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by Philip Guedalla
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1926. Guedalla, historian and irreverent biographer, explains the scope and purpose of this book and his design in writing it: The life of Palmerston was the life of England and, to a large extent, of Europe in the last sixteen years of the Eighteenth and the first sixty-five of the Nineteenth Centuries. Perhaps its magnitude accounts for the fact that the task has been so rarely undertaken. For he covered an amazing span. Stated in terms of art, his life unites an almost legendary past to our own time: when he was born, Reynolds was painting Mrs. Siddons, and Mr. Swinburne published Atalanta in Calydon in the year that he died. A Regency beau, he spoke in debate when Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox had not long fallen silent, and he was Secretary at War against Napoleon. He moved in the candlelight of the drawing-rooms where Mr. Creevey told his stories; and men still living have conversed with him. For he lived to be fifteen years Foreign Secretary and twice Prime Minister in the gathering gloom of a later age. His first diplomatic duels were fought with Talleyrand and Metternich, his last with Mr. Lincoln and Prince Bismarck. For he had a positive genius for survival; perhaps the reason why he left no disciples was that he had survived them all. Did he not accept office from Mr. Spencer Perceval and live to offer it to Mr. Cobden? So it is not surprising that his long journey across the English scene has startled biography into one of its rare silences. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.
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