Arthur Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Arthur Augustus William Harry Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede (16 February 1871 – 23 March 1946) was a British politician, writer, and social activist. He was the third son of Sir Henry Ponsonby
Henry Ponsonby
Sir Henry Frederick Ponsonby GCB was a British soldier and royal court official who served as Queen Victoria's Private Secretary.-Biography:He was the son of the British Army general, Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby....

, Private Secretary to Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, and the great-grandson of Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough
Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough
Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough was a British peer.Ponsonby was the eldest son of the 2nd Earl of Bessborough and succeeded to his father's titles in 1793...

. Frederick Edward Grey Ponsonby, 1st Baron Sysonby, was his elder brother.

Lord Ponsonby is probably most remembered for the statement: "When war is declared, truth is the first casualty", which he made in his book Falsehood in Wartime: Propaganda Lies of the First World War (1928). A similar line previously had been spoken in 1917 by US Republican Senator Hiram Johnson
Hiram Johnson
Hiram Warren Johnson was a leading American progressive and later isolationist politician from California; he served as the 23rd Governor from 1911 to 1917, and as a United States Senator from 1917 to 1945.-Early life:...


Education and early career

He was educated at Eton
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 and Balliol College, Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, and joined the Diplomatic Service, taking assignments in Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 and Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...



At the 1906
United Kingdom general election, 1906
-Seats summary:-See also:*MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1906*The Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885-1918-External links:***-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987**...

 general election he ran unsuccessfully as a Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 candidate, but was elected as Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for Stirling Burghs
Stirling Burghs (UK Parliament constituency)
Stirling Burghs was a district of burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1708 to 1918. The constituency comprised the burghs of Stirling in Stirlingshire, Dunfermline, and Inverkeithing in Fife, Queensferry, in Linlithgowshire , and Culross, which...

 at a by-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

 in 1908.

He was opposed to Britain's involvement in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and joined with George Cadbury
George Cadbury
George Cadbury was the third son of John Cadbury, a Quaker who founded Cadbury's cocoa and chocolate company.-Background:...

, Ramsay MacDonald
Ramsay MacDonald
James Ramsay MacDonald, PC, FRS was a British politician who was the first ever Labour Prime Minister, leading a minority government for two terms....

, E. D. Morel
E. D. Morel
Edmund Dene Morel, originally Georges Eduard Pierre Achille Morel de Ville was a British journalist, author and socialist politician. In collaboration with Roger Casement, the Congo Reform Association and others, Morel, in newspapers such as his West African Mail, led a campaign against slavery...

, Arnold Rowntree and Charles Trevelyan
Sir Charles Trevelyan, 3rd Baronet
Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, 3rd Baronet PC , the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, was a British Liberal, and later Labour, politician and landowner...

, to form the Union of Democratic Control
Union of Democratic Control
The Union of Democratic Control was a British pressure group formed in 1914 to press for a more responsive foreign policy. While not a pacifist organization, it was opposed to military influence in government.-World War I:...

 (UDC), which became a very prominent anti-war organisation in Britain.

He was defeated in the 1918 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1918
The United Kingdom general election of 1918 was the first to be held after the Representation of the People Act 1918, which meant it was the first United Kingdom general election in which nearly all adult men and some women could vote. Polling was held on 14 December 1918, although the count did...

, when he stood as an "Independent Democrat" in the new Dunfermline Burghs
Dunfermline Burghs (UK Parliament constituency)
Dunfermline Burghs was a burgh constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1918 until 1974. It elected one Member of Parliament using the first-past-the-post voting system....

 constituency. He then joined the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 and was elected at the 1922 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1922
The United Kingdom general election of 1922 was held on 15 November 1922. It was the first election held after most of the Irish counties left the United Kingdom to form the Irish Free State, and was won by Andrew Bonar Law's Conservatives, who gained an overall majority over Labour, led by John...

 as the MP for the Brightside division of Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...


Ramsay MacDonald
Ramsay MacDonald
James Ramsay MacDonald, PC, FRS was a British politician who was the first ever Labour Prime Minister, leading a minority government for two terms....

 appointed him to be Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1924, and Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
The position of Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British ministerial position, subordinate to that of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, created in 1925 to deal with British relations with the Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the...

 and later Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport was a junior position at the British Ministry of Transport. The office was renamed Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport in 1941, but resumed its former name at the end of the Second World War.-Parliamentary Secretaries to the...

 in 1929. He became a Baron in 1930 and served as leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 from 1931 until 1935, resigning in opposition to the party's policy on sanctions against Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 for its invasion of Abyssinia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...


In 1927-1928 he ran a significant Peace Letter campaign against increasing preparations for war, and from 1936 he became active in the Peace Pledge Union
Peace Pledge Union
The Peace Pledge Union is a British pacifist non-governmental organization. It is open to everyone who can sign the PPU pledge: "I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war...

 and contributed regularly to Peace News
Peace News
Peace News is a pacifist magazine first published on 6 June 1936 to serve the peace movement in the United Kingdom. From later in 1936 to April 1961 it was the official paper of the Peace Pledge Union , and from 1990 to 2004 was co-published with War Resisters' International.-History:Peace News was...


Lord Ponsonby opposed the initiative of Lord Charnwood and Archbishop of Canterbury to ask his Majesty's Government to react on genocidal Holodomor
The Holodomor was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of...

 policies of the Soviet Government.


In 1940 Ponsonby resigned from the Labour Party, opposing its decision to join the coalition government of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...


He wrote a biography of his father which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize
James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Founded in 1919, the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are among the oldest and most prestigious book prizes awarded for literature written in the English language and are Britain's oldest literary awards...

 in 1942: Henry Ponsonby, Queen Victoria's Private Secretary: His Life and Letters.

Personal life and family

On 12 April 1893 he married Dorothea Parry, daughter of Hubert Parry
Hubert Parry
Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1st Baronet was an English composer, teacher and historian of music.Parry's first major works appeared in 1880. As a composer he is best known for the choral song "Jerusalem", the coronation anthem "I was glad" and the hymn tune "Repton", which sets the words...

 and Elizabeth Herbert, daughter of Sidney Herbert. He had one son named Matthew and a daughter, Elizabeth, who, during the 1920s, made a name for herself by being part of the nucleus of the Bright Young People
Bright Young People
The Bright Young People was a nickname given by the tabloid press to a group of bohemian young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s London. They threw elaborate fancy dress parties, went on elaborate treasure hunts through nighttime London, and drank heavily and experimented with drugs—all of which...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.