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270637 PREFACE



It appears to be unnecessary and inexpedient to delay the publication of the last portion of these papers, which contain some record of the events occurring between the year 1852 and the close of the year 1860, a period already remote from the present time, and relating almost exclusively to men of the last generation. I have little to add to the notices prefixed by me to the two preceding portions of this work, but I am grateful for the length of days which has enabled me to complete the task confided to me by Mr. Greville three and twenty years ago, and to leave behind me a record of that delightful company to which I was bound by the closest ties of intimacy and friendship. On looking back upon the first half of the present century, I believe that we were too unconscious of the exceptional privileges we enjoyed, and that we did not sufficiently appreciate the remarkable gifts of the statesmen, the orators, the historians, the poets, and the wits who shed an incomparable lustre on the politics, the literature, and the social intercourse of those

years. Of these personages some traces are to be found in the preceding volumes and in these pages.

Nor am I less grateful for the reception this publication has met with from the world, which has far surpassed the modest expectations of the author, and has at last conveyed to the reader a just estimate of the integrity and ability with which these Journals were written. They bear evident marks of the changes which are wrought in a man's character and judgements by the experience of life and the course of years ; and they fall naturally into the three periods or divisions of Mr. Greville's life which I was led from other causes to adopt. In the first part he appears as a man of fashion and of pleasure, plunged, as was not inconsistent with his age and his social position, in the dissipation and the amusements of the day ; but he was beginning to get tired of them. In the second part he enters with all the energy of which he was capable, though shackled by his official position, upon the great political struggles of the time—the earnest advocate of peace, of moderation, of justice, and of liberal principles

-regarding with a discriminating eye and with some severity of judgement the actions of men swayed by motives of ambition and vanity, from which he was himself free. This was the most active period of his life. But years advanced, and with age the infirmities from which he had always suffered withdrew him more and more from society, and deprived him of many of those sources of intelligence which had been so freely opened to him. Hence it is possible that the volumes

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now published contain less of novelty and original information than the preceding portions of the work. But on the other hand, the events recorded in them are of a more momentous character—the re-establishment of the French Empire, the Imperial Court, the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, and the Italian War, are more interesting than the rise or fall of a Ministry ; and it is curious to note precisely the effect produced at the time on the mind of a contemporary observer. No one was more conscious of the incompleteness of these Journals, and of a certain roughness, due to the impromptu character of a manuscript hastily written down, and rarely corrected, than the author of them. He was more disposed to underrate their merit, as appears from his concluding remarks, than to exaggerate their importance. But the public have judged of them more favourably ; and if he enter'tained a hope that he might contribute some pages to the record of his times and the literature of his country, that hope was not altogether vain.


January 1887.

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