Lord Chatham: His Early Life and Connections

Lord Chatham: His Early Life and Connections

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Lord Chatham: His Early Life and Connections

Lord Chatham: His Early Life and Connections

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Excerpt

My first words of preface must be of excuse for some apparent lack of gratitude in my dedication. For besides my debt to Mr. Fortescue, I owe my warmest acknowledgments to Mary, Lady Ilchester, and her son, for the permission to examine some of the papers of Henry. Fox; a character of great interest, whose life is yet to be written. But I hope that this will soon be presented by Lord Ilchester, whose capacity for such work is already proved. I render my sincere thanks both to him and to his mother; but my dedication, written long before I had access to the Holland House papers, must remain unchanged; for without Mr. Fortescue's family collection of papers at Dropmore this book could never have been begun.

The life of Chatham is extremely difficult to write, and, strictly speaking, never can be written at all. It is difficult because of the artificial atmosphere in which he thought it well to envelop himself, and because the rare glimpses which are obtainable of the real man reveal a nature so complex, so violent, and so repressed. What is this strange career?

Born of a turbulent stock, he is crippled by gout at Eton and Oxford, then launched into a cavalry regiment, and then into Parliament. For eight years he is groom- in-waiting to a prince. Then he holds subordinate office for nine years more. Then he suddenly flashes out, not as a royal attendant or a minor placeman, but as the . . .

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