F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead
Frederick Edwin Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead GCSI
Order of the Star of India
The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. The Order includes members of three classes:# Knight Grand Commander # Knight Commander # Companion...

, PC, KC (12 July 1872 – 30 September 1930), best known to history as F. E. Smith (and also Galloper Smith), was a 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...

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...

A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

 and lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 of the early 20th century. He was a skilled orator, noted for his staunch opposition to Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

, his wit, pugnacious views, and hard living and drinking. He is perhaps best remembered today as 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...

's greatest personal and political friend until Birkenhead's death at age 58 from pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 caused by cirrhosis of the liver.
Smith was born in Birkenhead
Birkenhead is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in Merseyside, England. It is on the Wirral Peninsula, along the west bank of the River Mersey, opposite the city of Liverpool...

 in Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

 and was educated at Birkenhead School
Birkenhead School
Birkenhead School is an independent, selective, co-educational school located on the Wirral Peninsula in the northwest of England. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.-Overview:The school is subdivided into...


We stand for the State and for the unity which, whether in the form of kingdom or empire or class solidarity, the State alone can bring. Above all stands the State and in that phrase lies the essence of Toryism. Our ancestors left it to us, and not the least potent method of preserving it is to link the conception of State Toryism with the practice of Social Reform.

F. E. Smith, 'Future of the Conservative Party' in Unionist Policy and other essays, 1913.

To me it is frankly inconceivable that India will ever be fit for Dominion self-government.

In a letter of 24 November, 1924. Quoted in H. Montgomery Hyde, Lord Reading (Heinemann, 1967), p. 382.

The greater the political progress made by the Hindus, the greater, in my judgement, will be the Moslem discontent and antagonism. All the conferences in the world cannot bridge over the unbridgeable, and between those two countries lies a chasm which cannot be crossed by the resources of modern political engineering.

In 1925, quoted in H. Montgomery Hyde, Lord Reading (Heinemann, 1967), p. 387.

I have always placed my highest and most permanent hopes upon the eternity of the Communal situation.

Letter to Lord Reading, March 1925. Quoted in H. Montgomery Hyde, Lord Reading (Heinemann, 1967), p. 387.

It would be possible to say without exaggeration that the miners' leaders were the stupidest men in England if we had not frequent occassion to meet the owners.

In 1925. Quoted in C. L. Mowat, Britain between the Wars (1955), p. 300.