Retrospect, an Unfinished Autobiography, 1848-1886

Retrospect, an Unfinished Autobiography, 1848-1886

Retrospect, an Unfinished Autobiography, 1848-1886

Retrospect, an Unfinished Autobiography, 1848-1886

Excerpt

When Lord Balfour began to write his Autobiography in January, 1928, two years before his death, he was within a few months of his eightieth birthday. But the extraordinary vigour of his power for work, and for enjoyment of the multitude of interests life held for him, had shown little sign of diminution.

Only a few weeks later, however, he suffered from the first serious symptoms of the illness from which he never completely recovered. From that time onwards his physical strength declined, and he was gradually forced to give up many of his public duties, as well as all the pleasures of social life, and the outdoor exercise in which he had delighted. In May, 1929, together with his colleagues in Mr. Baldwin's Cabinet, he tendered his resignation of Office to the King. For the remaining months before his death, in March, 1930, he was obliged to lead an invalid's life.

Throughout these years of weakening health and serious illness, the writing of the Memoir now published became his increasing interest. The beginning had been made more at the persuasion of his family than at his own desire. His opinion of his powers of recalling incidents and describing scenes was, as the reader of the following pages will see, unduly low, and for some years before 1928 he made this an excuse for refusing to embark upon an account of his life.

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