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Life Of The First Marquess Of Ripon

by Lucien Wolf

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LIFE OF THE FIRST MARQUESS OF RIPON BY LUCIEN WOLF PREFACE THERE has been some delay in the preparation of this book, due partly to the failure of my eyesight, which has, for all practical purposes, incapacitated me from reading and writing, and partly to the War, which fas tened mens minds on other things and necessarily modified the plans I had formed for the treatment of my theme. The book, however, has not suffered on that account. I was fortunate in finding other eyes and hands which toiled for me, not only with inteEigence, but with unwearying devotion. I am, too, the less concerned to apologize for the delay because it has proved a positive advantage to the memory of Lord Ripon. Time, indeed, has but little relation to the right of a public man to a full record of his life in the literature of his country. Is the story intrinsically interesting ? Does it add materially to our stock of knowledge ? Is there any element of permanence in the ideas and achieve ments it records ? Judged by these tests the Life of Lord Ripon, even in my inadequate rendering of it, will, I think, be found fully justified. It will be a triumph he richly deserved. He was not, a showy statesman. He hated the Palaver and the SmeKght. He was not a great speaker or a good writer But he was industrious, painstaking, honest, and shrewd. He had high purposes and far more than average ability, which, joined with a character of singular nobility and lovableness, oncein the Indian Viceroyalty almost touched the highwater mark of genius. He served his country through nearly sixty years with such simplicity and so little selfassertion that, at the end, he seemed to fall quite easily into the ruck of political mediocrity. For at that time even his Indian work was only beginning to emerge from the distorting atmosphere of party controversy. The rereading of his Lite today in the light of an ample material, and more especially of the lessons of the Great War and of its political and social concomitants, must, I think, reverse this judgment and give to Lord Ripon a high place in the constructive statesmanship of the Victorian and Edwardian epochs. It remains for me to express my gratitude to Sir Henry Primrose, K.C.B., for the high compliment he paid me in asking me, with the assent of his brother executors, to prepare this book, and for the valuable advice and great material help he has afforded me throughout. With him I should associate the name of the late Lady Primrose, who took a deep interest in the work, and who also contributed not a little to lighten my labours. It is a great regret to me that she has not been spared to see this measure of justice done to the memory of one to whom she was devotedly attached Another friend to whom I am under a great obligation Mr. C. E, Baines, of the India Office.



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