Sir Michael Hicks Beach Bt


Sir Michael Hicks Beach replaced Lord Carnarvon as Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1878 and was shocked to discover the scheme cooked up by Carnarvon and Frere. He immediately sent an order to Frere to try and stop him presenting the outrageous ultimatum to the Zulus. But he knew that his message would not reach Frere in time so he arranged for two battalions to be sent out as reinforcements to the undersized force. The Prime Minister, Disraeli was distracted by the Afghan War and left the Zululand 'side-show' in the hands of Hicks Beach.

Michael succeeded his father to the 9th baronetcy in 1854 at the age of 17. He was born in London on 23rd Oct 1837 and educated at Eton and Oxford, finishing up with a first in Law and Modern History. He was an MP for East Gloucestershire in 1864 and a member of the cabinet in 1877. From 1878 to 1880 he was Secretary of State for the Colonies and in 1785 was MP for Bristol West and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He gained the title 1st Earl of St Aldwyn in 1906 and died on 30th April 1916.


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by Stephen Luscombe