Sydney Buxton, 1st Earl Buxton

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The Earl Buxton

Sydney Buxton, 1st Earl Buxton.jpg
2nd Governor-General of South Africa
In office
Monarch George V
Prime MinisterSouth African:
Louis Botha
Jan Smuts
H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Preceded by The Viscount Gladstone
Succeeded by HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught
President of the Board of Trade
In office
14 February 1910 11 February 1914
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Winston Churchill
Succeeded by John Burns
Postmaster General
In office
Monarch Edward VII
Preceded by The Lord Stanley
Succeeded by Herbert Samuel
Personal details
Born(1853-10-25)25 October 1853
London, England, UK
Died15 October 1934(1934-10-15) (aged 80)
Newtimber, West Sussex, England, UK
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s)Constance Mary Lubbock (1882–1892; her death); 3 children
Mildred Anne Smith (1896–1934; his death); 3 children
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
ProfessionMember of Parliament
Sydney Buxton circa 1895 Sydney Buxton.jpg
Sydney Buxton circa 1895
Sydney Charles Buxton by Leslie Ward, 1907 Sydney Charles Buxton.png
Sydney Charles Buxton by Leslie Ward, 1907

Sydney Charles Buxton, 1st Earl Buxton, GCMG , PC (25 October 1853 – 15 October 1934) was a radical British Liberal politician of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [1] [2]

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

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.

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 Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions 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.


Background and education

Buxton was the son of Charles Buxton [3] and grandson of social reformer Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Baronet. His mother was Emily Mary, daughter of the physician and traveller Sir Henry Holland, 1st Baronet. He was born in London and educated at Clifton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, [4] and was a member of the London School Board from 1876 to 1882.

Charles Buxton was an English brewer, philanthropist, writer and member of Parliament.

Sir Henry Holland, 1st Baronet British doctor

Sir Henry Holland, 1st Baronet, FRS, was a British physician and travel writer.

Clifton College grade II listed independent school (UK) in Bristol, United kingdom

Clifton College is a co-educational independent school in the suburb of Clifton in the city of Bristol in South West England, founded in 1862. In its early years it was notable for emphasising science rather than classics in the curriculum, and for being less concerned with social elitism, e.g. by admitting day-boys on equal terms and providing a dedicated boarding house for Jewish boys, called Polacks. Having linked its General Studies classes with Badminton School, it admitted girls to the Sixth Form in 1987 and is now fully coeducational. Polacks house closed in 2005.

Political career

In 1880, Buxton became prominent in political circles by the publication of his Handbook to the Political Questions of the Day, a work which eventually went through 11 editions. That same year, he ran for Parliament for Boston, but lost. However, he became an MP in 1883 by winning a by-election in Peterborough. He was defeated in the 1885 general election, but returned to Parliament the very next year, representing Poplar. He would represent this constituency in Parliament until 1914. [1]

Parliament of the United Kingdom Supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.

Boston was a parliamentary borough in Lincolnshire, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1547 until 1885, and then one member from 1885 until 1918, when the constituency was abolished.

Peterborough (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1885 onwards

Peterborough is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Its current form is the direct, unbroken successor of a smaller constituency that was created in the mid-16th century and used for the legislatures of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom (UK). The seat today elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first-past-the-post system of election since 1885, before which its earlier form had two-member representation using the similar bloc vote system and both forms had a broadening but restricted franchise until 1918.

From 1892-95, Buxton served as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. In 1905, he earned his first Cabinet post, that of Postmaster-General. In this capacity he introduced such services as penny postage to the United States, the Canadian magazine post, and cheap postage for the blind. In 1910, Buxton was named President of the Board of Trade; in this position he oversaw the passage or amendment of many trade and commerce laws. Upon the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, he asked Lord Loreburn, the Lord Chancellor, to appoint a commission of inquiry into the disaster. This commission eventually came to be headed by Lord Mersey. [1]

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies was a junior Ministerial post in the United Kingdom government, subordinate to the Secretary of State for the Colonies and, from 1948, also to a Minister of State.

Cabinet of the United Kingdom Decision-making body of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and 22 cabinet ministers, the most senior of the government ministers.

President of the Board of Trade head of the Board of Trade, a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom

The President of the Board of Trade is head of the Board of Trade. This is a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, first established as a temporary committee of inquiry in the 17th century, that evolved gradually into a government department with a diverse range of functions. The current holder is Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade.

In February 1914, Buxton was appointed Governor-General of South Africa, and in May of that year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Buxton, of Newtimber in the County of Sussex. A revolt by the South African populace on the outbreak of the First World War temporarily threatened his safety, but the country's Prime Minister, General Louis Botha, immediately attached South Africa to Britain. Thereafter, Buxton and Botha formed an effective partnership, planning and executing South African actions in the war, including the invasion of the neighbouring German colony of South West Africa. Buxton travelled widely throughout South Africa, and endeared himself to the people. Upon his retirement in 1920, the people demonstrated their affection for him. He continued his interest in South African affairs after returning to England, serving as president of the African Society from 1920-33.[ citation needed ]

Governor-General of South Africa

The Governor-General of the Union of South Africa was the highest state official in the Union of South Africa between 31 May 1910 and 31 May 1961. The Union of South Africa was founded as a self-governing Dominion of the British Empire in 1910 and the office of governor-general was established as the representative of the monarch. Fifty-one years later the country declared itself a republic and the historic link with the British monarchy was broken. The office of governor-general was abolished.

Louis Botha South African politician

Louis Botha was a South African politician who was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa—the forerunner of the modern South African state. A Boer war hero during the Second Boer War, he would eventually fight to have South Africa become a British Dominion.

South West Africa former country, a mandate of South Africa

South West Africa was the name for modern-day Namibia when it was under South African administration, from 1915 to 1990.

He was created Earl Buxton in 1920, and continued to be a member of the Liberal Party, often supporting his close friend and colleague Sir Edward Grey. In his later years, he had to undergo amputation of his leg due to a knee injury sustained earlier in his life.

Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon,, better known as Sir Edward Grey, was a British Liberal statesman and the main force behind British foreign policy in the era of the First World War. An adherent of the "New Liberalism", he served as foreign secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any person in that office. He is probably best remembered for his "the lamps are going out" remark on 3 August 1914 on the outbreak of the First World War. He signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement on 16 May 1916. Ennobled in 1916, he was Ambassador to the United States between 1919 and 1920 and Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1923 and 1924.

Amputation removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery

Amputation is the removal of a limb by trauma, medical illness, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for such problems. A special case is that of congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where fetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands, feet or other body parts is or was used as a form of punishment for people who committed crimes. Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism; it may also occur as a war injury. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment.

He died at Newtimber on 15 October 1934. [1]


Buxton was twice married, firstly in 1882 to Hon. Constance Mary Lubbock (died 1892), second daughter of Lord Avebury, and secondly in 1896 to Mildred Anne Smith, elder daughter of Hugh Colin Smith, Governor of the Bank of England, of Mount Clare, Roehampton, a sister of the banker Vivian Smith and of Aubrey Smith, RN, who later became an admiral. [1]

By his first wife, he had two sons and one daughter, of whom the sons both died in his lifetime. By his second wife, he had one son and two daughters, of whom the son and the elder daughter died in his lifetime. [1]


By his first wife, Hon. Constance Mary Lubbock (d. 3 November 1892): [5]

By his second wife, Mildred Anne Smith DBE JP (1866–1955): [5]

Since all his sons died unmarried in his lifetime, his titles became extinct at his death. Earl Buxton was survived by his second wife Mildred (died 1955) and his youngest daughter Lady Althea Eliot (died 2004), and by eight grandchildren including the future Duke of Grafton (1919–2011).

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Earl 0f Buxton, 80, Is Dead In England. Liberal Was Member of Last Gladstone Government and Long in Parliament. Held South African Post. As Governor, Dealt With Revolt of Boers. Introduced Penny Post for United States". New York Times . 16 October 1934.
  2. Profile,; accessed 8 April 2016.
  3. "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p19: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  4. "Buxton, Sydney (BKSN872SC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. 1 2 Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 622. ISBN   0-9711966-2-1.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hampden Whalley
Hon. John Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
With: Hon. John Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Succeeded by
John Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Preceded by
Henry Green
Member of Parliament for Poplar
Succeeded by
Alfred Yeo
Political offices
Preceded by
Baron Henry de Worms
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
The Earl of Selborne
Preceded by
Lord Stanley
Postmaster General
Succeeded by
Herbert Samuel
Preceded by
Winston Churchill
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
John Burns
Preceded by
The Viscount Gladstone
Governor-General of South Africa
Succeeded by
HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Buxton
New creation Viscount Buxton