20 MAY 1905, Page 14


MO THE EDITOR Or THE "SPECTATOR.1 Sin,—May I add a few lines to the appreciation of Sir Robert Herbert in the Spectator of May 13th by " W. R. M.," under which initials I recognise an old colleague in the Colonial Office P I had the pleasure of serving under Sir R. Herbert during the whole of his term in that office, and was at one time intimately connected with him as his private secretary. A more kindly, considerate, and genial chief it would be impossible to find. Of his abilities " W. R. M." does not say a word too much, nor would it be possible to overrate them. One remarkable trait was the rapidity, and at the same time thoroughness, with which he worked. Despite the number of papers which constantly poured in upon him, it would have appeared to the casual observer, from the condition of his desk, that he must have very little to do. As a despatch- writer I should doubt if he has ever been excelled, especially in the difficult art of conveying an unpalatable decision to a Colonial Ministry, or a reprimand or warning to a Governor. If he can be said to have had a fault, it was the difficulty be found in saying "No" to the numerous applicants by whom, in common with all high officials, he was constantly badgered. Almost every one went away feeling quite certain that his request, whatever it might be, was sure to be complied with ; and of course disappointment was frequently the inevitable result. But, though sometimes inconvenient, this was after all a very venial failing, and arose entirely from his kindliness of heart, which made him reluctant to give pain. His interest in those with whom he had worked did not cease with his departure from the office, and I am sure that all his former colleagues will feel, as I do, that they have lost a true and