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Robert Reid, 1st Earl Loreburn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Earl Loreburn

Lord Loreburn GGBain.jpg
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
10 December 1905 – 10 June 1912
MonarchEdward VII
George V
Prime MinisterSir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
Preceded byThe Earl of Halsbury
Succeeded byThe Viscount Haldane
Personal details
Born(1846-04-03)3 April 1846
Corfu Town, Corfu, United States of the Ionian Islands
Died30 November 1923(1923-11-30) (aged 77)
Walmer, Kent
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)(1) Emily Fleming (d. 1904)
(2) Violet Hicks-Beach
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford

Robert Threshie Reid, 1st Earl Loreburn, GCMG, PC (3 April 1846 – 30 November 1923) was a British lawyer, judge and radical[1] Liberal politician. He served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain between 1905 and 1912.

Background and education

Born in Corfu, the largest city on the island of the same name, Loreburn was the son of Sir James John Reid, Chief Justice of the Ionian Islands, at the time a British proctectorate. His mother was Mary, daughter of Robert Threshie. Loreburn was educated at Cheltenham College and Balliol College, Oxford. While at Oxford, he represented the Oxford University Cricket Club in fifteen first-class matches as a wicket-keeper, spanning from 1865 to 1868.[2] He remained involved in cricket for many years after, with appearances for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Herefordshire at lower levels of the sport, amongst other sides.[3]

Political career

Loreburn's national political career began in 1880, when he was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Hereford. He stayed there until 1885, when he ran unsuccessfully in Dunbartonshire, but returned to the Commons in 1886 for Dumfries Burghs. He remained in the House of Commons until 1905; during this time period, he was appointed to the offices of Solicitor General and knighted (1894)[4] and Attorney General (1894–1895). He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in 1899.[5] He left the House of Commons in 1905, though, and became Lord Chancellor under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman On his appointment he was raised to the peerage as Baron Loreburn, of Dumfries in the County of Dumfries.[6] (The Loreburn was a stream which historically ran close to Dumfries, and which was the source of the town's motto and rallying cry, "A Lore Burne".)

Caricature by Spy in Vanity Fair, 1895
Caricature by Spy in Vanity Fair, 1895

During the 1900s and 1910s, many Liberal politicians took up the ideology of Liberal Imperialism, led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (H. H. Asquith), the Secretary of State for War (Richard Haldane) and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Edward Grey). This triumvirate of politicians was strongly in favour of an entente with France, along with the creation of a British Expeditionary Force, in the event of a war between France and Germany. These three politicians made their views known, and when Campbell-Bannerman appointed his cabinet, he appointed Loreburn Lord Chancellor as a counter to the Liberal Imperialists.

In 1908, Asquith became Prime Minister. Lord Loreburn's disagreements with Haldane, Grey, Asquith, and eventually David Lloyd George became more prominent. Asquith, Lloyd George, Grey, Churchill, and Haldane met secretly on 23 August 1911, and when certain Cabinet members found out, they were furious. Reginald McKenna had recently been deprived of his position as First Lord of the Admiralty for refusing to provide military aid to the French, and he led the majority (whose members included Loreburn, McKenna, Colonial Secretary Lewis Vernon Harcourt, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Jack Pease) in "a strong line about Cabinet supremacy over all other bodies in the matter of sea and land defence". Lord Esher wrote, "There has been a serious crisis. Fifteen members of the Cabinet against five. The Entente is decidedly imperilled."

Earl Loreburn
Earl Loreburn

He was created Earl Loreburn on 4 July 1911.[7] Unfortunately, Lord Loreburn's health began declining, and in the summer of 1912, he resigned his Lord Chancellorship. In a parting, "valedictory" letter to Lord Haldane, he wrote:

My differences with you have always been this, you have been an Imperialist "au fond" and always in my opinion it is quite impossible to reconcile Imperialism with the Liberal creed which we professed, and on the force of which we received the support of the country. In this way we became hopelessly estranged on the greatest of all issues.

During the July Crisis Loreburn opposed British intervention in the impending continental war. On 31 July 1914 the Manchester Guardian, to his delight, attacked the way in which Britain appeared to have been secretly committed to the side of France and Russia.[8]

In January 1918, the House of Lords came to consider the Bill which went on to become the Representation of the People Act 1918, for the first time introducing a limited women's suffrage. Loreburn moved an amendment to delete from the Bill the sections which would give the vote to women, but the Lords were not persuaded and on a division the amendment was lost by 134 votes against to 71 in favour.[9]

Personal life

Lord Loreburn married firstly Emily, daughter of A. C. Fleming, in 1871. After her death in August 1904 he married secondly Violet Elizabeth, daughter of William Frederick Hicks-Beach, in 1907. There were no children from either marriage. Lord Loreburn died on 30 November 1923, aged 77, when his titles became extinct.


Coat of arms of Robert Reid, 1st Earl Loreburn
A cubit arm holding a book leaves expanded Proper.
Azure a lion rampant Argent on a chief engrailed Or a book expanded Proper between two keys in saltire Gules and two swords in saltire of the last.
On either side a collie dog Proper.
Pro Virtute [10]

See also

  • Koss, Stephen (1985). Asquith. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-231-06155-1.


  1. ^ Wilson, Keith M. (31 January 1985). The Policy of the Entente: Essays on the Determinants of British Foreign Policy, 1904-1914. ISBN 9780521301954.
  2. ^ Robert Reid – CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  3. ^ Teams Robert Reid played for – CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  4. ^ "No. 26536". The London Gazette. 27 July 1894. p. 4299.
  5. ^ "No. 27141". The London Gazette. 5 December 1899. p. 8181.
  6. ^ "No. 27873". The London Gazette. 9 January 1906. p. 187.
  7. ^ "No. 28514". The London Gazette. 18 July 1911. p. 5349.
  8. ^ Koss, p. 157.
  9. ^ Fenwick, Mrs Bedford (ed.) (19 January 1918). "Editorial: Woman Suffrage Assured" (PDF). The British Journal of Nursing. London: The Nursing Press. LX (1555): 35. Retrieved 30 November 2009.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Burke's Peerage. 1914.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Arbuthnot
Evan Pateshall
Member of Parliament for Hereford
2-seat constituency until 1885

With: Joseph Pulley
Succeeded by
Joseph Pulley
Preceded by
Ernest Noel
Member of Parliament for Dumfries Burghs
Succeeded by
John Gulland
Legal offices
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Sir John Rigby
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Finlay
Preceded by
Sir John Rigby
Attorney General
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Webster
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Halsbury
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Succeeded by
The Lord Haldane
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Loreburn
Baron Loreburn
This page was last edited on 26 January 2021, at 14:02
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