The Greville Memoirs: A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1860 (Complete)
Library of Alexandria, Jan 19, 2017
When the first portion of the Memoirs of the late Mr. Charles Greville, consisting of a Journal of the Reigns of King George IV. and King William IV., was given to the world in the autumn of the year 1874, it was intimated that the continuation of the work was reserved for future publication. Those volumes included the record of events which Mr. Greville had noted in his Diary from the year 1818 to the accession of Her Majesty Queen Victoria in the year 1837, a period of nineteen years. As they were published in 1874, an interval of thirty-seven years had elapsed between the latest event recorded in them and the date at which they appeared. The reigns of George IV. and William IV. already belonged to the history of the past, and accordingly I did not conceive it to be my duty to suppress or qualify any of the statements or opinions of the Author on public men or public events. I am still of opinion that this was the right course for a person charged with the publication of these manuscripts to pursue. I have seen it stated that the first edition of these Journals contains passages which have been suppressed in the later editions: but this is an error. The first edition contained a good many mistakes, which were subsequently pointed out by criticism, or discovered and corrected. Two or three sentences relating to private individuals were omitted, but nothing which concerns public personages or public events has been withdrawn.
Eight and forty years have now elapsed since the date at which the narrative contained in the former volumes was suspended, and I am led by several considerations to the opinion that the time has arrived when it may be resumed. We are divided by a long interval from the administrations of Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, and Lord John Russell, and, with a very small number of exceptions, no one survives who sat in the Cabinets of those statesmen. Nearly half a century has elapsed since the occurrence of the events recorded in the earlier pages of these volumes, and in a few months from the publication of them, the nation and the empire may celebrate with just enthusiasm the jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria. Those who have had the good fortune to witness this long series of events, and to take any part in them, may well desire to leave behind them some record of a period, unexampled in the annals of Great Britain and of the world for an almost unbroken continuance of progress, prosperity, liberty, and peace. It is not too soon to glean in the records of the time those fugitive impressions which will one day be the materials of history. To us, veterans of the century, life is in the past, and we look back with unfading interest on the generations that have passed away.
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Greville continued his Journal for nine years more until
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