Over the coming weeks and months we are publishing excerpts from the book ‘A Diary of Two Parliaments’ by Henry W Lucy, published in 1885. A popular book in our library, it covers the parliament of the Disraeli government during the years 1874-1880. We begin with the Preface from the book, below.
A Diary of Two Parliaments – Preface
These Volumes are literally, as they profess to be, a Diary of events passing under the eye of an observer. The record was penned often within an hour of the event. Some portions of it were actually printed in the “Daily News” of the following morning, and others within the current week in the “World” or the “Observer.” Thus vividness of impression is fully retained, though sometimes it is to be feared at the cost of accuracy of judgment. It would be more agreeable to modify some of the personal characterisations of public men; but wherein they are faulty they stand corrected by further development of the personages sketched. They were jotted down honestly, without favour or prejudice, and, balancing considerations, it has been thought better to let them stand precisely as they were written.
In his “Memoirs of the Reign of George the Second,” Lord Hervey (whom Thackeray says he “hates,” and from whom he draws so much to illustrate his lecture on the times of George the Second) says of his own writing: “No one who did not live in these times will, I dare say, believe but some of those I describe in these papers must have had some hard features and deformities exaggerated and heightened by the malice and ill-nature of the painter who drew them. Others, perhaps, will say that at least no painter is obliged to draw every wart or wen or hump-back in its full proportions, and that I might have softened these blemishes where I found them. But I am determined to report everything just as it is, or at least, just as it appears to me.”
It is in this spirit, and animated by no other, that this Diary has been written.
H. W. L.
London, Feb., 1885.
Excerpt from A Diary of Two Parliaments by Henry W Lucy published in 1885
Further Reading and External Links
iTunes PodCast – East By West Vol One by Henry W Lucy – Free – written during the Parliamentary recess in 1883.