My Dear Duchess: Social and Political Letters to the Duchess of Manchester, 1858-1869

My Dear Duchess: Social and Political Letters to the Duchess of Manchester, 1858-1869

My Dear Duchess: Social and Political Letters to the Duchess of Manchester, 1858-1869

My Dear Duchess: Social and Political Letters to the Duchess of Manchester, 1858-1869

Excerpt

'In a complete collection of Lord Clarendon's letters the world may some day enjoy a record of the time equal in interest to the Letters of Lord Chesterfield'--so wrote Lord Fitzmaurice just fifty years ago. In this volume we have only a small sample of his correspondence. Many more of his letters can be read in the two Lives of Lord Clarendon, one by Sir Herbert Maxwell and the other by the statesman's grandson, George Villiers. Hundreds more lie in the Record Office, and in the Bodleian at Oxford, unnoticed by any save the students of mid- Victorian politics. But the letters here published are much more than political. There is at least as much social matter as political information, and when political life provides the theme, political gossip would often be the truer term. They furnish a picture of the time rather than a record of it. Every imaginable topic is lightly noted and commented upon. All of them are addressed to the Duchess of Manchester of that period, 1858-69; but they are not all written by Lord Clarendon, for she was a lady whom, in the sixties, all Society waited upon, and with whom, when they could not wait upon her, they wanted to correspond. Letters are included from Queen Victoria, Princess Alice, the Duke of Cambridge, Lord Derby, Lord Granville and one or two others. But the bulk are the product of Lord Clarendon's active pen.

The lady who attracted so much attention from the illustrious of her day had arrived in London in 1852 as the bride of Viscount Mandeville, the eldest son and heir of the sixth Duke of Manchester. He had met her on the Riviera where the fashionable society of Europe regularly consorted. Among those who came was Count von Alten, of Hanover--then an independent kingdom (and inclined to be hostile to the ambitious neighbour on . . .

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