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Cecil Spring-Rice

Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, GCMG, GCVO Sir Cecil Arthur Spring-Rice GCMG GCVO (27 February 1859 – 14 February 1918) was a British diplomat who served as British Ambassador to the United States from 1912 to 1918.


Early life

Spring-Rice was the son of Hon. Thomas William Spring Rice, second son of the prominent Whig politician and former Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford.

Cecil Spring-Rice as a young man.


Spring-Rice began his career as a clerk in the Foreign Office in 1882, but made the unusual move to the diplomatic service, where he remained for the rest of his life, starting with his first posting to Washington in 1887. After Spring-Rice went on to become the British Charg  d'Affaires in Tehran (1900), Commissioner of Public Debt in Cairo (1901) and Charg d'Affaires in St. Petersburg (1903). He later served in Persia (1906) and Sweden (1908) before his appointment as ambassador to the United States in 1912. He was abruptly recalled in a one-line telegram, and died in Ottawa shortly thereafter, where he is buried in Beechwood Cemetery.

In The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris described Spring-Rice as "a born diplomat [who] invariably picked out and cultivated the most important person in any place".[1] He was well respected in London's diplomatic circles. Further, "he was one of [President] Theodore Roosevelt's most ardent and loyal admirers"[2] and acted as Roosevelt's best man in Roosevelt's wedding to Edith Carrow. Spring-Rice memorably remarked about Roosevelt: "You must always remember that the president is about six".[3] court dress]]. However he seems to have been unable to turn these earlier close links to the administration to a relationship of use to his government. Spring-Rice had earned the enmity of his government after becoming paranoid - seeing German spies everywhere - and also because of his immense dislike of any British visitors to Washington that were not under the control of his embassy. In his will he left money to Balliol College to found the Cecil Spring-Rice Memorial Fund which funds the learning of languages by students who intend to join the diplomatic service.


Spring-Rice suffered from Graves' disease.[4]


He wrote the present text for the hymn I Vow to Thee My Country, which can now be found in many British Hymn books, revising a poem of his own, about the same time. He was a close friend of Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol, a British journalist and later diplomat, with whom he corresponded for many years.

See also


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