Sir Cecil Arthur Spring-Rice
GCMG GCVO (27
February 1859 – 14
February 1918), was an English diplomat who served as
British Ambassador to the United
States from 1912 to 1918.
Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, GCMG,
Spring-Rice was the son of Hon. Thomas William Spring Rice, second
son of the prominent Whig
and former Chancellor of the
Exchequer Thomas Spring
Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon
. He was educated at
Eton and Balliol College,
Cecil Spring-Rice as a young
Spring-Rice 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, where he is buried in Beechwood Cemetery.
According to Edmund Morris
in his The Rise of
, "Spring-Rice was a born diplomat [who]
invariably picked out and cultivated the most important person in
any place." He was well respected in London's diplomatic circles.
Further, "he was one of [President] Theodore Roosevelt
's most ardent and
loyal admirers" and acted as Roosevelt's best man in Roosevelt's
wedding to Edith Carrow. Spring-Rice memorably remarked about
Roosevelt: "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. 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.
Spring-Rice suffered from Graves'
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.