Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Lady John Russell

Part 7 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

[108] Lady Russell often quoted a saying attributed to Fox,
"Nothing which is morally wrong can ever be politically right."

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _March_ 7, 1888

"Adam Bede" was as interesting a sofa companion as you could have
found; a very lovely book--wit and pathos almost equally good,
pathos quite the best though, to my mind. We are reading aloud
another charming book of Lowell's, "Democracy," and other essays in
the same volume; and I flutter about from book to book by myself,
and have still two books of "Paradise Lost" to read, and am
wondering what is going to happen to Adam and Eve. I was very
miserable when I found she ate the forbidden fruit. She had made
such fair promises to be good. Alas, alas! why did she break them?
That story of the Fall, though I suppose nobody thinks it verbally
true, is always to me most full of deep meaning, and seems to be
the story of every mortal man and woman born into this wondrous

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_

DUNROZEL, HASLEMERE, _October_ 3, 1888

Agatha gone yesterday to Pembroke Lodge--Rollo gone to-day to join
her, so my wee bairnie and I are "left by our lone," as you used to
say. "Einsam nein, dass bin ich nicht, denn die Geister meiner
Lieben, Sie umschweben mich." [109] I think it's good now and then
to let the blessed and beautiful memories of the past have their
way and float in waking dreams before our eyes, and not be forced
down beneath daily duties and occupations and enjoyments, till the
pain of keeping them there becomes hard to bear. Yet, "act, act in
the living present" is very, very much the rightest thing; though I
don't think I quite like the past to be called the _dead_
past, when it is so fearfully full of keenest life.

[109] "Lonely--no, that am I not, for the spirits of my loved ones,
they hover around me."

_Lady Russell to Lady Georgiana Peel_


... We have had Rollo's old Oxford friend, Dr. Drewitt, here for
two nights--the very cheerfulest of guests. He is head of the
Victoria Hospital for Children, and what with keen interest in his
profession, and intense love of nature, animate and inanimate, I
don't think he would know how to be bored. Hard-worked men have far
the best of it here below, although we are accustomed to look upon
"men of leisure" as those to be envied; but how seldom one finds a
man or woman, who lives a life in earnest, and who has eyes to see
and observe, taking a gloomy view of human nature and its
destinies. I wonder what you have been reading? I have taken up
lately that delightful book, Lockhart's "Life of Sir Walter Scott,"
and dipping into many besides.... Some of our pleasantest
neighbours have paid us good-bye visits; Frederic Harrisons, and
the charming and wonderful old Miss Swanwick [110]....

[110] Miss Anna Swanwick.

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _March_ 13, 1889

How could you, could you, could you think that my mental vow not to
write on the all-absorbing political catastrophe was because I sing
"God save, Ireland" in one sense, and you in another! The vow was
made because if once the flood-gates of my eloquence are let loose
on that subject, there is a danger that the stream will
Tennysonially "go on for ever." It is, however, a vow made to be
broken from time to time, when I allow a little ripple to flow a
little way and make a little noise, and then return to the usual
attitude towards non-sympathizers; and, like David, keep silence
and refrain even from good words, though it is pain and grief to
me, and my heart is hot within me. I am speaking of the mere
acquaintance non-sympathizers, or those known to be too bitter to
bear difference of opinion; but don't be afraid, or do be afraid,
as you may put it, and be prepared for total removal of the
flood-gates when _you_ come. Don't you often feel yourself in
David's trying condition, knowing that your words would be very
good, yet had better not be spoken? I don't like it at all.

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_

DUNROZEL, _September_ 4, 1889

DEAREST LOTTY,--It was nice to hear from you from Minto. What a
strange sensation it always gives me to write or to hear that word
of _Minto._ [111] I am sure you know it too--impossible to
define, but like something beautiful and holy, not belonging to
this world. I like to hope that such memories have been stored up
by the younger spirits who have succeeded us, while "children not
hers have trod our nursery floor." But in this restless, fly-about
age can they ever be quite the same? ... I see that luckily I have
no room to go on about lovely, lovable, sorrowful Ireland. Alas!
that England has ever had anything to do with her; but better times
are coming, and she will be understood by her conquerors at last,
and be the better for them. Hush! Fanny, no more; even that is too
much. God bless thee.

Ever thine,


[111] Lady Russell had written in 1857 to her father about Minto: "I can
well imagine the loveliness of that loveliest and dearest of places. There
is now to us all a holy beauty in every tree and flower, in rock and river
and hill that ought to do us good." Later, in a letter to her sister, Lady
Elizabeth Romilly, she writes of "the Minto of old days, that happiest and
most perfect home that children ever had."

In 1889 the "Life of Lord John Russell" by Mr. Spencer Walpole, was

_Mr. Gladstone to Lady Russell_

HAWARDEN CASTLE, CHESTER, _October_ 30, 1889

MY DEAR LADY RUSSELL,--The week which has elapsed since I received
from Mr. Walpole's kindness a copy of his biography has been with
me a busy one; but I have now completed a careful perusal of the
first volume. I cannot help writing to congratulate you on its
appearance. It presents a beautiful and a noble picture. Having so
long admired and loved your husband (and the political characters
which attract love are not very numerous), I now, with the fuller
knowledge of an early period which this volume gives me, both
admire and love him more. Your own personal share in the
delineation is enviable. And the biographer more than vindicates
the wisdom of your choice; his work is capital, but it could not
have been achieved except with material of the first order. O for
his aid in the present struggle, which, however, is proceeding to
_our_ heart's content. Believe me always most sincerely yours,

A little later Mr. Gladstone sent Lady Russell a proof copy of an article
by him on the Melbourne Ministry, [112] from which the following passages
are here quoted:

... He [Lord John Russell] brought into public life, and he carried
through it unimpaired, the qualities which ennoble manhood--truth,
justice, fortitude, self-denial, a fund of genuine indignation
against wrong, and an inexhaustible sympathy with human
suffering.... With a slender store of physical power, his life was
a daily assertion of the superiority of the spirit to the flesh.
With the warmest domestic affections, and the keen susceptibilities
of sufferings they entail, he never failed to rally under sorrow to
the call of public duty. There were no bounds to the prowess or the
fellow-feeling with which he would fling himself into the breach on
behalf of a belaboured colleague; ... in 1852 an attack upon Lord
Clarendon's conduct as Viceroy of Ireland stirred all the depths of
his nature, and he replied in a series of the noblest fighting
passages which I have ever heard spoken in Parliament ... At the
head of all these qualities stands the moral element. I do not
recollect or know the time in our own history when the two great
parties in the House of Commons have been led by men who so truly
and so largely as Lord John Russell and Sir Robert Peel identified
political with personal morality. W.E. GLADSTONE

[112] _Nineteenth Century_, January, 1890.

_Lady Charlotte Portal to Lady Russell, after reading Mr.
Walpole's "Life of Lord John Russell" December 26, 1889_

... I long that every one should know as we do what the
extraordinary beauty of that daily life was. I always think it was
the most perfect man's life that I ever knew of; and that could
better bear the full flood of light than any other.

In January, 1890, after nearly twelve years' break in her diary, Lady
Russell began writing again a few words of daily record. On the 6th she
mentions a "most agreeable" visit from Mr. Froude; the same day she
received Mr. Justin McCarthy to dinner, and adds that the talk was "more
Shakespeare than Ireland."

_Lady Russell to Mr. Justin McCarthy_ [113]

_November_ 19, 1890

DEAR MR. MCCARTHY,--I hardly know why I write to you, but this
terrible sin and terrible verdict make us very, very unhappy, and
we think constantly of you, who have been among his closest
friends, and of all who have trusted him and refused to believe in
the charge against him. You must, I know, be feeling all the
keenness and bitterness of sorrow in the moral downfall of a man
whose claims to the gratitude and admiration of his country in his
public career nothing can cancel. It is also much to be feared that
the great cause will suffer, at least in England, if he retains the
leadership. It ought not, of course; but where enthusiasm and even
respect for the leader can no longer be felt, there is danger of
diminution of zeal for the cause. Were he to take the honourable
course, which alone would show a sense of shame--that of
resignation--his political enemies would be silenced, and his
friends would feel that although reparation for the past is
impossible, he has not been blinded by long continuance in
deception and sin to his own unworthiness, and to the fact that his
word can no longer be trusted as it has been, and as that of a
leader ought to be. I dare not think of what his own state of mind
must be; it makes me so miserable--the unlimited trust of a nation
not only in his political but in his moral worth must be like a
dagger in his heart. Were he to retire, the recollection of the
great qualities he has shown would revive, and the proof of remorse
given by his retirement would draw a veil over his guilt, and the
charity, which we all need, would not be withheld from him. I know
that numerous instances can be given of men in the highest
positions who have retained them without opposition in spite of
lives tainted with similar sin; but this has not been without evil
to the nation, and I think there is a stronger sense now than there
used to be of the value of high private character in public men, in
spite of a great deal of remaining Pharisaism in the difference of
the measure of condemnation meted out to different men. I think too
that the unusual and most painful amount of low deception in this
case will be felt, even more than the sin itself, by the English
people. Pray forgive me, dear Mr. McCarthy, for writing on this sad
topic; but I have got into the habit of writing and speaking freely
to you, even when it can, as now, do no earthly good to anybody.

There is one consolation in the thought that should he retire
Ireland is not wanting in the best and highest to succeed him. Pray
do not write if you prefer not, though I long to hear from you, or
still better see you.

Yours most sincerely,


[113] Written after the Parnell O'Shea divorce case.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Justin McCarthy_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November_ 22, 1890

DEAR MR. MCCARTHY,--I cannot rest without telling you how very
sorry I shall be if my letter gave you one moment's pain. I knew
how close and true a friend you were of Mr. Parnell, and how
unchanging your friendship would be; but I did not know which
course that unchanging friendship would lead you to take. Not a
doubt can ever cross our minds of the patriotism which has dictated
your action and that of your Irish colleagues. Do not allow any
doubt to cross yours or theirs, that it is the intensity of love
for the great cause which led many in England to wish for a
different decision. Nothing would be more terrible, more fatal,
than any coldness between the friends of Ireland on the two sides
of the Channel. May God avert such a misfortune, and whatever
happens, believe me always most sincerely yours,


_Mr. Justin McCarthy to Lady Russell_

_November_ 24, 1890

DEAR LADY RUSSELL,--I ought to have answered your kind letter
before, for I value your sympathy more--much more--than I can tell
you in words. I am afraid the prospect is dark for the present. Mr.
Gladstone sent for me to-day and I had some talk with him. He was
full of generous consideration and kindness, but he thinks there
will be a catastrophe for the cause if Parnell does not retire. The
Irish members _cannot_ and _would not_ throw over
Parnell, but he may even yet decide upon retiring. All depends on
to-morrow, and we have not seen him. I have the utmost faith in his
singleness of public purpose and his judgment and policy, but it is
a terrible crisis.

With kindest regards, very truly yours,


_Lady Russell to Mrs. Warburton_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November_ 23, 1890

MY DEAREST ISABEL,--... Yes, dearie, it _was_ a delightful
visit, leaving delightful memories of all kinds; chats gay and
grave trots long and short, drives, duets--will they ever come
again? I am very glad this heart-breaking Irish thunderclap did not
fall while you were here. It makes us so unhappy. Poor Ireland! her
hopes are always dashed when about to be fulfilled. Nothing can
palliate the fearful sin and almost more fearful course of
miserable deception; but he might, by taking the one right and
honourable course of resigning his leadership--if only for a
time--at least have given a proof of shame, and have saved England
and Ireland from the terrible pain of discussion and disagreement,
and from the danger to Home Rule which his retention of the post
must cause. His Parliamentary colleagues have done immense harm by
their loud protestations in his favour. There is much to excuse
them, but not him, for this course. Our poor Davitt is miserable,
and is braving a storm of unpopularity by writing strongly against
his (Parnell's) retention of the leadership. His whole thought is
for Ireland, and he knows that his advice is that of a true friend
to her--as well as to the wretched man himself....

Your ever affectionate,


Mr. Michael Davitt had taken a house in Richmond, and was living there at
this time. Some years earlier Lady Russell had read his "Prison Diary," and
had written the following poem. She did not know him at that time.

_Written after reading Michael Davitt's "Leaves from a Prison Diary"_

DUNROZEL, _September,_ 1887

Man's justice is not Thine, O God, his scales
Uneven hang, while he with padlocked heart
Some glittering shred of human tinsel sees
Outweigh the pure bright gold of noblest souls,
Who from the mists of earth their eyes uplift
And seek to read Thy message in the stars.

Thou hearest, Lord, beneath the felon's garb
The lonely throbbing of no felon's heart,
The cry of agony--the prayer of love
By agony unconquered--love, heaven-born,
That fills with holy light the joyless cell,
As with the daybreak of his prayer fulfilled,
The glorious dawn of brotherhood for man,
And freedom to the sorrowing land that bore him,
For whose dear sake he smiles upon his chains.
Thou gatherest, Lord, his bitter nightly tears
For home, for face beloved and trusted hand,
For the green earth, the freshly blowing breeze,
The heaven of Liberty, all, all shut out.

His vanished dreams, his withered hopes Thou knowest,
The baffled yearnings of his heart to snatch
From paths unhallowed childhood's tottering feet,
And lay a rosy smile on little lips
With homeless hunger pale, to curses trained,
Whereon no kiss hath left a memory sweet.

His chainless spirit, bruised by prison bars,
Wounded by touch of fellow-men in whom
Thy image lost he vainly sought, Thou seest
Unsullied still, lord of its own domain,
Soar in its own blue sky of faith and hope.

Such have there been and such there yet will be,
From whom the world's hard eye is turned in scorn,
But still for each a nation's tears will fall,
A nation's heart will be his earthly haven,
And when no earthly stay he needeth more,
Will he not, Father, feel Thy love enfold him,
And hear Thy voice, "Servant of God, well done."

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November 26, 1890_

Alas! alas! the last fortnight has indeed been one of darkness and
sorrow over the country; railway and ocean horrors breaking many
hundreds of hearts, disgrace to England in Africa, disgrace to a
trusted leader dashing down the hopes of Ireland and bringing back
disunion between the two nations. We made ourselves miserable over
last night's news of the determination of his parliamentary
followers to stand by him, and his acceptance of their re-election.
Poor old Gladstone! I am sure you must admire his letter to Mr.
Morley. To-day we are told to have a little hope that it may have
influence in the right direction, but we hardly feel any. We
heartily agree with every word you say on this most painful matter.
The one consolation is to see such an increase of opinion that a
leader must be a man of high private, as well as public, character.
How often I have deplored the absence of any such opinion!

_Lady Russell to Mr. Justin McCarthy_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November 27, 1890_

DEAR MR. MCCARTHY,--Your most kind letter was a relief to me as
regarded the spirit in which you had taken what I wrote, but also
made us very, very sad, and nothing that we have heard or read in
newspapers since has given more than a mere ray of hope. And why
should this be? Surely the path of honour and duty is plain. It
cannot be taken without pain; but such moments as this are the test
of greatness in men and nations. Gratitude untold is due to Mr.
Parnell. Those who have been his friends will not withdraw their
friendship; but surely that very friendship ought to resolve that
the vast good he has done in the past should not be undone for the
future, to his own eternal discredit, by encouragement to him to
retain the leadership. Surely the claims of your country stand
first; and is not the impending breach between English and Irish
Home Rulers a misfortune to both countries, too terrible to be
calmly faced? Already there is a tone in the Freeman's Journal
which I could not have believed would be adopted towards men like
Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Morley, who have identified themselves heart
and soul with Ireland. Of course, they are far above being turned
for a moment from their course by any such comments, but it must be
a pain to them nevertheless. It almost seems aberration of mind in
Mr. Parnell to be deaf to Mr. Gladstone's words of true patriotism,
echoed as they are throughout England and Scotland, and I cannot
but believe in thousands of Irish hearts besides. Surely this must
have gone far to convince his friends that they would be more than
justified in convincing him that retirement for awhile is his duty,
or, if they cannot convince him, in acting upon their own
convictions, if these are such as I hope. Indignation against the
terrible revelations of his guilt has driven some English
newspapers into language deeply to be deplored; but on the whole
the feeling, as shown in speeches and in the Press, has been
healthy and just. Sir Charles Russell's words struck us as among
the very best. It is the deepest and highest love for Ireland that
makes men speak and write as they do.

Dear Mr. McCarthy, I think you can do much, and I know how firm, as
well as how gentle, it is your nature to be. Save us all, for God's
sake, from the dreaded disunion and the ruin of the cause. Do not
let England and Ireland be again looked upon as separated in their
hopes, interests, aspirations. May Mr. Dillon and Mr. O'Brien help
to the good work; but too much can hardly depend on men at a
distance, excellent and patriotic as they are.

Good-bye, dear Mr. McCarthy. May God guide and unite our two
countries on the road of justice and truth and happiness. Pray,
pray forgive me once more for writing.

Ever most sincerely yours,


In 1891 Mr. Rollo Russell married Miss Gertrude Joachim, niece of the great
violinist, Dr. Joachim, and Lady Russell found new joy in his happiness.

_Queen Victoria to Lady Russell_

_January_ 1, 1891

DEAR LADY RUSSELL,--You are indeed right in thinking that I should
always take an interest in anything that concerned you and your
family, and I rejoice to hear that your son is going to make a
marriage which gives you pleasure, and trust it may conduce to your
comfort as well as to his happiness. It is a long time since I have
had the pleasure of seeing you, dear Lady Russell, and I trust that
some day this may be possible. Past days can never be
forgotten--indeed, one loves to dwell on them, though the thought
is mingled with sadness. Pray remember me to Agatha, and believe me

Yours affectionately,


_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 14, 1892

... Most truly do you say that, while we can shelter ourselves from
the demands that assail our physical being, no defence has been
found against the bitter blasts which batter against our mental and
spiritual structure--no _defence_, only endurance, in hope and
faith and endeavour after Marcus Aurelius's "Equanimitas," and the
knowledge that the higher man's mental and moral capacity the
greater is his capacity for suffering.... And nobody has shown more
than you do in "Psalms of the West" that sorrow is not
_all_ sorrow, but has a heavenly sacredness that gives
strength to bear its burden "in quietness and confidence" to the
end. How entirely I feel with you that this has been a glorious
century. Not all the evil and the misery and the vice and the
meanness and pettinesses which abound on every side, as we look
around, can blind me to the blessed truth that the eyes of mankind
have been opening to see and to deplore these things, and to give
their lives to the study of their causes, and the discovery and
practice of means to put an end to them. The wonderful intellectual
strides, which my long life enables me not only to be aware of, but
to remember as they have one by one been made, are in close
connection with this moral and religious development; and all these
together will, I believe, raise the education of the people
(already so far above the standard of fifty, much more of a hundred
years ago) to something of the kind to which you look
forward--"more high, more wide, more various, more poetic, more
inspiring, more full of principles and less full of facts "--a
consummation devoutly to be wished.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _June_ 22, 1892

Day of much weakness. The sense of failing increases rapidly. May
the short time that remains to me make me less unfit to meet my
God. Oh, that I could begin life again! How different it would be
from what has been. I have had everything to help me upward; joys
and sorrows, encouragement and disappointment, the love and example
of my dearest husband and children in our daily companionship and
communion, the never-failing and precious affection and help of
brothers, sisters, and friends--and yet my life seems all a failure
when I think what it might have been.

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_


Yes, elections are hard tests of character, and there are too, too
many excellent people on both sides who are led on to say hard,
unjust, untrue things of their opponents.... But there _is_
another side to elections--a grand and noble one--which makes me
feel to my inmost soul the greatness and the blessed freedom of
this dear old country, and always brings to my mind what John used
to say with something of a boy's enthusiasm, "I _love_ a
contested election."

THE GRANGE, HINDHEAD, _October_ 6, 1892

Tennyson died about one o'clock a.m. A great and good light

_October 7th_

Agatha and I early to Aldworth. Went in by Hallam's wish to the
room where he lay. I dread and shrink from the sight of death, and
wish to keep the recollection of the life I have known and loved
undisturbed by its soulless image. But in this case I rejoice to
have seen on that noble face the perfect peace which of late years
was wanting--it was really "the rapture of repose." A volume of
Shakespeare which he had asked for, and the leaves of which he had
turned over yesterday, I believe to find "Cymbeline," at which
place it was open, lay on the bed. His hands were crossed on his
breast, beautiful autumn leaves lay strewn around him on the
coverlet, and white flowers at the foot of the bed.

_Lady Russell to Lady Charlotte Portal_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November_ 2, 1892

Oh, Lotty, how is it that, standing as I am on the very brink of
the known, with the unknown about to sweep me into its depths, how
is it that there is still such intense interest in the course of
this wondrous world, in all the problems now floating about
unsolved, in all the social, moral, political work going on around
us. It is true that these things are of eternal moment, and
therefore links between earth and heaven. Yet it often seems to me
foolish to care about them very much when the solution of all
enigmas is so near at hand.

_Lady Russell to Mrs. Rollo Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _March_ 17, 1893

... The chief Pembroke Lodge event since I wrote is that I went on
Monday to Windsor Castle to luncheon; after which morning meal with
the household, almost all strangers to me, I saw the Queen alone
and had a good long and most easy and pleasant conversation with
her. She was as cordial as possible, and I am _very_ glad to
have seen her again; although there was much sadness mingled with
the gladness in a meeting after a period of many, many years, which
had brought their full number of changes to me--and some to her.

_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_


I feel intensely all you say about laying aside, if it were
possible, one's own personality and seeing the silent growth of all
truth and goodness, without the disturbance of names and parties;
but the world being as it is for the present, we can only keep our
minds fixed on the good and the true, with whomsoever and with
whatsoever party we may find it, and follow it with honest
conviction. If I could, I would put an end to Party Government
to-morrow, and my great wish for M.P.'s is that each one should,
upon each subject, vote exactly according to his opinion, and no
Ministry be turned out except upon a vote of want of confidence. I
honour and love Mr. Gladstone, and while ardently sympathetic with
him on Home Rule and all other Liberal measures, I am no less
antipathetic on Church matters. Happily, however, they have become
with him matters chiefly of personal attachment to Anglicanism, and
no longer (I believe) likely to affect his legislation.
"Gladstonian" is a word he does not admit, nor do those of whom it
is used.

_July_ 9, 1893.--Well, to go on with our politics: "a new
policy" Home Rule undoubtedly is, a new departure from the
"tradition" of any English party; but _not_ a departure from
Liberal principles, only a new application of old ones, and I think
it is a pity to speak of it as being against Liberal principles,
for is there anybody of average intelligence who would not have
predicted that if it should ever be adopted by any party it would
be by the Liberals? Exactly the same thing was said about Turkey:
the Whig tradition was to support her, Liberals were forsaking
their principles by taking part with Bulgaria against her. It is
the proud distinction of Liberals to _grow_ perpetually, and
to march on with eyes open, and to discover, as they are pretty
sure to do, that they have not always in the past been true to
their principles. There is no case exactly parallel with that of
Ireland; but there are some in great measure analogous, and it is
the Liberals who have listened to the voice of other countries,
some of them our own dependencies, in their national aspirations or
their desire for Parliaments of their own, expressed by
Constitutional majorities. I admire the Unionists for standing by
their own convictions with regard to Home Rule, and always have
done so; but I cannot call it "devotion to the Union _and to_
Liberal principles," and I am not aware of there being a single
Home Ruler not a Liberal. The Unionists, especially those in
Parliament, have been, and are, in a very dangerous position, and
have yielded too readily to the temptation of a sudden transference
of party loyalty upon almost every question from Liberal to Tory
leaders. But for those, whether in or out of Parliament, who have
remained Liberals--and I know several such--I don't see why, after
Home Rule is carried, they should not be once more merged in the
great body of Liberals, and have their chances, like others, of
being chosen to serve their country in Parliament and in office....

I am reading a book by Grant Allen, "Science in Arcady." ... He
brings wit and originality into these essays on plants, lakes,
spiders, etc.

_Lady Russell to Lady Agatha Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _September_ 22, 1893

... With regard to the modern attraction of ugly subjects
(_not_ when the wish to remedy gross evils makes it a duty to
study and live among them; but as common talk between young men and
young women), I feel very strongly that the contemplation of God,
and all that is God-like in the souls that He has created, is our
best safeguard against evil, and that the contemplation of the
spirit of evil, and all the hideous variety of its works, gradually
taints us and weakens our powers of resistance.

_Lady Russell to Lady Agatha Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _October_ 21, 1893

... I entirely agree with you, that poetry and music "teach us of
the things that are unseen" as nothing else can do. Music
especially, which is an unseen thing, not the product of man at
all, but found from man as a gift from God's own hand. I don't know
what at some periods of my life I should have done without these
blessed sympathizers and outlets and uplifting friends.

_Lady Russell to Mrs. Drummond_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _December_ 16, 1893

Your long interesting letter is most welcome. You are very good and
brave to do so much for the good of others, while suffering
yourself. How much harder it is to _bear_ patiently, and keep
up sympathy and fellow-feeling within us in spite of illness, than
to do any amount of active work while in health. I always find my
highest examples in those who know how to "suffer and be strong,"
because it is my own greatest difficulty.

Oh, my dear child, what opinions _can_ poor I give on the
almost insoluble problems you put before me? I wish I knew of any
book or any man or woman who could tell me whether a Poor Law, even
the very best, is on the whole a blessing or a curse, and how the
"unemployed" can be chosen out for work of any useful or productive
kind without injury to others equally deserving, and what are the
just limits of State interference with personal liberty. The House
of Lords puzzles me less. I would simply declare it, by Act of the
House of Commons, injurious to the best interests of the nation and
for ever dissolved. Then it may either show its attachment to the
Constitution by giving its assent to its own annihilation, or
oblige us to break through the worn-out Constitution and declare
their assent unnecessary. It is beyond all bearing that one great
measure after another should be delayed, or mutilated, year after
year, by such a body, and I chafe and fret inwardly to a painful
degree. Oh for a long talk with you! I will not despair of going to
you, "gin I be spared" till the days are reasonably long.

_Lady Russell to Lady Agatha Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _October_ 10, 1894

... Alas! for our dear Oliver Wendell Holmes! He has left the world
much the poorer by his death, but much the richer by his life and
works.... Lord Grey gone too, and with him what recollections of my
young days, before and after marriage, when he and Lady Grey and we
were very much together. We loved them both. He was a very trying
political colleague to your father and others, but a very faithful
friend. The longer I live the more firmly I am convinced that in
most cases to know people well is to like them--to forget their
faults in their merits. But no doubt it is delightful to have no
faults to forget.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _March_ 3, 1894

Touching accounts of meeting of the Cabinet--the last with dear
noble old Gladstone as Minister. Tears in the eyes of his
colleagues. He made his last speech as Minister in the House of
Commons, a grand and stirring one.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 23, 1895

Finished "Erasmus" a few days ago--a great intellect, much wit,
clear insight into the religion "falsely so-called" of monks and
clergy, but a soul not great enough to utter his convictions aloud
in the face of danger, or to perceive that conciliation beginning
by hypocrisy must end in worse strife and bitterness. He saw the
evil of the new dogmas and creeds introduced by Luther, of
_any_ new creed the rejection of which was penal, but he did
not or would not see the similar evil of the legally enforced old
creeds and dogmas.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _May_ 15, 1895

Armenian refugees here to tea--a husband and wife whose baby
_she_ had _seen_ murdered by Turkish soldiers, and a
friend who is uncertain whether his wife is alive or
murdered--these three in native dress; hers very picturesque, and
she herself beautiful. The three refugees, all of whom had been
eye-witnesses of massacres of relations, looked intensely sad. She
gave an account of some of the hardships they had suffered, but
neither they nor we could have borne details of the atrocities.
What they chiefly wished to express, and did express, was deep
gratitude for the sympathy of our country, veneration for the
memory of John as a friend of the Christian subjects of the Sultan,
and thanks to ourselves.... They kissed our hands repeatedly, and
the expression of their countenances as they looked at us, though
without words, was very touching.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _February_ 24, 1896

Visit from Mr. Voysey, earnest, interesting, and pathetic in
accounts of Whitechapel experiences. His Theism fills him with the
joy of unbounded faith in a perfect God; but his keen sense of the
evil done by the worship of Jesus as another and equal God leads
him to a painful blindness to that divine character and teaching.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _August_ 5, 1897

Sinclair [115] has been reading a great deal to me since my illness
began. Miss Austen's "Emma," which kept its high ground with me
although I had read it too often to find much novelty in the
marvellous humour and reality of the characters. Then "Scenes of
Clerical Life" ... the contrast between the minds and the
brain-work of Jane Austen and George Eliot very striking. Jane
Austen all ease and spontaneousness and simplicity, George Eliot
wonderful in strength and passion, and fond of probing the depths
of human anguish, but often ponderous in long-drawn philosophy and
metaphysics, and with a tediously cynical and flippant tone
underlying her portraits of human beings--and a wearisome lingering
over uninteresting details. Her defects are, I think, far more
prominent in this than in her best later books.

[115] "While in Norfolk Street (in 1882) engaged Sinclair, my good and
faithful Sinclair, as maid and housekeeper" (_Recollections_). She
remained with Lady Russell till her death, and served her with devotion to
the end.

In the summer of 1897 she had a severe illness, from which, as the
following letter shows, she partially recovered.

_Mrs. Warburton to Lady Agatha Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _October_ 11, 1897

You can't imagine, or rather you can, what a happiness it is to be
able to record a perfect drive round the Park again with Mama this
most beautiful day, she enjoying it as of yore, and as full of
pleasure and observation as I ever remember. In short, it is quite
difficult to me to realize how ill she has been since I saw her in
June. She seems and looks so well. She is a marvellous person, so
young and fresh in all her interests, sight and hearing betraying
so little sign of change. She says she is out of practice, and her
_playing_ is not as easy or as vigorous as it was, I thought;
but how few people of her age would return to it at all after such
a long illness. (There are the sounds of music overhead as I sit
here in the drawing-room--how she enjoys it!) ... About the
reading--Dr. Gardiner [116] was against her being prevented from a
little--she enjoys it so much. Sinclair reading to her is a great

[116] Medical attendant and valued friend for over twelve years,
partner to Dr. Anderson, of Richmond, with whom he attended Lady
Russell till her death.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November_ 15, 1897

Eighty-two this day. God be praised for all he has given to
brighten my old age. God be praised that I am still able to love,
to think, to rejoice, and to mourn with those dear to me. But the
burden of wasted years of a long life, in which I see failure on
every side, is weighty and painful, and can never be lightened. I
can only pray that the few steps left to me to take may be on a
holier path--the narrow path that leads to God. My own blessings
only brought more vividly to my mind the masses of toiling,
struggling, poverty-stricken fellow-creatures, from whom the
pressure of want shuts out the light of life.

My Agatha well, weather beautiful, and seventy very happy boys and
girls from the school to see a ventriloquist and his acting dolls
(drawing-room cleared for the occasion). The children's bursts and
shouts of laughter delightful to hear.

Lady Russell was wonderfully well that day--her last birthday on earth--and
joined in the fun and laughter as heartily as any of the children. Old age
had not lessened her keen enjoyment of humour, nor dimmed the brightness of
her brave spirit.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _December_ 11, 1897

A beautiful day for old scholars' meeting. Ninety-four came, a
larger number than ever before; table spread in drawing-room and
bow-room. Not able to go down to see them, but all went well and
merrily. I was able to get to my sitting-room in the afternoon, and
all came up to me by turns for a hand-shake. It was pleasant to see
so many kindly, happy faces.

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 1, 1898

What will 1898 bring of joy or sorrow, good or evil, life or death,
to our home, our country, the world? May we be ready for all,
whatever it may be.

Six days later she was attacked by influenza, which turned to bronchitis,
and very soon she became seriously ill. There was for one day a slight hope
that she might recover, but the rally was only temporary, and soon it was
certain that death was near.

The last book that her daughter had been reading to her was the "Life of
Tennyson," by his son, which she very much enjoyed. She begged her daughter
to go on reading it to her in the last days of her life, and her keen
interest in it was wonderful, even when she was too ill to listen to more
than a few sentences at a time.

For some years Lady Russell had found great amusement and delight in the
visits of a little wild squirrel--squirrels abounded among the old trees at
Pembroke Lodge--which gradually became more and more tame and friendly. It
used to climb up to her windows by a lilac-bush or a climbing rose-tree and
look brightly in at her while enjoying the nuts she gave it on the
window-sill. Before long it became very venturesome, and would enter the
room daily and frisk about, or sit on her writing-table or on the tea-table
in perfect content, taking food from her hand. On the last day of her life
the doctor [117] was sitting by her bedside when suddenly he noticed the
beautiful little squirrel bounding in at her window. It was only a few
hours before she died, but her face lighted up at once, and she welcomed
her faithful little friend, for the last time, with her brightest smile.

[117] Dr. Anderson, who had been for nearly thirty years a true and devoted

During her illness she had spoken confidently of recovery, but the night
before her death she realized quite clearly that the end was near. Her son
and daughter were with her; and just before she sank into a last sleep she
spoke, in a firm clear voice, words of love and faith. Her mind had
remained unclouded, and her end was as calm and peaceful as those who loved
her could have wished. She died on January 17, 1898.


The immense number of letters received by Lady Russell's son and daughter,
from men and women of all classes and creeds, bore striking testimony to
the widespread and reverent devotion felt for her memory. Only very few
selections will be given here. The first letter--written on the day of her
death--is from Mr. Farrington, the respected minister of the Richmond Free
Church, who had known Lady Russell intimately for many years.

_Rev. Silas Farrington to Lady Agatha Russell_

_January_ 17, 1898

To me your mother has become more and more an inspiration--a kind
of tower of cheerful courage and strength. By her steadfast mental
and moral bravery, by the sunshine she has been beneath the heavy
clouds that have been sweeping over her, she has made one ashamed
of the small things that troubled him and rebuked his petty
discontent and repining. No one can ever be told how much I both
have honoured and loved her for the very greatness of her noble

_Rev. Stopford A. Brooke to Lady Agatha Russell_

_January_ 18, 1898

How little I thought when I saw Lady Russell last [118] that I
should see her no more! She looked so full of life, and her
interest in all things was so keen and eager that I never for a
moment thought her old or linked to her lite the imagination of
death. It is a sore loss to lose one so fresh, so alive, so ardent
in all good and beautiful things, and it must leave you in a great
loneliness.... How well, how nobly she lived her life! It shames us
to think of all she did, and yet it kindles us so much that we lose
our shame in its inspiration.

[118] On October 31, 1897.

_Mr. Frederic Harrison to Lady Agatha Russell_

_February_ 16, 1898

...The news of the great sorrow which has fallen on you came upon
my wife and myself as a dreadful surprise.... Over and over again I
tried to say to the world outside all that I felt of the noble
nature and the grand life of your mother, but every time I tried my
pen fell from my hand. I was too sad to think or write; full only
of the sense of the friend whom I had lost, and of the great
example she has left to our generation. She has fulfilled her
mission on earth, and all those who have known her--and they are
very many--will all their lives be sustained by the memory of her
courage, dignity, and truth. She had so much of the character of
the Roman matron--a type we know so little nowadays--who, being
perfect in all the beauty of domestic life, yet even more
conspicuously raised the public life of her time. I shall never,
while I have life, forget the occasions this last summer and autumn
when I had been able to see more of her than ever before, and
especially that last hour I spent with her, when you were away at
Weston, the memory of which now comes back to me like a death-bed
parting. To have known her was to ride above the wretched party
politics to which our age is condemned. I cannot bear to think of
all that this bereavement means to you. It must be, and will
remain, irreparable.

_Mr. James Bryce [119] to Lady Agatha Russell_

_March_ 10, 1898

Your mother always seemed to me one of the most noble and beautiful
characters I had ever known--there was in her so much gentleness,
so much firmness, so much earnestness, so ardent a love for all
high things and all the best causes. One always came away from
seeing her struck afresh by these charms of nature, and feeling the
better for having seen how old age had in no way lessened her
interest in the progress of the world, her faith in the triumph of

[119] The Right Hon. James Bryce, British Ambassador at Washington.

_Mrs. Sinclair to Mr. Rollo Russell_

_January_, 1900

I loved and honoured my dear lady more than any one I ever served.
In my long life of service, where all had been good and kind to me,
she was the dearest and best.

The funeral service was held on the 21st of January in the village church
at Chenies, where her husband had been buried among his ancestors. The
Burial Service of the Church of England, the solemnity and beauty of which
she had always deeply felt, was read in the presence of many friends and
relations assembled to pay their last tribute of respect to her memory.

Not long before her death Lady Russell had written these lines:

O shadowy form majestic, nearer gliding,
And ever nearer! Thou whose silent tread
Not ocean, chasm, or mountain can delay,
Not even hands in agony outstretched,
Or bitterest tears of breaking hearts, that fain
Would stay thy dread approach to those most dear.
Vainly from thee we seek to hide; thou wield'st
A sceptred power that none below may challenge;
Yet no true monarch thou--but Messenger
Of Him, Monarch supreme and Love eternal,
Who holdeth of all mysteries the key;--
And in thy dark unfathomable eyes
A star of promise lieth.
Then O! despite all failure, guilt and error,
Crushing beneath their weight my faltering soul,
When my hour striketh, when with Time I part,
When face to face we stand, with naught between,
Come as a friend, O Death!
Lay gently thy cold hand upon my brow,
And still the fevered throb of this blind life,
This fragment, mournful yet so fair--this dream,
Aspiring, earth-bound, passionate--and waft me
Where broken harmonies will blend once more,
And severed hearts once more together beat;
Where, in our Father's fold, all, all shall be fulfilled.



Some of the dearest and most treasured memories of my lifetime are those
belonging to the years during which I had the honour of being received
among her friends by the late Countess Russell.

That friendship lasted more than twenty years, and its close on this earth
was only brought about by Lady Russell's death.

There hangs now in my study, seeming to look down upon me while I write, a
photograph of Lady Russell with her name written on it in her own
handwriting. That photograph I received but a short time before her death,
and it is to be with me so long as I live and look upon this earth.

I had some slight, very slight, acquaintance with the late Earl Russell,
ever best known to fame as Lord John Russell, some years before I became
one of his wife's friends. I met Lord John Russell for the first time in
1858, when he was attending a meeting of the Social Science Association,
held in Liverpool, where I was then a young journalist, and I had the good
fortune to be presented to him. After that, when I settled in London, I met
him occasionally in the precincts of Westminster Palace, and I had some
interesting conversations with him which I have mentioned in published
recollections of mine. During all that time I had, however, but a merely
slight and formal acquaintanceship with his gifted wife.

When I came to know her more closely she had settled herself in her home at
Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park, and it is with that delightful home that
my memories of her are mainly associated. She received her friends and
acquaintances in general there on certain appointed days in each week. I
need hardly say how gladly I availed myself of every opportunity for the
enjoyment of such a visit, and especially for the enjoyment of Lady
Russell's conversation and companionship.

I have known many gifted women, among them many gifted authoresses, but I
have not known any woman who could have surpassed Lady Russell in the
varied charms of her conversation. Most of us, men and women, have usually
the habit of carrying our occupations with us, metaphorically at least,
wherever we go, and therefore have some difficulty in entering with full
appreciation into conversational fields in which we do not find ourselves
quite at home.

Lady Russell was not like most of us in that quality. Her chief natural
interest, one might readily suppose, would have been centred in questions
belonging to the domain of politics, national and international, she having
been for so great a part of her life the wife and the close companion of
one of England's leading statesmen.

But Lady Russell was endowed with a peculiarly receptive mind, and she felt
an interest quite natural and spontaneous in every subject which could
interest educated and rational human beings--in art, literature, and
science; in the history and the growth of all countries; in the condition
of the poor and the struggling throughout the world; in every effort made
by knowledge, benevolence, and enlightened purpose for the benefit of
humanity. She had evidently also a strong desire to add to her own large
stock of information, and she appears to have felt that whenever she came
into converse with any fellow-being she was in communication with one who
could tell her something which she did not already know.

In this characteristic she reminded me strongly of William Ewart Gladstone.

There is, or there used to be, a common impression throughout many social
circles in this country, that when Gladstone in private was the centre of
any company, he generally contrived to keep most of the talk to himself.
This always seemed to me an entire misconception, for I had many
opportunities of observing that Gladstone in social companionship seemed
much more anxious to get some new ideas from those around him than to pour
out to them from his own treasures of information.

Lady Russell loved to draw forth from the artist something about his art,
from the scholar something about his books, to compare the ideas of the
politician with her own, to lead the traveller into accounts of his
travels, to get from the scientific student some of his experiences in this
or that domain of science, and from those who visited the poor some
suggestions which might serve her during her constant work in the same

Even on subjects concerning which the greatest and sharpest divisions of
opinion might naturally arise--political questions, for instance--Lady
Russell seemed as much interested in listening to the clear exposition and
defence of a political opponent's views as she might have been in the
cordial exchange of sympathetic and encouraging opinions. When I first
began to make one of Lady Russell's frequent visitors, there was, of
course, between us a natural sympathy of political opinion which was made
all the stronger because of momentous events that had lately passed, or
were then passing, in the world around.

The great Civil War in the North American States had come to an end many
years before I began to visit Lady Russell at her home, and I need hardly
remind my readers that by far the larger proportion of what we call
"society" in England had given its sympathies entirely to the cause of the
South, and had firmly maintained, almost to the very end, that the South
was destined to have a complete victory over its opponents. Lady Russell
gave her sympathies to the side of the Northern States, as was but natural,
seeing that the success of the North would mean the abolition of that
system of slavery which was to her heart and to her conscience incapable of
defence or of palliation.

I had paid my first visit to the United States not many years after the end
of the Civil War--a visit prolonged for nearly two years and extending from
New York to San Francisco and from Maine to Louisiana. I had therefore a
good deal to tell Lady Russell about the various experiences I had had
during this my first visit to the now reunited States, and the lights which
they threw for me on the origin and causes of the Civil War.

I may say here that Lady Russell was always very anxious that the public
should fully understand and appreciate the attitude taken by her late
husband with regard to the Civil War. In a letter written to me on October
20, 1879, Lady Russell refers me to a speech made by her husband on March
23, 1863, and she goes on to say:

It shows unanswerably how strong was his opinion against the recognition of
the Southern States, even at a moment when the tide of battle was so much
in their favour that he, in common, I think, with most others, looked upon
separation as likely to be the final issue. As long as the abolition of
slavery was not openly announced, as he thought it ought to have been, as
one of the main objects of the war on the part of the Federals, he felt no
warm sympathy with their cause. But after President Lincoln's proclamation
it was quite different, and no man rejoiced with deeper thankfulness than
he did at the final triumph of the Northern States, for no man held slavery
in more utter abhorrence.

I have thought it well to introduce this quotation just here because it is
associated at once with my earliest recollections of Lady Russell, and at
the same time with a subject of controversy which may almost be said to
have passed out of the realms of disputation since that day.

The American States have now long been absolutely reunited; there is no
difference of opinion whatever in this country with regard to the question
of slavery, and yet it is quite certain that during the American Civil War
a large number of conscientious, humane, and educated Englishmen were
firmly convinced that the American Republic was about to break in two, and
that the sympathies of England ought to go with the rebelling Southern
States. It is well, therefore, that we should all be reminded of Lord
Russell's attitude on these subjects.

I had much to tell Lady Russell of the various impressions made on me
during my wanderings through the States, and by the distinguished American
authors, statesmen, soldiers--Emerson, Longfellow, Bryant, Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Charles Sumner, Wendell Phillips, General Grant, General Sherman.
With the public career of each of these men Lady Russell was thoroughly
acquainted, but she was much interested in hearing all that I could tell
her about their ways of life and their personal habits and characteristics.

Then there were, of course, political questions at home concerning which
there was deep sympathy between Lady Russell and me, and on which we had
many long conversations. She had the most intense and enlightened sympathy
with the great movements going on in these countries for the spread of
political equality and of popular education.

Every statesman who sincerely and actively supported the principles and
measures tending towards these ends was regarded as a friend by this
noble-hearted woman.

I had been for many years a leader-writer and more recently editor of the
_Morning Star_, the London daily newspaper which advocated the views
of Cobden and Bright, and I had more recently still been elected to the
House of Commons as a member of the Irish Nationalist Party, and thus again
I found myself in thorough sympathy with the opinions and the feelings of
my hostess.

Lady Russell had long been an advocate of that truly Liberal policy towards
Ireland which is now accepted as the only principle by all really
enlightened Liberal English men and women; and she thoroughly understood
the condition, the grievances, the needs, and the aspirations of Ireland.
The readers of this volume will see in some passages extracted from Lady
Russell's diaries and letters how deep and strong were her feelings on the
subject. She followed with the most intense interest and with the most
penetrating observation the whole movement of Ireland's national struggle
down to the very close of her life. Her letters on this question
alone--letters addressed to me--would in themselves serve to illumine even
now the minds of many English readers on this whole subject. Lady Russell
was in no sense a partisan on any political question--I mean she never gave
her approval to everything said or done by the leaders of any political
party merely because the one main object of that party had her full
sympathy and approval. Reading over many of her letters to me on various
passages of the Home Rule agitation inside and outside Parliament, I have
been once again filled with admiration and with wonder at the keen
sagacity, the prophetic instinct, which she displayed with regard to this
or that political movement or political man.

All through these letters it becomes more and more manifest that Lady
Russell's devotedness was in every instance to principle rather than to
party, to measures rather than to men. By these words I do not mean to
convey the idea that her nature led her habitually into any cold and
over-calculating criticism of political leaders whom she admired, and in
whom she had been led to feel confidence.

Her generous nature was enthusiastic in its admiration of the men whose
leadership in some great political movement had won her sympathy from the
first; but even with these her admiration was overruled and kept in order
by her devotion to the principles which they were undertaking to carry into
effect, and by the fidelity with which they adhered to these principles.
Even among intelligent and enlightened men and women we often find in our
observation of public affairs that there are instances in which the
followers of a trusted leader are carried away by their personal devotion
into the championship of absolute errors which the leader is
committing--errors that might prove perilous or even, for the time, fatal
to the cause of which he is the recognised advocate.

Lady Russell always set the cause above the man, regarding him mainly as
the instrument of the cause; and if the alternative were pressed upon her,
would have withdrawn from his leadership rather than tacitly allow the
cause to be misled. This, however, would have been done only as a last
resort and after the most full, patient, and generous consideration of the
personal as well as the public question.

We men do not expect to find in an enthusiastic, tender, and what may be
called exquisitely feminine woman the quality of clear and guiding
discrimination between the policy of the leader and the principles of the
cause which he undertakes to lead. We are inclined to assume that the woman
in such a case, if she has already made a hero of the man, will be apt to
think that everything he proposes to do must be the right thing to do, and
that any question raised as to the wisdom and justice of any course adopted
by him is a treason against his leadership.

Lady Russell never seemed to me to yield for a moment to any such sentiment
of mere hero-worship. She set, as I have said, the cause above the man, and
she measured the man according to her interpretation of his policy towards
the cause.

But at the same time she was never one of those who cannot be convinced
that some particular course is not the wisest and most just to adopt
without at once rushing to the conclusion that the leader who makes any
mistakes must be in the wrong because of wilfulness or mere incapacity, and
is therefore not worthy any longer of admiration and trust.

I have many letters from her, written at the time of some serious crisis in
the fortunes of the Irish National movement, which show the keenest and the
earliest intelligence of some mistake in the policy of the party on this or
that immediate question without showing the slightest inclination to
diminish her confidence in the sincerity and the purposes of its leaders,
any more than in the justice of the cause. I can well recollect that in
many instances she proved to be absolutely in the right when she thus gave
me her opinion, and that events afterwards fully maintained the wisdom and
the justice of her criticism. The reason why so many of Lady Russell's
opinions were conveyed to me by letter was that I had to be, like all my
companions of the Irish Parliamentary Party, a constant attendant at the
debates in the House of Commons, and that many days often passed without my
having an opportunity to visit Lady Russell and converse with her on the
subjects which had so deep an interest for her as well as for me. I
therefore was in the habit of writing often to her from the House of
Commons in order to give her my own ideas as to the significance and
importance of this or that debate, of this or that speech and its probable
effect on the House and on the outer public. Lady Russell never failed to
favour me with her own views on such subjects, and the views were always
her own, and were never a mere good-natured and friendly adoption of the
opinions thus offered to her.

Then, when I had the opportunity of visiting her at Pembroke Lodge, we were
sure to compare and discuss our views in the conversations which she made
so delightful and so inspiring.

One of her marvellous qualities was that her interest and her intellect
were never wholly absorbed in the passing political questions, but that she
could still keep her mind open to other and entirely different subjects.
The chamber of her mind seemed to me to be like one of those mysterious
apartments about which we read in fairy stories, which were endowed with a
magical capacity of expansion and reception.

I have come to her home at a time when, for those whose lives were mainly
passed in political work, there was some subject then engaging the
attention of all politicians in these countries--some subject in which I
well knew that Lady Russell was deeply and thoroughly interested.

But it sometimes happened that there were friends just then with her who
did not profess any interest in politics, and who were mainly concerned
about some new topic in letters or art or science, and I often observed
with admiration the manner in which Lady Russell could give herself up for
the time to the question in which those visitors were chiefly interested,
and could show her sympathy and knowledge as if she had not lately been
thinking of anything else. About this there was evidently no mere desire to
please her latest visitors, no sense of obligation to submit herself for
the time to their especial subject, but a genuine sympathy with every
effort of human intellect, and a sincere desire to gather all that could be
gathered from every garden of human culture.

Many of Lady Russell's letters to me on the events and the fortunes, the
hopes and the disasters of our Irish National movement have in them an
actual historical interest, such as the one dated November 27, 1890, which
is quoted in this volume. It was written during the crisis which came upon
our Irish National party at the time when the hopes of Mr. Parnell's most
devoted friends in England as well as in Ireland were that after the result
of a recent divorce suit Parnell would resign, for a time at least, the
leadership of the party and only seek to return to it when he should have
made what reparation was in his power to his own honour and to public
feeling. In a letter of December 26, 1891, Lady Russell says: "Your poor
country has risen victorious from many a worse fall, and will not be
disheartened now, nor bate a jot of heart or hope."

Lady Russell's letters not merely illustrate her deep and noble sympathy
with the cause and the hopes of Ireland, but also they are evidence of the
clear judgment and foresight which were qualities at once of her intellect
and of her feeling. Scattered throughout her letters to me are many other
evidences of the same kind with regard to other great political and social
questions then coming up at home or abroad. I wish to say, however, that
her letters do not by any means occupy themselves only with political
questions, with Parliamentary debates, and with legislative measures. To
paraphrase the words of the great Latin poet, whatever men and women were
doing in arts and letters, in social progress, and in all that concerns
humanity, supplied congenial subjects for the letters written by this most
gifted, most observant, most intellectual woman to her friends.

One certainly has not lived in vain who has had the honour of being
admitted to that friendship for some twenty years.

I have no words, literally none, in which to express adequately the
admiration and the affection and the devotion which I felt for Lady
Russell. No higher type of womanhood has yet been born into our modern

Lady Agatha Russell is rendering a most valuable service to humanity in
preparing and giving to the world the records of her mother's life which
appear in this volume. A monument more appropriate and more noble could not
be raised over any grave than that which the daughter is thus raising to
the memory of her mother.




After Lady Russell's death a few friends decided--unknown to her family,
who were touched by this mark of respect--to put up a tablet to her memory
and hold a Memorial Service in the Free Church at Richmond, Surrey. The
tablet, which is of beaten copper, beautifully worked, bears the following

In memory of Frances Anna Maria, daughter of Gilbert, second Earl of Minto,
and widow of Lord John Russell, who was born November 15, 1815, and died
January 17, 1898. In gratitude to God for her noble life this tablet is
placed by her fellow-worshippers.

The Memorial Service was held on July 14, 1900, when the tablet was
unveiled and the following address was delivered by Mr. Frederic Harrison.

Now that our gathering of to-day has given full scope to the loving
sorrow and filial piety of the children, descendants, and family of
her whom we meet to commemorate and honour--now that the minister,
whom she was accustomed to hear, and the worshippers, with whom she
was wont to join in praise and prayer, have recorded their solemn
union in the same sacred memory, I crave leave to offer my humble
tribute of devotion as representing the general circle of her
friends, and the far wider circle of the public to whom she was
known only by her life, her character, her nobility of soul, and
her benefactions.

I do not presume to speak of that beauty of nature which Frances
Countess Russell showed in the sanctity of the family, in the close
intimacy of her private friends. Others have done this far more
truly, and will continue to bear witness to her life whilst this
generation and the next shall survive. My only title to join my
voice to-day with that of her children and of this congregation
resides in the fact that my memory of her goes back over so long a
period; that I have known her under circumstances, first, of the
highest public activity, and then again, in a time of severe
retirement and private simplicity; that I have seen her in days of
happiness and in days of mourning; at the height of her influence
and dignity in the eyes of our nation and of the nations about us,
as well as in her days of grief and disappointment at the failure
of her hopes, and the break up of the causes she had at heart. And
I have known her always, in light or in gloom, in joy or in misery,
the same brave, fearless, natural, and true heart--come fair or
foul, come triumph or defeat.

Yes! it was my privilege to have known Lady Russell in the lifetime
of the eminent statesman whose name she bore, and whose life of
toil in the public service she inspired; I knew them
five-and-thirty years ago, when he was at the head of the State
Government and immersed in public cares. And I am one of those who
can bear witness to the simple dignity with which she adorned that
high station and office, and the beautiful affection and quiet
peace of the home-life she maintained, like a Roman matron, when
her husband was called to serve the State. And it so happened that
I passed part of the last summer that she lived to see, here in
Richmond, within a short walk of her house. There I saw her
constantly and held many conversations with her upon public
affairs; and perhaps those were amongst the last occasions on which
her powerful sense and heroic spirit had full play before the fatal
illness which supervened in that very autumn.

I do not hesitate to speak of her powerful sense and her heroic
spirit, for she united the statesman-like insight into political
problems with the unflinching courage to stand by the cause of
truth, humanity, and justice. She was not impulsive at all, not
hasty in forming her decisions, still less did she seek publicity
or take pleasure in heading a movement. But, with the great
experience of politicians and of political things which in her long
life and her rare opportunities she had acquired, she saw straight
to the heart of so many vexed problems of our day; and when once
convinced of the truth, she held fast to it with a noble
intrepidity of soul. In a life more or less conversant with public
men now for forty years past, I have rarely known either man or
woman who had a more sound judgment in great public questions. And
I have known none who surpassed her in courage, in directness, and
in fixity of purpose. No sense that she and her friends had to meet
overwhelming odds would ever make her faint-hearted. No desertion
by friends and old comrades ever caused her to waver. No despair
ever touched that stalwart soul, however dark the outlook might
appear; for it was her faith that no right or just cause was ever
really lost, however for the time it were defeated and contemned.

Lady Frances Elliot, as she was before marriage, came of a race of
soldiers, governors, and tried servants of the State, and she
married into a race which has long stood in the front rank of the
historic servants of the Crown and of the people. But neither the
house of Elliot nor that of Russell in so many generations ever
bred man or woman with a keener sense of public duty, a more
generous nature, and a more magnanimous soul. In the annals of that
famous house, whose traditions are part of the history of England,
there has been no finer example of the old motto, _noblesse
oblige_, if we understand it to mean--those who have high place
inherit with it heavy responsibilities. That idea was the breath of
her life to Countess Russell, as assuredly it was also to her
husband, and she whose memory we keep sacred to-day is worthy to
take her place beside that Rachel Lady Russell of old, who, more
than two centuries ago, suffered so deeply in the cause of freedom
and of conscience; she whose blood runs in the veins of the
children who to-day revere the memory of their mother.

The Italians call a man of heroic nature--a Garibaldi or a
Manin--_uomo antico_--"one of the ancient type"--one whom we
rarely see in our modern days of getting on in the world and
following the popular cry. I have never heard the phrase applied to
a lady, and, perhaps, _donna antica_ might be held to bear a
double sense. But we need some such phrase to describe the fine
quality of the spirit which lit up the whole nature of Frances
Countess Russell. She had within her that rare flame which we
attribute to the martyrs of our sacred and secular histories--that
power of inspiring those whom she impressed with the resolve to do
the right, to seek the truth, to defend the oppressed, at all cost,
and against all odds.

It has been my privilege to have listened to many men and to some
women who in various countries and in different causes have been
held to have exerted great influence, and to have forced ideas,
principles, and reforms on the men of their time. But I have
listened to none in our country or abroad who seemed to me to
inspire the spirit more purely with the desire to hold fast by the
right, to thrust aside the wrong, to be just, faithful,
considerate, and honourable, to feel for the fatherless and the
poor, and not to despise the humble and the meek. I know that all
my remaining term of life there will remain deeply engraven on my
memory all that she said, all that she felt, in the last
conversation I ever held with her at the very commencement of her
last fatal illness. Weak and suffering as she was, unable to rise
from her invalid chair, she asked me to come and tell her what I
knew, and to hear what she felt about the public crisis of that
time (I speak of the end of 1897). The storm of South Africa was
even then rising like a cloud no bigger than a man's hand out of
the southern seas. I listened to her: and her deep and thrilling
words of indignation, shame, pity, and honour sank into my mind, as
if they had been the last words of some pure and higher spirit that
was about to leave us, but would not leave us without words of
warning and exhortation to follow honour, to serve truth, to eschew
evil and to do good, to seek peace and ensue it. I knew well that I
was listening to her for the last time; for her life was visibly
ebbing away. But I listened to her as to one who was passing into a
world of greater permanence and of more spiritual meaning than our
fleeting and too material world of sense and sight. And for the
rest of my life I shall continue to bear in my heart this message
as it seemed to me of a nobler world and of a higher truth.

Yes! she has passed into a nobler world and to a higher truth--the
world of the good and just men and women whose memory survives
their mortal career, and whose inspiring influence works for good
ever in generations to come. In this Free Church I can speak
freely, for I too profoundly believe in a future life of every good
and pure soul beyond the grave, in the perpetuity of every just and
noble life in the sum of human progress and enlightenment. And in a
sense that is quite as real as yours, even if it differ from your
sense in form, I also make bold to say, this corruptible must put
on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality--Death is
swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory? Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye
steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of Humanity, for
as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in Humanity.

Surely we have before us a high example of what it is to be
steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in good work, in the memory
of Frances Elliot Countess Russell, who united in herself
principles typified in the historic mottoes of her own house and
that of her husband's--who kept her high courage under all
adversities and opposition, in the spirit of _che sara sara_,
"stand fast come what may"--in the spirit of that other motto of
the Elliots, _suaviter el fortiter_, "with all the gentleness
of a woman and all the fortitude of a man."


Abercromby, Lady Mary (_see also_ Dunfermline, Lady)--
letters from Lady John Russell
letters from Lady Minto
correspondence with Lord John Russell
letter from Lord Minto
visit of Lady John Russell
_mentioned_ in the letters
Abercromby, Mr. Ralph, afterwards Lord Dunfermline
Minister at the Hague
Aberdeen, Lord--
The Ecclesiastical Titles Bill
consents to form a Ministry
and Lord John Russell
and the Eastern Question
and Reform
Lord John's resignation
Lord John's appreciation of
Abergeldie Castle
Acton, Lord, "Historical Essays and Studies"
Adams, Mr.
Adelaide, queen of William IV
Admiralty, the,
Lord Minto at
Mrs. Drummond's description
"Adullamites," the
Affirmation Bill, Gladstone's
_Alabama_, case of the
Albert Hall, foundation stone laid
Albert, Prince Consort--
and Lord John
Prussian sympathies
visit to Pembroke Lodge
and Italy
at Coburg
"Trent" affair
"Life of Prince Albert,"
_otherwise mentioned_
Allen, Grant, "Science in Arcady"
Althorp, Lord
and the Irish Coercion Bill
Amberley, Lady
death of
Amberley, Lord, _see also_ Russell, John--
defeated at Leeds
returned for Nottingham
maiden speech
defeat in 1868
letters from Lady Russell
death of
_otherwise mentioned_
American Civil War, the--
England's position
seizure of the Southern Commissioners
Lord Russell's speech on
feeling in England
Anderson, Dr., of Richmond
Anti-Corn Law League bazaar at Manchester
Armenian refugees at Pembroke Lodge
_Arrow_, the, coasting vessel
Athanasian Creed, the
Aumale, Duc d'
Austen, Jane
Influence in Germany
unpopularity of the Government
and Denmark
Palmerston's policy towards
Conference of Vienna
proposals of, and resignation of Lord John Russell
and Italy
after Solferino
Peace of Villafranca
and the proposed Congress at Zurich
Prussian war on
cession of Venetia
cause of the Franco-German War
Azeglio, Marquis d', Piedmontese Minister

Lord John Russell at
Baring, Mr., Chancellor of the Exchequer
tariff proposals
Beaumont, Lord
Bedford, (6th) Duke of
Bedford, (7th) Duke of,
letters from Lord Russell
visit of Lord and Lady John Russell
on the attacks on Lord John
letter from Lady John
Bedford, (9th) Duke of
Bennett, Rev. W.J.E., of St. Paul's
Berlin, Lord Minto appointed Minister
Bernard, Dr., acquitted
Bernstorff, Count
Berrys, the Miss
Bessborough, Lord, Irish opinions
on the Coercion Bill
bombs manufactured in
Bismarck, Count--
In Berlin
and Palmerston
declares war on Austria
the Franco-German War
Blyth, Miss Lilian [Mrs. Wilfred Praeger]
letter from Lady Russell
Blyth, Rev. F.C.
Bognor, news of Reform at
Boileau, Mr., letters to Lady Melgund
Bonaparte, Louis
Bourbons, the
Napoleon's questions concerning
Bowood, Lady John Russell at
Bowring, Sir John, cause of the war with China
Braico, Dr. Cesare
Brazil, Emperor of, at Pembroke Lodge
Bright, John--
Defeat of
at Chesham Place
and Reform
letter to Lady Russell
_otherwise mentioned_
British and Foreign School Society
Broadstairs, visit of the Russells
Brooke, Rev. A. Stopford,
letter to Lady Agatha Russell
news of Lord John's acceptance of the Colonial Seals
Brougham, Lord--
and Lord Melbourne's dismissal
and the Corn Law
and William IV
Browning, Robert
Brunow, Baron, Russian ambassador
Bryant, W.C.
Bryce, Mr. James, letter to Lady Agatha Russell
Brydone, Mrs., death
Buccleuch, Duke of
lends Bowhill to Lord John
on Disraeli
Buehler, Miss
letters from Lady Russell
Buller, Charles
Buol, Count, Austrian Minister
Burdett, Sir Francis, and Lord John Russell
Burnet, Bishop
Burns, Robert
Byron, Lady
Byron, Lord
"Childe Harold," _quoted_

Cairns, Lord, _mentioned_
Campbell, Lord, "Lives"
Governorship offered to Lord Minto
Lady Fanny and the Patriots
Cannes, Lord and Lady Russell at
Canning, Lord Granville's correspondence with
Canning, Sir Stratford, British Ambassador at Constantinople
Carnarvon, Lord, resignation
Castlereagh, Lord
Catholic Emancipation Bill
and Napoleon III
the terms of unity
and Garibaldi
_otherwise mentioned_
Ceremonies, religious,
Lady John Russell's opinion concerning
Channing's, Dr., writings
Charles X
Chartist movement
Chartres, Duc de
Chelmsford, Lord, saying of
Chenies, Lady Russell's funeral at
Chester, Fenian attempt on the arsenal
Chesterfield, Lord, "Letters"
Chinese War, the
Lord John Russell's speech
Palmerston's policy
Chorley Wood, Rickmansworth
Christian, Princess, at Cannes
_Chronicle_, the, and the Eastern Question
Church of England
the Gorham case
Clarendon, Lady
Clarendon, Lord--
Viceroy of Ireland
at the Foreign Office
letter to Lord Russell
letter from Lord Russell
despatch to Naples
letter to Lord Granville
Coalition Ministry, the
Cobden, Richard--
Lord William Russell on
comments on Lord John,
motion regarding the China measures
defeat in 1857
Free Trade Treaty with France
_otherwise mentioned_
Cockburn, Lord Chief Justice, speech
Coercion (Ireland) Bill
Coombe Wood, Richmond
Conservative Party, the--
"Moderate Reform"
split on Catholic Emancipation
position in 1852
Conspiracy to Murder Bill
Corn Laws, the--
Lord John Russell's proposal
repeal of
Macaulay on
Peel's measure
repeal passed
Cowley, Lord
Cowper, William
Cranborne, Lord, resignation of
(_see also_ Salisbury, (3rd) Marquis)
Crimean War--
Events leading to
Lord Malmesbury's report
Bright's History _cited_
French alliance
Currie, Mr. Raikes

_Daily News_, the--
and the Eastern Question
attack on Lord John
Lord Russell's letters
on Baron Stockmar, article _quoted_
Davitt, Michael, "Leaves from a Prison Diary"
Denmark, war with Schleswig-Holstein
Derby, (14th) Earl of--
Ministry, 1851
fails to form a Government, 1855
cabinet, 1858
resignation in June
denounces the Government's policy
and the franchise
resignation, 1868
_otherwise mentioned_
Derby, (15th) Earl of (_see_ Stanley, Lord)
Dickens, Charles--
On the ragged schools
"David Copperfield,"
at Pembroke Lodge
congratulates Lord John Russell
letters to Lady John Russell
Lady Russell's preference for
on Lord John Russell, _quoted_
Dieppe, the Russells at
Dillon, John, on Lord John's resignation
Dillon, John, and Parnell
Disraeli, Benjamin (Earl of Beaconsfield)--
and Free Trade
Lady John Russell, on
on Lord John Russell's motion
his Franchise Bill
the Duke of Buccleuch on
succeeds Lord Derby
letter to Lord Russell
Parliamentary courage
_otherwise mentioned_
Drewitt, Dr. F.D.
Drouyn, M. de L'Huys, resignation of
Drummond, Mrs. (_see also_ Lister, Adelaide)
on the Minto family, _quoted_
letter from Lady Russell
Duff, Sir Mount Stuart Grant, letter to Lady Russell
Dufferin, Lord, letter to Lady John Russell
letter from Lady John Russell
Dunfermline, Lady (_see also_ Abercromby, Lady Mary)
letters from Lady Russell
death in Rome
Dunrozel, Haslemere
Durham, Bishop of, letter from Lord John Russell
Durham, Lord, in Canada

Eastern Question, the, events leading to the Crimean War
Lord Palmerston's policy
Gladstone on
Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, the
Edinburgh University
Education, Lord Russell and
Education Bill
Mr. Forster's Act
Elba, Napoleon in, Lord John Russell's account
Eliot, George
"Adam Bede,"
Lady Russell on,
Elliot, Charles [Lady Russell's brother]
Elliot, George [Lady Russell's brother]
Elliot, George [uncle of Lady Russell]
Elliot, Gilbert [brother of Lady Russell]
Elliot, Gilbert, afterwards Dean of Bristol
Elliot, Henry [brother of Lady Russell]
_mentioned_ in the letters
goes to Australia
visit of
Elliot, John [uncle of Lady Russell]
member of Parliament for Hawick
Elliot, Lady Fanny, quotation from "Reminiscences of an Idler"
description of, (_see_ Russell, Lady John)
Elliot, Lady Charlotte (_see_ also Portal)
_mentioned_ in the letters
Sir Henry Taylor and
Elliot, Lady Harriet
Elliot, Miss, daughter of the Dean of Bristol, a reference to Lord Russell
Emerson, R.W.
English society, Lady Russell on
Etchegoyen, Comte d'
Eugenie, Empress, and the Russells at Chislehurst
Eversley, Lord
_Examiner, the, on Lord John Russell's resignation
Exeter Hall, lecture by Lord John at

Factory children, education of, Bill for
Farrington, Rev. Silas, letter to Lady Agatha Russell
Fawcett, Professor, speech
Fazakerlie, Miss
Fenians, movement of 1867
Fitzmaurice, Lord
"Life of Lord Granville" _quoted_
Florence, robbers of
the Russells in
Foreign Exchanges, Mr. Goschen's book on
Forster, W.E.
the Elementary Education Act
Fortescue, Chichester, Chief Secretary for Ireland
Lord Russell's three pamphlets
Fox, Charles James--
and Lord John Russell
Napoleon on
foreign policy
_otherwise mentioned_
Fox Club, the
The July revolution
deposition of Louis Philippe
and the Greek crisis
and Denmark
the _coup d'etat_ of December, 1851
events leading to the Crimean War
Cobden's Free Trade Treaty
Franchise, Mr. Locke King's motion
Franco-German War, outbreak
Franklin, Sir John
"Free Church," the
Free Church of Scotland, establishment
Free Church, Richmond, the memorial tablet
Free Trade, the new principle
Lady John and
number of Free Traders in 1846
Froude, J.A., at Chesham Place
on removal of Irish grievances
"Life of Lord Beaconsfield," passage _quoted_

Garbarino, Villa
Gardiner, Dr.
Cavour and
and the Sicilian rebels
attack on Naples
at Pembroke Lodge
letter to Lord John
_otherwise mentioned_
George III
Napoleon on
George IV, death
Napoleon on
story of
The _Zollverein_
influence of French affairs on
the Crown Princess
the Franco-German War
the Crown Prince and the war
Gibbon, historian, appearance
Gladstone, Right Hon. W.E.--
and Lord John Russell
and the Corn Laws
at the War and Colonial Office
his first great speech
his first Budget
Italian sympathies
letters regarding the Neapolitan prisoners
defeated at Oxford
and the Franchise
introduces the Reform Bill, March, 1866
reports Government defeat to Lord John
and Disraeli's Franchise Bill
letter to Dr. Pusey _quoted_
the Irish Church question, 1868
visits to Pembroke Lodge
speech on Irish Church disestablishment
conversation on Parliamentary courage
the Affirmation Bill
letters to Lady Russell
his article on the Melbourne Ministry
and Parnell
Lady Russell on
"Gladstonian," the term
his last Cabinet
_mentioned_ in the letters
Justin McCarthy on
Gladstone, Mrs.
letter to Lady John Russell
at Pembroke Lodge
Glenelg, Lord
Godfrey, Miss Alice (_see_ Russell, Mrs. Rollo)
Gortschakoff, Prince, Russian emissary
Goschen, Mr., appointment
Graham, Sir James
Grant, General
Granville, Lord--
Letter to Lady John
correspondence with Canning
sent for by the Queen
and Italy
correspondence with Lord Clarendon
Gray, Maxwell, "The Silence of Dean Maitland"
Greece, the crisis of 1850
Russian policy
Greville, Charles--
_Cited_ on Lord John Russell
on the Greek crisis
Grey, Lady
Grey, (2nd) Earl--
Prime Minister
resignation, May, 1834
Grey, (3rd) Earl,
Grey, Sir George,
"Security of the Crown" Bill
and Fergus O'Connor
rumoured Irish rebellion
and the Conspiracy laws
and Louis Philippe
dismissal and his reply to Louis Philippe

Habeas Corpus Act, suspension
Harcourt, Sir William Vernon, letter to Lady Russell
Harrison, Frederic--
Friendship with Lady Russell
letter to Lady Agatha Russell
the Memorial address
Hatton, Sir Christopher, life
freedom presented to Lord John Russell
Herbert, Sidney
on the Italian question
Herzegovina, insurgents of
Hill, Rowland, Penny Postage
Hodgkinson, Mr., amendment
Holland House
dinners at
Holland, Lady,
in Portugal
death, 1845
Holland, Lord
in Portugal
Napoleon on
Holmes, O.W.
death of
Home Rule Controversy, the
Lady Russell on
Hooker, Sir Joseph
Hoole, Alderman
Hope, James
Horsman, Mr., opposition to Reform

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest