Saturday, December 12, 2009

Palmerston, Revenge and Research

I was looking up the Victorian statesman Lord Palmerston and found that St John's College Library houses some of his papers. The college is part of a seven year-old, self-funded project to provide a single point of networked access to Cambridge catalogues of archives and manuscript collections.

For example, I had forgotten that in December 1851 Lord John Russell dismissed Lord Palmerston from the government for recognising Louis Napoleon Bonaparte's coup in France. However, Russell in his turn had to resign after the defeat of his government was engineered by Palmerston.

In Palmerston’s words, he had his “tit for tat with Johnny Russell”.

A good result too. Forget the Spanish advice about revenge being a cold dish; it’s from a country where they eat too late anyway.

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