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David Lloyd George

( Originally Published 1910 )

"THESE, here was the unknown factor of the future, here the potentiality of politics."

"And here, too, was its romance. My mind turned to that little village between the mountains and the sea, where the fatherless boy learned the rudiments of knowledge in the village school, and where, in leading his school-fellows in a revolt against the Catechism, he gave the first hint of the mettle that was in him. I saw the kindly old uncle, bootmaker and local preacher, worrying out the declensions and the irregular verbs of strange tongues in order to pave the path of the boy to the law. I saw him at twenty-one, a qualified solicitor, with his foot on the Iadder, fighting the battle of the village folk against the tyranny of the parson, who refused the dying wish of a Dissenter to be buried in his child's grave. ` Bury him where he wished to be,' said young Lloyd George, strong in the law. ` But if the gate is locked ? ' ` Break down the gate.' And the old man was buried in his child's grave, and solemn judges in London pronounced a solemn verdict in support of the young Hampden. I saw him, still little more than a lad, leaping into the ring, and challenging the squire of his village for the possession of the Carnarvon Boroughs—challenging him and beating him. I saw him, with nothing but his native wit and his high soaring courage to help him, flashing into the great world of politics, risking his fortune and even his life in support of an unpopular cause, escaping from Birmingham Town Hall in the clothes of a policeman, his name the symbol of fierce enthusiasms and fiercer hates. And then I saw him, transformed from the brilliant free-lance into the serious statesman, the head of a great department, handling huge problems of government with easy mastery, moving great merchant princes like pawns on his chess-board, winning golden opinions from all sides, his name always on the lips of the world, but no longer in hate—rather in a wondering admiration, mingled with doubt. And now there he sat, the man who has ` arrived,' the most piquant and the most baffling figure in politics —the man, perchance with the key of the future."

From Prophets, Priests and Kings, by A. G. Gardiner.

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