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John Patrick, Third Marquess of Bute, K.T. (1847-1900), a Memoir   By: (1853-1939)

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[Frontispiece: John, third Marquess of Bute, with his Mother aet 9 from a picture at Mount Stuart ]

JOHN PATRICK

THIRD MARQUESS OF

BUTE, K.T.

(1847 1900)

A MEMOIR

BY

THE RIGHT REV. SIR DAVID HUNTER BLAIR

BT., O.S.B.

AUTHOR OF "A MEDLEY Of MEMORIES," ETC.

WITH PORTRAITS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.

1921

All rights reserved

TO THE MEMORY

OF MY FRIEND

{vii}

PREFACE

Just twenty years have passed away since the death, at the age of little more than fifty, of the subject of this memoir a period of time not indeed inconsiderable, yet not so long as to render unreasonable the hope that others besides the members of his family (who have long desired that there should be some printed record of his life), and the sadly diminished numbers of his intimate friends, may be interested in learning something of the personality and the career of a man who may justly be regarded as one of the not least remarkable, if one of the least known, figures of the closing years of the nineteenth century.

Disraeli, when he published fifty years ago his most popular romance, thought fit to place on the title page a motto from old Terence: "Nosse omnia haec salus est adulescentulis."[1] Was he really of opinion it is difficult to credit it that the welfare of the youth of his generation depended on their familiarising themselves with the wholly imaginary life story of "Lothair"? the romantic, sentimental, and somewhat invertebrate youth who owed such {viii} fame as he achieved to the fact that he was popularly supposed to be modelled on the young Lord Bute though never, in truth, did any hero of fiction bear less resemblance to his fancied prototype.

The present biographer ventures to think that the motto of Lothair might with greater propriety figure on the title page of this volume. For there is at least one feature in the life of John third Marquess of Bute which teaches a salutary lesson and points an undoubted moral to a pleasure loving generation, such a lesson and moral as it would be vain to look for in the puppet of Disraeli's Oriental fancy. If there is any characteristic which stands out in that life more saliently than another, it is surely the strong and compelling sense of duty a sense, it is to be noticed, acquired rather than congenital, for Bute was by nature and constitution, as an acute observer early remarked,[2] inclined to indolence which runs all through it like a silver thread. Other traits, and marked ones, he no doubt possessed among them a penetrating sense of religion, a curious tenderness of heart, a singular tenacity of purpose, and a deep veneration for all that is good and beautiful in the natural and supernatural world; but these were for the most part below the surface, though the pages of this record are not without evidence of them all. But in the whole external conduct of his life it may be said that the desire of doing his duty was paramount with him his duty to God and to man; his duty, above all, to the innumerable human beings {ix} whose happiness and welfare his great position and manifold responsibilities rendered to some extent dependent on him; and, finally, his duty in such public offices as he was called on to fill, and from which his diffidence of character and aversion from anything like personal display would have naturally inclined him to shrink. If the writer has succeeded in presenting in these pages something of this aspect of the life and character of his departed friend with anything like the vividness with which, at the end of twenty years, they still remain impressed on his own memory, he will be well content.

"The true life of a man," wrote John Henry Newman nearly sixty years ago,[3] "is in his letters"; and no apology is needed for the inclusion in this volume of some, at least, of the large number of Lord Bute's letters which have been placed at the disposal of his biographer, and for the use of which he takes this opportunity of thanking the several owners... Continue reading book >>




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