Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Adderley, Charles Bowyer
ADDERLEY, Sir CHARLES BOWYER, first Baron Norton (1814–1905), statesman, born at Knighton House, Leicestershire, on 2 Aug. 1814, was eldest son of Charles Clement Adderley (1780-1818) by his wife Anna Maria (d. 1827), daughter of Sir Edmund Burney Cradock-Hartopp, first baronet, a descendant of Oliver Cromwell. On the death without issue of his great-uncle, Charles Bowyer Adderley of Hams Hall, Warwickshire, on 12 April 1826, Charles succeeded to the great family estates round Birmingham, and in Warwickshire and Staffordshire. Thereupon he was taken from school at Redland near Bristol, and placed under a clerical tutor of low church views, who deepened the evangelical convictions with which his parents had imbued him. In 1832 he became a gentleman-commoner at Christ Church, Oxford, where his piety suffered no diminution, while he acquired a knowledge of music and art and a love of horse riding and of tobacco. He rode daily till he was eighty-eight, and hunted for many years. At Christ Church he began, too, a life-long friendship with John Robert Godley [q. v.], who greatly influenced him. He took a pass degree in 1835.
From 1836 to 1841 Adderley mainly engaged in travel, study, and the management of his estates. He sought to develop his property on enlightened principles. When he came of age in 1835 the estate at Saltley near Birmingham supported a population of 400, which grew to 27,000 in his lifetime. Planning the streets of the town in 1837 so as to avoid the possibility of slums, he may be called the father of town-planning. In providing, endowing, and supporting places of worship in Saltley he spent 70,000l. He gave Adderley Park to Birmingham; in 1847 he promoted the foundation of the Saltley Church Training College (in which he was interested to the end) and in 1852 he founded the Saltley Reformatory on the model of that of Mettray in France.
The family residence at Hams Hall was not far from the home of Sir Robert Peel at Drayton Manor, Tamworth. Peel urged Adderley to enter Parliament and in June 1841 he was elected as a tory for the northern division of Staffordshire. He held the seat through eight elections, retiring in 1878. Adderley opposed Peel's free trade policy of 1846, although he formally abandoned protection at the general election of 1852. He took at first little part in debate, but wrote occasionally in 1848 on general topics in the 'Morning Chronicle' and on colonial subjects in the 'Spectator' in 1854.
Gradually colonial questions roused Adderley's enthusiasm, and he soon rendered services of the first importance to colonial development. In 1849 he joined his friends Godley, Edward Gibbon Wakefield [q. v.], and Lord Lyttelton in founding the Church of England colony of Canterbury in New Zealand. In the same year he strenuously resisted Lord Grey's proposal to transport convicts to the Cape, and elaborated his argument in a pamphlet, 'Transportation not necessary' (1851). To Adderley's advocacy the Cape colonists assigned the government's abandonment of its threat to send Irish political convicts among them, and by way of gratitude they named Adderley street after him. Penal colonial settlements were abrogated in 1852, partly owing to Adderley's activity.
Meanwhile Adderley helped Wakefield to found in 1849 the Colonial Reform Society for promoting colonial self-government, and of that society he became secretary. In 'The Australian Colonies Bill Discussed' (1849) he urged complete delegation of powers to the colony while throwing on it the cost of any imperial assistance. The independent constitution of New Zealand was drafted at Hams Hall in 1850 and the constitution of the other colonies followed this precedent. In 'Some Reflections on the Speech of Lord John Russell on Colonial Policy' (1850) Adderley declared that principles of self-government could alone yield 'thriving colonies, heartily and inseparably and usefully attached to England.' He powerfully developed his views in 'The Statement of the Present Cape Case' (1851); in his 'Remarks on Mr. Godley's Speech on Self-government for New Zealand' (1857); in his letter to Disraeli on 'The Present Relation of England with her Colonies' (1861; 2nd edit. 1862); and finally in his 'Review of "The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell's Administration," by Earl Grey , and of subsequent Colonial History' (1869, 3 pts.), a comprehensive survey of the progress of colonial freedom. At the age of ninety, in his 'Imperial Fellowship of Self-governed British Colonies' (1903), he enunciated anew his lifelong conviction that 'colonial self-administration and imperial fellowship' are 'co-ordinate elements ' in 'true colonial relationship.'
In Lord Derby's first administration of 1852 Adderley refused the secretaryship of the board of control, and continued to advocate as a private member of the House of Commons social and educational as well as colonial reforms with an independence of party cries which earned him the epithet of liberal-conservative. In 1852 he introduced a reformatory schools bill, for bringing refractory children or young criminals under educational control. In 1853 he opposed with great foresight the abandonment of the Orange River sovereignty. In 1854 he was responsible for the Young Offenders Act (a part of his 'reformatory' policy), and he introduced the Manchester and Salford education bill, in which a local education rate was first proposed. In 'Punishment is not Education' (1856) and in his 'Tract on Tickets of Leave' (1857), he pushed further his plea that education might cure crime more effectually than punishment.
On the formation of Lord Derby's second ministry in Feb. 1858 Adderley was appointed vice-president of the education committee of the privy council, and was admitted to the privy council. His office also constituted him president of the board of health, and a charity commissioner. The educational situation was peculiarly interesting. On 21 June 1858 Adderley in moving the education vote gave the first official estimate of the cost of a national system of elementary education: he put the amount at a million pounds per annum. At the same time he pointed out that that was the first day on which the University of Oxford was conducting its middle class examinations throughout the country, and was thereby inaugurating a new correlation of the universities to national life. Next day the first royal commission on elementary education was gazetted.
During his brief term of office Adderley consolidated the accumulated minutes of the council on education, prepared the way for the revised code, passed a Reformatory Act amending that of 1854, and (faithful to the principle of devolution) passed a first Local Government Act, the term 'local government' being his own invention.
In March 1859 Adderley, though a minister of the crown, voted against a second reading of his government's reform bill. On the defeat of Lord Derby's ministry he resigned office, and Lord Palmerston became prime minister. The outbreak of the Maori war in New Zealand in 1860 moved him deeply, but he advised the colonists to provide an army of their own, while urging that all parts of the Empire should give mutual help in case of need. In the same year he introduced without success an education bill which aimed at making education compulsory. In Lord Derby's third administration of 1866 Adderley became under-secretary for the colonies, and was immediately confronted by the difficult case of Governor Eyre [see Eyre, Edward John, Suppl. II], whom he loyally defended from the attacks of John Stuart Mill (cf. Finlason's Hist. of the Jamaica Case, 1869). In the same session he carried through the House of Commons the British North America Act (1867), which created the Dominion of Canada. Amid his parliamentary occupations, Adderley published 'Europe Incapable of American Democracy' (1867), in which he sought to reconcile his conservative faith with advanced ideas of social freedom and progress.
Adderley continued in office when Disraeli succeeded Lord Derby as prime minister. He resigned with his colleagues in Dec. 1868, and was made K.C.M.G. next year by Gladstone, the new liberal prime minister, who was a personal friend. 'I am glad our opponents decorate our bench,' remarked Disraeli. Adderley was made chairman of the sanitary commission which reported in 1871 and led to the passing of the Public Health Acts of 1872 and 1875. He took a prominent part in opposing Irish disestablishment.
When Disraeli returned to office in February 1874, Adderley became president of the board of trade, but owing to his frank independence, which the prime minister feared, he was not admitted to the cabinet. 'Single-heartedness, unfailing temper, and unwearied zeal' characterised his departmental work. The amendment of the merchant shipping law was his first official concern in the House of Commons, and he was brought into painful conflict with Samuel Plimsoll [q. v. Suppl. I]. Adderley's bill of 1875 was assailed by Plimsoll and withdrawn. In 1876 another bill which legalised a 'leadline' usually named after Plimsoll, although Adderley claimed it as his own, was introduced and passed. On 8 March 1878 Adderley retired from office with a peerage, assuming the title of Baron Norton. In the same year he presided at the Cheltenham meeting of the Social Science Congress, and he was a frequent speaker in the House of Lords on education and colonial and social questions. In 1880 he refused an offer of the governorship of Bombay. In his speech in the upper house on the Education Code of May 1882 (reprinted as a pamphlet) he practically advocated free education and protested against the complexity of the code with its detailed system of payment by results. He sat on the reformatory and industrial schools commission (1883) and on the education commissions of 1883-4 and 1887. In 1884 he promoted the compromise between the two houses on the liberal government's reform bill.
Norton had long played an active part in religious affairs. As early as 1849 he had published a devotional 'Essay on Human Happiness' (rev. edit. 1854). In his 'Reflections on the Rev. Dr. Hook's Sermon on "the Lord's Day"' (1856) he dwelt on the need of popular parks, gardens, and reading-rooms for Sunday recreation and religious contemplation. A strong churchman, he yet advocated in 1889 a union between the Church of England and the Wesleyans, and he developed an aspiration to heal protestant schism and stay controversy in ‘High and Low Church’ (1892, 2nd ed. 1893). His hope of reconciling apparently opposing social as well as religious forces found expression in his ‘Socialism’ (1895), in which respect for manual labour and zeal in social service and social reform were shown to harmonise with conservative and Christian feeling. In his ‘Reflections on the Course from the Goal’ (1898, 2nd ed. 1899) Norton discussed the formation of character. His religious views kept him in touch with all classes of thinkers, and neither doctrinal nor political differences affected his private friendship. With Mr. Gladstone especially he was long on cordial terms. Cobden and Bright were among his political friends, and he reckoned Archbishop Benson, Cardinal Manning, Dr. Dale, and Edward King, bishop of Lincoln, among his intimate acquaintances. To the end of his life Norton wrote long letters to ‘The Times’ on his favourite themes of social reform, education, and colonial affairs. He was no brilliant writer nor speaker, and was reckoned by political colleagues to be tenacious and outspoken to the verge of obstinacy and bluntness, but his views were enlightened, generous, and far-seeing, and they influenced the progress of public opinion. A skilled musician and a competent art critic, Norton died at Hams Hall on 28 March 1905, and was buried in the family vault in Lea Marston Church. Adderley on 28 July 1842 married Julia Anne Eliza, daughter of Chandos, first Baron Leigh of Stoneleigh. There were ten children—five sons and five daughters. He was succeeded as second Baron Norton by his eldest son, Charles Leigh Adderley. His youngest son, James Granville, became vicar of Saltley in 1904. Lady Norton died on 8 May 1887.
A portrait was painted in 1890 by Jacomb Hood. George Richmond, R.A., made a drawing for Grillion's Club. A cartoon by ‘Spy’ appeared in ‘Vanity Fair’ 1892. The Norton Memorial Hall at Saltley was erected in Norton's memory.
[W. S. C. Pemberton's Life of Lord Norton, 1814–1905, Statesman and Philanthropist, 1909, contains autobiographic notes, with portraits; see also The Times, 29 March 1905; Hansard's Reports; Burke's Peerage; J. R. Godley's Letters edited by Adderley for private circulation; Adderley's works.]