Sue Young Histories

Herbert Henry Asquith 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith 1852 – 1928

February 12, 2010

{::}**Herbert Henry Asquith 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith**, KG, PC, KC 1852 – 1928 served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916.

Asquith was a friend of Rupert Brooke, whose wife Janet was also a close friend of Ivy Compton Burnett, the daughter of James Compton Burnett,

Asquith served under William Ewert Gladstone, he served Edward VII, and George V as Prime Minister,

Asquith also served in Parliament with James Ramsay MacDonald, and with Joseph Albert Jack Pease 1st Baron Gainford, and Henry Charles Keith Petty Fitzmaurice 5th Marquess of Lansdowne,

Asquith was the longest serving Prime Minister of the twentieth century until early 1988, when his record was surpassed by Margaret Thatcher.As Prime Minister (1908-1916); he led his Liberal party to a series of domestic reforms, including social insurance and the reduction of the power of the House of Lords. He led the nation into The First World War, but a series of military and political crises let to his replacement in late 1916 by David Lloyd George.

Before his term as Prime Minister he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1905 to 1908 and as Home Secretary from 1892 to 1895. During his lifetime he was known as H H Asquith before his accession to the peerage and as Lord Oxford afterwards.

Asquith’s achievements in peacetime have been overshadowed by his weaknesses in wartime. Many historians portray a vacillating prime minister, unable to present the necessary image of action and dynamism to the public, although Cassar (1994) stress his continued high administrative ability.

The dominant historical verdict is that there were two Asquiths: the urbane and conciliatory Asquith who was a successful peacetime leader and the hesitant and increasingly exhausted Asquith who practiced the politics of muddle and delay during the World War.

Of interest:

William Asquith was a member of staff at the Manor House Hospital, which employed many homeopaths, and had many advocates of homeopathy as sponsors (including Ernest Bevin, Andrew Tocher Cunningham, Gilbert Hare, Jesse Dickson Mabon, William Burnett Douglas Miller, and Dudley d’Auvergne Wright),

Helena Bonham Carter, great, grandaughter of  Herbert Henry Asquith, is an advocate of homeopathy,

Henry Bonham Carter, father in law of Violet Asquith, administered Florence Nightingale’s fund for 13 years without ever being admited into her presence,

Frank Crisp, of the law firm Ashurst, founded by William Henry Ashurst, helped to save the Asquith government when the Marconi scandal broke in 1913.

William Henry Ashurst was on the Medical Council of the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square, and he was a colleague of John Epps, and a member of The Association for the Protection of Homeopathic Students and Practitioners (address 6 Old Jewry Street), a member of the English Homeopathic Association,


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