The Diaries of John Bright

By John Bright; R. A. J. Walling | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

SOME surprise may be felt that these diaries have not seen the light before) and that their publication should have been delayed until forty-one years after the death of their writer. When my father died in 1889 all his papers became the property of my eldest brother, Albert Bright, who placed the letters and diaries at the disposal of Mr. G. M. Trevelyan when he was engaged on "The Life of John Bright," which was published in 1914 by Messrs. Constable. Numerous extracts from the diaries appear in that admirable work, some of which, by the courtesy of the author and publishers, are reproduced here. Unfortunately many of the earlier diaries are missing, and all efforts to trace them have been unsuccessful.

At my brother's death the diaries became the property of his daughter, Mrs. Darbishire, who at the date of her grandfather's death was a child.

I was aware of their existence, but I had not read them all until three years ago. On so doing I formed the opinion that they contained much which would interest the public, and I therefore obtained the consent of my niece to their publication.

I proposed, and she readily assented, that any profit which might result from their publication should go to objects on behalf of which my father's friend and colleague, Richard Cobden, laboured so strenuously during his useful and unselfish life, and accordingly it is proposed, so far as may be possible, to support financially the Dunford House (Cobden Memorial) Association, whose head-quarters are at Midhurst, Sussex, in the house where Cobden lived for many years, and near West Lavington Church where he is buried. Since this Association was founded it has been generously assisted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and several conferences have been held at Dunford House in furtherance of the objects of the Association.

Although I never heard my father mention religious questions in our home, he was a deeply religious man, as his speeches abundantly prove. That he had abiding faith in a future life is shown by the following extract from a letter which he wrote in August, 1846, to

-xi-

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The Diaries of John Bright
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editor's Note v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Plates ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Chapter I John Bright's Memoir of His Youth 1
  • Chapter II the Near East 16
  • Chapter III the Memoir Continued 52
  • Chapter IV the Five Years' War 56
  • Chapter V a Victorian Love Story 82
  • Chapter VI Ireland in the Hungry 'Forties 95
  • Chapter VII the Struggle with Palmerston 108
  • Chapter VIII the Angel of Death 155
  • Chapter IX an Interlude Abroad 203
  • Chapter X Member for Birmingham 231
  • Chapter XI the Friend of the North 252
  • Chapter XII the Triumph of Reform 293
  • Chapter XIII the Irish Church 314
  • Chapter XIV in and Out of Office 338
  • Chapter XV the New Imperialism 364
  • Chapter XVI Irish, Boers and Fellaheen 415
  • Chapter XVII Reform and the House of Lords 493
  • Chapter XVIII Home Rule and the End 522
  • Index 563
  • Index 565
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