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Significant Scots
MacDonell, James

James MacDonell, Journalist
By W. Robertson Nicoll, M.A. (1889) (pdf)


THE object of this volume is sufficiently explained in the opening chapter. As this is probably the first book of its kind, I have had no precedent to follow. It is obvious that many difficult and critical questions present themselves to a biographer with such a subject, and that he is also not without temptations. But I have done my best to act with scrupulous regard for the great traditions of English journalism, to violate no confidence, to insert nothing that would give pain, to write the life of James Macdonell in something of the spirit it was lived in. My obligations to his surviving friends and correspondents are many, and cannot fully be acknowledged here. Without the unwearied help of his wife this book could never have been written. Of several chapters (viii. xi. especially) she is virtually the author, and in almost every page her influence is to be traced. Miss Margaret A. Macdonell has given the most generous and valuable aid, especially in writing the story of her brother's early days. Mr. H. Gilzean Eeid, President of the Institute of Journalists, has, in the kindest manner, put into my hands the larger part of his long and confidential correspondence with Mr. Macdonell, and has besides favoured me with many helpful suggestions. Mrs. John Macdonell wrote for me a very interesting paper of reminiscences. My friend Professor Minto of Aberdeen sent me a very useful letter on Mr. Macdonell as a journalist. I have also to acknowledge the kindness of Dr. Alexander of Aberdeen, and other correspondents. It is hardly needful to say that for any errors of judgment or fact I alone am responsible.

December 9th, 1889.

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