3 OCTOBER 1952, Page 6

Lord Astor was an exceptional man, far more exceptional than

those who only knew of him at a distance—as an M.P., as a millionaire, as a racing man (who, I believe, never betted) as the owner of Cliveden (with its non-existent " set "), as a host at St. James's Square, as war-time Lord Mayor of Ply- mouth—rarely realised. As a result he never fully received the recognition that was his due. He was the last man in the world to care about that, and perfectly content to see the lime, light focussed on his more spectacular wife, whom he would survey with amusement and affection from the other end of the table. Never was a man more unaffected, more generous not only with his wealth but in his mind, more discerning and constructive in his stewardship of great possessions. It would be hard to say where he has left his most enduring mark : perhaps on Plymouth, whose M.P. he became in 1910, Lady Astor succeeding to.the seat when he passed reluctantly to the Lords on the death of his father, and holding it, undefeated to the end, for twenty-five years; perhaps on the Royal Institute of International Affairs, which owed incalculably much to his chairmanship from 1935 to 1949. About his charm there was nothing superficial. It was the transparent envelope, so to speak, of a warm-hearted, liberal, public-spirited, genuinely humble, spirit of high integrity. JANUS.