Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Overview
 
Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

, FZL
Zoological Society of London
The Zoological Society of London is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats...

, DL
Deputy Lieutenant
In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county....

 (25 April 1862 – 7 September 1933), better known as Sir Edward Grey, Bt, was a British 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...

 statesman. He served as Foreign Secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any person in that office. He is probably best remembered for his remark at the outbreak of the First World War: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time
The lamps are going out
"The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time" is a remark attributed to British statesman Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the First World War...

". Ennobled as Viscount Grey of Fallodon in 1916, he was Ambassador to the United States between 1919 and 1920 and Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1923 and 1924.
Quotations

Books are the greatest and the most satisfactory of recreations. I mean the use of books for pleasure. Without books, without having acquired the power of reading for pleasure, none of us can be independent, but if we can read we have a sure defence against boredom in solitude.

Poetry is the greatest literature, and pleasure in poetry is the greatest of literary pleasures. It is also the least easy to attain and there are some people who never do attain it.

There is much poetry for which most of us do not care, but with a little trouble when we are young we may find one or two poets whose poetry, if we get to know it well, will mean very much to us and become part of ourselves... The love for such poetry which comes to us when we are young will not disappear as we get older; it will remain in us, becoming an intimate part of our own being, and will be an assured source of strength, consolation, and delight.

Some one, I think it was Isaac D'Israeli|Isaac Disraeli, said that he who did not make himself acquainted with the best thoughts of the greatest writers would one day be mortified to observe that his best thoughts are their indifferent ones, and it is from the great books that have stood the test of time that we shall get, not only the most lasting pleasure, but a standard by which to measure our own thoughts, the thoughts of others, and the excellence of the literature of our own day.

Encyclopedia
Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

, FZL
Zoological Society of London
The Zoological Society of London is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats...

, DL
Deputy Lieutenant
In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county....

 (25 April 1862 – 7 September 1933), better known as Sir Edward Grey, Bt, was a British 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...

 statesman. He served as Foreign Secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any person in that office. He is probably best remembered for his remark at the outbreak of the First World War: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time
The lamps are going out
"The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time" is a remark attributed to British statesman Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the First World War...

". Ennobled as Viscount Grey of Fallodon in 1916, he was Ambassador to the United States between 1919 and 1920 and Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1923 and 1924. He also gained distinction as an ornithologist.

Background, education and early life

Grey was the eldest of the seven children of Colonel George Henry Grey and Harriet Jane Pearson, daughter of Charles Pearson. His grandfather Sir George Grey, 2nd Baronet
Sir George Grey, 2nd Baronet
Sir George Grey, 2nd Baronet, PC was a British Whig politician. He held office under four Prime Ministers, Lord Melbourne, Lord John Russell, Lord Aberdeen, and Lord Palmerston, and notably served three times as Home Secretary.-Background and education:Grey was the only son of Sir George Grey, 1st...

 of Fallodon, was also a prominent Liberal politician, while his great-grandfather Sir George Grey, Captain R.N. 1st Baronet of Fallodon
Fallodon
 Fallodon is a hamlet situated in Northumberland, England. It is the territorial designation of Viscount Grey of Fallodon. It is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable.- Governance :...

, was the third son of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, KB PC was one of the most important British generals of the 18th century. He was the fourth son of Sir Henry Grey, 1st Baronet, of Howick in Northumberland. He served in the Seven Years' War, American War of Independence and French Revolutionary War...

, and the younger brother of Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC , known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834. A member of the Whig Party, he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the...

. Grey attended Temple Grove school from 1873 until 1876. Whilst at the school Grey's father died unexpectedly in December 1874 and his grandfather assumed responsibility for his education sending him to Winchester College
Winchester College
Winchester College is an independent school for boys in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester, Hampshire, the former capital of England. It has existed in its present location for over 600 years and claims the longest unbroken history of any school in England...

 in 1876 where his head of house was William Palmer
William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne
William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne KG, GCMG, PC , styled Viscount Wolmer between 1882 and 1895, was a British politician and colonial administrator.-Background and education:...

 who had been at Temple Grove. Grey would later have official relations with Palmer when, as Lord Selborne, he served as High Commissioner in South Africa.

Grey went up to Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College , founded in 1263, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England but founded by a family with strong Scottish connections....

 in 1880 to read Greats
Literae Humaniores
Literae Humaniores is the name given to an undergraduate course focused on Classics at Oxford and some other universities.The Latin name means literally "more humane letters", but is perhaps better rendered as "Advanced Studies", since humaniores has the sense of "more refined" or "more learned",...

. Apparently an indolent student he was tutored by Mandell Creighton
Mandell Creighton
Mandell Creighton , was a British historian and a bishop of the Church of England. A scholar of the Renaissance papacy, Creighton was the first occupant of the Dixie Chair of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge, a professorship that was established around the time that the study...

 during the vacations and managed a second in Mods
Honour Moderations
Honour Moderations are a first set of examinations at Oxford University in England during the first part of the degree course for some courses ....

. Grey subsequently became even more idle using his time to become university champion at real tennis
Real tennis
Real tennis – one of several games sometimes called "the sport of kings" – is the original indoor racquet sport from which the modern game of lawn tennis , is descended...

. In 1882 his grandfather died and he became Sir Edward Grey inheriting an estate of about 2000 acres (8.1 km²) and a private income. Returning to Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 in the autumn of 1883, Grey switched to studying jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

 in the belief that it would be an easier option but by January 1884 he had been sent down
Expulsion (academia)
Expulsion or exclusion refers to the permanent removal of a student from a school system or university for violating that institution's rules. Laws and procedures regarding expulsion vary between countries and states.-State sector:...

 but allowed to return to sit his finals
Final examination
A final examination is a test given to students at the end of a course of study or training. Although the term can be used in the context of physical training, it most often occurs in the academic world...

. Grey returned in the summer and achieved a third
British undergraduate degree classification
The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees in the United Kingdom...

.

Grey left university with no clear career plan and in the summer of 1884 he asked a neighbour, Lord Northbrook
Thomas Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook
Thomas George Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook PC, GCSI, FRS , was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

, at the time First Lord of the Admiralty, to find him "serious and unpaid employment". Northbrook recommended him as a private secretary to his kinsman Sir Evelyn Baring
Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer
Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, GCB, OM, GCMG, KCSI, CIE, PC, FRS , was a British statesman, diplomat and colonial administrator....

 the British consul general to Egypt who was attending a conference in London. Grey had shown no particular interest in politics whilst at university but by the summer of 1884 Northbrook found him "very keen on politics" and after the Egyptian conference had ended found him a position as an unpaid assistant private secretary to Hugh Childers
Hugh Childers
Hugh Culling Eardley Childers was a British and Australian Liberal statesman of the nineteenth century. He is perhaps best known for his reform efforts at the Admiralty and the War Office...

, the Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

.

Early political career

Grey was selected as the Liberal Party
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 for Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed (UK Parliament constituency)
Berwick-upon-Tweed is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-Boundaries:...

 where his Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 opponent was the sitting member Earl Percy
Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland
Henry George Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland KG, PC, FRS , styled Lord Lovaine between 1865 and 1867 and Earl Percy between 1867 and 1899, was a British Conservative politician...

. He was duly elected and, at 23, became the youngest MP (Baby of the House
Baby of the House
Baby of the House is the unofficial title given to the youngest member of a parliamentary house. The term is most often applied to members of the British parliament.-Australia:In Australia the term is rarely used...

) in the new House of Commons. Grey retained his seat in the 1892 election
United Kingdom general election, 1892
The 1892 United Kingdom general election was held from 4 July to 26 July 1892. It saw the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury, win the greatest number of seats, but not enough for an overall majority as William Ewart Gladstone's Liberals won many more seats than in the 1886 general election...

 with a majority of only 442 votes and to his surprise was made Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
|The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has been a junior position in the British government since 1782, subordinate to both the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and since 1945 also to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs...

 by William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

 (albeit after his son Herbert
Herbert Gladstone, 1st Viscount Gladstone
Herbert John Gladstone, 1st Viscount Gladstone GCB, GCMG, GBE, PC, JP was a British Liberal statesman. The youngest son of William Ewart Gladstone, he was Home Secretary from 1905 to 1910 and Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 1910 to 1914.-Background and education:Gladstone was...

 had refused the post) under the Foreign Secretary, Lord Rosebery
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, KG, PC was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister. Between the death of his father, in 1851, and the death of his grandfather, the 4th Earl, in 1868, he was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny.Rosebery was a Liberal Imperialist who...

. Grey would later claim that at this point he had had no special training nor paid special attention to foreign affairs.

Grey would later date his first suspicions of future Anglo-German disagreements to his early days in office after Germany sought commercial concessions from Britain in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in return for support for the British position in Egypt. "It was the abrupt and rough peremtoriness of the German action that gave me an unpleasant impression"; not, he added, that the German position was at all "unreasonable", rather that the "method... was not that of a friend." With hindsight, he argued in his memoirs, "the whole policy of the years from 1886 to 1904 [might] be criticized as having played into the hands of Germany".

1895 statement on French expansion in Africa

Prior to the Foreign Office vote on 28 March 1895, Grey asked Lord Kimberley
John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley
John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley KG , PC , known as the Lord Wodehouse from 1846 to 1866, was a British Liberal politician...

 (who had replaced Rosebery as Foreign Secretary when the latter became Prime Minister in 1895) for direction as to how he should answer any question about French activities in West Africa. According to Grey, Kimberley suggested "pretty firm language". In fact, West Africa was not mentioned but when pressed on possible French activities in the Nile Valley Grey stated that a French expedition "would be an unfriendly act and would be so viewed by England" According to Grey the subsequent row both in Paris and in Cabinet was made worse by the failure of Hansard
Hansard
Hansard is the name of the printed transcripts of parliamentary debates in the Westminster system of government. It is named after Thomas Curson Hansard, an early printer and publisher of these transcripts.-Origins:...

 to record that his statement referred explicitly to the Nile Valley and not to Africa in general. The statement was made before the dispatch of the Marchand
Jean-Baptiste Marchand
Major Jean-Baptiste Marchand was a French military officer and explorer in Africa. Marchand is best known for commanding the French expeditionary force during the Fashoda Incident...

 expedition (indeed he believed it might have actually provoked it) and as Grey admits did much to damage future Anglo-French relations.

The Liberal Party lost a key vote in the House of Commons on 21 June 1895 and Grey was amongst the majority in his party that preferred a dissolution to continuing. He seems to have left office with few regrets, noting "I shall never be in office again and the days of my stay in the House of Commons are probably numbered. We" [he and his wife] "are both very glad and relieved...." The Liberals were heavily defeated in the subsequent General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1895
The United Kingdom general election of 1895 was held from 13 July - 7 August 1895. It was won by the Conservatives led by Lord Salisbury who formed an alliance with the Liberal Unionist Party and had a large majority over the Liberals, led by Lord Rosebery...

 although Grey added 300 votes to his own majority. He was to remain out of office for the next ten years, but was sworn of the Privy Council in 1902.

Foreign Secretary 1905-1916

After the Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government of Arthur Balfour
Arthur Balfour
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, DL was a British Conservative politician and statesman...

 fell in December 1905 there was some speculation that H. H. Asquith
H. H. Asquith
Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC, KC served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916...

 and his allies Grey and Richard Haldane
Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane
Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane KT, OM, PC, KC, FRS, FBA, FSA , was an influential British Liberal Imperialist and later Labour politician, lawyer and philosopher. He was Secretary of State for War between 1905 and 1912 during which time the "Haldane Reforms" were implemented...

 would refuse to serve unless the Liberal leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman GCB was a British Liberal Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1905 to 1908 and Leader of the Liberal Party from 1899 to 1908. He also served as Secretary of State for War twice, in the Cabinets of Gladstone and Rosebery...

 accepted a peerage, which would have left Asquith as the real leader in the House of Commons. However, the plot (called the "Relugas Compact" after the Scottish lodge where the men met) collapsed when Asquith agreed to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 under Campbell-Bannerman. Grey was appointed Foreign Secretary (Haldane became Secretary of State for War). The party won a landslide victory in the 1906 general election
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**...

. When Campbell-Bannerman stepped down as Prime Minister in 1907, Grey was one of the two leading candidates to succeed him. The post eventually went to Asquith, and Grey continuted as Foreign Secretary. Grey was to hold office for 11 years to the day, the longest continuous tenure in this office.

Anglo-Russian Entente 1907

As early as 13 December 1905 Grey had assured the Russian Ambassador Count Alexander Benckendorff
Count Alexander Benckendorff
Count Alexander Konstantinovich Benckendorf was a Russian diplomat, who served as ambassador to Denmark and the United Kingdom.-Biography:...

 that he supported the idea of an agreement with Russia. Negotiations began soon after the arrival of Sir Arthur Nicolson
Arthur Nicolson, 1st Baron Carnock
Arthur Nicolson, 1st Baron Carnock , known as Sir Arthur Nicolson, 11th Baronet, from 1899 to 1916, was a British diplomat and politician through the last quarter of the 19th century to the middle of World War I...

 the new British Ambassador in June 1906. In contrast with the previous Conservative government that had seen Russia as a potential threat to the empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, Grey's intention was to re-establish Russia "as a factor in European politics" on the side of France and Great Britain in order to maintain a balance of power
Balance of power in international relations
In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. The concept describes a state of affairs in the international system and explains the behavior of states in that system...

 in Europe

Agadir Crisis 1911

Grey did not welcome the prospect of a renewed crisis over Morocco
Agadir Crisis
The Agadir Crisis, also called the Second Moroccan Crisis, or the Panthersprung, was the international tension sparked by the deployment of the German gunboat Panther, to the Moroccan port of Agadir on July 1, 1911.-Background:...

: he worried that it might either lead to a re-opening of the issues covered by the Treaty of Algeciras
Algeciras Conference
The Algeciras Conference of 1906 took place in Algeciras, Spain, and lasted from January 16 to April 7. The purpose of the conference was to find a solution to the First Moroccan Crisis between France and Germany, which arose as Germany attempted to prevent France from establishing a protectorate...

 or that it might drive Spain into alliance with Germany. Initially Grey tried to restrain both France and Spain but by the Spring of 1911 he had failed on both counts. Grey believed that whether he liked it or not his hands were tied by the terms of the Entente cordiale
Entente Cordiale
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and the French Republic. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a millennium of intermittent...

. The despatch of the German gunboat Panther
SMS Panther
SMS Panther was one of six gunboats of the Iltis-class of the Kaiserliche Marine and, like her sister ships, served in Germany's overseas colonies. The ship was launched on 1 April 1901 in the Kaiserliche Werft, Danzig...

 to Agadir
Agadir
Agadir is a major city in southwest Morocco, capital of the Agadir province and the Sous-Massa-Draa economic region .-Etymology:...

 served to strengthen French resolve and, because he was determined both to protect the agreement with France and also to block German attempts at expansion around the Mediterranean, it pushed Grey closer to France. Grey however tried to calm the situation, merely commenting on the "abrupt" nature of the German intervention, and insisting that Britain must participate in any discussions about the future of Morocco.

In cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 on 4 July Grey accepted that the UK would oppose any German port in the region, any new fortified port anywhere on the Moroccan coast and that Britain must continue to enjoy an "open door" for its trade with Morocco. Grey at this point was resisting efforts by the Foreign Office to support French intransigence. By the time a second cabinet was held on 21 July Grey had adopted a tougher position suggesting that he propose to Germany that a multi-national conference be held and that were Germany to refuse to participate "we should take steps to assert and protect British interests".

July Crisis 1914

Although Grey's activist foreign policy, which relied increasingly on the Entente with France and Russia, came under criticism from the radicals within his own party, he maintained his position because of the support of the Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 for his "non-partisan" foreign policy. In 1914, Grey played a key role in the July Crisis
July Ultimatum
The July Crisis was a diplomatic crisis among the major powers of Europe in the summer of 1914 that led to the First World War...

 leading to the outbreak of 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...

. His attempts to mediate the dispute between Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 by a "Stop in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

" came to nothing, owing to the tepid German response. He also failed to clearly communicate to Germany that a breach of the treaty not merely to respect but also to protect the neutrality of Belgium — of which both Britain and Germany were signatories — would cause Britain to declare war against Germany. When he finally did make such communication, German forces were already massed at the Belgian border, and Helmuth von Moltke
Helmuth von Moltke the Younger
Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke , also known as Moltke the Younger, was a nephew of Field Marshal Count Moltke and served as the Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914. The two are often differentiated as Moltke the Elder and Moltke the Younger...

 convinced Kaiser Wilhelm II it was too late to change the plan of attack. On 3 August, Germany declared war on France and broke the treaty by invading Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. As Grey stood at a window in the Foreign Office, watching the lamps being lit as dusk approached, he famously remarked: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time
The lamps are going out
"The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time" is a remark attributed to British statesman Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the First World War...

". The British Cabinet voted almost unanimously to declare war on August 4.

First World War

Following the declaration of 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...

 Grey found that British foreign policy was constrained by mainly military events that were outside his control. During the war, Grey, along with the Marquess of Crewe was also instrumental in forcing an initially reluctant ambassador Sir Cecil Spring Rice to raise the issue of the Hindu-German Conspiracy to the American Government that ultimately led to the unfolding of the entire plot. In the early years of the war, Grey negotiated several important secret treaties, promising Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 the Turkish
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

 Straits
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

. He maintained his position as Foreign Secretary when the Conservatives came into the government to form a coalition in May 1915, but when the Asquith Coalition collapsed in December of the following year and David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 became Prime Minister, Grey went into opposition. In an attempt to reduce his workload he left the House of Commons for 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....

 in July 1916, accepting a peerage as Viscount Grey of Fallodon, in the County of Northumberland. He had previously been made a Knight of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

 in 1912.

Later career

In 1919 Grey was appointed Ambassador to the United States, a post he held until 1920. He continued to be active in politics despite his near blindness, serving as Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords from 1923 until his resignation on the grounds that he was unable to attend on a regular basis shortly before the 1924 election
United Kingdom general election, 1924
- Seats summary :- References :* F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987* - External links :* * *...

. From 1928 to 1933 he was Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Private life

Lord Grey of Fallodon married Dorothy, daughter of S. F. Widdrington, of Newton Hall, Northumberland, in 1885. After her death in February 1906 he married secondly Pamela Adelaide Genevieve, daughter of the Honourable Percy Wyndham
Percy Wyndham (politician)
The Honourable Percy Scawen Wyndham DL, JP , was a British soldier, Conservative politician, collector and intellectual...

 and widow of Lord Glenconner
Edward Tennant, 1st Baron Glenconner
Edward Priaulx Tennant, 1st Baron Glenconner , known as Sir Edward Tennant, 2nd Baronet, from 1906 to 1911, was a Scottish Liberal politician....

, in 1922. There were no children from the two marriages.

During his university years Grey represented his college at football and was also an excellent tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 player being Oxford champion in 1883 (and winning the varsity competition the same year) and won the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 championship in 1889, 1891, 1895, 1896 and 1898. He was runner-up in 1892, 1893 and 1894 years in which he held office. He was also a life-long fisherman
Fisherman
A fisherman or fisher is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish. Worldwide, there are about 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers. The term can also be applied to recreational fishermen and may be used to describe both men...

 publishing a book on his exploits in 1899. and was also an avid ornithologist — one of the best known photographs of him shows him with a Robin perched on his hat. He was a member of the Coefficients dining club
Coefficients (dining club)
The Coefficients was a dining club founded in 1902 at a dinner given by the Fabian campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb. It was a forum for the meeting of British socialist reformers and imperialists of the Edwardian era...

 of social reformers set up in 1902 by the Fabian
Fabian Society
The Fabian Society is a British socialist movement, whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism via gradualist and reformist, rather than revolutionary, means. It is best known for its initial ground-breaking work beginning late in the 19th century and continuing up to World...

 campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Beatrice Webb
Martha Beatrice Webb, Lady Passfield was an English sociologist, economist, socialist and social reformer. Although her husband became Baron Passfield in 1929, she refused to be known as Lady Passfield...

.

Lady Grey of Fallodon died in November 1928. Lord Grey remained a widower until his death in September 1933, aged 71. The viscountcy became extinct on his death while he was succeeded in the baronetcy by his kinsman, Sir Charles George Grey, 4th Baronet.

Further reading

  • The Genesis of the "A.B.C." Memorandum of 1901.
  • Grey's Speech of 3 August 1914 before the House of Commons ("We are going to suffer, I am afraid, terribly in this war, whether we are in it or whether we stand aside.")
  • H.S. Gordon, Edward Grey of Fallodon and His Birds (London, 1937)
  • Viscount Grey, Cottage Book. Itchen Abbas, 1894–1905 (London, 1909)
  • Viscount Grey, Twenty-Five Years, 1892–1916 (London, 1925)
  • Viscount Grey, Fallodon Papers (London, 1926)
  • Viscount Grey, The Charm of Birds (London, 1927)
  • F.H. Hinsley
    Harry Hinsley
    Sir Francis Harry Hinsley OBE was an English historian and cryptanalyst. He worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and wrote widely on the history of international relations and British Intelligence during the Second World War...

     (ed.), British Foreign Policy Under Sir Edward Grey (Cambridge, 1977)
  • Keith Robbins
    Keith Robbins
    Professor Keith Gilbert Robbins DLitt FRSE FRHistS FLSW is a historian and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, Lampeter. Robbins was educated at Bristol Grammar School, and Magdalen and St Antony’s Colleges, Oxford....

    , Sir Edward Grey. A Biography of Lord Grey of Fallodon (London, 1971)
  • Zara S. Steiner, The Foreign Office and Foreign Policy 1898–1914 (London, 1969)
  • G.M. Trevelyan, Grey of Fallodon; the Life of Sir Edward Grey (London, 1937)

External links

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