Book Edited: Essays on Freedom and Power

Lord Acton. 1948. Essays on Freedom and Power. Boston Mass. The Beacon Press.



WHEN LORD ACTON died in 1902 his name was unfamiliar to the general public. The assiduous reader of the London Times might have identified him as reputedly the most erudite man of his era. He might have remembered the rumors, some thirty years before, of Acton’s possible excommunication from the Catholic church. He might have recalled occasional items in the society, court and literary columns in which Acton had figured as the week-end guest of Mr. Gladstone at Hawarden, as Lord-in-Waiting to Her late Majesty at Windsor Castle, as professor at Cambridge University and editor of a grand, new, encyclopedic venture, the Cambridge Modern History. It would have been a miscellaneous assortment of. facts, likely to confirm Acton’s own sense of the futility of his life.

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