Letters Of Lord Acton To Mary Gladstone

 
9781408616116: Letters Of Lord Acton To Mary Gladstone

LETTERS OF LORD ACTON TO MARY, DAUGHTER OF THE RIGHT HON. W. E. GLADSTONE - I904 - CONTENTS - PAax DEDICATION . . . . . . . . . . . iii PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . vii EDITORS PREFACE . . . . . . ix INTRODUCTORY MEiMOIR . . . . . . xi LETIEW OF LORD ACTON . . . . . . . 1 INDEX . . . . . . 2 2 1 ILLUSTRATIONS PORTRAIT OF LORD ACTON Photograt zire . . Frontispiece GROUP AT TEGERNSEE, 1879 Photogravure . . to face page - PREFACE - IT does not seem likely that any one, after reading these letters, would question the desirability of their publication. In general they speak for themselves a few notes have been added to explain allusions which by lapse of time have become obscure some names and passages, and some letters, have been omitted. After 1885 Lord Acton touched upon questions which are still . matters of controversy, and therefore the selection closes with that year. The letters were written to the daughter who lived with Mr. Gladstone from the time of her own birth, in the middle of the last century, to the day of his death, at its close. The idea of publishing a selection of them arose in 1898 and Lord Acton, with certain reservations, assented to it. But it was felt by competent judges that it would be trespassing in Mr. Morleys domain and Mr. Morley himself was strongly of opinion that the mutilation which at that period would have been necessary, would seriously impair the interest and the significance of the book. So, for the time, the project was abandoned. On the other hand, in the judgment of the eminent authorities to whom the letters were submitted, their value was of such a nature that it was evident they ought to be published as soon as Mr. Morley should have completed his task. With the exception of passages critical of himself or his policy, the letters were not read by Mr. Gladstone for, while he made it a rule to shun all that was laudatory of himself, he always welcomed and carefully studied anything deliberately thought out or written in an opposite sense. His own correspondence with Lord Acton extended over a period of some ttli. ty years but it does not cover nearly so wide a range of subjects, or appeal so much to general interests, as the series now prilited. Io the recipient of these letters from Lord Actoil they will always be precious, not merely for the judgments they contain and the lriernories they recall, but also as the outward symbol of an inward ancl priceless possession-the treasure of his friendship. MARY DREW. 10th Jantcary i f I O 4 . EDITORS PREFACE IN compiling the Introductory Memoir which follows I have been chiefly indebted to Dr. Shaws excellent Bibliography of Lord Acton, edited for the Royal Historical Society, and to a most interesting article in the Edinburgh Review for April 1903. I have also consulted Mr. Bryces Studies in Contemporary Biography, Sir Mountstuart Grant Duffs Out of the Past, and an obituary notice in the Cambridge Review for October 1902, signed F. W. M- Mr. Morley was good enough to lend me the copies of Lord Actons letters to Mr. Gladstone which had been made for the purposes of his Biography. Neither the materials at my command nor the circumstances of the case justified me in attempting to write a Life of Lord Acton. I have merely sought to furnish such information as the readers of these letters would naturally desire to possess. HERBERT PAUL.

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