Lord William Palmer, the second Earl of Selborne was born in 1859. He studied history at the University of Oxford. He was Under-Secretary for the Colonies from 1895 to 1900, when he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. He came to South Africa to succeed Lord Milner as High Commissioner in South Africa, and Governor of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, in April 1905. He showed much more understanding and was much more approachable than his haughty predecessor, and also, as a keen farmer, he was bound to be more popular than Milner in an agrarian community.
Potgieter, D.J. (ed)(1973). Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa, Vol.9, Cape Town: Nasou, p.578.|Williams, B. (1925).The Selborne memorandum on the Union of South Africa.