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Guide to the Alfred Austin Papers , 1869-1902
Special Collections M0402  
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The collection consists primarily of letters from the 3rd Marquis of Salisbury to Alfred Austin written between 1887 and 1902, the bulk having been generated in the period 1887-1896. While some of the letters are merely invitations to visits or expressions of gratitude for a copy of Austin's latest work, others provide valuable insight into Salisbury's thinking on several of the key diplomatic and political questions which confronted him during these years. Russian influence in the Balkans, Bismark's intentions, the crumbling Ottoman empire, Joseph Chamberlain's machinations, the dwindling power of the House of lords, Home Rule -- all receive mention in this correspondence. Some three or four of these letters have already appeared in print, in the works on Salisbury listed earlier, but of the others there appears to be no previously published record. Also contained in this correspondence are five letters from Lady Salisbury and one each from George Curzon and W.H. Smith.
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury, was born on 3 February 1830. Educated first at Eton and then at Christ Church, Oxford, he apparently found his subsequent voyage around the world (1851-1853) far more intellectually stimulating. Following his return to England, he was elected an MP for Stamford, but he began to make a real impact on the political scene only in April 1860, when he published in the Quarterly Review an article critical of popular democracy; subsequent articles, published throughout the 1860s, continued to deal with this issue as well as with questions of diplomacy and history. In July 1866, as Lord Cranborne, he entered Lord Derby's cabinet as Secretary of State for India; but seven months later, unhappy about the government's proposal to extend the franchise, he resigned. In the spring of 1868, the second Marquis having died, Cranborne became Lord Salisbury and master of the Cecil ancestral home, Hatfield House, in which simple capacity he spent the next six years, studying farming techniques, improving his estates, and criticizing Gladstonian liberalism. This period of relative inactivity ended in 1874 with the Tories' electoral victory and Salisbury's acceptance of the post of Secretary of State for India under Disraeli. As Secretary, Salisbury concerned himself not only with the Asian subcontinent but with eastern affairs in general, being sent in November 1876, for example, as the British delegate to an international conference in Constantinople on the need for governmental reform in Turkey. Some months after being promoted to the post of Foreign Secretary in the spring of 1878, Salisbury attended a second and far more important conference: the Berlin Congress, in the course of which he skillfully defended Britain's interests and emerged as a likely successor to Disraeli as leader of the Conservative Party.
.5 linear ft.
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.