Thursday, September 11, 2008

not unmindful

Earl Grey to Princess Lieven

March 12th, 1835.

Dearest Princess,
We arrived here on Sunday, and your letter of February 17, No. 19, reached me yesterday. We proceed on our journey to-morrow, stop two days at Lord Dacre's, and intend to be in town on Monday.

As on my first arrival I may find it difficult to write, I send a line now, to show that I am not unmindful of my promise. How, indeed, should I be at this place, where I am so strongly reminded of you, and of the pleasant party which met here at the time of my last visit! How I wish those days could be renewed, and that I could once more have the happiness of seeing you!

Melbourne and John Russell met me here, and though I have had a good deal of conversation with them, it has not furnished me with anything that I can write. All I have heard from them has confirmed the view which I had previously taken of the present state of affairs, and has not diminished my sense of the difficulties resulting from it. I shall perhaps be able to send you something more satisfactory, when I have had time to look about me after my arrival in London. En attendant, I must refer you to the opinions I have already expressed. I will only add that Howick's conduct has given me the greatest satisfaction. It has shown great good sense and discretion, and is in perfect concurrence with my sentiments as to the necessity of preserving a straight and manly course, equally avoiding any compromise of his principles on the one hand, or any tendency to violent measures on the other. John Russell has gained great credit by his speeches, but he looks very ill, and I do not think he will be able to stand the fatigue of every description to which his new situation exposes him. [Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.]

The death of the Emperor of Austria gives a new interest to foreign politics. I regret it sincerely, fearing its effect on the Austrian Empire, and consequently on the state of Europe. Has your friend Metternich secured himself with the new Emperor, or is his power, of which he has had longer possession than most Ministers, likely to be subverted?

We have had rather a large, though chiefly a family, party here. The Duchess-Countess came for one day to state all her alarms to me. She feels, as well she may, great uneasiness at the present state of affairs, but seems very much disposed to place her confidence in me. My son George is gone to pass some months at Tours, to learn French. He had been at Rochecotte, where he had received great kindness from Madame de Dino and Talleyrand, and says nobody can look in better health than the latter. What a miserable letter! but it will at least assure you of my constant and most affectionate remembrance.
Yours ever,
-from the Correspondence of Princess Lieven and Earl Grey edited and translated by Guy le Strange (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1890) vol. 3, pp. 89-91.

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