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Viscount Milner writing to a friend in 1903 about his reason for leaving politics, one of few such explanations not to sound either self-righteous or self-pitying:

I am too far, too increasingly out of sympathy with our political system, and with the political attitude of the bulk of my countrymen, to be a successful politician in the ordinary sense. I am an anachronism. It may be I was born too late, it may be I was born too soon. In the latter, I think the less probable case, I may be of some use in politics—as an outsider, though, never again as an active participant in the fray. But I am not going to make myself miserable any more, or to embarrass any Ministry or party, by holding office on the terms, on which under the conditions of our day it can alone be held. Every man can afford to hold some unpopular ideas. But I have amassed all the most unpopular . I hold, with real conviction, a whole posse of them, and I mean to allow myself the luxury of holding, perhaps even of occasionally expressing them.
Quoted in Edward Crankshaw’s The Forsaken Idea: A Study of Viscount Milner  (1952)

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