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Edwin Samuel Montagu

india, lord, secretary and office

MONTAGU, EDWIN SAMUEL ( I 879I 924 ) , British politician, second son of the 1st Lord Swaythling (q.v.), was born on Feb. 6, 1879, and educated at the City of London School and at Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he was president of the Union and acquired a considerable reputation. When he entered parliament in 1906, as Liberal member for the Chester ton division of Cambridgeshire, he was chosen by Asquith, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, as his parliamentary secretary, and continued in that position when his chief succeeded to the premiership. Early in 1910 he was appointed under-secretary for India, under Lord Morley, and remained in the post, under Lord Crewe till 1914; and so made his first official acquaintance with India under the influence of Lord reforms and Lord Durbar changes of 1911. As both his chiefs were in the Lords, he was the spokesman of the office in the Commons. He went out to India during his tenure of office to see things for himself.

After holding during the World War the posts of financial secretary to the treasury, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster (1915) and minister of munitions (1916), he returned in 1917 to the India Office as secretary of state and began a tenure of that post which will always be memorable in Indian annals.

He visited India in the following winter for the second time, and held prolonged conferences with the viceroy, Lord Chelms ford, the leading members of the Indian Civil Service, ruling princes and native politicians, and, with the viceroy, received deputations and memoranda from all classes. Ultimately in

July 1918 there was published an elaborate report, signed by the viceroy as well as by the secretary of state, recommending a series of constitutional reforms which should give the Indian peoples in time to come a large and real share in their own govern ment. In December 1919 he had the satisfaction of passing through parliament the Government of India bill, which estab lished in India, in accordance with the report, what was called a a partition of the powers of Government between the civil service and the native population. For events in India which followed see INDIA : History.

In March 1922 Montagu had to resign his office for having published, without the authority of the cabinet, a telegram from the Government of India urging a more friendly policy towards Turkey. He defended his action by maintaining that cabinet responsibility had been destroyed by Lloyd George's dictatorial methods. At the general election of 1922 he lost his seat in Parlia ment, and went into the city, becoming vice-chairman of the De Beers Co. He had married in 1915 Beatrice Venetia, youngest daughter of the 4th Baron Sheffield, and he died in London on Nov. 15, 1924.