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100 years ago: The death of Bonar Law

03 November 2023

November 2nd, 1923.

FEW statesmen who have attained to high office have courted popularity less than [the former Prime Minister] Mr. Bonar Law; few have won in greater degree the esteem of the nation. For he commended himself by his frankness and sincerity, and by the renunciation of the opportunity of wealth that he might serve his country. There was a certain austerity in this son of the manse, who eschewed society, though in the world of politics he attracted the affection of all by his friendliness and charm, and who had few interests, outside his business and his political work. He came into political life at a later age than most men who have risen so high; he made his way in it by sheer force of ability and character. He was a very loyal colleague, though it cannot always have been congenial to him to serve with men of more brilliance and less sense of honour. Perhaps his greatest gifts were those of concentration upon the main issue of a difficult problem, and of strength to refuse to be diverted from its consideration. In actual achievement he fell short of many statesmen whose bodies rest in Westminster Abbey; but fine and consistent character is happily recognized as his title to lie among those who have made England great.

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