File 15 - Letters from Hilaire Belloc to Fr Matthew Russell SJ

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IE IJA J/27/15


Letters from Hilaire Belloc to Fr Matthew Russell SJ


  • 28 October 1888 - 13 January 1911 (Creation)

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14 items

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(27 July 1870-16 July 1953)

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A file of letters from Hilaire Belloc to Fr Matthew Russell SJ. Includes a reference to the French elections. ‘Are you not delighted at the result of the French elections? I am. I do not like Kings...’. (30 October [ ], 3pp). Refers to articles he wishes to contribute to the Irish Monthly. (nd, 4pp). Discusses his future career ‘I have for the last week been visiting various people of importance with a view to choosing a profession, I want to be earning soon; I believe that my mathematics...will help me in Engineering - but I never live except when I am on the water.’ Refers also to his writing and describes it as ‘...the work of a boy, it is like those nasty little plums that come on the young wild plumtrees in the forest of Marly.’ Continues ‘But if you ask me why I write as I do, I will tell you this much: that in the circle of newspapers of criticism of perfectly turned verses, of madly-hunted ideas, I am all at sea. I would have it that no man should write who was not a zealot for something and when I desire, I desire the hills and the sea. I desire the faces of men and women not some unjust imitations. And I desire above all that free and happy forbearance and that perfection of charity which this country is absolutely unable to give.’ (5 February 1889, 4pp). Refers to writing and editing and remarks ‘If I ever become an editor I shall accept everything that touches me - irrespective of merit and shall refuse all well known names. There is a club in Paris called “La Decadence” into which no one cannot (sic) be admitted whose work has not been refused three times!’ (20 April 1889, 4pp). Refers to the Great War and remarks that he is looking forward to it ‘It will sweep Europe like a broom, it will make Kings jump like coffee beans on the roaster...’. Asks Fr. Russell to choose a composition from a ‘batch’. (30 June 1889, 4pp). Enquires why some of his verses have not appeared in the Irish Monthly. Remarks ‘I didn’t love it (The Irish Monthly) half as much as I should have done if my “poor thing but mine own” had been in it.’ (nd, 2pp). Refers to a visit he made to Ireland. Observes that ‘The Country is getting richer and it is high time. The Irish have too much political sense to boast of any success: they insist rather on what they need than on what they have, which is the right way to go about politics; but very soon people over here will wake up to find Ireland transformed.’ (1 January 1910, 2pp). Remarks that suggestions have been made to him to write a Catholic essay on the history of England ‘...but the only thing I can afford to write is a Catholic School history...’ (13 January 1911, 1p).

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