25. John Simon to Harrod , 18 May 1922 [a]

59, Cadogan Gardens, S. W. 3. #

18 May 1922

My dear Harrod,

I am very glad you have written to me about your future plans. [1] The answer to your question, I think, is this. Starting at the Bar is an arduous and rather uncertain business at best, and it is well to get it over when one is young, for responsibilities accumulate and the great adventure is more difficult to face when years have gone by. On the other hand there is no reason whatever why a man who starts at the Bar at the age of twenty nine should not make a great success of it; a great many people have done so. [2] The present Lord Chancellor was a Don at Merton for a time before he started for the Bar. [3] Sometimes a College will let a man off before his seven years are up for some such purpose, and of course if you could start your teaching work and save a little money so that in three or four years time you came to the Bar on the strength of it that would be excellent. [4]

I hope very much that we shall not lose you from the Law, for it is undoubtedly the best open career for a man with an interest in public affairs.

Whatever you decide to do you know Lady Simon and I will maintain the closest interest in your fortunes and activities. I feel sure that you will remain a keen Liberal and contribute much to the cause wherever your path may lie.

Again let me say how glad I am to have heard from you. If you like to come out to Fritwell either this week-end or next and talk about it further, we shall be there, and could have you met at Fritwell station, if you will let us have a postcard to Fritwell saying what time you will arrive.

Yours sincerely,

John Simon (p.p.)

Roy Harrod, Esq., New College, Oxford.

  1. 1. Harrod was offered a fellowship at Hertford College (see letters 23 R and 24 R); this seems to have opened up perspectives that Harrod had not yet considered.

    2. After a nervous breakdown which he suffered in 1928, Harrod resumed the idea to go to the bar: see letter 157 R to Douglas Woodruff of 30 December 1928.

    3. F. E. Smith, first Earl of Birkenhead.

    4. The decisive turn for Harrod's career was taken for the necessity of "keeping the pot boiling" (see letter 105 R, [jump to page] ): "Would not have chosen studious life but for immediate need of money. Had to keep mother as well as self as soon as Oxford course finished. Never really believed I was going to stay a don but never thought out other possibilities". (Harrod, Autobiographical statement for his therapists, end of Summer 1928, in HPBL Add. 72775/19).

    1. a. TLS(p.p.), two pages on one leaf, in HPBL Add 71616/16.


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