Elderfield, Otterbourne, Winchester
September [1870]

MS location unknown. Printed in Coleridge, Life 305-6

My dear Mr. Butler
I have two kind letters to thank you for, first about the T1 and secondly about the war2 – I wish the authority for the former was more direct and conclusive, it is so very beautiful.

The Monthly Packet of October will be quite German enough to please you, having the journal of a lady at Homburg and a translation by Miss Sewell of ‘Der Wacht am Rhein’, but I confess that I have not personally been able to get into the stream of sympathy with Prussia, for Bismarck’s policy does seem to me that of the ambitious conqueror, and I never could forgive him for Holstein.3 German unity does not seem to me a rightful cause, though I can perceive that it may seem so to Germans themselves, who have a sort of fanaticism for that Vaterland of theirs. Of course the last offence was given by France, but was it not the result of the long course of aggression against which the stand had to be made? Actually I suppose that the last cause of quarrel was like Jenkins’s ears, only a pretext, but that put the French in the wrong. My first feeling when war was proclaimed was that I could not wish much for victory for either side. Now sympathy chiefly goes to poor Strasburg and Phalsbourg, but on the whole the French nation has shown very little improvement. One account of the camp at Chalons reads just like a modernisation of the scene in King Henry V. in the dauphin’s camp the night before Agincourt, and the description of the riotous scenes at the stations in France are in wonderful contrast with the weeping, grave, earnest Germans.

But is this present deadly stroke to bring out that nobleness that France, or at least an individual Frenchman, is capable of, and is this to be the beginning of better things after ninety years and two Bonapartes – or is it still to be the ‘house divided against itself’?

How much there is to talk over when you and Mrs. Butler come to the Congress. I hope I shall see you on the 10th of October, and on the 11th we may take our choice of the sermons of your Bishop and him of Salisbury.

Yours affectionately
C. M. Yonge

Thank you much for Von Moltke to add to my book of distinguished people.4 It is a fine face, but with more shrewdness and power than greatness.

1This was the letter of 16 August 1870 printed in Life and Letters of William John Butler (1897), 285-6, which answers an enquiry of CMY's about the Hebrew letter TAU.
2The Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
3During the Franco-Prussian War the poem 'Die Wacht am Rhein' by Max Schneckenburger was sung as a patriotic anthem. The provinces of Schleswig and Holstein were seized from Denmark and taken by Prussia and Austria respectively in 1865 as a result of Prussian intervention organized by Bismarck.
4Helmuth Karl von Moltke (1800-1891), the chief architect of German victory over France.

Cite this letter

The Letters of Charlotte Mary Yonge(1823-1901) edited by Charlotte Mitchell, Ellen Jordan and Helen Schinske.

URL to this Letter is: https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/yonge/2390/to-the-reverend-william-john-butler

One Comment
  1. Ellen Jordan says:

    [[person:#]Von Moltke] . This reference doesn’t seem to have worked.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.