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John Viscount Morley

by John H.morgan

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JOHN, VISCOUNT MORLEYAN APPRECIATION AND SOME REMINISCENCESBY JOHN H. MORGANPREFACE A WORD as to the origin and purpose of the follow ing pages. Three out of the four chapters dealing exclusively with Lord Morleys published works were written, and duly appeared in periodicals, in his own lifetime. They were fortunate in winning from him words of commendation, and he at one time expressed a desire for their republication. One of them Chapter VII. was, indeed, as is ex plained on page 62, to have been the startingpoint in a common literary venture of his and mine. So much may be said by way of excuse, if excuse be needed, for their republication in the present book, The three chapters of reminiscences stand on a different footing. They were written and, in the case of two of them, published some months after Lord Morleys death, and would probably never have been written at all, had I not been impressed by the onesided and partial character of the many appreciations written by others after that mournful event. And by partial I mean either idolatrous or iconoclastic. Untempered I except the felicitous study by Mr. Birrell which appeared in the pages of the Empire Review, a study by an intimate friend which maintained an admirable equipoise of judgment.Neulogy was followed, as was perhaps inevitable, by intemperate blame. There has been too much of both. It seemed to me that the time had arrived for one who had the privilege of belong ing to the inner circle of his friends to try to hold the balance even between the two extremes, and to attempt to show him as he really was. Some of those who knew him best are good enough to think I have succeeded. His nephew and executor, Mr. Guy Morley, has written to me, with a kindness of which I am only too sensible, to say that the result is a most just and friendly portrait of the original. If I had had any doubts, and I have had none, as to the propriety of these two chapters, his words would be with me, for obvious reasons decisive. With Lord Morleys private life I have not dealt at all. Had I done so, I could, as I have said in the pages that follow, have told a tale of singular devotion, a tale of one whose whole life was a noble comment on the text, Bear ye one anothers burdens, and who, living, fulfilled the law of Christ. But this is an appreciation, not a biography. It is, however, an appreciation suffused with personal reminiscence. Oblivion blindly seat tereth her poppy, and there may be some who will be glad to have these recollections before the memory of him who recollects has begun to fade. I have followed Lord Motleys own practice in the obituary essay he wrote upon his friend and master, John Stuart Mill, and in his Life of Gladstonenamely that of reproducing conversa tions with the subject of my discourse, for it is in a mans conversation, as in his work, that, in the words of Ruskin, you find him to the uttermost or not at all.



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