Front Page Titles (by Subject) PREFACE. - The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, vol. 10 (The Life)
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PREFACE. - Mrs. Russell Barrington, The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, vol. 10 (The Life) 
The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, ed. Mrs. Russell Barrington. The Works in Nine Volumes. The Life in One Volume. (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915). Vol. 10.
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“If we make ourselves too little for the sphere of our duty—if, on the contrary, we do not stretch and expand our minds to the compass of their object; be well assured that everything about us will dwindle by degrees, until at length our concerns are shrunk to the dimensions of our minds.”—Burke’s words chosen by James Wilson as the Text for the Economist.
First Edition, May, 1914
Reissued to form Volume X of “The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot,” May, 1915
An attempt to write the life of Walter Bagehot presents a few rather special difficulties. In the first place, it is thirty-seven years since he died; inevitably, therefore, much material which would have been of great value has already vanished. Most of his political friends, among others Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Lord Goschen, Lord Granville, and Lord Carnarvon, with whom Walter Bagehot corresponded, have long since been dead, and letters which these may have preserved during their lifetime are no longer forthcoming. Moreover, Bagehot himself was in the habit of destroying any letters he received except those from his parents, from my father, and from Mr. Richard H. Hutton. A few from others were saved after his marriage because they chanced to come into my sister’s possession.
In 1852 Walter Bagehot left London and lived for some years with his parents at Herd’s Hill; consequently the correspondence between them ceased. Even after his marriage, when he lived elsewhere, he paid his father and mother a few days’ visit nearly every fortnight up to the time of his death, and would then talk over matters which had formerly been discussed in letters. My father died in 1860; and from 1861, when Bagehot again lived in London, he so frequently saw his friend Hutton that few letters passed between them. Hence the biographer’s best material ceases many years before Bagehot’s death.
There remain but two chief sources, the articles in the Economist and personal reminiscences. Of the former, two as a rule appeared every week during eighteen years (1859 to 1877); but though these are of considerable value, in that they note the subjects which were engaging Walter Bagehot’s attention and embody his opinions on passing public events, they are naturally impersonal in their tone and character. The latter, on the contrary, are of so intimate and personal a nature that the question arises how far they can be brought within the focus of matter suitable for publication?
The Diary which my sister kept for sixty years has been of the greatest service to me in supplying dates and in recalling many events of our family life after Walter Bagehot entered it.
My grateful thanks are due to President Woodrow Wilson for kindly sending me his two brilliant articles on Walter Bagehot which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1895 and 1898, from which I have quoted several passages. I am also greatly indebted to Viscount Bryce, Lord Welby, Colonel Cary Batten, and Mr. Robert Dickinson for their valuable contributions, as also to Viscount Morley, to Sir Edward Fry, and to the executors of the Earl of Carnarvon, Earl Granville, Earl Canning, Viscount Halifax, Sir Charles Trevelyan, the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, William Caldwell-Roscoe, T. Smith Osler, and R. H. Hutton for their courteous permission to publish the correspondence with Walter Bagehot which still exists.
E. I. B.