« AnteriorContinuar »
SIR CHARLES MURRAY, K.C.B.
SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
BART., M.P., F.R.S., ETC.
Γηράσκω δ' αιεί πολλά διδασκόμενος.
-PLUTARCH, Solon, c. 31.
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
All Rights reserved.
It is sometimes said, perhaps not without reason, that in these days we are over-fond of compiling biographies, and that a man ought to have touched a definite degree in the scale of achievement, distinction, or merit before the public are invited to peruse his memoirs. It may be so, though some difficulty might be found in fixing that degree. It is not probable that the world is too full as yet of personal annals. He who is most grateful to Tacitus for the too brief narrative of his fatherin-law, Cnæus Julius Agricola, and for the light which it throws on the extension of the empire of Rome, as well as for the information it conveys of personal traits and social habits, will be most apt to sigh over the absence of all record concerning consuls and generals less famous than
Agricola, but perhaps of integrity and energy not inferior to his.
The British Empire, far exceeding that of Imperial Rome in extent and population, possesses many
characteristics in common with it, and British rulers have many lessons to learn, even at this day, from Roman precedents. The personal characters and habits of the men charged with the conduct of our affairs at foreign Courts have a vital bearing on the stability of our empire : when one of these has united to the office of diplomatist the parts of scholar, traveller, courtier, and sportsman; when he has added to the natural advantage of birth in one of the oldest houses of our aristocracy, a charm of manner and conversation which endeared him to all his acquaintance; when he has lived far beyond the average human span in constant intercourse with the most cultivated minds of his country, and maintained throughout the high ideal of a Christian gentleman,—then I think that no apology will be exacted for preparing a brief record
of his years.
It must be confessed that this has been attempted under many disadvantages. Sir Charles Murray, like many of us who have less to record, sometimes began to keep a journal, but seldom persevered for more than a few days. In vain his