The Viscount Milner
|Secretary of State for the Colonies|
10 January 1919 –13 February 1921
|Preceded by||Walter Long|
|Succeeded by||Winston Churchill|
|Secretary of State for War|
18 April 1918 –10 January 1919
|Prime Minister||David Lloyd George|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Derby|
|Succeeded by||Winston Churchill|
|1st Governor of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony|
23 June 1902 –1 April 1905
as Administrator of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Selborne|
|Administrator of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony|
4 January 1901 –23 June 1902
|Monarch|| Queen Victoria |
|Lieutenant||Hamilton John Goold-Adams|
|Preceded by||Office Established|
Christiaan de Wet
As State President of the Orange Free State (31 May 1902)
Schalk Willem Burger
As President of the South African Republic (31 May 1902)
As Governor of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony
| Governor of the Cape Colony |
High Commissioner for Southern Africa
5 May 1897 –6 March 1901
|Monarch|| Queen Victoria |
|Prime Minister|| John Gordon Sprigg |
William Philip Schreiner
John Gordon Sprigg
|Preceded by||Sir William Howley Goodenough|
|Succeeded by||Sir Walter Francis Hely-Hutchinson|
23 March 1854
|Died||13 May 1925 71) (aged|
Great Wigsell, East Sussex
|Resting place||Saint Marys the Virgin Church, Salehurst, East Sussex, UK|
|Alma mater|| University of Tübingen |
King's College London
Balliol College, Oxford
|Occupation||Colonial administrator, statesman|
Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner, KG , GCB , GCMG , PC (23 March 1854 –13 May 1925) was a British statesman and colonial administrator who played an influential leadership role in the formulation of foreign and domestic policy between the mid-1890s and early 1920s. From December 1916 to November 1918, he was one of the most important members of David Lloyd George's War Cabinet.
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was the last Liberal to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Milner's partial German ancestry dates to his paternal grandmother, married to an Englishman who settled in the Grand Duchy of Hesse (modern state of Hesse in west-central Germany). Their son, Charles Milner, who was educated in Hesse and England, established himself as a physician with a practice in London and later became Reader in English at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in the Kingdom of Württemberg (modern state of Baden-Württemberg). His wife was a daughter of Major General John Ready, former Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island and later the Isle of Man. Their only son, Alfred Milner, was born in the Hessian town of Giessen and educated first at Tübingen, then at King's College School and, from 1872 to 1876, as a scholar of Balliol College, Oxford, studying under the classicist theologian Benjamin Jowett. Having won the Hertford, Craven, Eldon and Derby scholarships, he graduated in 1877 with a first class in classics and was elected to a fellowship at New College, leaving, however, for London in 1879.At Oxford he formed a close friendship with young economic historian Arnold Toynbee, writing a paper in support of his theories of social work and, in 1895, twelve years after his death at the age of 30, penning a tribute, Arnold Toynbee: a Reminiscence.
The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine was a grand duchy in western Germany that existed from 1806 to the end of the German Empire in 1918. The grand duchy originally formed on the basis of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1806 as the Grand Duchy of Hesse. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, it changed its name in 1816 to distinguish itself from the Electorate of Hesse, which had formed from neighboring Hesse-Kassel. Colloquially, the grand duchy continued to be known by its former name of Hesse-Darmstadt. It joined the German Empire in 1871 and became a republic after German defeat in World War I in 1918.
Hesse or Hessia, officially the State of Hesse, is a federal state (Land) of the Federal Republic of Germany, with just over six million inhabitants. Its state capital is Wiesbaden and the largest city is Frankfurt am Main.
The title of reader in the United Kingdom and some universities in the Commonwealth of Nations, for example India, Australia and New Zealand, denotes an appointment for a senior academic with a distinguished international reputation in research or scholarship.
Although authorised to practise law after being called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1881, he joined the staff of the Pall Mall Gazette under John Morley, becoming assistant editor to William Thomas Stead. In 1885 he abandoned journalism for a potential political career as the Liberal candidate for the Harrow division of Middlesex, but lost in the general election. Holding the post of private secretary to George Goschen, he rose in rank when, in 1887, Goschen became Chancellor of the Exchequer and, two years later, used his influence to have Milner appointed under-secretary of finance in Egypt. He remained in Egypt for four years, his period of office coinciding with the first great reforms, after the danger of bankruptcy had been avoided. Returning to England in 1892, he published England and Egyptwhich, at once, became the authoritative account of the work done since the British occupation. Later that year he received an appointment as chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue. In 1894 he was made CB and in 1895 KCB.
The call to the bar is a legal term of art in most common law jurisdictions where persons must be qualified to be allowed to argue in court on behalf of another party and are then said to have been "called to the bar" or to have received a "call to the bar". "The bar" is now used as a collective noun for barristers, but literally referred to the wooden barrier in old courtrooms, which separated the often crowded public area at the rear from the space near the judges reserved for those having business with the Court. Barristers would sit or stand immediately behind it, facing the judge, and could use it as a table for their briefs.
The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, a person must belong to one of these Inns. It is located in the wider Temple area of the capital, near the Royal Courts of Justice, and within the City of London.
John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn,, was a British Liberal statesman, writer and newspaper editor.
Alfred Milner remained at the Board of Inland Revenue until 1897. He was regarded as one of the clearest-headed and most judicious officials in the British service, and his position as a man of moderate Liberal views, who had been so closely associated with Goschen at the Treasury, Cromer in Egypt and Hicks-Beach (Lord St Aldwyn) and Sir William Vernon Harcourt while at the Inland Revenue, marked him as one in whom all parties might have confidence. The moment for testing his capacity in the highest degree had now come.
George Joachim Goschen, 1st Viscount Goschen, PC, DL, FBA was a British statesman and businessman best remembered for being "forgotten" by Lord Randolph Churchill. He was initially a Liberal, then a Liberal Unionist before joining the Conservative Party by the time of the 1895 General Election.
Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, was a British statesman, diplomat and colonial administrator. He was British controller-general in Egypt during 1879, part of the international Control which oversaw Egyptian finances after the 1876 Egyptian bankruptcy. He later became the agent and consul-general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907 during the British occupation prompted by the 'Urabi revolt. This position gave Baring de facto control over Egyptian finances and governance.
Michael Edward Hicks Beach, 1st Earl St Aldwyn,, known as Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt, from 1854 to 1906 and subsequently as The Viscount St Aldwyn to 1915, was a British Conservative politician. Known as "Black Michael", he notably served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1885 to 1886 and again from 1895 to 1902 and also led the Conservative Party in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1886. Due to the length of his service, he was Father of the House from 1901 to 1906, when he took his peerage.
In April, Lord Rosmead resigned his posts of High Commissioner for Southern Africa and Governor of Cape Colony. The situation resulting from the Jameson raid was one of the greatest delicacy and difficulty, and Joseph Chamberlain, now colonial secretary, selected Milner as Lord Rosmead's successor. The choice was cordially approved by the leaders of the Liberal party and warmly recognized at a farewell dinner on 28 March 1897 presided over by the future prime minister H. H. Asquith. The appointment was avowedly made in order that an acceptable British statesman, in whom public confidence was reposed, might go to South Africa to consider all the circumstances and to formulate a policy which should combine the upholding of British interests with the attempt to deal justly with the Transvaal and Orange Free State governments.
Hercules George Robert Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead,, was a British colonial administrator who became the 5th Governor of Hong Kong and subsequently, the 14th Governor of New South Wales, the first Governor of Fiji, and the 8th Governor of New Zealand. From June 1859 until August 1896, he was known as Sir Hercules Robinson.
The British office of high commissioner for Southern Africa was responsible for governing British possessions in Southern Africa, latterly the protectorates Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland, as well as for relations with autonomous governments in the area.
Joseph Chamberlain was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal, then, after opposing home rule for Ireland, a Liberal Unionist, and eventually served as a leading imperialist in coalition with the Conservatives. He split both major British parties in the course of his career.
Milner reached the Cape in May 1897 and by August, after the difficulties with President Kruger over the Aliens' Law had been patched up, he was free to make himself personally acquainted with the country and peoples before deciding on the lines of policy to be adopted. Between August 1897 and May 1898 he travelled through Cape Colony, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Rhodesia, and Basutoland. To better understand the point of view of the Cape Dutch and the burghers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State, Milner also during this period learned both Dutch and the South African "Taal" Afrikaans. He came to the conclusion that there could be no hope of peace and progress in South Africa while there remained the "permanent subjection of British to Dutch in one of the Republics".
The Bechuanaland Protectorate was a protectorate established on 31 March 1885, by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in southern Africa. It became the Republic of Botswana on 30 September 1966.
Rhodesia was an unrecognised state in southern Africa from 1965 to 1979, equivalent in territory to modern Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was the de facto successor state to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which had been self-governing since achieving responsible government in 1923. A landlocked nation, Rhodesia was bordered by South Africa to the south, Bechuanaland to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique to the east.
Basutoland was a British Crown colony established in 1884 due to the Cape Colony's inability to control the territory. It was divided into seven administrative districts: Berea, Leribe, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mafeteng, Qacha's Nek and Quthing.
Milner was referring to the situation in the Transvaal where, in the aftermath of the discovery of gold, thousands of fortune seekers had flocked from all over Europe, but mostly Britain. This influx of foreigners, referred to as "Uitlanders", threatened their republic, and Transvaal's President Kruger refused to give the "Uitlanders" the right to vote. The Afrikaner farmers, known as Boers, had established the Transvaal as their promised land, after their Great Trek out of Cape Colony, a trek whose purpose was to remove themselves as far as possible from British rule. They had already successfully defended the Transvaal's annexation by the British Empire during the first Anglo-Boer War, a conflict that had emboldened them and resulted in a peace treaty which, lacking a highly convincing pretext, made it very difficult for Britain to justify diplomatically another annexation of the Transvaal.
Independent Transvaal thus stood in the way of Britain's ambition to control all of Africa from the Cape to Cairo. Milner realised that, with the discovery of gold in the Transvaal, the balance of power in South Africa had shifted from Cape Town to Johannesburg. He feared that if the whole of South Africa were not quickly brought under British control, the newly-wealthy Transvaal, controlled by Afrikaners, could unite with Cape Afrikaners and jeopardise the entire British position in South Africa.[ citation needed ] Milner also realised—as was shown by the triumphant re-election of Paul Kruger to the presidency of the Transvaal in February 1898—that the Pretoria government would never on its own initiative redress the grievances of the Uitlanders. This gave Milner the pretext to use the "Uitlander" question to his advantage.
In a speech delivered on 3 March 1898 at Graaff Reinet, an Afrikaner Bond stronghold in the British controlled Cape, Milner outlined his determination to secure freedom and equality for British subjects in the Transvaal, and he urged the Dutch colonists to induce the Pretoria government to assimilate its institutions, and the temper and spirit of its administration, to those of the free communities of South Africa. The effect of this pronouncement was great and it alarmed the Afrikaners who, at this time, viewed with apprehension the virtual resumption by Cecil Rhodes of leadership of the Cape's Progressive (British) Party.
Later in 1899, Milner would meet Violet Cecil, the wife of Major Lord Edward Cecil. Edward Cecil was commissioned to South Africa after serving in the Grenadier Guards. Milner and Violet would begin a secret affair that would last until her departure in late 1900 back to England. She had a noticeable effect on his disposition, Milner himself wrote in his diary that he was feeling "very low indeed". Edward Cecil learned of this affair and pushed for a commission to Egypt after Violet pushed to return to South Africa. Milner would later marry Violet Cecil.
Milner had an unfavorable view of Afrikaners and, as a matter of philosophy, saw the British as "a superior race".[ citation needed ] Thus, with limited interest in peaceful resolution of the conflict, he came to the view that British control of the region could only be achieved through war.
Famously, after meeting Milner for the first time, Jan Smuts predicted that he would be "more dangerous than Rhodes" and would become "a second Bartle Frere".
In order to Anglicize the Transvaal area during the Anglo-Boer war, Milner set out to influence British education in the area for the English-speaking populations. He founded a series of schools known as the "Milner Schools" in South Africa. These schools include modern-day Pretoria High School for Girls, Pretoria Boys High School, Jeppe High School for Boys, King Edward VII School (Johannesburg), Potchefstroom High School for Boys and Hamilton Primary School.
Although not all Afrikander Bond leaders liked Kruger, they were ready to support him whether or not he granted reforms and, by the same result, contrived to make Milner's position untenable. His difficulties were increased when, at the general election in Cape Colony, the Bond obtained a majority. In October 1898, acting strictly in a constitutional manner, Milner called upon William Philip Schreiner to form a ministry, though aware that such a ministry would be opposed to any direct intervention of Great Britain in the Transvaal. Convinced that the existing state of affairs, if continued, would end in the loss of South Africa by Britain, Milner visited England in November 1898. He returned to Cape Colony in February 1899, fully assured of Joseph Chamberlain's support, though the government still clung to the hope that the moderate section of the Cape and Orange Free State Dutch would induce Kruger to give the vote to the Uitlanders. He found the situation more critical than when he had left, ten weeks previously. Johannesburg was in a ferment, while William Francis Butler, who acted as high commissioner in Milner's absence, had allowed the inference that he did not support Uitlander grievances.
On 4 May, Milner penned a memorable dispatch to the Colonial Office, in which he insisted that the remedy for the unrest in the Transvaal was to strike at the root of the evil—the political impotence of the injured Uitlanders. "It may seem a paradox," he wrote, "but it is true that the only way for protecting our subjects is to help them to cease to be our subjects." The policy of leaving things alone only led from bad to worse, and "the case for intervention is overwhelming." Milner felt that only the enfranchisement of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal would give stability to the South African situation. He had not based his case against the Transvaal on the letter of the Conventions, and regarded the employment of the word "suzerainty" merely as an "etymological question," but he realized keenly that the spectacle of thousands of British subjects in the Transvaal in the condition of "helots" (as he expressed it) was undermining the prestige of Great Britain throughout South Africa, and he called for "some striking proof" of the intention of the British government not to be ousted from its predominant position. This dispatch was telegraphed to London, and was intended for immediate publication; but it was kept private for a time by the home government.
Its tenor was known, however, to the leading politicians at the Cape, and at the insistence of Jan Hendik Hofmeyr a peace conference was held (31 May –5 June) at Bloemfontein between the high commissioner and Transvaal President Kruger. Milner made three demands, which he knew could not be accepted by Kruger: The enactment by the Transvaal of a franchise law which would at once give the Uitlanders the vote; the use of English in the Transvaal parliament; and that all laws of the parliament should be vetted and approved by the British parliament. Realizing the untenability of his position, Kruger left the meeting in tears.
When the Second Boer War broke out in October 1899, Milner rendered the military authorities "unfailing support and wise counsels", being, in Lord Roberts's phrase "one whose courage never faltered". In February 1901, he was called upon to undertake the administration of the two Boer states, both now annexed to the British Empire, though the war was still in progress. He thereupon resigned the governorship of Cape Colony, while retaining the post of high commissioner. [ citation needed ] The work of reconstructing the civil administration in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony could only be carried on to a limited extent while operations continued in the field. Milner therefore returned to England to spend a "hard-begged holiday," which was, however, mainly occupied in work at the Colonial Office. He reached London on 24 May 1901, had an audience with Edward VII on the same day, received the GCB and was made a privy councillor, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Milner, of St James's in the County of London and of Cape Town in the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope. Speaking next day at a luncheon given in his honour, answering critics who alleged that with more time and patience on the part of Great Britain, war might have been avoided, he asserted that what they were asked to "conciliate" was "panoplied hatred, insensate ambition, invincible ignorance." In late July Milner received the Honorary Freedom of the City of London, and gave another speech in which he defended the government policy.During this time at the helm a number of concentration camps were created where 27,000 Boer women and children and more than 14,000 black South Africans died.
Meanwhile, the diplomacy of 1899 and the conduct of the war had caused a great change in the attitude of the Liberal party in England towards Lord Milner, whom a prominent Member of Parliament, Leonard Courtney, even characterized as "a lost mind". A violent agitation for his recall was organized, joined by the Liberal Party leader Henry Campbell-Bannerman. However it was unsuccessful, and in August Milner returned to South Africa, plunging into the herculean task of remodelling the administration.He bitterly fought Lord Kitchener, who ultimately won out. However Milner drafted the terms of surrender, signed in Pretoria on 31 May 1902. In recognition of his services he was, on 15 July 1902, made Viscount Milner, of Saint James's in the County of London and of Cape Town in the Cape Colony. Around this time he became a member of the Coefficients dining club of social reformers set up in 1902 by the Fabian Society campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb.
On 21 June, immediately following the conclusion of signatory and ceremonial developments surrounding the end of hostilities, Milner published the Letters Patent establishing the system of crown colony government in the Transvaal and Orange River colonies, and changing his title of administrator to that of governor.The reconstructive work necessary after the ravages of the war was enormous. He provided a steady revenue by the levying of a 10% tax on the annual net produce of the gold mines, and devoted special attention to the repatriation of the Boers, land settlement by British colonists, education, justice, the constabulary, and the development of railways. At Milner's suggestion the British government sent Henry Birchenough a businessman and old friend of Milners as special trade commissioner to South Africa with the task of preparing a Blue Book on trade prospects in the aftermath of the war. To aid him in his task, Milner recruited a team of gifted young lawyers and administrators, most of them Oxford graduates, who became known as "Milner's Kindergarten".
While this work of reconstruction was in progress, domestic politics in England were convulsed by the tariff reform movement and Joseph Chamberlain's resignation. Milner, who was then spending a brief holiday in Europe, was urged by Arthur James Balfour to take the vacant post of secretary of state for the colonies. He declined the offer on 1 October 1903, considering it more important to complete his work in South Africa, where economic depression was becoming pronounced. As of December 1903, he was back in Johannesburg, and had to consider the crisis in the gold-mining industry caused by the shortage of native labor. Reluctantly he agreed, with the assent of the home government, to the proposal of the mineowners to import Chinese coolies on a three-year contract with the first batch of Chinese reaching the Rand in June 1904.
In the latter part of 1904 and the early months of 1905, Milner was engaged in the elaboration of a plan to provide the Transvaal with a system of representative government, a half-way house between crown colony administration and that of self-government. Letters patent providing for representative government were issued on 31 March 1905.
For some time he had been suffering health difficulties from the incessant strain of work, and determined a need to retire, leaving Pretoria on 2 April and sailing for Europe the following day. Speaking in Johannesburg on the eve of his departure, he recommended to all concerned the promotion of the material prosperity of the country and the treatment of Dutch and British on an absolute equality. Having referred to his share in the war, he added: "What I should prefer to be remembered by is a tremendous effort subsequent to the war not only to repair the ravages of that calamity but to re-start the colonies on a higher plane of civilization than they have ever previously attained."
He left South Africa while the economic crisis was still acute and at a time when the voice of the critic was audible everywhere but, in the words of the colonial secretary Alfred Lyttelton, he had in the eight eventful years of his administration laid deep and strong the foundation upon which a united South Africa would arise to become one of the great states of the empire. Upon returning home, his university bestowed upon him the honorary degree of DCL.
Experience in South Africa had shown him that underlying the difficulties of the situation there was the wider problem of imperial unity. In his farewell speech at Johannesburg he concluded with a reference to the subject. 'When we who call ourselves Imperialists talk of the British Empire, we think of a group of states bound, not in an alliance or alliances that can be made and unmade but in a permanent organic union. Of such a union the dominions of the sovereign as they exist to-day are only the raw material.' This thesis he further developed in a magazine article written in view of the colonial conference held in London in 1907. He advocated the creation of a permanent deliberative imperial council, and favored preferential trade relations between the United Kingdom and the other members of the empire; and in later years he took an active part in advocating the cause of tariff reform and Imperial Preference.
In 1910 he became a founder of The Round Table – A Quarterly Review of the Politics of the British Empire, which helped to promote the cause of imperial federation.
In March 1906, a motion censuring Lord Milner for an infraction of the Chinese labour ordinance, in not forbidding light corporal punishment of coolies for minor offences in lieu of imprisonment, was moved by a Radical member of the House of Commons. On behalf of the Liberal government an amendment was moved, stating that 'This House, while recording its condemnation of the flogging of Chinese coolies in breach of the law, desires, in the interests of peace and conciliation in South Africa, to refrain from passing censure upon individuals'. The amendment was carried by 355 votes to 135. As a result of this left-handed censure, a counter-demonstration was organized, led by Sir Bartle Frere, and a public address, signed by over 370,000 persons, was presented to Lord Milner expressing high appreciation of the services rendered by him in Africa to the crown and empire.
Upon his return from South Africa, Milner occupied himself mainly with business interests in London, becoming chairman of the Rio Tinto Zinc mining company, though he remained active in the campaign for imperial free trade. In 1906 he became a director of the Joint Stock Bank, a precursor of the Midland Bank. In the period 1909 to 1911 he was a strong opponent of the budget of David Lloyd George and the subsequent attempt of the Liberal government to curb the powers of the House of Lords.
Since Milner was the Briton who had the most experience in civil direction of a war, Lloyd George turned to him in December 1916 when he formed his national government. He was made a member of the five-person War Cabinet. As a Minister Without Portfolio, Milner's responsibilities varied according to the wishes of the Prime Minister. This meant that all domestic related issues pertaining to the war fell in his lap, such as negotiating contracts with miners, food rationing, etc. Considering his background, as a former High Commissioner in South Africa, and a tory intellectual leader, this was not a position ideally suited for him. However, he remained one of Prime Minister Lloyd George's closest advisers throughout the war, second only to Bonar Law.
In January 1917 Milner led the British delegation (with Henry Wilson as chief military representative and including a banker and two munitions experts) on the mission to Russia. There were 50 delegates in total including French (led by de Castelnau) and Italians. The object of the mission, stressed at the second Chantilly Conference in December 1916, was to keep the Russians holding down at least the forces now opposite them, to boost Russian morale and see what equipment they needed with a view to coordinating attacks. The official report in March said that even if the Tsar was toppled—which in fact happened a few weeks later—Russia would remain in the war and that they would solve their "administrative chaos".
It was Milner's idea to create an Imperial War Cabinet, similar to that of the War Cabinet in London, which comprised the heads of government of Britain's major colonies.
It was also Milner's influence, through correspondence with General Pershing in May 1918, that kept a black American infantry unit (the 92nd Division) from being trained by and deployed with the British Army.
Milner became Lloyd George's firefighter in many crises and one of the most powerful voices in the conduct of the war. He also gradually became disenchanted with the military leaders whose offensives generated large casualties for little apparent result, but who still enjoyed support from many politicians. He backed Lloyd George, who was even more disenchanted with the military, in his successful move to remove Edward Carson from the Admiralty.
On at least one occasion, the conservative Milner came to the aid of people from the other end of the political spectrum. He was an old family friend of Margaret Hobhouse, the mother of imprisoned peace activist Stephen Henry Hobhouse—in fact, he was Stephen's proxy godfather. In 1917, when Margaret was working to get her son and other British conscientious objectors freed from prison, Milner discreetly helped, intervening with high government officials. As a result, in December 1917 more than 300 COs were released from prison on medical grounds.
Milner was involved in every major policy decision taken by Prime Minister George's Government in World War I, including the Flanders Offensive of 1917, which he initially opposed, along with Bonar Law and Lloyd George. Lloyd George spent much of 1917 proposing plans to send British troops and guns to Italy to assist in an Italian offensive (this did not happen in the end until reinforcements had to be sent after the Italian disaster at Caporetto in November). The War Cabinet did not insist on a halt to the Third Battle of Ypres offensive in 1917 when the initial targets were not reached and indeed spent little time discussing the matter—around this time the CIGS General Robertson sent Haig (CinC of British forces in France) a biting description of the members of the War Cabinet, whom he said were all frightened of Lloyd George—he described Milner as "a tired and dispeptic old man".By the end of the year Milner had become certain that a decisive victory on the Western Front was unlikely, writing to Curzon (17 October) opposing the policy of "Hammer, Hammer, Hammer on the Western Front", and had become a convinced "Easterner", wanting more effort on other fronts. As an experienced member of the War Cabinet, Milner was a leading delegate at the November 1917 Rapallo Conference in Italy that created an Allied Supreme War Council. He also attended all subsequent follow up meetings in Versailles, France, to coordinate the war.
Milner was also a chief author of the Balfour Declaration of 1917,although it was issued in the name of Arthur Balfour. He was a highly outspoken critic of the Austro-Hungarian war in Serbia arguing that "there is more widespread desolation being caused there (than) we have been familiar with in the case of Belgium".
On March 21, 1918 came the German Spring Offensive. Lord Milner says, "On March 23rd, my birthday, I received a call from the Prime Minister who wanted me to go over to France to find out what was going on. I left the next day. On March 26th, at 8 in the morning, I drove to a meeting at Doullens, France, arriving there at 12:05pm. Immediately I met General's Haig, Petain, Foch, Pershing, their staff officers, and PresidentClemenceau. The front had broken wide open in front of us, threatening Paris. There was confusion in the ranks as to what to do, and who was in charge. I immediately took the general's aside, and using the powers entrusted with me as the Prime Minister's representative, I deputized General Foch, making him the Allied Commander at the front, and told him to make a stand." That stand was taken at Amiens, a town with a critical railway station, that, if taken, could have divided the allies in half, driving the British into the sea, and leaving Paris and the rest of France open for defeat. When Milner returned to London, the War Cabinet approved his action. On 19 April he was appointed Secretary of State for War in place of the Earl of Derby, who had been a staunch ally of Field-Marshal Haig, and presided over the Army Council for the remainder of the war.
Following the khaki election of December 1918, he was appointed Colonial Secretary and, in that capacity, attended the 1919 Paris Peace Conference where, on behalf of United Kingdom, he became one of the signatories of the Treaty of Versailles, including the "Orts-Milner Agreement" allowing to Belgium the administration of Ruanda and Urundi territories to reward the Belgo-African army ("Force publique") for his war effort which highly contributed to push the German troops out the future Tanganyika Territory (the victorious Tabora and Mahenge battles).
After the War, Lord Milner assisted the Royal Agricultural Society in procuring Fordson tractors for the plowing and planting of grasslands, and communicated directly with Henry Ford by telegraph.
Right until the end of his life, Lord Milner would call himself a "British race patriot" with grand dreams of a global Imperial parliament, headquartered in London, seating delegates of British descent from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He retired in February 1921 and was appointed a Knight of the Garter (KG) in the same month.Later that year he married Lady Violet Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil, widow of Lord Edward Cecil and remained active in the work of the Rhodes Trust, while accepting, at the behest of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, the chairmanship of a committee to examine a new imperial preference tariff. His work, however, proved abortive when, following an election, Ramsay MacDonald assumed the office of Prime Minister in January 1924.
Seven weeks past his 71st birthday, Milner died at Great Wigsell, East Sussex, of sleeping sickness, soon after returning from South Africa. His viscountcy, lacking heirs, died with him. His body was buried in the graveyard of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in Salehurst in the county of East Sussex.
Found among Milner's papers was his Credo , which was published to great acclaim.
I am a Nationalist and not a cosmopolitan .... I am a British (indeed primarily an English) Nationalist. If I am also an Imperialist, it is because the destiny of the English race, owing to its insular position and long supremacy at sea, has been to strike roots in different parts of the world. I am an Imperialist and not a Little Englander because I am a British Race Patriot ... The British State must follow the race, must comprehend it, wherever it settles in appreciable numbers as an independent community. If the swarms constantly being thrown off by the parent hive are lost to the State, the State is irreparably weakened. We cannot afford to part with so much of our best blood. We have already parted with much of it, to form the millions of another separate but fortunately friendly State. We cannot suffer a repetition of the process.
According to Colin Newbury:
The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought the Boers to terms.
The Union of South Africa is the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the Cape Colony, the Natal Colony, the Transvaal, and the Orange River Colony. It included the territories that were formerly a part of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State.
The Jameson Raid was a botched raid against the South African Republic carried out by British colonial statesman Leander Starr Jameson and his Company troops and Bechuanaland policemen over the New Year weekend of 1895–96. Paul Kruger was president of the republic at the time. The raid was intended to trigger an uprising by the primarily British expatriate workers in the Transvaal but failed to do so. The workers were called the Johannesburg conspirators. They were expected to recruit an army and prepare for an insurrection. The raid was ineffective and no uprising took place. The results included embarrassing the British government; replacing Cecil Rhodes as premier of the Cape Colony; strengthening Afrikaner dominance of the Transvaal and its gold mines; helping start the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902); and ultimately it was a factor in imposing apartheid in the Union of South Africa.
Stephanus Johannes Paulus "Paul" Kruger was one of the dominant political and military figures in 19th-century South Africa, and President of the South African Republic from 1883 to 1900. Nicknamed Oom Paul, he came to international prominence as the face of the Boer cause—that of the Transvaal and its neighbour the Orange Free State—against Britain during the Second Boer War of 1899–1902. He has been called a personification of Afrikanerdom, and remains a controversial and divisive figure; admirers venerate him as a tragic folk hero, and critics view him as the obstinate guardian of an unjust cause.
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer sovereign republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, which ceased to exist after it was defeated and surrendered to the British Empire at the end of the Second Boer War in 1902. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province. Extending between the Orange and Vaal rivers, its borders were determined by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1848 when the region was proclaimed as the Orange River Sovereignty, with a seat of a British Resident in Bloemfontein. Bloemfontein and the southern parts of the Sovereignty had previously been settled by Griqua and by Trekboere from the Cape Colony.
The Orange River Colony was the British colony created after Britain first occupied (1900) and then annexed (1902) the independent Orange Free State in the Second Boer War. The colony ceased to exist in 1910, when it was absorbed into the Union of South Africa as Orange Free State Province.
The year 1870 in the history of the Cape Colony marks the dawn of a new era in South Africa, and it can be said that the development of modern South Africa began on that date. Despite political complications that arose from time to time, progress in Cape Colony continued at a steady pace until the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer Wars in 1899. The discovery of diamonds in the Orange River in 1867 was immediately followed by similar finds in the Vaal River. This led to the rapid occupation and development of huge tracts of the country, which had hitherto been sparsely inhabited. Dutoitspan and Bultfontein diamond mines were discovered in 1870, and in 1871 the even richer mines of Kimberley and De Beers were discovered. These four great deposits of mineral wealth were incredibly productive, and constituted the greatest industrial asset that the Colony possessed.
Sir Patrick Duncan was the sixth Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, holding office from 1937 to 1943.
Uitlander, Afrikaans for "foreigner", was a foreign migrant worker during the Witwatersrand Gold Rush in the independent Transvaal Republic following the discovery of gold in 1886. The limited rights granted this group in the independent Boer Republics was one of the contributing factors behind the Second Boer War.
Henry Brougham Loch, 1st Baron Loch, was a Scottish soldier and colonial administrator.
Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRS was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman, military leader, and philosopher. He served as a Boer General during the Boer War, a British General during the First World War and was appointed Field Marshal by King George VI during the Second World War. In addition to various cabinet appointments, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. From 1917 to 1919 he was one of five members of the British War Cabinet, helping to create the Royal Air Force. He played a leading part in the post-war settlements at the end of both world wars, making significant contributions towards the creation of the League of Nations and the United Nations. He did much to redefine the relationship between Britain and the Dominions and Colonies, leading to the formation of the British Commonwealth.
Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman and military leader. He served as a Boer General during the Boer War, a British General during the First World War and was appointed Field Marshal during the Second World War. In addition to various Cabinet appointments, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 to 1924 and from 1939 to 1948. He played a leading part in the post war settlements at the end of both world wars, making significant contributions towards the creation of both the League of Nations and the United Nations.
Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman and military leader. He served as a Boer General duning the Boer War, a British General during the First World War and was appointed Field Marshal during the Second World War. In addition to various Cabinet appointments, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 to 1924 and from 1939 to 1948. He played a leading part in the post war settlements at the end of both world wars, making significant contributions towards the creation of both the League of Nations and the United Nations.
The Bloemfontein Conference was a meeting that took place in Bloemfontein, capital of the Orange Free State from May 31 until June 5, 1899. The main issue dealt with the status of British migrant workers called "Uitlanders", who mined the gold fields in Transvaal.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Cape Colony was annexed by the British and officially became their colony in 1815. Britain encouraged settlers to the Cape, and in particular, sponsored the 1820 Settlers to farm in the disputed area between the colony and the Xhosa in what is now the Eastern Cape. The changing image of the Cape from Dutch to British excluded the Dutch farmers in the area, the Boers who in the 1820s started their Great Trek to the northern areas of modern South Africa. This period also marked the rise in power of the Zulu under their king Shaka Zulu. Subsequently several conflicts arose between the British, Boers and Zulus, which led to the Zulu defeat and the ultimate Boer defeat in the Second Anglo-Boer War. However, the Treaty of Vereeniging established the framework of South African limited independence as the Union of South Africa.
Ethnic, political and social tensions among European colonial powers, indigenous Africans, and English and Dutch settlers led to open conflict in a series of wars and revolts between 1879 and 1915 that would have lasting repercussions on the entire region of southern Africa. Pursuit of commercial empire as well as individual aspirations, especially after the discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886), were key factors driving these developments.
The Drifts Crisis of 1895 was an imperial-republican confrontation in South Africa that took place in September and October 1895. It was precipitated by the closing of fords, which in South Africa were known as ‘drifts’, hence the name. The Crisis has traditionally been seen as the precursor to the Jameson Raid and the uncompromising policies of High Commissioner for Southern Africa Alfred Milner which followed, and eventually led to the Second Anglo-Boer War. Historians generally regard the conflicts to have been between the Cape Colony and the South African Republic (SAR), informally known as the Transvaal Republic.
Sir Johannes (John) Wilhelmus Wessels (1862–1936) was an Afrikaner judge of the Appellate Division from 1923 to 1936 and Chief Justice of South Africa from 1932 to 1936.
Fydell Edmund Garrett (1865–1907), also known as Edmund Garrett, was a British publicist, journalist and poet. He was returned as a Member of the Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope in 1898 for Victoria East constituency.
In the South African Boer republics of the 19th century, a burgher was a fully enfranchised citizen.
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Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner
The Lord Rosmead
| Governor of Cape Colony and High Commissioner for Southern Africa |
Hon. Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson
The Earl of Derby
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| Secretary of State for the Colonies |
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Viscount Milner |
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