Person NameBaring; Sir; Evelyn (1841-1917); first Earl of Cromer
Epithetfirst Earl of Cromer
ActivityStatesman, diplomatist, and administrator, was the sixth son of the second marriage of Henry Baring, M.P., with Cecilia, eldest daughter of Admiral William Windham, of Felbrigge, Norfolk. He was born 26 February 1841 at Cromer Hall, Norfolk. Destined for the Artillery, he passed into the Ordnance School, Carshalton. After objection had been taken to his defective eyesight, he entered at Woolwich in August 1855, and three years later was commissioned, and accompanied his battery to the Ionian Islands, a station which was to affect his future life. The local vernacular, which he learned passably, led him on to read Homer and Anacreon with M. Romanos, a Corfiote scholar; at Corfu he met his future wife, Ethel Stanley, then seventeen years old, the daughter of Sir Rowland Stanley Errington, of the elder Roman Catholic line of the Stanleys and holder of an ancient baronetcy; and there, too, becoming aide-de-camp to the high-commissioner, Sir Henry Knight Storks he was introduced to diplomacy.
He entered the Staff College. Passing next into that department of the War Office which later became the Intelligence Division, he translated for publication two German manuals, one on ‘Kriegspiel’, the other on military training. Captain Baring, when offered, in 1872, a choice between military or civil employ, chose the latter, and went out to India with his cousin, Lord Northbrook, the viceroy, as private secretary. In May 1876 he returned, with the decoration of C.I.E., to London.
He resumed work at the War Office and, in June, married Miss Errington, their union having been facilitated by inheritances on both sides.
Parliament acknowledged handsomely his great use of great talents. Universities offered degrees and societies their presidential chairs. As health returned he began to attend the House of Lords, where he made a maiden speech in February 1908, and took the lead of the free traders. Subsequently he spoke fairly often, and was listened to with respect; but he had no natural gift of oratory, and nervousness in public speaking never left him. In that same year appeared the account of his stewardship (Modern Egypt, 2 vols.) which his first wife had encouraged him to write.
Lord Cromer's old love of the Greek and Roman classics deepened and the range of his reading broadened with his increased leisure. He searched the past assiduously for modern instances, and from the chair of the Classical Association delivered, in 1910, an address on Ancient and Modern Imperialism which makes the best of his smaller books.
In 1913 he broke long silence about Egypt by calling attention, in the Nineteenth Century and After, to the continued curse of the capitulations. From various experience he expounded German policy and methods, and in 1915 issued a supplement to his Modern Egypt, embodying notes, long discreetly suppressed, on his relations with Abbas Hilmi, ex-khedive. A more arduous service was to be his last. He was invited, in 1916, to preside over the Dardanelles Commission; and overcoming a Thucydidean distaste for such inquisitions in time of war, he put on government harness again. Assiduous in attendance at the sittings, he would summon the commission to meet at his own house if he were forbidden to go out of doors. After one such meeting in December he collapsed. During rallies he demanded always the draft report, and in January 1917on the 29th, a month short of his seventy-sixth birthday, he died.
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