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the days of stress and storm, he was, as we now know, doomed-or should we say, privileged ?-to survive but for a short time the hour of his crowning achievement. It was, at any rate, the end for which he had himself prayed not long before in some verses written on the death of a great friend who had passed away as suddenly as he was fated to do:
'Make no long tarrying,* O my God,
May the downward path be swiftly trod,
Short the road and soon the end.
When the doom is spoken, let it fall;
So take the gift Thou gavest me.'
Spring-Rice was an admirable product of his race and class and education, yet he had great originality. With Irish blood through his father, who was the younger son of the first Lord Monteagle, he inherited some of the qualities of his mother's North of England family, the Marshalls, and their affection for the English lakes. At Eton and at Balliol he not only achieved distinction as a scholar, but acquired a reputation for a ready and whimsical and sometimes rather mordant wit which clung to him, not always to his professional advantage, throughout life. His first efforts at poetry came out in an Eton book, 'Out of School'; and his Oxford Rhymes are not yet forgotten. But it was in his deep sense of reverence for all that was great and noble in the past, and in his love of all that is beautiful in nature and literature and art, that the influence of his early associations at school and college and at home was most strongly and permanently reflected. If his impatience of conventions sometimes startled the very conventional world
* Cf. Psalm 1xx, 5. Spring-Rice was a great reader of the Psalms. By a curious coincidence Psalm 1xx is appointed to be read at evensong on the 13th day of the month; and it was in the night of Jan. 13-14 last that he died with no long tarrying.
of diplomacy, he brought into it the qualities of sympathy and imagination which it often lacks.
Whenever the time comes for the record of his life to' be written, it will show, I believe, in a very striking way, how his whole career seems to have been a preparation for the final struggle at Washington in which he stood immovably for the finest and most honourable traditions of British diplomacy against the brutal and corrupt methods of German statecraft. The old gibe-that a diplomatist is sent to lie abroad for the good of his country
-was as repugnant to his own conception of a diplomatist's duties and functions as to his innate personal rectitude. He believed that the business of a diplomatist is in the first place that of a peacemaker who, without ignoring international differences or being blind to possibilities of open conflict, should labour unceasingly to mitigate and avert them within the limits compatible with national interests and national dignity; that in the second place it is the duty of a diplomatist not only to maintain friendly and close relations with the rulers and governing circles of the country to which he is accredited, but to familiarise himself as far as possible with all the great currents of public opinion and all the great movements, social, religious and political, which in the long run determine the policy of autocracies that mould them to their purpose as well as of democracies that merely reflect them; and thirdly that in his own personal attitude and mode of life the diplomatist should seek a golden mean between the reserve and reticence which may easily misconstrued into aloofness and distrust, and the facile appeals to a popularity wider than he can properly aspire to in a foreign country without suspicion of overstepping the limits of a position necessarily circumscribed by the privileges it carries with it. For the outer trappings and the ceremonial side of his profession he had perhaps an excessive contempt. He preferred to rely on the more human qualities of simplicity, directness and transparent honesty in association with great power of work and a fine intellect.
More fortunate than most young diplomatists, who often have to serve an interminable apprenticeship of mere routine work and somewhat frivolous drudgery
Spring-Rice, after entering the Foreign Office in 1882, was soon brought into intimate contact, first as assistant private secretary to Lord Granville and then as préciswriter to Lord Rosebery, with the whole range of worldwide affairs which come within the purview of a British Foreign Secretary. His first post abroad, as well as his last, was Washington, where he spent with brief intervals all the earlier part of his career, gaining that thorough and sympathetic insight into American life and American character, and making the many enduring friendships, which were to serve him in such excellent stead when he returned there as Ambassador at the most critical period in the whole history of AngloAmerican relations.
The turning point in his career was his transfer as Second Secretary to the Embassy in Berlin in 1895. For, in the three years which he then spent in Germany, he witnessed some of the most significant manifestations of the aggressive spirit infused into the 'higher policy' of the German Empire after its youthful sovereign had thrown off the old Chancellor's tutelage. In the summer of 1895 Germany made her first bid for a place in the Far Eastern sun by turning against Japan and joining with Russia and France to despoil her of the fruits of her victories over China. In the early days of 1896 the Emperor's famous telegram to President Kruger sent through the whole British Empire the first thrill of alarm at the dangerous potentialities of Germanism. In 1897, after the Turkish armies, reorganised by a German military mission, had defeated the unfortunate Greeks in Thessaly, William II's effusive greetings to the 'ever-victorious' Sultan foreshadowed the price he was prepared to pay for the use of Turkey as his 'bridgehead to world-dominion.' In 1898 he watched, with an interest rendered keener by the intimate correspondence he kept up with many influential friends in Washington, the abortive efforts of the Wilhelmstrasse to persuade Great Britain, on the plea of European solidarity, into acting as the spearhead of at least a diplomatic offensive against the United States at the beginning of the SpanishAmerican war.
But Spring-Rice had not been content merely to study these outward manifestations of Germany's 'higher
policy.' While he was in Berlin he did what few diplomatists cared or were encouraged to do. He explored, so far as the restraints of his official position allowed, the whole field of German life, the character of the people, the ingenious constitutional machinery which Bismarck had so carefully devised for securing the supremacy of Prussia within a Federal Empire, and for combining the autocracy of the Hohenzollerns with the illusion of parliamentary institutions, the vigorous development of commercial and industrial activity, promoted and controlled by and for the State, the growth of a new 'will to power' nurtured in the schools and colleges as well as in the barrack-room, and equipped with all the resources of modern science for economic as well as military conquest. Spring-Rice was a diligent student of history, but he was also a student of men.
It was in Berlin, where I was then Correspondent of The Times,' that we became close friends; and I remember well how he used to envy me my opportunities of meeting the leaders of the Socialist and other political parties, whose acquaintance no diplomatist could venture to cultivate without giving dire offence in 'allhighest' circles. But he was quick to realise that German politicians, however large they might bulk in the press and in Reichstag debates, and German political parties, however formidable the numbers they might poll at general elections, were little more than simulacra; and that the whole power was concentrated in a masterful ruling caste, itself dominated by a masterful young sovereign, whose genius was a strange but vital blend of medieval mysticism and modern materialism fired by overweening ambition. And the whole nation, even those who protested most loudly, were ready to respond to his call. Spring-Rice saw all this and the menace there was in it for the future of the world. 'These Germans,' he once said to me, are a tremendous and terrible nation. They are going to laugh to scorn the old French saying: "Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait"! They have got all the cunning of wicked old age, and all the forcefulness of lustful youth.'
Out of the striving pushfulness of modern Germany Spring-Rice passed to the slowly-moving East, first to Constantinople and Teheran and then to Cairo, where,
as he put it, he went back to school' under Lord Cromer, being temporarily seconded from his own service to act as British Commissioner of the Egyptian Debt; nor were they unprofitable school-days under such a master. From Cairo he was promoted, in 1903, to be Secretary of Embassy at St Petersburg during the stormy years of the Russo-Japanese war and the first revolutionary movements which followed the reverses of the Russian armies in Manchuria. In 1906 he returned to Persia, this time as British Minister, to witness the further stages of that ancient kingdom's decline. Then followed three years of relative rest and ease in Sweden, for the British Legation at Stockholm was mainly an 'observation post.' Sweden, though determined to keep away, so far as possible, from the cross-currents of worldpolitics, stood very near-in some respects perilously near-to them. Spring-Rice was a keen observer, and all that he saw and heard in Stockholm fortified the conviction, which had steadily gathered strength in him from his experiences in the Near and the Middle East and in Russia, that the war-cry of Pan-Germanism, 'Delenda est Britannia,' was merely an indiscreet echo of the higher policy' to which the rulers of Germany were definitely committing themselves.
In Turkey he had seen Austria and Russia, instigated by Germany, blocking the endeavours of the Western Powers to abate the Ottoman régime of misrule and massacre in Armenia and Macedonia, while William II was consolidating his hold upon the Red Sultan by encouraging his Pan-Islamic schemes and pointing always to England as the enemy. In Egypt he had seen Germans striving desperately to keep alive the embers of Anglo-French quarrels over the valley of the Nile. In Russia, even more clearly than in Persia, he had seen Germany steadily elbowing Russian expansion away from Europe towards more distant fields of Asiatic adventure, where the seeds of conflict between the Russian and British Empires were then still dangerously abundant; and, when the results of the Russo-Japanese War defeated Germany's calculations, he saw her exploiting Russia's internal troubles and pressing on the bewildered Russian autocracy the old Bismarckian arguments for dynastic solidarity in the presence of