CHAMBERLAIN, JOSEPH ( 1836—). A British Liberal Unionist and Imperialist states man. He was born in London, July. 1836, and was educated at the University College School. He entered the screw-manufacturing firm of Net tlefold & Chamberlain, Birmingham, and re tired in 1874. shortly after the death of his father, one of the partners. He early distin guished himself in local debating societies by his radical opinions and fluency of speech. In 1868 he was named president of the first executive committee of the National Educational League, held in Birmingham (q.v.). and the same year was elected town councilor. He became very popular in the northern industrial centres: was three times elected mayor of Birmingham, 1873 76, and chairman of the school board, 1874-76. His mayoralty was marked by numerous city improvements and embellishments, accomplished against much opposition. After an unsuccessful contest in Sheffield, 1874, he entered Parliament, in 1876. on a Birmingham by-election, and soon achieved distinction. He was returned at the general election in 1880, and appointed president of the Board of Trade by Gladstone. with member ship in the Cabinet. He was instrumental in reforming the bankruptcy laws and unsuccess fully attempted to amend the navigation laws. His influence increased throughout the nation by his advocacy of popular reforms, including a plan for the 'restitution' of land, the `ransom' of property, and the consequent regeneration of the masses. He was recognized as the leader of the Radical Party, and at the general election in 1S86 was elected to Parliament by West Bir mingham. lie beemne president of the Local Government Board, hut resigned in be cause of his antagonism to Gholstone's Home Rule Bill, and with Lord Hartington he organ ized the Liberal Union Party, which supported the Conservatives. Ile was fiercely assailed by Home Rulers as a renegade. In 1887 his visit and speeches in Ulster strengthened the Union cause there. The following year be went as chief commissioner to Washington, and effected an agree ment concerning the Canadian fisheries dispute. He was married on November 15. 1888, to Miss Endicott, (laughter of President Cleveland's War Secretary. When Lord Ilartington became Duke of Devonshire (December, 1891). Chamberlain succeeded him as leader of the Liberal Union Party in the Commons. In 1895 he was appoint ed Colonial Secretary in the Marquis of Salis bury's 'coalition' Ministry, and showed untiring energy in developing the commercial interests of the colonies. In 1896 his firmness settled the Ashanti trouble without bloodshed, and his deci sion and effective diplomacy safely steered his office through the Transvaal imbroglio over the Jameson raid, and the intrigues in which Cecil Rhodes's South Africa Company had almost involved the home Government. He was in
criminated as an accessory, hut as a self-ap pointed witness explicitly denied the charge, and, notwithstanding subsequent foreign journalistic affirmations and investigations, no conclusive evi dence was produced to show the complicity of any one connected with his office. In 1897 his able cooperation secured the passage of the Workmen's Compensation Act. In 1898 he strongly advocated an Anglo-American alliance. With a predilection for the 'new' or American diplomacy, which startled European circles in that year, his straightforward utterances on for eign affairs brought upon him the vituperation of Russia over his 'long spoon' speech on the Port Arthur and Talien-wan occupation. This was followed by the indignation of the French (1899) over the threat he made regarding their ill manners, as shown in the caricatures of the Queen; and by the anger of the Germans. whose treatment of their prisoners in the Franco-Ger man War he had compared with that of the Brit ish in the conflict with the Boers. He persist ently urged the claims of the Uitlanders on the Transvaal Government, and conducted the nego tiations which ended in the invasion of Natal by the Boers of the Transvaal and their allies, the Free Staters. He was reelected to Parliament against opposition in 1900, and defended his South African policy on the grounds of expedi ency and justice, predicting its ultimate triumph. In the Commons, the minority, disclaiming malice. attempted his aspersion by an insinu ation of personal interest in governmental war contracts, which his self-possessed defense, cool and cynical in its aggressiveness, easily disposed of. He received a strong majority support. and, reappointed Colonial Secretary, systematized a plan of reconstruction for the Boer country which received ministerial approval and popular indorsement. His concessions to Canada's com mercial autonomy and his measures for the con stitution of the Australian Commonwealth have been special features of his colonial administra tion. On the retirement of Lord Salisbury. and the succession of Balfour, he was continued in the same office. He has received academie hon ors, DCA... Oxford; LL.D.. Cambridge; and in 1896 was elected Lord Rector of Glasgow Uni versity. Mr. Chamberlain has occasionally con tributed to periodical literature. Consult: Cham bcrlain, "Alliniciiml Institutions in America and England. Comparison of Birmingham and 13os. in Vol. 1., xiv., Forum (New York, 1892) ; Morris. The Bight Hun. Joseph Chamberlain (New York. 1901) : and Jeyes, Joseph Chamber lain (London, 189(3).