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WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 11/01/1853 - HFSID 285359

 

WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL
ALS to a Member of Parliament, explaining in great detail why he couldn't get his speech published in The Times
Autograph Letter signed twice: "W. H. Russell", 4 pages (integral leaf), 4¼x7 folded, 8¾x7 open flat. No place, 1853 November 1. To "My Dear Seymour". In full: "You may readily imagine how disappointed I am at not being able to serve you in a matter to which you seemed to attach so much importance, but the fact is the circumstances of the times were against you. I pressed the point as hard as I could, but I was met with the unanswerable objection that the speech was a week old & that had it been Stanley, Russell or Palmerston who delivered it the practice of the journal would not have permitted its insertion. Beside this objection there was another of a different character arising out of the rule not to give the speeches of Members to their constituents, as the practice of rendering account is not approved of by certain influential persons who think that it degrades the representative character of M.P.'s - & makes them mere delegates, & this rule is never departed from unless on grand & signal occasions. I read the speech with great pleasure, for it certainly was very clever, adroit & well composed, nor did I at all wonder at its success on the mind of the meeting, delivered as I am sure it was with all your force & power, & sympathetic fervor. Believe me I regret to hear of your brother's death, as it must be distressing to you, for in good or evil fortune you may be sure that you have always the sympathies of yours most faithfully". [signature] Just think! What would be said if people saw in yesterday's paper the report of a speech delivered that day a week? The Sunday papers were all printed ere I got the copies of the speech. Had that report been sent up on Wednesday all would have gone well." 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 the House of Commons in 1852, but lost it two years letter and made several unsuccessful bids for election in later years. One vertical, 2 horizontal fold creases. Toned and lightly creased. Mounting residue at right edge on face. Otherwise fine condition.


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WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL  


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WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL
Born: March 28, 1820
Died: February 10, 1907



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