1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cromer, Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of

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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica
Cromer, Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of
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CROMER, EVELYN BARING, 1st Earl of (1841-1917), British statesman and diplomatist (see 7.484). Lord Cromer's life was prolonged for nearly ten years after his return from Egypt; and, in spite of enfeebled health, culminating in a serious illness in 1914 from which he never completely recovered, he took an important share in political, social and literary movements at home. He was constant in his attendance in the House of Lords, and indefatigable in the work of its committees; he was a leading member of the free trade section of the Unionist party; he was active in opposition to female suffrage, and in combating anti-vivisection propaganda. Besides publishing his two volumes of Modern Egypt, he composed several addresses and pamphlets, wrote frequently for the periodicals, and from 1912 onwards was a regular contributor of signed articles and reviews of books to the Spectator — his vigorous and informed writing becoming an attractive feature of the paper. When the British Protectorate of Egypt was proclaimed, he completed his history of the modern development of that country in a small volume entitled Abbas II., containing matter which it would have been indiscreet to publish so long as Abbas remained Khedive. While he was forward in promoting the study of Oriental languages, his strongest affection was for the Greek and Latin classics with which he had only become acquainted in mature life; he became president of the Classical Society, and endowed a Greek prize for the British Academy. In the critical period of which the main features were the budget of 1909 and the Parliament bill of 1911, Lord Cromer played an energetic part. He failed to prevent the rejection of the budget by the House of Lords; but he was successful in his untiring efforts to persuade moderate Unionist and cross-bench peers to counter the “Die-hard” movement, and to vote for the Parliament bill rather than force the Government to swamp the House by an unlimited creation. It was in the performance of another patriotic duty, during the World War, that he met his death. In spite of age and indifferent health he accepted the laborious and invidious task of chairman of the special commission to inquire into the abortive Dardanelles operations. The sittings occupied the autumn of 1916, and while engaged on the draft report he was seized in Dec. with an attack of influenza. Before he had recovered, he resumed the work of the commission, which completely broke him down. He died a few weeks after the beginning of the new year. Seldom has there been a life more singly and successfully devoted to the good of his country.

See Lord Sanderson's Memoir of Evelvn, Earl of Cromer (1917).

(G. E. B.)