account of the activities of his government between 1895 and 1900. There are numerous other lives of him of no great value, among which that by F. D. How (1902) may be mentioned. Scattered references to his work and character appear in the biographies of his colleagues and contemporaries, viz. in those of Lord Cranbrook (Hon. A. E. Gathorne-Hardy), Lord Iddesleigh (Andrew Lang), Lord Randolph Churchill (W. S. Churchill), Bishop Wilberforce (R. Wilberforce), Duke of Devonshire (B. Holland), and Mr. Alfred Austin's Autobiography.
The two most suggestive things that have appeared about him are Lord Rosebery's tribute at the unveiling of his bust at the Oxford Union (14 Nov. 1904) and an anonymous article signed ‘X’ in the Monthly Review, Oct. 1903. The latter, which is of an intimate character, was written by Lord Robert Cecil, K.C. In the Quarterly Review Oct. 1902 and Jan. 1904 are articles dealing respectively with his foreign policy and with his connection with the Review. The student will, however, find in Salisbury's own contributions to that periodical, of which a complete list is subjoined, the most valuable of all the sources of information about him. These contributions were:¾1860: April, The Budget and the Reform Bill; July, The Conservative Reaction; Oct., Competitive Examinations. 1861: Jan., The Income Tax and its Rivals; April, Lord Stanhope's Life of Pitt, i. and ii.; July, Democracy on its Trial; Oct., Church Rates. 1862: Jan., Lord Castlereagh; April, Lord Stanhope's Life of Pitt, iii. and iv.; July, The Bicentenary; Oct., The Confederate Struggle and Recognition. 1863: Jan., Four Years of a Reforming Administration; *April, Poland. 1864: *Jan., The Danish Duchies; *April, The Foreign Policy of England; July, The House of Commons; Oct., Photography. 1865: Jan., The United States as an Example; April, Parliamentary Reform; July, The Church in her Relations to Political Parties; The Elections. 1866: Jan., The Coming Session; April, The Reform Bill; July, The Change of Ministry. 1867: Oct., The Conservative Surrender. 1869: Oct., The Past and the Future of Conservative Policy. 1870: Oct., The Terms of Peace. 1871: Jan., Political Lessons of the War; Oct., The Commune and the Internationale. 1872: Oct., The Position of Parties. 1873: Oct., The Programme of the Radicals. 1881: April, Ministerial Embarrassments. 1883: Oct., Disintegration.
The three articles marked *were republished in 1905 in a volume as ‘Essays: Foreign Politics.’
Contributor: A. C-L. [Algernon Cecil]