Picture of Henry Broadhurst

Henry Broadhurst

places mentioned

A Foreword

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Many friends whose opinions on many questions I value have from time to time urged me to commit to writing some experiences of my life. After many appeals to do so I commenced the task, only to abandon it on the ground that the mistaken zeal of friendship had prompted me to an act of folly and presumption. But during the last few years I have received numerous applications from divergent quarters in Great Britain, and from persons outside the United Kingdom, for notices of my career. And these repeated applications have reawakened the idea of giving my life's story as a whole and in fairly consecutive order, rather than in piecemeal articles. It is a risky undertaking, and I must, with others who have gone before me, prepare myself for the consequences of my rashness. Diaries, memoranda, and the like have not been in my line, and I muss therefore rely upon a fairly good memory, together with such aid as I can gather from reports and other printed documents concerning matters with which I have been associated in later years. Let me at once assure cop readers that I never had a way marked out in my own mind. I have gone from point to point as circumstances seemed to require me. "One step's enough for me," as Cardinal Newman sang. I am not conscious of over having a goal for my Ambition—that is, if I have at any time possessed an ambition. I have never burnt the midnight oil considering my next move. Each succeeding morning I have done the work neatest to hand. On the Saturday in November, 1872, when I had done my last day's work as a stonemason, I should have thought the man beside himself who had then ventured to tell me that it was my farewell to my trade. I left the firm which then employed me, fully intending to obtain employment in some other firm the following week. That is now twenty eight years back, and I have not yet sought the other firm. Even at this distance of time I constantly dream that I am working at my trade, and the sudden awakening to reality dispels the delusion almost with a shock. I still keep sufficient of my tools to make another start, though I fear I should not he a first-rate hand at it were I to try. Whatever positions I have occupied, I have blundered into them or stumbled upon them without thought or premeditation. With these explanations and apologies to those who may care to read these pages, I commit myself to the fender mercies and indulgence of the public.

Henry Broadhurst, Henry Broadhurst, M.P.: the story of his life from a stonemason's bench to the Treasury Bench (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1901)

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