Cecil Spring-Rice

Cecil Spring-Rice

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

Spring-Rice was the son of Hon. Thomas William Spring Rice, second son of the prominent Whig politician and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, and went on to become the British Chargé d'Affaires in Tehran (1900), Commissioner of Pub­lic Debt in Cairo (1901) and Chargé 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.

He wrote the present text for the legendary 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 with for many years.

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.

The US found him obstructive and his description of Woodrow Wilson as a "mysterious personage" doesn't suggest a particularly close relationship. In private life he had been a good friend of President Theodore Roosevelt about whom he memorably remarked "You must remember that the president is about six". However he seems to have been unable to turn these earlier close links to the administration to a relationship of use to his government.

ee also

*Baron Monteagle of Brandon

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