Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood
Overview
 
Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, PC, QC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (14 September 1864 – 24 November 1958), known as Lord Robert Cecil from 1868 to 1923, was a lawyer
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...

, politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and diplomat
Diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

 in the United Kingdom
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...

. He was one of the architects of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 and a defender of it, whose service to the organisation saw him awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 in 1937.
Cecil was born at Cavendish Square
Cavendish Square
Cavendish Square is a public square in the West End of London, very close to Oxford Circus, where the two main shopping thoroughfares of Oxford Street and Regent Street meet. It is located at the eastern end of Wigmore Street, which connects it to Portman Square, part of the Portman Estate, to its...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the sixth child and third son of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

, three times Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, and Georgina
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil, Marchioness of Salisbury
Georgina Charlotte Gascoyne-Cecil, Marchioness of Salisbury, VA, CI was the wife of British statesman, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury....

, daughter of Sir Edward Hall Alderson
Edward Hall Alderson
Sir Edward Hall Alderson was an English lawyer and judge whose many judgments on commercial law helped to shape the emerging British capitalism of the Victorian era....

.
Quotations

The Germans really conceive of their country as always under war conditions in this respect. No one expects a belligerent to tell the truth and, to the German mind, they are always belligerent. The Germans take the view that war is only intensified peace.

Letter to Lord Londonderry (May 1938); published in Wings of Destiny (1943) by Marquess of Londonderry, p. 211

The League is dead; long live the United Nations!

Last speech before the League of Nations|League of Nations (8 April 1946)

Encyclopedia
Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, PC, QC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (14 September 1864 – 24 November 1958), known as Lord Robert Cecil from 1868 to 1923, was a lawyer
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...

, politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and diplomat
Diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

 in the United Kingdom
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...

. He was one of the architects of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 and a defender of it, whose service to the organisation saw him awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 in 1937.

Early life and legal career

Cecil was born at Cavendish Square
Cavendish Square
Cavendish Square is a public square in the West End of London, very close to Oxford Circus, where the two main shopping thoroughfares of Oxford Street and Regent Street meet. It is located at the eastern end of Wigmore Street, which connects it to Portman Square, part of the Portman Estate, to its...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the sixth child and third son of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

, three times Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, and Georgina
Georgina Gascoyne-Cecil, Marchioness of Salisbury
Georgina Charlotte Gascoyne-Cecil, Marchioness of Salisbury, VA, CI was the wife of British statesman, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury....

, daughter of Sir Edward Hall Alderson
Edward Hall Alderson
Sir Edward Hall Alderson was an English lawyer and judge whose many judgments on commercial law helped to shape the emerging British capitalism of the Victorian era....

. He was the brother of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury
James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury
James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, CB, PC , known as Viscount Cranborne from 1868 to 1903, was a British statesman.-Background and education:...

, Lord William Cecil, Lord Edward Cecil and Lord Quickswood
Hugh Cecil, 1st Baron Quickswood
Hugh Richard Heathcote Gascoyne-Cecil, 1st Baron Quickswood PC , styled Lord Hugh Cecil until 1941, was a British Conservative Party politician.-Background and education:...

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

. He was educated at home until he was thirteen and then spent four years at Eton College
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"....

. He claimed in his autobiography to have enjoyed his home education most. He studied law at University College
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

, Oxford, where he became a well known debate
Debate
Debate or debating is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examines consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion...

r. In 1887, he was admitted to the Bar (permitted to practise as a barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

). He was fond of saying that his marriage to Lady Eleanor Lambton in 1889 was the cleverest thing he had ever done.

From 1887 to 1906, Cecil practised civil law
Civil law (common law)
Civil law, as opposed to criminal law, is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim...

, including work in Chancery and parliamentary practice. On 15 June 1899, he took silk as a Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (QC). He also collaborated in writing a book, entitled Principles of Commercial Law.

Parliamentary and public service

At 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**...

, Cecil was elected as a 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...

 Member of Parliament representing Marylebone East
Marylebone East (UK Parliament constituency)
Marylebone East was a borough constituency located in the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone, in London. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system....

. He did not contest the Marylebone seat in either of the general elections in 1910 as a result of the Tariff Reform controversy. Instead he unsuccessfully contested Blackburn
Blackburn (UK Parliament constituency)
Blackburn is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The town currently elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election. It has elected Labour MPs since its re-creation in 1955.-Boundaries:The constituency...

 in the January election and Wisbech
Wisbech (UK Parliament constituency)
Wisbech is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was created upon the abolition of an undivided Cambridgeshire county constituency in 1885 and was itself abolished in 1918.-Boundaries:...

 in the December election. In 1911 he won a by-election
By-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

 in Hitchin
Hitchin (UK Parliament constituency)
Hitchin was a parliamentary constituency in Hertfordshire which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1885 until it was abolished for the 1983 general election....

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

 as an Independent Conservative and served as its MP until 1923.

Fifty years old at 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...

 and too old for military service, Cecil went to work for the Red Cross. Following the formation of the 1915 coalition government
Coalition government 1915–1916
Asquith's British coalition government of 1915-1916 was formed in the aftermath of the Gallipoli disaster, by bringing in the Conservatives to shore up the government. The Conservatives were not terribly pleased with the offices they received in this new government and Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law...

, he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 30 May 1915. He served in this post until 10 January 1919, additionally serving in the 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 :...

 as Minister of Blockade between 23 February 1916 and 18 July 1918. He was responsible for devising procedures to bring economic and commercial pressure against the enemy.

On 25 May 1923, Cecil returned to the cabinet as Lord Privy Seal
Lord Privy Seal
The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

, a position held by several members of his family. He did not stand again in the general election of December 1923
United Kingdom general election, 1923
-Seats summary:-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987*-External links:***...

 and, after the Conservatives lost their majority, he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, of East Grinstead in the County of Sussex, on 28 December 1923. He remained Lord Privy Seal until 22 February 1924, when Ramsey MacDonald's minority Labour cabinet took office.

The Conservatives returned to power at the October 1924 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1924
- Seats summary :- References :* F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987* - External links :* * *...

 and Cecil became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...

.

He was very concerned about the increasing social problems and public dangers associated with the growth in popularity of the motor car and in 1929 accepted the post of president of the newly formed Pedestrians Association
Living Streets
Living Streets is an organisation which advocates for the rights and interests of pedestrians and aims to 'create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets, where people want to walk'...

 who were to campaign successfully to introduce many measures of benefit to the pedestrian.

League of Nations

In September 1916, he circulated a memorandum making proposals for the avoidance of war, which he says was the "first document from which sprang British official advocacy of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

."

Cecil was an Esperantist
Esperantist
An Esperantist is a person who speaks or uses Esperanto. Etymologically, an Esperantist is someone who hopes...

, and, in 1921, he proposed that the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 adopt Esperanto
Esperanto
is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto , the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887...

 as solution to the language problem.
From the inception of the League, after World War I, to its demise in 1946, Cecil's public life was almost totally devoted to the League. At the Paris Peace Conference
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

, he was the British representative in charge of negotiations for a League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

; from 1920 until 1922, he represented the Dominion of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 in the League Assembly; in 1923 he made a five-week tour of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, explaining the League to American audiences. In the Conservative administrations of 1923 to 1924, and 1924 to 1927 he was the minister responsible, under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Secretary, for British activities in League affairs.

During a naval conference of 1927 in Geneva, negotiations broke down after the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 refused to agree to the British argument that Britain needed a minimum of seventy cruiser
Cruiser
A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

s to adequately defend the British 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...

 and its trade and communications. The cutting of British cruisers to fifty from seventy was proposed by the Americans in return for concessions over the size of cruisers and the calibre of their guns. Cecil was part of the British delegation at Geneva and resigned from the cabinet because the British government let the conference break down rather than reduce the number of Britain's cruisers.

Although an official delegate to the League as late as 1932, Cecil worked independently to mobilise public opinion in support of the League. He was president of the British League of Nations Union
League of Nations Union
The League of Nations Union was an organization formed in the United Kingdom to promote international justice, collective security and a permanent peace between nations based upon the ideals of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was established by the Great Powers as part of the Paris...

 from 1923 to 1945, and joint founder and president, with a French Jurist, of the International Peace Campaign, known in France as Rassemblement universel pour la paix. Among his publications during this period were The Way of Peace (1928), a collection of lectures on the League; A Great Experiment (1941), a personalised account of his relationship to the League of Nations; and All the Way (1949), a more complete autobiography.

In the spring of 1946, he participated in the final meetings of the League at Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, ending his speech with the sentence: "The League is dead; long live the United Nations!" He lived for thirteen more years, occasionally occupying his place 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....

, and supporting international efforts for peace through his honorary life presidency of the United Nations Association.

Honours

Cecil's career brought him many honours. In addition to his peerage, he was created Companion of Honour in 1956, was elected chancellor
Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

 of the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

 (1918–1944) and rector of the University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

 (1924–1927). He was given the Peace Award of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation
Woodrow Wilson Foundation
The Woodrow Wilson Foundation was an educational non-profit created in 1922, organized under the laws of New York, for the "perpetuation of Wilson's ideals" through publications and support of research. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the national chairman, and there were local chairmen in each of the 48...

 in 1924. Most significantly, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 in 1937. He was presented with honorary degrees by the Universities of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, 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...

, Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, Manchester
University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is a public research university located in Manchester, United Kingdom. It is a "red brick" university and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities and the N8 Group...

, Liverpool
University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is a teaching and research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities and the N8 Group for research collaboration. Founded in 1881 , it is also one of the six original "red brick" civic...

, St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

, Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

, Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, Columbia
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, and Athens
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens , usually referred to simply as the University of Athens, is the oldest university in Southeast Europe and has been in continuous operation since its establishment in 1837. Today, it is the second-largest institution of higher learning in Greece,...

.

He died on 24 November 1958 at his home at Chelwood Gate, Danehill
Danehill, East Sussex
Danehill is a village and civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, England. The village is located five miles north-east of Haywards Heath and on the edge of the Ashdown Forest...

 near Haywards Heath
Haywards Heath
-Climate:Haywards Heath experiences an oceanic climate similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.-Rail:Haywards Heath railway station is a major station on the Brighton Main Line...

. He left no heirs and his Viscountcy became extinct.

External links

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