WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL
ALS warning a friend that he is about to be "exposed to a fierce unscrupulous
and personal opposition".
Autograph Letter signed: "W. H. Russell", 3 pages (integral leaf),
4½x7¼ folded, 8¾x7¼ open flat. North Bedford, 1852 March 27. Docketed. To
"My Dear Seymour", marked "Private". In full: "I write a
few lines to inform you that certain inquiries have been made of me which
satisfy my mind you will be exposed to a fierce unscrupulous & personal
opposition. I wish to put you on your guard of this for old lang syne &
because I heartily & sincerely wish you success. Don't go too far in
the reform path - at least I think a moderate advance is safest just now in your
position. The gentleman who called on me respecting you, having written me a
note to which I gave a very measured and reserved reply is a member of the
council of a certain political club which is prepared to support your opponent
for Sunderland but tho' he is a close friend of mine I stood for your interests
merely remarking to questions of his that I knew nothing of your political
opinions except that like many others you had become a little more liberal as
you grew older. Keep this close - I may be able to find out more for you.
Every yours faithfully & sincerely". William Howard Russell
(1820-1907), an Irish reporter for the Times of London, was among the first war
correspondents, although he hated that term. Russell gained fame with his
coverage of the Crimean War (1854-1855), where his observations and
conversations with common soldiers gave readers at home their first realistic
glimpse of war's realities. (In particular, he called attention to the poor
quality of medical care.) He coined the phrase "the thin red line" to
describe British soldiers in combat. Russell also covered the American Civil
War and the Franco-Prussian War. He founded the Army and Navy Gazette
(1882), and was knighted in 1895. The addressee was William Digby
Seymour, a classmate of Russell's at Trinity College, Dublin, a lawyer,
judge, politician, and author of books on commerce. Seymour won a seat in
Parliament in 1852, but lost it 2 years later, hence the content of the letter.
2 vertical 2 horizontal fold creases. Lightly toned creased. Mounting residue at
center fold crease on verso. Otherwise fine condition.
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WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL
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