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Lady John Russell

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Such a Federation would not have been very different from the amalgamation
with Piedmont which the other States had just proposed of their own accord;
and consequently the Emperor of the French could not well protest against
Lord John's proposals without repudiating all his earlier negotiations.
Thus England and Italy now held France on their side, an unwilling ally in
diplomacy, and Austria, on whom Lord John had endeavoured all along to
force the principle of non-intervention, at last gave way. She refused,
however, to commit herself for the future, or to admit that she had not the
right to interfere at any time in Italy's affairs; but she let it be known
that, for the present, reluctance to renew war with France and Piedmont
would determine her actions. Of course the people of the States confirmed
their vote in favour of annexation, and on April 2, 1860, the first
Parliament representing Piedmont and Central Italy met at Turin.

This was the first stage in the making of Italy. When it was completed
there remained only three independent Powers (excluding Austrian Venice)
dividing the peninsula among them--in the north the new kingdom of
Piedmont; in the centre the diminished Papal States; in the south the
kingdom of Naples. Lord John, as the spokesman of England, by playing off
Napoleon, who was no friend to Italian unity, against Francis Joseph, who
was the prime enemy of Italian freedom, had secured for Italy an
opportunity to work out her own salvation. He and Cavour together had
forced Napoleon to prevent Austria from checking what Napoleon himself
would have liked to prevent.

Subsequently it came to light that Napoleon's surprising readiness in
agreeing to the annexation of Central Italy in April had been due to a
private arrangement between him and Cavour in the previous month. It was
agreed between them in March that Savoy and Nice should be handed over to
France as the price of her acquiescence. In the secret treaty of
Plombieres, Napoleon's reward for helping the Piedmontese, should the war
leave Venice, Lombardy, and the Romagna in Victor Emmanuel's hands, had
been fixed as the cession of these territories to France. But since
Napoleon had withdrawn and made peace when, as yet, only Lombardy had been
wrested from Austria, he had waived his claim upon Nice and Savoy at
Villafranca, and claimed in exchange a contribution towards his expenses in
the war. But the moment Piedmont proposed to annex Tuscany, the Romagna and
the Duchies, he returned to his original claim. His action had two
important results: one which immediately added to the complication of
Italian politics, and one which affected the diplomatic relations of the
Great Powers for the next eleven years. In Italy his demand made a lasting
breach between Cavour and Garibaldi. The latter never forgave the cession
of Nice, his native town, to France, and never could be convinced that the
sacrifice of Italian territory was a necessary step towards uniting Italy.
In his eyes the agreement with Napoleon had been a kind of treason on the
part of Cavour. Among the European Powers, on the other hand, Napoleon's
action created an impression, which was never effaced, that he was a
predatory and treacherous power.

In England the news was received with the greatest indignation. Lord John
was extremely angry, and practically threatened war. He, like Garibaldi,
did not realize that Cavour was driven to the concession, nor that Napoleon
was, in truth, compelled on his side to demand what he did. The following
letter from Sir James Hudson, the English Minister at Turin--"uomo
italianissimo," as Cavour called him--is particularly interesting, because,
though addressed to Lady John, it reads as though it were also intended for
the eyes of the Foreign Secretary, from whom indignation had temporarily
concealed the truth that this sacrifice was the only compensation which
would have induced Napoleon to look on quietly while the new kingdom of
Italy was consolidating on his frontier. The last event Cavour desired was
a war between the two Powers whose unanimity forced neutrality upon
Austria. Napoleon on his side was practically obliged to demand Savoy and
Nice as a barrier against Italy, and because the acquisition of territory
alone could have prevented his subjects from feeling that they had lost
their lives and money only to further the aims of Victor Emmanuel.

_Sir James Hudson to Lady John Russell_

TURIN, _April_ 6, 1860

MY DEAR LADY JOHN,--I have seen Braico--Poerio brought him to me
after I had offered my services to him in your name, and we have
combined to dine together and to perform other feats, besides
gastronomic ones, in order to cheer him whilst he resides in these
(to a Parthenopean) Boeotian regions.

You mention in your letter the name of that scandal to royalty,
Louis Napoleon. What can I say of him? Hypocrite and footpad
combined. He came to carry out an "idea," and he prigs the silver
spoons. "Take care of your pockets" ought to be the cry whenever he
appears either personally or by deputy.

But do not, I beg of you, consider and confound either the King of
Sardinia or Cavour as his accomplice. Think for a moment on the
condition of Sardinia, who represents the nascent hope of Italy.
Think of the evil that man meant--how he tried to trip up the heels
of Tuscany, establish a precarious vicarial existence for the
Romagna, and plots now at Naples. Not to have surrendered when he
cried "stand and deliver" would have been to have risked all that
was gained--would have given breathing time to Rome, reinforced and
comforted Rome's partisans in the Romagna--have induced doubt,
fear, and disunion throughout Italy. Judging by the experience of
the last eight years, I must say I saw no means of avoiding the
rocks ahead save by a sop to Cerberus. But do not lose confidence
in the National party--Cavour or no Cavour, Victor Emmanuel or
another, that party is determined to give Italy an Italian
representation. I regret that the Nizzards (who have a keen eye to
the value of building lots) are wrenched from us by a French
_filou_; but I cannot forget that the Savoyards have
constantly upheld the Pope, and have been firm and consistent in
their detestation of Liberal Government in Sardinia. _I am not
speaking of the neutral parts_, please remember.

Your most devoted servant,


Meanwhile the reign of Francis II of Naples and the Two Sicilies, who had
succeeded Ferdinand, was proving if anything worse than his father's. Early
in 1860 insurrections began to break out in Sicily, and on May 5th
Garibaldi, on his own initiative, set sail from Genoa to help the rebels.
"I go," he said, "a general without an army, to fight an army without a
general." His success was extraordinarily rapid. At the end of May he had
taken Palermo from 24,000 regular troops with his volunteers and some
Sicilian help, thus making the dictatorship of Sicily, which he had
declared on landing, a reality. It soon became known that he intended to
recross to the mainland to free the people of Naples itself. Piedmont, of
course, wished Garibaldi to succeed in this further undertaking. His cause
was her cause. Though this action was entirely independent, his
dictatorship had been avowed as a preliminary step to handing over the
island to Victor Emmanuel. The King could not, therefore, oppose him nor
prevent him re-embarking for Naples without separating himself from the
cause of United Italy and making an enemy of almost every patriot in the
country; but both he and Cavour were afraid either that Garibaldi might
fail, in which case the union of Italy would have been postponed for many
years, or that the pace at which changes were coming would lead France or
Austria to interfere again.

France, of course, was most anxious to stop the further increase of the
power of Piedmont, and therefore to check Garibaldi. Napoleon's idea of
"United Italy" was a federation of separate States under the presidency of
the Pope, who in his turn would be under the influence of France. He at
once put pressure upon Cavour and Victor Emmanuel, compelling the latter to
write to Garibaldi, telling him to stop in Sicily. Thus, in spite of her
desire that Garibaldi should sail and succeed, Piedmont was compelled
publicly to express disapproval of his intention. In England it was
supposed that Cavour meant what he made the King say in his letter to
Garibaldi, and in addition Palmerston, who was glad enough to see the old
Governments of the little States tumbling to the ground, was rather alarmed
at the prospect of a United Italy, which would also be a Mediterranean
Power. Hitherto the honour of assisting Italy had belonged equally to him
and to Lord John. Henceforward, however, Lord John, who had been brought up
in the Fox tradition, and whose Italian sympathies had been fortified by
his wife's enthusiasm, definitely took the lead in determining England's

The aim of Cavour was to help the revolution as much as possible without
making it obvious to Europe that he was doing so; but, like everybody else,
Lord John had taken him at his word, and thought that the liberation of
Italy might be retarded by Garibaldi's departure from Sicily for the
mainland, till information reached him that in reality Piedmont was most
anxious nothing should hinder Garibaldi's attack upon Naples. It reached
him apparently in the following manner.

Cavour determined to appeal to the Russells personally through a secret
agent. With this object Mr. Lacaita [afterwards Sir James Lacaita], who had
been exiled from Naples for having helped Gladstone to write his famous
letters upon the state of the Neapolitan prisons, which Lacaita knew from
inside, was instructed to call upon Lord John in London and to tell him
that in spite of her official declaration, Piedmont was desperately anxious
that Garibaldi should drive the King of Naples from the throne; for
Garibaldi's extraordinary success in Sicily had made his failure on the
mainland far less likely, and Cavour was now certain that there was not
much power of resistance left in the Neapolitan kingdom. Lacaita, though
ill in bed, got up and went to deliver his message. He was told that Lord
John was closeted with the French and Neapolitan ambassadors and could not
see him. Lacaita guessed that Lord John was at that very moment talking
over the means of preventing Garibaldi's expedition, and he immediately
decided to ask for Lady John. When informed that she was seriously ill, he
insisted upon being taken up into her bedroom, and adjured her for the love
of Italy to get Lord John away from the ambassadors at once. A scribbled
note begging her husband to come to her immediately brought him upstairs in
some alarm. And there he learnt from Lacaita that Victor Emmanuel's letter
of July 25th was a blind, that united Italy must be made now or never, and
that he would never be forgiven if England stopped Garibaldi.

This incident is recorded by several persons to whom Mr. Lacaita told the
story. [54] It explains the sudden right-about of English diplomacy at this
juncture, which, as Persigny shows in his memoirs, puzzled and astonished
him. For Lord John having received this information, refused to act with
France in preventing Garibaldi from crossing the Straits of Messina. This
he accordingly did, and marched straight on to Naples, where he was
welcomed as a deliverer; the royal troops deserted or retreated to Capua,
and Garibaldi made his entrance into Naples, as was said in the House of
Commons, "a simple traveller by railway with a first-class ticket." Before
the end of October the King of Sardinia and Garibaldi met near Teano and
Garibaldi saluted Victor Emmanuel as King of Italy.

[54] Lady John's diaries of 1860 being lost, this incident is given here on
the sole authority of the late Sir James Lacaita.

On October 27, 1860, Lord John wrote a dispatch, in which he said that--

Her Majesty's Government can see no sufficient grounds for the
severe censure with which Austria, France, Prussia, and Russia have
visited the acts of the King of Sardinia. Her Majesty's Government
will turn their eyes rather to the gratifying prospect of a people
building up the edifice of their liberties and consolidating the
work of their independence....

Lord John also quoted from "that eminent jurist Vattel" the following
words: "When a people from good reasons take up arms against an oppressor,
it is but an act of justice and generosity to assist brave men in the
defence of their liberties."

_Mr. Odo Russell to Lord John Russell_

ROME, _December_ 1, 1860

MY DEAR UNCLE,--Ever since your famous dispatch of the 27th, you
are blessed night and morning by twenty millions of Italians. I
could not read it myself without deep emotion, and the moment it
was published in Italian, thousands of people copied it from each
other to carry it to their homes and weep over it for joy and
gratitude in the bosom of their families, away from brutal
mercenaries and greasy priests. Difficult as the task is the
Italians have now before them, I cannot but think that they will
accomplish it better than we any of us hope, for every day
convinces me more and more that I am living in the midst of a
_great_ and _real_ national movement, which will at last
be crowned with perfect success, notwithstanding the legion of
enemies Italy still counts in Europe.

Your affectionate nephew,


Such was the second important juncture at which the British Ministry came
to the rescue of the Italian nationalists. If after Villafranca the
negotiations which secured the safety of Italy were the work of three men,
Palmerston, Lord John, and Gladstone, contending against an indifferent and
timid Cabinet and the opposition of the Court--it is clear that when the
success or failure of Italian unity was a second time at stake, the
decision and initiative were Lord John's.

After his retirement, when he was travelling with his family in 1869, they
took a villa at San Remo. The ceiling of the _salon_ was decorated
with those homely frescoes so common in Italy, which in this case consisted
of four portraits--Garibaldi, Cavour, Mazzini, and--to their surprise--Lord
John himself. Next to the national heroes he was associated closest in the
minds of the people with the achievement of their independence.

When Garibaldi came to England in the spring of 1864, and received a more
than royal welcome, Pembroke Lodge was, naturally, one of the first houses
he visited. On April 21, 1864, Lady John writes in her diary:

All looked anxiously to the sky on getting up--all rejoiced to see
it bright. Sunshine the whole day. Garibaldi to luncheon at
Pembroke Lodge. Our school children, ranged alongside of approach
with flags, cheered him loudly. All went well and pleasantly.

John gave him a stick of British oak. Garibaldi gave John his own
in exchange.

Agatha gave him a nosegay of green, red, and white--he kissed her
on the forehead. Much interesting conversation with him at
luncheon. Told him he would be blamed by many for his praise of
Mazzini yesterday. He said that he and Mazzini differed as to what
was best for Italy, but Mazzini had been his teacher in early
youth--had been unjustly blamed and was _malheureux_. "Et j'ai
cru devoir dire quelque chose," and that he (Garibaldi) had been in
past years accused of being badly influenced by Mazzini: "Ceux qui
ont dit cela ne me connaissent pas." That when he acts it is
because he himself is convinced he ought. Inveighed bitterly
against Louis Napoleon, whom he looks upon as _hors la loi_.
Simple dignity in every word he utters.

Park full of people. Richmond decorated with flags.



Since only political events in which Lady John was herself deeply
interested or those which affected her life through her husband's career
are here to the purpose, the other international difficulties with which
Lord John had to deal as Secretary for Foreign Affairs in this Government
may be quickly passed over. And for the same reason the domestic politics
of these years require only the briefest notice. Palmerston's Ministry
produced very little social legislation, and the fact that Lord John was at
the Foreign Office, while the Prime Minister led the Commons, increased the
legislative inactivity of a Government which, with Palmerston at its head,
would in any case have changed little in the country. Gladstone's budgets
and Cobden's Free-Trade Treaty with France were the important events.
Between 1860 and 1864 the taxation of the country was reduced by twelve
millions, the National Debt by eleven millions, and the nation's income
increased by twenty-seven millions, while foreign trade had risen in two
years by seventy-seven millions. These were the most splendid results a
Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever been able to show; but the changes by
which it had been achieved had been far from welcome to Palmerston himself.
It had required great resolution on Gladstone's part to carry the Prime
Minister with him.

Many comments have been made on the indifference which the country showed
to domestic reform during these years of Liberal Government; but it is not
very surprising. It is a familiar fact that when foreign affairs are
exciting the people are not eager about social or political reform, a fact
upon which Governments have always been able to count. And foreign affairs
had been very exciting. Under Lord John and Palmerston our own foreign
policy had been bold and peremptory; the policy of France was directed by
Napoleon, whose head, as Palmerston said, was as full of schemes as a
rabbit-warren is of rabbits; and the quarrel of 1852 between Prussia and
Denmark had arisen again in a far acuter form. It was, therefore, natural
that popular attention should be constantly turned abroad.

The deaths of those who linked Lady John with her childhood now came
quickly. Her father, Lord Minto, died a month after Lord John had taken
office. He had been ailing for some time.


John at 7 a.m. to Huntingdon to propose Mr. Heathcote at
nomination; back to Pembroke Lodge about five, having been very
well received, but chiefly by the _ill-dressed_. Papa
surprisingly well--saw him on my way out of town; far the happiest
sight I had yet had of him. Dear Papa, he looked so pleased, smiled
so brightly when he saw me. "Ah, dear Fanny! How glad I am to see
you! How fresh and well you look." Held my hand all the time I was
with him.... I said I hoped in his place I should be as
patient--that he was an example to us all, as he always had
been.... Said few daughters could look back at my age without being
able to remember having heard from their father one word but of
love and kindness....

He died on July 31, 1859. His keen interest in public questions continued
to the end, with a firm belief in the ultimate triumph of good. "Magna est
veritas et prevalebit" were almost the last words he spoke on his

During the autumn of 1860 Lord John accompanied the Queen to Coburg, where
boar-shooting with the Prince Consort and Court-life (he never liked its
formalities) failed to console him for absence from wife and children.

_Lady John to Lord John Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _October_ 11, 1860

I found two letters from you here.... So you are fairly on your
journey and safe so far. And here I am with my large detachment,
all well and merry, and all at dear beloved home again after our
wanderings. I am so thankful, and I hope to be still more so in
five days, when I am no longer doomed to sing "There's nae luck
about the house," as I have done daily for three weeks.... That you
should have killed a wild boar is all but incredible, and makes me
expect to see you with a long moustache and green _Faeger_

In April, 1861, Lord John's second daughter, Victoria, married Mr.
Villiers, son of the Bishop of Durham. Lady John wrote some verses to her
on her marriage which are published in Walpole's "Life of Lord John

In May the Duke of Bedford died. The Duke had been Lord John's close
friend, and had often advised him at the beginning of his career. He was
one of those influential noblemen who watch politics with unflagging
interest, but without the smallest desire to take an active part in them.
It was his pride and pleasure to know the ins and outs of a situation
perhaps even better than some of the principal actors in it, and his
judgment was always at his brother's service. On his death Lord John
inherited the Ardsalla estate in Ireland. The loss of his brother
precipitated perhaps an intention he had considered for some time of saving
his strength by accepting a peerage, and exchanging the strenuous life of
the House of Commons for the lighter work of the House of Lords. The
exchange was effected in July, when Lord John became Earl Russell.

"Very dismal about the peerage," writes Lady John in her diary,
"and seeing only the sad side of it.... John made a fine speech on
Sardinia, perhaps his last in the House of Commons."

_Lady Minto [55] to Lady John Russell_

_July_ 20, 1861

...It is impossible not to feel _very sad_ in parting with a
name which has so long been the rallying point of the Liberal
party, the watchword of all those who in our day have fought the
good fight, and, whatever name he may bear, it will never carry to
English ears the same sound as "Lord John." People older than
ourselves had looked to it with hope; and in our time, whenever
Liberty has been in danger, or truth or justice or the national
honour has been attacked, the first question which rose to men's
lips was, "What will Lord John do?"....I remember his first speech
on the China War in 1856. How empty the House was when he rose, how
rapidly it filled to overflowing; then the intense silence which
followed the rush, and lastly the overpowering cheers from all
sides as he went on. To leave the scene where he has so long
wielded at will the, alas! _not fierce_ "democracie" (and it
will be milder still without him!) must require immense
self-control and self-denial.

[55] Formerly Lady Melgund. Her husband had now succeeded his
father as third Earl of Minto.

_Lord John Russell to Lady Minto_

LONDON, _July_ 23, 1861

MY DEAREST NINA,--It seems very bad of us not to have explained
duly and deliberately that I have the project resolved upon and
decided of accepting a peerage. But there have been many changes in
my mind before the final leap was resolved upon. Forty-seven years
of the House of Commons are enough for any man, and imply a degree
of wear and tear which those who read the speeches listlessly at
the breakfast table have little conception of. A reply which is to
go to Paris, Petersburg, Turin, and Washington requires much
presence of mind, and often much previous thought, work, etc. A
calmer atmosphere will suit better my old age, but I could not
leave my companions on the Treasury Bench while any change was
impending, and if I were to wait till 1862 I might again find the
ship in a storm, and be loath to take to the boat. About a title
for Johnny there is still some doubt, but I shall be Earl Russell,
and make little change in the signature of

Your affectionate brother,


In August Lord and Lady Russell and their children went to Abergeldie
Castle, which had been lent to them for several successive autumns. Their
free and happy life in the Highlands was delightful to them all. In October
Lady Russell writes: "Left our beautiful Highland home.... Very very
thankful for all our happy Abergeldie days."

In the April of this year the American Civil War had broken out, and the
Ministry had been obliged to decide the question whether England should
recognize the Southerners as "belligerents" or accept the Northern view of
them as "rebels." The touchiness of the Northerners, and the fact that in
England many people sympathized loudly with the South, made it difficult
for the Ministry to maintain the attitude of neutrality, which, while
recognizing the Southern Confederacy as a belligerent Power, they had
officially declared in May. In November two Commissioners, sent by the
Confederacy to put the case of the South before the Courts of Europe, were
forcibly seized on board the _Trent_, an English, and therefore a
neutral, vessel. This was a breach of international law, and the resentment
it provoked in England was increased by the truculent attitude of the North
in the face of our demand for the restoration of the Commissioners. The
Congress, instead of apologizing, proceeded to pass a vote of thanks to
Captain Wilks for having intercepted the _Trent_.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_ [56]

PEMBROKE LODGE, _December_ 13, 1861

When the account of the seizure of the Southern Commissioners first
reached us I was afraid of the effect on John's health and spirits,
as you may well believe; but, as you say, he could not but feel
that there had been no fault on our side, that not a word had been
spoken, not a deed done by him but what showed the friendliest
feeling to the United States, and the strongest wish to remain at
peace with them. I wish the newspapers were blameless; but there
was a sneering, exulting tone in many of them after the military
disasters of the North which was likely to irritate. Mr. Motley
said long ago that the _Times_ would, if possible, work up a
war between the two countries, and though I can't speak from my own
knowledge, as I have seldom looked at its articles, I have no doubt
from what John and others say that he was right.... There can be no
doubt that we have done deeds very like that of Captain Wilks--not
exactly like, because no two cases ever are so--but I wish we had
not done them, and I suppose and hope we shall admit they were very
wrong. It is all terrible and awful, and I hope and pray war may be
averted--and whatever may have been the first natural burst of
indignation in this country, I believe it would be ready to
execrate the Ministry if all right and honourable means were not
taken to prevent so fearful a calamity.

[56] Her husband, Mr. Ralph Abercromby, was now Lord Dunfermline.

_December_ 19, 1861

John to town to see Mr. Adams [57].... John's interview with Mr.
Adams encouraging. Mr. Adams showed him a dispatch from Mr. Seward
declaring Government to be quite uncommitted as to opinion on
seizure of Commissioners.

[57] American Minister in London.

In December the Prince Consort died. Almost his last public act was to
modify the dispatch sent in reply to the vote in Congress, so that it
offered the North an opportunity of relaxing with dignity their
uncompromising attitude.

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _December_ 24, 1861

I know you, like everybody, must have been thinking much of our
poor desolate Queen. Her anguish, her loneliness of heart on that
pinnacle of human greatness, must weigh on all who have known how
happy she was; but to us who have often seen that lost happiness,
it is almost like a grief of our own. I don't believe I have ever
seen her take his arm without the thought crossing my mind: "There
is the real blessing of your life--that which alone makes you as
happy a woman as others in spite of your crown." Everybody must
have been full of dread of the effect upon her, but she has borne
up nobly--or rather, she has bowed humbly to God's will, and takes
comfort in her children. It must be soothing to her that his rare
worth is now fully acknowledged and gratefully felt by the whole

_January_ 7, 1862

John to town at twelve, back at half-past six; dispatches and
letters from Lord Lyons of December 26th discouraging, cabinet
still considering our demands. Surrender possible, but in Lord
Lyons's opinion very unlikely.

_January_ 8, 1862

Telegram to John at 6 p.m. Commissioners surrendered! Thank God.
General rejoicing in the House.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 13, 1862

Well, what do you say to our American triumph? It ought to go far
to cure you all. It is long since any political event has given me,
my particular self, such unmixed pleasure. For my country, for my
husband, and for the other country too, with all its sins, I
rejoice with all my heart and soul. John is delighted. He was very
anxious up to the last moment.

...We "Plodgians" were all so delighted that it has been a surprise
to us to hear of the very tempered joy, or rather the ill-concealed
disappointment, of _London society_; but John says London
society is always wrong, and I believe the country to be all right.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

LONDON, _February_ 10, 1863

You ask me about Kinglake's book--everybody except ourselves is
reading or has read it.... With regard to the sleepy Cabinet dinner
at Pembroke Lodge he has from what we hear fallen into great
inaccuracy.... John says that the despatch, having been circulated
in the Cabinet before that dinner, was already well known to them
all. As far as he remembers none but Sir William Molesworth went to
sleep. I remember perfectly how several of them told me afterwards
about Sir William sleeping and falling from his chair, and we have
often laughed about it, but I do not remember being told of anybody
else going to sleep. I suppose I shall read the book, but I cannot
tell you how I shrink from anything that must recall and make one
live over again those terrible months of vacillation and weakness,
the consequence of a Coalition Cabinet, which "drifted" us into a
most terrible war--a war from which consistency and firmness would
have saved us. A thoroughly Aberdeen Ministry would have maintained
peace. A thoroughly Russell or Palmerston Ministry would have
maintained peace and honour too.

_Lord Russell to Lady Minto_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _July_ 9, 1863

Parliament is coming to an end, most people being tired of talking
and everybody of listening.... Lord Chelmsford says in honour of
the House of Lords: "The Commons have a great deal to do and they
don't do it--the Lords have nothing to do and they do it."

In 1863 relations between England and America were again strained. English
vessels were perpetually running the blockade to bring cotton to England
and goods to the Southern ports--a risky but highly profitable business.
They were often captured by Northern cruisers and forfeited. There were
complaints on our side that the Federal courts were not always careful to
distinguish in their decisions between cases of deliberate blockade-running
and legitimate trading with ports beyond the Southern frontier. The North,
besides blockade-running, had a further cause of complaint. The
Confederates were getting cruisers built for them in neutral ports. The
most famous case of the kind was that of the _Alabama_, which was
built in the Mersey. The English Government had information of its
destination, but failed to prevent it sailing--a failure which eventually
cost us an indemnity of L3,000,000. The speech referred to in the following
letter was made in the midst of these troubles. It was a defence of
England's good faith in the matter of the _Alabama_ and an assertion
that Americans should be left to settle their own difficulties without
European mediation. At this time the French Government and a strong party
in England were in favour of European intervention. By securing the
independence of the South, they hoped to diminish the power of the United
States in the future. Such an idea could only be entertained while the
struggle between North and South seemed evenly balanced. The next year
showed the hopelessness of such a project and vindicated the wisdom of the
English Government in having refused to attempt to divide America into two
independent Powers.

_Mr. William Vernon Harcourt (later Sir William) to Lady

_September_ 28, 1863

I hope you will excuse my taking the liberty to write you a line of
admiration and satisfaction at Lord Russell's speech at Meiklour
[in Scotland], which I have just read. I take so deep and lively an
interest in the great American question and all that concerns it
that I looked forward to the authorized exposition of English
policy by the Foreign Secretary with the greatest anxiety. Lord
Russell's speech, will, I am sure, be of immense service both to
Europe and to America. It has the _juste milieu_, and withal
does not suppress the sympathy which every good man must feel for
the cause of freedom, in a manner which more than ever justifies
the Loch Katrine boatman's opinion of his "terrible judgment."

I cannot help feeling that this speech has for the first time
publicly placed the position of England in its true light before
the world, and I with many another one am very grateful for it.
Among all Lord Russell's many titles to fame and to public
gratitude, the manner in which he has steered the vessel of the
State through the Scylla and Charybdis of the American War will, I
think, always stand conspicuous.... Now I am going to ask a great
favour. I saw at Minto a copy of verses written for the
summer-house at Pembroke Lodge, of which I formed the highest
opinion. May I have a copy of them? I should really be most
sincerely grateful and treasure them up amongst the things I really

These are the lines referred to by Mr. Harcourt:

To J.R. PEMBROKE LODGE, _June_ 30, 1850

Here, statesman, rest, and while thy ranging sight
Drinks from old sources ever new delight
Unbind the weary shackles of the week,
And find the Sabbath thou art come to seek.
Here lay the babbling, lying Present by,
And Past and Future call to counsel high;
To Nature's worship say thy loud Amen,
And learn of solitude to mix with men.
Here hang on every rose a thorny care,
Bathe thy vexed soul in unpolluted air,
Fill deep from ancient stream and opening flower,
From veteran oak and wild melodious bower,
With love, with awe, the bright but fleeting hour.
Here bid the breeze that sweeps dull vapours by,
Leaving majestic clouds to deck the sky,
Fan from thy brow the lines unrest has wrought,
But leave the footprint of each nobler thought.
Now turn where high from Windsor's hoary walls,
To keep her flag unstained thy Sovereign calls;
Now wandering stop where wrapt in mantle dun,
As if her guilty head Heaven's light would shun,
London, gigantic parent, looks to thee,
Foremost of million sons her guide to be;
On the fair land in gladness now gaze round,
And wish thy name with hers in glory bound.
With one alone when fades the glowing West,
Beneath the moonbeam let thy spirit rest,
While childhood's silvery tones the stillness break
And all the echoes of thy heart awake.
Then wiser, holier, stronger than before,
Go, plunge into the maddening strife once more;
The dangerous, glorious path that thou hast trod,
Go, tread again, and with thy country's God.


WOBURN ABBEY, _August_ 18, 1864

My dear, dear husband's birthday. [He was seventy-two.] I resolved
not to let sad and untrustful thoughts come in the way of gratitude
for present happiness, and oh! how thankfully I looked at him with
his children around him. They made him and me join them in a match
at trap-ball that lasted two hours and a half. He, the boys, Johnny
and Agatha rode, Mademoiselle and I drove in the same direction. He
and his cavalcade were a pleasant sight to me. He looked pleased
and proud with his three sons and his little daughter galloping
beside him. The day ended with merry games.

In September, 1864, came the news of Lord Amberley's engagement to Lord
Stanley of Alderley's daughter. He was at that time only twenty-one. Lady
Russell's feeling about it is shown in the following letter:

_Lady Russell to Lady Georgiana Russell_

NORTH BERWICK, _September_ 21, 1864

MY DEAREST GEORGY,--Your long and dear letters were a great
pleasure to me, showing how you are thinking and feeling with us
about this event, so great to us all. Whatever pangs there may be
belonging to it, and of course there are some, are lost and
swallowed up to me in great joy and gratitude. We might have wished
him to marry a little later, to have him a little longer a child of
home. But, on the other hand, there is something to me very
delightful in his marrying while heart and mind are fresh and
innocent and unworldly, and I even add inexperienced--for I am not
over-fond of experience. I think it just as often makes people less
wise as more wise. There is more real truth in their "Ideale" than
in what follows.... God bless you, dear child.

Your very loving MAMA

In July, 1865, Parliament was dissolved, the Ministry having held office
for six years. They had lost prestige over the Schleswig-Holstein
negotiations. Lord Derby, with justification, denounced their policy as one
of "meddle and muddle," and Palmerston only escaped a vote of censure in
the Commons by being able to point to the prodigious success of the
Ministry's finance. His personal popularity and ascendancy, however, were
as great as ever; the Liberals were returned by a majority of sixty-seven.
Although this majority must have been more than they looked for, the
election disappointed Lord Russell in two respects: Gladstone lost his seat
at Oxford and Lord Amberley was beaten at Leeds. Before Parliament met
Palmerston fell seriously ill.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _October_ 19, 1865

Letter from the Queen at Balmoral to John telling him she means to
ask him to carry on the Government in case of Lord Palmerston's
death. Dearest John very calm and without the oppressed look and
manner I always dread to see.

On the 18th of October Palmerston died. Had he taken the precautions usual
at the age of eighty, he might have lived longer, but in private as in
public life, he despised caution. He was one of those statesmen whom modern
critics, on the watch for the partially obsolete and with the complexity of
present problems always before them, tend to depreciate. He had the first
quality which is necessary for popularity: he was readily intelligible. In
addition he was prompt, combative, and magnanimous; shrewd, but never
subtle; sensible, but not imaginative. He had no ideas which he wished to
carry out; he did not like ideas. He wanted England to dominate in Europe
and to use her power good-naturedly afterwards; to be, in fact, what a
nobleman may be in his home-country, where he is universally looked up to
and ready to take immense trouble to settle fairly disputes between
inferiors. Opposition from a direction making it savour of impertinence he
stamped upon at once, without imagining the provocation or ideas from which
it might possibly spring; he could not understand, for instance, that there
might be two sides to the Chinese War. It is probable, too, that had not
the Prince Consort intervened to soften the asperity of the Government's
protest against the seizure of the Confederate emissaries on board the
_Trent_, we should have had war with the Northern States. This
menacing, peremptory attitude in diplomacy served him well, till Bismarck
crossed his path. In the encounter between the man with a great idea to
carry out, who had taken the measure of the forces against him, and the man
who had only, as it were, a dignified attitude to support in the eyes of
Europe, the odds were uneven, and Palmerston was beaten.

Lord Russell, though he must have been among the few who knew the Prime
Minister had been failing lately, writes that his death came with a shock
of surprise, he was so full of heart and health to the last.

Lord Russell now became Prime Minister, and Lord Clarendon took his place
at the Foreign Office.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November_ 2, 1865

John to town at twelve, back at half-past five, having taken leave
of the dear old Foreign Office and left Lord Clarendon there.
Happy, happy days, so full of reality--the hours of work so
cheerfully got through, the hours of leisure so delightful.
Sometimes when I walk with my dear, dear husband and see my lovely
Agatha bounding along with sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks, and the
bright sun shining on the red and yellow trees, I can only feel the
sunshine of life and forget its autumn leaves. Or when we sit
together by our evening fire and talk, as our moods or fancies lead
us, of things grave or gay, trifling or solemn, my heart seems to
leap within me from the sense of happiness, and I can only utter
silent and humble thanks to the Almighty Giver. It must end, oh,
fearful thought!--parting and death must come; fearfully yet not
despairingly I think of that end. Come when or how it will, it
cannot take all away--this happiness, this unutterable gratitude is
not for time only, but is mine for ever.

The succession of Lord Russell to Palmerston's place at the head of the
Government implied a change in its character and policy. It was not merely
a continuation of an old, but practically the formation of a new
Government. Lord Russell was bent upon introducing a Reform Bill, and thus
closing his career in forwarding the cause in which he had won his earliest
and most famous laurels, and for which he had on two other occasions
striven without success. But though the country was now in a mood for such
measures, and Gladstone's speeches in favour of an extension of the
franchise had been well received, the party which had been elected in
support of Palmerston was largely composed of men who shared his
indifference, if not his dislike, to all such proposals. In all probability
the Ministry was therefore doomed to a short life. "Palmerston," wrote Lord
Clarendon to Lord Granville, "held a great bundle of sticks together. They
are now loosened and there is nobody to tie them up." [58] In any case such
a Bill would require very careful steering. The first ominous sign of a
split occurred when it became necessary to fill the vacancy caused by the
retirement of Sir Charles Wood. A place in the Cabinet was offered to Mr.
Lowe, but he refused on the ground that he could not support Reform. Lord
Russell, with characteristic abruptness and without consulting his
colleagues, then offered the place to Mr. Goschen, who was quite unknown to
the public; he had only been three years in Parliament, and held a
subordinate office. [59] The choice was an admirable one, but to those who
had not read Mr. Goschen's book upon Foreign Exchanges the appointment
might well seem inexplicable.

[58] "Life of Lord Granville," by Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice.

[59] Promotion so rapid has only occurred once or twice in Parliamentary
history. See note, Morley's "Life of Gladstone," vol. ii, p. 156.

LONDON, _February_ 3, 1866

Sir Charles Wood [60] called--wished to see me alone--chiefly in
order to talk about John, his occasional sudden acts without
consulting colleagues, and the bad effect of so acting. He gave
some instances, in which he was quite mistaken, some in which he
was right. The subject was a difficult one for me--but his
intentions were very kind, and as I heartily agree with him in the
main, we got on very well, and as a wife I was glad to have the
opportunity of saying some things of my dearest, dearest John, who
is not always understood. Sir Charles took my hand, kissed it, and
said: "God bless you."

[60] Sir Charles Wood retired with the title of Lord Halifax.

Early in March Lady Russell writes to her son Rollo, at Harrow, of a very
agreeable evening at Chesham Place, when Mr. Froude and Mr. Bright were
among her guests.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

_March_ 1, 1866

I wish you had been here at the Friday dinner.... It was such a
pleasant little dinner. Bright was between Johnny and me; ... his
conversation is interesting; he is warm hearted and very much in
earnest. We talked of Milton, Shakespeare, and poetry in general;
he has intense admiration for Milton, as a man and as a poet, as he
ought to have; but agreed with me that it is less improbable that
the world should produce another Milton than another Shakespeare.
He said reading poetry was the next to the greatest pleasure he had
in life--the greatest was little children. These refined and
amiable tastes are not what the common world would attribute to
Bright, who is better known for determination and pugnacity.

Although Lord Russell and Lord Derby were the two leaders of their
respective parties, they were no longer the principal men on either side.
The centre of interest lay in the House of Commons, and Gladstone and
Disraeli were now the antagonists whom everybody watched. On March 12th the
Government's Reform Bill was introduced in a speech by Gladstone, which was
chiefly remarkable for lacking his usual fervour. The cause of this want of
ardour on his part lay in the nature of the Bill itself. In order to
conciliate the apathetic or hostile section of the party, the Cabinet,
against the advice of Lord Russell and the inclinations of Gladstone had
separated the franchise question from their redistribution scheme, which
ought to have been an integral part of any Reform Bill capable of meeting
the needs of the country. The grievances which such a Bill would aim at
mitigating, although less gigantic than those which called for removal at
the time of the first Reform Bill, were still serious enough. In 1865
"there was not one elector for each four inhabited houses, and five out of
every six adult males were without a vote." [61] But in addition to this
the large increase in population had been very unevenly distributed, with
the result that large towns like Liverpool were palpably under-represented.
The franchise had been fixed by the first Reform Bill at L10 a year rental.
The Bill which Gladstone brought forward in the Commons proposed to reduce
the county franchise from L50 to L14, and the borough franchise from L10 to
L7 rental. Gladstone wished to make the payment of rates qualify a man for
a vote; but this change was thought to be too radical, and any lowering of
the qualifying sum of L7 rental would, it was found, place the
working-classes in command of a majority in the towns--a result which the
Cabinet was not ready to face. Moderate as the measure was, it was received
with bitter hostility, while its half-heartedness roused little enthusiasm
among the keener Liberals of the party. The debates upon the first and
second readings were remarkable for energy of attack from the disaffected
section of the old Palmerstonian party, nicknamed the "Adullamites." Mr.
Lowe's speeches from "the cave of Adullam," "to which every one was invited
who was distressed, and every one who was discontented," are still [62]
remembered as among the most eloquent ever delivered in the House of
Commons. The second reading passed by so narrow a majority that the
Government thought it prudent to rally their reliable supporters, and meet
just criticisms upon the inadequacy of their Bill, by bringing forward a
redistribution measure and incorporating it with their franchise proposals.
For a time this served to help them. By declaring that they would also
stand or fall by the redistribution clauses of their Bill, they at any rate
showed a better front to the Opposition. Towards the end of June, however,
they were beaten in committee by eleven; their defeat being principally due
to the attacks and manoeuvres of Mr. Lowe and Mr. Horsman, who had been
Irish Secretary in Palmerston's first Ministry.

[61] Spencer Walpole, "The History of Twenty-five Years."

[62] John Bright's speech.

_Lady Russell to her two sons at Harrow_

_March_ 15, 1866

...Horsman and Lowe are both Liberals; Horsman used, I think, to be
reckoned Radical. But both have taken a violent dislike to
Parliamentary Reform, and certainly one would not guess by their
speeches that they were liberal in anything. Mr. Lowe's was a very
clever speech; Bright's very clever too, and very good. Of course
the Bill does not satisfy him; but his honest support of it, being
all in the right direction, is creditable to him and very useful to
the measure. Your Papa is much pleased with the whole debate,
thinking it a very good one (excellent speeches for and against the
measure), and the result probably favourable to it. As to the
likelihood of its passing, opinions vary. I hear that Lord Eversley
(the late Speaker) says he would take a good big bet that it won't
pass. Your Papa says he is ready to bet against him that it will.
Will Ministers dissolve Parliament if beaten? To that I must answer
I don't know. I heard Mr. Gladstone's speech. As Willy says, the
latter part was very eloquent. It was all good; but the details of
a Suffrage Act are tiresome, and the apparent indifference, or even
apathy, of our side of the House allowed even the striking passages
with which the speech was interspersed to fall dead. The passages
were striking, but nobody seemed to be struck. I don't believe the
real feeling is one of dislike to Reform; but that, of course, they
don't like to show, as the greater part of them, in spite of
dislike, will support it. Your classical hearts must have enjoyed
Mr. Gladstone's "ligneus equus" quotation; but I am afraid Mr.
Lowe's continuation was better. I never, or seldom, like quotations
that merely illustrate what the subject of discussion does
_not_ resemble--they are forced and without much point; but
when Mr. Lowe _likens_ our Reform Bill to the "monstrum
infelix," and hopes it will not succeed in penetrating the "muros"
of the Constitution (isn't that pretty nearly what he said?) there
is wit and point in the quotation. [63]

[63] Gladstone, in his apologetic introductory speech, had declared that no
one could regard the Bill as a Trojan horse, which the Government was
introducing surreptitiously within the citadel of the Constitution. "We
cannot say:

"'Scandit fatalis machina muros
Foeta armis.'"
(The fated engine climbs our walls, big with arms.)

Mr. Lowe retorted:

"That was not a very apt quotation; but there was a curious
felicity about it which he [Mr. Gladstone] little dreamt of. The
House remembers that, among other proofs of the degree in which
public opinion is enlisted in the cause of Reform, is this--that
this is now the fifth Reform Bill which has been brought in since
1851. Now, just attend to the sequel of the passage quoted by the
right honourable gentleman:

"'O Divum domus Ilium et inclyta bello
Mcenia Dardanidum! Quater ipso in limine portae
Sustitit, atque utero sonitum quater arma dedere.'
(O Troy, house of gods and Dardanian city famous in war! four times in
the very gateway it stood, and four times the clash of arms sounded
in its womb.)

"But that is not all:

"'Instamus tarn en immemores, caecique furore,
Et monstrum infelix sacrata sistimus arce.'
(Yet we, thoughtless and blind with enthusiasm, urged it on, and in our
hallowed citadel stationed the ill-omened monster.)"

_Mr. Charles Dickens to Lady Russell_

GLASGOW, _April_ 17, 1866

MY DEAR LADY RUSSELL,--...In sending my kindest regards to Lord
Russell, let me congratulate you on the culminating victory before
him, and on the faith and constancy with which the country carries
him in its great heart. I have never felt so certain of any public
event as I have been from the first that the national honour would
feel itself stung to the quick if he were in danger of being

Dear Lady Russell,

Ever faithfully yours,


LONDON, _April_ 19, 1866

Political prospects not brightening. John and his Ministry will be
in such an honourable position, whether they stand or fall, that no
serious danger threatens the country if they fall. My only anxiety
is lest John should be disappointed and depressed; and it was with
a sense of relief of which he was little aware that I heard him say
yesterday of his own accord, as he looked out of window at the
bright sunshine, "I shall not be very sorry--it's such fine weather
to go out in."

LONDON, _June_ 19, 1866

At 7.30 a note was brought to John from Mr. Gladstone. Government
beaten by eleven. Happily Gladstone, though ambiguous in one
sentence as to the importance of the vote, was not so in others--or
at all events was understood to mean "stand or fall."

Cabinet at 2.30 resolved that John should write to the Queen to
offer resignations. Queen meantime writes from Balmoral, foreseeing
the defeat, that she will not accept the resignations.

Dearest John not depressed, though very sorry for this defeat of
his hopes. He will stand well with the country, and that he feels.

The Queen could not understand the necessity of her Ministers' resignation.
The amendment upon which they had been defeated by so small a majority
seemed to her a matter of small importance compared with events which made
continuance in office desirable. For Bismarck had just declared war upon
Austria, and the failure of Overend and Gurney had thrown the City into
confusion. After a delay of more than a week, however, she was compelled to
accept their resignations, which had been tendered as early as June 19th.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _June_ 28, 1866

John so well and happy that my joy in his release becomes greater
every hour. There is a sense of repose that can hardly be
described--abounding happiness in his honourable downfall that
cannot be uttered.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _June_ 30, 1866

As I wrote to you last in a doubting and disagreeable state of
mind, I am in a hurry to write again, being now perfectly certain
that the blessings of the resignation far outweigh its pains. I do
not care for the charge of fickleness which may with justice be
made against me. I can only confirm it. The defeat made me very
sad. I hoped for many days that John could honourably remain in
office.... On the day of the resignation he was serious--perhaps
sad--and so was I. The next day everything, including his face,
looked brighter, and has gone on brightening; so that now I am only
afraid of being too much uplifted by our downfall, and hardly have
words enough to describe my relief and joy. All the best men are
full of approbation of his conduct. He and Mr. Gladstone have given
an example to the country worth more than a Reform Bill. A short
Tory reign will strengthen the Whig party; a good strong Whig
Opposition will prevent much Tory mischief, so that there is little
regret on public grounds to mix with my unbounded joy on our
private account. Seven years of office had made me aware of its
advantages and its interest, and I saw that John liked it, and I
thought I did; but now I see that he has had enough of it, and any
fear I may have had that he might regret it is for ever gone, and I
have found out how entirely it was an acquired taste with me. I
can't say how often we have already said to one another, "Now that
we are out," as a preface to something pleasant to be done. He said
to me this morning, "The days will not be long enough now." That
"now" would surprise those people who may imagine that time will
hang heavy on his hands. He is in excellent spirits.... We feel as
if fetters had been struck off our minds and bodies. If God grants
us health, how happy we may be, dearest Mary! I have said far too
much on this subject, but you will understand how I have reason to
be both sadder and gladder than other Ministers' wives.

Prussia and Italy had declared war against Austria, Hanover, Bavaria, and
Hesse on the day the Russell Government was defeated. At Custozza the
Italians were badly beaten by the Austrians, under the Archduke Charles.

Alas, alas! for poor Italy! Alas for everybody engaged in this most
wicked and terrible German war! Surely it is all wrong that two or
three bad, ambitious--men should be able to cause the death and
misery of thousands upon thousands. Our day at Harrow, Agatha with
us, was very happy. I never had heard John so heartily cheered by
the boys.

He was in his seventy-fourth year, and he was never again to bear the cares
of office. That summer they went down to Endsleigh, which they had not
visited since the first years of their marriage,

ENDSLEIGH, _August_ 4, 1866

John, Georgy, and I here about 7.30, after a beautiful journey.
Lovely Endsleigh! it is like a dream to be here.... Thoughts of the
old happy days haunting me continually. To church, to Fairy Dell.
Places all the same--everything else altered.



During 1866 Lord Russell finished his "Life of Fox." In the autumn and
winter he and his family travelled in Italy, where they were often
_feted_ by the people of the towns through which they passed. At the
close of the seven weeks' war Austria had ceded Venetia to Italy, and on
November 7th they witnessed the entry of Victor Emmanuel into Venice as
King of all Italy. It was a magnificent and most impressive sight. Lord
Russell was full of thankfulness and joy at the deliverance of Venetia from
foreign rule, and the triumph of a free and united Italy.

In the memoir of Count Pasolini by his son (translated by the Countess of
Dalhousie) the following passage occurs:

Lord John Russell was then in Venice, and came to view the pageant from our
windows in Palazzo Corner. When my mother saw this old friend appear with
the tricolor upon his breast, she said, "Fort bien, Milord! nos couleurs
italiennes sur votre coeur!" He shook her by the hand, and answered, "Pour
moi je les ai toujours portees, Comtesse. Je suis bien content de vous
trouver ici aujourd'hui; c'est un des plus beaux jours de notre siecle!"

Somebody then said to Lord Russell what a pity it was that the sun of Italy
did not shine more brightly to gild the historical solemnity. "As for
that," said he, "England shows her sympathy by sending you her beloved fog
from the Thames."

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

VENICE, November 8, 1866

We are all enchanted with this enchanting place.... Thursday
(yesterday) was the grand and glorious sight--_how_ grand and
glorious nobody who has not been here and probably nobody who has
can conceive.... Newspapers will tell you of the countless gondolas
decorated with every variety of brilliant colours--alike only in
the tricolor flag waving from every one of them--and rowed by
gondoliers in every variety of brilliant and picturesque garb--and
they will tell you a great deal more; but they cannot describe the
_thrill_ of thousands and thousands of Italian hearts at the
moment when their King, "il sospirato nostro Re," appeared, the
winged Lion of St. Mark at one end of his magnificent gondola, a
statue of Italy crowned by Venice at the other. So spirit-stirring
a celebration of so great an event we shall never see again, and I
rejoice that our children were there.

_Lord Russell to Lady Minto_

VENICE, _November_ 11, 1866

... We have been delighted with this place, but especially with
being here to see the crowning of the edifice of Italian
Independence. The people have rather their hearts full than their
voices loud. When the Italian flag was first raised none of the
crowd could cheer for weeping and sobbing. It is a mighty
change.... We have seen many pictures. I am exceedingly struck with
the number of fine pictures, the magnificent colouring, and the
large conceptions of the Venetian painters--faulty in drawing very
often, as Michelangelo said long ago, but wonderfully satisfying to
the imagination.

They returned to England early in 1867.

It was a critical time in the history of the franchise. Neither Lord Derby
nor his followers liked Reform, but the workmen of England were at last set
upon it, and Disraeli realized that only a party prepared to enlarge the
franchise had any chance of power. Unlike his colleagues, he had no fear or
dislike of the people. His imagination enabled him to foresee what hardly
another statesman, Conservative or Radical, supposed possible, that the
power of the Democracy might be increased without kindling in the people
any desire to use it. He divined that the glamour which wealth and riches
have for the majority of voters would make it easy to put a hook in the
nose of Leviathan, and that the monster might be ultimately taken in tow by
the Conservative party. His first move in the process of "educating his
party" was to offer the House a series of Resolutions upon the principles
of representation. These were intended to foreshadow the nature of the
Government's proposals and also to prepare their way. By this device he
hoped to raise the Bill above party conflict, and to lead the more
Conservative of his followers up a gently graduated slope of generalities
till they found themselves committed to accepting a somewhat democratic
measure. His plan was frustrated by the determination of the Opposition to
force the Government to show their hand at once.

He consequently placed before his colleagues a measure which based the
franchise on the occupation of houses rated at L5, coupled with several
antidotes to the democratic tendencies of such a change in the shape of
"fancy franchises," which gave votes to men of certain educational and
financial qualifications. His proposals seem to have been accepted by the
Cabinet with reluctant and hesitating approval. On examining more carefully
the effects of the L5 franchise upon town constituencies Lord Cranborne
(afterwards Lord Salisbury) retracted his previous assent, and Lord
Carnarvon followed his lead.

On the very day that Lord Derby and Disraeli were pledged to define their
measure they found themselves threatened with the resignation of two most
important members of the Government. At a hasty Cabinet Council, held just
before they were to speak, it was agreed, after about twenty minutes'
discussion, that the borough rental should be raised to L6. The Opposition,
however, declared a L6 franchise to be still too high, and they were now
backed by a considerable section of the Conservative party itself, who felt
that when once they were committed to Reform it would at least be wise to
introduce a measure likely to win them popularity as reformers. Lord Derby
and Disraeli yielded to pressure from within their party, and Lord
Cranborne, Lord Carnarvon, and General Peel resigned. The subsequent
history of the Bill consisted in a series of surrenders on the part of
Disraeli. All the clauses and qualifications which had originally modified
its democratic character were dropped, and Gladstone succeeded in carrying
nearly all the amendments his first speech upon the Bill had suggested.

When the Bill finally passed Lord Salisbury described it as a measure based
upon the principles of Bright and dictated by Gladstone; and what many
Conservatives thought of Disraeli's conduct is reflected in the speeches of
their ally Lowe: "Never, never was tergiversation so complete. Such conduct
may fail or not; it may lead to the retention or loss of office; but it
merits alike the contempt of all honest men and the execration of
posterity." [64] Gladstone, writing to Dr. Pusey at the end of the year,
said: "We have been passing through a strange, eventful year: a deplorable
one, I think, for the character and conduct of the House of Commons; but
yet one of promise for the country, though of a promise not unmixed with
evils." The feeling of romantic Tories in the country is expressed in
Coventry Patmore's poem "1867," which begins:

In the year of the great crime,
When the false English Nobles and their Jew,
By God demented, slew
The Trust they stood twice pledged to keep from wrong.

[64] Morley's "Life of Gladstone," vol. ii, p. 235.

The last and longest struggle took place over the compound householder. On
May 17th Mr. Hodgkinson proposed and carried an amendment that in a
Parliamentary borough only the occupier should be rated, thus basing, in
effect, the franchise upon household suffrage, and forcing upon Disraeli a
principle which he had begun by announcing he would never accept. To make
the following letters intelligible it is only necessary to add that in 1866
Lord Amberley had been returned to Parliament as Radical member for

_Lord Russell to Lady Georgiana Russell_ [65]

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 22, 1867

MY DEAREST GEORGY,--I have been very negligent in not writing to
you before, as I meant to do, but laziness after exertion is very
pleasant. My exertion was not small, as, besides speaking at the
beginning of the evening, I sate up for the division, and did not
get home till near four in the morning. The triumph was very great;
Derby and Cairns and the foolish and wicked Tories were beat, and
the wise and honest Tories, like Salisbury and Carnarvon, helped
the Liberals to defeat them.... We shall have a great fight in
Committee; but I still trust in a reasonable majority for not
pushing amendments too far, and then the Bill will be a great
triumph of sense over nonsense.... We had Dickens Saturday and
Sunday--very agreeable and amiable....

Your affectionate father, R.

[65] This letter ought to be dated July 22, 1869, and addressed to
Lady Georgiana Peel. It refers to the debate on the Irish Church Bill.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_


_February 21, 1867_

... Your Papa and I dined yesterday with Lord and Lady Cork. I
heard some funny stories of Mrs. Lowe.... Here's the best. Mr. Lowe
was talking of the marriage service, of the absurdity of making
everybody say, "With all my worldly goods I thee endow"--"For
instance, I had not a penny." _Mrs. L_.: "Oh, but Robert, you
had your brains!" _Mr. L. (sharply)_: "I'm sure I didn't endow
you with _them_." Very funny; but very cruel, too, in answer
to what was meant so affectionately.... Now, I must get ready to
walk with your Papa. He keeps well and strong, in spite of the
cloudy political atmosphere (hazy, perhaps, rather than
cloudy)--nobody thinking or feeling anything clearly or warmly,
except him and Gladstone and a score or two of others. He feels
that the Government has so discredited itself and the Tory party
generally, that the Whig party might be in a capital position if it
chose. But the general indifference of Whig M.P.'s to Reform, and
their selfish fear of dissolution, come in the way of public spirit
and combined action.

Your Papa is writing to Mr. Gladstone, from whom he has just
received an account of the debate. Disraeli's clever and artful
speech appears to have had more effect on the House (and even on
our side of it) than is creditable.... Johnny has made a very good
impression--so we hear from Mr. Brand, Hastings, [66] Mr.
Huguesson, and Gladstone--by his maiden speech. All these, except
Gladstone, heard it, and concur in warm praise, both of matter and
manner. It is a great event in his life, and I am so thankful it is
well over.

[66] Afterwards Duke of Bedford.

_Lord Russell to Lady Minto_

LONDON, _May 21_, 1867

MY DEAR NINA,--As you have been so much bothered with the compound
householder, you will be glad to learn that he is dead and is to be
buried on Thursday. It was supposed he was the last and best
product of civilization; but it has been found out that he was a
son of Old Nick, and a valiant knight of the name of Hodgkinson has
run him through the body.

The Duke of Buccleuch, with whom Fanny and I have been having
luncheon, says that Dizzy is like a clever conjuror. "Is that the
card you wished for, sir?-and is that yours, and yours, and yours?"
But politics are rather disgusting than otherwise. ... Fanny and I
went yesterday to see the Queen lay the first stone of the Hall of
Science and Art. [67] It was a grand sight--great respect, but no
enthusiasm, nor occasion for it.

Lotty is going to give us dinner to-morrow. I call her and Mary,
L'Allegra e la Penserosa. _Fanny_: "And what am I?" "L'Allegra
e Penserosa." I have no more nonsense to tell you. I should like to
go to Paris in July or August, but can we? Let me know when you
will be there.

Your faithful


[67] The Albert Hall.

A few weeks later he wrote again to Lady Minto: "Our Reform Bill is now
brought to that exact shape in which Bright put it in 1858, and which he
thought too large and democratic a change to be accepted by the moderate
Liberal party. However, nothing is too much for the swallow of our modern

In August, 1867, Lord Russell's eldest daughter, Georgiana, married Mr.
Archibald Peel, [68] son of General Peel, and nephew of the statesman, Sir
Robert Peel.

[68] The marriage service was at Petersham, in the quaint old village
Church, hallowed by many sacred memories.

The daughters, who had now left the old home, were sadly missed, but
intimate and affectionate intercourse with them never ceased. Lady
Russell's own daughter, the youngest of three families--ten in all--thought
in her early childhood that they were all real brothers and sisters, a
striking proof of the harmonious happiness of the home. In November, 1867,
Lady Victoria Villiers wrote to Lady Russell: "How I long to make our home
as pure, as high in its tone and aims, as free from all that is low or even
useless for our children, as our dear home was to us."

On Lord Russell's birthday, August 18, 1867, Lady Russell wrote in her

My dear, dear husband's birthday. Each year, each day, makes me
feel more deeply all the wonderful goodness of God in giving me one
so noble, so gentle, so loving, to be my example, my happiness, my
stay. How often his strength makes me feel, but try to conquer, my
own weakness; how often his cheerfulness and calmness are a
reproach to my anxieties. Experience has not hardened but only
given him wisdom. Trials have taught him to feel for others; age
has deepened his religion of love. All that so often lowers
commoner natures has but raised his.

In February, 1868, Lord Derby resigned, owing to ill health. "With Lord
Derby [says Sir Spencer Walpole [69]] a whole race of statesmen
disappeared. He was the last of the Prime Ministers who had held high
office before the Reform Act of 1832; and power, on his fall, was to be
transferred to men not much younger in point of years, but whose characters
and opinions had been moulded by other influences. He was, moreover, the
last of the Tories. He had, indeed, by his own concluding action made
Toryism impossible; for, in 1867, he had thrown the ramparts of Toryism
into a heap, and had himself mounted the structure and fired the funeral
pile." Disraeli succeeded him as Prime Minister.

[69] "The History of Twenty-five Years," vol. ii, p. 287.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

CHESHAM PLACE, _February_ 18, 1868

...Lord Derby is supposed to be dying, I am sorry to say. It is
horrible to hear the street criers bawling out in their catchpenny
voices, "Serious illness of Lord Derby." I feel for his wife and
all belonging to him without any of the flutter and anxiety about
your father which a probable change of Ministry would have caused a
few years ago. He will never accept office again. This is right, I
know, and I am thankful that on the conviction of its being so he
has calmly made up his mind--yet there is deep sadness in it. The
newspapers are not favourable to his pamphlets on Ireland [three
pamphlets published together afterwards under the title, "A letter
to the Right Hon. Chichester Fortescue"]. He does not care much
about this, provided men in Parliament adopt his views or something
like them.

We find London very sociable and pleasant ... people all looking
glad to meet, and fresh and pleasant from their country life, quite
different from what they will be in July....

Lady Russell, as well as her husband, was always anxious to encourage
perfect freedom and independence of thought in her children. The following
passages are from a letter to her daughter on her fifteenth birthday:

37 CHESHAM PLACE, _March_ 28, 1868

... Every day will now bring you more independence of mind, more
capacity to understand, not merely to adopt the thoughts of others,
to reason and to form opinions of your own. I am the more sure of
this, that yours is a thoughtful and reflective mind. The voice of
God may sometimes sound differently to you from what it sounds even
to your father or to me; if so, never be afraid to say so--never
close your mind against any but bad thoughts; for although we are
all one in as far as we all partake of God's spirit, which is the
breath of life, still the communion of each soul with Him is, and
must be, for that soul alone.... Nothing great is easy, and the
greatest and most difficult of all things is to overcome
ourselves.... Life is short, and we do well to remember it, but
each moment is eternal, and we do still better to remember that....
Heaven bless you and guide you through the pleasures and
perplexities, the sorrows and the joys, of this strange and
beautiful world, to the source of all light, and life, and
goodness, to that Being whose highest name is Love.

The everlasting Irish question had been coming again to the front. During
1867 the Fenians had attempted to get the grievances of Ireland redressed
by adopting violent measures. There had been an attempt upon the arsenal at
Chester, numerous outrages in Ireland, an attack at Manchester upon the
prison van, in which two Fenian leaders were being taken to prison, and a
subsequent attempt to blow up Clerkenwell jail. The crisis had been met by
suspending the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland. Lord Russell, when Prime
Minister, had replaced Sir Robert Peel, as Chief Secretary, by Mr.
Chichester Fortescue, who later received the same office from Mr.
Gladstone. In February, 1868, Lord Russell published his letter to Mr.
Fortescue advocating Disestablishment in Ireland, but declaring himself in
favour of endowing the Catholic Church with part of the revenues of the
disestablished Church. In April Gladstone succeeded in carrying three
Resolutions against the Government on the Irish Church question, and though
Disraeli tendered his resignation, dissolution was postponed until the
autumn. The same month Lord Russell presided at a meeting in St. James's
Hall in support of Disestablishment. At the general election in the autumn
the Liberals came in with a large majority; Gladstone became Prime
Minister, and in the following year carried his Bill for the
Disestablishment of the Irish Church. [70] Lady Russell's views on the
question of Church and State are shown in the following letter:

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _May_ 20, 1868

MY DEAREST MARY,--...How can one write letters in such weather as
we have had? A fine May is surely the loveliest of lovely things,
and the most enjoyable, at least to lucky mortals like ourselves
who are not obliged to be "in populous city pent"--and those who
have never seen Pemmy Lodge in its May garments of lilac, laburnum,
wild hyacinth, hawthorn, and the tender greens of countless shades
on trees and shrubs, are not really acquainted with it.... I have
been going through the contrary change from you as regards Church
and State. I thought _I_ was strongly for the connection (at
least of _a_ Church with the State, certainly not _the_
Church of England as it now is), but reflection on what the history
of our State Churches has been, the speeches in St. James's Hall of
the Bishops fostered by the State, and Arthur Stanley's pamphlet,
which says the best that _can_ be said for connection, and yet
seems to open my eyes to the fallacy of that best, and the
conversations I hear, have opened my eyes to the bad principle at
the very root of a State Church. If _all_ who call themselves
teachers of religion could be paid, it might be very well, best of
all perhaps; but I'm afraid there are difficulties not to be got
over, and the objections to the voluntary system diminish on
reflection.... This new political crisis raises John's hopes a
little; but he has small faith in the public spirit of the Liberal
party, and even now fears some manoeuvre to keep Dizzy in.

Ever, dearest Mary, your most affectionate sister,


[70] Mr. Froude, in a talk with an Irish peasant on the grievances
of his country, remarked that one cause of complaint was removed by
Disestablishment of the Church. "Och, sure, your honour, that is
worse than all. It was the best gravance we had, and ye've taken it
away from us!"

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _December_ 3, 1868

MY DEAREST MARY,--Yesterday's _Pall Mall_ and Sir David
Dundas, who dined with us, set us all agog with the news that the
Ministry are to resign at once, probably have now resigned;
certainly much the wisest course for themselves, and John rather
thinks the best for everybody.... How different this change of
Ministry is to us from any there has been before since we were
married, and for John since long before! There is now only a keen
and wholesome interest for the country's sake--none of the
countless agitations which at all events on the formation of the
three last Ministries, of which John was either the head or a
prominent member, more than overpowered satisfaction and pride,
perhaps not to himself, but to his wife in her secret heart. As to
pride, I never was prouder of him in one position than in another,
_in_ than _out_, applauded than condemned; and I had
learned to know the risks, not to health only or chiefly, for that,
precious as it was, seemed a trifle in comparison with other
things, but to the power of serving his country, to friendship, to
reputation in the highest sense, which are involved in the
formation of a Government. These are matters of experience, and in
1846 I was inexperienced and consequently foresaw only good to the
country and increase of fame to him from his acceptance of the
Prime Ministership. I now know that these seldom or never in such a
state of parties as has existed for many years and still exists,
can be the _only_ consequences of high office for him,
although, thank God, they have always been _among_ the
consequences, and my only reasonable and permanent regret (for I
don't pretend to the absence of passing and unreasonable regrets)
is for the _cause_ of office being over for him. What a letter
full of _John_, and just when I ought to be talking of
everybody else except _John_; but you will guess that if he
were not perfectly cheerful--and he is more, he is full of
patriotic eagerness--I could not write all this.... Thanks for your
sympathy about Johnny--we were _very_ sorry, I need not
say[71].... I don't at all mind the beating, which has been a
glorious one in every way, but I _immensely_ mind his not
being in Parliament....

Your most affectionate sister, F.R.

[71] Lord Amberley was defeated in the General Election.

Mr. Charles Dickens to Lady Russell


Saturday, December 26, 1868

MY DEAR LADY RUSSELL,--... I cannot tell you how highly I esteem
your kind Christmas remembrances, or how earnestly I send all
seasonable wishes to you and Lord Russell and all who are dearest
to you. I am unselfishly glad that Lord Russell is out of the
turmoil and worry of a new Administration, but I miss him from it
sorely. I was saying only yesterday to Layard (who is staying
here), that I could not get over the absence of that great Liberal
name from a Liberal Government, and that I lost heart without it.

Ever faithfully yours,


_Lady Russell to Lady Victoria Villiers_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _February_ 4, 1869

We have had such a gay time of it--that is, from Saturday to Monday
only; but we have had such a quiet life in general that that seems
a great deal. The Gladstones with daughter Mary to dine. Gladstone
was unanimously pronounced to be most agreeable and delightful. I
never saw him in such high spirits, and he was as ready to talk
about anything and everything, small and great, as if he had no
Ministerial weight on his shoulders. He carries such fire and
eloquence into whatever he talks about that it seems for the moment
the most important subject in the world.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

37 CHESHAM PLACE, _March_ 2, 1869

London is extremely agreeable now, not rackety, but sociable--at
least to the like of us who do not attempt to mix in the very gay

Arthur Russell called last night after hearing Gladstone's great
speech [on Irish Disestablishment], well pleased himself and
expecting the country to be so--_the_ country, Ireland, more
especially. _On_ the whole your father is satisfied, but not
_with_ the whole; he does not approve of the churches being
left to the Protestants for ever, as there is nothing granted to
the Roman Catholics. Neither does he like the appropriation of
national money to charities. [72]

[72] The Bill transferred to the new disestablished Episcopal Church all
the churches, all endowments given since 1660, while the remaining funds
were to be handed over to the Government for the relief of poverty and

Lord Russell had followed up his first letter to Mr. Chichester Fortescue
by two more letters, in which he again advocated both the disestablishment
and disendowment of the Irish Church. He warmly supported Gladstone's
measure; though he again insisted that the funds of the Irish Church should
be used to endow the other Churches. He was in constant attendance at the
House of Lords, and during the same session he proposed, without success, a
measure which would have added a limited number of life peers to the Second
Chamber. These incursions into politics seem in no way to have taxed his

_Lady Russell to Mr. William Russell_

_June_ 3, 1869

It is a great misfortune that we have so few really eminent men
among the clergy of England, Scotland, or Ireland--in any of the
various communities. Such men are greatly needed to take the lead
in what I cannot but look upon as a noble march of the progress of
mankind, the assertion of the right to think and speak with
unbounded freedom on that which concerns us all more deeply than
anything else--religion. I believe that by the exercise of such
unbounded freedom we shall reach to a knowledge of God and a
comprehension of the all-perfect spirit of Christianity such as no
Established Church has ever taught by Creeds or Articles, though
individuals of all such Churches have forgotten Creeds and
Articles, and taught "true religion and undefiled" out of the real
Word of God and their own high and holy thoughts.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _August_ 18, 1869

My dear husband seventy-seven this day. God be thanked for all that
has made it a calm and bright and blessed one to us.

Our happiness now is chiefly in the past and present as to this
world, in memory more than hope. But the best joys of the past and
present are linked to that future beyond the grave to which we are
hastening.... Bright and beautiful day. We sat long together in
bowling-green and talked of the stir in men's minds on
Christianity, on all religions and religion, our own thoughts, our
hope, our trust.

_Lord Russell to Lady Georgiana Peel_


MY DEAREST GEORGY,--... Your very kind and warm congratulations
delight me. It is sad that the years pass and make one older and
weaker and sillier, but as they will pass all the same, it is well
to have one bright day in each year when one's children can recall
all the past, and feel once again gratitude to the Giver of all

Your affectionate Father, RUSSELL

_To Mr. Archibald Peel_

MY DEAR ARCHIE,--Thanks for your good wishes. Happy returns I
always find them, as my children are so affectionate and
loving--many I cannot expect--but I have played my part, and think
the rest will be far easier than my task has been.

Your affectionate F.I.L. (Father-in-Law)


On October 26th they left home for Italy, travelling across France in deep
snow. They reached the Villa Garbarino, at San Remo, on November 3rd, and
remained there till April, 1870. "The five months," Lady Russell writes,
"were among the very happiest of our lives, and we reckon it among the
three earthly paradises to which our wanderings have taken us--La Roche,
St. Fillans, and San Remo. It was a very quiet life, but with a pleasant
amount of society, many people we much liked passing through, or staying
awhile, or, like ourselves, all the winter."

They also became friendly with several of the Italians of San Remo, whom
they welcomed at little evening gatherings at their villa. Their landlord,
the Marchese Garbarino, was an ardent patriot. He it was who had decorated
the ceiling of his drawing-room with the four portraits: Cavour, Garibaldi,
Mazzini, and Lord John Russell, so it was to him a delightful surprise to
have Lord John as his tenant.

_Lord Russell to Lady Minto_

SAN REMO, _November_ 23, 1869

I am very sorry that headache and neuralgia should have been added
to illness and dislike of writing, as your reason for not inquiring
how we were going on. We sit here in the receipt of news without
any means of reciprocity, but we can speculate on France, Italy,
and Ireland. Of those, the country which most interests and most
concerns me, is Ireland.... I have heard much of Lady and Lord
Byron, and from good sources. I can only conclude that he was half
mad and loved to frighten her, and that she believed in the stories
she circulated. [73] The Duke of Wellington said of George IV's
story that he was at the Battle of Waterloo, "At first it was a
lie, than a strong delusion, and at last downright madness."

Brougham's conversation with William IV on the dissolution was
another delusion, and so on in perverse, wicked, contradictory
human nature. Those who like to probe such systems may do so--the
only wise conclusion is Swift's, "If you want to confute a lie,
tell another in the opposite direction." Madame de Sevigne tells of
a curate who put up a clock on his church. His parishioners
collected stones to break it, saying it was the Gabelle. "No, my
friends," he said, "it was the Jubilee," on which they all hurrahed
and went away. If he had said it was a machine to mark the hour,
his clock would have been broken and himself pelted.

I hope your second volume is coming out soon. [74] There are no
lies in it, and therefore you must not expect a great sale. I must
stop or you will think me grown a misanthrope. Fanny and Agatha are
well. If the day had been fine the Crown Princess and her sister
would have come here to tea, and you would have had no letter from
me. Do send me a return, when your mankind is gone a-hunting.

[73] The publication of "Astarte," by the late Lord Lovelace,
containing the documents and letters relating to Byron's separation
from his wife, has now made it quite clear that the grounds for
separation were real.

[74] The second volume of "Life and Letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot,
First Earl of Minto."

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SAN REMO, _December_ 1, 1869

Your letter of November 24th found the Amberleys here.... They were
preceded by the Crown Princess of Prussia and Princess Louis of
Hesse, announced by telegram in the morning, and a young Prince
Albert of Prussia, son of the Prince Albert of our Berlin days, and
a suite of two gentlemen and a lady, who came from Cannes, where
they are living, on Friday, to pay us a visit, dined with us, slept
at the nearest hotel, and were off again Saturday morning, we going
With them as far as Bordighera; and on Monday arrived the Odos [75]
for one night only, sleeping at an hotel. You see that our usual
quiet life was for a while exchanged for one of--... Well, I beg
pardon for this interruption and go back to our illustrious and
non-illustrious visitors. The illustrious were as merry as if they
had no royalty about them, and as simple, too, dining in their
travelling garments, brushing and washing in my room and John's,
enjoying their dinner, of which happily there was enough (although
the suite was unexpected owing to my not having received a letter
giving details), chatting and laughing afterwards till half-past
eight, when they walked in darkness, and strange to say, mud! but
with glorious stars overhead, the five minute' distance to their
hotel, accompanied by Agatha and me. The drive to Bordighera next
morning was the pleasantest part of the visit to us all--John,
Princess Louis, and Prince Albert in their carriage, Crown
Princess, Agatha, and I in ours. It is wonderful to hear Princesses
express such widely liberal opinions and feelings on education,
religion, nationality, and if we had talked politics I dare-say I
should add that too. Their strong love for their Vaterland in spite
of their early transplantation is also very agreeable.

The Amberleys had been ten days with Mill at Avignon--a good
fortification, I should imagine, against the wiles and
blandishments of priests of all degree to which they will be
exposed at Rome.... Little Rachel [76]is as sweet a little
bright-eyed lassie as I ever saw, hardly saying anything yet, but
expressing a vast deal.

[75] Mr. Odo Russell (afterwards Lord Ampthill) and his wife.

[76] Daughter of Lord and Lady Amberley, born in February, 1868.

_Lord Russell to Colonel Romilly_

SAN REMO, _December_ 4, 1869

MY DEAR FREDERICK,--I had understood from you that you wished to
propose some alterations in my Introduction to the Speeches, and I
was much obliged to you for so kind a thought. But it appears by a
letter from Lizzy that she and you think that all discussions of
the future (which are announced in my preface) ought to be omitted.
In logical and literary aspects you are quite right; but I must
tell you that since 1832 Ireland has been a main object of all my
political career.... I am not without hope that the House of
Commons will pass a reasonable Land Bill, and adhere to the plan of
national education, which has been in force now for nearly forty
years. At all events, the present government of Ireland gives no
proofs of the infallibility of our rulers. Tell Lizzy that it is
not a plate of salted cherries, but cherries ripe, without any
salt, which I propose to lay before the Irish.

Yours affectionately,


In the closing passage of the "Introduction" referred to in the above
letter Lord Russell gives a modest estimate of his own career: "My capacity
I always felt was very inferior to that of the men who have attained in
past times the foremost place in our Parliament, and in the Councils of our
Sovereign. I have committed many errors, some of them very gross blunders.
But the generous people of England are always forbearing and forgiving to
those statesmen who have the good of their country at heart; like my
betters, I have been misrepresented and slandered by those who knew nothing
of me, but I have been more than compensated by the confidence and the
friendship of the best men of my own political connection, and by the
regard and favourable interpretation of my motives which I have heard
expressed by my generous opponents, from the days of Lord Castlereagh to
those of Mr. Disraeli."

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

SAN REMO, _February_ 17, 1870

How awful Paris will be after the easy, natural, unconventional
life of San Remo, one delight of which is the absence of all
thought about dress! Whatever may be and are the delights of
Paris--and I fully intend that we should all three enjoy
them--_that_ burden is heavier there than in all the world
beside--and why? oh, why? What is there to prevent human nature
from finding out and rejoicing in the blessings of civilization and
society without encumbering them with petty etiquettes and fashions
and forms which deprive them of half their value? Human nature is a
very provoking compound. It strives and struggles and gives life
itself for political freedom, while it forges social chains and
fetters for itself and wears them with a foolish smile. And with
this fruitless lamentation I must end.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SAN REMO, _February_ 23, 1870

I don't know a bit whether we shall be much in London during the
session--it will be session, not season, that takes us there....
The longer I live the more I condemn and deplore a rackety life for
_any_ girl, and therefore if I do what I myself think right by
her and not what others may think right, she shall never be a
London butterfly. Would that we could give our girls the ideal
society which I suppose we all dream for them--that of the wise and
the good of all ages, of the young and merry of their own. No
barbarous crowds, no despotic fashions, no senseless omnipotence of
custom (see "Childe Harold," somewhere).[77] I wonder in this age
of revolution, which has dethroned so many monarchs and upset so
many time-honoured systems of Government and broken so many chains,
that Queen Fashion is left unmolested on her throne, ruling the
civilized world with her rod of iron, and binding us hand and foot
in her fetters.

[77] A favourite stanza of Lady Russell's in "Childe Harold":--

What from this barren being do we reap?
Our senses narrow, and our reason frail,
Life short, and truth a gem which loves the deep,
And all things weighed in custom's falsest scale;
Opinion an omnipotence, whose veil
Mantles the earth with darkness, until right
And wrong are accidents, and men grow pale
Lest their own judgments should become too bright,
And their free thoughts be crimes, and earth have too much light.


_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SAN REMO, _March_ 2, 1870

I am writing in my pretty bedroom, at an east window which is wide
open, letting in the balmiest of airs, and the spring twittering of
chaffinches and larks and other little birds, and the gentle music
of the waves. Below the window I look at a very untidy bit of
nondescript ground, with a few white-armed fig-trees and a number
of flaunting Italian daisies--a little farther an enclosure of
glossy green orange-trees laden with fruit; then an olive
plantation, soft and feathery; then a bare, brownish, pleasant
hill, crowned by the "Madonna della Guardia," and stretching to the
sea, which I should like to call blue, but which is a dull grey. Oh
dear, how sorry we shall be to leave it all! You, I know,
understand the sort of shrinking there is after so quiet, so
spoiling, so natural and unconventional a life (not to mention
climate and beauty) from the thought of the overpowering quantity
of people and business of all sorts and the artificial habits of
our own country, in spite of the immense pleasure of looking
forward to brothers and sisters and children and friends.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

SAN REMO, _March_ 17, 1870

... No doubt we must always in the last resort trust to our own
reason upon all subjects on which our reason is capable of helping
us. On a question of _language_, Hebrew for instance, if we
don't know it and somebody else does, we cannot of course dispute
his translation, but where nobody questions the words, everybody
has a right--it is indeed everybody's duty--to reflect upon their
meaning and bearing and come to their own conclusions; listening to
others wiser or not wiser than themselves, eagerly seeking help,
but never, oh never fettering their minds by an unconditional and
premeditated submission to _anybody_ else's, or rather
_pretending_ so to fetter it, for a mind will make itself
heard, and there's much false modesty in the disclaimer of all
power or right to judge--that very disclaimer being in fact, as you
say, an exercise of private judgment and a rebellion or protest
against thousands of wise and good and learned men.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SAN REMO, _March_ 23, 1870

You must take John's second letter to Forster, [78] which will
appear in the _Times_ and _Daily News_, as my letter to
you for to-day, as I had already not left myself much time for you,
so that copying them, although they are not long, has left me
hardly any. I think you will agree with him that now, when the
moment seems come for a really national system of education, it
would be a great pity not to put an end to the teaching of
catechisms in rate-supported schools. People may of course always
have their little pet, privately supported sectarian schools, but
surely, surely, it's enough that the weary catechism should be
repeated and yawned over every Sunday of the year, where there are
Sunday schools. I wonder whether you are in favour of compulsory
attendance. I don't like it, but I do like compulsory rating, and I
wish the Bill made it general and not local, and I also want the
education to be gratis.

[78] In February Mr. Forster introduced the Elementary Education
Act. It passed the second reading without a division. In Committee
the Cowper-Temple Clause was admitted by the Government.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SAN REMO, _April_ 6, 1870

We go on discussing the Education Bill and all that is written
about it with immense interest, but oh, the clergy! they seem
resolved to fulfil the prophecy that Christ came not to bring peace
on earth, but a sword.... How true what you say of want of
earnestness in London society and Parliament!

On April 7th they left San Remo, "servants [79] all in tears," she writes,
"and all, high and low, showering blessings on us, and praying for our
welfare in their lovely language." At Paris they stayed with Lord Lyons at
the British Embassy. The Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugenie showed them
much kindness during their visit to Paris. One evening Lord and Lady
Russell and their daughter dined at the Tuileries, Lady Russell sitting
next the Emperor and Lord Russell next the Empress. It has been told since
that at this dinner the Emperor mentioned a riddle which he had put to the
Empress, and her reply.

_Emperor._ Quelle est la difference entre toi et un miroir?
_Empress._ Je ne sais pas.
_Emperor._ Le miroir reflechit; tu ne reflechis pas.
_Empress._ Et quelle est la difference entre toi et un miroir?
_Emperor._ Je ne sais pas.
_Empress._ Le miroir est poli, et tu ne l'es pas.

[79] Their Italian servants.

On April 27th, after six months' absence, Lord and Lady Russell were once
more at Pembroke Lodge.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

37 CHESHAM PLACE, _May_ 26, 1870

... We came up, your father and I, on Tuesday to dine with
Clarendons, and stayed all yesterday to dine with Salisburys. Many
things strike me on returning to England and English society: the
superiority of its best to those of any other nation; the larger
proportion of vulgarity in all classes; ostentatious vulgarity,
aristocratic vulgarity, coarse vulgarity; the stir and activity of
mind on religion, politics, morals, all that is most worthy of
thought. What is to come of it all? Will goodness and truth
prevail? Is a great regeneration coming? I believe it in spite of
many discouraging symptoms. I believe that a coming generation will
try to be and not only call itself Christian. God grant that each
of my children may add some little ray of light by thought, word,
and deed to help in dispelling the darkness of error, sin, and
crime in this and all other lands.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

_June_ 2, 1870

I wish most earnestly for legal and social equality for women, but
I cannot shut my eyes to what woman has already been--the equal, if
not the superior, of man in all that is highest and noblest and
loveliest. I don't at all approve of any appearance of setting one
against the other. Let equal justice be done to both, without any
spirit of antagonism.... I can well believe in all the delights of
Oxford, and envy men that portion of their life.



In July, 1870, public attention was abruptly distracted from Irish and
educational questions by the outbreak of the Franco-German War, which
followed immediately upon the King of Prussia's refusal to promise France
that he would never, under any circumstances, countenance his cousin Prince
Leopold's candidature for the Spanish throne. War came as a surprise to
every one, even to the Foreign Office, and its real causes were little
understood at the time. The entire blame fell on Napoleon. Only some, who
had special information, knew that Bismarck had long been waiting for the
opportunity which the extravagant demand of France had just given him; and
very few among the well-informed guessed that he might have had a hand in
contriving the cause of dispute itself. Napoleon, since his annexation of
Savoy, had so bad a reputation in Europe, a reputation which Bismarck had
managed to blacken still more in their recent controversy over Luxembourg,
that people were ready to take it as a matter of course that Napoleon
should be the aggressor. Finally, by publishing through the _Times_
the secret document in M. Benedetti's own hand, which assured help to
Germany in annexing Holland, if Germany would help Napoleon to seize
Belgium, Bismarck destroyed all remaining sympathy for France.

Now, however, that the inner history of events has come to light, we know
that it was Germany who fomented the quarrel, though both Austria and
France must be held responsible for the conditions which made the policy of
Germany possible. The significant suppression of the part of Bernhardi's
memoirs dealing with his secret mission from Bismarck to Spain, and the
fact that a large sum of Prussian money is now known to have passed to
Spain, [80] while the Cortes was discussing the question of succession,
make it probable that Bismarck not only took advantage of French hostility
to Prince Leopold's candidature, but deliberately instigated the offer of
the Spanish throne to a German prince, because he knew France was certain
to resent it.

[80] Lord Acton, "Historical Essays and Studies."

Napoleon, however, must be held responsible, inasmuch as since the close of
the Seven Weeks' War, he had intrigued with Austria to induce her to

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