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Viscount John Morley Morley of Blackburn

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MORLEY OF BLACKBURN, VISCOUNT (JOHN MORLEY), English author and statesman: b. Blackburn, Lancashire, 24 Dec. 1838. His father, a surgeon of good professional repute, was a Yorkshireman, and his mother a North umbrian. He was straitly reared: uthe rigors of Sabbatical observance forced on us a literary diet that neither enlightened the head nor melted heart and temper?' His early education was obtained at an Independent school in his native town, from which he went to University College School, London, where Joseph Cham berlain had preceded him, and then to Chelten ham College; there he won a scholarship at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he lodged in the rooms at one time occupied by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. It had been in tended that in due course he should take orders in the Church of England; but his life at Oxford had shaken his foundations. Although never formally a Positivist, he was profoundly influenced by the teachings of Comte; and in political economy he became a disciple of John Stuart Mill, and imbibed the "pure milk of the Millite ward') from the master himself. After graduation (1869) he embarked on a journal istic career, and in 1873 he was called to the bar of Lincoln's Inn, of which he was elected a bencher in 1891. He was on the staff of the Saturday Review and afterward edited the Literary Review (later the Parthenon). He suc ceeded George Henry Lewes as editor of the Fortnightly Review in 1867, and during his reign, which terminated in 1882, the magazine became noted, not only for its high literary standards, but for the diffusion of radical ideas in things temporal, and in things spiritual for its pro nouncedly aggressive agnosticism. His contrib utors included the most illustrious names in the letters and controversies of the time. Mor ley also became reader for the publishing house of MacMillan, and edited the 'English Man of Letters' series. In 1880 he became editor of the Pall Mall Gazette; and in that capacity be gan his long association with the Irish Home Rule cause, which throughout has been his chief political preoccupation; and he opposed the policy of coercion in Ireland which at this period found favor with the Liberal leaders. Morley had before this made two unsuccessful attempts to enter Parliament: in 1869 for Black burn; and in 1880 for Westminster; and in 1873 had begun the friendship with Joseph Chamberlain which was to endure through life and the political identification with him which was finally to break in 1886. In 1883 he was returned for Newcastle-on-Tyne at a by-elec tion, and his connection with journalism ter minated. After the conversion of the Liberal party to Home Rule he accepted the post of Chief Secretary for Ireland on the formation of the brief Gladstone Ministry of 1886— an ap pointment that was acceptable to the Irish Na tionalists, because, unlike his leader and the ma jority of his colleagues, he had no political epasta to wipe out; and he became the trusted intermediary in the difficult and delicate nego tiations between the Irish members and the Cab inet leading up to the introduction of the first and second Home Rule Bills. After the defeat of the measure of 1886 he, with the exception of Gladstone, came to occupy the chief place in the task of converting the English people to yield to the Nationalist claims. He again ac cepted the post of Chief Secretary in the Glad stone and Rosebery cabinets (1893-95) ; and on him fell to a large extent the task of adjusting and of piloting the Home Rule Bill of 1892 through the House of Commons. At the gen eral election of 1895 he was defeated in the con test at Newcastle-on-Tyne — largely because of his refusal to vote for a statutory eight-hour day for miners; and in the following year he was elected for the Montrose Burghs —a seat he held until his elevation to the peerage in 1908. Between 1899 and 1903 he was half with

drawn from politics while engaged in the colos sal task of writing the of Gladstone; but he condemned the diplomacy that had led up to the South African War and was pro-Boer in his sympathies. From 1905 to 1910 he was Secretary for India in the Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith cabinets, his tenure being note worthy for reforms in administration and the introduction of Indians into the Councils of India; and throughout his term his relations with the governor-general, Lord Minto, were markedly cordial. After his resignation in 1910, he accepted the lighter post of Lord President of the Council, which he continued to hold un til his retirement from public life on the out break of the Great War in August 1914, with the participation in which by Great Britain he was out of sympathy. Morley held for 30 years a conspicuous place in British public life; but, as was to be expected from his training and earlier work, he never became a great Parlia mentary debater. But the transparent honesty of conviction which had earned for him the sobriquet of "'Honest the absence of overstatement and of superlatives, the profound thought and fine literary texture which marked his speeches, ensured for his utterances full reports, and they had considerable educative effect on the country. His tenure of the crucial Irish office — the most wearing and thankless of all posts and the grave of many reputations —was rendered only less difficult because he was in sympathy with Irish aspirations; and he was an undoubted success at the India office, where failure might have been anticipated. But his place in public life is secondary to his rank as an author. His writings include essays, studies of the French encyclopedists and politi cal biography, and they bear the stamp of a rich, full, matured and balanced mind, which illuminates everything it touches. His works include 'Edmund Burke) (1867) ; Mis cellanies) (1871, 1877) ; 'Voltaire' (1871) ; The Struggle for National Education' (1873) ; (1874); 'On Compromise' (1874) ; 'Diderot and the Encyclopedists) (1878) ; 'Burke) (1879) ; 'Studies in Literature' (1891) ; 'Oliver Cromwell) (1900) • and the standard and definitive 'Lives) of Cobden (1881), and of Gladstone (1903) ; the last named one of the greatest biographies in the English language. His latest work, 'Recollections' (2 vols., 1917), covers his entire life. While not abating one jot from his characteristic views the volumes are written in a large and gracious spirit, and contain many intimate and delightful sketches of the most distinguished figures in letters and public life of his time.

Many nonors have come to him. He has been a trustee of the British Museum since 1894; was elected (in succession to Lord Acton) an honorary Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, in 1902; was one of the first recipients of the Order of Merit founded by King Edward VII in 1902; has been the chancellor of Manchester University since 1908; and holds numerous honorary degrees. He visited the United States in 1868 and 1904, on the last occasion as the guest of Mr. Andrew Carnegie; on the death of Lord Acton, Mr. Carnegie bought and presented his valuable library to Mr. Morley (1902), who in turn gifted it to Cambridge University; and in 1909 Mr. Carnegie gave Manchester Univer sity $50,000 to establish a chemical laboratory to be named after his friend. Consult Cecil, 'Six Oxford Thinkers' (London 1909).