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Kimberley, John Wodehouse, 1st earl of

Kimberley, John Wodehouse, 1st earl of (1826–1902). A Whig politician, Kimberley served in all of Gladstone's ministries. A distinguished scholar at both Eton and Oxford, he never quite fulfilled his early promise. At the Colonial and India Offices he acquired the reputation of an ‘imperial handyman’. Some thought him irresolute during the first Boer war in 1880–1, but he finally concluded that a military victory would not give Britain real control of the Transvaal. Self-government under British suzerainty followed. He also accepted the need for Irish Home Rule. As foreign secretary in 1894–5 he recognized that Britain could not respond to popular demands for intervention against the savage Turkish repression of an Armenian uprising. Inaction, however, during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–5 meant that Britain did not share the odium incurred in Tokyo by Russia and other powers when they deprived Japan of some of her gains.

C. J. Bartlett

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