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Lord rosebery vol 1

by The_marquess_of_crewe

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LORD ROSEBERY BY THE MARQUESS OF CREWE VOL. I PREFACE SOON after Lord Rosebery died his family asked me to write his Life. I had seen more of him than most could. There was a longstanding family friendship I had known him for fifty years and been his near relation for many. But I did not disguise from my self the difficulty of the task. There was a great mass of material, of which some important elements were separately sorted, while others were indiscriminately dotted about at his different homes. He seldom destroyed even a trivial letter, so the work of selection was arduous. And the multiplicity of his interests made it imperative to include some illustration of each. But the labour was lightened by the ungrudg ing help rendered by the surviving members of Rose berys family, by his secretary Mr. Stanley Brown, and by some of his old servants. The material used in writing this bookapart from official documents and the correspondence of which acknowledgment is made later onmay be summarised under three heads. First, from the time he grew up, until his serious illness, Lord Rosebery made entries in a Letts Diary. Often he only men tioned the weather and his own movements but he sometimes included short notes of great interest. Next, when travelling abroad he generally kept a tolerably copious journal, using a students notebook. Lastly, especially in his later years, he jotted down impressions and appreciations, of persons or situations, on single sheets of letterpaper. Lady Roseberys brief diaries have also been helpful. It will be observed that I have not attempted to give in detail a political history, even of the few years during which Lord Rosebery held high office. Such notable books as John Morleys llje of Gladstone, Lord Fitzmaurices Lord Granville, Mr. A. G. Gardiners Sir William Harcourt, and Mr. J. A. Spenders Sir Henry CampbellBannerman cover much of the same ground, and I am greatly indebted to these, to say nothing of such histories as are concerned with the years from 1880 to 1910. I have purposely placed the racing chapters at the end of each volume. Though the turf filled an important part in Roseberys life, it seemed better not to break the continuity of the ordinary narrative by frequent interpolations of detail on a subject not of universal interest In the first place, I must offer my grateful duty to His Majesty the King, who graciously allowed me access to all relevant papers in the Windsor archives, It will be seen how greatly the book has gained from this permission. Next I must respectfully thank those friends of Lord Rosebery and myself who have responded generously to my appeal for his letters. If I specially mention a few names, it is because their contributions have been large in bulk, and therefore frequently serviceable but some single letters have proved to be of great value. The Trustees of Mr. Gladstones papers were good enough to send me all the Rosebery letters, and I have also been favoured with his correspondence with Mrs. Drew Mary Gladstone.



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