Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/709

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[The Times, 9 April 1902; authorities cited; Paul's History of Modern England, 5 vols. 1904–6; J. Martineau, Life of Sir Bartle Frere, 2 vols. 1895; Lucy's Balfourian Parliament, 1906; Grant Duff, Notes from a Diary, 1888–91.]

L. C. S.

WOLFF, Sir HENRY DRUMMOND CHARLES (1830–1908), politician and diplomatist, born in Malta 12 Oct. 1830, was only child of the rev. Joseph Wolff [q. v.] by his wife Lady Georgiana, daughter of Horatio Walpole, second earl of Orford. He was named Drummond after Henry Drummond [q. v.], a founder, with his father, of the Irvingite church. After education at Rugby, under Tait, he spent some time abroad in the study of foreign languages. At the age of sixteen he entered the foreign office as a supernumerary clerk, and became a member of the permanent staff in 1849. In June 1852 he was attached to the British legation at Florence, and was left in charge during the autumn of 1852 in the absence of the minister, Sir Henry Bulwer (afterwards Lord Dalling). He returned to the foreign office in 1853, and in 1856 he was attached to Lord Westmoreland's special mission to congratulate Leopold I, King of the Belgians, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his accession. When the conservatives took office in February 1858, Wolff became assistant private secretary to the foreign secretary the earl of Malmesbury, and in October private secretary to the secretary for the colonies, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton (afterwards Lord Lytton). Having been made C.M.G. and king of arms of the order in April 1859, he was secretary to Sir Henry Storks [q. v.], high commissioner of the Ionian Islands, from June 1859 till the transfer of the islands to Greece in June 1864. Throughout this period Wolff took an active part in various commissions of inquiry set on foot to redress grievances and to promote the material welfare of the islanders. In 1860 he acted as delegate for the islands to the international statistical congress in London; in 1861 he was vice-president of a commission to arrange for Ionian exhibits in the London international exhibition of 1862, and helped in the establishment of an Ionian Institute for the promotion of trade and education. In Oct. 1862 he became K.C.M.G., and subsequently arranged the details of the transfer of the islands to Greece, which was effected in June 1864. On relinquishing his office he received a pension from the Greek government.

For the next few years he travelled much, and was mainly engaged in promoting various financial undertakings, a kind of work for which his wide popularity and his astuteness and fertility of resource gave him great advantages. In 1864 he assisted at Constantinople in arranging for the conversion of the internal debt of Turkey into a foreign loan. In 1866 he laid a project for a ferry across the English Channel before the emperor of the French. Subsequently he aided in the liquidation of a large undertaking entitled the International Land Credit Company, which had come to disaster. In 1870, during the war between France and Germany, he made three expeditions from Spa, where he was staying, into the theatre of the campaign. At the beginning of September, with two English companions, he visited the battlefield of Sedan a day or two after the surrender of the French army, meeting on his return journey the emperor of the French on his way to Germany. A fortnight later Wolff and Henry James (afterwards Lord James of Hereford) visited the battlefields of Gravelotte and Saarbrücken and the environs of Strasburg while invested by the German forces, and came under the fire of the French artillery. Early in Oct. 1870 he proceeded from Spa to Baden, and thence to Strasburg, which had then surrendered, and on to Nancy and Toul. He narrated his experiences in the ‘Morning Post,’ and the narrative was privately printed in 1892 as ‘Some Notes of the Past.’

Meanwhile he was actively interested in party politics. He was one of the select company of contributors to ‘The Owl,’ a short-lived but popular satirical journal, which was started in 1864 by Algernon Borthwick (afterwards Lord Glenesk) but abandoned in 1870 in consequence of the pressure of other work. In 1865 he stood as a conservative for Dorchester, with ‘the most disastrous results.’ Afterwards he purchased from Lord Malmesbury a small building property at Boscombe, near Bournemouth, which he set to work to develop, and at the general election in 1874 he was elected conservative M.P. for Christchurch. He took at once an active part in the House of Commons. He spoke often on foreign policy, especially in connection with the Eastern question. He was prominent in defending the purchase by the British government of the Khedive's shares in the Suez Canal Company. In 1875 he was appointed a member of the copyright commission, and signed the