[ Lady Elizabeth Romilly; Minto] Three Autograph Letters Signed (all 'Elizth. Romilly') to her father the Earl of Minto, on topics including 'Charley' and 'the China news', Lord John Russell and the Cagliari outrage in Sardinia, and the Swiss Alps.

Lady Elizabeth Romilly [ Lady Elizabeth Amelia Jane Romilly ] (1820-1892), daughter of Gilbert, 2nd Earl of Minto, wife of Col. Frederick Romilly, son of Sir Samuel Romilly [ James McNeill Whistler ]
Publication details: 
ONE: Porthkerry [ Wales ], 6 August [ 1857 ]. TWO: Eaton Terrace [ London ], 13 February 1858. THREE: Wildbad [ Germany ], 8 July 1869.
SKU: 20291

Three interesting letters, intelligent, well-informed and affectionate, by a member of a leading Liberal family. Lady Elizabeth Romilly took a keen interest in the work of the artist Whistler, who wrote about her to Cyril Flower around 1876: 'Lady Elizabeth Romilly I always remember as one of the most charming people it was ever my happiness to meet - so kind - so natural - and with a courtesy so sweet [...] She came one morning to my Gallery and seemed so much interested in what was there - pointing out with such right instinct the particular works she sympathized with - not only among the paintings - but the drawings and sketches - that the painter was simply enchanted and has never forgotten it -'. Totalling 12pp., 12mo. Each on a bifolium. The three letters in good condition, lightly aged and worn. Two addressed to 'My dear Daddy' and one to 'Dearest Daddy'. ONE: Porthkerry (Wales), 6 August [1857] (docketed by Minto 'Lizzy – Aug. 6/57'). The letter concerns 'Charley' and 'the China news', and she writes: 'We thought the Times article two days ago made the least of Charley's part, & sunk him as much as it could. But do as they will now Charley can no longer return to England an extinguished man. Now that he is fairly up again I do not expect Sir Charles Wood to be unwilling to praise him – but say what he may now I shall thank him for nothing. I do not mean ever to forget his former praise, for zeal in the Mediterranean 14 or 15 yers ago.' With reference to 'Fanny', 'horrible London people's heads', 'the dispatches in the Observer', 'William', 'Papa'. She ends with reference to a scientific controversy: 'As Mr Erskine wd say I want very bad to get hold of Dr Aitken & cross question him upon geology & theology – the consequence of studying the Testimony of the Rocks with great delight'. TWO: Eaton Terrace (London), 13 February 1858. Part of the letter concerns a speech in parliament by Lord John Russell. The context is succinctly explained in a footnote in the Parliamentary Diaries of Sir John Trelawny: 'In June 1857 the Cagliari, a Sardinian mailboat, had been taken over by carbonarists who proceeded to release a number of prisoners from the island of Ponza and then made their escape on the Italian mainland. Soon afterwards, the Cagliari, whose crew included two English engineers, Park and Watt, was arrested by a Neapolitan ship. Park and Watt were imprisoned and maltreated, the latter losing his sanity.') She begins by stating that Minto's letter was 'balm to our hearts here. You spoke our very own feelings & the words that we have ourselves been speaking. There was nothing in Ld John's speech but what I think Papa as well as you must have thought very good. It is not a speech I suppose to please any party; but the wise, the prudent & the patriotic like ourselves must receive it I think with thanks & high approbation. Between these aliens & the Cagliari we have certainly stepped down some high steps in the sight of Europe; & this one should think must be a painful feeling to Ld Palmerston of all men. The accounts that are now reaching us of Watts the unfortunate engineer & of the treatment of the other prisoners are disagreeable comments upon Ld Clarendon's mean speech the other night; but mean & tame as I think we are, it seems to me that there is more to be said for our tameness on this subject than on the other, & that it lowers us less in the eyes of our neighbours.' The rest of the letter is on personal matters, including her father's 'present solitude at Minto', 'Aunt Elizth & Maillie', Bristol, and 'Willy's wife'. THREE: Wildbad (Germany), 8 July 1869. The letter begins: 'No doubt this will find you once more in your old Pont St Quarters, enjoying the summer that has come at last in London instead of on the Alps. Your Swiss time was unfortunately chosen, for you no sooner turned your back in disgust upon its bad weather than it established itself beautiful for ever. I was much tempted, when I heard that you were coming back, to go over to Baden & look out for you there on the chance of your making a halt there; but Baden is just too far from us to go to & back in a day.' The letter continues on the subject of the holiday, with reference to 'Lily', 'my brother the Admiral', 'Steele', 'Klumpp' (who 'cuts out Becker'), 'a nice little Theatre here', 'the Duke of Nassau' ('whose face shows no sentimental regrets at the turns of Fortune's wheel'), 'Ld Romilly'. It ends with personal news regarding 'Harry' and 'Fredk'.