Frank Pakenham (1905-2001)


Life
[Peter Stanford Francis Aungier Pakenham; fam. & usu. Frank Packenham, Earl of Longford; Lord Longford]; b. 5th Dec., Pakenham Castle (now Tullynally); 2nd. son of 5th Earl and gt-gs. of Robert Peel; nephew of Lord Dunsany; f. died at Gallipoli; ed. Eton, where he showed Sinn Féin sympathies, and Oxford; took First in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, sharing digs with Hugh Gaitskell; convert to socialism and Catholicism; primary school teacher, 1927;
 
leader writer on Daily Mail; lect. at LSE; worked with boys’ in evenings; research sec. to Conservative Party; m. Elizabeth Harman, 1931; four sons and four dgs.; don at Christ Church, Oxford, 1932-45; issued Peace by Ordeal (1935), based on papers of Robert Barton; heavily beaten up while protesting at Mosleyite meeting, 1936; joined Labour and became Oxford councillor, 1936; made unsuccessful mission to Dublin to persuade de Valera to make treaty ports available to British Navy, 1939; joined Territorial Army, 1939; invalided out with nervous disorder in 1940; converted to Roman Catholicism, being followed by his wife Elizabeth in a year, who had previously influenced him to join the Labour Party;
 
asst. to Lord William Beveridge, and worked on Welfare State report; failed to win Oxford seat for Labour, 1945; made Baron Pakenham of Cowley and given Labour govt. whip by Attlee; Under-Sec. of War Ofice, 1946, with responsibility for British zones in Germany and Austria; damaged face in accident disembarking from plane, Germany, 1947; Minister of Aviation [q.d.]; succeeded brother to family title as 7th Earl, 1961, and directly gave passed to his eldest son; chaired Justice Committee, proposing compensation for victims of crime, 1962; gave RTÉ Thomas Davis Lecture lecture on Anglo-Irish Treaty, 1963; Leader of House of Lords, 1964; Leader of House of Lords, 1964;
 
appt. Lord Privy Seal, 1965 [var. 1966]; chaired Labour committee on penal reform; Colonial Secretary, 1965-66; resigned leadership of Lords, 1968; issued biog. of de Valera with Tom O’Neill (1970); fnd. New Horizon Youth Centre; Knight of the Garter, 1972; published Report on Pornography, 1972; called unremittingly for parole of Myra Hindley; invited IRA bomber Shane O’Doherty to tea at House of Lords; suffered death of dg. Catherine in car crash, 1969; d. 3 Aug.; survived by s. Thomas Pakenham and dg. Antonia Fraser; subject of a docu-fiction on Channel 4, Thurs. 26th Oct. 2006.

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Works
Studies, Peace by Ordeal (1935), and Do. (NEL/Mentor rep. [q.d.]); The Idea of Punishment (1961); Eamon de Valera, with Thomas P. O’Neill (Hutchinson 1970); The Life of Jesus (1974); Abraham Lincoln (1974); John Kennedy (1976); St. Francis of Assisi (1978); Eleven at No. 10 (1984); autobiography, Born to Believe (1953), The Grain of Wheat (1974), and Avowed Intent (1994).

Autbobiography, Five Lives (Catholic Book Club 1964), photo port., ded. Elizabeth [wife], 280pp., with index. Parts: ‘A Socialist in the City’; ‘The Realm of Peers’; [Interlude:] ‘An Irish Mind’; ‘That Prison Person’; ‘A Truer Talent’; ‘Principles and Powers’; ‘The Ante-Rooms of State’, each with chapter divisions; also epilogue by Judut Kazantzis, ‘The Author as Father’. ‘An Irish Mind’ [for extracts, see under Quotations, infra].

Articles (Selected), ‘Labour: The King and I’ [autobiographical feature by Lord Longford], Spectator (25 Nov. 1995), pp.23-24 [ 70 on 5 Dec.; still a socialist; supports Blair]; see also contrib. to Spectator (13 April 1996) [joined Labour Party under the influence of the gospels and his wife, 1936].

Miscellaneous, Thomas Davis lecture on Anglo-Irish treaty (RTE 1963); The History of Makers, Leaders and Statesmen of the Twentieth Century, ed. Lord Longford & Sir John Wheeler-Bennett (Sidgwick & Jackson 1973), 448pp, ills.; chronologies [by] Christine Nicholls. Contents incl. Clemenceau to Nasser, the essay on Lloyd George being by A. P. J. Taylor [see under Eamon de Valera, supra]. See also Longford Report on pornography. Also, The Anglo-Irish Treaty [Thomas Davis Lecture Lecture] (Cork: Mercier/RTE 1963)

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Criticism
Peter Stanford, Lord Longford: A Life (London: Heinemann 1994), 490pp.; obit., The Irish Times (Sat., 4 Aug. 2001).

There is a biographical file in Fact Index [link].

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Commentary
Sean MacReamoinn, review of Peter Stanford, Lord Longford: A Life (1994), in The Irish Times (4 June 1994) cites, ‘He told his friend Douglas Woodruff that when he arrived in Germany, he had a feeling of déjà vu. It was like the Dublin of his childhood, a people suffering under British rule. He identified the downtrodden Germans with the Irish [... but] believed that in Germany’s case he had a chance to avoid repeating past errors.’; Michael Foot said that it was ‘thanks to people like Frank’ that the Germans didn’t starve in 1945. Those whom he called friends or championed include de Valera, Atlee, F. E. Smith, Gaitskell, Philip Toynbee, the Kray brothers, Perfumo, and Stephen Ward (posthumously).

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The Irish Times (Sat., 4 Aug. 2001), Lord Longford: b. 5th Dec. 1905, Francis Aungier Pakenham, 2nd. son of 5th Earl and gt-gs. of Robert Peel; showed Sinn Féin sympathy at Eton; first in Philosophy, Poloticsal and Economics, sharing digs with Hugh Gaitskell; primary school teacher, 1927; leader writer on Daily Mail; lect. at LSE; worked with boys’ in evenings; research sec. to Conservative Party; m. Elizabeth Harman, 1931; four sons and four dgs.; don at Christ Church, Oxfrod, 1932-45; issued Peace by Ordeal (1935); heavily beaten up while protesting at Mosleyite meeting, 1936; joined Labour and became Oxford councillor; joined TA in 1939; invalided out with nervous disorder in 1940; converted to Roman Catholicism, being followed by his wife in a year; asst. to Lord William Beveridge, and worked on Welfare State report; failed to win Oxford seat for Labour, 1945; made Baron Pakenham of Cowley and given govt. whip by Attlee; Under-Sec. of War Ofice, 1946, with responsibility for British zones in Germany and Austria; damaged face in accident disembarking from plane, Germany, 1947; succeeded brother to Earldom, 1961, and directly gave the title to his eldest son; chaired Justice Committee, proposing compensation for victims of crime, 1962; Leader of House of Lords, 1964-68; Lord Privy Seal, 1965; chaired Labour committee on penal reform; colonial secretary, 1965-66; resigned leadership of Lords, 1968; fnd. New Horizon Youth Centre; suffered death of dg. Catherine in car crash, 1969; Knight of the Garter, 1972; published Pornography Report, 1972; called unremittingly for parole of Myra Hindley; invited IRA bomber Shane O’Doherty to tea at House of Lords; biog. of de Valera with Tom O’Neill. Síle de Valera, as Minister of Arts, said: ‘It was with sadness that I have learned of the death of Lord Longford, a friend of my family. He was a decent and a good man who campaigned tirelessly for human rights. He was a good friend of Ireland.’ [The article, a report on his death, was followed by the obituary on 11 Aug. 2001, infra.]

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The Irish Times (11 Aug 2001) - Obituary of Lord Longford: Peter Stanford Francis Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl; 1905-2001; fell under the spell of de Valera, 1932; b.5th dEc., London; ed. Eton and New College, Oxon.; m. Elizabeth Harmon, 1931; met Robert Barton (who signed and later repudiated the Treaty), using his papers to produce Peace by Ordeal which showed that partitition was not envisaged as a long-term solution by either side of the Treaty negotiations; followed his wife into the Labour Party; became Catholic; an antecedent Father Paul Mark Pakenham, ex-grenadier, joined Passionates after conversion by Newman; nervous breakdown in army; socially humiliated; co-author of Beveridge plan; British min. in occupied Germanyu; peer; exemplar of Christian forgiveness in relation to Germany; restoration of currency; travelled on Irish passport; voted dissent to Ireland Act in cabinet following declaration of Irish Republic, 1948; became Oxford don on fall of Labour, 1951; chairman of National Bank, London (fnd. Daniel O’Connell); travelled for bank in Ireland; intermediary with Harold Wilson’s govt. in settlement of Lane Pictures negotiations, 1958; suggested that Ireland rejoin the Commonwealth, 1960; succeeded his br., 1961; passed succession and estate at Castlepollard to his son Thomas, the historian (partly ed. at Belvedere); appt. to Wilson’s cabinet, 1964; Wilson told him his mental age was 12, and Longford responded that Wilson’s judgement was of the same age; reprimanded for attending 1916 celebrations in Dublin; resigned in protest when govt. failed to honour pledge to raise school-leaving age to 16; proposed power-sharing admin. for Northern Ireland and sought reunification as ultimate solution; collab. with Tom O’Neill on official biog. of de Valera, 1970 (‘closer to autobiogrpahy than biography’); headed enquiry into pornography and lampooned as Lord Porn; advocated release of Myra Hindley; campaigned for release of Birmingham Six, Guildford Four and Maguire Seven; continued to speak in House of Lords till weeks before his death. (IT, p.14.)

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Quotations
Five Lives (Catholic Book Club 1964): ‘There was never a time [quoting Born to Believe] when I have not been proud to call myself an Irishman’; quotes Freddy Boland, Gen. McKeown, and Conor Cruise O’Brien (described by Longford in the House of Lords as ‘the Irish Lord Hailsham’); Whitaker Plan (to raise growth from 1% to 2% p.a.); end of partition not in sight [96]; South has fared far better than the wealthier North; conversation with Gen. Franco; role in return of Lane pictures [97-102]. [Cont.]

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Five Lives (Catholic Book Club 1964) - cont.: ‘‘I have always tried, as an Irishman living outside Ireland, to present myself as neutral between the parties, but ever since my book Peace by Ordeal (1935) there has been a disposition –certainly among Fine Gael leaders – to treat me as a crypto-supporter of Mr de Valera and Fianna Fail’ [98]; memories of Macmillan and de Valera; advocacy of the Cardinal d’Alton partition solution (all-Ireland republic and re-entry into commonwealth); de Valera’s opposition to same, ‘whatever the rights and wrongs of Ireland’s leaving the Commonwealth in 1948, though he was not in power at the time, it was impossible to go back on the decision now; [A]ny unilateral move would be the one thing that would drive him back to active politics. [103]. Cont.]

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De Valera’s personal phone-call of congratulation; Paul Mary Pakenham, establisher of Irish Passionist Order; beatification sought; homages to Edward Longford from Waugh, Betjeman and others; Brendan Behan and Joan Littlewood at funeral; encomium of Edward and Christine; ‘Like many other Anglo-Irishmen, I have led a somewhat schizophrenic existence [...]’; quotes Erskine Childers last words at execution, ‘I die loving England and praying that she may change finally and completely towards Ireland’; cites his uncle Lord Dunsany; quotes W. B. Yeats, ‘The English boys at my school though of Agincourt and Crécy and the Union Jack and were all very patriotic and I without those memories of Limerick and the Yellow Ford that would have strengthened an Irish Catholic though of mountain and lake, of my grandfather and of ships’ (Autobiographies). [Cont.]

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Longford ‘embraced Irish nationalist [when] we had reached and passed, to adapt Kevin O’Higgins, the last emotional phase of the struggle [W]e were near the end of the grim uprise of a submerged race; for me, as I told elsewhere, the effect on my total outlook was cataclysmic, it altered my approach henceforward to anything political and not just were Irish interests were concerned’ [107]; referred to by Frank Gallagher as ‘this Irishman in British politics’; ‘some of my Irishness was sentimental, springing from love of an Irish home [Pakenham, now Tullynally] ...the holding down of one people, great or small, by another people will always be to me an outrageous denial of natures; some advantage perhaps to put oneself imaginatively in someone else’s shoes ...’; ‘the old schizophrenia will not quite be disposed of ... One cannot expect to have everything, or perhaps anything, both ways [...] Ireland [has] reason for pride and England for gratitude’. [End Chap.] For further remarks, see Hugh Lane [supra].

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Notes
Síle de Valera, as Minister of Arts, said: ‘It was with sadness that I have learne dof the death of Lord Longford, a friend of my family. He was a decent and a good man who campaigned tirelessly for human rights. He was a good friend of Ireland.’ (Irish Times, Sat. 4 Aug. 2001).

Peace by Ordeal (1935) was serialised in the Irish Independent (presum. at reprint date).

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