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Prime Ministers and Some Others A Book of Reminiscences   By: (1853-1919)

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First Page:

PRIME MINISTERS

AND SOME OTHERS

A BOOK OF REMINISCENCES BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

GEORGE W. E. RUSSELL

TO THE EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON, K.G.,

I INSCRIBE THIS BOOK, NOT SHARING HIS OPINIONS BUT PRIZING HIS FRIENDSHIP

NOTE

My cordial thanks for leave to reproduce papers already published are due to my friend Mr. John Murray, and to the Editors of the Cornhill Magazine , the Spectator , the Daily News , the Manchester Guardian , the Church Family Newspaper , and the Red Triangle .

G. W. E. R.

July , 1918.

CONTENTS

I. PRIME MINISTERS

I. LORD PALMERSTON II. LORD RUSSELL III. LORD DERBY IV. BENJAMIN DISRAELI V. WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE VI. LORD SALISBURY VIII. ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR IX. HENRY CAMPBELL BANNERMAN

II. IN HONOUR OF FRIENDSHIP

I. GLADSTONE AFTER TWENTY YEARS II. HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND III. LORD HALLIFAX IV. LORD AND LADY RIPON V. "FREDDY LEVESON" VI. SAMUEL WHITBREAD VII. HENRY MONTAGU BUTLER VIII. BASIL WILBERFORCE IX. EDITH SICHEL X. "WILL" GLADSTONE XI. LORD CHARLES RUSSELL

III. RELIGION AND THE CHURCH

I. A STRANGE EPIPHANY II. THE ROMANCE OF RENUNCIATION III. PAN ANGLICANISM IV. LIFE AND LIBERTY V. LOVE AND PUNISHMENT VI. HATRED AND LOVE VII. THE TRIUMPHS OF ENDURANCE VIII. A SOLEMN FARCE

IV. POLITICS

I. MIRAGE II. MIST III. "DISSOLVING THROES" IV. INSTITUTIONS AND CHARACTER V. REVOLUTION AND RATIONS VI. "THE INCOMPATIBLES" VII. FREEDOM'S NEW FRIENDS

V. EDUCATION

I. EDUCATION AND THE JUDGE II. THE GOLDEN LADDER III. OASES IV. LIFE, LIBERTY, AND JUSTICE V. THE STATE AND THE BOY VI. A PLEA FOR INNOCENTS

VI. MISCELLANEA

I. THE "HUMOROUS STAGE" II. THE JEWISH REGIMENT III. INDURATION IV. FLACCIDITY V. THE PROMISE OF MAY VI. PAGEANTRY AND PATRIOTISM

VII. FACT AND FICTION

I. A FORGOTTEN PANIC II. A CRIMEAN EPISODE

I

PRIME MINISTERS

PRIME MINISTERS AND SOME OTHERS

I

LORD PALMERSTON

I remember ten Prime Ministers, and I know an eleventh. Some have passed beyond earshot of our criticism; but some remain, pale and ineffectual ghosts of former greatness, yet still touched by that human infirmity which prefers praise to blame. It will behove me to walk warily when I reach the present day; but, in dealing with figures which are already historical, one's judgments may be comparatively untrammelled.

I trace my paternal ancestry direct to a Russell who entered the House of Commons at the General Election of 1441, and since 1538 some of us have always sat in one or other of the two Houses of Parliament; so I may be fairly said to have the Parliamentary tradition in my blood. But I cannot profess to have taken any intelligent interest in political persons or doings before I was six years old; my retrospect, therefore, shall begin with Lord Palmerston, whom I can recall in his last Administration, 1859 1865.

I must confess that I chiefly remember his outward characteristics his large, dyed, carefully brushed whiskers; his broad shouldered figure, which always seemed struggling to be upright; his huge and rather distorted feet "each foot, to describe it mathematically, was a four sided irregular figure" his strong and comfortable seat on the old white hack which carried him daily to the House of Commons. Lord Granville described him to a nicety: "I saw him the other night looking very well, but old, and wearing a green shade, which he afterwards concealed. He looked like a retired old croupier from Baden."

Having frequented the Gallery of the House of Commons, or the more privileged seats "under the Gallery," from my days of knickerbockers, I often heard Palmerston speak. I remember his abrupt, jerky, rather "bow wow" like style, full of "hums" and "hahs"; and the sort of good tempered but unyielding banter with which he fobbed off an inconvenient enquiry, or repressed the simple minded ardour of a Radical supporter.

Of course, a boy's attention was attracted rather by appearance and manner than by the substance of a speech; so, for a frank estimate of Palmerston's policy at the period which I am discussing, I turn to Bishop Wilberforce (whom he had just refused to make Archbishop of York)... Continue reading book >>




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