Chamberlain, Joseph 1836-1914, statesman, was born at Camberwell Grove, London, 8 July 1836. His father, Joseph Chamberlain, was the master of the Cordwainers' Company, with which his family had been connected for four generations, carrying on the business of wholesale boot and shoe manufacturers in the same house and under the same name for one hundred and twenty years. His mother was Caroline, daughter of Henry Harben, a provision merchant in London. In 1850 Joseph, who was their eldest son, was sent to University College School; but after a short stay, during which he showed no little promise, he was put into his father's business at the age of sixteen. Two years later an opening occurred to expand the business of Mr. Nettlefold, screw-manufacturer, the brother-in-law of Mr. Chamberlain senior, at Birmingham, and Joseph was sent there to represent his father's interests. He remained an active member of the firm for twenty years, displaying such business capacity that he was able to retire at the early age of thirty-eight with a substantial income. His relations with his employees were always of a most friendly character; and when a charge of ruthlessness was afterwards made by a political opponent regarding his dealings with the smaller manufacturers, the accuser, after careful inquiry, acknowledged the complete untruth of his allegations
     Chamberlain's apprenticeship in public speaking was served in the Birmingham and Edgbaston Debating Society. He became in 1869 a member of the city council, and in 1870 of the first school board. Politics appealed to him from the first. An intimate friend has asserted that, at the outset, it was uncertain whether foreign policy would make him a tory, or home affairs a radical; and at the election of 1859 he canvassed on behalf of the opponent of John Bright, because he was opposed to Bright's pacificism. But very soon the impulse of social reform drove him to radicalism. It was on the subject of education that his interest was first excited. He became chairman of the National Education League of Birmingham in 1868. At the time education in Birmingham was at a low ebb; and both by agitation and by practical experiment Chamberlain sought to find a remedy. He started classes at his own works, and taught history, French, and arithmetic in connexion with a Unitarian Sunday school; whilst, simultaneously, he flung himself into the campaign for a national system of education. He held the Church of England to be the enemy; and, when Mr. W. E. Forster's Bill of 1870 was found to contain provisions which seemed to encourage the maintenance of the denominational system, he attacked it with great bitterness. He had become, in March 1870, the chairman of the National Education League, and voiced with extreme vigour the case of the nonconformists
     But education was only one plank in the platform of social reform, and there were other questions, less controversial, upon which Chamberlain was able to give the lead not only to his adopted city but to England at large. He became mayor of Birmingham in 1873, and was re-elected in 1874 and 1875. If he was a radical, he maintained it was because political means were necessary to deal effectually with the evils standing in the way of social reform. Ignorance, and the existence of insanitary and disgraceful housing, were the two main evils. But, whilst free education could only be secured by act of parliament, the improvement of sanitary conditions lay with the municipalities themselves; and here there can be no question of the results achieved by Chamberlain. They included the purchase by the Birmingham corporation of the gas-works, water-works, and sewage farm, the destruction of the slums in the heart of the city, and the provision of artisans' dwellings. He worked for the extension of free libraries and art galleries, and sought in every way to make Birmingham a place in which its inhabitants should take a civic pride. Nor were his interests confined to Birmingham. At the close of 1874 he arranged a conference of municipal authorities and others interested in the sanitation of large towns, in order to create a sound public opinion on the subject. It took place in January 1875 and was a starting-point in the development of municipal social reform
     Holding the view that legislation was needed for effecting improvements, it was natural that Chamberlain should seek a yet wider field for his activities. In 1874 he stood for parliament unsuccessfully at Sheffield; but, at a by-election in 1876, he became the colleague of Bright in the representation of Birmingham. From this time till the final split over Home Rule, Chamberlain was closely associated with (Sir) Charles Dilke [qv.]. Forming a close offensive and defensive alliance, they agreed that neither should accept office unless the other was also satisfied. In 1877 Chamberlain reorganized the liberal party in the constituencies by forming large local associations on a representative basis, and federating these in a central organization. He thus became the Carnot of the liberal victory of 1880. But Mr. Gladstone did not at first intend to admit either Dilke or Chamberlain to the Cabinet, his personal sympathies being with the more moderate type of liberal. His hand was forced, however, by Dilke, who refused to join the ministry unless either Chamberlain or he became a Cabinet minister. Queen Victoria raised strong objections to Dilke, because of the line which he had taken on grants to the royal family; and thus Chamberlain, though in his earlier years he had seemed to coquette with republican views, and though at the time his parliamentary reputation was less than Dilke's, became president of the Board of Trade, whilst Dilke was put off with the subordinate office of under-secretary of state for foreign affairs. When, at the end of 1882, room was at last found for Dilke in the Cabinet, there was at first some question of Chamberlain taking the vacant office of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, so that Dilke should go to the Board of Trade. The Queen was unwilling to have Dilke as chancellor of the duchy, and, indeed, afterwards showed some reluctance to accept Chamberlain. The difficulty was met by Mr. J. G. Dodson (afterwards Lord Monk-Bretton) exchanging the Local Government Board for the duchy, so that Dilke might fill his place. The episode, however, enabled Chamberlain to show the staunchness of his friendship. Your letter, he wrote to Dilke on 13 December, has spoilt my breakfast. The change would be loathsome to me for more than one reason and will give rise to all sorts of disagreeable commentaries. But if it is the only way out of the difficulty, I will do what I am sure you would have done in my place and accept the transfer
     The intimate letters of Chamberlain to Dilke reveal the absence of sympathy between Chamberlain and most of his colleagues in the ministry of 1880-1885. In any case, in the words of Dilke, the holding of strongly patriotic and national opinions in foreign affairs, combined with extreme radical opinions upon internal matters, made it difficult to act with anybody for long without being attacked by some section with which it was necessary to act at other times, and made it difficult to form a solid party. But the special circumstances regarding Ireland and foreign and colonial questions made the situation still more difficult. As to Ireland, Chamberlain distrusted and disliked a policy of coercion. He had an uneasy conscience at having accepted it in 1880; at the same time he was at a loss for an alternative. He recognized in October 1881 that Parnell had now got beyond the radicals. The Irish leader was demanding no rent and separation; and Chamberlain was not prepared to say that the refusal of such terms as these constituted an Irish grievance. His own inclination was to stand aside and let the coercionists and Parnell fight out their quarrel; but this was now impossible. Altogether it was an awkward situation, and he did not see his way out of it
     The imprisonment of Parnell shortly followed (October 1881), but no improvement took place in the situation. Accordingly, the pressure of the radicals caused another change of policy. It was reported that Parnell was in a more pliant mood, and Chamberlain, taking his life in his hands, with the approval of Gladstone, entered into negotiations, the outcome of which was the so-called Kilmainham Treaty (2 May 1882). Parnell promised, if released, to advise payment of rent and the cessation of outrages. The absence of a public promise, however, diminished the force of this undertaking. Parnell and two other members of parliament were thereupon released, W. E. Forster in consequence resigning the post of Irish secretary. Dilke and Chamberlain had expected that the latter would be Forster's successor, and the appointment of Lord Frederick Cavendish [qv.] took them by surprise. Again, after the murder of Lord Frederick (6 May), Chamberlain would have accepted the post, had it been offered him, with the intention of attacking the whole Dublin Castle system. But Gladstone had no desire to see Chamberlain Irish secretary, nor did he desire an Irish secretary who would be a Cabinet minister
     Chamberlain never wavered in his belief in the necessity of an Irish Local Government Bill; and a speech in which he compared the position of England and Ireland with that of Russia and Poland (February 1883) showed his discontent with the existing state of things. The pressure of foreign and domestic questions for a time diverted attention from Ireland; but in 1885 Chamberlain, in despair of a solution, suggested that Parnell or some other Irishman should become chief secretary. At the same time he proposed a more practicable plan. He advocated the creation of a system of representative county government. In addition to elected county boards, there should be a central board for all Ireland, in its essence municipal and not political, mainly executive and administrative, but with the power to make by-laws, raise funds, and pledge public credit, in such modes as parliament should provide. The central board should take over primary education, poor law, sanitary administration, and the control of public works, without dealing, however, in any way with the administration of justice, police, or prisons. It should not be elected directly by the Irish people, but chosen by the county boards. The scheme had the approval of the Irish bishops, and Parnell, according to Captain O'Shea, promised to give it his support, and not to obstruct a limited Crimes Bill. It obtained the half-hearted approval of a committee of the Cabinet; but, on being submitted to the full Cabinet, met with defeat. All the peers, except Lord Granville, voted against it; all the commoners, except Lord Hartington, were in its favour. As the Cabinet broke up (9 May) Gladstone said to a colleague, Ah, they will rue this day
     Meanwhile drafts not only of a Coercion Bill but also of a Bill for Land Purchase came before the Cabinet. The latter Bill, however, was dropped for the time being, on the protests of the radical members of the Cabinet; nevertheless, Lord Spencer, the viceroy, remained convinced of its necessity; and Gladstone, under the impression that the objections of Chamberlain and Dilke would be met if, under the Bill, funds were only provided for a single year, gave notice of its introduction. But Chamberlain had not moved from the position that there should be no Land Purchase Bill, unless it was accompanied by a Bill for Local Government. He and Dilke, therefore, sent in their resignations. They afterwards agreed to suspend them; so that their resignations had not taken effect when the government was defeated in the House of Commons (8 June 1885). The situation is made clear by a letter from Chamberlain to Gladstone (21 May 1885): I doubt very much if it is wise or was right to cover the serious differences of principle that have lately disclosed themselves in the Cabinet. I think it is now certain that they will cause a split in the new parliament, and it seems hardly fair to the constituencies that this should only be admitted after they have discharged their function, and are unable to influence the result
     BB*a2Ó`>ò*Ý#2]ßVt"L%But it was not only on Irish and domestic questions that the Cabinet was divided. On foreign and colonial questions also there was much difference of opinion. With regard to the Transvaal, Chamberlain had no doubts respecting the wisdom and justice of the policy that prevailed; but as to Egypt his position was much less easy to summarize. On the one hand he maintained that strong measures were called for after the Alexandria massacre (11 June 1882), earning thereby Lord Granville's description of him as almost the greatest Jingo in the Cabinet. On the other hand he was determined that Great Britain should not become the tool of the bondholders' interests. He wrote a memorandum to this effect in October 1882. Our first duty, he insisted, was to our principles and to our supporters and not to other powers; and, if the powers insisted on financial control, we should at least identify ourselves with the legitimate aspirations of Egyptian national sentiment. When, in April 1884, the relief of General Gordon was under consideration, Chamberlain agreed with Dilke and Hartington that, whether Gordon had acted against his instructions or not, an expedition for his relief was necessary. As early as February Chamberlain had proposed to telegraph to Sir Evelyn Baring (afterwards Earl of Cromer) [qv.], giving him authority to concert measures with Sir Evelyn Wood [qv.] for the relief of the beleaguered garrisons in the Sudan. But Gladstone and Granville broke up a meeting of the Cabinet, so as to prevent the adoption of this policy. Still, though differences in the Cabinet might delay an expedition till it became useless, they could not prevent it. Dilke and Chamberlain were consistently in favour of relieving Gordon, though Chamberlain strongly opposed the grandiose campaign of Lord Wolseley, believing that a small striking force of picked men was all that was required to avert the coming tragedy. He did not intend to be forced any further in the direction of a protectorate. He was in favour of an international guarantee of the neutrality of Egypt, and was ready to declare that country bankrupt. Two subjects, he wrote to Dilke, occupied the time of successive Cabinet councils, the finances of Egypt, and Gordon; but, whereas the former took up some two or three hours, the latter received about five minutes at the fag-end of business. Thus neither by what it did nor by what it left undone did the Egyptian policy of the Gladstone ministry of 1880-1885 win the approval of its radical members
     Chamberlain was even less in sympathy with the prevailing tendencies in other parts of the world. In 1883 a committee of the Cabinet was appointed to deal with affairs on the west coast of Africa; and this committee, according to Dilke, by its delays and hesitations, lost England the Cameroons. The Cameroons! wrote Chamberlain to Dilke in September 1884, It is enough to make one sick. As you say, we decided to assume the protectorate eighteen months ago. If the Board of Trade or the Local Government Board managed their business after the fashion of the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office, you and I would deserve to be hung. If he had had the direction of affairs, he would have demanded explanations from Germany regarding New Guinea; and he shared Dilke's resentment at the policy of truckling to Germany, which was adopted in the case of Samoa and of Zanzibar and East Africa
     Nevertheless, while these causes of dissatisfaction were at work, Chamberlain was proving his capacity in his own special department, where his business experience stood him in good stead. In the session of 1880 he had in charge two measures relating to merchant shipping, the one concerning grain cargoes, the other the payment of seamen's wages. In 1881 he was responsible for an Electric Lighting Bill, which entitled municipalities, with the consent of the Board of Trade, to adopt electric lighting, without the cost and trouble of a private Act of parliament. An Act of 1883 effected a valuable reform in the law of bankruptcy, by subjecting the accounts of trustees to the control of an independent authority, and by setting on foot a searching inquisition into the conduct of insolvent debtors. The Act has been improved by subsequent legislation, but at the time was recognized by lawyers and business men as marking a great advance. The Patent Act of 1883 made easier the road for the inventor, by reducing greatly the scale of provisional fees and subsequent payments. More generally interesting and more adapted to the temperament of a fighting politician was the Merchant Shipping Bill of 1884, directed against shipowners who insured unseaworthy vessels beyond the value of the ships or of their cargoes. In a speech at Newcastle in January 1884 Chamberlain asserted that in the preceding year one seaman in every sixty had met his death by violent means; three thousand five hundred men had thus come to a premature end, many of them in the prime of life and many of them leaving behind them widows and orphans. So strongly did he feel on the subject that, when parliamentary reasons dictated the withdrawal of his measure, he at once proffered his resignation; which, however, he afterwards withdrew in view of the need of a united front until the question of the vote for the agricultural labourers should be finally settled. Moreover, he was able to secure the appointment of a royal commission, which in the end bore good fruit; for subsequent Acts accomplished most of the objects at which the Bill of 1884 had aimed. As an instance of Chamberlain's courage may be noted the fact that at Hull (6 August 1885) he stood on the same political platform with Samuel Plimsoll [qv.] whose name was anathema to all shipowners
     On the question whether the Bills for equalizing the county and town franchise and for redistribution should be introduced simultaneously, Chamberlain strongly supported the view that the measures should be kept separate, and that no more than a promise of a Redistribution Bill to follow should at the time be given. While the question remained open his relations with Lord Hartington were far from friendly, and Gladstone's mediation was necessary. It seemed to Dilke that Chamberlain was anxious to make Hartington resign on the question of the franchise. For the time being Chamberlain was full of wrath against the House of Lords; and, whilst his friend Dilke was working for a peaceful solution of the Redistribution question with Lord Salisbury, he himself was busy denouncing the iniquities of the Upper House
     The violence of Chamberlain's language at this time gave grave offence to the Queen, who made Gladstone's life a burden by her strictures on the indiscretions of this enfant terrible of the Cabinet. In a dramatic speech at Birmingham on 5 January 1885, Chamberlain confessed his faith in the doctrine of ransom for private property. After explaining how, as a radical minister in a liberal government, he had at times to reserve and even to sacrifice his opinions, he went on to ask what was to be the nature of the domestic legislation of the future? It would be more directed to social objects than had hitherto been the case. How to promote the greater happiness of the masses of the people, how to increase their enjoyment of life, this was the problem of the future. Private ownership had taken the place of communal rights, and this system had become so interwoven with our habits that it might be very difficult, and perhaps impossible, to reverse it. But then, what ransom would property pay for the security it enjoyed? Society was banded together in order to protect itself against the instincts of those of its members who would make very short work of private ownership if they were left alone. That was all very well, but society owed to these men something more than mere toleration in return for the restraints which it placed upon their liberty of action
     But in the same speech there were utterances more in keeping with Chamberlain's future career. If, however, he said, occasion should come to assert the authority of England, a democratic government, resting on the confidence and support of the whole nation and not on the favour of a limited class, would be very strong. It would know how to make itself respected, how to maintain the obligations and honour of the country. I think foreign nations would be very ill advised if they were to assume that, because we are anxious to avoid all cause of quarrel with our neighbours, we are wanting in the old spirit of Englishmen, and that we should be found very tolerant of insult, and long-suffering under injury. Again: We are not unmindful of our obligations. If foreign nations are determined to pursue distant colonial enterprises, we have no right to prevent them. — But our fellow-subjects may rest assured that their liberties, their rights, and their interests are as dear to us as our own; and if ever they are seriously menaced, the whole power of the country will be exerted for their defence, and the English democracy will stand shoulder to shoulder throughout the world to maintain the honour and integrity of the Empire. In further speeches he emphasized the necessity of enlarging the programme of the liberal party. Free education, the provision of healthy dwellings and fair rents in the large towns, and compulsory powers for local authorities to acquire land at a fair price, that is to say, the price which a willing purchaser would give to a willing seller in the open market—these were the objects at which to aim. Payment of members, the abolition of plural voting, and a revision of the existing system of taxation were also urgent reforms. He told the Eighty Club (April 1885) that to a large and ever-increasing number of persons politics was the science of social happiness, as its half-sister, political economy, was the science of social wealth; and the inferences to be drawn from the statement were sufficiently obvious
     These utterances from a Cabinet minister caused a flutter in the ministerial dovecots, and Gladstone sent a grave remonstrance regarding the unauthorized programme, which Chamberlain interpreted as a dead set against himself. He saw, however, that he had gone too far, and excused himself on the ground that the present was an exceptional moment, new political vistas having been opened by the recent measure of reform. Moreover, his actual proposals had not been extravagant; he only demanded a revision of taxation, which Gladstone himself had advocated, and the extension of the powers of local authorities, on lines already conceded in Ireland. It was, perhaps, not so much the proposals themselves as the manner in which they were advocated, that deeply shocked the political feelings of men of the type of Goschen. Lord Fitzmaurice has described Chamberlain's proposals as innocuous and almost meaningless; and in fact many of them became law under subsequent unionist legislation
     Strong as were Chamberlain's views on social reform, he was no less firm in his determination to uphold the supremacy of the imperial parliament in regard to Ireland. When the liberal ministry of 1880 had come to its somewhat inglorious end, and the conservative government, which succeeded it, seemed to be coquetting with the idea of Home Rule, the situation became more strained; both because Parnell saw his opportunity of playing upon the needs of the rival parties, and because the apparent movement in the mind of the conservative ministry led Gladstone to believe that Home Rule was within the range of practical politics. For the moment, however, other questions than that of Ireland occupied Chamberlain's attention. With regard to the future, the radicals were not willing to be mere lay figures in a Cabinet of Goschens; and, if a liberal government attempted to do without them, they were determined to make trouble. Gladstone, however, recognized the importance of placating the redoubtable radical leader, and summoned him to Hawarden for a friendly discussion (8 October 1885). Three points were indispensable, in Chamberlain's opinion, to the programme of a liberal government: first, the granting of authority to local bodies for compulsory expropriation; secondly, a readjustment of taxation (as had been foreshadowed in Gladstone's election address); and thirdly, a recognition of the right of a Cabinet minister to support free education, notwithstanding that the other members of the ministry might not share his views. The questions of the future of the House of Lords and of church disestablishment he was willing to leave for decision to the future. According to Gladstone, he and Chamberlain were pretty well agreed on the subject of Ireland. But the latter insisted that he had always excluded Home Rule as impossible, proposing a Local Government Bill which he thought Parnell might accept. The impression left on Chamberlain was that Gladstone had as yet no definite plan. If he got a majority, his first effort would probably be to find a modus vivendi by entering into communications with Parnell. A little later Chamberlain was made uneasy by a note from Gladstone, confessing a presentiment that the Irish question might elbow out all others. He was further alarmed by a report from another source that Gladstone was trying to get Parnell's ideas in detail. It is no use, he wrote. After the liberals had gained their Pyrrhic victory at the general election of December 1885, and Gladstone had outlined an admissible plan of Home Rule, Chamberlain commented: My view is that Mr. G's Irish scheme is death and damnation; that we must try and stop it; that we must not openly commit ourselves against it yet; that we must let the situation shape itself before we finally decide; that the Whigs are our greatest enemies, and that we must not join them if we can help it
     On 26 December, in a very interesting letter, Chamberlain proposed a new solution of the Irish difficulty. His own inclinations were still in favour of the extension of local liberties on municipal lines; but the fatal objection was that the nationalists would not accept such a solution. Apparently the only logical alternative was separation, with its attendant dangers. Between these lay the hazy idea of Home Rule, which would mean an independent Irish parliament; while all guarantees and securities, whether for the protection of minorities or for the security of the Empire, would prove altogether illusory. To this he would prefer separation, towards which, indeed, Home Rule was but a step. There still remained the possibility of an arrangement which might secure the integrity of the Empire, whilst allowing Irishmen to manage Irish affairs in their own way. He then suggested a scheme of federation, involving separate parliaments for England, Scotland, Wales, Ulster, and South Ireland. To make the scheme workable it would be necessary to set on foot a supreme court, to decide the limits of the powers of the several local legislatures. Such changes had no terrors for a radical such as he was, but was it conceivable that such a clean sweep could be made in order to meet the Irish demand for Home Rule? The obvious answer to this question decided Chamberlain's future policy. In the general confusion of affairs, of one thing he was certain. He would sooner that the tories remained in office for the next ten years than agree to what he thought would be the ruin of his country. Nevertheless, it was his friend and follower, Jesse Collings [qv.], who moved the so-called three acres and a cow amendment which gave the tory government its quietus; it resigned on 28 January 1886
     Chamberlain believed that he ought to accept, for the time being, a post in the new liberal ministry; though he recorded another protest against Home Rule in a letter to Gladstone. He would have preferred to become secretary for the Colonies. Gladstone's surprised comment: Oh! a Secretary of State! bears out the assertion of Lord Randolph Churchill that Gladstone never really understood Chamberlain's capacity till he faced him as a foe. There was some question of Chamberlain going to the Admiralty; but he finally became president of the Local Government Board, though not very willingly
     Starting under such auspices, it was not likely that the ministry would long remain united. Chamberlain intended to resign on the proposal of a Land Purchase Bill, but it was not till after a discussion in the Cabinet on the question of Home Rule that he finally left the government (15 March). On 21 April he justified his action before a meeting of Birmingham electors; after the Redistribution Act he had in 1885 become member for West Birmingham. Fifteen or sixteen years ago, he said, I was drawn into politics by my interest in social questions — and from that time to this I have done everything that an individual can do. I have made sacrifices of money and time and labour, I have made sacrifices of my opinions to maintain the organization and to preserve the unity of the liberal party. Home Rule, he urged, now blocked the way of social reform, and the persistency of Parnell and the pliancy of Gladstone had altered the whole course of British politics. But Chamberlain knew that he must walk warily; and, after a destructive analysis of the two measures, he was careful to explain that as far as the Home Rule Bill was concerned his opposition was conditional. If the representation of Ireland were preserved on its present footing, the imperial parliament thus maintaining its control over imperial taxation in Ireland, and if there were conceded to Ulster a separate assembly, he might be able to support the measure. But these were not matters for committee; and on the answer to them depended his vote
     The speech was a great personal triumph, and although Mr. Francis Schnadhorst, the master of the caucus, had thrown in his lot with Gladstone and did what he could to thwart Chamberlain, the meeting passed, almost unanimously, a vote of confidence. The news of Dilke's intention to vote for the second reading was a great blow. The party, Chamberlain wrote, is going blindly to its ruin; and everywhere there seems a want of courage and decision and principle which almost causes one to despair. For him the retention of the Irish representatives at Westminster was the touchstone. With their removal, separation must follow; with their retention, some system of federation might be possible. He would vote against the second reading, unless the ministry gave definite pledges on this point. The present crisis, he added, is, of course, life and death to me. I shall win if I can; if I cannot, I will cultivate my garden. I do not care for the leadership of a party which shall prove itself so fickle and so careless of national interests as to sacrifice the unity of the Empire to the precipitate impatience of an old man, careless of the future in which he can have no part, and to an uninstructed instinct which will not take the trouble to exercise judgement and criticism. In a subsequent letter (6 May) Chamberlain made an illuminating admission: I do not really expect the government to give way, and, indeed, I do not wish it. To satisfy others I have talked about conciliation and have consented to make advances, but on the whole I would rather vote against the Bill than not, and the retention of the Irish members is with me only the flag that covers other objections. On 26 May he wrote: I shall fight this matter out to the bitter end, but I am getting more and more doubtful whether, when it is out of the way, I shall continue in politics. I am wounded in the house of my friends, and I have lost my interest in the business. Nevertheless, he threw out in parliament on 1 June the suggestion of yet another scheme, under which the position of Ireland with regard to the imperial parliament should be that of a Canadian province to the Dominion; but there was no support for this proposal
     On 7 June came the defeat of the Home Rule Bill by a majority of thirty; Chamberlain, along with Bright, voting against it. Various motives have in the past been ascribed to him. It has been supposed that he desired to oust Gladstone from the leadership. But the leadership was already, as it seemed, assured to him in the near future. The defection of the whigs under Lord Hartington must have inured to the benefit of the radical wing of the liberal party; Gladstone was a very old man, and Chamberlain was marked out as his natural successor. Chamberlain sacrificed this prize by voting with the whigs, who had been his special aversion, and with the tories, who had regarded him as Jack Cade; he risked political extinction sooner than comply with the demands of Parnell. Nevertheless, considering his past, considering the nature of his relations with most of the dissentient liberals, who, like Lord Hartington, had merely reached a goal to which for a long time they had unconsciously been moving, it was natural that Chamberlain should, for some time, retain hopes of reunion with his old associates; and the Round Table Conference at the beginning of 1887, attended by Sir William Harcourt, (Lord) Morley, and Lord Herschell from the one side, and by Chamberlain and Sir George Trevelyan from the other, was an attempt to find a modus vivendi between men who were in fact fundamentally at issue. In this state of things, a provocative letter by Chamberlain in The Baptist merely killed what could never have survived. The resignation of Lord Randolph Churchill (December 1886) had seriously affected Chamberlain's position. The tory democracy of Churchill attracted him; and the idea of organizing, along with Churchill, a new national party occurred to him, though he soon recognized its impossibility. Still, he thought that the tory government was doomed, and formed the gloomiest anticipations of the probable result of another general election, with coercion again to the fore
     Chamberlain's mission, however, to the United States to negotiate a treaty regarding the North American fisheries (November 1887-March 1888) gave him a few months' peace from party politics. The Bayard-Chamberlain Treaty of 15 February 1888 sought to make a satisfactory settlement of the questions relating to the interpretation of the Convention of 1818. That Convention gave, to a limited extent, the same territorial advantages over certain portions of the island of Newfoundland and of Canada as were given under the Treaty of 1783, and in return secured the renunciation by the United States of the liberty of their fishermen to enter on any other portion of the recognized waters of British North America, except for certain specified purposes. The Treaty was rejected by the American Senate in the following August. Nevertheless, when the Hague Tribunal arbitrated on the meaning of the Convention of 1818, the basis of their settlement was the same as that adopted in the Bayard-Chamberlain Treaty. Moreover, the modus vivendi which was continued after the failure of the Treaty removed all causes of irritation between the United States and Canada; and Sir Charles Tupper [qv.], the Canadian commissioner, bore witness to the tact, ability, and firmness with which Chamberlain met and overcame all but insurmountable difficulties. The visit served to strengthen those feelings of friendship towards the United States which so profoundly influenced his later policy
     After Chamberlain's return to British politics there was a noticeable movement in the direction of support to the conservative government. He was found jeering at the crazy-quilt of Lord Randolph's professions, and supporting the ministry against his attacks. The return to power of a Home Rule ministry in August 1892 further tended to unite all enemies of Home Rule; and no one worked more ably or persistently against the measure of 1893 than Chamberlain.//9ÖÀ>~/X
     In other directions Chamberlain's views were crystallizing. A visit to Egypt in 1889 had deeply impressed him with the benefits accruing to that country from the British occupation, and had led him to modify his earlier opinions. In a speech urging the retention of Uganda (20 March 1893) he anticipated his future rôle as colonial secretary. He laid stress on the need for following in the footsteps of our ancestors, who had not been ashamed to ‘peg out’ claims for posterity, thereby creating that foreign trade without which the population of Great Britain would starve. Very characteristic of the future colonial secretary was his defence of Captain Lugard, whose pledges for the continuance of the protectorate were then in danger of being repudiated by the Gladstone Cabinet: ‘Captain Lugard was on the spot¾Let me say in passing that I sometimes think we do not do justice to our bravest and noblest citizens. Any man, who reads his accounts impartially, will agree in this, that he was at all events a man of extraordinary power, capacity, tact, discretion, and courage.’ Equally characteristic was the statement: ‘Make it the interest of the Arab slave-traders to give up the slave trade, and you will see the end of that traffic. Construct your railway and thereby increase the means of traffic and you will take away three-fourths, if not the whole, of the temptation to carry on the slave trade’.
     Such being the bent of his mind, it was natural that, after the electors in July 1895 had completely vindicated the action of the House of Lords in rejecting the Home Rule Bill of 1893, Chamberlain should have chosen the office of secretary of state for the Colonies when he joined Lord Salisbury's government. He informed a supporter that he had accepted the Colonial Office with two objects: first, to see what could be done to tighten the bond between Great Britain and the self-governing Colonies; and, secondly, to attempt to develop the resources of the Crown Colonies, and to increase the trade between them and Great Britain. In a speech (22 August 1895) he described the British tropical colonies as possessions in which it would be necessary to sink British capital. In small things no less than in great, the Colonial Office felt the hand of its new master. It was cleaned up and refurnished, and the maps were brought up to date. A circular of November 1895 instituted an inquiry into the extent of foreign competition in colonial markets, and the reasons for its existence. In the same spirit a Commercial Intelligence Branch of the Board of Trade was opened some four years later, and four trade commissioners were appointed. In the same year (1899) the Treasury was authorized by act of parliament to advance to certain Crown Colonies a sum of nearly three and a half million pounds at 2¾ per cent. repayable in fifty years. Although Chamberlain was by no means the first British minister to show interest in the material development of the Crown Colonies, none before him displayed such energy and capacity in the task. Like many other colonial secretaries, on his assumption of office he found the West Indies in a lamentable plight. The royal commission of 1896 considered the causes of West Indian depression to be permanent, inasmuch as they were largely due to the system of foreign sugar bounties which was not likely to be abandoned. Nevertheless the energy of Chamberlain achieved the apparently impossible; and the Brussels Convention (3 March 1903) abolished, for the time being, the bounty form of protection. Meanwhile, in consequence of the report of the royal commission, a department of agriculture for the West Indies was set on foot, an example that has been followed in Africa and the Far East. West Indian interests were further benefited by an arrangement (April 1900) with Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co. for a fortnightly service of steamers between England and Jamaica. At the same time Chamberlain's handling of the Jamaica constitutional question in 1899 proved that he could be as firm as he was sympathetic.
     Nor were Chamberlain's sympathies confined to the West Indies. No one was quicker to realize how essential to the complex life of the modern world is the supply of tropical products; and he at once saw that the policy already adopted of placing the scientific resources of Kew at the disposal of the West Indies was capable of unlimited extension, with the object of making the Empire, as far as possible, self-sufficient.
     Perhaps, on this side of his work, Chamberlain's most unchallenged title to fame was the campaign which he waged on questions of health in tropical countries. In 1897 he realized the necessity of scientific inquiry into the causes of malaria, and of special education for the medical officers of Crown Colonies. He followed eagerly on the trail which had been blazed by Sir Patrick Manson [q.v.]. A circular was issued in 1898, addressed to the General Medical Council and the leading medical schools in Great Britain, which urged the necessity of including tropical diseases in the medical curriculum. A special school of tropical medicine was set on foot in connexion with the Albert Dock branch of the Seamen's Hospital. The Treasury contributed half the cost; and the colonial governments were asked to concur in arrangements for the training of their medical officers at this school. A little later Chamberlain wrote to Lord Lister [q.v.], inviting the co-operation of the Royal Society in a thorough investigation into the origin, the transmission, and the possible prevention and cure of tropical diseases, especially of the malarial and black-water fevers prevalent on the West African coast. The Royal Society gave a ready response; so that within a year of an address by Sir P. Manson, which gave a lead to the profession, both a school of tropical medicine and a systematic inquiry into the nature of malaria had become accomplished facts. Nor was this all. Another school of tropical medicine was founded in Liverpool, which also owed its origin to the initiative of Chamberlain. Improvements were effected in the form of the medical and sanitary annual reports from the Crown Colonies; and the enlargement of the British pharmacopoeia, so as to adapt it to Indian and colonial needs, received the powerful support of the Colonial Office. Unofficially, also, Chamberlain was able to leave his mark on this side of the work, as the establishment of the Colonial Nursing Association was mainly due to him and to Mrs. Chamberlain.
     Turning to a wholly different subject, we note that under Chamberlain the British possessions in West Africa were extended by the effective occupation of the territories behind the Gold Coast and Lagos, and by the placing of the Royal Niger Company's territories under the control of the Colonial Office (1900). Chamberlain also gave his strong support to the federalizing of the protected Malay States and to the extension of their railway system.
     But, valuable as was his work for the benefit of the Crown Colonies, it is in his relations with what are now known as the Dominions that Chamberlain is chiefly remembered. As early as 1888 he had told a Toronto audience that the federation of Canada might be ‘the lamp to lighten our path’ to the federation of the British Empire. Soon after he came to the Colonial Office the Jameson Raid (December 1895), and the events that followed in South Africa, obliged him to concentrate his attention, for the most part, on that one subject. But the symptoms of general European hostility which followed that unfortunate episode served to point the moral: ‘Let us do all in our power by improving our communications, by developing our commercial relations, by cooperating in mutual defence; and none of us will ever feel isolated ¼ and in the time to come, the time that must come, when these colonies of ours have grown in stature, in population, and in strength, this league of kindred nations, this federation of Great Britain, will not only provide for its own security, but will be a potent factor in maintaining the peace of the world’ (21 January 1896). In too confident a mood he seemed to think that the opportunity had already arrived for consolidating the scattered parts into ‘a great self-sustaining and self-protecting empire’.
     But the South African difficulty, though it might suggest such ideals, prevented any immediate attempt at their realization. Chamberlain had already given a proof of his mettle in one sharp encounter with President Kruger. The president, in 1895, closed the Vaal drifts in pursuance of his policy of obtaining for the Delagoa Bay Railway Company the monopoly of conveying overseas goods into the Transvaal. Chamberlain, having first obtained an assurance that the government of Cape Colony was prepared to share equally in the expense of any military operations that might be necessary, sent an ultimatum to the president, and the drifts were promptly reopened. But the after-effects of the Jameson Raid undoubtedly made Chamberlain's position more difficult. During the anxious years that followed he was assailed with great bitterness. He was accused of complicity in the Raid; and after his solemn denial had been unanimously accepted by the House of Commons committee which dealt with the matter, it was still insinuated that there was more behind, which should have been divulged. In fact, Chamberlain's prompt and immediate action in denouncing the Raid before he knew of its failure, is sufficient proof that he could not have had previous knowledge regarding it. There may have been some confusion between a rising of the Johannesburg Uitlanders, which was expected in England, and the Raid, which was a bolt from the blue. In any case, the atmosphere of suspicion and hate, which the Raid created, made almost hopeless the attempt to secure civic rights for the Transvaal Uitlanders. Moreover, the attitude of the high commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson (afterwards Baron Rosmead) [q.v.], who concentrated all his efforts on securing lenient terms for the prisoners, made still more difficult the task of the colonial secretary. An ultimatum might lead to war; and such a war, he told the House of Commons on 8 May 1896, would be in the nature of a civil war¾long, bitter, costly, leaving behind it the embers of strife, which generations might not extinguish. But success in dealing with the Jameson trouble had both hardened Kruger's heart and increased his confidence in his own wisdom; whilst the Raid had aroused a strong nationalist spirit throughout Dutch South Africa. An agreement which was practically an offensive and defensive alliance between the Orange Free State and the Transvaal (1897) was a serious menace to British interests, and the temporary eclipse of Cecil Rhodes made the English in Cape Colony as sheep without a shepherd.
     The appointment, in 1897, of a high commissioner-Sir Alfred (afterwards Viscount) Milner¾who combined strength with caution, gave the colonial secretary an adviser in whom he could place complete confidence. Read now, the controversy between the Transvaal and British governments on the question whether the Republic was a sovereign state, and whether foreign arbitration was admissible, may seem academic. But the practical interests of many British subjects were deeply involved; whilst there were additional complaints¾of the dynamite monopoly, of maladministration in Swaziland, and of other grievances. For a year Milner remained silent, studying the situation. When he spoke, it was to counsel the Dutch in Cape Colony to warn their kinsmen in the Transvaal against any fatal rashness. Henceforth, though Chamberlain was always ready to interfere if necessary, British policy was mainly directed by the man on the spot. It was the fashion amongst a certain school of radicals to regard Chamberlain as a firebrand, who was only kept in order by the influence of his more moderate colleagues. If his speeches showed moderation it was assumed that this was only because Lord Salisbury was holding him back. There appears, however, not to be a tittle of evidence for such a reading of the history.
     In any case, the Bloemfontein Conference (May-June 1899) was an honest attempt on the part of the British authorities to reach a modus vivendi on the questions at issue. Its starting-point was as follows: On 4 May Milner, in a powerful and plain-spoken telegram, stated the case for intervention. ‘The true remedy’, he said, ‘is to strike at the root of all these injuries, the political impotence of the injured. What diplomatic protests will never accomplish, a fair measure of Uitlander representation would gradually but surely bring about.’ ‘The case for intervention’, he insisted, ‘is overwhelming. ¼ The spectacle of thousands of British subjects kept permanently in the position of helots, constantly chafing over undoubted grievances and calling vainly to Her Majesty's government for redress, does steadily undermine the influence and reputation of Great Britain and the respect for the British government within the British dominions.’ Chamberlain's considered reply, sent on 10 May, covered the whole ground. After summarizing the details of the Uitlanders' grievances, the most serious of which affected their ‘personal rights’ placing them ‘in a position of political, social, and educational inferiority to the Boer inhabitants of the Transvaal, and even endangering the security of their lives and property’, the dispatch finally stated the conclusions at which the British government had arrived. Recognizing the exceptional circumstances of the case, they had, since February 1896, intentionally refrained from any pressure on the government of the South African Republic, except in cases where there had been a distinct breach of the Convention of 1884. Reluctant as they were to depart from this attitude of reserve and expectancy, still, ‘having regard to the position of Great Britain as the paramount power in South Africa, and the duty incumbent on them to protect all British subjects residing in a foreign country, they cannot permanently ignore the exceptional and arbitrary treatment to which their fellow-countrymen and others are exposed, and the absolute indifference of the government of the Republic to the friendly representations which have been made to them on the subject’. ‘With the earnest hope of arriving at a satisfactory settlement and as a proof of their desire to maintain cordial relations with the South African Republic’, the British government proposed that a meeting should be arranged between President Kruger and Sir Alfred Milner at Pretoria. Meanwhile, the idea of a conference was already in the mind of leaders of the Dutch in Cape Colony and the Orange Free State; and the Bloemfontein Conference, which lasted from 31 May to 4 June, was welcomed by moderate men of all parties. The question was complicated by Kruger's desire to offset any concessions he might make with regard to the franchise by gains in other directions; and by Milner's insistence that there were other questions, besides the franchise, about which it might be necessary to make complaints. On the main subject of the Conference Milner proposed as a settlement a five years' retrospective franchise, and a substantial increase in the number of seats in the Volksraad to be allotted to the Rand. On the third day of the Conference a counter-scheme was put forward by Kruger, which included a six months' notice of intention to apply for naturalization; naturalization after two years' continued registration; and the right to the franchise after continuous registration for five years after naturalization. It proved impossible to arrive at an agreement, and the Conference came to an end.
     It is easy to maintain that the Bloemfontein Conference broke down on petty points; but, in fact, throughout the negotiations Kruger never showed that spirit of conciliation without which paper concessions would have proved practically worthless. No one recognized more clearly than Chamberlain how great a calamity would be a war in South Africa, of the nature of a civil war; but the question was whether the situation had not become so serious that even war might be the less of two evils. Moreover, if the British government had really aimed at putting an end to the Republic, they would not have counselled measures that would have secured to it a new lease of life.
     Even after the failure of the Bloemfontein Conference Chamberlain did not behave as if the door was finally closed to a settlement. In the words of Lord De Villiers, he ‘held out an olive branch’ by proposing a joint inquiry into the franchise proposals. The Dutch members of the Cape ministry were strongly in favour of the acceptance of the offer, and the European governments gave similar advice; but Kruger's mind was apparently made up, and a peaceful issue had become impossible. The conciliatory attitude of Chamberlain was all to no purpose. When he offered, as part of a general settlement, to give a complete guarantee against any attack upon the independence of the Republic, either from within any part of the British dominions, or from the territory of a foreign state, the only reply was a curt ultimatum demanding that the points at issue should be settled by arbitration, and that the troops on the borders should be withdrawn, the reinforcements removed, and the troops on the high seas forbidden to land. It is true that Chamberlain's dispatch had also contained the warning that Kruger's attitude made it necessary to consider the whole situation afresh, and that final proposals would be made after such consideration. But this warning can hardly be said to excuse the curt and peremptory tone of Kruger's ultimatum.
     From this time the sword had to decide the issue, and a minister, however active and able, was forced to play a secondary part. In the darkest hour of the War, however, Chamberlain never lost heart or courage. ‘Never again’, he said on 5 February 1900, ‘shall the Boers be able to erect in the heart of South Africa a citadel from whence may proceed disaffection and race animosities; never again shall they be able to endanger the paramountcy of Great Britain; never again shall they be able to treat an Englishman as if he belonged to an inferior race’; and in a powerful dispatch of July 1900, which tore in pieces the analogy set up by the Cape ministry between the situation at the time of the Canadian rebellion and the situation in South Africa, we may recognize Chamberlain's handiwork. There was, moreover, much in the attitude of the other colonies to give consolation. These had shown their sympathy with the wrongs of the Uitlanders and with the cause of Great Britain by deeds as well as by words. The Australian colonies sent during the War no less than 15,502 men to South Africa; New Zealand sent 6,129, and Canada 5,762. There was force in Chamberlain's boast that these young nations were beginning to recognize the duties and responsibilities, as well as the privileges, of empire.
     With the coming of peace more direct opportunities for statesmanship presented themselves. Few now will question that Chamberlain's visit to South Africa at the end of 1902 was a very wise move. No secretary of state had before this time visited a British colony in connexion with political questions; but there was enough of the old radical left in Chamberlain for this not to stand in his way. It seems clear that his influence and persuasive powers helped forward a reconciliation between the rival races and parties in Cape Colony; and this reacted favourably upon the general South African situation. Nor was he less successful in his dealings with the Boers of the Transvaal. In open discussion with their leaders he did much to clear the air of dislike and suspicion. ‘The terms of Vereeniging’, he told them, ‘are the charter of the Boer people, and you have every right to call upon us to fulfil them in the spirit and in the letter; and, if in any respect you think we have failed, or that in the future we do fail, in carrying out these terms, bring your complaints to us, and they shall be redressed.’ Again: ‘In the terms of peace it was promised that Dutch education should be given to the children of all parents who desired it; that promise we will keep.’ ‘What are the qualities’, he asked, ‘which we admire in you? Your patriotism, your courage, your tenacity, your willingness to make sacrifices for what you believe to be right and true. Well, those are the qualities which we desire to imitate; and which we believe we shall.’ He looked forward with confidence to the day when Boer and Briton would be one free people, under a common flag. It must be noted that these sentiments represented no new doctrine on the part of Chamberlain. During the heat of the War, when racial and political animosities were at their height, he had written (2 August 1900): ‘It is the desire of Her Majesty's government that the inhabitants of these territories, assuming that they peaceably acquiesce in British rule and are ready to co-operate, irrespective of race, in maintaining the peace and furthering the prosperity of the country, should, as soon as circumstances permit, have all the advantages of self-government similar to that which is enjoyed by the inhabitants of the Cape Colony and Natal.’ At the same time it was obvious that there would have to be a period of Crown Colony government, between the annexation and the grant of full self-government. Chamberlain does not, however, seem to have recognized the expediency of a period of representative, without responsible, government, such as that afterwards set on foot by Alfred Lyttelton [q.v.].
     With the coming of peace more direct opportunities for statesmanship presented themselves. Few now will question that Chamberlain's visit to South Africa at the end of 1902 was a very wise move. No secretary of state had before this time visited a British colony in connexion with political questions; but there was enough of the old radical left in Chamberlain for this not to stand in his way. It seems clear that his influence and persuasive powers helped forward a reconciliation between the rival races and parties in Cape Colony; and this reacted favourably upon the general South African situation. Nor was he less successful in his dealings with the Boers of the Transvaal. In open discussion with their leaders he did much to clear the air of dislike and suspicion. ‘The terms of Vereeniging’, he told them, ‘are the charter of the Boer people, and you have every right to call upon us to fulfil them in the spirit and in the letter; and, if in any respect you think we have failed, or that in the future we do fail, in carrying out these terms, bring your complaints to us, and they shall be redressed.’ Again: ‘In the terms of peace it was promised that Dutch education should be given to the children of all parents who desired it; that promise we will keep.’ ‘What are the qualities’, he asked, ‘which we admire in you? Your patriotism, your courage, your tenacity, your willingness to make sacrifices for what you believe to be right and true. Well, those are the qualities which we desire to imitate; and which we believe we shall.’ He looked forward with confidence to the day when Boer and Briton would be one free people, under a common flag. It must be noted that these sentiments represented no new doctrine on the part of Chamberlain. During the heat of the War, when racial and political animosities were at their height, he had written (2 August 1900): ‘It is the desire of Her Majesty's government that the inhabitants of these territories, assuming that they peaceably acquiesce in British rule and are ready to co-operate, irrespective of race, in maintaining the peace and furthering the prosperity of the country, should, as soon as circumstances permit, have all the advantages of self-government similar to that which is enjoyed by the inhabitants of the Cape Colony and Natal.’ At the same time it was obvious that there would have to be a period of Crown Colony government, between the annexation and the grant of full self-government. Chamberlain does not, however, seem to have recognized the expediency of a period of representative, without responsible, government, such as that afterwards set on foot by Alfred Lyttelton [q.v.].
     Nor were Chamberlain's utterances less successful when addressed to the capitalists of the Rand. An eyewitness has testified that a speech of his at Johannesburg actually persuaded an audience, that had come with intent of refusing, to promise a loan of thirty million pounds, the proceeds of which should be paid to the British government, as a contribution to the cost of the War. It is true that this loan was never raised, bad times and a shortage of labour having disappointed the high hopes raised by the British successes. But such failure cannot be laid to the charge of the colonial secretary.
     In dealing with the Rand magnates, Chamberlain was no less open than when dealing with the Boer leaders. Already the demand was beginning to be made for Asiatic labour, and his remarks on the subject are significant, in the light of its future history. ‘It is clear to me, and no doubt to you,’ he said at Johannesburg (17 January 1903), ‘that an overwhelming popular opinion in this very colony is opposed to such a solution. You have first to convert the people. Then you will have seen that the other great colonies of the Empire, that the opinion of the mother country itself, regard a step of this kind as retrograde and dangerous. And, lastly, if these difficulties are removed, there are serious practical obstacles in the way, which will meet you at the outset, and which, I think, justify my opinion that it would be very long indeed, even if all other difficulties were removed, before you would obtain any reliable supply from the sources which have been suggested.’
     Another proof of Chamberlain's moderation was his vetoing, in 1902, the suspension of the Cape Colony constitution as proposed by the English party in the House of Assembly, although the line taken by Sir Wilfrid Laurier [q.v.] at the Imperial Conference of that year may have influenced his decision. Whilst emphasizing his desire for South African federation he recognized, in a dispatch of 23 February, that nothing could be worse than federation forced upon a people before they had time thoroughly to grasp its meaning and to understand how it would affect them personally in their several states, and to come to something like a general conclusion on the subject. The harvest could not yet be reaped; but, when the Union of South Africa came into being, it owed something at least to the seed sown by Chamberlain.
     He had already done good work in the cause of federation by piloting the Commonwealth of Australia Bill through the House of Commons (1900). In his attempt to maintain unimpaired the appellate jurisdiction of the Privy Council, he may have exaggerated its importance as a bond of imperial union; and the conclusion finally reached, which was that no appeal should be allowed in cases in which the question at issue was the limits inter se of the constitutional powers of the commonwealth and those of any state or states, or the limits inter se of the constitutional powers of any two or more states, without the leave of the commonwealth high court, was, in fact, a ‘confession of failure’. Nevertheless, the birth of the Commonwealth of Australia seemed a distinct step forward in the direction of Chamberlain's ideals.
     With his return from South Africa in March 1903, Chamberlain entered upon the last stage of his political life. During the South African War a tax of one shilling a quarter on imported corn had been imposed, which produced some two and a half million pounds a year without apparently affecting the price of bread. Chamberlain was in favour of retaining this small tax with the view of giving a rebate to imperial wheat; and he was bitterly disappointed by its abolition during his absence in South Africa. He was under the impression that, before his departure for South Africa, his policy had received the assent of the Cabinet with the exception of the chancellor of the exchequer, Mr. C.T. (afterwards Lord) Ritchie [q.v.]. The absence at the time of Cabinet ministers and other circumstances prevent certainty on the subject. Later, Chamberlain wrote to the Duke of Devonshire (21 September): ‘For my part I care only for the great question of imperial unity. But for this ¼ I would not have taken off my coat. ¼ While I was slaving my life out, you threw it (my policy) over as of no importance; and it is to this indifference to a great policy, which you had yourselves accepted, that you owe the present situation.’ On 9 September 1903 he wrote to the prime minister, Mr. Balfour, recognizing that as an ‘immediate and practical policy’ the question of preference to the Colonies could not be pressed with any success at the time, and saying that, as colonial secretary, he stood in a position different from any of his colleagues and would justly be blamed if he accepted its exclusion from the programme of the government. He therefore tendered his resignation so that he could, from outside, devote his attention to explaining and popularizing those principles of imperial union which his experience had convinced him were essential. It was not, however, till 16 September that the prime minister reluctantly acquiesced in this decision.
     Chamberlain, while in the unionist government, was mainly preoccupied with colonial questions. He had not, however, altogether forgotten his zeal for social reform, and the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1897 was mainly due to his efforts. The weakest side of his statesmanship was, perhaps, shown in his excursions into the field of foreign policy. His attack upon Russia in 1898, with its remark that ‘who sups with the devil must have a long spoon’, cannot have made easier the path of Lord Salisbury's diplomacy. Nor was his grandiose scheme for an alliance between Great Britain, Germany, and the United States (1898-1901) likely, in the circumstances, to meet with success. Its object, the prevention of a great European war, was assuredly worth the price of granting a free hand to Germany in Asia Minor, and, if the negotiations had been left in the hands of Count Hatzfeldt, a conclusion might have been reached; but, with the Kaiser's jealousy and dislike of England, with the narrow persistence of Herr von Holstein, the permanent head of the German foreign office, in regarding the proposal as an opportunity to exact the hardest terms from the needs of Great Britain, and with Prince Bülow's subserviency to his royal master, the attempt was apparently from the first foredoomed to failure. It is a proof, however, of Chamberlain's flexibility of mind, since in March 1896 he had seemed to Count Hatzfeldt ‘especially hostile to Germany and German interests’.
     Whatever were the immediate circumstances of Chamberlain's resignation, in any case views were developing in his mind that foreshadowed a revolutionary change of policy. It must be remembered that, although it was easy enough to put side by side, as has been done, conflicting statements of his economic views at different periods, he had never, in theory or in practice, belonged to the Manchester school of free traders, to whom free trade was but one item in a general creed of laissez-aller and anti-socialism. From his first entrance into politics he had advocated a modified form of state socialism. He had, indeed, accepted free trade as part of the orthodox faith of a good liberal; but during those years he had failed to realize the importance of the imperial factor in the decision of the question. It was the consideration of this factor that accounted for his change of policy. On the fiscal side he had for some years been in favour of some kind of imperial Zollverein, and in 1896 he had protested against the proposal that, while the Colonies should be absolutely free to impose what protective duties they pleased, our whole system should be changed, in return for a small discrimination in favour of British trade. The foreign trade of Great Britain was so large and that of the Colonies comparatively so insignificant that a small preference would give a merely nominal advantage; he did not think the British working classes would consent to make so revolutionary a change for what would seem to them an infinitesimal gain. Even as late as the opening of the Imperial Conference of 1902 he declared: ‘Our first object is free trade within the Empire.’
     But during the sitting of this conference the conviction was borne home to him that an imperial Zollverein was, for the time being, an impossibility; whilst the need for closer union became more and more urgent. Unless such union could be achieved between the component parts of the Empire, he thought that separation must sooner or later be the end. The enthusiasm aroused throughout the Empire by the South African War had seemed to give him his opportunity, and at the Imperial Conference he had suggested ‘a real council of the Empire to which all questions of imperial interest might be referred. Such a council would be at first merely advisory; but its object would not be completely secured until it had attained executive functions and perhaps some legislative powers’. It was the chilling reception accorded to this suggestion, and the failure of the attempt to organize closer union on the lines of imperial defence, which led him to seek elsewhere for bonds of union. A statement made in October 1903 throws light on the trend of his political development. Discussing the subject of a federal council he said: ‘The Colonies want to know what it is they are to discuss before they come to your council. When you have got a commercial union, there will be something to discuss. ¼ You cannot approach closer union by that means (a federal council). I tried next in connexion with imperial defence. Again I was beaten by the difficulties of the situation; but I did not on that account give it up, and I come back therefore to this idea of commercial union, which will bring us together, which will necessitate the council, which council may in time do much more than it does in the beginning, and may leave us, though it will not find us, a great united, loyal, and federated Empire.’ A little later he declared: ‘I hope to lay firm and deep the foundations for that imperial union which fills my heart when I look forward to the future of the world.’
     Welcoming the statement made by an opponent in the press that the real issue in question was between imperialism and ‘Little Englandism’, Chamberlain nailed his colours to the mast as a convinced imperialist (Liverpool, 27 October 1903). He would never have raised the question, as he avowed next day, if he had not been moved by his own personal experiences, and by the responsibilities which he felt he had towards the Colonies. If he had not felt, in connexion with that experience and responsibility, that the whole future of the Empire depended upon a readiness to review the past history, he would have left the subject, so far as it concerned the immediate interests of Great Britain, to younger men. But a constructive policy was essential, and during his long stay at the Colonial Office he had had more opportunities than most men to meet and consult with distinguished colonial statesmen, and he had found that this matter of closer union was much in their thoughts. ‘I found very soon that these men agreed that all progress must be gradual, and that the line of least resistance would be a commercial union on the basis of preference between ourselves and our kinsmen.’ Starting from different premises, he arrived at the same conclusion as Adam Smith, that the British Empire was a potentiality, a project of empire, not an empire¾‘a loose bundle of sticks’¾bound together by no tie but that of sentiment and sympathy. In the same speech he spoke of the sacrifices by which the Empire had been created; and a sympathetic critic may regret that more stress was not throughout laid on the necessity of sacrifice for the attainment of great objects. But it must be remembered that Chamberlain was an old campaigner in politics, and if, in the course of his appeal to the British voters, he seemed sometimes to be absorbed in considerations other than those which had launched him on his adventure, he perhaps only followed in the usual steps of the practical politician. Whilst his resignation gave him complete liberty of action, matters were not made easier for him by the hesitating attitude of some of his old colleagues, and especially of the prime minister, Mr. Balfour. Moreover, the ministry had become unpopular by reason of the Education Act of 1902, of which Chamberlain strongly disapproved, though he was too loyal to express his views openly. The effect of all this was to make him concentrate more and more upon the one object, of bringing the British people round to his views of tariff reform. He had, in any case, a difficult task before him. Arrayed against him were the political and economic beliefs of the majority of educated Englishmen; whilst vague memories of ‘the starving 'forties’ made any kind of protection suspect to the labouring classes.
     Still, whether we agree or disagree, we must recognize the strength of Chamberlain's convictions; and it was fitting that the last words in his three years' campaign, which ended on 9 July 1906, should have been these: ‘The union of the Empire must be preceded and accompanied by a better understanding, by a closer sympathy. To secure that, is the highest object of statesmanship now at the beginning of the twentieth century; and, if these were the last words that I were permitted to utter to you, I would rejoice to utter them in your presence and with your approval. I know that the fruition of our hopes is certain. I hope I may live to congratulate you upon our common triumph; but, in any case, I have faith in the people. I trust in the good sense, the intelligence, and the patriotism of the majority, the vast majority of my countrymen. I look forward to the future with hope and confidence, and
          “Others I doubt not, if not we,
          The issue of our toil shall see”.

     But it was not given him to see the issue of his toil. Only two days later (11 July), a sudden attack cut him off, for his remaining years, from active life. He did not, indeed, lose the control of his faculties, but the aphasia which had come upon him made further public life impossible. He died at Highbury, Birmingham, 2 July 1914. A funeral in Westminster Abbey was offered, but the family preferred that he should be buried near his home.
     Turning from the statesman to the man, we find a unanimity of opinion among those who knew Chamberlain intimately. If, in Lord Morley's words, he had the ‘genius of friendship’, he had no less the genius both of family and of official life. Chamberlain was married three times: first, in 1861 to Harriet (died 1863), daughter of Archibald Kenrick, of Berrow Court, Edgbaston; secondly, in 1868 to Florence (died 1875), daughter of Timothy Kenrick, of Birmingham, and a cousin of his first wife; thirdly, in 1888 to Mary, only daughter of William Crowninshield Endicott, a distinguished American judge and statesman, belonging to a family well known in New England history. Chamberlain had become engaged to Miss Endicott when he was working on the fisheries commission, but the marriage could not be announced or take place until after the American presidential election, for fear of prejudicing the chances of the democrats. By his first wife Chamberlain had one son (Joseph) Austen, and one daughter; by his second, one son (Arthur) Neville, and three daughters. He was a devoted husband and father, and perhaps one of the happiest moments of his life was when Mr. Gladstone gracefully alluded to the merits of his elder son's maiden speech; when he and Mr. Ritchie both resigned in 1903, it must have been some consolation that the latter was succeeded by the same son, (Sir) Austen Chamberlain, as chancellor of the exchequer. Mr. Neville Chamberlain, also, entered the Cabinet as chancellor of the exchequer in Mr. Baldwin's ministry in 1923.
     Although on one occasion Chamberlain lamented the loss of a university education, the loss was made up by intercourse with the best books and with a few choice spirits at Birmingham. According to Mr. T. H. S. Escott, the writer who, more than any other, formed his mind and style, was the French publicist, Paul Louis Courier. Lord Morley, who went abroad with him frequently, bore witness to his interest in pictures, buildings, and history. In 1896 he was elected lord rector of Glasgow University, and delivered a characteristic address on patriotism, in which he protested his faith in one race and one nation: ‘I believe that with all the force and enthusiasm of which democracy alone is capable they will complete and maintain that splendid edifice of our greatness.’ Further, he was in a yet closer way connected with the university of Birmingham, the foundation of which in 1900 was largely due to his efforts; he became, as was meet, its first chancellor.
     Chamberlain belonged to a Unitarian family, and seems always to have remained faithful to the creed of his fathers. Lord Morley has given a vivid picture of him as a companion, ‘alert, not without a pleasant squeeze of lemon, to add savour to the daily dish’. Spare of body, sharp and pronounced in feature, careful of dress, Chamberlain looked ever ready. Caricaturists everywhere fixed eagerly on the monocle in his eye and the rare orchid bloom, culled from his favourite greenhouse, habitually worn in his button-hole. No physiognomy was better known to contemporaries, either at home or abroad. Gladstone, who was by no means a friendly critic, bore witness to Chamberlain's merits in serious discussions. What impressed Froude about him was that he knew his own mind. There was no dust in his eyes; and he threw no dust in the eyes of others. He was naturally open and spontaneous; and, in Lord Morley's words, ‘when he encountered a current of doubt, dislike, suspicion, prejudice, his one and first impulse was to hasten to put his case, to explain, to have it out’. He was a hard hitter, and not always careful to remember that others were more thin-skinned than himself, but he was of a nature essentially generous and forgiving. After a temporary quarrel with Lord Randolph Churchill, at the time of the Aston riots (1884), he wrote to Lord Randolph who was starting for India, a characteristic letter, burying the hatchet, which received a cordial response. He seems to have been totally devoid of jealousy; and he carried loyalty to those who had once obtained his confidence to its extreme limits. With these qualities he naturally attracted friendship; and his relations with men so different as were Dilke, Churchill, Morley, and Balfour, were the best witness to that attraction. ‘To him’, again in Lord Morley's words, ‘the friend was not merely a comrade in a campaign. He was an innermost element in his existence; whilst, if he stood by his friend, he counted on his friend to stand by him.’
     The same loyalty that endeared him to his friends called forth the devoted attachment of his official subordinates. Lord Milner described him as an incomparable chief. He always, if possible, consulted those who served under him. He gave the fullest consideration to all their representations. He went thoroughly into every aspect of the case, for he was a most industrious minister; and finally, he laid down firmly and deliberately the policy which he wished to be followed, leaving a large latitude to those who had to work it out. Sir Harry Wilson, who was principal private secretary to Chamberlain from 1895 to 1897, has also described his methods of dealing with business. His ‘minutes’ were almost invariably concise, and always strictly to the point. While he generally accepted the advice of his under-secretaries, often making illuminating additions to their drafts, he sometimes reversed their conclusions, though not without full discussion. The vigour of his methods is attested by the fact that, at the time of the Jameson Raid, he made a personal invasion, at one o'clock a.m., of the office of the Eastern Telegraph Company, to discover why an important telegram had not been delivered. Through his whole life he justified the words of his son: ‘He never rested. To his last day he seemed too young to leave things as they are.’ When party animosities are forgotten, men will probably recognize the truth of the Earl of Balfour's testimony¾‘He was a great statesman, a great friend, a great orator, a great man.’
     Chamberlain's speeches are contained in the following editions: C. W. Boyd, Mr. Chamberlain's Speeches, 2 vols. (1914); H. W. Lucy, Speeches, with sketch of Life (1885); Speeches on Home Rule and the Irish Question, 1881-1887 (1887); Foreign and Colonial Speeches (1897); Imperial Union and Tariff Reform 15 May-4 November 1903 (2nd edition, 1910). He was the author of Patriotism (1897) and of a preface to The Radical Programme (1885). He also wrote the following articles in the Fortnightly Review: The Liberal Party and its Leaders, and The Next Page of the Liberals (1874); The Right Method with the Publicans, and Lapland and Swedish Licensing (1876); Free Schools, Municipal Public-Houses, and The New Political Organization (1877); The Caucus (1879); Labourers' and Artisans' Dwellings (1883). In the Nineteenth Century he wrote: Shall we Americanise our Institutions? (1890); The Labour Question (1892); A Bill for the Weakening of Great Britain (1893); and in the New Review, Municipal Reform (1894).
     The chief portraits of Chamberlain are those by Frank Holl (1886), by J. S. Sargent (1896), by Sir H. von Herkomer (1903, Royal Academy Pictures, 1904), and by C. W. Furse (1904, unfinished owing to the artist's death). A bust in Westminster Abbey was unveiled on 31 March 1916 by Lord Balfour, and another, executed by F. Derwent Wood in 1915, belongs to the Corporation of the City of London (Royal Academy Pictures, 1915).

     The Times, 4 July 1914;
     Stephen Gwynn and Gertrude Tuckwell, Life of Sir Charles W. Dilke, 2 vols., 1917;
     Lord Morley, Recollections, 2 vols., 1917, and Life of William Ewart Gladstone, 2 vols., 1905;
     Winston S. Churchill, Lord Randolph Churchill, 2 vols., 1906;
     Bernard Holland, Life of Spencer Compton, Eighth Duke of Devonshire, 2 vols., 1911;
     G. M. Trevelyan, Life of John Bright, 1913;
     Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of Granville George Leveson Gower, Second Earl Granville, 2 vols., 1905;
     Hon. A. R. D. Elliot, Life of George Joachim Goschen, First Viscount Goschen, 2 vols., 1911;
     E. A. Walker, Lord De Villiers and his Times, South Africa 1842-1914, 1924;
     A. G. Gardiner, Life of Sir William Harcourt, 2 vols., 1923;
     N. M. Murrell Marris, Joseph Chamberlain, the Man and the Statesman, 1900;
     S. H. Jeyes, Mr. Chamberlain; his Life and Public Career, 2 vols., 1904;
     Alexander Mackintosh, Joseph Chamberlain;
     an honest biography, 1906;
     Louis Creswicke, Life of Joseph Chamberlain, 4 vols., 1904;
     H. von Eckardstein, Lebenserinnerungen, translated by George Young as Ten Years at the Court of St. James, 1895-1905, 1921;
     Sir Willoughby Maycock, With Mr. Chamberlain to the United States and Canada, 1887-1888, 1914;
     Sir C. Tupper, Recollections of Sixty Years, 1914;
     Sir C. Bruce, The Broad Stone of Empire, 2 vols., 1910;
     A. W. W. Dale, Life of R. W. Dale of Birmingham (3rd ed.), 1899;
     R. Barry O'Brien, Life of Charles Stewart Parnell, 2 vols., 1898;
     W. Basil Worsfold, Reconstruction of the New Colonies under Lord Milner, 2 vols., 1913;
     R. Jebb, The Imperial Conference, vol. i, 1911;
     L. C. A. Knowles, The Industrial and Commercial Revolutions in Great Britain during the Nineteenth Century, 1921;
     ‘The Times’ History of the War in South Africa, edited by L. C. M. S. Amery, vols. i and vi, 1900-1909;
     Sir Sidney Lee, Life of King Edward VII, vol. i, 1925;
     Articles on Chamberlain in the United Empire, vol. viii, pp. 102-11, 1917; by T. H. S. Escott in Britannic Review, vol. vii, pp. 321-41; and by M. Woods in Fortnightly Review, August 1914;
     Parliamentary Papers;
     Hansard's Parliamentary Debates;
     Die Grosse Politik der Europäischen Kabinette 1871-1914, vol. xi, 1923;
     E. Fischer, Holstein's Grosses Nein. Die Deutsch-Englischen Bündnisverhandlungen von 1898-1901, 1925.

Contributor: H. E. E. [Hugh Edward Egerton]

Published:     1927