The Info List - Edwin Samuel Montagu

Edwin Samuel Montagu
Edwin Samuel Montagu
PC (6 February 1879 – 15 November 1924) was a British Liberal politician who served as Secretary of State for India between 1917 and 1922. Montagu was a "radical" Liberal [1] and the third practising Jew (after Sir Herbert Samuel and Sir Rufus Isaacs) to serve in the British cabinet.


1 Background and education 2 Political career 3 Views on Zionism 4 Family 5 References

5.1 Bibliography

6 External links

Background and education[edit] Montagu was the second son and sixth child of Samuel Montagu, 1st Baron Swaythling, by his wife Ellen, daughter of Louis Cohen. He was educated at Clifton College, the City of London School, University College London and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2] At Cambridge, he was the first student president of the Cambridge University Liberal Club from 1902 to 1903.[3] In 1902, he was also president of the Cambridge Union. Political career[edit]

Edwin Montagu (left) Secretary of State for India, shown in the 1910s.

Montagu was elected Member of Parliament for Chesterton in 1906, a seat he held until 1918, and then represented Cambridgeshire until 1922. He served under H. H. Asquith
H. H. Asquith
as Under-Secretary of State for India
from 1910 to 1914, as Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
from 1914 to 1915 and again from 1915 to 1916 and as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (with a seat in the Cabinet) in 1915 and 1916. In 1915 he was sworn of the Privy Council. In 1916 he was promoted to Minister of Munitions. Montagu was a friend of Asquith, Gertrude Bell, Lord Lloyd, Maurice Hankey and Duff Cooper, with whom he dined frequently. When Hankey was promoted to the newly created post of Cabinet Secretary, he recommended Montagu as Minister for National Service, for which he was considered in December 1916 (the job was given in the end to Neville Chamberlain). Instead he was initially left out of David Lloyd George's coalition government in December 1916, but in August 1917 he was appointed Secretary of State for India.[4] Montagu was not initially part of Lloyd George's inner circle, when he became Prime Minister, but he remained in office until his resignation in March 1922. As Secretary of State, Montagu represented the interests of the British Empire
British Empire
and opposed the most strident Indian nationalists, calling S. Subramania Iyer
S. Subramania Iyer
" Grand old man of South India."[5] Montagu led the Indian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, where he opposed plans for dividing Turkey (including the Greek occupation of Smyrna
and the projected removal of the Sultan from Constantinople). On this subject, at the Council of Four on 17 May 1919, he introduced representatives of Muslim India
(including the Aga Khan) and urged that Muslim peoples were beginning to see the Conference as "taking sides against Islam".[6] He was primarily responsible for the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms
Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms
which led to the Government of India
Act 1919, committing the British to the eventual evolution of India
towards dominion status. Views on Zionism[edit] Montagu was the third British Jew to enter the Cabinet, the inner circle of government. He was strongly opposed to Zionism, which he called "a mischievous political creed", and opposed the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which he considered anti-semitic and whose terms he managed to modify. In a memo to the Cabinet, he outlined his views on Zionism thus:

...I assume that it means that Mahommedans [Muslims] and Christians are to make way for the Jews and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with the English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mahommedans in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners, just in the same way as Jews will hereafter be treated as foreigners in every country but Palestine. Perhaps also citizenship must be granted only as a result of a religious test.[7]

He was opposed by his cousin Herbert Samuel, a moderate Zionist who became the first High Commissioner
High Commissioner
of the British Mandate of Palestine. Family[edit]

World War I enlistment poster from Canada, with Jewish members of the British parliament, Montagu (extreme right).

In 1912, Montagu accompanied the prime minister on holiday in Sicily. H. H. Asquith
H. H. Asquith
brought along his daughter Violet, and she in turn brought her friend Venetia Stanley, daughter of Edward Stanley, 4th Baron Stanley of Alderley. It appears that during this holiday, both men fell in love with Stanley. During the next three years, Asquith wrote more and more frequently to her, even during Cabinet meetings. At the same time, Montagu was attempting to court her, unsuccessfully proposing marriage in 1913. She liked him but did not reciprocate his love. Also, Montagu had to marry within his Jewish faith to keep his inheritance. Although Stanley was from a freethinking family and was not a devout Anglican, conversion to Judaism
seemed too great a barrier. However, Asquith's epistolary obsession with Venetia and his constant demands for advice apparently became overwhelming even for this intelligent and well-read woman, keenly interested in politics as she was. As a result, she finally accepted Montagu's proposal on 28 April 1915. She converted to Judaism, and the couple were wed on 26 July 1915. A 2012 book argues that the marriage was one of social convenience to cover both Montagu's homosexuality and Venetia's earlier affair with Asquith. Conspiracy of Secrets suggests that this affair had resulted in the 1912 birth of an illegitimate child, Louis Stanley, who grew up to run British Racing Motors.[8] The marriage was unhappy and she had several affairs, including one with the press magnate Lord Beaverbrook. In 1923 a child was born: legally and socially Judith was Montagu's daughter, but she was probably fathered by William Humble Eric Ward, then Viscount Ednam and later 3rd Earl of Dudley. She grew up to befriend Princess Margaret during World War II
World War II
and marry the American photographer Milton Gendel, with whom she created an artistic salon in Italy.[9] They had one child, Anna Mathias (née Gendel), the god-daughter of Princess Margaret.[10] Despite his wife's affairs, Montagu's marriage lasted until his premature death in 1924. His cause of physical deterioration and death at the age of 45 was unknown, but was thought to be either blood poisoning or encephalitis.[11] References[edit]

^ Levine, Naomi. Politics, Religion, and Love: The Story of H.H. Asquith, Venetia Stanley, and Edwin Montagu, p. 83 ^ "Montagu, Edwin Samuel (MNTG898ES)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  ^ About Us, Keynes Society ^ Note, memo, 13 Dec 1916, Milner Papers, box 123, folios 124-8, Roskill, I, p.344-45 ^ Erez,, Manela,. The Wilsonian moment : self-determination and the international origins of anticolonial nationalism. Oxford. ISBN 9780195176155. OCLC 176633240.  ^ The Deliberations of the Council of Four: Notes of the Official Interpreter Paul Mantoux tr. A. S. Link (Princeton, 1992) vol. 2 p. 99. ^ Montagu, Edwin (23 August 1917). "Memorandum of Edwin Montagu on the Anti-Semitism
of the Present (British) Government". Retrieved 7 November 2010.  ^ Neate, B. Conspiracy of Secrets. John Blake, 2012. ^ "A Six-Decade Roman Holiday". Vanity Fair. November 2011. ^ Debrett's Peerage (2010), Montagu, Viscount ^ Naomi Levine (1 September 1991). Politics, Religion, and Love: The Story of H.H. Asquith, Venetia Stanley, and Edwin Montagu, Based on the Life and Letters of Edwin Samuel Montagu. NYU Press. pp. 682–. ISBN 978-0-8147-5057-5. 


Hankey, Sir Maurice. "Note on the Composition of the Secretariat of the War Cabinet". Memorandum, 13 December 1916.  Roskill, Stephen P. (1970). Hankey: Man of Secrets. 2 vols, 1877-1918; 1018-1931. Collins. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edwin Samuel Montagu.

Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Edwin Montagu

Parliament of the United Kingdom

Preceded by Walter Raymond Greene Member of Parliament for Chesterton 1906–1918 Constituency abolished

New constituency Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire 1918–1922 Succeeded by Harold Stannus Gray

Political offices

Preceded by The Master of Elibank Under-Secretary of State for India 1910–1914 Succeeded by Charles Henry Roberts

Preceded by Charles Masterman Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1914–1915 Succeeded by Francis Dyke Acland

Preceded by Charles Masterman Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1915 Succeeded by Winston Churchill

Preceded by Francis Dyke Acland Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1915–1916 Succeeded by Thomas McKinnon Wood

Preceded by Herbert Samuel Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1916 Succeeded by Thomas McKinnon Wood

Preceded by David Lloyd George Minister of Munitions 1916 Succeeded by Christopher Addison

Preceded by Austen Chamberlain Secretary of State for India 1917–1922 Succeeded by The Viscount Peel

v t e

Minister of Munitions
Minister of Munitions
of the United Kingdom

David Lloyd George Edwin Samuel Montagu Christopher Addison Winston Churchill Lord Inverforth

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 18025185 LCCN: n82064067 ISNI: 0000 0000 8361 4470 GND: 11914428X SELIBR: 348462 SUDOC: 050599453 BNF: cb10445694q (data) SN