Thursday, 7 July 2016

Difference of Opinion – John Morley, Nicholas I, GD Ernst of Hesse

John Morley in his letter to Lord Esher c1907, after reading the proofs of “The Letters of Queen Victoria”, wrote “… A biography of the three-decker stamp, filled out with dead history, would have been, I believe a great mistake. I always thought Theodore Martin went too far in that direction. What people want to know, and will always want to know about Queen Victoria, is her character, her ways in public business, her relations with her ministers and her times …”

Two years before Empress Marie F.’s death in 1828, she  left instructions to her sons to destroy and burn her papers, placing some in her coffin. Nicholas I wrote to his brother Konstantin P. “ … On her orders, I personally had to burn a box filled with a series of volumes  of diaries and memories, written by her own hand, from year to year … I confess that I was very disappointed … “
In Petra H. Kleinpenning’s impressive and meticulous editing of ‘The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse’, on September 26th/October 9th, 1905 GD Ernst wrote to Nicholas “… One more thing I meant to tease you with, it is small & sounds insignificant. Could you not have a real courtcircular? Don’t  laugh, for I mean it. I also first wanted to squash mine but then I let it go, for I saw how the country loved to know what I was doing … but think of your giantiffic [sic] Empire & far far away people who only hear of your official work … They want to know how their Emperor lives, his family life, his dear wife, his work, etc …”

Are you kidding John Morley! Thank goodness for Nicholas’ disappointment at the loss and GD Ernst’s entreaty “how their Emperor lives, his family life”!

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