Attlee, Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl, 1883-1967, British statesman. Educated at Oxford, he was called to the bar in 1905. His early experience as a social worker in London's East End led to his decision to give up law and devote his life to social improvement through politics. In 1907 he joined the Fabian Society and soon afterward the Labour party. He was a lecturer in social science at the London School of Economics, and, after service in World War I, he became (1919) the first Labour mayor of Stepney.

Attlee entered Parliament in 1922. In 1927 he visited India as a member of the Simon commission and was converted to views that strongly favored Indian self-government. He joined the Labour government in 1930 but resigned in 1931 when Ramsay MacDonald formed the National government. As leader of the Labour party from 1935, Attlee was an outspoken critic of Conservative foreign policy, objecting particularly to the government's failure to intervene in the Spanish civil war. During World War II he served (1940-45) in Winston Churchill's coalition cabinet, and on Labour's electoral victory in 1945 he became prime minister.

Under Attlee's leadership, the Bank of England, the gas, electricity, coal, and iron and steel industries, and the railways were nationalized. His government also enacted considerable social reforms, including the National Health Service. Independence was granted to Burma (Myanmar), India, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Palestine, and Britain allied itself closely with the United States in the cold war confrontation with the Soviet Union. The postwar economic crisis required stringent economic and financial controls, which reduced support for the government. Labour won the 1950 general election by a narrow margin, but in 1951, Attlee decided to go to the country again and was defeated. He was leader of the opposition until his retirement in 1955, when he received the title of Earl Attlee.

See his autobiographies, As It Happened (1954) and Twilight of Empire (ed. by F. Williams, 1962); biography by K. Harris (1983); studies by K. Morgan (1984) and P. Hennessy (1994).

Earl, Ralph: see Earle, Ralph.
Temple, Richard Grenville-Temple, Earl, 1711-79, British statesman; elder brother of George Grenville and brother-in-law of William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham. He succeeded to his mother's peerage in 1752. He was closer to Pitt than to his brother and, as first lord of the admiralty (1756-57) in the Pitt-Devonshire ministry and lord privy seal (1757-61) under Pitt and the duke of Newcastle, gave strong backing to Pitt's war policy. He also joined Pitt in vigorous opposition to Grenville's ministry (1763-65), financing John Wilkes in his attacks upon the government. However, when Pitt (by then Lord Chatham) formed another ministry in 1766, Temple quarreled with him and allied himself with Grenville. After Grenville's death (1770) he was reconciled with Chatham.
Warren, Earl, 1891-1974, American public official and 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953-69), b. Los Angeles. He graduated from the Univ. of California Law School in 1912. Admitted (1914) to the bar, he practiced in Oakland, Calif., and held several local offices. He served (1939-43) as state attorney general and was governor of California from 1943 to 1953. In 1948 he was the unsuccessful candidate for Vice President on the Republican ticket headed by Thomas E. Dewey. In Oct., 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him Chief Justice to succeed Fred M. Vinson. One of the most dynamic of Chief Justices, Warren led the court toward a number of landmark decisions in the fields of civil rights and individual liberties. Among these were the unanimous 1954 decision, written by Warren, ending segregation in the nation's schools (see Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans.); the one man, one vote rulings, which opened the way for legislative and Congressional reapportionment; and decisions in criminal cases guaranteeing the right to counsel and protecting the accused from police abuses. In 1963-64, Warren headed the commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy (see Warren Commission). He retired from the bench in 1969. His public papers were edited by H. M. Christman (1959).

See biographies by J. D. Weaver (1967), G. E. White (1982), and E. Cray (1997); studies by A. Cox (1968), R. H. Sayler et al. (1969), and B. Schwartz (1983).

Jellicoe, John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl, 1859-1935, British admiral. Crowning a naval career begun in 1872, he served (1914-16) as commander in chief of the Grand Fleet in World War I. His tactics at the inconclusive battle of Jutland won him some praise and much censure. As first sea lord (1916-17) he opposed the introduction of convoys to combat the German submarine campaign and was dismissed by Lloyd George. He was (1920-24) governor-general of New Zealand, and became an earl in 1925. He wrote The Grand Fleet, 1914-16 (1919) and The Crisis of the Naval War (1921).
Grey, Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl, 1851-1917, English statesman, nephew of the 3d Earl Grey. In 1880 he entered the House of Commons as a Liberal, but he lost his seat as a result of his opposition to Gladstone's Home Rule Bill of 1886. Grey returned to Parliament as a member of the House of Lords when he succeeded his uncle to the earldom in 1894. Administrator (1896-97) of Rhodesia, he was governor-general of Canada from 1904 to 1911.
Grey, Charles Grey, 2d Earl, 1764-1845, British statesman. Elected to Parliament in 1786, he was one of those appointed to manage the impeachment of Warren Hastings. From 1792 he was a leader of the movement for parliamentary reform and opposed the repressive policies of Sir William Pitt. He succeeded (1806) Charles James Fox as foreign secretary in the "ministry of all talents" and Whig leader of the House of Commons, putting through the measure to abolish the African slave trade (1807). As prime minister (1830-34) he secured the passage of the Reform Bill of 1832 (see under Reform Acts) by threatening to force William IV to create enough Whig peers to carry it in the House of Lords.

See biography by G. M. Trevelyan (1929, repr. 1971).

Fitzwilliam, William Wentworth Fitzwilliam, 2d Earl, 1748-1833, British administrator. Sent to Ireland as lord lieutenant in 1795, he expressed sympathy for the cause of Catholic Emancipation and was almost immediately recalled by William Pitt's ministry for allegedly exceeding his instructions.
Rivers, Richard Woodville, 1st Earl, d. 1469, English nobleman. He was knighted (1426) by Henry VI and acquired wealth and power by marrying (c.1436) Jacquetta of Luxemburg, widow of John of Lancaster, duke of Bedford. He served in the wars in France and helped suppress the rebellion (1450) of Jack Cade in England. In the Wars of the Roses, Rivers fought for Henry VI until the Lancastrian defeat at Towton (1461). He then transferred his loyalty to the Yorkist Edward IV, to whom he gave his daughter (see Woodville, Elizabeth) in marriage in 1464. He and his family soon received extensive royal favors, Rivers himself becoming treasurer and then constable (1467) of England. He was created earl in 1466. The favoritism shown the Woodville faction embittered Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, who rebelled in 1469. Rivers was captured and executed after Edward's defeat at Edgecot. His eldest son, Anthony Woodville, 2d Earl Rivers, 1442?-1483, accompanied Edward into exile (1470-71) and later served him in various capacities. In 1473 he was appointed guardian of Edward, prince of Wales (later Edward V). On Edward IV's death, however, Rivers was arrested by Richard, duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), and executed. A somewhat romantic and otherworldly figure, Rivers wrote translations of various French works. His Dictes and Sayengis of the Philosophres (1477) was the first dated book printed in England by William Caxton.
Beatty, David Beatty, 1st Earl, 1871-1936, British admiral. He served with distinction in Egypt and Sudan (1896-98) and in the Boxer Uprising (1900) in China. Made rear admiral in 1910, he commanded successful naval actions early in World War I at Helgoland Bight (1914) and at Dogger Bank (1915). His battle cruiser squadron lured the German fleet into position for an engagement with the British grand fleet under Admiral John Jellicoe at the battle of Jutland (1916). Beatty commanded (1916-19) the fleet and was (1919-27) first sea lord of the navy. He was created Earl Beatty in 1919.
Camden, Charles Pratt, 1st Earl: see Pratt, Charles, 1st Earl Camden.
Canning, Charles John Canning, Earl, 1812-62, British statesman; third son of George Canning. Succeeding to the peerage conferred on his mother, he took his seat as Viscount Canning in the House of Lords (1837) and served as Sir Robert Peel's undersecretary for foreign affairs (1841-46) and Lord Aberdeen's postmaster general (1853-55). Appointed (1856) governor-general of India, he became known as "Clemency Canning" for his efforts to restrain revenge against the Indians during the Indian Mutiny. In 1858, when the power of government was transferred from the East India Company to the British crown, Canning became the first viceroy of India. He was created earl in 1859 and retired in 1862.
Russell, Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3d Earl, 1872-1970, British philosopher, mathematician, and social reformer, b. Trelleck, Wales.


The Early Years

Russell had a distinguished background: His grandfather Lord John Russell introduced the Reform Bill of 1832 and was twice prime minister; his parents were both prominent freethinkers; and his informal godfather was John Stuart Mill. Orphaned as a small child, Russell was reared by his paternal grandmother under stern puritanic rule. That experience powerfully affected his thinking on matters of morality and education. Russell studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (1890-94), where later he was a fellow (1895-1901) and a lecturer (1910-16). It was during this time that he published his most important works in philosophy and mathematics, The Principles of Mathematics (1903) and, with A. N. Whitehead, Principia Mathematica (3 vol., 1910-13), and also had as his student Ludwig Wittgenstein.

The Middle Years

World War I had a crucial effect on Russell: until that time he had thought of himself as a philosopher and mathematician. Although he had already embraced pacifism, it was in reaction to the war that he became passionately concerned with social issues. His active pacifism at the time of the war inspired public resentment, caused him to be dismissed from Cambridge, attacked by former associates, and fined by the government (which confiscated and sold his library when he refused to pay), and led finally to a six-month imprisonment in 1918. From 1916 until the late 1930s, Russell held no academic position and supported himself mainly by writing and by public lecturing. In 1927 he and his wife, Dora, founded the experimental Beacon Hill School, which influenced the development of other schools in Britain and America.

He succeeded to the earldom in 1931 and in 1938 began teaching in the United States, first at the Univ. of Chicago and then at the Univ. of California at Los Angeles. In 1941 he went to teach at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa., after his appointment to the College of the City of New York was canceled as a result of a celebrated legal battle occasioned by protest against his liberal views, particularly those on sex. These views, much distorted by his critics, had appeared in Marriage and Morals (1929), where he took liberal positions on divorce, adultery, and homosexuality. In 1944 he was restored to a fellowship at Cambridge. In 1950 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Later Years

Prior to World War II, in the face of the Nazi threat, Russell abandoned his pacifist stance; but after the war he again became a leading spokesman for pacifism and especially for the unilateral renunciation (by Great Britain) of atomic weapons. In 1961 his activity in mass demonstrations to ban nuclear weapons led once more to his imprisonment. He organized, but was unable to attend, what was called the war crimes tribunal, held in Stockholm in 1967, presided over by Jean-Paul Sartre, and directed against U.S. activities in Vietnam. Almost until his death he was active in social reform.

Philosopher and Mathematician

Throughout his life his dissent had scorned easy popularity with either the right or the left. Untamable, he had profound trust in the ultimate power of rationality, which he voiced with an undogmatic but quenchless zeal. Philosophically and ethically Russell's thought grew in reaction against the extremes he encountered. He answered the idealism of F. H. Bradley and J. M. E. McTaggart with a logical atomism founded on a rigorous empirical base: he was deeply convinced of the logical independence of individual facts and the dependence of knowledge on the data of original experience. His emphasis on logical analysis influenced the course of British philosophy in the 20th cent.

One of his most important notions was that of the logical construct, the realization that an object normally thought of as a unity was actually constructed from various, discrete, simpler empirical observations. The technique of logical constructionism was first employed in his mathematical theory. Under the influence of the symbolic logic of Giuseppe Peano, Russell tried to show that mathematics could be explained by the rules of formal logic. His demonstration involved showing that mathematical entities could be "constructed" from the less problematic entities of logic. Later he applied the technique to concepts such as physical objects and the mind.

Although he came to have misgivings about logical atomism and never assented to all the propositions of empiricism, he never ceased trying to base his thought—mathematical, philosophical, or ethical—not on vague principle but on actual experience. This can be seen in his pacifism as well as in his philosophy: he objected to specific wars in specific circumstances. So, in the circumstances preceding World War II he could abandon pacifism and, following the war, resume it.

Similarly, in ethics he described himself as a relativist. Good and evil he saw to be resolvable in (or constructed from) individual desires. He did distinguish, however, between what he called "personal" and "impersonal" desires, those founded mainly on self-interest and those formed regardless of self-interest. He admitted difficulties with this ethical stance, as well as with his logical atomism. As much as anything, his thought was characterized by a pervasive skepticism, toward his own thought as well as that of others.

Social Reformer

As with his philosophical stance, Russell's positions on social issues developed as a reaction against extremes in his own experience. He believed that cruelty and an admiration for violence grew from inward or outward defects that were largely an outcome of what happened to people when they were very young. Pacifism could not be effected politically; a peaceful and happy world could not be achieved without deep changes in education. "I believe that nine out of ten who have had a conventional upbringing in their early years have become in some degree incapable of a decent and sane attitude toward marriage and sex generally."

His objections to religion were similarly based. What he tried to draw attention to was the destructiveness of accepting propositions on faith—in the absence of, or even in opposition to, evidence. "The important thing is not what you believe, but how you believe it." The person who bases his belief on reason will support it by argument and be ready to abandon the position if the argument fails. Belief based on faith concludes that argument is useless and resorts to "force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young whenever [it] has the power to control their education."

If Russell's logic was not always unassailable, his life showed that ethical relativism could be combined with a passionate social conscience, and that passionate commitment could be stated without dogmatism. In his autobiography (3 vol., 1967-69) Russell summarized his personal philosophy by saying, "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."


See American Civil Liberties Union, The Story of the Bertrand Russell Case (1941); J. Dewey and H. M. Kallen, ed., The Bertrand Russell Case (1941, repr. 1972); D. F. Pears, Bertrand Russell and the British Tradition in Philosophy (1967); E. D. Klemke, ed., Essays on Bertrand Russell (1970); J. Watling, Bertrand Russell (1970); A. J. Ayer, Russell and Moore: The Analytic Heritage (1971) and Bertrand Russell (1972); R. Jager, The Development of Bertrand Russell's Philosophy (1972); R. Monk, Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solititude, 1872-1921 (1996) and Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness, 1921-1970 (2001).

Russell, John Russell, 1st Earl, 1792-1878, British statesman; younger son of the 6th duke of Bedford, known most of his life as Lord John Russell. He became a Whig member of Parliament in 1813 and soon began his long career as a liberal reformer. He worked for Catholic Emancipation, leading the attack on the Test and Corporation acts, which were repealed in 1828. As paymaster general in the ministry of the 2d Earl Grey, Russell helped prepare and introduce the Reform Bill of 1832 (see under Reform Acts). His advocacy of the reduction of Irish church revenues helped bring down the Whig government in 1834, but when the Whigs returned to power (1835), Russell became home secretary and later secretary for war and the colonies (1839). In the meantime he had given the name to the newly emerging Liberal party and become one of its chief spokesmen. Russell led the opposition during the second ministry (1841-46) of Sir Robert Peel and, following the repeal of the corn laws (which Russell supported), succeeded him as prime minister. During his ministry Russell used public works, grants, and other relief to help the Irish during the potato famine and supported the bill (1847) that limited the working day to 10 hr for many laborers. In 1851 he demanded the resignation of his foreign secretary, Viscount Palmerston, for his unauthorized approval of Napoleon III's coup in France, and the following year Palmerston helped secure the fall of Russell's ministry. Russell served (1852-55) in Lord Aberdeen's coalition government and represented (1855) England at Vienna in an unsuccessful conference to end the Crimean War. He was reconciled with Palmerston and, as his foreign secretary (1859-65), vigorously advocated neutrality in the American Civil War and supported the Risorgimento in Italy. He had been made an earl in 1861 and became prime minister again on Palmerston's death in 1865. For many years an advocate of further parliamentary reform, he attempted to push through a new Reform Bill, but the bill was defeated and caused the fall of his ministry in 1866. Among Russell's literary and historical writings are a translation of Schiller's Don Carlos and biographies of Lord William Russell (1819) and of Charles James Fox (3 vol., 1853-57).

See his Recollections and Suggestions, 1813-1873 (1875); early correspondence (ed. by R. Russell; 2 vol., 1913) and later correspondence (ed. by G. P. Gooch; 2 vol., 1925); biographies by S. Walpole (2 vol., 1889, repr. 1968) and J. Prest (1972); W. P. Morrell, British Colonial Policy in the Age of Peel and Russell (1930, repr. 1966).

Howe, Richard Howe, Earl, 1726-99, British admiral; elder brother of Viscount Howe. He won early recognition in the Seven Years War for his operations in the English Channel. After the outbreak of the American Revolution, he was given (1776) command of the North American fleet. He and his brother were commissioned to seek a peaceful settlement of the dispute with the colonies, but negotiations at Staten Island in 1776 came to nothing, and he supported (1777) his brother's successful campaign against Philadelphia. In 1778 he outmaneuvered the French fleet under the comte d'Estaing in its attempt to cooperate with land troops to take British-held Newport, R.I. He resigned later that year, but in 1782 he assumed command of the Channel fleet and relieved the siege of Gibraltar. Howe is best remembered for his decisive victory over the French fleet in the battle called the First of June in 1794. Created Earl Howe in 1788, he was popularly known as Black Dick.

See I. D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (1972).

Kitchener, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl, 1850-1916, British field marshal and statesman. Trained at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (1868-70), he had a brief period of service in the French army before being commissioned (1871) in the Royal Engineers. After duty in Palestine and Cyprus, he was attached (1883) to the Egyptian army, then being reorganized by the British. He took part (1884-85) in the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Charles George Gordon at Khartoum. He was then (1886-88) governor-general of Eastern Sudan and helped (1889) turn back the last Mahdist invasion of Egypt. In 1892 he was made commander in chief of the Egyptian army and in 1896 began the reconquest of Sudan, having prepared the way by a reorganization of the army and the construction of a railway along the Nile. A series of victories culminated (1898) in the battle of Omdurman and the reoccupation of Khartoum. He forestalled a French attempt to claim part of Sudan (see Fashoda Incident) in the same year and was made governor of Sudan. In 1899, Kitchener was appointed chief of staff to Lord Roberts in the South African War. He reorganized transport, led an unsuccessful attack on Paardeberg, and suppressed the Boer revolt near Priska. When Roberts returned to England late in 1900, believing the Boer resistance crushed, Kitchener was left to face continued guerrilla warfare. By a slow extension of fortified blockhouses, the use of concentration camps for civilians, and the systematic denudation of the farm lands—methods for which he was much criticized—Kitchener finally secured Boer submission (1902). He was created viscount and sent to India as commander in chief of British forces there. He redistributed the troops and gained greater administrative control of the army in the face of serious opposition from the viceroy Lord Curzon. He left India in 1909, was made field marshal, and served (1911-14) as consul general in Egypt. He was made an earl in 1914. At the outbreak of World War I, Kitchener was recalled to England as secretary of state for war. Virtually alone in his belief that the war would last a number of years, he planned and carried out a vast expansion of the army from 20 divisions in 1914 to 70 in 1916. However, his relations with the cabinet were strained. In 1915 when he was attacked by the newspapers of Lord Northcliffe for the shortage of shells, responsibility for munitions was taken away from him, and later in the same year he was stripped of control over strategy. He offered to resign, but his colleagues feared the effect on the British public, which still idolized him. In 1916, Kitchener embarked on a mission to Russia to encourage that flagging ally to continued resistance. His ship, the H.M.S. Hampshire, hit a German mine and sank off the Orkney Islands, and he drowned.

See biography by P. Magnus (1958, repr. 1968).

Haig, Douglas Haig, 1st Earl, 1861-1928, British field marshal. He saw active service in Sudan (1898) and in the South African War (1899-1902) and upon the outbreak of World War I (1914) was given command of the 1st Army Corps in France. In Dec., 1915, he became commander in chief of the British expeditionary force. Under pressure from the French commander, Joseph Joffre, he undertook the battle of the Somme (July-Nov., 1916), which resulted in very heavy casualties and little territorial gain. The British prime minister, David Lloyd George, constantly antagonistic to Haig and unreceptive to his requests from the field, exacerbated the situation by putting the British troops under the orders of the French commander in 1917. Haig thus conducted the Passchendaele campaign (July-Nov., 1917; see Ypres, battles of) under orders from Gen. Robert Nivelle, while the French army was being reorganized after a mutiny. Haig was under continual French pressure to take over more of the front, and until the joint command of himself and Gen. Ferdinand Foch was instituted (1918), the strategy and conduct of the war were tragically mismanaged. Haig has been much criticized for the staggering casualties sustained. He was made an earl (1919) and devoted the remainder of his life to organizing the British Legion and raising funds for disabled ex-servicemen.

See his private papers, ed. by R. Blake (1952); biography by D. Cooper (2 vol., 1935-36); G. S. Duncan, Douglas Haig as I Knew Him (1967); D. Winter Haig's Command (1991); J. P. Harris, Douglas Haig and the First World War (2008).

Spencer, George John Spencer, 2d Earl, 1758-1834, British public official. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1780 but in 1783 inherited the earldom. In 1794, William Pitt appointed him first lord of the admiralty. In his term of office the navy achieved the victories of St. Vincent and Camperdown, and Spencer was responsible for the selection of Horatio Nelson to command the fleet that won the famous battle of Aboukir (1798). He left office in 1801 but later served (1806-7) as home secretary. Afterward he devoted himself to literary and scientific pursuits. His son John Charles Spencer, 3d Earl Spencer, 1782-1845, better known as Viscount Althorp, was chancellor of the exchequer and leader of the House of Commons under the 2d Earl Grey. With Lord John Russell, he piloted the Reform Bill of 1832 through the Commons. He retired from politics when he succeeded (1834) to the earldom.
Stanhope, Charles Stanhope, 3d Earl, 1753-1816, British politician and inventor; grandson of the 1st earl. He was a friend of the younger William Pitt and married (1774) Pitt's sister, Hester. Sitting in the House of Commons (1780-86) before he succeeded to the peerage, he opposed the war with the American colonies and supported parliamentary reform and other measures advocated by Pitt. Stanhope became estranged from Pitt after the outbreak of the French Revolution, opposing the British government's repressive policies at home and its policy of intervention abroad. A vigorous supporter of the French republican ideal, he became known as "Citizen" Stanhope and absented himself from the House of Lords (1795-1800). His indefatigable scientific experiments produced a fireproof stucco, calculating machines, lenses, and, most important, machines for printing and stereotyping. Others, less successful, included experiments on steam navigation. The Stanhope lens and the Stanhope press are named for him. Lady Hester Stanhope was his daughter.
Stanhope, James Stanhope, 1st Earl, 1673-1721, English general and statesman. During the War of the Spanish Succession he participated in the capture (1705) of Barcelona, was appointed (1706) minister to Spain, and in 1708 became commander in chief of the British forces there. He soon captured Minorca, taking Port Mahon and making it a winter base for the British fleet. He won the battles of Almenara and Zaragoza (1710) but lost his army to the French at Brihuega (1710) and was himself imprisoned for a year in Spain. On the accession (1714) in England of George I, Stanhope became a secretary of state. Devoting himself primarily to foreign affairs, he concluded a complex series of treaties, including the Triple Alliance (1717) with France and the Dutch. As chief minister (1717-18) he carried through the plans originated by Robert Walpole to fund the national debt and repealed (1718) the Occasional Conformity and Schism acts against dissenters. Becoming secretary of state again (1718), Stanhope negotiated the Quadruple Alliance of 1718 against Spain and formed (1719) a Baltic coalition to resist Russian expansion. His masterful diplomacy greatly strengthened Great Britain's position in Europe. He was created Earl Stanhope in 1718.
Stanhope, Philip Henry Stanhope, 5th Earl, 1805-75, English historian. He was undersecretary for foreign affairs (1834-35) in Sir Robert Peel's first ministry and secretary of the board of control (1845-46). He favored repeal of the corn laws and secured passage of the Copyright Act of 1842. Stanhope founded (1859) the National Portrait Gallery and was prime mover in organizing (1869) the Historical Manuscripts Commission. He wrote standard histories of the reign of Queen Anne (1870) and of the period from 1713 to 1783 (7 vol., 1836-54; repr. 1968).
Cowper, William Cowper, 1st Earl, 1664?-1723, English jurist. He became lord keeper of the great seal in 1705 and in 1706 took a leading part in negotiating the union of England with Scotland. He was the first lord chancellor of Great Britain (1707-10), and presided at the trial of Henry Sacheverell, though he disapproved the action. He was forced out of office with the Whigs in 1710. Cowper wrote (1714) a tract on political parties to convince George I that the Whigs alone were loyal to the Glorious Revolution and the Act of Settlement. He was lord chancellor again (1714-18) and contributed much to the modern system of equity.
Granville, Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2d Earl, 1815-91, British statesman. He entered Parliament as a Whig in 1836 and held various cabinet positions under Lord John Russell, the earl of Aberdeen, and Viscount Palmerston. As colonial secretary (1868-70, 1886) under William Gladstone, he had a large part in passing the bills that disestablished the Church of Ireland and began reforms in Irish land tenure. He was also foreign secretary (1870-74, 1880-85) under Gladstone.
Granville, John Carteret, 1st Earl, 1690-1763, English statesman, better known as Lord Carteret. He served as ambassador to Sweden (1719-20) and as a secretary of state (1721-24), but his favor with George I posed a threat to Robert Walpole, who finally forced his resignation and sent (1724) him to Ireland as lord lieutenant. There he dealt skillfully with the agitation against the new English currency patent, which Jonathan Swift attacked in his Drapier Letters. The patent was withdrawn in 1725, and Carteret became quite popular. Returning to England in 1730, he led the opposition that in 1742 finally accomplished Walpole's downfall. He was the chief minister in the new cabinet but soon became unpopular because he supported George II's Hanoverian policies and aided Maria Theresa in the War of the Austrian Succession. He was dismissed in 1744 and, although he served (1751-63) as lord president of the council, he never regained much influence.
Cadogan, William Cadogan, 1st Earl, 1675-1726, British general and diplomat. He is remembered chiefly as the faithful friend and brilliant subordinate of the 1st duke of Marlborough. In addition to serving (1702-11) as the latter's quartermaster general, he was the able commander of a dragoon regiment known as Cadogan's Horse and played a distinguished part in Marlborough's many victories in the War of the Spanish Succession. When the duke fell from power in 1711, Cadogan went into exile in the Netherlands. He conducted dealings with Hanover for the English Whigs, and after the Hanoverian George I ascended (1714) the British throne, he received new commands and honors. Cadogan helped to suppress the Jacobite uprising of 1715, was created earl in 1718, and was made commander in chief of the army after Marlborough's death in 1722. He also had high diplomatic duties in the resettlements among Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, the Holy Roman Empire, and Spain in the years 1714-20.
Baldwin of Bewdley, Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl: see Baldwin, Stanley.
Wavell, Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl, 1883-1950, British field marshal and viceroy of India. Wavell first saw service in the South African War and in India. During World War I he fought in France (and lost an eye) and in Palestine, where, under the command of General Allenby, he first learned the desert strategy that he was to employ so successfully later. He returned to Palestine as commander of the British forces to keep order during the Arab-Jewish riots of 1937-39. In World War II, Wavell was commander in chief of the Middle East, in which capacity he put to rout the Italian forces in Cyrenaica (see North Africa, campaigns in), only to be forced back later in 1941 by the Axis drive. He then exchanged commands with General Auchinleck, becoming commander in chief of India. After Japan entered the war, he was for some months (1942) supreme commander of the Allies in East Asia, but the command was abolished as the Allies lost control of the area. Resuming his command in India, Wavell became viceroy and governor-general in 1943. From that time until his resignation in 1947, his main concern was the preparation of India for self-rule; toward this end he worked continuously with the numerous Indian factions. He was created Viscount Wavell of Cyrenaica and Winchester in 1943 and earl in 1947. He wrote The Palestine Campaigns (1928), Allenby (1940), Generals and Generalship (1941), Allenby in Egypt (1943), Speaking Generally (1946), and The Good Soldier (1947). He also edited an anthology of poetry, Other Men's Flowers (1944).

See biography by J. H. Robertson (2 vol., 1964-69).

Earl was the Anglo-Saxon form and jarl the Scandinavian form of a title meaning "chieftain" and referring especially to chieftains set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke (hertig/hertug); in later medieval Britain, it became the equivalent of the continental count (in England in the earlier period, it was more akin to duke, while in Scotland it assimilated the concept of mormaer).

In modern Britain, an earl is a member of the peerage, ranking below a marquess and above a viscount. The English never developed a feminine form of earl; the wife of an earl is styled countess (the continental equivalent).


for the account in Norse mythology of the warrior Jarl or Ríg-Jarl presented as the ancestor of the class of warrior-nobles.

According to Procopius, the Heruli, after having raided the European continent for several generations, returned to Scandinavia in 512 AD as a result of military defeats. As their old territory was now occupied by the Danes, they settled next to the Geats in present-day Sweden. While the Proto-Norse word for this mysterious tribe may have been erilaz, which is etymologically near "jarl" and "earl", and it has often been suggested they introduced the runes in Scandinavia, no elaborate theory exists to explain how the word came to be used as a title. Arguably, their knowledge in interpreting runes also meant they were gifted in martial arts and, as they gradually integrated, eril or jarl instead came to signify the rank of a leader.

The Norman-derived equivalent "count" was not introduced following the Norman Conquest of England though "countess" was and is used for the female title. As Geoffrey Hughes writes, "It is a likely speculation that the Norman French title 'Count' was abandoned in England in favour of the Germanic 'Earl' […] precisely because of the uncomfortable phonetic proximity to cunt".

The Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh words for "count" or "earl" (iarla in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, iarll in Welsh) are all descended from English "earl" or one of its ancestors. In Scotland the word earl was used in English to refer to a mormaer.

Earls in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth

Forms of address

An earl has the title Earl of [X] when the title originates from a placename, or Earl [X] when the title comes from a surname. In either case, he is referred to as Lord [X], and his wife as Lady [X]. A countess who holds an earldom in her own right also uses Lady [X], but her husband does not have a title (unless he has one in his own right).

The eldest son of an earl, though not himself a peer, is entitled to use a courtesy title, usually the highest of his father's lesser titles (if any); younger sons are styled The Honourable [Forename] [Surname], and daughters The Lady [Forename] [Surname] (Lady Diana Spencer being a well-known example).


Changing power of English earls

In Anglo-Saxon England, earls had authority over their own regions and right of judgement in provincial courts, as delegated by the king. They collected fines and taxes and in return received a "third penny", one-third of the money they collected. In wartime they led the king's armies. Some shires were grouped together into larger units known as earldoms, headed by an ealdorman or earl. Under Edward the Confessor earldoms like Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria—names that represented earlier independent kingdoms—were much larger than any shire.

Earls originally functioned essentially as royal governors. Though the title of Earl was nominally equal to the continental count, unlike them earls were not de facto rulers in their own right.

After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror tried to rule England using the traditional system but eventually modified it to his own liking. Shires became the largest secular subdivision in England and earldoms disappeared. The Normans did create new earls like those of Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Cheshire but they were associated with only a single shire at most. There was no longer any administrative layer larger than the shire, and shires became "counties". Earls no longer aided in tax collection or made decisions in country courts and their numbers were small.

King Stephen increased the number of earls to reward those loyal to him in his war with his cousin Empress Matilda. He gave some earls the right to hold royal castles or control the sheriff and soon other earls assumed these rights themselves. By the end of his reign, some earls held courts of their own and even minted their own coins, against the wishes of the king.

It fell to Stephen's successor Henry II to again curtail the power of earls. He took back the control of royal castles and even demolished castles that earls had built for themselves. He did not create new earls or earldoms. No earl was allowed to remain independent of royal control.

The English kings had found it dangerous to give additional power to an already powerful aristocracy, so gradually sheriffs assumed the governing role. The details of this transition remain obscure, since earls in more peripheral areas, such as the Scottish and Welsh marches and Cornwall, retained some viceregal powers long after other earls had lost them. The loosening of central authority during the Anarchy also complicates any smooth description of the changeover.

By the 13th century, earls had a social rank just below the king and princes, but were not necessarily more powerful or wealthier than other noblemen. The only way to become an earl was to inherit the title or marry into one—and the king reserved a right to prevent the transfer of the title. By the 14th century, creating an earl included a special public ceremony where the king personally tied a sword belt around the waist of the new earl, emphasizing the fact that the earl's rights came from him.

Earls still held influence and as "companions of the king", were regarded as supporters of the king's power. They showed that power for the first time in 1327 when they deposed Edward II. They would later do the same with other kings they disapproved of. Still, the number of earls remained the same until 1337 when Edward III declared that he intended to create six new earldoms.

Earls, land and titles

A loose connection between earls and shires remained for a long time after authority had moved over to the sheriffs. An official defining characteristic of an earl still consisted of the receipt of the "third penny", one-third of the revenues of justice of a shire, that later became a fixed sum. Thus every earl had an association with some shire, and very often a new creation of an earldom would take place in favour of the county where the new earl already had large estates and local influence.

Also, due to the association of earls and shires, the mediæval practice could remain somewhat loose regarding the precise name used: no confusion could arise by calling someone earl of a shire, earl of the county town of the shire, or earl of some other prominent place in the shire; these all implied the same. So there were the "earl of Shrewsbury" (Shropshire), "earl of Arundel", "earl of Chichester" (Sussex), "earl of Winchester" (Hampshire), etc.

In a few cases the earl was traditionally addressed by his family name, e.g. the "earl Warenne" (in this case the practice may have arisen because these earls had little or no property in Surrey, their official county). Thus an earl did not always have an intimate association with "his" county. Another example comes from the earls of Oxford, whose property largely lay in Essex. They became earls of Oxford because earls of Essex and of the other nearby shires already existed.

Eventually the connection between an earl and a shire disappeared, so that in the present day a number of earldoms take their names from towns, mountains, or simply surnames. Nevertheless, some consider that the earldoms named after counties (or county towns) retain more prestige.

Order of precedence

List of English earls in order of precedence


The oldest earldoms in Scotland originated from the office of mormaer, such as the Mormaer of Fife, of Strathearn, etc; later earldoms developed by analogy.


A British earl is entitled to a coronet bearing eight strawberry leaves (four visible) and eight silver balls (or pearls) around the rim (five visible). The actual coronet is mostly worn on certain ceremonial occasions, but an Earl can bear his coronet of rank on his coat of arms above the shield.



In mediæval Norway, the title of jarl was the highest rank below the king himself. The jarl was the only one beside the king himself who was entitled to have a hird (large armed retinue). There was usually no more than one jarl in mainland Norway at any one time, sometimes none. The ruler of the Norwegian dependency of Orkney held the title of jarl, and after Iceland had acknowledged Norwegian overlordship in 1261, a jarl was sent there as well as the king's high representative. In mainland Norway the title jarl was usually used for one of two purposes:

  • To appoint a de facto ruler in cases where the king was a minor or seriously ill (e.g. Håkon galen in 1204 during the minority of king Guttorm, Skule Bårdsson in 1217 during the illness of king Inge Bårdsson).
  • To appease a pretender to the throne without giving him the title of king (e.g. Eirik, the brother of king Sverre).

In 1237, jarl Skule Bårdsson was given the rank of duke (hertug). This was the first time this title had been used in Norway, and meant that the title jarl was no longer the highest rank below the king. It also heralded the introduction of new noble titles from continental Europe, which were to replace the old Norse titles. The last jarl in mainland Norway was appointed in 1295

Some Norwegian jarls:


The usage of the title in Sweden was similar to Norway's. Known jarls from the 12th and 13 century were Birger Brosa, Jon jarl, Folke Birgersson, Karl Döve, Ulf Fase and the most powerful of all jarls and the last to hold the title, Birger jarl.


Only one person ever held the title of Earl (or Jarl) in Iceland. This was Gissur Þorvaldsson, who was made Earl of Iceland by King Haakon IV of Norway for his efforts in bringing Iceland under Norwegian kingship during the Age of the Sturlungs.


  • Marc Morris, The King's Companions (History Today December 2005)
  • Geoffrey Hughes, Swearing : a social history of foul language, oaths and profanity in English, ISBN 0-14-026707-7
  • Lindström, Fredrik; Lindström, Henrik (2006). Svitjods undergång och Sveriges födelse. Albert Bonniers förlag. ISBN 91-0-010789-1 .

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