Asquith

I have just finished reading R.B. McCallum’s Asquith (1936).  H.H. Asquith was British Prime Minister 1908-1916.  A Yorkshire man, he was elected in 1886  as a Liberal Home Ruler  for East Fife.  Allied with Gladstone, he continued to support Home Rule throughout his parliamentary career.

In 1920, as leader of the Opposition: ‘In regard to Ireland, then harassed by the guerilla war with Sinn Fein, he boldly declared for Dominion Home Rule. It was the most radical step of his whole public life. For once he was in advance of public opinion.  He was ridiculed for a fool and denounced as a traitor, yet within two years his policy was carried into effect by Lloyd  George and his Unionist colleagues.’ (p.136)

McCallum was later Master of Pembroke College, Oxford.

‘For this Club, at least, it is a sign of grace when a public man cites Johnson.  There is no statesman of our time who does this more often, or more effectively, than Asquith.’  The Forty Years of the Johnson Club 1884-1924, George Whale, 1925, p.18.

John Buchan admired Asquith’s ‘contempt for advertisement’.

‘He was a naturally sweet-natured man, but under that gentleness there lay judgement and firmness, as was shown in the great crisis of history.’ Arthur Conan Doyle, Memories and Adventures, Chap. XXIII, Some Notable People.