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Samuel, Sir Herbert, 1st Viscount Samuel

Samuel, Sir Herbert, 1st Viscount Samuel (1870–1963). Samuel's father, who died when Samuel was 7, was a Jewish banker. After taking a first in history at Balliol College, Oxford, Samuel entered Parliament as a Liberal in 1902. In the Liberal government of 1906 he served as under-secretary for the Home Office and entered the cabinet in 1909 as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, transferring to the postmaster-generalship the following year. He was home secretary when Asquith resigned in 1916, followed him into opposition, and lost his seat at the ‘Coupon’ election of 1918. In 1920–5 he served as high commissioner in Palestine and in 1926 presided over a commission on the coal industry which, by recommending a cut in wages, helped to provoke the General Strike. Samuel returned to Parliament in 1929 and was acting leader of the party (in the absence of Lloyd George) at the time of the crisis of 1931. He joined MacDonald's National Government as home secretary but resigned the following year when it moved towards protection. He was given a peerage in 1937. Respected rather than outstanding, Samuel's career rose and fell with the fortunes of his party.

J. A. Cannon

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Samuel, Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount

Herbert Louis Samuel Samuel, 1st Viscount, 1870–1963, British statesman. Entering Parliament as a Liberal in 1902, he was postmaster general (1910–14, 1915–16) and home secretary (1916). He lost his seat in Parliament in 1918 but served as first British high commissioner in Palestine (1920–25) and chairman of the royal commission of inquiry into the coal industry (1925–26). He played an important role in negotiating an end to the general strike of 1926. In the Commons again (1929–35), Samuel was home secretary (1931–32) and leader of the Liberal party (1931–35). He was created a peer in 1937. Samuel's writings include Practical Ethics (1935), Belief and Action: An Everyday Philosophy (1937), and In Search of Reality (1957).

See his memoirs (1945).

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