“Hugh Culling Eardley Childers (25 June 1827 – 29 January 1896) was a British Liberal statesman of the nineteenth century. He is perhaps best known for his reform efforts at the Admiralty and the War Office. Later in his career, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, his attempt to correct a budget shortfall led to the fall of the Liberal government led by William Ewart Gladstone.
Childers became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1882, a post he had coveted. As such, he attempted to implement a conversion of Consols in 1884. Although the scheme proved a failure, it paved the way for the subsequent conversion in 1888. He attempted to resolve a budget shortfall in June 1885 by increasing alcohol duty and income tax. His budget was rejected by Parliament, and the government – already unpopular due to events in Egypt – was forced out of office. Childers’s colleague the Earl of Rosebery commented resignedly: “So far as I know the budget is as good a question to go out upon as any other, and Tuesday as good a day.”
Childers married Emily Walker in 1850. They had six sons and two daughters. A cousin, Erskine Childers, was the author of the spy novel The Riddle of the Sands, an important figure in the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War (during which he was executed), and father of the fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers.
Towards the end of his ministerial career “HCE” Childers was known for his girth, and so acquired the nickname “Here Comes Everybody”, which was later used as a motif in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.
Childers died in January 1896, aged 68. He is buried on the south side of the central enclosed roundel in Brompton Cemetery, London.
Robert Erskine Childers DSC (25 June 1870 – 24 November 1922), usually known as Erskine Childers, was an English-born Irish writer, whose works included the influential novel The Riddle of the Sands. He became a supporter of Irish Republicanism and smuggled guns into Ireland in his sailing yacht Asgard. He was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War. He was the son of British Orientalist scholar Robert Caesar Childers; the cousin of Hugh Childers and Robert Barton; and the father of the fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers.
In January 1901, Childers started work on his novel, The Riddle of the Sands, but initially progress was slow: it was not until winter of that year that he was able to tell Williams, in one of his regular letters, of the outline of the plot. At the end of the following year, after a hard summer of writing, the manuscript went to Reginald Smith at Smith Elder, but in February 1903, just as Childers was hoping to return to The HAC in South Africa, Smith sent back the novel, with instructions for extensive changes. With the help of his sisters, who cross-checked the new manuscript pages against the existing material, Childers produced the final version in time for publication in May 1903.
Based on his own sailing trips with his brother Henry along the German coast, it predicted war with Germany and called for British preparedness…”