John Morley

[1st Viscount Morley Of Blackburn]

Biography of John Morley

John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn (24 December 1838 – 23 September 1923) was a British Liberal statesman, writer and newspaper editor. Initially a journalist, he was elected a Member of Parliament in 1883. He was Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1886 and between 1892 and 1895, Secretary of State for India between 1905 and 1910 and again in 1911 and Lord President of the Council between 1910 and 1914. Morley was a distinguished political commentator, and biographer of his hero, William Gladstone. Morley is best known for his writings and for his "reputation as the last of the great nineteenth-century Liberals". He opposed imperialism, the Boer War, and British entry into the First World War in 1914.

Background and education

Morley was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, the son of Jonathan Morley and Priscilla Mary (née Duncan). He was educated at Cheltenham College, University College School and Lincoln College, Oxford. He quarrelled with his father over religion, and had to leave Oxford early without an honours degree; his father had wanted him to become a clergyman. He wrote, in obvious allusion to this rift, On Compromise (1874).


Morley was called to the bar before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. He was the editor of the Fortnightly Review from 1867 to 1882 and of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1880–83 before going into politics.

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