Curzon, George Nathaniel
, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (18591925), politician, traveller, and viceroy of India
, was born on 11 January 1859 at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, the second of the eleven children of the Revd Alfred Nathaniel Holden Curzon, fourth Baron Scarsdale (18311916), rector of Kedleston, and his wife, Blanche (18371875), daughter of Joseph Pocklington Senhouse of Netherhall in Cumberland. His family was of Norman ancestry and had lived on the same site since the twelfth century. In 1759 Sir Nathaniel Curzon, later first Baron Scarsdale, demolished the existing house at Kedleston and commissioned Robert Adam to build him a great country house in the Palladian style. His descendant, George Nathaniel, was always conscious, however, that the family home was more distinguished than the family which inhabited it, and from an early age he was determined to prove himself a fitting master for Kedleston. In the closing words of the epitaph he composed for himself, he sought to serve his country and add honour to an ancient name.
Curzon's mother, worn out by childbirth, died in 1875 at the age of thirty-seven; her husband survived her for forty-one years. Neither parent, however, exerted a major influence on the life of George Nathaniel. Scarsdale was an austere and unindulgent father who believed in the long-held family tradition that landowners should stay on their land and not go roaming about all over the world. He thus had little sympathy for those travels across Asia between 1887 and 1895 which made his son the most travelled man who ever sat in a British cabinet. A more decisive presence in Curzon's childhood was that of his brutal governess, Ellen Mary Paraman, whose tyranny in the nursery stimulated his combative qualities and encouraged the obsessional side of his nature.
Curzon was a good-looking and talented child. Unlike his siblings, who had inherited their father's long narrow face, he had a large and spherical head, while his pink cheeks, high forehead, and hazel eyes gave him an almost cherubic appearance. At the age of ten he was removed from the daily influence of his governess and sent to Wixenford, a preparatory school in Wokingham, where he embarked on a period of prize-winning academic achievement that lasted for fifteen years. This competitiveness, which was alien to the traditions of his family and which he retained all his life, was stimulated by the assistant master, Archibald Dunbar, who like Miss Paraman was both a good teacher and a savage disciplinarian. There can be little doubt that the two of them exercised a powerful influence for good and bad on the character of their charge.
Eton and Oxford
At Eton College, where he was a pupil from 1872 to 1878, Curzon was a controversial figure who was liked and disliked with equal intensity by large numbers of masters and other boys. This strange talent for both attraction and repulsion stayed with him all his life: few people ever felt neutral about him. His housemaster at Eton, the Revd C. Wolley Dod, was a poor and unimaginative teacher who frequently complained to Lord Scarsdale about his pupil's stubbornness and insubordination. His principal grievance was Curzon's attachment to another housemaster, Oscar Browning, an opponent of the school's sporting ethos who helped to foster the intellectual interests of the brightest pupils. Regarding Curzon as one of the most brilliantly gifted boys he had ever come across, Browning was responsible for encouraging his passion for art and history. His was the third and most beneficial of the major educational influences on the boy's life.
The young Curzon was motivated by a passionate resolve to be at the head of the class and at Eton he achieved almost as much as a non-athlete is capable of achieving. He won a great many academic prizes and was awarded a record number of distinctions for outstanding work. He was also captain of the oppidans, a member of Pop, and president of the literary society, which had been founded by Browning. At Speeches on 4 June and at the meetings of the literary society, he acquired that love of rhetoric, that fondness for sonorous and elaborate language which he never lost.
In October 1878 Curzon went up to Oxford to read for a classical degree at Balliol College, which, under the dynamic mastership of Benjamin Jowett, was enjoying its first period as a kindergarten for aspiring politicians and diplomats. Shortly beforehand he suffered acute pains for the first time from that curvature of the spine which tormented him for the rest of his life. Although his doctor allowed him to go to university only on condition he rested and wore a steel appliance to support his spine, Curzon went to Oxford in a confident mood, intent on laying the foundations and preparing for the superstructure of his career. He soon became the leading tory undergraduate of his day, his views reflecting Disraeli's creed of paternalism with social reform, national honour with the mandatory vision of empire. But then, as later, he was less interested in political ideas than in forms of oratory, in statesmanship, and in the practice of government.
As president of the Oxford Union and secretary of the Canning Club, Curzon struck his Oxford contemporaries as a man destined for a major political career. Most people were impressed by his wit, his eloquence, and his hard work, but others, including Jowett, found him too verbose and self-assured. Many friends of both sexes considered him the best of company, but more distant acquaintances discerned an air of superiority that inspired those lines which journalists quoted against him for the rest of his life:
My name is George Nathaniel Curzon,
I am a most superior person.
My cheek is pink, my hair is sleek,
I dine at Blenheim once a week.
Curzon believed the first couplet, published in the Masque of Balliol
, to have been written by his friend Cecil Spring-Rice, though the real author seems to have been J. W. Mackail; the second couplet probably was by Spring-Rice.
At the end of his fourth year Curzon narrowly failed to add a first in Greats to the first he had achieved in moderations two years earlier. He was humiliated by the result and allegedly threatened to devote the rest of his life to showing the examiners that they had made a mistake. Travelling with friends to the eastern Mediterranean in the winter of 18823, he spent his spare time writing an essay on the emperor Justinian which won the Lothian history prize at Oxford. On his return he studied hard for a prize fellowship at All Souls College, which he gained in November 1883, and the following year he won the Arnold essay prize with a long work on Sir Thomas More.
Politics and travel
For a short period after Oxford, Curzon managed to give the impression he was leading the life of a handsome dilettante, embarking on a series of risky love affairs (most notably with Lady Grosvenor) and enjoying a rich social life in London and the great country houses. Like most of his close friends, he belonged to that mildly exotic aristocratic circle later known as the ; he was also an assiduous and talented member of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt's Crabbet Club, where he once won the annual poetry competition. But his passionate and romantic nature did not prevent him from serving his political apprenticeship, first in the erratic shadow of Lord Randolph Churchill and then under the more stable aegis of the marquess of Salisbury, for whom he briefly worked as an unpaid private secretary during the Conservative government of 18856. At the same time he was looking for a suitable parliamentary constituency. In 1885 he stood for South Derbyshire, a county which in the past had automatically sent his undistinguished ancestors to Westminster, and was easily defeated. But the following year he was selected for Southport, which was narrowly held by the Liberals, and at the general election of June 1886 he gained it with a majority of 461.
Curzon's maiden speech, which was chiefly an attack on home rule and Irish nationalism, was regarded in much the same way as his oratory at the Oxford Union: brilliant and eloquent but also presumptuous and rather too self-assured. Subsequent performances in the Commons, often dealing with Ireland or reform of the House of Lords (which he supported), received similar verdicts; despite his oratorical talents, he showed early on that he did not have a good parliamentary manner. Although commentators compared him to Lord Randolph Churchill, Curzon chose to make his name not as a firebrand orator from the back benches but as an expert on Asia, a continent that had fascinated him since hearing a lecture by Sir James Stephen at Eton, which had infected him with a passion for the mystery of the East and for Britain's dominion of India.
The period of Curzon's great travels began in August 1887 with a journey round the world followed by a visit to Russia and central Asia in 18889, a long tour of Persia in 188990, an expedition to the Far East in 1892, and a daring foray through the Pamir to Afghanistan in 1894. A bold and compulsive traveller, fascinated by oriental life and geography, he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his exploration of the source of the Oxus. Yet the main purpose of his journeys was political: they formed part of a vast and comprehensive project to study the problems of Asia and their implications for British India. At the same time they reinforced his pride in his nation and her imperial mission.
During his travels Curzon sent home articles for The Times
and other newspapers, and on his return he wrote Russia in Central Asia in 1889
(1889), the two massive volumes of Persia and the Persian Question
(1892), and Problems of the Far East
(1894). Each of these was highly regarded and contributed to his reputation as the country's most knowledgeable politician on Asiatic affairs. In November 1891 the prime minister recognized the fact by appointing him under-secretary for India, a fitting post for a young man who was about to dedicate his Persian book to the officials, civil and military in India, whose hands uphold the noblest fabric yet reared by the genius of a conquering nation. Although Curzon held the post only until the following July, when the Conservatives left office, his reputation was enhanced by his handling of the India Councils Bill
(1892). Critics might agree with Henry Labouchere, the Liberal MP, who compared Curzon's performance at the dispatch box to that of a divinity addressing black beetles, but the young under-secretary was widely regarded as the coming man on the Conservative benches, a worthy antagonist of those Balliol-schooled Liberals, H. H. Asquith and Sir Edward Grey.
On his return from Afghanistan at the beginning of 1895, Curzon announced his engagement to Mary Victoria (18701906) [see
], daughter of Levi Zeigler Leiter, a Chicago millionaire and philanthropist. A musical girl of much charm and beauty, she had met the young English politician in 1890 and had quickly fallen in love with him. Curzon's response had been more lukewarm, probably because he was involved with other women at the time. But in March 1893, at the end of a journey round the world, he proposed to her in Paris; on her acceptance he insisted on keeping their engagement secret for two years while he completed his scheme of Asiatic travel by means of a perilous excursion into Afghanistan and the Pamir. Throughout his courtship Curzon's behaviour was uncharacteristically cold and unromantic, and his engagement was probably an act of impetuosity. Nevertheless, the marriage (on 23 April 1895) turned out to be a firm and happy one which produced three daughters, , Cynthia [see
], and Alexandra Naldera.
When the Conservatives returned to office in June 1895, Curzon was appointed a privy councillor and under-secretary of state at the Foreign Office. As Salisbury, who became foreign secretary as well as prime minister, was in the House of Lords, Curzon became the government's chief foreign policy spokesman in the Commons. In spite of his chief's secretive ways and reluctance to discuss matters with his deputy, he was successful in the role of presenting and defending the government's position. And although he chafed at his inability to influence policy towards Africa and the French empire, he sometimes had the satisfaction of seeing his views prevail in Asia. Convinced that withdrawal from Chitral on India's north-west frontier would lead to a Russian occupation of the area, in 1895 he managed to persuade the government to retain a British force there. He was equally successful three years later in convincing a reluctant cabinet that, following the German and Russian occupation of two Chinese ports, Britain's interests required acceptance of a Chinese offer to lease a third port in the area, Weihaiwei.
Viceroy of India
Although Curzon could have expected to join the cabinet at the next reshuffle, he had decided several years earlier that, before aiming for the highest offices of state at home, he wanted to be viceroy of India. Accordingly, he wrote lengthy letters to Salisbury pointing out that he had been preparing himself for the post for many years and arguing that the Indian climate and conditions of work required a youthful and vigorous viceroy. The prime minister kept him waiting for a year but in 1898 recommended him to Queen Victoria as Lord Elgin's successor. A recurrence of his back troubles made it doubtful whether he could take up the post, but a specialist's over-optimistic forecast persuaded Salisbury to allow the appointment to stand. In September Curzon visited the queen at Balmoral and shortly afterwards (11 November 1898) received the title of Baron Curzon in the peerage of Ireland, a device which left him the option of returning to the House of Commons after his term of office. He and his family left Britain before Christmas and on 6 January 1899, a few days before his fortieth birthday, he was proclaimed viceroy in Calcutta's Government House, a magnificent building based on the plan of Kedleston.
The viceroy's constitutional superior was Lord George Hamilton, the wise and gentle secretary of state for India, who was responsible to the cabinet and to parliament for the actions of the Indian government. But Curzon was as impatient of control from London as he was of inefficiency among his subordinates in India. He believed his duty was to be head not only of his council and the government but of all the departments as well. Bent on reforming every aspect of British rule in India, he began with the secretariats and the provincial governments, slashing his way through bureaucratic procedures and rapidly increasing the turnover of business. Efficiency of administration, he proclaimed, was a synonym for the contentment of the governed (L. G. Fraser, India under Curzon and After
, 1911, 214). In his pursuit of reform he acquired a reputation for trampling on the feelings of officials. But Hamilton, confronted with conflicting evidence about the viceroy's popularity, understood the cause: the strong, self-reliant men recognized in Curzon a master mind, but the mediocrities feared and disliked him (Hamilton to Godley, 30 Aug 1901, BL OIOC, Kilbracken MS 102/6b).
On his arrival in Bombay, Curzon announced that he had come to India to hold the scales even between the different races and religions of the country, and later he could claim accurately that he had never wavered in a strict and inflexible justice between the two races. He also insisted privately that his first duty was to the people of India and that he would rather resign than sacrifice their interests. But justice and good government for the people did not mean in Curzon's view that they should be allowed to participate at a senior level in either process. Like many of his predecessors, he believed that their interests were best served by their traditional rulers, the British and the native princes. He failed to see that the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885, was producing a new nationalist élite, and he dismissed it as a small, noisy, middle-class movement, which he refused to consider as a future partner in the administration of India.
Although Congress resented Curzon's refusal to take it seriously, its leaders praised both his early reforms and his insistence on equal justice. They particularly applauded his tough stand on indiscipline in the army. After incidents resulting in both cases in the death of an Indian, he insisted on collective punishment for two regiments, the west Kent and the 9th lancers, which had tried to hush up the crimes of their soldiers. This action was strongly resented by the army and its supporters in Britain. As the foreign editor of The Times
, Valentine Chirol, observed to a later viceroy, no one had ever challenged unpopularity among his own people so fearlessly as [Curzon] did in his endeavours … to secure even justice for Indians against Europeans (Chirol to Hardinge, 12 May 1915, CUL, Hardinge MSS).
Curzon's first year and a half in India were overshadowed by famine and plague. He twice visited the stricken areas of western India and handled the crisis with an energy and efficiency that greatly reduced the degree of suffering. By the spring of 1900, 5 million people were receiving relief, but the mortality rate had only marginally increased. The crisis stimulated the viceroy's determination to extend the irrigated area of the subcontinent, which he did, especially in the semi-desert wastelands of the Punjab. Among his notable agricultural reforms were the Co-operative Credit Societies Act
(1904), which was the first attempt to solve the problem of peasant indebtedness, and the Punjab Land Alienation Act
(1905), which prevented moneylenders from taking a holding in settlement of debt.
The viceroy's reforms encompassed every aspect of Indian life from the police and the railways to education and conservation. After presiding over an educational conference in Simla in 1901, he set up a commission to visit the universities of India and produce a report that would form the basis of new legislation. The conclusions of the report were incorporated in the Universities Act
of 1904, a measure much criticized by Indian nationalists at the time but one which was later recognized as an important reform of the university system. The same year saw the passing of the Ancient Monuments Bill
, perhaps the most far-sighted of Curzon's reforms. He created a directorate-general of archaeology, multiplied the restoration budget by a factor of eight, and personally oversaw repairs to monuments all over India. His restoration of the Taj Mahal and the other monuments of Agra gave him much satisfaction. If I had done nothing else in India, he told his wife, I have written my name here, and the letters are a living joy (4 April 1905, Lady Alexandra Metcalfe MSS, priv. coll.).
The viceroy's administrative reforms included the creation of the North-West Frontier province, which was detached from the Punjab, a satisfactory settlement of the Berar question with the nizam of Hyderabad, and the controversial partition of Bengal, a measure that was revoked, to Curzon's fury, by the British government in 1911. In foreign affairs he was assertive, urging the establishment of a British protectorate of Kuwait and successfully preventing the growth of French influence in Muscat. But the home government, perturbed by these ambitions, resisted his demands for a more vigorous Persian policy. It was not until 1902 that the foreign secretary, Lord Lansdowne, accepted Curzon's advice by warning Russia not to interfere in southern Persia. The following year Lansdowne further pleased the viceroy by declaring that Britain would resist the establishment of a naval base by any foreign power in the Persian Gulf. But Curzon was less successful in his efforts to persuade London to take a firmer line with the amir of Afghanistan and the Dalai Lama in Tibet.
In January 1903 a vast durbar was held in Delhi to celebrate the accession of King Edward VII. Planned entirely by the viceroy, this splendiferous occasion has often been seen as the apogee of the British empire in India. It was also something of a turning point in the viceroyalty. Despite occasional arguments, the relationship between viceroy and secretary of state had been a successful one for over four years; indeed, Curzon recognized that Hamilton had been a wise counsellor and an important ally in the programme of reforms. But in September 1903 Arthur Balfour, who had succeeded Lord Salisbury as prime minister, replaced Hamilton with St John Brodrick, the viceroy's oldest friend. This change, together with the appointment of Lord Kitchener as commander-in-chief in India, proved disastrous for Curzon. Had he returned to England at the end of his five-year term, neither would have caused him much trouble. But he was tempted to stay on and see his reforms in action. His wife and friends repeatedly urged him to return after five years and prepare to lead the Conservatives after Balfour's retirement. But adamant that his duty lay in India, he persuaded the prime minister to grant him a second shorter term from 1904. Balfour later regarded his assent as one of the greatest mistakes of his premiership.
In January 1904 Lady Curzon, who was expecting their third child, sailed with her daughters to England. But her husband decided to remain in India for the legislative season in Calcutta. One of his principal occupations was the study of the Bengal question. The successful settlement of the Berar problem had prompted him to examine the issue of provincial boundaries, and he had concluded that Bengal, with a population almost double that of Britain, would be governed more efficiently if it was divided in two. The scheme was finally sanctioned by Brodrick in June 1905, and the new province of East Bengal and Assam, which had a Muslim majority, was inaugurated. This policy, which Bengali Hindus regarded as an attempt to weaken Congress, lost the viceroy his popularity with that nationalist élite that had hitherto applauded his reforms and his stand on equality of justice between the races.
Curzon sailed for England at the end of April, leaving Lord Ampthill as viceroy until his return. He was appointed lord warden of the Cinque Ports, an honorary post, and on arrival embarked with enthusiasm on the restoration of Walmer Castle, which came with the position. This enthusiasm was quickly dissipated by his wife's long and desperate illness at the end of the summer; for several weeks she hovered between life and death before eventually beginning a slow recovery. Meanwhile the home government had at last sanctioned Francis Younghusband's mission to Tibet, which Curzon had advocated as the only way of forcing the Tibetans to honour past agreements. But when Younghusband extracted a favourable treaty from the Tibetans, he was repudiated by Brodrick on the grounds that he had exceeded his instructions, an action which exacerbated the deteriorating relations between Curzon and his old friend. Their friendship soon foundered altogether over the future of the military department in India.
The struggle with Kitchener
The Indian army was administered by the commander-in-chief, who was its executive head, and the military member, a major-general on the viceroy's council responsible for transport, supplies, and other administrative matters. This division of responsibility had been accepted by Lord Roberts and all previous commanders-in-chief, who had recognized that the task of running the army required the labours of the two men and their respective departments. They had realized, moreover, that if the commander took the field in wartime, it was vital for the viceroy to have a second military adviser at hand.
On taking over as commander-in-chief at the end of 1902, Kitchener told Curzon he wished to abolish the post of military member and add its responsibilities to his own. It was intolerable, he argued, that a subordinate military authority should be in a position either to criticize or to recommend the commander's proposals. After the viceroy expressed his opposition to the scheme, Kitchener embarked on a long and surreptitious campaign to win the support of influential circles in Britain. Through contacts in the press, secret telegrams, and a network of correspondents, he managed to convert many crucial figuresnotably the prime minister and the secretary of state for Indiato his view that the military department should disappear. Although suspicious that Kitchener was plotting behind his back, the viceroy remained unaware of the extent of the intrigue.
While Curzon was on leave in England in 1904, Kitchener managed to induce the government in London to transfer the control of supply and transport from the military department to himself. Shortly afterwards he decided to resign on the grounds that even the reduced power of the department made his position impossible. Although he was persuaded temporarily to withdraw his resignation, the home government was alarmed by the threat and anxious to accede to his demands. Weak and unpopular, the cabinet therefore warned Curzon through Brodrick that Kitchener's resignation would be regarded more anxiously at this moment than any other.
Although his wife remained ill in London, Curzon returned to India in December 1904 and took over from Ampthill. He brought with him an advance copy of a dispatch from London asking the Indian government to examine the issue of the military department. In March 1905 the viceroy's council decided unanimouslywith the exception of Kitchenerthat the department should be preserved, and dispatched its reply to London. Several weeks earlier, however, the commander-in-chief had secretly sent his own reply to his supporters in England who had distributed it to the prime minister, the India Office, and various sections of the press. In April Brodrick formed a committee, consisting almost entirely of Kitchener's partisans, to settle the matter, and the following month he sent the government's verdict to India. Although the secretary of state backed Kitchener's case for abolition, all the experts invited to testify before the committee were opposed, and Brodrick's dispatch announced a compromise whereby the military department was replaced by a much weaker military supply department.
On reading the government's dispatch in mid-June, Curzon's first instinct was to resign. But he was persuaded by his colleagues on the council to try to induce Kitchener to agree to modifications of the dispatch. To the astonishment of his supporters in Britain, the commander-in-chief accepted modifications that would have virtually restored the military member to his former position. The viceroy therefore decided not to resign, a decision he later deeply regretted. In the following weeks Kitchener, encouraged by Brodrick, gradually reneged on his agreement, and Curzon became convinced that the home government was trying to force his resignation. When the secretary of state refused to accept the viceroy's nominee, General Barrow, as the new military supply member, Curzon concluded that he did not have the confidence of the government and telegraphed his resignation. The prime minister accepted it on 16 August 1905 and announced the appointment of Lord Minto as his successor. Staying on to welcome the prince of Wales to Bombay in early November, Curzon finally left India, an angry and embittered man, on 18 November. But in his farewell speech at Bombay's Byculla Club, he delivered a notable example of his particular brand of oratory and of his view of the imperial mission.
To fight for the right, to abhor the imperfect, the unjust, or the mean, to swerve neither to the right hand nor to the left, to care nothing for flattery or applause or odium or abuseit is so easy to have any of them in Indianever to let your enthusiasm be soured or your courage grow dim, but to remember that the Almighty has placed your hand on the greatest of His ploughs, in whose furrow the nations of the future are germinating and taking shape, to drive the blade a little forward in your time, and to feel that somewhere among these millions you have left a little justice or happiness or prosperity, a sense of manliness or moral dignity, a spring of patriotism, a dawn of intellectual enlightenment, or a stirring of duty, where it did not before existthat is enough, that is the Englishman's justification in India. It is good enough for his watchword while he is here, for his epitaph when he is gone. I have worked for no other aim. Let India be my judge. (T. Raleigh, ed., Lord Curzon in India, 1906, 58990)
The viceroy's resignation has subsequently been attributed to personal antagonism between Kitchener and himself, between two masterful men each determined to have his own way. British India's judgement at the time remains more valid. There the conflict was seen as essentially between civilian and military control of the army, a conflict which ended in victory for the military because of a prolonged intrigue which drew in the two crucial figures in the cabinet. Curzon lost because, unlike his opponent, he had refused to become a conspirator.
Bereavement and opposition
Despite the support of King Edward VII, the fallen viceroy received no public recognition for his remarkable services in India. Balfour's refusal to recommend an earldom was repeated by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Liberal leader asked to form a government on the day after Curzon's return to England. In deference to the wishes of the king and the advice of his doctors, Curzon did not stand in the general election of 1906 and thus found himself excluded from public life for the first time in twenty years. It was at this time, the nadir of his career, that he suffered the greatest personal loss of his life. Mary Curzon had never fully recovered from her nearly fatal illness and in July 1906 she fell ill again, deteriorated quickly, and died in her husband's arms. She was buried in the church at Kedleston, where Curzon designed his memorial for her, a lovely Gothic chapel added to the north side of the nave. Although he was neither a devout nor a conventional churchman, Curzon retained a naïve religious faith; in later years he sometimes said that he was not afraid of death because it would enable him to join Mary in heaven.
As Lord Scarsdale still occupied Kedleston, his eldest son set up house with his three daughters at Hackwood near Basingstoke and lived there and at 1 Carlton House Terrace, a London mansion he had bought with his father-in-law's money before going to India. In March 1907 he defeated Lord Rosebery in a contest for the chancellorship of Oxford University and threw himself so energetically into the cause of university reform that critics complained he was ruling Oxford like an Indian province. On a visit to South Africa in 1909, where he was supposed to be convalescing after a motor accident, he wrote a memorandum of book length called Principles and Methods of University Reform
. Although his ideas were considered too radical by Oxford's governing body, most of them were endorsed by a royal commission after the First World War and were subsequently enacted.
In January 1908 Curzon finally entered the House of Lords with the help of Lord Lansdowne, who persuaded a sufficient number of Irish lords to elect him as one of their representative peers. He grew to like the Lords, where his stately oratory was perhaps more appropriate than in the Commons, but he remained a strong advocate of its reform and persistently urged a reduction in its hereditary membership. Still bitter about his treatment in India, he stayed aloof from his Unionist colleagues and for eighteen months seldom spoke except in debates on Asian subjects; two of his most powerful speeches were attacks on the Anglo-Russian convention of 1907 and the system of Indian military administration set up to please Lord Kitchener. Domestic politics failed to interest himhe remained an agnostic on the issue of tariff reformuntil Lloyd George delivered his radical budget of 1909. Then he supported the stance of his party leaders and spoke in favour of Lansdowne's motion to reject it in the Lords. The success of the motion led to the dissolution of parliament and to the two inconclusive elections of 1910.
In the absence of Balfour, who was ill, the first Unionist campaign was dominated by Curzon, who was fighting his first election since 1895 and who relished a highly publicized speech-making tour of Lancashire. After the elections he scoffed at the Liberal government's threat to restrict the House of Lords' veto on legislation to two years and unwisely advised his party both to fight in the last ditch and to dare Asquith to create new peers in order to carry the Parliament Bill
through the upper house. As soon as he realized, however, that Asquith was not bluffing, he changed his mind and attempted to persuade his colleagues that it was preferable to retain the house with a limited veto than to provoke its virtual destruction. Throwing himself with characteristic energy into battle against the Diehards, who were determined to defeat the Liberals in the Lords, he persuaded enough Unionists to support the bill or abstain for the government to carry the day. This action, which ended the constitutional crisis, earned him the lasting enmity of the Unionist right.
Curzon, who was finally made an earl in the coronation honours of 1911, was always an administrator rather than a parliamentarian. Opposition politics left him restless and searching for causes he could pursue. In addition to his work at Oxford, he became president of the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage, but most of his causes were geographical, artistic, or conservationist. In 1911 he became president of the Royal Geographical Society and raised enough funds to buy it new premises in South Kensington. In the same year he became a trustee of the National Gallery and devised a far-sighted scheme, which was unfortunately not adopted for many years, to exempt owners from death duties on their houses and paintings if they undertook to keep their collections intact and opened them to the public. He also became a prominent figure in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and one of the most enlightened conservationists in the country. In 1911 he bought Tattershall Castle in Lincolnshire, which he restored and bequeathed to the nation; a few years later he did the same on a grander scale with Bodiam Castle in Sussex. His subsequent restoration of both Kedleston and Montacute House in Somerset makes him a unique figure in the history of the National Trust, which by 1990 owned all four properties.
The First World War
In May 1915 Curzon was one of the Unionist politicians invited to join a coalition cabinet under Asquith. Although he was given the title of lord privy seal, he was effectively a minister without portfolio, a position which he found extremely frustrating. As a member of the Dardanelles committee, he urged the cabinet to introduce compulsory military service, he opposed the evacuation of the Gallipoli peninsula, and he advised against the Indian army's ill-fated advance on Baghdad during which the shortcomings of Kitchener's system were tragically demonstrated. (In 1917 a royal commission's report on the Mesopotamian campaign condemned the system and vindicated Curzon's stance of twelve years earlier.) At the beginning of 1916 he became a knight of the Garter and was appointed chairman of the Shipping Control Board, a committee which allocated shipping resources between the competing demands of the navy, the army, and the merchant marine. But he hankered after more demanding and imaginative work and hoped that Asquith would create an Air Ministry with himself at its head. Although the prime minister believed that such a ministry would increase friction between the Admiralty and the War Office, which jealously protected their own spheres of aerial activity, he did make Curzon president of a new Air Board in May 1916. Much of the rest of the year was spent trying to overcome the obstructiveness of the Admiralty, now headed by his old friend and adversary Balfour, but his views were eventually adopted and an Air Ministry was established in 1918.
By the end of 1916 all the Unionist ministers, including Curzon, had come to the conclusion that Asquith was too indecisive a prime minister to win the war. At a meeting on 3 December they decided that their leader, Andrew Bonar Law, should urge him to resign and inform him that, if he refused, all the Unionist ministers would resign themselves. Their private papers make it clear that at the time they expected Asquith to go and that Lloyd George would succeed him. But this was not made immediately obvious to the prime minister, who for two days believed he could carry on; only when he understood the decision taken on 3 December did he decide to surrender his office. The incident was subsequently misrepresented by Lord Beaverbrook and later historians who claimed that the Unionists had resigned in order to strengthen Asquith's hand against Lloyd George. After Curzon's death, Beaverbrook alleged that the former viceroy had seen Asquith on 4 December and assured him he would never serve under Lloyd George. This charge, which has done much damage to Curzon's reputation, is unfounded; a study of the documents reveals that there was no meeting between the two on 4 December and that Curzon could not have given the assurance.
In December 1916 Curzon became a member of Lloyd George's war cabinet. Three weeks later, on 2 January 1917, following a long love affair with the novelist , he married the much younger Grace Elvina Trilla Duggan (18771958), daughter of Joseph Monroe Hinds, at one time United States minister in Brazil, and widow of Alfred Duggan of Buenos Aires. But his second marriage was much less happy than his first. Grace was a fashionable society woman who loved horse-racing, and the couple's lack of common interests, together with their failure to produce an heir, led to a tempestuous relationship.
Curzon's work under Lloyd George was the most sustained, vital, and concentrated he had been required to do since leaving India. As lord president of the council, he was leader of the House of Lords, and as one of five members of the war cabinet, he was a key figure in the team meeting day after day to discuss and direct the main areas of the war effort. He was also Lloyd George's usual choice as chairman of innumerable subcommittees dealing with matters as diverse as timber, import restrictions, and a settlement for Ireland. Although he and the prime minister were never on close terms, he was the only man who remained in the cabinet throughout Lloyd George's premiership.
The war cabinet spent much of the summer of 1917 discussing military strategy and allowed itself to be persuaded by the military to sanction General Haig's disastrous autumn offensive which culminated in the slaughter at Passchendaele. It also had to deal with a number of Asian questions. Curzon was strongly opposed to Zionist aims in Palestine and argued that Jewish immigrants would not be able to establish a homeland there without expelling the indigenous Arabs. Although he managed to include a commitment to the non-Jewish communities in the Balfour Declaration, he remained convinced that the policy was mistaken, the worst of Britain's Middle East commitments and a striking contradiction of our publicly declared principles (Curzon to Bonar Law, 14 Dec 1922, Parl. Arch., Bonar Law MS 111/22/46). He was also anxious about any change of policy that might loosen the bonds between Britain and India. But he realized that the wartime atmosphere, stirred by the Russian Revolution and by what he called the free talk about liberty, democracy, nationality, and self-government which have become the common shibboleths of the Allies, meant that substantial concessions had to be made. Thus he did not dissent from the cabinet view that self-government within the British empire should be stated as their aim for India so long as it was made clear that it was under British guidance that this end must be pursued, and alone can be achieved, and that the essential safeguards of British justice and power were not weakened (Curzon's memoranda to imperial war cabinet, 17 June 1917, and war cabinet, 2 July 1917, BL OIOC, Curzon MS 112/164).
In August 1917 the government declared its aim to be the gradual development of self-governing institutions in India under the aegis of the Crown. Curzon did not interpret this to mean a handover of power within the foreseeable future but a developing process that would take generations or even centuries. He was thus horrified when Edwin Montagu, the secretary of state for India, quickly produced a scheme, later known as the diarchy, whereby in each province elected native ministers would run matters such as health, education, and agriculture, while the local British governor would retain control over finance, the police, and other reserved matters. Believing that the plan would lead by stages of increasing speed to the ultimate disruption of the Empire (Curzon to Montagu, 25 July 1918, Cambridge, Trinity College, Montagu MS AS 3/2/15), Curzon refused to serve on the cabinet committee appointed to prepare legislation. When the bill came up for its second reading in December 1919, he told the Lords it was a daring experiment which was unlikely to lead to better government, but he accepted it as necessary in that era when people preferred to govern themselves badly than be even superbly governed by another race (Hansard 5L
, 37, 12 Dec 1919, 10489).
After the conclusion of the armistice in November 1918, Curzon rose in the House of Lords to make an eloquent appraisal of Britain's role in the war. He declared:
The British flag never flew over a more powerful or a more united Empire than now; Britons never had better cause to look the world in the face; never did our voice count for more in the councils of the nations, or in determining the future destinies of mankind. (Hansard 5L, 32, 18 Nov 1918, 162)
Curzon's experience of ceremonies made him a natural choice as an organizer of events and memorials to celebrate victory and commemorate the dead. He organized the peace celebrations in the summer of 1919, he supervised the erection of the cenotaph in Whitehall, he designed its unveiling ceremonya restrained and moving ritual centred on a two-minute silence and the haunting lament of the Last Postand he planned another ceremony for the burial of an unknown soldier in Westminster Abbey. These events aroused such strong feelings that popular opinion demanded an annual service at the Cenotaph, and Curzon was asked to devise the remembrance day service, one of his finest and most lasting achievements.
The Foreign Office
In January 1919, in addition to his other duties, Curzon was asked to take charge of the Foreign Office while Lloyd George and Balfour (who remained foreign secretary) were pursuing a peace treaty in Paris. The division of responsibility between Curzon and Balfour was unclear, and an unsatisfactory situation was further complicated by Lloyd George's insistence on dealing with areas of the world which interested him. When the prime minister formed a larger cabinet in October 1919, Curzon and Balfour exchanged posts, but the new foreign secretary remained leader of the House of Lords. Lloyd George, who had negotiated the treaty of Versailles, largely retained control of affairs in Europe and Russia, while Curzon dealt with the rest of the world. This division of labour between a prime minister who had achieved the status of international statesman and a foreign secretary with unparalleled Asian experience was, in the hectic post-war years, not unreasonable. The partnership broke down, however, when they disagreed on the most crucial Euro-Asian issue, the peace settlement with Turkey.
Curzon personally directed negotiations which led to the Anglo-Persian agreement in August 1919 and was delighted with an outcome that seemed to cement British influence in Tehran. He was thus disgusted when the Persian government, although heavily bribed by the British, failed to ratify the agreement which was subsequently discarded by Reza Khan after his coup d'état
in February 1921. In the Middle East he favoured a policy of setting up independent Arab states under British tutelage, as happened in Iraq. But he acquiesced with great reluctance in the decisions of the San Remo conference to award the Palestine mandate to Britain and the Syrian mandate to France. In Egypt he was surprised by the strength of local nationalism but soon realized that the government had no option but to accept the conclusion of the Milner commission, which recommended the abolition of Britain's protectorate and the establishment of an independent constitutional monarchy. Against the fierce opposition of both Lloyd George and Churchill, his views eventually prevailed, and in March 1922 Egypt was recognized as an independent monarchy under her sultan, henceforth known as King Fuad I.
Early in 1919 Curzon circulated three memoranda to the cabinet outlining his views on a settlement with Turkey. They contained two principal arguments: that a peace treaty must be negotiated swiftly and that, as a result of its defeat, Turkey should lose its European territory but be left in possession of its Anatolian heartland. He was opposed to landing European troops in Asian Turkey and was particularly scornful of the suggestion to install the Greeks in Smyrna. Lloyd George, however, was passionately pro-Greek and even encouraged the Smyrna occupation. Again the prime minister's policy prevailed at San Remo where the conference decided on a settlementlater embodied in the treaty of Sèvresthat turned the straits into a neutral zone and gave Greece eastern Thrace, various islands in the Aegean, and control of the Smyrna area for five years, after which the local population would decide its future. As Curzon predicted, this solution was completely unacceptable to Turkish public opinion which soon coalesced behind the nationalist rebellion of Mustafa Kemal, the future Atatürk.
In 1921, during which he received a marquessate, the foreign secretary spent much of his time trying to persuade the Greeks that the occupation of Smyrna was a blunder that would end in their military defeat. In March 1922 he was laid low by a combination of phlebitis, thrombosis, and lymphangitis which kept him out of action for five months. He returned to his office in August just in time for the long-predicted débâcle in Asia Minor when the Turkish nationalists overwhelmed the Greek army, sacked Smyrna, and advanced northwards to threaten allied forces occupying Chanak in the neutral zone on the Asiatic shore of the straits. At a cabinet meeting on Friday 15 September, Curzon warned against trying to stop the Turkish advance by military means. But the following day, while he was at Hackwood, Lloyd George and Churchill issued a communiqué to the press warning of war if the violent and hostile Turkish aggression succeeded in seizing control of the straits. The effect of this bellicose statement was to persuade France and Italy to withdraw their forces from the threatened areas of the neutral zone and leave the way open for a Turkish confrontation with the much smaller British force under the control of General Sir Charles Harington. Furious with his colleagues' flamboyant manifesto, which he first saw in the newspapers, Curzon insisted on going alone to Paris to restore a united allied position with the French premier, M. Raymond Poincaré. After a long and bad-tempered meeting, Curzon and Poincaré agreed on terms to offer Kemal, including the statements that they viewed with favour Turkey's claim to eastern Thrace and that they would remove their troops from Constantinople after a peace settlement.
But Curzon's success was undone by news of a revolution in Greece, which encouraged the anti-Turkish faction in the cabinet, led by Lloyd George, Churchill, and Lord Birkenhead, to make another belligerent gesture. Outraged by Kemal's refusal to respect the neutral zone, they persuaded the cabinet on 29 September to send an ultimatum threatening to open fire on the Turks unless they left the zone. War was averted largely by the good sense of Harington, who did not deliver the ultimatum, and by the vigour of the foreign secretary, who finally convinced his colleagues that the problem could be solved by diplomacy. Negotiations between the allies and the Turks opened at Mudanya, and the crisis appeared to have passed when a combination of fresh Turkish demands and French acquiescence again threatened conflict. Among other things, the Turks now insisted on occupying eastern Thrace immediately, in advance of a peace treaty and without guarantees for the minorities. As the French commander on the spot was prepared to concede on all issues, Curzon again crossed the channel to patch up a united position with Poincaré. After another heated meeting, allied unity was largely restored on the basis of the British formula. On 11 October the Turks signed the Mudanya convention by which they agreed to withdraw from the neutral zone until after a peace treaty, and accepted the proposal that eastern Thrace should be administered by the allies for a month before the Turks returned.
On 10 October the Conservative leader, Austen Chamberlain, summoned his ministerial colleagues to a meeting to reaffirm their decision to fight a general election under Lloyd George. Curzon was one of a small minority who opposed the scheme, arguing that such a move made before the party's meeting of the National Union of Conservative Associations (which was known to be hostile to the continuation of the coalition) would be regarded as a transparent trick; he was also worried that an election would dislocate foreign policy on the eve of a crucial conference on the Near East. The election talk came at a time when the foreign secretary was feeling increasingly disenchanted with his association with Lloyd George. For four years he had submitted to the prime minister's meddling in foreign affairs and the humiliations that these had sometimes entailed. On 14 October 1922, just after the Chanak crisis, Lloyd George made a violent speech in Manchester denouncing the barbarity of the Turks, and on the same day Curzon discovered that he had been secretly intriguing with an Italian emissary. The foreign secretary decided he had had enough. Three days later he placed his resignation in Lloyd George's hands and the following day he was one of several Conservatives who urged their former leader, Andrew Bonar Law, to come out of retirement and fight the election at the head of the anti-coalitionist faction. On 19 October Law easily defeated Chamberlain in a vote at a meeting of MPs at the Carlton Club and forced the government's resignation. In the ensuing week he became Conservative leader, formed his cabinet (with Curzon still at the Foreign Office), and dissolved parliament. A comfortable Conservative victory in November allowed the foreign secretary to set off for Lausanne in search of a peace with Turkey.
The conference of Lausanne was Curzon's finest moment as foreign secretary. Through diplomatic skill and force of personality, he dominated the eleven weeks of the proceedings, dealing with his allies, France and Italy, as shrewdly as he managed the Turks. His achievements were embodied in the treaty of Lausanne of 1923 which secured the freedom of the straits, achieved a relatively high level of regional stability, and, by restoring Turkish sovereignty to the Turkish heartland, enabled the new country to make the transition from enfeebled empire to nation state. It was the most successful and the most lasting of the post-war treaties.
In May 1923 it was diagnosed that the prime minister was suffering from cancer of the throat, and on Whit Sunday he resigned. Curzon, who earlier had been appointed to act as deputy prime minister in Law's absence, confidently expected to be his successor. Law, who also thought he would be succeeded by his foreign secretary, gave no advice to the king, but two members of his entourage misrepresented his views and gave the king's private secretary, Lord Stamfordham, the impression that he favoured the chancellor of the exchequer, Stanley Baldwin. Balfour advised the monarch that it was essential for the prime minister to be in the House of Commons, but in private admitted that he was prejudiced against Curzon. George V, who shared this prejudice, was grateful for the advice and authorized Stamfordham to summon the foreign secretary to London and inform him that Baldwin would be chosen. Believing that he was being summoned to form a government, Curzon was devastated by the news. His first instinct was to retire from public life, but he was persuaded to stay on as foreign secretary and a few days later he proposed Baldwin's election as leader of the Conservative Party.
For the rest of the year the new prime minister allowed Curzon to form his foreign policy virtually unhindered. Most of the issues that needed to be dealt with were European. He scored one minor success in forcing the Soviet government to remove certain of its agents from Asian capitals and another in helping to end the Italian occupation of Corfu. But the most critical issues were the questions of French security and the reparation payments the allies had imposed on Germany four years earlier at Versailles. Although the government strove to be neutral between the two countries, Curzon considered Poincaré's stance to be unreasonable and helped defeat his various schemes for weakening Germany, notably the attempt to set up separatist states in the Rhineland and the Palatinate. He also did much towards solving the reparations issue by urging the formation of a committee with United States participation to study the question: this led the following year to the Dawes plan and French withdrawal from the Ruhr, and in 1925 to the Locarno pact.
In November 1923 Curzon opposed Baldwin's decision to call an election on the issue of protection and correctly forecast an electoral reverse. The first Labour government was formed in January 1924, and Curzon vacated the Foreign Office after a tenure which, including those first nine months under Balfour, had lasted for almost exactly five years. After nearly nine years of continuous service in the cabinet, Curzon embarked on new duties as leader of the opposition peers. But he was able to devote much of 1924 to his other interests, restoring Kedleston and replanting the garden, serving as chairman of the trustees of the National Gallery, and completing one of his finest books, a study of Calcutta and the viceroys which was posthumously published under the confusing title British Government in India
. In the previous year he had published Tales of Travel
, a charming collection of memoirs and essays which attracted good reviews and successful sales. A similar volume, Leaves from a Viceroy's Notebook
, was brought out after his death.
After his electoral victory in November 1924, Baldwin formed his second government and decided that the state of Anglo-French relations would be improved by a change at the Foreign Office. Curzon reacted indignantly to the news that the new foreign secretary would be Austen Chamberlain, but he suppressed his initial desire to retire from politics and agreed to serve as lord president of the council and leader of the House of Lords. In March 1925, while staying the night at Cambridge, he suffered a severe haemorrhage of the bladder. He was taken to London the next day, and on 9 March an operation was performed. But he knew it was the end, that the suffering and overburdened body, which he had pushed so hard for so long, was giving up. He died at 1 Carlton House Terrace, London, on 20 March 1925 at the age of sixty-six. His coffin, made from the same tree at Kedleston that had encased Mary, was taken to Westminster Abbey and from there to his ancestral home, where he was interred beside Mary in the family vault on 26 March. In the parliamentary tributes Asquith encapsulated essential truths when he described Curzon as a great and unselfish servant of the state … always ready in that service to scorn delights and live laborious days, a man who pursued high ambitions by none but worthy means (Hansard 5L
, 60, 23 March 1925, 614).
Few statesmen have experienced such vicissitudes of fortune in both their public and their personal lives. Curzon's career was an almost unparalleled blend of triumph and disappointment. Although he was the last and in many ways the greatest of Victorian viceroys, his term of office ended in resignation, empty of recognition and barren of reward. After ten years in the political wilderness, he returned to government yet, in spite of his knowledge and experience of the world, he was unable to assert himself fully as foreign secretary until the last weeks of Lloyd George's premiership. And finally, after he had restored his reputation at Lausanne, his last ambition was thwarted by George V.
Curzon was one of the outstanding political intellects of his generation, yet his influence in later life seldom matched his ability. This was partly caused by his failure to solve the problem that marred both his life and his careerthe problem of human relations, of how to manage other people. It was also caused by the general perception of him as an anachronism, a Victorian viceroy at a time when political rights for Indians became an issue, an Edwardian foreign secretary at a time when foreign policy was no longer a matter of stately rejoinders between the chancelleries of Europe but a hectic round of conferences trying to solve the problems thrown up by the First World War, dismantling empires, creating new nations, redrawing dozens of frontiers in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
But history can be kinder to Curzon than his contemporaries were. His viceregal administration needs no apology: if he was blinkered about Indian nationalism, he was ahead of his time on matters of conservation and education, and the disasters of the Mesopotamian campaign vindicated his opposition to Kitchener's scheme. As foreign secretary, he revealed a similar blend of foresight and antiquated ideas, but again the final verdict must be positive. His contemporaries might jeer at certain policies, but he was the only minister far-sighted enough to see that the Balfour Declaration would lead to decades of ArabJewish conflict, that Lloyd George's pro-Greek policy would lead to a bloodbath in Anatolia, and that the MontaguChelmsford reforms would lead to the rapid breakup of the British empire. As with his later European policies, he did not of course receive praise for prophecies fulfilled while he was out of office or after his death. But they should be placed to the credit of a man too often assumed to have been gazing permanently and despondently into the past.
D. Gilmour, Curzon (1994) · K. Rose, Curzon: a most superior person (1969) · D. Dilks, Curzon in India, 2 vols. (196970) · Earl of Ronaldshay [L. J. L. Dundas], The life of Lord Curzon, 3 vols. (1928) · H. Nicolson, Curzon: the last phase (1934) · N. Nicolson, Mary Curzon (1977) · G. Curzon, Reminiscences (1955) · Lady Curzons India, ed. J. Bradley (1985) · P. King, The viceroy's fall (1986) · W. Lawrence, The India we served (1928) · CGPLA Eng. & Wales (1925)
BL OIOC, corresp. and papers
Duke U., corresp. relating to Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta
Lincs. Arch., corresp. and papers relating to Tattershall Castle
TNA: PRO, corresp., FO 800/28 147158
University of Alberta, corresp. and papers relating to Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta | All Souls Oxf., letters to Sir William Anson
BL, corresp. with Arthur James Balfour, Add. MSS 4973249734
BL, corresp. with Lord Cecil, Add. MS 51077
BL, corresp. with Lord D'Abernon, Add. MSS 4892348933
BL, corresp. with Sir Charles Dilke, Add. MS 43893
BL, letters to W. E. Gladstone, Add. MSS 4445644526
BL, letters to Sir Edward Hamilton, Add. MSS 4862648627
BL, corresp. with Macmillans, Add. MS 55245
BL, corresp. with Lord Midleton, Add. MSS 5007250077
BL, corresp. with Lord Northcliffe, Add. MS 62153
BL, corresp. with Society of Authors, Add. MSS 56685
BL OIOC, corresp. with Lord Ampthill, MS Eur. E 233
BL OIOC, letters to Sir Edmund Barrow, MS Eur. E 420
BL OIOC, Cotlan MSS
BL OIOC, corresp. with Sir Henry Cotton, MS Eur. D 1202
BL OIOC, letters to Sir William Foster, MS Eur. E 242
BL OIOC, corresp. with Sir Frederic Fryer, MS Eur. E 355
BL OIOC, letters to Arthur Godley, MS Eur. F 102
BL OIOC, corresp. with Lord George Hamilton, MSS Eur. C 125126, D 508510, F 123
BL OIOC, corresp. with Sir Terence Keyes, MS Eur. F 131
BL OIOC, corresp. with Lord Kitchener, MS Eur. D 686
BL OIOC, letters to Sir Walter Lawrence, MS Eur. F 143
BL OIOC, corresp. with Lord Morley, MS Eur. D 573
BL OIOC, corresp. with Sir Henry Richards, MS Eur. F 122
BL OIOC, corresp. with Sir Herbert White
BL OIOC, corresp. with Sir Francis Younghusband, MS Eur. F 197
Bodl. Oxf., letters to Herbert Asquith
Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Geoffrey Dawson
Bodl. Oxf., letters to George William Forrest
Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with H. A. Gwynne
Bodl. Oxf., letters to Sir Henry Miers
Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Lord Milner
Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Sir Horace Rumbold
Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Lord Selborne
CAC Cam., corresp. with Lord Randolph Churchill
CAC Cam., corresp. with Lord Esher
CAC Cam., corresp. with Alfred Lyttelton
CAC Cam., corresp. with Sir Cecil Spring-Rice
Carlisle Castle, Howard of Penrith MSS
CKS, letters to Aretas Akers-Douglas
CUL, corresp. with Lord Hardinge
CUL, letters to Sir Samuel Hoare
CUL, Lyttelton MSS
Cumbria AS, Carlisle, letters to Lord Howard of Penrith
Duke U., Perkins L., letters to Sir Albert Schindler
Glos. RO, letters to Sir Michael Hicks Beach
Hatfield, Salisbury MSS
Herts. ALS, letters to Lady Desborough
IWM, corresp. with Sir Henry Wilson
King's AC Cam., letters to Oscar Browning
Lincs. Arch., letters to F. M. Yglesias relating to purchase of Tattershall Castle
Lpool RO, corresp. with earl of Derby
NA Scot., corresp. with Philip Kerr
NAM, letters to Lord Roberts
NL Scot., corresp. with Lord Minto
NL Scot., corresp. mainly with Lord Rosebery
NRA, priv. coll., letters to Sir Edward Clarke
Nuffield Oxf., corresp. with Lord Emmott
Parl. Arch., corresp. with J. C. C. Davidson and Andrew Bonar Law
Parl. Arch., corresp. with David Lloyd George
Parl. Arch., letters to Herbert Samuel
Parl. Arch., corresp. with John St Loe Strachey
priv. coll., Lady Alexandra Metcalfe MSS
RGS, corresp. with Royal Geographical Society
Scott Polar RI, letters to Robert and Kathleen Scott
SOAS, letters to Sir Henry Durand
TNA: PRO, corresp. with Lord Midleton, PRO 30/67
TNA: PRO, corresp. with Lord Kitchener, PRO 30/57, W0159
U. Birm. L., corresp. with Austen Chamberlain
U. Leeds, Brotherton L., letters to Sir Edmund Gosse
U. Reading, corresp. with Lady Astor
Wellcome L., letters to Sir Thomas Barlow
Wilts. & Swindon HC, corresp. with Sir Michael Herbert
Wilts. & Swindon HC, corresp. with Lord Pembroke
BFINA, news footage
B. Stone, photograph, 1898, NPG · M. Prior, two pencil drawings, c.1903, BL OIOC · M. Beerbohm, caricature, 1908, AM Oxf. · M. Beerbohm, caricature, 1909, All Souls Oxf. · F. W. Pomery, statue, c.1912, Calcutta, India · P. de Laszlo, oils, 1913, All Souls Oxf. · P. de Laszlo, portrait, 1913, priv. coll. · G. Reid, oils, 1913, Government House, Calcutta, India · print, pubd 1913 (after unknown photograph), NPG · J. Cooke, oils, 1914 (after J. S. Sargent), NPG · H. von Herkomer, oils, 1914, Examination Schools, Oxford · J. S. Sargent, oils, 1914, RGS [see illus.] · W. H. Thornycroft, bronze statue, 1918, Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta, India · H. Furniss, pen-and-ink sketch, NPG · F. C. Gould, ink and watercolour sketch, V&A · London Stereoscopic Co., photograph, NPG · B. Mackennal, bronze statue, Carlton Gardens, London · B. Partridge, cartoon, NPG; repro. in Punch (8 Feb 1922) · B. Partridge, cartoon, NPG; repro. in Punch (16 May 1923) · Russell & Sons, photograph, NPG; repro. in Our conservative and unionist statesmen, vol. 4 · Spy [L. Ward], chromolithograph caricature, NPG; repro. in VF (18 June 1892) · Spy [L. Ward], drawing, NPG
Wealth at death
£354,894 1s. 10d.: probate, 22 July 1925, CGPLA Eng. & Wales