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Joseph Chamberlain dies

11 July 2014

July 10 1914

SOME years ago the career of Joseph Chamberlain came to a tragic end, and last week his life was brought to a close. Almost he might be said to have been felix opportunitate mortis, for, if one man could be said to have made Irish Home Rule impossible, it was himself, and he lived just long enough to see the certain defeat of the newest attempt to sever Ireland as a whole from the Union. Those who have traced Mr Chamberlain's development from his old Bir-mingham days to the full stature of an Imperialist statesman have found in him a profoundly interesting study. When, an ardent Republican, he took up the cause of municipal reform, he appeared to have no care for the nation as a whole, and still less for the Empire; but, in the larger sphere of Parliamentary affairs, his horizon was widened year by year, until he became a statesman of the first rank, with ideas far above those of common men. To this loftiness of imaginative power he added the gift of personality. In his extreme Radical days his magnetic influence drew the hearts of his fellow townsmen to his own Radicalism. When he became a Unionist and Imperialist, the miracle of converting Birmingham into a Unionist centre was worked. Even in circles where his opinions, political and religious, were not accepted nor acceptable, his magnetic charm was felt and acknowledged. Men of the most diverse type were numbered among his friends. Some enemies he had, as all great men have, and the enmities that he inspired were, in some instances, the best testimony to his greatness. But enemies and friends alike, when the news of his death reached them, were sensible of a national loss.


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