Sivut kuvina

manner in which that measure was ultimately carried by the use, or, as he thought, the abuse, of the Prerogative of the Crown. His confidence in Mr. Gladstone's Government was, in fact, shaken : and the familiar correspondence which he had hitherto conducted with Mr. Gladstone and his colleagues was largely interrupted. Though Lord Russell was displaying considerable activity in his opposition to the Government, he was only an occasional attendant at the House of Lords. At the close of the session he let his house in Chesham Place, which he never afterwards occupied, to the late Mr. Samuel Morley. He spent his seventy-ninth birthday at Richmond. Lady Russell wrote—

My dear dear husband's birthday, his 79th year come to a close. His serene and cheerful mind a greater blessing year by year as enjoyments one by one drop away. He looks back with gratitude; he accepts the present with contentment ; he looks forward, I think, without dread. Our school did honour to the day by a grand tea here.

During the next three weeks Lord and Lady Russell paid visits both at Woburn and Laverstoke. On the 9th of September they crossed the Channel, slept that night at Boulogne, and, arriving the following day at Paris, occupied themselves in looking at the marks which war and uprising had made on the city. From Paris they proceeded to Switzerland, stopping on their way at Dijon, which was still full of German soldiery, and arrived at Lausanne on the 14th of September." They stayed there till the beginning of November, when the colder weather warned them that the time had come for more southern skies, and they proceeded to Cannes, where they remained for four months ; subsequently crossing France by Montpellier, Toulouse, and Pau to Biarritz; making thence a short excursion to St. Sebastian—where Lord Russell found

Mr. and Mrs. Lecky—for whom the Russells entertained a warm friendship —arrived unexpectedly at Lausanne, and at once called on them. It so hap. pened that the English clergyman, who did not know Mr. Lecky, called at the same time, and launched at once into an attack on the new systems of philosophy, and the taint of rationalism in many English Protestants, declaring that the greatest triumph of Christianity was the submission of the intellect to faith. Mr. Lecky, in the meanwhile, seated on Lady Russell's other side, was recommending in his quiet voice Les A/artyres de la libre Pensée.

he was able, after an absence of more than fifty-seven years, to keep up a conversation in Spanish—and returning by Argelès, Pau, Bordeaux, Tours, Orleans, and Paris. At Orleans Lady Russell and her daughter took an early drive to see the town.

Marks of shot in many places. Asked coachman how German army had behaved there. ‘Mais, pas trop mal.” How French army had behaved. ‘Mais, pas trop bien.’

Four days later the Russells were back in England, and Lord Russell was giving notice of a motion in the House of Lords.

So far as Lord Russell was concerned, the session of 1872 was chiefly memorable for the very prominent part which he took in resisting the claims of the United States. While Parliament was still sitting, however, he delivered an address to the Historical Society, of which he had just been elected President. But, though he was thus displaying his old intellectual activity, those who were nearest and dearest to him saw constant evidence of the increasing weight of age. His wife wrote on April 18, 1872—

Cold. John did not venture out. Still looks tired : and not as he did when we arrived [i.e. from abroad]; but no cold. Sad, most sad to me, that when I take a brisk turn in the garden it is no longer with him; that his enjoyments, his active powers, yearly dwindle away; that it is scarcely possible that he should not at times feel the hours too long, from the difficulty of finding variety of occupation. Writing, walking, even reading very long, or talking very much with friends and visitors all tire him. He never complains : and I thank God for his patience ; and, oh so heartily that he has no pain, no chronic ailment. But alas for the days of his vigour when he was out and in twenty times a day--when life had a zest which nothing can restore.

Perhaps it was this evidence of growing infirmity which induced the Russells to pass the summer and autumn of 1872 almost entirely at Pembroke Lodge; and perhaps the same reason, when Parliament met, induced them to take a house in London, and so avoid the fatigue of journeys to and from Richmond. But the choice was in every sense unfortunate. The drains of their hired house were out of order; and Lord and Lady Russell and their daughter all felt the depressing influence, and suffered from the illness, which results from sewage poison. Weakened and depressed by circumstances, which were still undiscovered, Lord Russell had no strength to bear up against the annoyance with which he saw that the American Government was attacking his own conduct of the ‘Alabama' case, and that his old colleagues, instead of resenting the attack, were passing it over in silence. But his spirits visibly recovered when he escaped from the bad influences of his hired house in London to the healthy atmosphere of Richmond; and, before the session closed, Lord Russell gave proofs of vigour, and of attachment to his old principles, by personally introducing a measure for the better government of Ireland.

Early in August the Russells crossed to Boulogne, and travelled thence to Dieppe, where they stayed for some five or six weeks. During the whole of their stay Lord Russell was singularly well, and able to enjoy the society of Lord and Lady Salisbury—who were at the Villa Cecil—and the long drives and expeditions which they made in the neighbourhood. Later in the autumn, after his return to England, he was roused into his old enthusiasm for religious liberty by the struggle which broke out between the Emperor of Germany and the Pope. Friends of religious liberty, and enemies of Roman Catholicism, decided on holding a great public meeting to support the Emperor; and they persuaded Lord Russell to promise that he would preside at it. Sir G. Bowyer, whom many persons will recollect as a prominent Roman Catholic, remonstrated with him ; and Lord Russell replied—

I am very sorry to differ from you in the step which I have taken of consenting to preside at a meeting at which it will be proposed to express our sympathy with the Emperor of Germany in the declaration he has made in his letter to the Pope. I conceive that the time has come, foreseen by Sir R. Peel, when the Roman Catholic Church disclaims equality, and will be satisfied with nothing but ascendency. To this ascendency, openly asserted to extend to all baptized persons and therefore including our Queen, the Prince of Wales, our bishops and clergy, I decline to submit.

Whatever feelings Lord Russell's letter may have roused in devout Roman Catholics, it was read with natural satisfaction in Germany. Lord Odo Russell wrote—

British Embassy, Berlin: December 20, 1873. My dear Uncle,_Prince Bismarck called on me to tell me how deeply gratified he felt on reading your letter to Sir George Bowyer; and how grateful for the powerful moral support you are giving him in his struggle against the infallible Papacy. He wondered whether you remembered the visit he paid you at Pembroke Lodge during the Exhibition. Since he called here, the newspaper he is, rightly or wrongly, supposed to inspire, published a translation of your letter, and two little articles, herewith enclosed, which may amuse you. I must add that your letter has produced an outburst of enthusiasm in the Liberal press of Germany. . . .-Your affectionate and grateful nephew, ODo RUSSELL. Lord Russell, however, was in his eighty-second year; and his medical advisers declared that he was not strong enough to attend the meeting. In announcing their opinion to Sir John Murray (of Philiphaugh), who ultimately presided in his room, Lord Russell said—

The very same principles which bound me to ask for equal freedom for the Roman Catholic, the Protestant Dissenter, and the Jew, bind me to protest against a conspiracy which aims at confining the German Empire in chains, never, it is hoped, to be shaken off. I hasten to declare, with all lovers of freedom in this country, and, I trust, with the great majority of the English nation, that I could no longer call myself a lover of civil and religious liberty all over the world if I did not proclaim my adherence to the Emperor of Germany in the noble struggle in which he is engaged. We have nothing to do with the details of the German laws: they may be necessary; they may be too harsh : we can only leave it to the German people to decide for themselves as we have decided for ourselves.

At all events we are able to see that the cause of the Emperor of Germany is the cause of liberty, and the cause of the Pope is the cause of slavery.

Mr. Punch made this letter, and the meeting, which Lord Russell did not attend, the subject of one of his most amusing cartoons." But Prince Bismarck was too much in earnest to be amused. Lord Odo Russell wrote— In the picture, a very diminutive Lord Russell, with his handkerchief in his hand, is standing by a colossal Prince Bismarck, who is wielding the sword of No

Popery, and saying, ‘Go it, Bismarck, pitch into him I'd ha’ done it myself, only I have such an Awfully BAD Cold.”

British Embassy, Berlin: February 9, 1874.

My dear Uncle,_Thanks for your letter. Bismarck confided to me, as a secret, that he and the Emperor were preparing a letter of thanks to you which they hoped would show you how very grateful they are to you for rousing the sympathies of the people of England for the cause of Germany. . . .-Ever your grateful nephew, ODo RUSSEI.L. Here is the Emperor's reply:— Berlin: February 18, 1874. Dear Lord Russell,—I have received your letter of January 28, with the resolutions of the great meeting in London, and with my Ambassador's report of the proceedings. I thank you sincerely for this communication, and for the accompanying expression of your personal sympathy. It is incumbent upon me to be the leader of my people in a struggle already maintained through centuries past by German Emperors of earlier days, against a power the domination of which has in no country in the world been found compatible with the freedom and welfare of nations—a power which, if victorious in our days, would imperil, not in Germany alone, the blessings of the Reformation, liberty of conscience, and the authority of law. I accept the battle thus imposed upon me in fulfilment of my kingly duties, and in firm reliance on God, to whose help we look for victory; but also in that spirit of regard for the creed of others and of evangelical forbearance which has been stamped by my forefathers on the laws and administration of my States. The latest measures of my Government do not infringe upon the Romish Church or the free exercise of their religion by her votaries; they only give to the independence and the legislation of the country some of the guarantees long possessed by other countries, and formerly possessed by Prussia, without being held by the Romish Church incompatible with the free exercise of her religion. I was sure, and I rejoice at the proofs assorded me by your letter, that the sympathies of the people of England would not fail me in this struggle—the people of England, to whom my people and my royal house are bound by the remembrance of many a hard and honourable struggle maintained in common since the days of William of Orange. I beg you to communicate this letter, with my hearty thanks, to the gentlemen who signed the resolutions, and remain yours sincerely, WILHELM.

« EdellinenJatka »