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September 16 , 2016

The Greville Memoirs: A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William IV (Complete)

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In accepting the trust and deposit which Mr. Greville thought fit to place in my hands, I felt, and still feel, that I undertook a task and a duty of considerable responsibility; but from the time and the manner in which it was offered me I could not decline it. I had lived for more than five-and-twenty years in the daily intercourse of official life and private friendship with Mr. Greville. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, to whom he had previously intended to leave these Journals, died before him. After that event, deeply to be regretted on so many accounts, Mr. Greville did me the honour to select me for the performance of this duty, which was unexpected by myself; and my strong attachment and gratitude to him for numberless acts of kindness and marks of confidence bound me by every consideration to obey and execute the wishes of my late friend. In the discharge of this trust I have been guided by no other motive than the desire to present these Memorials to the world in a manner which their would not have disapproved, and in strict conformity with his own wishes and injunctions. He himself, it should be said, had frequently revised them with great care. He had studiously omitted and erased passages relating to private persons or affairs, which could only serve to gratify the love of idle gossip and scandal. The Journals contain absolutely nothing relating to his own family, and but little relating to his private life. In a passage (not now published) of his own writings, the remarks:— ‘A journal to be good, true, and interesting, should be written without the slightest reference to publication, but without any fear of it: it should be the transcript of a mind that can bear transcribing. I always contemplate the possibility that hereafter my journal will be read, and I regard with alarm and dislike the notion of its containing matters about myself which nobody will care to know’ (January 2nd, 1838
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