The Life of the Right Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman - Vol. 1

The Life of the Right Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman - Vol. 1

The Life of the Right Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman - Vol. 1

The Life of the Right Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman - Vol. 1

Excerpt

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was never a voluminous correspondent, and in the last years of his life he seldom wrote at length on any matter that he could talk over with friends or colleagues. The story of his life is, therefore, not one that can be left to tell itself in his own words, and his biographer has necessarily to thread his way through contemporary records which are coloured by controversy and sometimes to choose between recollections which differ. Sir Henry fortunately left behind him a diary which briefly records his movements from the beginning of the year 1886 to the time of his death, and this has proved invaluable in correcting lapses of memory and ascertaining the facts of his life.

In the first years after the War there was a natural disposition to dismiss the politics of the previous years as trivial in comparison with that tremendous event. It is probable, I think, that as time goes on historians will reverse this tendency and consider the years preceding the War to merit a specially careful study. To a future generation the South African War, the Tariff controversy, the great Liberal triumph of 1906, the interpretation given to the British-French Entente, the effort to come to terms with Germany about naval shipbuilding--in all of which Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman played a conspicuous part --may take their place in a sequence of events leading up to the climax of 1914. It is in any case a biographer's, duty to resist the judgment which dismisses any of these events as unimportant.

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