THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search



Share page  



Previous Contents Next


SOME LOCAL WORTHIES.
189
French Government, who professed to see danger in an Englishman having too intimate an acquaintance with their army mobilisation arrangements.
His connection with the political history of France was an intimate one. He had the honour to be the personal friend of its monarchs and leading statesmen; he was on intimate terms also with Kings and Queens in other countries, and was always proud of the great consideration ever shown him by the late Queen Victoria, who, had she had her own way, would have raised him to the Peerage. With the Pontiffs of Rome his connection had been very intimate, for he was long the banker of the Papal Government, and after the annexation of the Papal States to the kingdom of Italy he arranged the transfer of the financial liabilities and the conversion of the Papal debt.
It was Mr. Blount's self-sacrificing, noble conduct during the siege of Paris in 1870-1 that will for ever endear his name to the English people. When nearly all the wealthy foreigners fled, he remained, making his starving compatriots, who were unable to leave the city, his chief care. On January 24th, 1871, he was appointed British Consul and his whole conduct of difficult affairs was such that Lord Malmesbury, speaking of him in the House of Lords, said his name would be "considered noble as long as the history of the siege is recorded." He had 2,200 English poor on his hands and spent an enormous sum out of his own purse in relief; indeed, he and Mr. Wallace and Dr. Herbert distributed 40,000 in all, and the total returned to Mr. Blount by the British Government was only 1,000.
Mr. Blount remained officially in charge of the British Embassy until the end of March, 1871, when he left for London. In recognition of his services Mr. Blount was made a Companion of the Bath and on June 2nd, 1888, was promoted to the rank of K.C.B., being at that time President of the British Chamber of Commerce, of which he was one of the founders.
His connection with the great financial houses of the world was an important one. Not only was he at the
Previous Contents Next