EVERY one in giving an account of himself would like, I think, to begin with the words of the Duc de Choiseul at the opening of his memoirs: "Je ne vous parlerai pas, Monsieur, de ma naissance. L'on m'a toujours dit que j'étais gentilhomme aussi ancien que qui que ce soit. J'ignore absolument ma généalogie qui est, comme celle de tout le monde, dans les livres qui traitent cette matière." We may still say, with a gentleman and a scholar who lived many years before the Duc de Choiseul: "Honestissimum enim est majorum vestigia sequi, si modo recto itinere præcesserint,"1 but it must be admitted that times and manners have greatly changed since the minister of Louis XV wrote, with a fine disdain, in this fashion. The little world where "everybody" could find his genealogy in "the books" has departed. The waves of democracy have submerged the old and narrow lines within which the few sat apart, and definition of a man's birth and ancestry has become more necessary. Moreover, Darwin and Galton have lived and written, Mendel has been discovered and revived, and the modern biologists have supervened, so that a man's origin has become a recognized part of his biographer's task. Therefore, he who writes of himself must follow the practice of those who write the lives of people other than themselves.
My father was John Ellerton Lodge, a merchant of Bos____________________