Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher

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Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher

GCVO , KCB , PC , DL
Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher.jpg
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Penryn and Falmouth
In office
1880–1885
Servingwith David James Jenkins
Preceded by
Succeeded byDavid James Jenkins
Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle
In office
1928–1930
Preceded by Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge
Succeeded by Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone
Personal details
Born
Reginald Baliol Brett

(1852-06-30)30 June 1852
London, England
Died22 January 1930(1930-01-22) (aged 77)
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s)Eleanor Van de Weyer
Children
Parents
Education
OccupationPolitician, courtier, historian

Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, GCVO , KCB , PC , DL (30 June 1852 – 22 January 1930) was a historian and Liberal politician in the United Kingdom, although his greatest influence over military and foreign affairs was as a courtier, member of public committees and behind-the-scenes "fixer", or rather éminence grise.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, commonly known as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or simply 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.

Historian scholar who deals with the exploration and presentation of history

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade-supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

Contents

Career courtier and 'fixer'

Background and education

Reginald, known as Regy, Brett was the son of William Baliol Brett, 1st Viscount Esher and Eugénie Mayer (1814–1904). [1] Born in London, Esher remembered sitting on the lap of an old man who had played the violin for Marie Antoinette, and was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He held a militia commission after Cambridge. [2] [3] His father, who was to be Solicitor-General in Disraeli's first ministry (1868), distinguished himself in the 1867 Reform Act debate dutifully supporting the triumphant Disraeli. In 1868 he was named a judge on the Court of Common Pleas; in 1876 he became a Lord Justice of Appeal and in 1883 Master of the Rolls. A distinguished common law judge, in 1885 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Esher by prime minister Lord Salisbury. On his retirement as Master of the Rolls in 1897, he was created first Viscount Esher. "Regy"'s mother was a French émigrée, who had arrived in England, after being expelled for supporting Bonaparte. A refugee she was adopted by the Duke of Wellington's secretary John Gurwood. She was the famous jejeune captivated in Disraeli's novel Coningsby . The happy couple met for the romantic bohemian Tory set at Longleat House and, at the home of the society hostess Lady Blessington.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Marie Antoinette Queen consort of France

Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. She became Dauphine of France in May 1770 at age 14 upon her marriage to Louis-Auguste, heir apparent to the French throne. On 10 May 1774, her husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI and she assumed the title Queen of France and Navarre, which she held until September 1791, when she became Queen of the French as the French Revolution proceeded, a title that she held until 21 September 1792.

Eton College Independent boarding school in Windsor and Maidenhead, UK

Eton College is a 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school. Eton's history and influence have made Eton one of the most prestigious schools in the world.

At Eton Brett was taught by influential master William Johnson Cory, whose pupils included the future prime minister Lord Rosebery and others in the highest echelons of society. Rosebery's idealistic learning from romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge, the liberal philosopher J S Mill, the chemistry of Leibniz, music of Mozart, and Jeremy Bentham were intellectual influences on the young Regy. Going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, Brett was profoundly influenced by William Harcourt the radical lawyer, politician and Professor of International Law. Harcourt controlled Brett's rooms, and lifestyle at Cambridge. Brett's father had introduced him to Albert Grey's Committee, but had a long-standing dispute with General Charles Grey, the Queen's Equerry. Brett was admitted to the Society of Apostles, dedicated to emergent philosophies of European atheism; their number included the aristocratic literati of liberalism Frank, Gerald and Eustace Balfour, Frederick and Arthur Myers, Hallam and Lionel Tennyson, Edmund Gurney, S H and J G Butcher. Brett experimented approaching conversion to High Mass from Cardinal Newman on Sundays in London. The Oxford Movement included historians, J Sedgwick and F M Maitland holding an equally profound sway over his youthful scholarship.

William Johnson Cory English educator and poet

William Johnson Cory, born William Johnson, was an English educator and poet. He was dismissed from his post at Eton for encouraging a culture of intimacy, possibly innocent, between teachers and pupils. He is widely known for his English version of the elegy Heraclitus by Callimachus.

Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery British politician

Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian,, was a British Liberal politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from March 1894 to June 1895. Between the death of his father, in 1851, and the death of his grandfather, the 4th Earl of Rosebery, in 1868 he was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz German mathematician and philosopher

Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz was a prominent German polymath and one of the most important logicians, mathematicians and natural philosophers of the Enlightenment. As a representative of the seventeenth-century tradition of rationalism, Leibniz's most prominent accomplishment was conceiving the ideas of differential and integral calculus, independently of Isaac Newton's contemporaneous developments. Mathematical works have consistently favored Leibniz's notation as the conventional expression of calculus. It was only in the 20th century that Leibniz's law of continuity and transcendental law of homogeneity found mathematical implementation. He became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of mechanical calculators. While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal's calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of all digital computers.

Brett was seen with the Carlton Gardens set of Lady Granville, he was friend of the Clare brothers, introduced by the Earl de Grey. He visited Howick Park, and took law with Lord Brougham and Vaux. The famous lawyer's lectures coincided with Justice Brett's employment with Richard Cross, as a parliamentary re-drafter at the Home Office. Albert Grey introductions provided an invitation to the India Office and entrée to met Sir Bartle Frere, the colonial administrator. When Disraeli tried to enforce Anglicanism, in the Public Worship Bill, and was defeated, Brett wrote copious letters to Hartington, leader of the Liberals in the Commons. The consequences were to push Harcourt into the limelight as a leading Liberal in the Commons. But moderates tended to be dragged into sharing a religious position when the Disraelian tradition was threatening to split English liberalism. Brett visited the actor's daughter Lady Waldegrave at Strawberry Hill, and took deportment lessons from the Duchess of Manchester at Kimbolton, Hartington's private secretary, stamping his credentials as a rich aesthete. Regy was a socialite cultivating many friendships among both aristocratic and successful people. Early on a passion for tradition and imperial liberalism would frustrate the radical right. [4]

Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 United Kingdom legislation

The Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, introduced as a Private Member's Bill by Archbishop of Canterbury Archibald Campbell Tait, to limit what he perceived as the growing ritualism of Anglo-Catholicism and the Oxford Movement within the Church of England.

Courtier, diplomat and Liberal MP

The Great Eastern Crisis had released Turkey from the threat of Russian invasion. But the success of the Midlothian Campaign had re-energized Gladstone's authority as rightful leader of his party; casting Hartington and Brett as marginalized jingoes. Six years later the Whigs would be pushed into the unionist camp. Brett needed his vanity satisfied but felt comfortable in neither party. He rose to become the mediator between Liberal factions, and was a leading light at the Liberal Round Table Conference in 1887.

Great Eastern Crisis political crisis at the Balkan Peninsula during the 1870s

The Great Eastern Crisis of 1875–78 began in the Ottoman Empire's territories on the Balkan peninsula in 1875, with the outbreak of several uprisings and wars that resulted in the meddling of international powers, and was ended with the Treaty of Berlin in July 1878.

Jingoism patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy

Jingoism is nationalism in the form of aggressive foreign policy, such as a country's advocacy for the use of threats or actual force, as opposed to peaceful relations, in efforts to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, jingoism is excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others—an extreme type of nationalism.

Having been a Conservative as a young man, Brett began his political career in 1880, as Liberal Member of Parliament for Penryn and Falmouth. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Hartington, when Secretary of State for War (1882–85) and once drove him to a Cabinet meeting on a sleigh through the snow. [2] However he elected to withdraw from public politics in 1885, after losing an election at Plymouth, in favour of a behind the scenes role. He was instrumental in the Jameson raid of 1895 vigorously defending the imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

Conservative Party (UK) Centre-right party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 288 Members of Parliament. It also has 234 members of the House of Lords, 4 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 11 members of the Welsh Assembly, 8 members of the London Assembly and 7,445 local councillors.

Penryn and Falmouth was the name of a constituency in Cornwall, England, UK, represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1832 until 1950. From 1832 to 1918 it was a parliamentary borough, initially returning two Members of Parliament (MPs), elected by the bloc vote system.

Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire British statesman

Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire,, styled Lord Cavendish of Keighley between 1834 and 1858 and Marquess of Hartington between 1858 and 1891, was a British statesman. He has the distinction of having served as leader of three political parties: as Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons (1875–1880) and as of the Liberal Unionist Party (1886–1903) and of the Unionists in the House of Lords (1902–1903). He also declined to become prime minister on three occasions, not because he was not a serious politician but because the circumstances were never right.

In 1895, Lord Brett became Permanent Secretary to the Office of Works, where the Prince of Wales was impressed by his zeal and dedication to the elderly Queen Victoria. [2] A lift was built at Windsor Castle to get the elderly Queen upstairs in a redecorated palace. In Kensington Palace, Esher would push the Queen around in wheel chair so she could revisit her childhood. The devoted royal servant would work even more closely with Edward VII. Upon his father's death on 24 May 1899, he succeeded him as 2nd Viscount Esher.

Brett in 1880 Brett-esher-1880.jpg
Brett in 1880

During the Boer War Esher had to intervene in the row between Lansdowne and General Wolseley, the Commander-in-Chief, who tended to blame the politician for military failures. He would make the walk between palace and War Office to iron out problems. Into the political vacuum, Esher wrote the memos that became established civil service procedure. When the Elgin Commission was asked to report on the conduct of war, it was Esher who wrote it after the Khaki Election, and continued to act to influence both King and parliament. They met Admiral Fisher at Balmoral to discuss reform of Naval structures, which relied heavily on Fisher's complex web of relatives in senior posts. [5]

In 1901, Lord Esher was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Berkshire [6] and became Deputy Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle. [7] He remained close to the royal family until his death. By the end of 1903 Esher was meeting or corresponding with King Edward VII every day. [2] He lived at 'Orchard Lea', Winkfield on the edge of the Great Park. During this period, he helped edit Queen Victoria's papers, publishing a work called Correspondence of Queen Victoria (1907). [8]

From 1903 Esher shunned office, but was a member of Lord Elgin's South African War Commission, [9] which investigated Britain's near-failure in the Boer War. At this time he was writing to the King daily (and having three or four meetings a day with the King’s adviser Lord Knollys), informing him of the views of the Commission, of party leaders, and War Office civil servants with whom he was still in touch from his days working for Hartington. St John Brodrick, Secretary of State for War, was resentful of Esher’s influence. [2] Brodrick's scope for operation was paralysed by Esher's circumvention, and the government was much weakened in October 1903 when Joseph Chamberlain and Devonshire resigned over the former's plans for Tariff Reform.

Esher Committee

In 1904 Esher set up a sub-committee of Committee for Imperial Defence, known as the Esher Committee of which he was appointed chairman. To achieve the King's desired reforms of the Army, Esher formed an uneasy alliance with Sir George Clarke, the permanent secretary, to directly undermine H O Arnold-Foster's attempt to block militia reform, Clarke "discountenancing" told him he could not possibly read the Order". [10] A Triumvirate included Esher, Rosebery, and General Murray, notorious for making policy on the hoof misusing ministerial offices[ clarification needed ]. Furious Esher was determined the King should have intervention: on 7 December, Arnold-Foster advised to save £2m the militia must be absorbed into the Army. His scheming encouraged by the King, wanted Balfour to look to party first, while at the same time warning the King's Secretary that "the Prime Minister will have to take matters into his own hands". [11] Esher's role was for sixty-seven years a secret, by a memorandum behind the scenes[ clarification needed ], unaccountable to parliament. It was decided on 19 December a Reserve Force should be set up "in commission". On 12 January Esher told the minister to accept his sub-committee's recommendation, even though Arnold-Foster had not even been told of the agenda. [12] Despite the intrigues, the King approved of the committee's work. [13]

Esher cultivated a friendship with Colonel Sir Edmund Ward [ verification needed ], secretary to the Army Council in order to control minute-taking, the agenda, and meetings quorum[ clarification needed ] telling him he had secret information of "proof of the Army Order"; and a plan known as "Traverse" towards Army decentralisation. That was in September 1904 when the Army Council's powers were still undefined at the time it was enlarged by Lord Knollys. The issue confronting Esher was the Royal Prerogative which had been circumvented "without reference to the Sovereign". [14] He marched into Arnold-Foster's office to remind him that precedent under Victoria had been to yield to arguments from the monarch [15] which had already been put forward by the Adjutant-General. [16]

Liberal War Office

Reginald Brett at his writing table in 1905 Reginald Brett - 2nd Viscount Esher - Coming men on coming questions (1905) (14759243546).jpg
Reginald Brett at his writing table in 1905

Behind the scenes, he influenced many pre-First World War military reforms and was a supporter of the BritishFrench Entente Cordiale . He chaired the War Office Reconstitution Committee. [9] This recommended radical reform of the British Army, including the setting up of the Army Council, and established the Committee of Imperial Defence, a permanent secretariat that Esher joined in 1905. From 1904 all War Office appointments were approved and often suggested by Esher. He approved the setting up of the Territorial Force, although he saw it as a step towards conscription; a step not taken. Many of Esher’s recommendations were nonetheless, implemented under the new Liberal governments of Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith by Haldane, Secretary of State for War, assisted by Esher's protege the young Major-General Douglas Haig. [2] When Haldane entered the War Office, he was provided with Colonel Sir Gerard Ellison as a new military secretary to make the transitional reforms. Haldane wished to avoid 'corner cuts' and so established the Information Bureau in the War Office. Although Eshers's biographer Peter Fraser argued "the Haldane reforms owed little to Haldane." [17] The initial Liberal reforms were thrown out by the Lords, and the resulting documents looked like Esher's original efforts. [18]

Esher found his son, Oliver Brett, a job as an additional secretary to John Morley and he was on good terms with Capt Sinclair, Campbell-Bannerman's secretary.

Esher's involvements in the Territorial Army were not limited to the War Office. He was the first chairman appointed in 1908 to the County of London Territorial Forces Association and its president from 1912 to his death, in addition he was appointed honorary colonel of the 5th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in 1908 and held the same appointment with the 63rd (London) Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery from 1910 to 1921. [19]

Esher's royal triumph and the Entente Cordiale

Esher was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of London in 1909. [20] and the King's Aide-de-Camp. Depicted as a disciple of national efficiency, an able administrator, and a silky, smooth influence as a courtier, he was accused of being an arch-insider, undemocratic and interfering. [21] Moreover, the King liked Esher, and so his influence over the Army grew, leading to a more liberal far-sighted attitude towards the possibility of averting conflict in Europe. Esher's invaluable contribution prevented further promotion in a political career, in which he had been destined for high cabinet office. His close political friends in the Liberal party included Edward Marjoribanks and Earl Rosebery. His aristocratic connections and military experience made him an ideal grandee, but such was the importance of his ties to the monarch, that his career was somewhat restrictive of ambition. He was by nature ambitious, 'clubbable' sociable, and frequently seen at High Society parties in the fashionable houses of the Edwardian era. He was secretive and patriotic: accordingly founding the Society of Islanders. Its one great principle was to build "two for one Keels" over and above any other Navy in the world in order to maintain global peace.

In 1911 Esher helped ease out Lord Knollys, who was then seventy-five years old, having been in the Royal Household since 1862, but who had lost some royal confidence over the negotiation of the Parliament Act. Esher arranged a replacement as King George V's principal adviser with Lord Stamfordham. [2]

Esher declined many public offices, including the Viceroyalty of India and the Secretaryship for War, a job to which King Edward VII had urged he be appointed. [2]

Esher's Great War

In January 1915, Esher visited Premier Briand in Paris, who told him Lloyd George had "a longer view than any of our leaders". An earlier opening of a Salonika Front might have prevented the entry of Bulgaria into the war". [22] He also made contact with Bunau Varilla, editor of Le Matin, to keep Russia in "the alliance and Americans to come to aid of Europe". [23] By 1916 the French war effort was almost spent. Finance Minister, Alexandre Ribot told them to sue for peace, Esher reported. [24] At the Chantilly Conference they discussed combined operations - "Dans la guerre l'inertie est une honte."[ clarification needed ] [25] Esher accompanied Sir Douglas Haig to the Amiens Conference, but was back in Paris to be informed of the surprise news of Kitchener's death. Returning to London Esher spoke with Billy Hughes, Prime Minister of Australia. The following month at the Beaugency Conference they discussed the Somme Offensive. "For heaven's sake put every ounce you have got of will power into this offensive" he told Maurice Hankey. [26] He often travelled to France to leave the "mephitic" atmosphere of the War Office, [27] on a trip to Liaison Officer, Colonel Sidney Clive at Chantilly. He learnt first hand the French government's scheme for a "Greater Syria" to include British controlled Palestine. France's ally on the Eastern Front, Russia, had been badly defeated the previous year; so Asquith's neutrality over Briand's Salonika Plan perplexed Esher. He perceived the balance of power in cabinet shifting towards a new more conservative coalition. [28]

During the First World War Esher was, in one writer’s description, de facto head of British Intelligence in France, reporting on the French domestic and political situation, although he told his son he preferred not to have a formal position where he would have to take orders. [2] His son Maurice Brett set up a bureau in Paris called Intelligence Anglaise keeping his father informed through a small spy network with links to newspaper journalists.

In 1917 he told Lloyd George that the diplomacy in Paris was weak, informing the Prime Minister that he "was badly served". The ambassador Lord Bertie was the last of the Victorian imperial envoys, and was failing to do enough to persuade a faltering France to remain fighting in the war. When offered the ambassadorship in Bertie's stead Esher crowed "I cannot imagine anything I would detest more." [29] His considerable diplomatic skills included fluent French and German. The following month there was a French mutiny, as the Poilus were dying in appalling conditions. Haig and Wilson lent their support to an offensive to bolster the French. Phillipe Petain, the new French commander-in-chief, was deemed too defensive: Esher sent Colonel Repington as liaison officer on a 'charm offensive'. Backed by Churchill and Milner for dramatic action, Esher entered a diplomatic conversation with the Cabinet's War Policy Committee; a unique new departure in the management of British policy. The bad weather and sickness of war made Esher ill in 1917; he was encouraged by the King to holiday at Biarritz.

Partly on Esher's advice, the War Office undertook major re-organization in 1917. He advised unification of commands, in which all British military commands would be controlled from Whitehall's Imperial War Office only. [30] Esher was at the famous Crillon Club dinner meeting in Paris on 1 December 1917 in which with Clemenceau they took critical decisions over the strategy for 1918. The Allied Governments proposed a unified Allied Reserve, despite negative press and publicity in the Commons. As cabinet enforcer, Esher visited Henry Wilson on 9 February 1918, during the crisis over his succession to Robertson as CIGS. Esher became instrumental in remonstrating with loose press articles critical of the war effort in particular, the Northcliffe press and the Morning Post, which was seized and shut down on 10 February 1918. In France, Esher had established a rapprochement with the press to help hold the Poincare-Clemenceau government together, at a time when England was at the zenith of her military strength." [31]

Esher was admitted to the Privy Council in 1922. In 1928 he became Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle, an office he had always wanted, holding it until his death in 1930.

Historian and retirement

Lord Esher was also a historian; besides the aforementioned work, he also published works on King Edward VII and Lord Kitchener. Together with Liberal MP Lewis ("Loulou") Harcourt he established the London Museum, which opened its doors on 5 March 1912. [32] In February 1920 he proof read Haig's History of the General Head Quarters 1917-1918. That summer Esher's critique of a Life of Disraeli appeared in Quarterly Review. His own life would be written by Oliver, eldest son and heir.

As the Great War concluded Esher intimated that the King wanted his resignation as Lieutenant-Governor of Windsor. In fact he coveted the post of Keeper of the Royal Archives. Stamfordham demanded his resignation in favour of historian Sir John Fortescue, but Esher remained as Governor. Professionalization also warned Hankey against becoming secretary to the Peace Conference, which to Esher's mind was beyond his competence. Esher also persuaded his friend not to desert the Empire for the League of Nations. Domestic unrest and trade unionism, which Esher loathed, as it threatened peace and stability, also destabilized his position as President of the Army of India Committee. Ever skeptical of political changes, "omnivorous" introductions to the Viceroy's work forced him to decline a solicitous offer to chair a sub-committee of the Conditions of the Poor.

Family life

Esher's most cheerful experiences were at Roman Camp in Callander, Scotland. He embraced the healthy Scottish highland air. His son, Maurice Brett was the successful founder of MI6 in Esher's Paris flat during the war; a meeting place for Prime Ministers and Presidents. In November 1919, Maurice sold Orchard Lea; Esher was a family man.

Astute, reserved, and modestly discreet Esher assiduously courted success and avoided scandal. He turned down an invitation to attend on David, Prince of Wales and his mistress Freda Dudley Ward at Balmoral. But when his wild, artistic daughter invited Colette and husband Bunau Varilla, the family stayed on his yacht in the Clyde; family came first. [33] Dorothy Brett was a slightly bohemian artist living at 2 Tilney Street. She befriended the artist Mark Gertler; her father despaired.

Honours

British honours
Foreign honours

Family

In 1879, Reginald Brett married Eleanor Van de Weyer, daughter of Belgian ambassador Sylvain Van de Weyer and granddaughter of Anglo-American financier Joshua Bates. They had four children.

Although married with children, Esher had homosexual inclinations but his flirtations with young men were regarded with tolerant amusement in polite society. The years before his marriage had been marked by a series of what Esher described as 'rapturous' love affairs with various young men. His subsequent marriage in no way stopped or curtailed these activities. Indeed he could not, he told a friend, remember a single day when he was not in love with one young man or another. He later published anonymously a white-covered book of verse called Foam, in which he glorified 'golden lads'.

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The Haldane Reforms were a series of far-ranging reforms of the British Army made from 1906 to 1912, and named after the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane. They were the first major reforms since the "Childers Reforms" of the early 1880s, and were made in the light of lessons newly learned in the Second Boer War.

Sir Charles Arthur Evelyn Shuckburgh, GCMG, CB, better known as Evelyn Shuckburgh, was a British diplomat. In the 1950s he was at the heart of affairs in London, as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, and from 1954 to 1956 as Assistant Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office in charge of Middle East affairs. In 1986 he published the diaries he wrote during the Suez Crisis, titled Descent to Suez.

Lionel Gordon Baliol Brett, 4th Viscount Esher, 4th Baron Esher CBE was a British peer, architect and town-planner. He succeeded to his title on the death of his father in 1963.

Herbert Gladstone, 1st Viscount Gladstone British politician

Herbert John Gladstone, 1st Viscount Gladstone, was a British Liberal statesman. The youngest son of William Ewart Gladstone, he was Home Secretary from 1905 to 1910 and Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 1910 to 1914.

Oliver Sylvain Baliol Brett, 3rd Viscount Esher, was a British peer and politician.

References

  1. Hedley (2004)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Reid 2006, pp127-31
  3. "Brett, Reginald Baliol (BRT870RB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. Searle, Critics, pp.82-3; Perfectly secret, EHR, CXXVII, no.528, p.1178
  5. Morris, The Scaremongers, p.477; Humphries, p.1157; N Lambert, Adm Sir J Fisher and Concept of Flotilla Defence, pp.639-60
  6. "No. 27281". The London Gazette . 5 February 1901. p. 766.
  7. "No. 27336". The London Gazette . 23 July 1901. p. 4838.
  8. Kuhn, Democratic royalism, pp.57-81
  9. 1 2 "The Papers of Viscount Esher (Reginald Brett)". Janus. Cambridge University.
  10. Clarke to Esher, 26 November 1904, Esher's Journals and Letters
  11. Esher to Lord Knollys, 27 November 1904, Journals and Letters
  12. Arnold-Foster, Diary, 25 January 1905
  13. Edward VII to Balfour, RA R 25/68, 69
  14. Esher to Knollys, 18 October 1904, Journals and Letters
  15. Clarke to Esher, 16 November 1904, Journals and Letters,
  16. Adj-Gen. Sir Charles Douglas, W.O, 7 November 1904
  17. Fraser, p.23.
  18. Fraser, p.23-4
  19. Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1930. Kelly's. p. 620.
  20. "No. 28255". The London Gazette . 28 May 1909. p. 4062.
  21. The World (1910); Lees-Milne, Enigmatic, p.220-1
  22. Journal and Letters, 6 May 1916
  23. Journals, 17 May 1916
  24. Journals, Esher to Robertson, Paris, 20 May 1916
  25. President Poincare on the state of battle at Verdun, Esher's Journals, 23–24 May 1916
  26. Journals, Esher to Sir Maurice Hankey, Paris, 3 August 1916
  27. Esher to Haig, 6 August 1916
  28. Esher to Robertson, 11 August 1916, Journals and Letters, vol.4, 1916-30
  29. Journals and Letters, 19 May 1917.
  30. FM Sir William Robertson, 'Soldiers and Statesmen 1914-1918' (1926)
  31. Memorandum to Stamfordham, 18 October 1917, Royal Archives, Windsor, GVK1340/1; Fraser, p.372
  32. Bailkin, Jordanna "Radical Conservations: The Problem with the London Museum" Radical History Review - Issue 84, Fall 2002, pp. 43–7
  33. The Enigmatic Edwardian, p.325
  34. "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5.
  35. "Court Circular". The Times (36832). London. 29 July 1902. p. 10.
  36. "No. 27453". The London Gazette . 11 July 1902. p. 4441.

Bibliography

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Thomas Cole
David James Jenkins
Member of Parliament for Penryn and Falmouth
18801885
With: David James Jenkins
Succeeded by
David James Jenkins
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Cambridge
Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle
1928–1930
Succeeded by
The Earl of Athlone
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Brett
Viscount Esher
1899–1930
Succeeded by
Oliver Brett