Lady John Russell to Lord Minto
PEMBROKE LODGE, July 18, 1855
MY DEAREST PAPA,—I feel very guilty in not having written to you since all these great events occurred, but you are pretty well able to guess what I felt about them ... and the newspapers are much better chroniclers of facts, though not of motives, than I can be.... Of course, he proposed resignation immediately after he had made his speech, but it was not then thought the Ministry would be beat on Bulwer’s motion, and Lord Palmerston and the rest begged him to remain. Very soon, however, there was no doubt left as to what would be the result of the motion, and as neither John nor Doddy, the only other person I saw, had a hope that any fresh resignation would be accepted, we had the painful prospect of the destruction of the Ministry by his means.... But the surprise was great as the relief when we found that not one man had the slightest difficulty in making up his mind, ... and that one and all felt it a paramount duty “not to shrink from the toils and responsibilities of office.” ... His spirits have not sunk and his spirit has risen, and the feeling uppermost in his mind is thankfulness that he is out of it all, and has regained his freedom, body and soul.... There is plenty left for him to do, and I trust he will do it as an independent member of Parliament, and in that position regain his lost influence with the country. I am most anxious he should not think his political life at an end, though his official life may go forever without a sigh.... I ought to add that he is on perfectly friendly terms with all his late colleagues, ... anxious to help them when he can, but pledged to nothing....
Ever, dearest Papa,
Your affectionate child,
PEMBROKE LODGE, July 23, 1855
Thunderstorm during which I sat in the Windsor summer-house writing and thinking many sad thoughts; chiefly of my own ill-performance of many duties on which my whole heart and soul were bent. Had I but known when we married as much of the world as I know now, though I should have been far, far less happy, I should have done better in many ways.... Came in; went to my room with Georgy and took Baby on my lap. Baby looked at me, saw I had been sad, and said gravely, “Poor Mama,” adding immediately, “Where is Papa?” as if she thought my sadness must have to do with him. On my answering, “He is gone to London,” she put her dear little arms round my neck and kissed and coaxed me, repeating over and over, “Never mind, never mind, my dear Mama,” and again, “Never mind, my poor Mama.”
The state of Lady John’s health prevented her from leaving home, but Lord John left Pembroke Lodge with two of the children on August 9th, for a much needed holiday in Scotland.
Lord John to Lady John Russell