Reading, Rufus Daniel Isaacs, 1st marquess of rĕd´ĭng [key]
, 1860–1935, British statesman. Called to the bar in 1887, he achieved great success in his profession. He entered Parliament as a Liberal in 1904, became attorney general in 1910, and in 1912 was given a seat in the cabinet. Involved in charges of buying stock in the American Marconi Corp. while the government was contracting with the British branch of the firm, he was, however, exonerated and in 1913 was created lord chief justice. During World War I he served the government in financial operations, becoming (1915) president of an Anglo-French loan commission to the United States, where he subsequently served as special envoy (1917) and special ambassador (1918–19). In 1921 he was made viceroy of India at a time when the people, partly under the influence of Mohandas Gandhi
and partly as a result of the massacre at Amritsar
(1919), were roused against British rule. Faced with the passive resistance of the Gandhi adherents, Isaacs authorized the imprisonment of Gandhi and felt compelled to allow the hated salt tax. He returned to England in 1926 and was created a marquess (having already been created in succession baron, viscount, and earl), but he was much criticized for his administrative acts in India. He was (1931) foreign secretary in Ramsay MacDonald
's National government.
See biographies by his son G. R. Isaacs, 2d marquess of Reading (2 vol., 1943–45), H. M. Hyde (1967), and D. Judd (1982).
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