BRACERS Record Detail for 46919

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Collection code
Class no.
Document no.
Box no.
Russell, Frank
Russell, Mary Annette ("Elizabeth")
Form of letter
BR's address code (if sender)
Notes, topics or text

The initials "CH" have been written at the top of this letter.

Russell has added an annotation in pencil at some later date, explaining that "Sinner" was a nickname for Elizabeth Russell's physician brother, who had cured him of piles.

This letter contains messages for: Professor Stout at St. Andrews, Wildon Carr, Evelyn Whitehead, and Ottoline Morrell.

These messages are documents .079973a-.079973d, record 119573, record 119574, record 119575, record 119576.

He also send thanks to Meynell, notes he enjoyed seeing Dorothy Wrinch, wants to see Desmond MacCarthy and Captain Hollond. He asks Frank to get in touch with Roger Fry re his situation when he gets out of prison.

There are several transcriptions of this letter:

Documents .079974 and .079974a, both in record 116580.
Document .079975, record 116581.
Document .201171, and its carbon .201188, record 116582, record 116583.
Document .201198, record 116584.

An extract of this letter appears in a mimeo, document .080038ae, record 117606.


Letter 15
10 JUNE 1918
BRACERS 46919. ALS. McMaster
Previous Brixton letter, BRACERS 57177; next letter, BRACERS 47454
Edited by K. Blackwell, A. Bone, N. Griffin and S. Turcon

<letterhead>1 , 2
[Brixton Prison]a
June 10. 1918.

Dear F. and E.

Very many thanks for joint letter3 just arrived. Thanks also for messages. — If possible, let me know more about my finances when you (E.) come. Please pay solicitor4 whatever I must pay. — I enjoyed Return of Soldier5 but it came out of Freud too much. — Please thank Meynell for the little Volume of Vaughan and Marvell6 just received — I love both. — Am longing for visit — one gets terribly hungry for the sight of one’s friends. Tell Sinner7 the change of views he predicted has not yet taken place — perhaps because I find the cure was not quite complete. No doubt it can be completed later.

I did enjoy seeing Wrinch8 — I was delighted.

I am growing stupid in here, and have nothing interesting to say. Life is not here positively unpleasant, but only through what it lacks. — I worry a good deal about my position when I come out.9 Worries about money are really an instinctive safeguard against this more serious worry. But there is nothing more to be done than is being done, I know.

The world is horrible now. I wonder what it will be like when the war is over — still pretty beastly I fear.

Am very well and fit, but bored, bored. Very glad of all the items in Miss Rinder’s message.10 Longing for next visit. — Got Psalms of the West — thanks to Aunt Gertrude.11 Have loved flowers. Thanks to E. and Wrinch.

Please tell Professor Stout, Craigard, St. Andrews, that if he still wants review of second edition of Husserl’s Logical Investigations,12 I will do it in time for the October Mind. I have only 1st volume and half of 2nd.13 If the other half of 2nd has appeared and he has it, will he please send it? To Wildon Carr: Have written about 10,000 words on Dewey,14 by request, for (American) Journal of Philosophy, Psychology etc. Will get it typed and sent to you. Could you get it sent to U.S. There is some fuss with the censorship to be gone through. To Mrs. Whitehead. Very many thanks for books — am reading Comtesse de Boigne — interested to see she was a relation, as her mother was a Dillon, like the grandmother Stanley.15 Love to all at Coleherne Court.16

To Lady O. Read book about Rimbaud with greatest interest. Find his own writing difficult,17 but am persevering — a little repelled by the neo-Catholic tendency. Can’t see [I can really!]b why Lytton dislikes that less than British religion of same period.18 Am glad always of news about S.S. Much amused about Mind Assn.19 Sorry about K. Mansfield — always regarded her as consumptive20 — attributed some of her faults to that cause. Birthday is May 18.21 Very many thanks for books which are a joy. Best wishes for your birthday next Sunday. Tell my brother of a book you want and let it be my present. Don’t bother further about my money affairs. For some reason I don’t understand, I seem to be quite rich for the moment.22 That being so, there is no point in the plan I suggested, at present, unless it would help with Geddes. Most grateful on that head. All news interesting.c [End of message]. — I should like to see Desmond MacCarthy some time if it could be managed. You ought to get into touch with Roger Fry about my position when I come out. He was very useful 2 months ago,23 and might be again. Being here in these conditions is not as disagreeable as the time I spent as attaché24 at the Paris Embassy, and not in the same world of horror as the year and a half I spent at a crammer’s. The young men there25 were almost all going into the Army or the Church, so they were at a much lower moral level than the average criminal. Find out a book to give Lady O. from me on her birthday, June 16. — Will see Captain Hollond, 5 Norfolk Crescent, Edgware Rd., whenever home on leave, if he can.

Yr loving brother
Bertrand Russell


  • 1

    [document] The letter was edited from the signed original in BR’s hand in the Frank Russell files in the Russell Archives. It was an “official” letter, approved by “CH”, the Prison Governor, despite being written on a single sheet of Frank Russell’s stationery. BR first made an outline of points to cover in the letter (all of which he did cover, though not quite in the same order). The outline is found on the verso of a half-sheet of BR’s notes on John B. Watson’s Behavior <i.e., Behaviorism> (New York: 1914) (RA 210.006574):
         To Stout about Husserl    Hope see Desmond soon.
         To Carr about Dewey       Mrs Wd.: Thanks for books — interesting.
         To O.: Wish I could see Garsington — amused about Mind Ass
                    Rimbaud — life interesting — find his work difficult — am persevering.
                    — Am glad of any news about S.S.
                    Sorry about K. Mansfield; always thought her consumptive.
                    Birthday: May 18. Books — very many thanks —
                    No news dull.
         Prison not as bad as Paris Embassy — not nearly as bad as crammer’s.

  • 2

    [BR’s note] “The above letter had to pass the censorship of the Governor of the prison, and was not allowed to fill more than one sheet. Hence the style.” (BR’s note at BRACERS 116580.)

  • 3

    joint letter From Frank and Elizabeth Russell, dated 6 June 1918 (BRACERS 46918).

  • 4

    pay solicitor I.e., Withers, for his visit concerning BR’s next publishing contract; see Letter 21.

  • 5

    I enjoyed Return of Soldier The Return of the Soldier (London: Nisbet, 1918) is a fictional treatment by British writer Rebecca West (penname of Cicely Isabel Fairchild, 1892–1983) of the dramatic recovery, through psychoanalysis, of a shell-shocked British army officer. BR knew the author slightly from his acquaintance with her lover, H.G. Wells.

  • 6

    Please thank Meynell ... little Volume of Vaughan and Marvell Henry Vaughan, 1621–1695, Silurist; and Andrew Marvell, 1621–1678, Sometime M.P.: The Best of Both Worlds: A Choice Taken from Their Poems (London: Pelican P., 1918; Russell’s library). BR’s NCF colleague Francis Meynell had edited this anthology of metaphysical poetry and published it under the imprint of the small socialist press that he owned and managed. It was known for its outstanding typography.

  • 7

    Sinner “Nickname of Elizabeth’s brother, who cured me of piles and thought that would cure me of pacifism.” (BR’s note on original; revised by him at BRACERS 116580.) Sir Sydney Beauchamp (1861–1921), M.B., B.Ch., physician. He became resident medical officer with the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He was killed in a motor-bus accident.

  • 8

    I did enjoy seeing Wrinch Wrinch had visited BR on 5 June, with Frank and Elizabeth Russell.

  • 9

    my position when I come out BR was referring to the possibility of his being called up under the revised Military Service Act, against which unnerving prospect he had hatched, as a possible safeguard, the fellowship plan.

  • 10

    all the items in Miss Rinder’s message Her message was in Frank and Elizabeth’s letter of 6 June (BRACERS 46918). The most important item in it for BR would have been that Colette had not seen her sometime lover Maurice Elvey (see note 6 to Letter 22) since she left London. The message also referred to use of the International Journal; see Letter 12, note 4.

  • 11

    Got Psalms of the West — thanks to Aunt Gertrude Francis Albert Rollo Russell, Psalms of the West (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, 1889; Russell’s library): religious verse composed by BR’s unconventionally devout Uncle Rollo (18491914) and received courtesy of the latter’s second wife, “Aunt Gertrude”, i.e. Gertrude Ellen Cornelia Russell (18651942), sister of the Oxford idealist philosopher, H.H. Joachim.

  • 12

    Professor Stout, Craigard … review of … Husserl’s Logical Investigations A Cambridge philosopher who had been one of BR’s undergraduate tutors, George Frederick Stout (1860–1944) was editor of Mind from 1891 to 1920. Although BR never reviewed Logische Untersuchungen (2nd ed., 2 vols. [Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1913, Part 1 of Vol. 2; 1921, Part 2 of Vol. 2]), his prison reading did include the first volume of this “vast book” (Letter 12) by the German founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl (1859–1938). Instead, “in time for the October Mind”, BR completed for Stout a review (1918; 15 in Papers 8) of C.D. Broad’s Perception, Physics, and Reality (1914; see Letter 30, especially note 3).

  • 13

    I have only 1st volume and half of 2nd. The second edition of the second volume of Husserl’s book was in two parts; the second part did not appear until 1921.

  • 14

    10,000 words on Dewey See “Professor Dewey’s Essays in Experimental Logic”, The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 16 (2 Jan. 1919): 5–26 (16 in Papers 8), a surprisingly conciliatory defence of his own views against Dewey’s criticism. Eva Kyle must have typed the review promptly, and BR received proofs and the copyedited typescript by the end of the summer (Letter 95, notes 11 and 12). BR’s library has the copy of Essays in Experimental Logic (Chicago: U. of Chicago P., 1916) annotated during his imprisonment.

  • 15

    am reading Comtesse de Boigne … a Dillon, like the grandmother Stanley Charles Nicoullaud, ed., Memoirs of the Comtesse de Boigne, 3 vols. (London: Heinemann, 1907). Adèle d’Osmond, Comtesse de Boigne (1781–1866) was descended on her mother’s side from an émigré branch of the same aristocratic family as her distant cousin and BR’s maternal grandmother, Lady Stanley (née Henrietta Maria Dillon-Lee, 1807–1895). Irish Jacobite refugees originally, these “French” Dillons were quickly assimilated into the military, diplomatic, ecclesiastical and court life of the ancien régime. For example, the future Comtesse was raised at the Palace of Versailles, and her ancestral relationship to BR can be traced through her uncle, Arthur Dillon, Archbishop of Narbonne, whose nephew was the family’s titular head, the 12th Viscount Dillon (BR’s great-great-grandfather), an Irish peer who had abjured his Catholicism in order to become fully integrated into British aristocratic life. The Comtesse would flee to England as a royalist refugee from the French Revolution, return to France under Napoleon’s imperial rule, but only regain lost privileges and position after the Bourbon Restoration, during which she achieved considerable renown as the hostess of a dazzling Parisian salon.

  • 16

    Coleherne Court Where Alfred and Evelyn Whitehead lived.

  • 17

    Find his own writing difficult In a message for Ottoline in Letter 20 to Gladys Rinder, BR indicated that he had read Rimbaud’s Une saison en enfer, a long prose poem published by the author in 1873.

  • 18

    Read book about Rimbaud … neo-Catholic tendency … same period Probably Paterne Berrichon, Jean-Arthur Rimbaud, le poète (1854–1873) (Paris: Mercure de France, 1912), which contains some discussion (pp. 290–1) of the Catholic bent of Une saison en enfer, a long prose poem published by the French symbolist in 1873. Also, on 15 August 1918, BR asked Colette to “Please send Paterne Berrichon on Rimbaud to Ottoline — it is hers and she wants it” (Letter 71). BR seems to have been teasing Ottoline about Rimbaud, whom both she (BRACERS 11746) and Lytton Strachey esteemed more than he did. The poet did not feature in Strachey’s Landmarks in French Literature (1912), but he discovered him a few years later and assured his brother James that “Rimbaud … is a good poet” (31 May 1916; quoted in Strachey’s The Really Interesting Question, and Other Papers, ed. Paul Levy [London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972], p. 34). In Eminent Victorians Strachey mocked the early-Victorian Oxford Movement, which emphasized the common ground between Anglican and Catholic theology. One of Strachey’s subjects, Cardinal Manning, identified with this influential High Church faction before taking his Tractarianism a step further and converting to Catholicism in 1851.

  • 19

    Much amused about Mind Assn. Formed in 1900, the Mind Association remains one of the two most important philosophical bodies in Britain. BR may well have been a founding member (David Holdcroft, “Eighty-Seven Years of Minutes”, Mind 96 [1987]: 141–4). At the annual general meeting of the Association in early July 1918, Charles A. Mercier, a physician-philosopher whom BR had reviewed in 1912 (9 in Papers 6), proposed that “no person who had been convicted of felony or of a serious offence against the Defence of the Realm Act be admitted or allowed to continue as a member of the Association.” Obviously BR was a target of the rule, if not the only target. The rule failed to be accepted (Papers 6: 70–1). Ottoline had forwarded a clipping that Mrs. Hamilton had given her: “Philosophy and Pacifism: the Mind Association and the Case of Bertrand Russell”, Evening News, 29 May 1918. It reported an interview with Mercier. He had tried in January “to move a resolution that Mr. Russell should cease to be a member. The resolution was ruled out of order.” Now he was trying a different sort of resolution, omitting BR’s name. Mercier admitted: “I don’t suppose I shall get a single vote.…” For more about Mercier and his attempt to expel BR, see Dorothy Wrinch’s undated but early July 1918 letter about the meeting, BRACERS 81965.

  • 20

    K. Mansfield … always regarded her as consumptive Katherine Mansfield was indeed consumptive. In the spring of 1918 she had gone to the south of France for the sake of her health, but then precipitately fled back through war-torn France to England, arriving in much worse condition than she left. Consumption was definitively diagnosed just before her marriage to J. Middleton Murry on 3 May 1918. Ottoline had reported, “It was a great shock to see her”; she had returned from France “quite changed — I fear consumption — very thin” (letter of 1 June 1918, BRACERS 114746).

  • 21

    Birthday is May 18 Ottoline had asked whether BR’s birthday was 18 May or June (letter of 1 June 1918, BRACERS 114746).

  • 22

    quite rich for the moment In his pocket diary, at an unspecified date in June, BR recorded receiving from Allen & Unwin a payment of £61.15.3. The purchasing power of that sum was not negligible. In Letter 87, for example, BR allotted £1 to buy a present for Gladys Rinder for her efforts on his behalf. When there was a plan for Colette to rent his flat, the charge was to be 2 guineas (£2.2.0) a week (Letter 71). And he considered that he needed, after his release, “to earn at least £200 a year somehow” (Letter 12). In addition, Frank had told him on 31 May: “Clough <A.H. Clough and Miss B.A. Clough (BRACERS 80113)>is altering the security in your Marriage Settlement funds on his mortgage of £3600, and raising the interest from 4% to 5½%, which should give you an additional £54 a year” (BRACERS 46916). Colette, on the other hand, did not have BR’s concern to live within his earned income. Her earned income was very low at this time, but she had a sizeable unearned income (“Letters to Bertrand Russell from Constance Malleson, 1916–1969”, pp. 86–7 [typescript in RA]).

  • 23

    Roger Fry ... very useful 2 months ago As with so many of his lifelong friends, BR became acquainted with Roger Fry (1866–1934) at Trinity College, Cambridge. He remained close to his slightly older contemporary, the Bloomsbury painter and art historian and critic. Fry’s 1923 portrait of BR hangs in London’s National Portrait Gallery. How Fry had been recently useful to BR (it was during the time of his appeal) could not be determined.

  • 24

    time I spent as attaché BR was an honorary attaché at the British Embassy in Paris from 10 September to 1 December 1894. He accepted the position at the insistence of his grandmother, who was trying to separate him from Alys Pearsall Smith. They married as soon as the separation came to an end. He soon regretted accepting the position from the ambassador, Lord Dufferin, because almost immediately afterwards he received a more tempting offer to serve as private secretary to Radical Liberal M.P. John Morley.

  • 25

    year and a half I spent at a crammer’s. … young men there In preparation for the Trinity College scholarship examination, which he sat in December 1889, BR was a student for eighteen months at B.A. Green’s University and Army Tutors, in Southgate, London. A notebook in the Russell Archives preserves seven essays (28 in Papers 1) he wrote at this “Army crammer”, as he unflatteringly remembered the institution in his Autobiography (1: 42). In a deleted passage in a much later writing, “The Importance of Shelley” (1956), BR recalled his reaction to his fellow pupils: “Until I went to Cambridge, most of my contemporaries whom I knew filled me with disgust, so that my love of the human species was tempered by loathing of most of the examples I came across” (Papers 29: 586–7).

Textual Notes
  • a

    [return address] BR replaced Frank’s letterhead address with “[From Prison]” on the transcription he edited at BRACERS 116580, and with “[Brixton Prison]” on the carbon of that document.

  • b

    [I can really!] Inserted.

  • c

    All news interesting. Inserted.

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