Page images


HEN I was beginning to consider the possibility

of writing a Memoir of my father, I received the following letter from the Bishop of Durham, to whom a common friend had written saying that he had dissuaded me from attempting it :


Dec. 29, 1896.

I feel very strongly that it would be almost 'impiety' for any one to attempt to write your father's Life but yourself. The work comes to you as a sacred charge. Every one I am sure who has knowledge will feel the same.

Forgive me for writing. It will be a great and difficult work, but it is your work.

Ever yours affectionately,


These words, from one of my father's oldest and dearest friends, practically removed any doubts I had entertained on the subject. I accordingly made up my mind to attempt the task. I have been marvellously assisted by

. certain conditions; (1) by the perfect order in which

[blocks in formation]

my father kept his letters and papers; (2) by the readiness with which his friends and contemporaries contributed their recollections; and (3) by the extreme fulness with which in later days he wrote in his Diary the daily events of his life, so that the account of his Primacy is mainly autobiographical ; indeed, the existence of this Diary, which is one of the most complete and candid documents which it has ever been my lot to study, made the relation of the years of his Primacy a comparatively

easy task.

I may perhaps say a word further of the Diary: not a quarter of what my father wrote is here given : for many reasons it would be impossible, consistently with the exercise of a seemly discretion, to publish it in full in the present generation; but it is so minute in detail, so frankly outspoken in criticism and appreciation, and reveals so deep a devotion and so eager a character, that I cannot help hoping that it may eventually be possible to give more of it to the world.

Up till the time of his acceptance of the Primacy my father was brought into connection with interesting people, but not with public events; he was not given to wasting much time in ambitious reveries; the work that he was engaged in, the position that he occupied, always, most characteristically, appeared to him to be the most important work and the most momentous position in England. His biography is simply the history of an intensely vivid nature, touching life at many pointsthrough antiquity, history, art, religion, literature and tradition, and throwing itself with equal ardour into all. The day was never long enough for my father, and even at night he lived in fantastic and fiery dreams.

[blocks in formation]

There appeared to be no choice between slowly and gradually evolving an elaborate work, which should be a minute contribution to the ecclesiastical history of the time,—and for that my professional life as well as my own capacity afforded little opportunity-and sketching in broad outlines and rapid strokes, with as much living detail as possible, a biographical portrait. I have therefore not hurried the reader through the earlier years, in order to expand the more eventful scenes of the Primacy, but have endeavoured to let the life reveal the gradual growth in holiness, in purpose, and in wisdom which by degrees of grace fitted my father to wield a great influence, to direct a huge organisation, and to inspire potent ideals. It seemed better to attempt to draw as careful a picture of my father's life and character as possible, and to touch on events through the medium of personality rather than reveal personality through events; and it has seemed the truest piety to preserve as far as possible the due proportions of light and shade in the biography; if the attitude I have adopted may seem almost too detached or critical, I honoured and loved my father too much to be misunderstood by any who knew what our relations

As to reticence, I hold that I discharge a greater duty by drawing a true picture of a man of intense vigour and decision, of eager life and lively faith, in these uncertain, frivolous and restless days, than if I held my tongue and allowed his radiant example to appeal only to the narrower circle of those whose privilege it was to know and love that stately presence, that commanding look, and that swift and generous spirit while it was still with us on earth.

It need hardly be said that a work of this kind could


[blocks in formation]

Of my

not possibly have been undertaken or carried through without the cordial sympathy and active assistance of my father's dear friends and fellow-labourers. I enumerate below a few of those to whom I have special obligations, or who have rendered me the most definite help ;—and I cannot express my gratitude too strongly for the affectionate patience with which they have answered my enquiries, and for the eager warmth and unfailing sympathy with which they have met me. But besides those to whom I here express my particular thanks, there are innumerable other friends who have given me the most ready and willing aid; and I can only express my regret that I have not space to extend still further my list of benefactors. mother's sympathy and assistance this is perhaps not the place to speak, but any reader of the book will see how much I owe her all through; and I may also add that I could hardly have accomplished my task at all, if it had not been for the loving help given me by my sister, who has not only offered very many fruitful suggestions, but has largely cooperated with me in the arrangement and construction of the second volume.

My thanks are due in the first place to Her Majesty the Queen, for the gracious permission accorded me to publish both letters of her own written to my father, and also other documents; to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, for a similar privilege ; to the Bishop of Winchester, who has given me the most generous assistance and wise criticism throughout; to Canon C. B. Hutchinson and Mr Edmund Gosse, who have seen the book through its initial stages, and suggested many necessary additions and corrections, besides supplying me with interesting reminiscences; to Chancellor Dibdin, who has not only put his own

[blocks in formation]

essay at my disposal, but has given me much help of a special and technical kind. For valuable contributions, careful advice, or the loan of important letters, to Adeline, Duchess of Bedford, the Lady Mabel Lindsay, Miss Wordsworth, Miss Susan Wordsworth, the Rev. R. M. Moorsom, Mr Arthur Coleridge, Archdeacon Gifford, Mr H. Lee Warner, Professor Henry Sidgwick, the Rev. Arthur Carr, Mr E. M. Oakeley, the Rev. Walter Moyle, the Dean of Lincoln, the Dean of Westminster, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Bishop of St Andrews, the Bishop of Salisbury, the Dean of Rochester, Canon F. E. Carter, the Rev. J. A. Reeve, of Lambeth, the Rev. Professor Mason, the Archbishop of York, the Archbishop of Capetown, the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Halifax, the Bishop of Wakefield, Bishop Blyth, the Bishop of Natal, Bishop Macrorie, Sir Richard Webster, Q.C., M.P., the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P., the Right Hon. Sir Henry Fowler, M.P., Lord Ashcombe, Lord Stanmore, the Right Hon. J. G. Talbot, M.P., the Hon. W. F. D. Smith, M.P., Mr H. Picton, M.P., the Right Hon. Herbert Gladstone, M.P., the Rev. F. W. Puller, the Rev. Chancellor Crowfoot, the Rev. Chancellor Worlledge, the Rev. Prebendary Maddison, the Very Rev. A. J. Macleane, Mr Henry Wagner, Dr A. W. Verrall, the Rev. C. W. Penny', the Rev. L. J. White-Thomson, the Rev. Prebendary Tucker, the Rev. R. M. Blakiston, the Rev. J. S. Brownrigg, the Rev. C. E. Fox, Secretary of the C.M.S., Miss A. Hutchinson, Mrs Margoliouth, Mr Duncan McInnes, Mr Athelstan Riley, Mr Alexis Larpent, the Rev. Montague Fowler, the Rev. Colin Campbell, the Rev. E. L. Ridge, the Editor and Proprietor of the

1 Mr Penny died March 30th, 1898.

« PreviousContinue »