Campbell-Bannerman, Henry (DNB12)
CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, Sir HENRY (1836–1908), prime minister, born at Kelvinside House, Glasgow, on 7 Sept. 1836, was second son, and second of the three children of Sir James Campbell, Knt., of Stracathro, co. Forfar, by his wife Janet, daughter of Henry Bannerman, a Manchester manufacturer; her mother's brother was William Motherwell [q. v.], the Scottish poet. The future prime minister assumed the additional name and arms of Bannerman in 1872 under the will of his maternal uncle, Henry Bannerman, of Hunton Court, near Maidstone, Kent.
Sir Henry's grandfather, James Campbell, came from Inchanoch, in Menteith, to Glasgow in 1805, and began business as a yarn merchant; his second son James (the prime minister's father), then a lad of fifteen, becoming a tailor, and William, his fourth son (afterwards of Tullichewan, co. Dumbarton), a draper. In 1817 these two brothers founded the great Glasgow firm of J. & W. Campbell, wholesale drapers and warehousemen. The father was a strong conservative, stood in that interest as parliamentary candidate for Glasgow in 1837 and in 1841, without success, and as lord provost of Glasgow (1840-3) was knighted on the birth of prince Albert Edward, afterwards King Edward VII (9 Nov. 1841). He bought the estate of Stracathro in 1848.
The elder son, James Alexander Campbell of Stracathro (1825-1908), conservative M.P. for the universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen (1880-1906), succeeded his father in 1876, and was made a privy councillor in 1898. He died on 10 May 1908. Sir Henry was educated at Glasgow High School, and then at Glasgow Uni- versity (1851-3), where in 1853, the same year in which Edward Caird [q. v. Suppl. II], afterwards Master of Balliol, won the Latin medal, he won, among other things, the Cowan gold medal for the best examination in Greek. In 1883 his university, on the installation of John Bright as lord rector, conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D., and at the time of his death in 1908 he was liberal nominee for the lord rectorship. From Glasgow he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where, taking a double degree as twenty-second senior optime in the mathematical tripos, with a third class in the classical tripos he graduated B.A. in 1858 and M.A. in 1861. He took no part in the debates at the union. After leaving Cambridge he joined his father and uncle's prosperous business in Glasgow, in which he became and remained a partner until 1868. He was one of the original members of the first Lanarkshire rifle volunteers, and commanded his company (M company, known as 'Campbell's Corps,' the members being drawn exclusively from the employees of Messrs. J. & W. Campbell & Co.) at the royal review at Edinburgh on 7 Feb. 1860.
In April 1868 he contested the Stirling Burghs against John Ramsay of Kildalton. Both candidates were liberal, Campbell the more advanced of the two. He declared himself 'a warm adherent of the party of progress,' advocating national education, the repeal of university tests, administrative reform of the army and navy, Irish church disestablishment, and land reform. Ramsay defeated him by 565 to 494 votes. He fought Ramsay again at the general election which followed the 1868 Reform Act, and won the seat on 19 November, polling 2192 votes against Ramsay's 1670. He sat for the Stirling Burghs uninterruptedly until his death. His opponent subsequently sat for the Falkirk Burghs from 1874 to 1886.
In the new parliament of 1868 Campbell soon identified himself with the more independent and advanced supporters of Gladstone's first administration, advocating the reform of endowed schools in Scotland, compulsory attendance at parochial schools, the abolition of university tests, the application of the representative principle to county government, the infusion of new blood into Oxford and Cambridge, the abolition of hypothec, and the cause of the tenant farmer. His political ability was recognised by his appointment, in November 1871, as financial secretary to the war office, of which Cardwell was then the head. He retained the post until the fall of the administration in February 1874.
During the years of liberal opposition, from 1874 to 1880, Campbell-Bannerman took little part in general debate, but intervened regularly in the discussion of army votes and the affairs of Scotland. He characterised the bill for the abolition of patronage (1875) as a political device to strengthen the established church at the cost of the other presbyterian churches.
In March 1880 parliament was dissolved, Lord Beaconsfield's government was defeated, and in April Gladstone formed his second administration. Campbell-Bannerman returned to his former post at the war office, of which Childers was then the chief, and he held the office till May 1882. Then, in succession to Sir George Trevelyan, who was transferred to the Irish chief secretaryship on the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish, he became secretary to the admiralty. Lord Northbrook, the first lord, was in the House of Lords, and Campbell-Bannerman represented the department in the House of Commons. In October 1884, again in succession to Sir George Trevelyan, he was appointed chief secretary for Ireland (without a seat in the cabinet), while Lord Spencer was still lord-lieutenant. The office was one of danger and difficulty, and Campbell-Bannerman was held at the time to be the only man who ever actually enhanced his political reputation by its tenure. He discharged his duties with imperturbability and good-humour, and Ireland grew more peaceful. Parnell wrote of him 'as an Irish secretary he left things alone a sensible thing for an Irish secretary' (see Barry O'Brien's Life of Parnell). According to Mr. Tim Healy he 'governed Ireland with Scoteh jokes' ; Mr. T. P. O'Connor likened him to a 'sandbag.' During his short tenure of the Irish secretaryship it was announced that some provisions of the Crimes Act would be re-enacted, and an Irish land purchase bill was promised ; but the life of the government came to an end in June 1885, and Campbell-Bannerman retired from his Irish office after holding it for only eight months.
In February 1886, on the fall of Lord Salisbury's first administration, Campbell-Bannerman became secretary of state for war in Gladstone's third government, entering the cabinet for the first time, together with Lord Herschell, Mr. John Morley, Sir William Harcourt, and Mr. Mundella. Home rule for Ireland, which was the chief measure before the cabinet, met with Canipbell-Bannerman's approval. On 8 June the proposals of the government were defeated in the House of Commons by 343 to 313, ninety-three liberals voting against the bill (Morley's Gladstone, iii. 341). Gladstone dissolved parliament, was defeated at the polls, and Lord Salisbury accepted office for a second time. For six years (1886-92) the liberal party remained in opposition. During the period Campbell-Bannerman actively supported Gladstone in fighting the cause of Ireland and home rule. In 1887 he moved an amendment to Mr. A. J. Balfour's Irish land bill, to the effect that no bill of the kind was satisfactory which did not provide for revision of the judicial rents. In the course of the Irish controversy he described the process of adopting home rule as 'finding salvation,' and he invented the term 'Ulsteria' for the peculiar blend of Orange bigotry and Irish toryism which he imputed to the Irish opponents of home rule.
During the agitation for improved national defence in 1888-9 he maintained a critical attitude, strongly opposing any diminution of civilian control of the army, and any attempt to place that control entirely in the hands of military advisers. In June 1888 he served with Lord Randolph Churchill, W. H. Smith, and others, under the chairmanship of Lord Hartington (afterwards eighth duke of Devonshire [q. v. Suppl. II]), upon the royal commission appointed to inquire into the civil and professional administration of the naval and military departments. The commission reported finally in February 1890 (C. 5979 of 1890), when Campbell-Bannerman, who had been unable to take part in the consideration of the second portion of the report, added a memorandum expressing his general acquiescence in its tenour and his cordial concurrence in its principal recommendation, 'that the secretary of state should be advised by a council of military officers, who should be the heads of several military departments.' He at the same time strongly dissented 'from the further proposal to create a new department that, namely, of chief of the staff.' He reasoned that the innovation was unnecessary, and likely to re-introduce the evils incidental to the office of com mander-in-chief which the new council of general officers was designed to replace (10 Feb. 1890).
Lord Salisbury dissolved parliament in 1892, and his government was defeated at the polls. Thereupon Gladstone formed his fourth administration (July 1892), and Campbell-Bannerman joined the cabinet in his former post of secretary of state or war. He was a member of the cabinet committee which drafted the second home rule bill, which passed the House of Commons, but was decisively rejected by the House of Lords. When Lord Rosebery succeeded Gladstone as prime minister on 3 March 1894, Campbell-Bannerman retained his office. He was an active administrator. Under his regime at Pall Mall there was established a forty-eight hours week (or an average of eight hours a day) in the ordnance factories at Woolwich Arsenal and he justly anticipated no necessity for 'a reduction in wages' (see Hansard, 5 Jan. 1894). He also arranged for the delicate matter of the retirement of the duke of Cambridge from the office of commander-in-chief, and tactfully effected the step without disturbing the good relations which had always existed between the duke and himself. But he doubted the wisdom of offering the duke a special pension which was offered him later by the conservative government, and the duke declined the offer on the ground of this difference of view. On the day of Campbell-Bannerman's announcement of the duke's retirement (21 June 1895) Mr. St. John Brodrick (afterwards secretary of state for war and Viscount Midleton) moved a reduction of Campbell-Bannerman's salary on the ground that the reserves of cordite and other smallarm ammunition were inadequate. Campbell- Bannerman admitted that the reserves did not exceed 100,000,000 cartridges. The government was defeated by seven votes in a small house, 132 against 125 ; Lord Rosebery, the prime minister, resigned next day. A lack of harmony between Lord Rosebery and some of his colleagues partly prompted so serious a treatment of the adverse division. Harcourt, in announcing to the House of Commons Lord Rosebery's resignation and the queen's acceptance of it, said : 'The division of last Friday night upon the army vote for the war office was a direct vote of censure upon the secretary of state for the war department, than whom I will take on me to say there is no more able, more respected, or more popular minister.' Campbell-Bannerman received the G.C.B. on leaving office. The adverse vote had little positive justification. As Campbell-Bannerman subsequently explained (cf. speech at Newport, 30 Nov. 1903), expert opinion proved it inexpedient to keep in stock any large supply of cordite, then a new explosive in an experimental stage, which was easily and rapidly manufactured as the need for it arose.
Meanwhile in 1895, when Mr. Peel resigned the speakership of the House of Commons, Campbell-Bannerman frankly confessed to a wish to succeed him. The conservatives were prepared to acquiesce in his selection, in view of his fairness and impartiality. But his colleagues were unwilling to lose him, and he was persuaded to concur in the selection of William Court Gully, Viscount Selby [q. v. Suppl. II].
Lord Salisbury accepted office on 23 June 1895 and formed an administration. Parliament was dissolved on 8 July, and a majority of 152 was returned to support the new conservative government. Campbell-Bannerman, speaking at Blairgowrie on 12 Dec. as one of the liberal leaders, announced that so long as the Irish declared by constitutional methods that they were in favour of self-government, liberals would be bound to support their demand.
Before the end of the year South African affairs became a predominant political interest. Dr. Jameson's abortive raid into the territory of the Transvaal Republic, and his surrender after two days' fighting at Krugersdorp (1 Jan. 1896), roused in the more advanced section of the liberal party a suspicion that Mr. Chamberlain, the colonial secretary, was implicated in the affair. Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, then chancellor of the exchequer, Sir William Harcourt, Henry Labouchere, John Ellis, and others, were, on 14 Aug. 1896, appointed members of a select committee of inquiry into the circumstances of the raid. This South African committee sat to take evidence from January to June 1897. The majority report of 14 July, which was signed by both Campbell-Bannerman and Harcourt, while condemning Cecil Rhodes and two of his associates in general terms, exonerated the imperial and South African governments of all complicity. In the House of Commons both Campbell-Bannerman and Harcourt frankly defended the report when it was impugned by a member of their own party, Mr. Philip Stanhope (afterwards Lord Weardale), whose amendment of dissent was rejected by 333 to seventy-four. A bitter feeling against both Rhodes and Mr. Chamberlain ran high in the left wing of the liberal party, but no other conclusion than that which Campbell-Bannerman and his colleagues reached was justified on a temperate review of the material evidence.
As far back as 1894, when the resignation of Gladstone disclosed differences of opinion within the liberal party, Campbell-Bannerman was named by competent observers as a probable future leader. He had enjoyed much administrative experience, and held alike the peculiar confidence of his colleagues and the esteem and goodwill of the House of Commons. But he had made no impression on the public outside the house, and many of his colleagues stood far higher in popular favour. A continuance of personal dissensions among the leaders of his party during the long unionist regime gradually brought him to the first place. On 6 Oct. 1896 Lord Rosebery resigned his leadership on the ground of 'internal difficulties, the want of 'explicit support' from any quarter, and 'apparent difference with a considerable mass of the party on the Eastern question' (Turkey and Armenia). Thereupon Harcourt naturally succeeded to the leadership. But Lord Rosebery still had his followers in the House of Commons, and Harcourt's authority was often called in question. On 14 Dec. 1898 Harcourt retired from the leadership of a party which he described as 'rent by sectional disputes and personal interests.' Mr. John Morley approved Harcourt's action, and declared 'that he, too, could no longer take an active and responsible part in the formal councils of the heads of the liberal party' (17 Jan. 1899). There seemed to be fundamental divergences of view within the party touching the whole field of foreign, colonial, and Irish politics. In this critical embarrassment the liberal party elected Campbell-Bannerman as its leader in the House of Commons. Lord Kimberley now led the liberals in the House of Lords since the withdrawal of Lord Rosebery. At a meeting held at the Reform Club on 6 Feb. 1899, which was attended by 143 members of parliament, the choice of Campbell-Bannerman was unanimously adopted. The names of Sir Henry Fowler and Mr. Asquith had been previously suggested and had been withdrawn. The new leader promised 'to bring all his powers to his task' and to give 'the government a watchful and active, and not a violent and reckless, opposition.' He still adhered to his home rule convictions, but laid on them a qualified stress. On 21 March, at the meeting of the National Liberal Federation at Hull, he declared that it was impossible to make home rule the first item of the liberal programme, but added 'we will remain true to the Irish people as long as the Irish remain true to themselves.' The South African policy of Mr. Chamberlain, which culminated in war at the end of 1899, was the first great questior with which Campbell-Bannerman in his new capacity had actively to deal. His attitude was from the outset clear and firm it did not, however, succeed in winning the support of the whole party. On 17 June 1899, in a speech delivered at Ilford, before hostilities broke out, he declared that 'he could see nothing in what had occurred to justify either warlike action or military preparation.' With this view Lord Kimberley, the liberal leader in the House of Lords, associated himself (Hansard, 28 July). At the opening of the autumn session (17 Oct.), when the war had just begun, Campbell-Bannerman at once offered to facilitate the grant of supplies 'for the prosecution of the war.' But in speeches at Manchester (14 Nov.) and Birmingham (24 Nov.) he continued to criticise the conduct of the government before the war in mixing up negotiations with military preparations 'in such a manner as to prejudice greatly the chances of a peaceful solution.' After the grave reverses at Storrnberg (10 Dec.), Magersfontein (12 Dec.), and Colenso (15 Dec.), Campbell-Bannerman, speaking at Aberdeen (19 Dec.), deprecated 'doubt or despondency,' and urged the nation to brace itself 'more earnestly to the task before us.' At the same time he repeated that ' Mr. Chamberlain is mainly answerable for this war.' When the military situation improved next summer, he laid it down as England's first duty to aim 'after the security of the imperial power,' at 'the conciliation and the harmonious co-operation of the two European races in South Africa, and to restore as early as possible' to the conquered states the 'rights of self-government' (Glasgow, 7 Jan. 1900). From this aim he never swerved.
On 25 Sept. 1900 parliament was dissolved, and the country returned Lord Salisbury's government again to power with a majority of 132. The 'khaki' election, as it was called, was won on the plea that the war was finished, and that the government responsible for it should finish their task and be responsible for the settlement after the war. Yet the war dragged on for another twenty months. Throughout this period Campbell-Bannerman consistently advocated conciliatory and definite terms of peace. On 10 Dec. 1901 Lord Rosebery (at Chesterfield) expressed concurrence with him on this point, and Campbell-Bannerman thereupon invited Lord Rosebery anew to co-operate with his former colleagues ; but Lord Rosebery preferred an attitude of detachment, and Campbell-Bannerman thenceforth pursued his own line, even at the risk of prolonging existing party dissensions. On the methods which were adopted in the field during the later stages of the difficult warfare, Campbell-Bannerman declared his views without shrinking. On 6 Dec. 1900, in the House of Commons, he extolled the humanity and the generosity of the British soldier and the British officer, expressing his entire disbelief 'in the stories that have been told on both sides of discreditable, irregular, and cruel outrages.' Subsequently he urged (at Peckham, 7 Aug. 1901) the need of making 'even the stern necessities of war minister to conciliation,' and both denounced and promised to 'continue to denounce all this stupid policy of farm-burning, devastation, and the sweeping of women and children into camps.' To this promise he remained faithful, with the emphatic approval of one important section of liberal opinion, and with the no less emphatic disapproval of another important section.
On 31 May 1901, at a liberal meeting in Edinburgh, he had acknowledged the existence of differences in the opposition ranks about the war, but claimed that at any rate they were united, with a few insignificant exceptions, against 'the most unwise as well as the most unworthy policy of enforcing unconditional surrender upon those who were to be their loyal and contented subjects in the new colonies.' A fortnight later (14 June), at a National Reform Union banquet given to Harcourt and himself, tie used a phrase which obtained much currency and moved applause and resentment in almost equal measure. The government had lately described the war is 'not yet entirely terminated.' Campbell-Bannerman added the comment, 'A phrase often used is that war is war : but when one came to ask about it one was told that no war was going on that it was not war. When was a war not a war ? When it was carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa.' Three days after (17 June) in the House of Commons to supported Mr. Lloyd George's motion for the adjournment of the house in order to call attention to the concentration camps in South Africa, and while he deprecated the imputation of cruelty, or even indifference, to officers or men,' he repeated his application to 'the whole system' of the term 'barbarous.' Renewed signs of party discontent followed these deliverances. Mr. Haldane refused to support the motion, and with Mr. Asquith, Sir Edward Grey, Mr. Lawson Walton (afterwards attorney- general), Mr. Robson (afterwards solicitor-general), and nearly fifty liberals, walked out of the house before the division. There seemed a likelihood of an open breach on the part of the dissentient section of the party. On 2 July, speaking at Southampton, Campbell-Bannerman described the position of the party as 'critical.' But on 9 July, at the Reform Club, 163 liberal members of the House of Commons, of all sections, including Sir William Harcourt, Mr. Asquith, and Sir Edward Grey, expressed unanimously continued confidence in Campbell-Bannerman's leadership. Later in the year (25 Oct. 1901) Campbell-Bannerman hopefully appealed to true liberals throughout the country for unity. Passing to another controverted topic, on which there was not universal consent in the liberal ranks, he declared that he was 'as strongly as ever in favour of giving self-government to Ireland.' 'There is no actual alliance,' he added, with the Irish party, but he hoped for a cordial co-operation. The declaration checked for a time the movement towards unity. A liberal imperial council had been in existence to maintain within the party the views of Lord Rosebery on imperial and Irish questions. On 27 Feb. 1902 it was decided to reconstitute the council with its old aims as the Liberal League. Campbell-Bannerman saw no reason for such a step (speech, National Liberal Club, 5 March). He denied that there were personal differences among the leaders. The war was a transient interlude, and the only final solution of either the South African or the Irish question lay in the liberal principle of assent. In Lord Spencer, who spoke at Eastbourne on the same day, Campbell-Bannerman found a whole-hearted adherent.
The terms of peace in South Africa were announced on 2 June. On. 11 July Lord Salisbury, prune minister, resigned, and on 14 July Campbell-Bannerman in the House of Commons, on behalf of the house as a whole, congratulated Mr. Balfour on filling the vacant place. Through the session he steadily opposed the government's chief measure, the education bill, which he called the bill of the church party. It was finally passed in an autumn session (December 1902), in spite of nonconformist opposition and some dissatisfaction among liberal-unionist supporters of the government. Next year the liberal party's position was immensely improved by a schism which rent the government and its supporters. The healing of internal differences among the liberals was greatly facilitated by the perplexity and division which Mr. Chamberlain's announcement at Birmingham of his new fiscal programme (May 1903) created in the unionist ranks. Without delay Campbell-Bannerman made strategic use of his new opportunity. On the adjournment for the Whitsuntide recess (28 May) he denounced the government for their 'cuttle-fish' policy in raising a new issue, which he characterised on 9 June as a proposal to tax anew the food of the people. He laid stress on Mr. Chamberlain's statement that it was the question on which the next general election was to be fought. In the autumn the resignations of Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Ritchie, the duke of Devonshire, and other prominent members of the government illustrated practically the disintegrating tendency of the fiscal policy. At Glasgow, on 6 October, Mr. Chamberlain explained his proposals at length, and Campbell-Bannerman, at Bolton (15 Oct.), retorted by denouncing as a wicked slander on the mother country and the colonies alike the assertion that the empire could only be saved from dissolution by a revolution in fiscal policy. On the new free trade issue Lord Rosebery declared that all liberals were united (7 Nov.). There-upon Campbell-Bannerman renewed his former advances ; but Rosebery's reply was very cautious, and no further attempt was made to close the breach between the two.
The reconstructed government's difficulties grew rapidly. At the end of 1903 resolutions were adopted by the Transvaal legislative council for the importation of Chinese indentured labour, and they were sanctioned by the home government. Liberals at once contended that slavery was revived, and the plea found support in the constituencies. Yet henceforth, both in parliament and outside, the paramount political issue was fiscal reform. On that theme Campbell-Bannerman and his colleagues concentrated most of their energy. On 1 Aug. 1904 he moved a vote of censure upon the government, because three members of the government had accepted office in the Tariff Reform League, which advocated preferential duties and therefore the taxation of food. Next year his position was strengthened when the National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations at Newcastle formally adopted fiscal reform as a plank in the party platform, and Mr. Balfour's appeal to the party on the same evening to unite on a practical fiscal policy failed to conciliate unionist free traders. Meanwhile on all political topics Campbell-Bannerman- was now sedulously defining his position and developing a programme, with a view to the increasing likelihood of the party's return to power. He criticised Arnold-Forster's army reforms (14 July 1904); he advocated the encouragement of small holdings, better security for the farmer, and the provision of cottages (26 Oct.); he urged the payment of members and of election expenses (17 Nov.), and in a speech at Dunfermline (8 Dec.) he discussed comprehensively education, licensing, housing, rating, and the poor law. On two questions he pronounced himself with growing precision and emphasis inside and outside the house, viz. the extravagance of the government and the need of retrenchment in public expenditure, and the curbing of the veto of the House of Lords. He still adhered to 'the policy of thorough and fundamental alteration in the whole system of Irish government' ; he was there treading on slippery ground, even on the eve of victory. Differences in the unionist cabinet over Irish administration had given new life to the home rule controversy (March 1905), and the uncompromising restatement by Campbell-Bannerman of his views seemed to threaten a renewal of the old liberal schism. On 23 Nov. 1905 he made at Stirling a plain declaration in favour of home rule. Two days later, on 25 Nov., Lord Rosebery, at Bodmin, said he would not fight under that banner. On 27 Nov. Sir Edward Grey, at Newcastle-under-Lyme, expressed the view that if a liberal majority were obtained at the next general election it would be obtained on other issues than home rule, and it would not be fair to use the votes to reverse the anti-home rule verdict of 1895. This view was assented to by two other prominent liberal leaders, by Mr. Asquith on 28 Nov. and on 30 Nov. by Mr. James Bryce. An accommodation was reached on these lines. For the sake of the unity of the party, Campbell-Bannerman tacitly accepted the understanding that the consideration of home rule was postponed for the present. The proper solution of the Irish question was, Campbell-Bannerman finally declared (12 Jan. 1906), to refer purely Irish affairs to an Irish parliament ; but he did not believe there would be any opportunity for such a scheme in the near future.
On Monday, 4 Dec. 1905, Mr. Balfour resigned, and on the following day Campbell-Bannerman was invited to form a government. Lord Kimberley had died in 1902, Harcourt on 1 Oct. 1904. Lord Spencer, Kimberley's successor as leader of the liberal party hi the House of Lords, had been generally designated as the next liberal prime minister, but he had fallen seriously ill on 13 Oct. 1905. Campbell- Bannerman's claim as leader of the party in the House of Commons was therefore unquestioned. He brought to the great office imperturbable good temper, a strong sense of humour, personal popularity, much administrative experience and earnest convictions of the advanced liberal stamp. Campbell-Bannerman formed a ministry which was representative of all sections of the party. Mr. Asquith became chancellor of the exchequer and Mr. John Burns was chosen to be president of the local government board, being the first labour member of parliament to receive cabinet rank. In accordance with the rule observed by the liberal government of 1892-5, but discarded by Lord Salisbury and his successor, Mr. Balfour, Campbell-Bannerman made acceptance of office by those invited to join the government conditional on the resignation of all public directorships held by them. Mr. Balfour had already arranged that any new prime minister should be accorded by royal warrant a high place of precedency in ceremonial functions. Hitherto the office had not been formally recognised in the official table of precedency. Accordingly Campbell-Bannerman was the first prime minister to receive this formal recognition, and he was admitted to the fourth place among the king's subjects, the archbishops of Canterbury and York and the lord chancellor alone preceding him.
The new government at once dissolved parliament, and the general election followed in January 1906. Campbell- Bannerman's seat was not contested, owing to his opponent's illness, and he was free to speak elsewhere during the campaign. The main issues which he placed before the electors were free trade and the stopping of Chinese labour, which he had already promised in a speech at the Albert Hall on 21 Dec. 1905. He also undertook to revise drastically the Education and Licensing Acts of the late government. The result of the general election was startling. The unionists suffered a net loss of 214 seats 213 to the liberal and labour parties, and one to the nationalists. Wales did not return a single unionist. Scotland only returned twelve, out of a total of seventy-two members. London (including north and south West Ham and London University sixty-two seats in all) returned twenty unionists, as compared with fifty-four in 1900. The rout of unionism was complete.
The liberals numbered 377, the labour members 53, and the nationalists 83, while the conservatives were only 132 and the liberal unionists 25. Independently of the Irish party the liberal and labour parties had a majority of 273 over the unionists. Not since the election of 1832, after the first reform bill, when the liberals numbered 486 against 172 conservatives, were the liberals in so strong a position. The first king's speech of Campbell-Bannerman's administration (19 Feb.) promised legislation on most of the lines to which the recent declarations of himself and his colleagues committed them. They pledged themselves at once to a policy of retrenchment and to a new education bill for England and Wales. Without directly raising the home rule issue, they announced undefined plans for associating the people of Ireland with the conduct of Irish affairs. Throughout the session Campbell-Bannerman took an active part in debate. At the outset the procedure of the House of Commons was revised with a view to economising the time of the house, and a Scottish grand committee was set up to deal with Scottish business (9 April). In South African affairs Campbell-Bannerman showed special resolution. While bringing Chinese labour to an end, he boldly insisted on establishing without delay full responsible government in the newly conquered Transvaal and Orange Free State colonies and on revoking the plan of the late government for giving a preliminary trial to a very modified scheme of representative government. The opposition declared this step unduly venturesome, but Campbell-Bannerman carried with him his colleagues and his party. After a committee had gone out to South Africa and had reported on the electoral basis of the constitution to be granted to the two new colonies, he announced the main provisions of the new responsible constitution on 31 July. The three domestic measures which mainly occupied the time of parliament were the education bill for the public control of all public money spent on education and for_the abolition of religious tests for teachers, the trades disputes bill for extending the rights of trades unions in trades disputes, and the plural voting bill for disallowing more votes than one to any voter. The discussion of these bills was prolonged through an autumn session. All passed the House of Commons by great majorities, although the trades disputes bill excited misgivings among some supporters who thought the prime minister making unwise concessions to his labour allies. 'C.-B. seems,' wrote the duke of Devonshire, 'prepared to go any lengths.' In the House of Lords all three bills were strongly opposed. The trades disputes bill was freely amended by the lords, but somewhat ironically they abstained from insisting on their amendments, and the bill became law. The plural voting bill was summarily rejected. Much negotiation took place over the lords' amendments to the education bill, but no compromise was reached, and the bill was dropped on the final adherence of the lords to their demand that in all non-provided schools denominational teaching should continue independently of the local authority. In the House of Lords the duke of Devonshire and the bishop of Hereford supported the government. Campbell-Bannerman on 20 Dec. laid the blame for the failure of the bill on Mr. Balfour, and argued that the lords' amendments would perpetuate and extend the very system which the bill was designed to abrogate.
But the action of the lords raised far larger issues than details of the education question. Campbell-Bannerman at the same time as he announced the withdrawal of the education bill charged the upper house with neutralising and thwarting and distorting 'the policy which the electors have shown they approve.' He warned the lords that the resources neither of the British constitution nor of the House of Commons were exhausted, and 'that a way must be found, by which the will of the people, expressed through their elected representatives in this house, will be made to prevail.'
In matters of foreign policy Campbell-Bannerman devoted his efforts to advocating arbitration for the settlement of international disputes, to urging the policy of limiting armaments by negotiation with rival powers, and to encouraging liberal sentiment in foreign countries. On 23 July 1906 there assembled in London the fourteenth inter-parliamentary conference, which was attended by members of the Russian duma, the newly instituted Russian parliament. Before the opening of the conference the duma was dissolved by the Tsar. Campbell-Bannerman, who was present to welcome the conference, referred to the incident in the memorable words 'La duma est morte : vive la duma !' Speaking in the house (5 March 1906), he favoured the two-power naval standard, with the qualification that close alliances with the greatest naval powers might make its maintenance needless. His hopes of reducing armaments were not realised.
In the vacation of 1906 Lady Campbell-Bannerman died at Marienbad, and although the prime-minister's political energy seemed unimpaired during the following autumn session and at the opening of the new session, he never recovered the blow. The anxiety in which her ill-health had long involved him had intensified the strain of public life. But his sense of public duty was high. When parliament met on 12 Feb. 1907, he repeated his determination to bring the conflict with the lords to a decisive end. The king's speech contained the sentence : 'Serious differences affecting the working of our parliamentary system have arisen from unfortunate differences between the two houses. My ministers have this important subject under consideration with a view to a solution of the difficulty.' A final handling of the problem was, however, postponed. The government prepared to devote their strength to Ireland to 'measures for further associating the people of Ireland with the management of their domestic affairs.' These words were identical with those used in the former king's speech. The government's hope was to conciliate by a moderate policy those of their party who distrusted a thorough - going policy of home rule. The effort failed. A plan of creating a series of Irish councils was rejected by the Irish members, and was consequently dropped. The prime minister pointed with greater pride to a reduction of nearly 2,000,000l. on the navy estimates (5 March). On the eve of the Hague peace conference of May 1907 he contributed to the 'Nation' newspaper an article entitled 'The Hague Conference and the Limitation of Armaments' (Nation, 7 March 1907), in which he urged his favourite plea. But the pronouncement excited mistrust in Germany, and on 30 May the German chancellor, Prinz von Billow, announced that Germany would refuse to discuss at the conference the arrest of armaments.
The session of 1907 bore fruit in Mr. Haldane's army scheme, the Criminal Appeal Act, the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act, and the Small Holdings Act for England and Wales. Two government bills adopted by the commons, the land values (Scotland) bill and the small landholders (Scotland) bill, were rejected by the lords in August. Meanwhile, Campbell-Bannerman, after three days' debate, carried by 434 to 149 the motion 'That in order to give effect to the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives, it is necessary that the power of the other house to alter or reject bills passed by this house should be so restricted by law as to secure that within the limits of a single parliament the final decision of the commons shall prevail' (26 June).
There was no autumn session, but Campbell-Bannerman was not free from public business. Speaking in Edinburgh (5 Oct.) he said that the dominant political fact of the day was that the government, though powerful in the House of Commons and in the country, lived on sufferance ; and he recapitulated the serious grievances of the commons against the lords. In November the German emperor and empress paid a state visit to King Edward VII, which required Campbell-Bannerman's constant attendance. He left Windsor early on 13 Nov. for a luncheon at the Guildhall in honour of their imperial majesties, and the same evening spoke at the Colston banquet at Bristol. An attack of heart failure took place in the night. Recovery seemed rapid. He presided at several meetings of the cabinet before the end of the month ; but acting on medical advice, he spent the next eight weeks at Biarritz (27 Nov. 1907 to 20 Jan. 1908).
On his return journey Campbell-Bannerman stayed a few days in Paris, and had interviews with the prime minister, M. Clemenceau, and M. Pichon, the French foreign minister. He was not in his place in parliament when the session opened on 29 Jan. In the king's speech an announcement of the re-introduction of the two Scottish bills rejected by the House of Lords was the only reminder of the constitutional struggle with the lords. A promise of old age pensions and of an Irish universities bill was the most important item in the government's programme. Campbell-Bannerman came to the house on 4 Feb. to move in vigorous language an address to the king on the assassination of King Carlos and the duke of Braganza, and to express sympathy with the royal family of Portugal. On 12 Feb. he moved the 'guillotine,' or an 'allocation of time 'motion, providing for the rapid passage through the House of Commons of the two Scottish bills. He did not reappear in parliament. He had become 'father of the House of Commons' on 22 May 1907, when George Henry Finch, M.P. for Rutland (since 1867), died. He Lad sat nearly forty years continuously for the Stirling Burghs when his parliamentary career ended.
Campbell-Bannerman stayed at home on 13 and 14 Feb. on grounds of fatigue. On 15 Feb. a sharp attack of influenza supervened, and he never recovered his strength. On 4 March King Edward VII, whose relations with him during his period of office had been very cordial, called to see him before leaving for Biarritz and saw him alone for some time. On 4 April he resigned his office, and was succeeded by Mr. Asquith. He died of heart failure at 9.15 a.m. on 22 April at his official residence, 10 Downing Street. By his own desire he waa buried at Meigle, by the side of his wife (28 April), the first part of the service taking place on 27 April in Westminster Abbey. On the same day the House of Commons re-assembled after the Easter vacation, and it adjourned out of respect for him, after impressive tributes had been paid to his memory. Mr. Asquith, his successor, called attention to his modest estimate of himself, to his sensitiveness to human suffering and wrong-doing, to his contempt for victories won in any sphere by mere brute force, and to his almost passionate love of peace, combined with personal courage—'not of a defiant and aggressive type, but calm, patient, persistent, indomitable.' 'He was,' Mr. Asquith continued, 'the least cynical of mankind, but no one had a keener eye for the humours and ironies of the political situation. He was a strenuous and uncompromising fighter, a strong party man, but he harboured no resentment. He met both good and evil fortune with the same unclouded brow, the same unruffled temper, the same unshakable confidence in the justice and righteousness of his cause.'
Campbell-Bannerman's career as leader lasted rather more than nine years. At the outset his opportunity, unsought by himself, was due to the withdrawal of senior and more prominent colleagues. He was twice unanimously elected leader. For seven years in opposition he led his party fearlessly and cheerfully through its darkest days ; restoring confidence by his sagacity and determination ; turning to good account the errors of his opponents ; developing a frankly progressive programme ; and finally undertaking without hesitation to form a government in which he successfully combined all the elements of strength in his party. When the time came, his original selection as leader as well as his authority as prime minister were emphatically ratified at the polls by the liberal victory of 1906, which Gladstone's greatest triumphs never approached. The new House of Commons revealed his strong personal popularity with his party ; and though his term of office as prime minister ended in little more than two years, it will be memorable for the grant of self-government to South Africa and for his House of Lords policy subsequently embodied in the Parliament Act of 1911.
A man of ample means and many social interests, a good linguist and a born raconteur, he found his chief recreation in European travel, in his books, and in entertaining his friends. It was his habit for many years to spend a portion of the autumn recess at Marienbad for his wife's health. He was not an orator. But as a widely read scholar he was scrupulous and even fastidious in the choice of language, and his speeches, which he carefully prepared, were admirable in form. As a rule he spoke from copious notes. Though this somewhat marred his delivery, he was effective and ready in debate, and a strong and successful platform speaker. His shrewd wit, which was always good humoured, his courage, and sincerity never failed. He was a warm supporter of women's suffrage.
In 1880 he purchased Belmont Castle, near Meigle. once the abode of Lord- advocate Sir George, 'the bloody Mackenzie,' and known as Kirkhill when it was the residence of the bishops of Brechin. Campbell-Bannerman thoroughly restored the house, which had been greatly injured by fire while in possession of Lord Wharncliffe, of whom Campbell-Bannerman bought it. In 1907 he was made both hon. D.C.L. of Oxford and hon. LL.D. of Cambridge. He was known familiarly both inside and outside the House of Commons as 'C.-B.'
In 1860 he married Sarah Charlotte, daughter of Major-general Sir Charles Bruce, K.C.B. Lady Campbell-Bannerman died at Marienbad on 30 Aug. 1906, without issue. She was a woman of great spirit and/Of fine feeling and discernment, was the constant companion of her husband, and shared all his interests. For many years before her death her health was indifferent, and she lived much in retirement. Campbell-Bannerman's heir was James Hugh Campbell (b. 1889), grandson of his elder brother.
There are portraits of Campbell-Bannerman in the National Liberal Club, by Mr. John Colin Forbes; in the Reform Club, by Mr. J. H. F. Bacon, A.R.A.; and in the National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, by Sir James Guthrie, P.R.S.A.; all were painted while he was prime minister. A monument to him was voted by parliament. It was placed in Westminster Abbey in 1912; the design includes a bust by Mr. Paul Raphael Montford, who has since been commissioned to execute a full-length statue, to be erected at Stirling.
[Private information; personal knowledge; The Times, 23 April 1908; Lucy's Diaries of Parliament; Holland's Duke of Devonshire, 1911; Hansard's Debates.]