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to make his own way in the world by the strength of his own character and brains, with no influence or wealth to start or to support him. That, I imagine, made him self-sufficient, independent of the help of others and reserved in asking for it. One never quite knew what he wanted; and if one could not guess, he was sometimes impulsively disappointed and probably did the thing himself. Until he went to India he had no private secretary or short-hand writer; he was incapable of dictating a letter or an article. He was mistrustful of confiding fully in his subordinates, seeming to fear lest asking for help should be construed as a lack of confidence in himself to carry things through single-handed. As a result, assistance was shyly offered to him-if at all; and this partly accounts for his constant complaints in letters, that he was left to carry out some of his greąt schemes entirely alone.' That was hard work, but it was also the way he preferred to work. I have a letter from him in which he says: If you want a thing done in your own way, the only way to get it done is to do it yourself.'
This habit of intellectual isolation was a curious paradox in one whose brilliant social gifts proclaimed him to be essentially a gregarious person. I noticed it in the life of the House of Commons during the three years (1895-98) that I was working with him.
He was passionately attached to the place as a workshop of Empire, but cared nothing for it as 'the best Club in Europe.' He was never in the smoking-room or gossipping in the lobbies ; his friends there were those who happened also to be members of the social circle in which he moved, or connected with the scientific and other activities which interested him. But if he preferred, as he did, to work alone and without assistance, he was a giant in strength to help those who came to him for it. (He was also lavish in gratitude to such as were able to help him when he did require assistance, as I know very well.) He would help in every way if the object was serious and if the man was keen. By long conversations he would clear the applicant's mind as to what he wanted himself. By informed criticism, both constructive and destructive, he would frequently better the plan presented to him; by memoranda written with his own hand he would work out an organisation to achieve the desired purpose : by voluminous personal appeals he would produce large sums of money if these were required. He always had time-like all men of business-and, when he had no more time at his disposal, he made it somehow-generally by depriving himself of sleep and working far into the night..
His power of work was quite prodigious : a holiday abroad, or on the grouse-moors, on tour in India, or a voyage on a ship, without work was intolerable to him. In his own house, at his office, he was surrounded whilst a member of a Government-by piles of official boxes with which he dealt with extraordinary rapidity, and his brain seemed to become clearer as the darkness paled into the dawn. Night after night I have seen him working in his shirt-sleeves at his desk, clearing off his work, revising proofs of an article or a book, then settling down to write twenty or thirty letters to friends or acquaintances to engage their interest or to extract their cash for schemes which he had undertaken to promote. So absorbed was he in the day's work that the passing of the hours meant nothing to him. He did not know what punctuality meant; people who did not know his methods used to put this down to lack of consideration for others, to indifference to the accepted conventions of Society, to anything but the real cause, which was a feverish and passionate desire to finish the business in hand of which his mind was full, before switching off to preside at a meeting, to attend a dinnerparty, or even a Durbar. I am not going to deny that this defect, which I have tried to explain but not to excuse, made him a difficult chief in an office. Ho upset the whole train de vie of his subordinates, who never knew when they could get away for their meals or their holidays, since he insisted that whilst he, the Captain, was on the bridge keeping a sleepless watch over the ship that he commanded, every officer under his control should be alert and present to help him. Many were the complaints laid against him on the score of overworking a willing staff : one complaint was never lodged-that he compelled others to work whilst he idled.
To the tips of his fingers he was a professional' and an 'expert' on the variety of subjects which interested
him. He hated the amateur with an undiscriminating scorn. Very early in our friendship he told me (as he knew that I, too, was an enthusiastic traveller) of his invariable method of preparing for travel-a long period of time hidden in the British Museum, devouring every book of value that had been written on the country that he was about to explore, until, as he said, he felt he knew the place so well that it was hardly worth while going there. Voluminous notes, nevertheless, and a confidently tenacious memory, made it unnecessary for him to take with him the library of appropriate books that usually accompany most travellers. He took a few of the very best, a large quantity of maps, and three volumes which, he once told me, were packed for him wherever he went. I wish I could remember all their names, but one was the Bible.
As in Travel (all in preparation for the position of Viceroy of India which, from his Oxford days, he had fixed upon as the goal of his life) so in the other business of his great career. His knowledge of the Foreign Affairs not only of our own but of all countries, was wide and deep-so thorough and so profound that it was a constant source of surprise even to the very elect of all nations with whom he was brought into official contact. And when it came to Administration, as in India, his procedure though more exhausting was-mutatis mutandisprecisely the same, except that then he studied primarily men and methods instead of books. I have a document from him, written in 1908, in which he outlines the shaping of his destiny up to the day that he left that country for the last time. I cannot do better than quote his own words:
'I always wanted to be Viceroy of India, and in 1887, after visiting nearly every country in Europe between 1882-87, began the series of long voyages that were intended to give me first-hand knowledge of the politics of Asia.
They also enabled me to map out a scheme of politicohistorical writing which was to embrace the entire Continent of Asia, in so far as it related to India. This series was to consist of six separate works. Three of these had appeared, dealing with Russia in Central Asia, Persia, and the Far East; a fourth, on the Indian Frontier, was in print when I was appointed Viceroy. The two others, on Indo-China
and Afghanistan, have never been written. [I would still like to write “Afghanistan," having collected all the materials for years and having full notes of my journey in that country, and of my stay as Cabul, and of conversations with that remarkable man, the late Amir. I performed that journey entirely alone, in order to disarm suspicion, trusting to the protection of the Amir.]
'I had frequently said to my friends, not in any spirit of bravado, but from a profound conviction, that an inordinate demand would be made upon health and strength if the work was to be done as I thought it ought to be, that I would not take the Viceroyalty of India if I were a day over 40. I was 39, when Queen Victoria offered it to me. My 40th birthday was five days after I had been “read in " at Calcutta. I had also said that, if the thing were worth doing, seven years would be required for it. It was for this reason only that I accepted a second term, though I knew very well that my health would suffer permanently, as it has done, by it. Few know how many weeks, and even months, of the year I have had to pass on my back, doing my work in bed-where, indeed, I am writing this. I finally returned from India, after my resignation, exactly ten days short of seven years from the date at which I had started.
Concerning India, I have not much to say, except that my conception of the position of Viceroy was to be head not only of the Government but of every department of the Government. This I was: not in the least from any vainglorious idea of l'Etat, c'est Moi, but because it is the secret of good Administration that the man who is nominally responsible should be actually responsible, and because he cannot make himself actually responsible unless he has the knowledge to excuse intervention and to justify supervision. The only way to control departments and to avoid the dangers of a bureaucracy is to know at least as much as they ; grasp of principle is not enough; mastery of detail is essential. No man has ever been a great Administrator who has not combined the two. For there are two great rules in Administration : (1) Never to despise the small things-out of them the big things flow : (2) If you want a thing done to your taste, to do it yourself.'
I cannot refrain from adding to the above the conclusion of this interesting document:
'I was savagely denounced as hostile to the Indian people, and yet no Viceroy has ever so spent himself for the bettering, moral, educational, industrial, and material, of the millions.
The work stands and cannot be upset because it is based on sound principles. What one of my great reforms has been reversed or even modified ? I so loved the people of India that I on many occasions braved the obloquy and abuse of my own countrymen in order to procure them justice... There in India is my heart to my dying day. It is the glory of the British race.'
In that excerpt from a very long missive, written in pencil from a bed of pain, the soul of George Curzon, so far as India is concerned, lies bared. As I transcribe it, my mind goes back twenty-five years, to when I first landed in India and went up to Simla to find him prostrate, after completing in several months his close inspection of two or three of the Departments of his Government, and yet just about to start upon an exhausting Viceregal tour through North-East India, Manipur, and Burma. Upon that tour I was permitted to accompany him as an extra A.D.C., and then saw at very close quarters the minute and detailed information with which he had already fortified himself to deal with and to decide the varied problems which would be laid before him in the course of his journey. One day be was studying defects of administration that were brought to his notice; on another, he was engaged in preserving ceremonial architecture; or he was dealing with the grievances of Civil Servants or of native notables; or he was solving the knotty question of the proper succession to the headship of the Buddhist hierarchy at Mandalay. Yet all this time, with the Ministers whom he had brought with him, he was examining the problems for the next year's Legislative session, was fighting famine in different parts of India, was planning the new Victoria Memorial Hall at Calcutta, and dealing by mail and telegraph with the unceasing current business of an untiring Viceroy.
I doubt whether anybody, except possibly some members of his own family, knew Curzon well enough to be certain whether his ambition was to him a matter of personal concern. That he was ambitious no one, I think, can doubt. All through his life he aimed very high--from the age of twenty-five he had set his heart on becoming Viceroy of India—but to me it always appeared that his motives were quite as high as his
Vol. 245. —No. 485.