From the preface:
It seems to me that a few words are necessary in order to vindicate my presumption in undertaking such a work as the biography of Sir Clements Markham.
Among the men of science and letters, to whom his varied work appeals, there are many better fitted than myself to do justice to the memory of so distinguished a man. Nevertheless, when invited to write his life, I gladly consented to do so, and for the following reasons : There was no one outside his family circle who was more intimately acquainted with him. A close friendship had existed between us for over sixty years, and during more than half that period his house had been my home, whenever my professional duties enabled me to reside in this country. My love and reverence for him intensified as the years rolled by, and I felt that, apart from his scientific labours and geographical achievements, there was no one more familiar with his personal charm and lovable disposition than myself. Thus I felt that I was, perhaps, in a better position than anyone else to put together a record of his eventful and extended life. This must be my apology and justification for appearing now in the role of his biographer.
My aim in the present work has been, not so much to draw attention to his merits as a man of letters and a great geographer they are already well known to the scientific world but to emphasise the human touch, to bring out, in other words, the distinctive characteristics of his personality both as a boy and as a man.
My task, on the whole, has not been an easy one, but it has been a labour of love, and one of absorbing interest, revealing, in episodes hitherto unknown to me, the unselfish springs of his generous nature, his love for the young, and, above all, his wondrous kindness and sympathy for those in trouble and distress.
I have acquired my information principally from his private journals and published works ; where these have failed, my own personal knowledge and recollection, during our long and intimate fellowship, have enabled me, in several instances, to bridge over gaps in the written records of his long life. Much information has also been kindly placed at my disposal by many mutual relations and friends.
I am deeply indebted to Mr. Leonard Huxley and Captain P. B. M. Allan for the valuable advice and assistance they have given me in preparing the work for publication, and to Mr. Cyril Longhurst, C.B., for compiling the excellent Index, which he was kind enough voluntarily to undertake out of the love and respect that he bore for his old friend.
A. H. M.