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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,

RUSSELL

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.

BYRON.


_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 Eugénie 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 différence entre toi et un miroir?
_Empress._ Je ne sais pas.
_Emperor._ Le miroir réfléchit; tu ne réfléchis pas.
_Empress._ Et quelle est la différence 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.


CHAPTER XII

1870-78


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
revenge herself by a joint attack with him upon Germany, hoping that he
might win with Austria's help those concessions of territory along the
Rhine, which Bismarck had peremptorily refused him as a _pour-boire_
after Sadowa. Austria, too, must take a share of the responsibility, since
through the secret negotiations of the Archduke Albrecht she had encouraged
Napoleon in this idea. Both Napoleon and the Archduke were convinced that
those South-German States which had been annexed by Prussia for siding with
Austria would rise, if their attack on Prussia could be associated with the
idea of liberation. Bismarck's cleverness in picking the quarrel over the
question of the Spanish succession, a matter which did not in the least
concern South-Germany, proved fatal to their expectations. This triumph of
diplomacy, together with the success of his master-stroke of provocation,
the Ems telegram, decided the fate of France. As edited by Bismarck, the
King of Prussia's telegram describing his last interview with the French
Ambassador at Ems, infuriated the French to the necessary pitch of
recklessness, while to Germans it read like the account of an insult to
German-speaking peoples, and tended to draw them together in resentment.

_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SALTBURN, _August_ 24, 1870

Don't you sometimes feel that a few weeks' delay in beginning this
horrible war might have given time to Europe to discover some
better means than war for settling the dispute? We are full of
schemes for the prevention of future wars. The only compensation I
see for all these horrors is the conviction they bring of the
amount of heroism in the world and of the progress made in humanity
towards enemies - especially sick and wounded.


_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SALTBURN, _August_ 30, 1870

Poor Paris! You may well say we must be sorry for it, having so
lately seen it in all its gay spring beauty - and though no doubt
the surface, which is all we saw of its inhabitants, is better than
the groundwork, how much of good and great it contains! How the
best Frenchmen everywhere, and the best Parisians in particular,
must grieve over the deep corruption which has done much to bring
their country to its present dreary prospects. I did not mean that
any mediation or interference of other Powers would have prevented
this war, but that there ought by this time to be a substitute
found for all war.


_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

SALTBURN, _September_ 7, 1870

Don't you find it bewildering to be hurried at express speed
through such mighty pages of history? And if bewildering and
overpowering to us, who from the beginning of the war could see a
probability of French disaster, what must it be to Paris, to all
France, fed with falsehood as they have been till from one success
to another they find their Emperor and an army of 80,000 men
prisoners of war! But what a people! Who would have supposed by
reading the accounts of Paris on Sunday, the excess of joy, the
_air de fête_, the wild exultation, that an immense calamity,
a bitter mortification had just befallen the country! that a
gigantic German army was on its way to their gates! I should like
to know whether many of those who shouted "Vive l'Empereur" when he
left Paris, who applauded the war and hooted down anybody who
doubted its justice or attacked Imperialism, are now among the
shouters of "Vive la Republique" and the new Democratic Ministry.
Let us hope not. Let us hope a great many things from the downfall
of a corrupt Court, and the call for heroism and self-sacrifice to
a frivolous and depraved city - frivolous and depraved, and yet
containing so much of noble and good - all the nobler and better,
perhaps, from the constant struggle to remain so in that
atmosphere. Even if, as God grant, there is no siege, the serious
thoughts which the prospect of it must give will perhaps not be
lost on the Parisians. I, like you, long that the King of Prussia
may prove that he spoke in all sincerity when he said that he
fought against the Emperor, not France, and be magnanimous in the
conditions he may offer - but what does that precisely mean? John
says he is right to seek for some guarantee against future French
ambition. Hitherto he has acted very like a gentleman, as John in
the House of Lords declared him to be, and may still be your model
sovereign.


_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _November_ 3, 1870

Your letter is so interesting and raises so many serious thoughts
that I should like to answer it as it deserves, but can't do so
to-day as I am obliged to go to London on business, and have hardly
a moment. The kind of "gigantic brains" which you mention are, I
agree with you, often repulsive - there is a harshness of
_dissent_ from all that mankind most values, all that has
raised them above this earth, which cannot be right - which is the
result of deficiency in some part of their minds or hearts or both,
and not of excess of intellect or any other good thing. If they are
right in their contempt of Christian faith and hope, or of all
other spiritual faith and hope, they ought to be "of all men most
miserable"; but they are apt to reject Christian charity too, and
to dance on the ruins of all that has hitherto sustained their
fellow-creatures in a world of sin and sorrow. That they are not
right, but wofully wrong, I firmly believe, and happily many and
many a noble intellect and great heart, which have not shrunk from
searching into the mysteries of life and death with all the powers
and all the love of truth given them by God to be used, not to lie
dormant or merely receive what other men teach, have risen from the
search with a firmer faith than before in Christ and in the
immortality which he brought to light. I believe that many of those
who deem themselves sceptics or atheists retain, after all, enough
of the divine element within them practically to refute their own
words.


_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 4, 1871

I wonder whether the solemn thoughts which must belong to the end
of a year, and the solemn services by which it has been celebrated
both by Germans and French, will lead them to ask themselves in all
earnestness whether it is really duty, really what they believe to
be God's will, which guides them in the continuance of a fearful
war - whether earthly passions, earthly point of honour, do not
mingle with their determination. If they do ask themselves such
questions, what will be the answers? I, too, am often tempted to
wish peace at any price, yet neither you nor I would act upon the
wish were we the people to act. It was the peace at any price
doctrine that forced us into the Russian war.


_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 25, 1871

Hopes of peace at last, thank God! I can think of little else - the
increasing and accumulating horrors, miseries, and desolation of
this wicked war have been enough to make one despair of mankind.
France alone was in the wrong at first, but both have been wrong
ever since Sedan, so at least I think, but it is too long a matter
to discuss in a letter. If the new Emperor [81] does not grant most
honourable terms to Paris, I shall give him up altogether as a
self-seeking, hard-hearted old man of fire and sword. I dare say
you have not heard as many sad stories as we have of the losses and
disasters and unspeakable sorrows of people in Paris, known to
other people we have seen. I won't repeat any of them, as it can do
no good. I am glad to know that the Crown Prince _hates_ the
war, _hates_ the bombardment, and opposed it strongly, and
then again opposed sending shells into the town, and was very angry
when it began to be done. Indeed, everything that we hear of him is
highly to his credit, and one may hope much for the welfare and
good government of United Germany from him and his wife.

[81] King William of Prussia had just taken the title of German
Emperor.


_Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell_

PEMBROKE LODGE, _January_ 26, 1871

... We are rejoicing and thanking God for the blessed news of the
coming surrender of Paris. Alas for all the wasted lives - wasted,
_I_ think, on both sides, for I cannot perceive that it was on
either side one of those great and holy causes in which the blood
shed by one generation bears fruit for the next. The _Times_
was too quick in drawing conclusions from Jules Favre being at
Versailles, but there can be little doubt that terms are under
consideration, and I hope the Germans will show that they are not
so spoiled by success as to be ungenerous in their demands. As to
Alsace and Lorraine, I fear that it is a settled point with them.
If so, they ought to be all the more ready to grant terms
honourable in other respects. Do you see that a brave man in the
Berlin Parliament raised his voice against annexation of French
provinces, on the discussion of address to the new Emperor on his
new dignity? ... What wonderfully interesting lectures Tyndall is
giving.


LONDON, _July_ 12, 1871

We lunched yesterday, all three, with Bernstorffs, [82] to meet
Crown Prince and Princess - best of Princes and Princesses. It was
interesting and agreeable. John and I had the luck to sit beside
her and him. I was delighted to hear him say, "I hate war," with an
emphasis better than words.

[82] Count Bernstorff was German Ambassador in London.


_Lady Russell to Lady Dunfermline_



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