The Defiled Sanctuary by William Blake

I saw a chapel all of gold

That none did dare to enter in,

And many weeping stood without,

Weeping, mourning, worshipping.

I saw a serpent rise between

The white pillars of the door,

And he forced and forced and forced

Till down the golden hinges tore:

And along the pavement sweet,

Set with pearls and rubies bright,

All his shining length he drew, -

Till upon the altar white

Vomited his poison out

On the bread and on the wine.

So I turned into a sty,

And laid me down among the swine.

Chapter 8

The First War

The period from 1910 to 1914 was a time of transition. My life before 1910 and my life after 1914 were as sharply separated as Faust's life before and after he met Mephistopheles. I underwent a process of rejuvenation, inaugurated by Ottoliae Morrell and continued by the War. It may seem curious that the War should rejuvenate anybody, but in fact it shook me out of my prejudices and made me think afresh on a number of fundamental questions. It also provided me with a new kind of activity, for which I did not feel the stateness that beset me whenever I tried to return to mathematical logic. I have therefore got into the habit of thinking of myself as a non-supernatural Faust for whom Mephistopheles was represented by the Great War.

During the hot days at the end of July, I was at Cambridge, discussing the situation with all and sundry. I found it impossible to believe that Europe would be so mad as to plunge into war, but I was persuaded that, if there was war, England would be involved. I felt strongly that England ought to remain neutral, and I collected the signatures of a large number of professors and Fellows to a statement which appeared in the Manchester Guardian to that effect. The day War was declared, almost all of them changed their minds. Looking back, it seems extraordinary that one did not realise more clearly what was coming. On Sunday, August 2nd, as mentioned in the earlier volume of this autobiography, I met Keynes hurrying across the Great Court of Trinity to borrow his brother-in-law's motor-bicycle to go up to London.1 I presently discovered that the Government had sent for him to give them financial advice. This made me realise the imminence of our participation in the War. On the Monday morning I decided to go to London. I lunched with the Morrells at Bedford Square, and found Ottoline entirely of my way of thinking. She agreed with Philip's determination to make a pacifist speech in the House. I went down to the House in the hope of hearing Sir Edward Grey's famous statement, but the crowd was too great, and I failed to get in. I learned, however, that Philip had duly made his speech. I spent the evening walking round the streets, especially in the neighbourhood of Trafalgar Square, noticing cheering crowds, and making myself sensitive to the emotions of passers-by. During this and the following days I discovered to my amazement that average men and women were delighted at the prospect of war. I had fondly imagined, what most pacifists contended, that wars were forced upon a reluctant population by despotic and Machiavellian governments. I had noticed during previous years how carefully Sir Edward Grey lied in order to prevent the public from knowing the methods by which he was committing us to the support of France in the event of war. I naïvely imagined that when the public discovered how he had lied to them, they would be annoyed; Instead of which, they were grateful to him for having spared them the moral responsibility.

1 His brother-in-law was A. V. Hill, eminent in scientific medicine. He had rooms on the next staircase to mine.

On the morning of August 4th, I walked with Ottoline up and down the empty streets behind the British Museum, where now there are University buildings. We discussed the future in gloomy terms. When we spoke to others of the evils we foresaw, they thought us mad; yet it turned out that we were twittering optimists compared to the truth. On the evening of the 4th, after quarrelling with George Trevelyan along the whole length of the Strand, I attended the last meeting of a neutrality committee of which Graham Wallas was chairman. During the meeting there was a loud clap of thunder, which all the older members of the committee took to be a German bomb. This dissipated their last lingering feeling in favour of neutrality. The first days of the War were to me utterly amazing. My best friends, such as the Whiteheads, were savagely warlike. Men like J. L. Hammond, who had been writing for years against participation in a European War, were swept off their feet by Belgium. As I had long known from a military friend at the Staff College that Belgium would inevitably be involved, I had not supposed important publicists so frivolous as to be ignorant on this vital matter. The Nation newspaper used to have a staff luncheon every Tuesday, and I attended the luncheon on August 4th. I found Massingham, the editor, vehemently opposed to our participation in the war. He welcomed enthusiastically my offer to write for his newspaper in that sense. Next day I got a letter from him, beginning: 'Today is not yesterday ...', and stating that his opinion had completely changed. Nevertheless, he printed a long letter from me protesting against the War in his next issue.1 What changed his opinion I do not know. I know that one of Asquith's daughters saw him descending the steps of the German Embassy late on the afternoon of August 4th, and I have some suspicion that he was consequently warned of the unwisdom of a lack of patriotism in such a crisis. For the first year or so of the War he remained patriotic, but as time went on he began to forget that he had ever been so. A few pacifist MPs, together with two or three sympathisers, began to have meetings at the Morrells' house in Bedford Square. I used to attend these meetings, which gave rise to the Union of Democratic Control. I was interested to observe that many of the pacifist politicians were more concerned with the question which of them should lead the anti-war movement than with the actual work against the War. Nevertheless, they were all there was to work with, and I did my best to think well of them.

1 The full text is reproduced on page 264.

Meanwhile, I was living at the highest possible emotional tension. Although. I did not foresee anything like the full disaster of the War, I foresaw a great deal more than most people did. The prospect filled me with horror, but what filled me with even more horror was the fact that the anticipation of carnage was delightful to something like ninety per cent of the population. I had to revise my views on human nature. At that time I was wholly ignorant of psycho-analysis, but I arrived for myself at a view of human passions not unlike that of the psychoanalysts. I arrived at this view in an endeavour to understand popular feeling about the War. I had supposed until that time that it was quite common for parents to love their children, but the War persuaded me that it is a rare exception. I had supposed that most people liked money better than almost anything else, but I discovered that they liked destruction even better. I had supposed that intellectuals frequently loved truth, but I found here again that not ten per cent of them prefer truth to popularity. Gilbert Murray, who had been a close friend of mine since 1902, was a pro-Boer when I was not. I therefore naturally expected that he would again be on the side of peace; yet he went out of his way to write about the wickedness of the Germans, and the superhuman virtue of Sir Edward Grey. I became filled with despairing tenderness towards the young men who were to be slaughtered, and with rage against all the statesmen of Europe. For several weeks I felt that if I should happen to meet Asquith or Grey I should be unable to refrain from murder. Gradually, however, these personal feelings disappeared. They were swallowed up by the magnitude of the tragedy, and by the realisation of the popular forces which the statesmen merely let loose.

In the midst of this, I was myself tortured by patriotism. The successes of the Germans before the Battle of the Marne were horrible to me. I desired the defeat of Germany as ardently as any retired colonel. Love of England is very nearly the strongest emotion I possess, and in appearing to set it aside at such a moment, I was making a very difficult renunciation. Nevertheless, I never had a moment's doubt as to what I must do. I have at times been paralysed by scepticism, at times I have been cynical, at other times indifferent, but when the War came I felt as if I heard the voice of God. I knew that it was my business to protest, however futile protest might be. My whole nature was involved. As a lover of truth, the national propaganda of all the belligerent nations sickened me. As a lover of civilisation, the return to barbarism appalled me. As a man of thwarted parental feeling, the massacre of the young wrung my heart. I hardly supposed that much good would come of opposing the War, but I felt that for the honour of human nature those who were not swept off their feet should show that they stood firm. After seeing troop trains departing from Waterloo, I used to have strange visions of London as a place of unreality. I used in imagination to see the bridges collapse and sink, and the whole great city vanish like a morning mist. Its inhabitants began to seem like hallucinations, and I would wonder whether the world in which I thought I had lived was a mere product of my own febrile nightmares.1 Such moods, however, were brief, and were put an end to by the need of work.

1 I spoke of this to T. S. Eliot, who put it into The Waste Land.

Throughout the earlier phases of the War, Ottoline was a very great help and strength to me. But for her, I should have been at first completely solitary, but she never wavered either in her hatred of war, or in her refusal to accept the myths and falsehoods with which the world was inundated.

I found a minor degree of comfort in the conversation of Santayana, who was at Cambridge at that time. He was a neutral, and in any case he had not enough respect for the human race to care whether it destroyed itself or not. His calm, philosophical detachment, though I had no wish to imitate it, was soothing to me. Just before the Battle of the Marne, when it looked as if the Germans must soon take Paris, he remarked in a dreamy tone of voice: 'I think I must go over to Paris. My winter underclothes are there, and I should not like the Germans to get them. I have also another, though less important, reason, which is that I have there a manuscript of a book on which I have been working for the last ten years, but I do not care so much about that as about the underclothes.' He did not, however, go to Paris, because the Battle of the Manre saved him the trouble. Instead, he remarked to me one day: 'I am going to Seville tomorrow because I wish to be in a place where people do not restrain their passions.'

With the beginning of the October Term, I had to start again lecturing on mathematical logic, but I felt it a somewhat futile occupation. So I took to organising a branch of the Union of Democratic Control among the dons, of whom at Trinity quite a number were at first sympathetic. I also addressed meetings of undergraduates who were quite willing to listen to me. I remember in the course of a speech, saying: 'It is all nonsense to pretend the Germans are wicked', and to my surprise the whole room applauded. But with the sinking of the Lusitania, a fiercer spirit began to prevail. It seemed to be supposed that I was in some way responsible for this disaster. Of the dons who had belonged to the Union of Democratic Control, many had by this time got commissions. Barnes (afterwards Bishop of Birmingham) left to become Master of the Temple. The older dons got more and more hysterical, and I began to find myself avoided at the high table.

Every Christmas throughout the War I had a fit of black despair, such complete despair that I could do nothing except sit idle in my chair and wonder whether the human race served any purpose. At Christmas time in 1914, by Ottoline's advice, I found a way of making despair not unendurable. I took to visiting destitute Germans on behalf of a charitable committee to investigate their circumstances and to relieve their distress if they deserved it. In the course of this work, I came upon remarkable instances of kindness in the middle of the fury of war. Not infrequently in the poor neighbourhoods landladies, themselves poor, had allowed Germans to stay on without paying any rent, because they knew it was impossible for Germans to find work. This problem ceased to exist soon afterwards, as the Germans were all interned, but during the first months of the War their condition was pitiable.

One day in October 1914 I met T. S. Eliot in New Oxford Street. I did not know he was in Europe, but I found he had come to England from Berlin. I naturally asked him what he thought of the War. 'I don't know,' he replied, 'I only know that I am not a pacifist.' That is to say, he considered any excuse good enough for homicide. I became great friends with him, and subsequently with his wife, whom he married early in 1915. As they were desperately poor, I lent them one of the two bedrooms in my flat, with the result that I saw a great deal of them.1 I was fond of them both, and endeavoured to help them in their troubles until I discovered that their troubles were what they enjoyed. I held some debentures nominally worth £3,000, in an engineering firm, which during the War naturally took to making munitions. I was much puzzled in my conscience as to what to do with these debentures, and at last I gave them to Eliot. Years afterwards, when the War was finished and he was no longer poor, he gave them back to me.

1 The suggestion sometimes made, however, that one of us influenced the other is without foundation.

During the summer of 1915 I wrote Principles of Social Reconstruction, or Why Men Fight as it was called in America without my consent. I had had no intention of writing such a book, and it was totally unlike anything I had previously written, but it came out in a spontaneous manner. In fact I did not discover what it was all about until I had finished it. It has a framework and a formula, but I only discovered both when I had written all except the first and last words. In it I suggested a philosophy of politics based upon the belief that impulse has more effect than conscious purpose in moulding men's lives. I divided impulses into two groups, the possessive and the creative, considering the best life that which is most built on creative impulses. I took, as examples of embodiments of the possessive impulses, the State, war and poverty; and of the creative impulses, education, marriage and religion. Liberation of creativeness, I was convinced, should be the principle of reform. I first gave the book as lectures, and then published it. To my surprise, it had an immediate success. I had written it with no expectation of its being read, merely as a profession of faith, but it brought me in a great deal of money, and laid the foundation for all my future earnings.

These lectures were in certain ways connected with my short friendship with D. H. Lawrence. We both imagined that there was something important to be said about die reform of human relations, and we did not at first realise that we took diametrically opposite views as to the kind of reform that was needed. My acquaintance with Lawrence was brief and hectic, lasting altogether about a year. We were brought together by Ottoline, who admired us both and made us think that we ought to admire each other. Pacifism had produced in me a mood of bitter rebellion, and I found Lawrence equally full of rebellion. This made us think, at first, that there was a considerable measure of agreement between us, and it was only gradually that we discovered that we differed from each other more than either differed from the Kaiser.

There were in Lawrence at that time two attitudes to the war: on the one hand, he could not be whole-heartedly patriotic, because his wife was German; but on the other hand, he had such a hatred of mankind that he tended to think both sides must be right in so far as they hated each other. As I came to know these attitudes, I realised that neither was one with which I could sympathise. Awareness of our differences, however, was gradual on both sides, and at first all went merry as a marriage bell. I invited him to visit me at Cambridge and introduced him to Keynes and a number of other people. He hated them all with a passionate hatred and said they were 'dead, dead, dead'. For a time I thought he might be right. I liked Lawrence's fire, I liked the energy and passion of his feelings, I liked his belief that something very fundamental was needed to put the world right. I agreed with him in thinking that politics could not be divorced from individual psychology. I felt him to be a man of a certain imaginative genius, and, at first, when I felt inclined to disagree with him, I thought that perhaps his insight into human nature was deeper than mine. It was only gradually that I came to feel him a positive force for evil and that he came to have the same feeling about me.

I was at this time preparing the courses of lectures which was afterwards published as Principles of Social Reconstruction. He, also, wanted to lecture, and for a time it seemed possible that there might be some sort of loose collaboration between us. We exchanged a number of letters, of which mine are lost but his have been published. In his letters the gradual awareness of the consciousness of our fundamental disagreements can be traced. I was a firm believer in democracy, whereas he had developed the whole philosophy of Fascism before the politicians had thought of it. 'I don't believe', he wrote, 'in democratic control. I think the working man is fit to elect governors or overseers for his immediate circumstances, but for no more. You must utterly revise the electorate. The working man shall elect superiors for the things that concern him immediately, no more. From the other classes, as they rise, shall be elected the higher governors. The thing must culminate in one real head, as every organic thing must - no foolish republic with foolish presidents, but an elected King, something like Julius Caesar.' He, of course, in his imagination, supposed that when a dictatorship was established he would be the Julius Caesar. This was part of the dream-like quality of all his thinking. He never let himself bump into reality. He would go into long tirades about how one must proclaim 'the Truth' to the multitude, and he seemed to have no doubt that the multitude would listen. I asked him what method he was going to adopt. Would he put his political philosophy into a book? No: in our corrupt society the written word is always a lie. Would he go into Hyde Park and proclaim 'the Truth' from a soap box? No: that would be far too dangerous (odd streaks of prudence emerged in him from time to time). Well, I said, what would you do? At this point he would change the subject.

Gradually I discovered that he had no real wish to make the world better, but only to indulge in eloquent soliloquy about how bad it was. If anybody overheard the soliloquies, so much the better, but they were designed at most to produce a little faithful band of disciples who could sit in the deserts of New Mexico and feel holy. All this was conveyed to me in the language of a Fascist dictator as what I must preach, the 'must' having thirteen underlinings.

His letters grew gradually more hostile. He wrote, 'What's the good of living as you do anyway? I don't believe your lectures are good. They are nearly over, aren't they? What's the good of sticking in the damned ship and haranguing the merchant pilgrims in their own language? Why don't you drop overboard? Why don't you clear out of the whole show? One must be an outlaw these days, not a teacher or preacher.' This seemed to me mere rhetoric. I was becoming more of an outlaw than he ever was and I could not quite see his ground of complaint against me. He phrased his complaint in different ways at different times. On another occasion he wrote: 'Do stop working and writing altogether and become a creature instead of a mechanical instrument. Do clear out of the whole social ship. Do for your very pride's sake become a mere nothing, a mole, a creature that feels its way and doesn't think. Do for heavens sake be a baby, and not a savant any more. Don't do anything more - but for heavens sake begin to be Start at the very beginning and be a perfect baby: in the name of courage.

'Oh, and I want to ask you, when you make your will, do leave me enough to live on. I want you to live for ever. But I want you to make me in some part your heir.'

The only difficulty with this programme was that if1I i adopted iI 1 should have nothing to leave.

He had a mystical philosophy of 'blood' which I disliked. 'There is', he said, 'another seat of consciousness than the brain and nerves. There is a blood-consciousness which exists in us independently of the ordinary mental consciousness. One lives, knows and has one's being in the blood, without any reference to nerves and brain. This is one half of life belonging to the darkness. When I take a woman, then the blood-percept is supreme. My blood-knowing is overwhelming. We should realise that we have a blood-being, a blood-consciousness, a blood-soul complete and apart from a mental and nerve consciousness.' This seemed to me frankly rubbish, and I rejected it vehemently, though I did not then know that it led straight to Auschwitz.

He always got into a fury if one suggested that anybody could possibly have kindly feelings towards anybody else, and when I objected to war because of the suffering that it causes, he accused me of hypocrisy. 'It isn't in the least true that you, your basic self, want ultimate peace. You are satisfying in an indirect, false way your lust to jab and strike. Either satisfy it in a direct and honourable way, saying "I hate you all, liars and swine, and am out to set upon you", or stick to mathematics, where you can be true - But to come as the angel of peace - no, I prefer Tirpitz a thousand times in that role.'

I find it difficult now to understand the devastating effect that this letter had upon me. I was inclined to believe that he had some insight denied to me, and when he said that my pacifism was rooted in bloodlust I supposed he must be right. For twenty-four hours I thought that I was not fit to live and contemplated suicide. But at the end of that time, a healthier reaction set in, and I decided to have done with such morbidness. When he said that I must preach his doctrines and not mine I rebelled, and told him to remember that he was no longer a school-master and I was not his pupil. He had written 'the enemy of all mankind you are, full of the lust of enmity. It is not a hatred of falsehood which inspires you, it is the hatred of people of flesh and blood, it is a perverted mental blood-lust. Why don't you own it? Let us become strangers again. I think it is better.' I thought so too. But he found a pleasure in denouncing me and continued for some months to write letters containing sufficient friendliness to keep the correspondence alive. In the end, it faded away without any dramatic termination.

Lawrence, though most people did not realise it, was his wife's mouthpiece. He had the eloquence, but she had the ideas. She used to spend part of every summer in a colony of Austrian Freudians at a time when psycho-analysis was little known in England. Somehow, she imbibed prematurely the ideas afterwards developed by Mussolini and Hitler, and these ideas she transmitted to Lawrence, shall we say, by blood-consciousness. Lawrence was an essentially timid man who tried to conceal his timidity by bluster. His wife was not timid, and her denunciations have the character of thunder, not of bluster. Under her wing he felt comparatively safe. Like Marx, he had a snobbish pride in having married a German aristocrat, and in Lady Chatterley he dressed her up marvellously. His thought was a mass of self-deception masquerading as stark realism. His descriptive powers were remarkable, but his ideas cannot be too soon forgotten.

What at first attracted me to Lawrence was a certain dynamic quality and a habit of challenging assumptions that one is apt to take for granted. I was already accustomed to being accused of undue slavery to reason, and I thought perhaps that he could give me a vivifying dose of unreason. I did in fact acquire a certain stimulus from bin, and I think the book that I wrote in spite of his blasts of denunciation was better than it would have been if I had not known him.

But this is not to say that there was anything good in his ideas. I do not think in retrospect that they had any merit whatever. They were the ideas of a sensitive would-be despot who got angry with the world because it would not instantly obey. When he realised that other people existed, he hated them. But most of the time he lived in a solitary world of his own imaginings, peopled by phantoms as fierce as he wished them to be. His excessive emphasis on sex was due to the fact that in sex alone he was compelled to admit that he was not the only human being in the universe. But it was so painful that he conceived of sex relations as a perpetual fight in which each is attempting to destroy the other.

The world between the wars was attracted to madness. Of this attraction Nazism was the most emphatic expression. Lawrence was a suitable exponent of this cult of insanity. I am not sure whether the cold inhuman sanity of Stalin's Kremlin was any improvement.1

1 See also my letters to Ottoline with reference to Lawrence on pages 277-8.

With the coining of 1916, the War took on a fiercer form, and the position of pacifists at home became more difficult. My relations with Asquith had never become unfriendly. He was an admirer of Ottoline'e before she married, and I used to meet him every now and then at Garsington, where she lived. Once when I had been bathing stark naked in a pond, I found him on the bank as I came out. The quality of dignity which should have characterised a meeting between the Prime Minister and a pacifist was somewhat lacking on this occasion. But at any rate, I had the feeling that he was not likely to lock me up. At the time of the Easter Rebellion in Dublin, thirty-seven conscientious objectors were condemned to death and several of us went on a deputation to Asquith to get their sentences reduced. Although he was just Starting for Dublin, he listened to us courteously, and took the necessary action. It had been generally supposed, even by the Government, that conscientious objectors were not legally liable to the death penalty, but this turned out to be a mistake, and but for Asquith a number of them would have been shot.

Lloyd George, however, was a tougher proposition. I went once with Clifford Allen (chairman of the No Conscription Fellowship) and Miss Catherine Marshall, to interview him about the conscientious objectors who were being kept in prison. The only time that he could see us was at lunch at Walton Heath. I disliked having to receive his hospitality, but it seemed unavoidable. His manner to us was pleasant and easy, but he offered no satisfaction of any kind. At the end, as we were leaving, I made him a speech of denunciation in an almost Biblical style, telling him his name would go down to history with infamy. I had not the pleasure of meeting him thereafter.

With the coming of conscription, I gave practically my whole time and energies to the affairs of the conscientious objectors. The No Conscription Fellowship consisted entirely of men of military age, but it accepted women and older men as associates. After all the original committee had gone to prison, a substitute committee was formed, of which I became the acting chairman. There was a great deal of work to do, partly in looking after the interests of individuals, partly in keeping a watch upon the military authorities to see that they did not send conscientious objectors to France, for it was only after they had been sent to France that they became liable to the death penalty. Then there was a great deal of speaking to be done up and down the country. I spent three weeks in the mining areas of Wales, speaking sometimes in halls, sometimes out-of-doors. I never had an interrupted meeting, and always found the majority of the audience sympathetic so long as I confined myself to industrial areas. In London, however, the matter was different.

Clifford Allen,1 the chairman of the No Conscription Fellowship, was a young man of great ability and astuteness. He was a Socialist, and not a Christian. There was always a certain difficulty in keeping harmonious relations between Christian and Socialist pacifists, and in this respect he showed admirable impartiality. In the summer of 1916, however, he was court-martialled and sent to prison. After that, throughout the duration of the War, I only saw him during the occasional days between sentences. He was released on grounds of health (being, in fact, on the point of death) early in 1918, but shortly after that I went to prison myself.

1 Afterwards Lord Allen of Hurtwood.

It was at Clifford Allen's police court case when he was first called up that I first met Lady Constance Malleson, generally known by her stage name of Colette O'Niel. Her mother, Lady Annesley, had a friendship with Prince Henry of Prussia which began before the War and was resumed when the War was over. This, no doubt, gave her some bias in favour of a neutral attitude, but Colette and her sister, Lady Clare Annesley, were both genuine pacifists, and threw themselves into the work of the No Conscription Fellowship. Colette was married to Miles Malleson, the actor and playwright. He had enlisted in 1914, but had had the good luck to be discharged on account of a slight weakness in one foot. The advantageous position which he thus secured, he used most generously on behalf of the conscientious objectors, having after his enlistment become persuaded of the truth of the pacifist position. I noticed Colette in the police court, and was introduced to her. I found that she was one of Allen's friends and learned from him that she was generous with her time, free in her opinions, and whole-hearted in her pacifism. That she was young and very beautiful, I had seen for myself. She was on the stage, and had had a rapid success with two leading parts in succession, but when the War came she spent the whole of the daytime in addressing envelopes in the office of the No Conscription Fellowship. On these data, I naturally took steps to get to know her better.

My relations with Ottoline had been in the meantime growing less intimate. In 1915, she left London and went to live at the Manor House at Garsington, near Oxford. It was a beautiful old house which had been used as a farm, and she became absorbed in restoring all its potentialities. I used to go down to Garsington fairly frequently, but found her comparatively indifferent to me.1 I sought about for some other woman to relieve my unhappiness, but without success until I met Colette. After the police court proceedings I met Colette next at a dinner of a group of pacifists. I walked back from the restaurant with her and others to the place where she lived, which was 43 Bernard Street, near Russell Square. I felt strongly attracted, but had no chance to do much about it beyond mentioning that a few days later I was to make a speech in the Portman Rooms, Baker Street. When I came to make the speech, I saw her on one of the front seats, so I asked her after the meeting to come to supper at a restaurant, and then walked bade with her. This time I came in, which I had not done before. She was very young, but I found her possessed of a degree of calm courage as great as Ottoline's (courage is a quality that I find essential in any woman whom I am to love seriously). We talked half the night, and in the middle of talk became lovers. There are those who say that one should be prudent, but I do not agree with them. We scarcely knew each other, and yet in that moment there began for both of us a relation profoundly serious and profoundly important, sometimes happy, sometimes painful, but never trivial and never unworthy to be placed alongside of the great public emotions connected with the War. Indeed, the War was bound into the texture of this love from first to last. The first time that I was ever in bed with her (we did not go to bed the first time we were lovers, as there was too much to say), we heard suddenly a shout of bestial triumph in the street. I leapt out of bed and saw a Zeppelin falling in flames. The thought of brave men dying in agony was what caused the triumph in the street. Colette's love was in that moment a refuge to me, not from cruelty itself, which was un-escapable, but from the agonising pain of realising that that is what men are. I remember a Sunday which we spent walking on the South Downs. At evening we came to Lewes Station to take the train back to London. The station was crowded with soldiers, most of them going back to the Front, almost all of them drunk, half of them accompanied by drunken prostitutes, the other half by wives or sweethearts, all despairing, all reckless, all mad. The harshness and horror of the war world overcame me, but I clung to Colette. In a world of hate, she preserved love, love in every sense of the word from the most ordinary to the most profound, and she had a quality of rock-like immovability, which in those days was invaluable.

1 Some of my letters to Lady Ottoline, written during the early years of the War and reflecting the state of my mind at that time, are to be found on pages 276-82,285-8 and 293-4.

After the night in which the Zeppelin fell I left her in the early morning to return to my brother's house in Gordon Square where I was living. I met on the way an old man selling flowers, who was calling out: 'Sweet lovely roses!' I bought a bunch of roses, paid him for them, and told him to deliver them in Bernard Street. Everyone would suppose that he would have kept the money and not delivered the roses, but it was not so, and I knew it would not be so. The words, 'Sweet lovely roses', were ever since a sort of refrain to all my thoughts of Colette.

We went for a three days' honeymoon (I could not spare more from work) to the 'Cat and Fiddle' on the moors above Buxton. It was bitterly cold and the water in my jug was frozen in the morning. But the bleak moors suited our mood. They were stark, but gave a sense of vast freedom. We spent our days in long walks and our nights in an emotion that held all the pain of the world in solution, but distilled from it an ecstasy that seemed almost more than human.

I did not know in the first days how serious was my love for Colette. I had got used to thinking that all my serious feelings were gives to Ottoline, Colette was so much younger, so much less of a personage, so much more capable of frivolous pleasures, that I could not believe in my own feelings, and half supposed that I was having a light affair with her. At Christmas I went to stay at Garsington, where there was a large party. Keynes was there, and read the marriage service over two dogs, ending, 'Whom man hath joined, let not dog put asunder.' Lytton Strachey was there and read us the manuscript of Eminent Victorians. Katherine Mansfield and Middleton Murry were also there. I had just met them before, but it was at this time that I got to know her well. I do not know whether my impression of her was just, but it was quite different from other people's. Her talk was marvellous, much better than her writing, especially when she was telling of things that she was going to write, but when she spoke about people she was envious, dark, and full of alarming penetration in discovering what they least wished known and whatever was bad in their characteristics.1 She hated Ottoline because Murry did not. It had become clear to me that I must get over the feeling that I had had for Ottoline, as she no longer returned it sufficiently to give me any happiness. I listened to all that Katherine Mansfield had to say against her; in the end I believed very little of it, but I had become able to think of Ottoline as a friend rather than a lover. After this I saw no more of Katherine, but was able to allow my feeling for Colette free scope.

1 See also my letter to Lady Ottoline on page 277.

The time during which I listened to Katherine was a time of dangerous transition. The War had brought me to the verge of utter cynicism, and I was having the greatest difficulty in believing that anything at all was worth doing. Sometimes I would have fits of such despair as to spend a number of successive days sitting completely idle in my chair with no occupation except to read Ecclesiastes occasionally. But at the end of this time the spring came, and I found myself free of the doubts and hesitations that had troubled me in relation to Colette. At the height of my winter despair, however, I had found one thing to do, which turned out as useless as everything else, but seemed to me at the moment not without value. America being still neutral, I wrote an open letter to President Wilson, appealing to him to save the world. In this letter I said:


You have an opportunity of performing a signal service to mankind, surpassing even the service of Abraham Lincoln, great as that was. It is in your power to bring the war to an end by a just peace, which shall do all that could possibly be done to allay the fear of new wars in the near future. It is not yet too late to save European civilisation from destruction; but it may be too late if the war is allowed to continue for the further two or three years with which our militarists threaten us.

The military situation has now developed to the point where the ultimate issue is clear, in its broad outlines, to all who are capable of thought. It must be obvious to the authorities in all the belligerent countries that no victory for either side is possible. In Europe, the Germans have the advantage; outside Europe, and at sea, the Allies have the advantage. Neither side is able to win such a crushing victory as to compel the other to sue for peace. The war inflicts untold injuries upon the nations, but not such injuries as to make a continuance of fighting impossible. It is evident that however the war may be prolonged, negotiations will ultimately have to take place on the basis of what will be substantially the present balance of gains and losses, and will result in terms not very different from those which might be obtained now. The German Government has recognised this fact, and has expressed its willingness for peace on terms which ought to be regarded at least as affording a basis for discussion, since they concede the points which involve the honour of the Allies. The Allied Governments have not had the courage to acknowledge publicly what they cannot deny in private, that the hope of a sweeping victory is one which can now scarcely be entertained. For want of this courage, they are prepared to involve Europe in the horrors of a continuance of the war, possibly for another two or three years. This situation is intolerable to every humane man. You, Sir, can put an end to it. Your power constitutes an opportunity and a responsibility; and from your previous actions I feel confident that you will use your power with a degree of wisdom and humanity rarely to be found among statesmen.

The harm which has already been done in this war is immeasurable. Not only have millions of valuable lives been lost, not only have an even greater number of men been maimed or shattered in health, but the whole standard of civilisation has been lowered. Fear has invaded men's inmost being, and with fear has come the ferocity that always attends it. Hatred has become the rule of life, and injury to others is more desired than benefit to ourselves. The hopes of peaceful progress in which our earlier years were passed are dead, and can never be revived. Terror and savagery have become the very air we breathe. The liberties which our ancestors won by centuries of struggle were sacrificed in a day, and all the nations are regimented to the one ghastly end of mutual destruction.

But all this is as nothing in comparison with what the future has in store for us if the war continues as long as the announcements of some of our leading men would make us expect. As the stress increases, and weariness of the war makes average men more restive, the severity of repression has to be continually augmented. In all the belligerent countries, soldiers who are wounded or home on leave express an utter loathing of the trenches, a despair of ever achieving a military decision, and a terrible longing for peace.'Our militarists have successfully opposed the granting of votes to soldiers; yet in all the countries an attempt is made to persuade the civilian population that war-weariness is confined to the enemy soldiers. The daily toll of young lives destroyed becomes a horror almost too terrible to be borne; yet everywhere, advocacy of peace is rebuked as treachery to the soldiers, though the soldiers above all men desire peace. Everywhere, friends of peace are met with the diabolical argument that the brave men who have died must not have shed their blood in vain. And so every impulse of mercy towards the soldiers who are still living is dried up and withered by a false and barren loyalty to those who are past our help. Even the men hitherto retained for making munitions, for dock labour, and for other purposes essential to the prosecution of the war, are gradually being drafted into the armies and replaced oy women, with the sinister threat of coloured labour in the background. There is a very real danger that, if nothing is done to check the fury of national passion, European civilisation as we have known it will perish as completely as it perished when Rome fell before the Barbarians.

It may be thought strange that public opinion should appear to support all that is being done by the authorities for the prosecution of the war, But this appearance is very largely deceptive. The continuance of the war is actively advocated by influential persons, and by the Press, which is everywhere under the control of the Government. In other sections of Society feeling is quite different from that expressed by the newspapers, but public opinion remains silent and uninformed, since those who might give guidance are subject to such severe penalties that few dare to protest openly, and those few cannot obtain a wide publicity. From considerable personal experience, reinforced by all that I can leam from others, I believe that the desire for peace is almost universal, not only among the soldiers, but throughout the wage-earning classes, and especially in industrial districts, in spite of high wages and steady employment. If a plebiscite of the nation were taken on the question whether negotiations should be initiated, I am confident that an overwhelming majority would be in favour of this course, and that the same is true of France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary.

Such acquiescence as there is in continued hostilities is due entirely to fear. Every nation believes that its enemies were the aggressors, and may make war again in a few years unless they are utterly defeated. The United States Government has the power, not only to compel the European Governments to make peace, but also to reassure the populations by making itself the guarantor of the peace. Such action, even If it were resented by the Governments, would be hailed with joy by the populations. If the German Government, as now seems likely, would not only restore conquered territory, but also give its adherence to the League to Enforce Peace or some similar method of settling disputes without war, fear would be allayed, and it is almost certain that an offer of mediation from you would give rise to an irresistible movement in favour of negotiations. But the deadlock is such that no near end to the war is likely except through the mediation of an outside Power, and such mediation can only come from you.

Some may ask by what right I address you. I have no formal title; I am not any part of the machinery of government. I speak only because I must; because others, who should have remembered civilisation and human brotherhood, have allowed themselves to be swept away by national passion; because I am compelled by their apostacy to speak in the name of reason and mercy, lest it should be thought that no one in Europe remembers the work which Europe has done and ought still to do for mankind. It is to the European races, in Europe and out of it, that the world owes most of what it possesses in thought, in science, in art, in ideals of government, in hope for the future. If they are allowed to destroy each other in futile carnage, something will be lost which is more precious than diplomatic prestige, incomparably more valuable than a sterile victory which leaves the victors themselves perishing. Like the rest of my countrymen I have desired ardently the victory of the Allies; like them, I have suffered when victory has been delayed. But I remember always that Europe has common tasks to fulfil; that a war among European nations is in essence a civil war; that the ill which we think of our enemies they equally think of us; and that it is difficult in time of war for a belligerent to see facts truly. Above all, I see that none of the issues in the war are as important as peace; the harm done by a peace which does not concede all that we desire is as nothing in comparison to the harm done by the continuance of the fighting. While all who have power in Europe speak for what they falsely believe to be the interests of their separate nations, I am compelled by a profound conviction to speak for all the nations in the name of Europe. In the name of Europe I appeal to you to bring us peace.

The censorship in those days made it difficult to transmit a document of this sort, but Helen Dudley's sister, Katherine, who had been visiting her, undertook to take it back with her to America. She found an ingenious method of concealing it, and duly delivered it to a committee of American pacifists through whom it was published in almost every newspaper in America. As will be seen in this account, I thought, as most people did at that time, that the War could not end in a victory for either party. This would no doubt have been true if America had remained neutral.

From the middle of 1916 until I went to prison in May 1918, I was very busy indeed with die affairs of the No Conscription Fellowship. My times with Colette were such as could be snatched from pacifist work, and were largely connected with the work itself. Clifford Allen would be periodically let out of prison for a few days, to be court-martialled again as soon as it became clear that he still refused to obey military orders. We used to go together to his courts-martial.

When the Kerensky Revolution came, a great meeting of sympathisers with it was held in Leeds. I spoke at this meeting, and Colette and her husband were at it. We travelled up in the train with Ramsay MacDonald, who spent the time telling long stories of pawky Scotch humour so dull that it was almost impossible to be aware when the point had been reached. It was decided at Leeds to attempt to form organisations in the various districts of England and Scotland with a view to promoting workers' and soldiers' councils on the Russian model. In London a meeting for this purpose was held at the Brotherhood Church in Southgate Road. Patriotic newspapers distributed leaflets in all the neighbouring public houses (the district is a very poor one) saying that we were in communication with the Germans and signalled to their aeroplanes as to where to drop bombs. This made us somewhat unpopular in the neighbourhood, and a mob presently besieged the church. Most of us believed that resistance would be either wicked or unwise, since some of us were complete non-resisters, and others realised that we were too few to resist the whole surrounding slum population. A few people, among them Francis Meynell, attempted resistance, and I remember his returning from the door with his face streaming with blood. The mob burst in led by a few officers; all except the officers were more or less drunk. The fiercest were viragos who used wooden boards full of rusty nails. An attempt was made by the officers to induce the women among us to retire first so that they might deal as they thought fit with the pacifist men, whom they supposed to be all cowards. Mrs Snowden behaved on this occasion in a very admirable manner. She refused point-blank to leave the hall unless the men were allowed to leave at the same time. The other women present agreed with her. This rather upset the officers in charge of the roughs, as they did not particularly wish to assault women. But by this time the mob had its blood up, and pandemonium broke loose. Everybody had to escape as best they could while the police looked on calmly. Two of the drunken viragos began to attack me with their boards full of nails. While I was wondering how one defended oneself against this type of attack, one of the ladies among us went up to the police and suggested that they should defend me. The police, however, merely shrugged their shoulders. 'But he is an eminent philosopher', said the lady, and the police still shrugged. 'But he is famous all over the world as a man of learning', she continued. The police remained unmoved. 'But he is the brother of an earl', she finally cried. At this, the police rushed to my assistance. They were, however, too late to Be of any service, and I owe my life to a young woman whom I did not know, who interposed herself between me and the viragos long enough for me to make my escape. She, I am happy to say, was not attacked. But quite a number of people, including several women, had their clothes torn off their backs as they left the building. Colette was present on this occasion, but there was a heaving mob between me and her, and I was unable to reach her until we were both outside. We went home together in a mood of deep dejection.

The clergyman to whom the Brotherhood Church belonged was a pacifist of remarkable courage. In spite of this experience, he invited me on a subsequent occasion to give an address in his church. On this occasion, however, the mob set fire to the pulpit and the address was not delivered. These were the only occasions on which I came across personal violence; all my other meetings were undisturbed. But such is the power of Press propaganda that my non-pacifist friends came to me and said: 'Why do you go on trying to address meetings when all of them are broken up by the mob?'

By this time my relations with the Government had become very bad. In 1916, I wrote a leaflet1 which was published by the No Conscription Fellowship about a conscientious objector who had been sentenced to imprisonment in defiance of the conscience clause. The leaflet appeared without my name on it, and I found rather to my surprise, that those who distributed it were sent to prison. I therefore wrote to The Times to state that I was the author of it. I was prosecuted at the Mansion House before the Lord Mayor, and made a long speech in my own defence. On this occasion I was fined £100. I did not pay the sum, so that my goods at Cambridge were sold to a sufficient amount to realise the fine. Kind friends, however, bought them in and gave them back to me, so that I felt my protest had been somewhat futile. At Trinity, meanwhile, all the younger Fellows had obtained commissions, and the older men naturally wished to do their bit. They therefore deprived me of my lectureship. When the younger men came back at the end of the War I was invited to return, but by this time I had no longer any wish to do so.

1 The fall test will be found on pages 289-90.

Munition workers, oddly enough, tended to be pacifists. My speeches to munition workers in South Wales, all of which were inaccurately reported by detectives, caused the War Office to issue an order that I should not be allowed In any prohibited area.1 The prohibited areas were those into which it was particularly desired that no spies should penetrate. They included the whole sea-coast. Representations induced the War Office to state that they did not suppose me to be a German spy, but nevertheless I was not allowed to go anywhere near the sea for fear I should signal to the submarines. At the moment when the order was issued I had gone up to London for the day from Bosham in Sussex, where I was staying with the Eliots. I had to get them to bring up my brush and comb and tooth-brush, because the Government objected to my fetching them myself. But for these various compliments on the part of the Government, I should have thrown up pacifist work, as I had become persuaded that it was entirely futile. Perceiving, however, that the Government thought otherwise, I supposed I might be mistaken, and continued. Apart from the question whether I was doing any good, I could not well stop when fear of consequences might have seemed to be my motive.

1 See my statement concerning my meeting with General Cockerill of the War Office on page 300.

At the time, however, of the crime for which I went to prison, I had finally decided that there was nothing further to be done, and my brother had caused the Government to know my decision. There was a little weekly newspaper called The Tribunal, issued by the No Conscription Fellowship, and I used to write weekly articles for it. After I had ceased to be editor, the new editor, being ill one week, asked me at the last moment to write the weekly article. I did so, and in it I said that American soldiers would be employed as strike-breakers in England, an occupation to which they were accustomed when in their own country.2 This statement was supported by a Senate Report which I quoted. I was sentenced for this to six months' imprisonment. All this, however, was by no means unpleasant. It kept my self-respect alive, and gave me something to think about less painful than the universal destruction. By the intervention of Arthur Balfour, I was placed in the first division, so that while in prison I was able to read and write as much as I liked, provided I did no pacifist propaganda. I found prison in many ways quite agreeable. I had no engagements, no difficult decisions to make, no fear of callers, no interruptions to my work. I read enormously; I wrote a book, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, a semi-popular version of The Principles of Mathematics, and began the work for Analysis of Mind. I was rather interested in my fellow-prisoners, who seemed to me in no way morally inferior to the rest of the population, though they were on the whole slightly below the usual level of intelligence, as was shown by their having been caught. For anybody not in the first division, especially for a person accustomed to reading and writing, prison is a severe and terrible punishment; but for me, thanks to Arthur Balfour, this was not so. I owe him gratitude for his intervention although I was bitterly opposed to all his policies. I was much cheered, on my arrival, by the warder at the gate, who had to take particulars about me. He asked my religion and I replied 'agnostic'. He asked how to spell it, and remarked with a sigh: 'Well, there are many religions, but I suppose they all worship the same God.' This remark kept me cheerful for about a week. One time, when I was reading Strachey's Eminent Victorians, I laughed so loud that the warder came round to stop me, saying I must remember that prison was a place of punishment. On another occasion Arthur Waley, the translator of Chinese poetry, sent me a translated poem that he had not yet published called 'The Red Cockatoo'.1 It is as follows:

2 The full text is reproduced on pages 308-10.1 Now included in Chinese Poems (London- George Allen & Unwin Ltd).

Sent as a present from Annam -

A red cockatoo.

Coloured like the peach-tree blossom,

Speaking with the speech of men.

And they did to it what is always done

To the learned and eloquent

They took a cage with stout bars

And shut it up inside.

I had visits once a week, always of course in the presence of a warder, but nevertheless very cheering. Ottoline and Colette used to come alternately, bringing two other people with them. I discovered a method of smuggling out letters by enclosing them in the uncut pages of books. I could not, of course, explain the method in the presence of the warder, so I practised it first by giving Ottoline the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, and telling her that it was more interesting than it seemed. Before I invented this device, I found another by which I could incorporate love-letters to Colette into letters which were read by the Governor of the prison. I professed to be reading French Revolutionary Memoirs, and to have discovered letters from die Girondin Buzot to Madame Roland. I concocted letters in French, saying that I had copied them out of a book. His circumstances were sufficiently similar to my own to make it possible to give verisimilitude to these letters. In any case, I suspect that the Governor did not know French, but would not confess ignorance.

The prison was full of Germans, some of them very intelligent. When I once published a review of a book about Kant, several of them came up to me and argued warmly about my interpretation of that philosopher. During part of my time, Litvinov was in the same prison, but I was not allowed any opportunity of speaking to him, though I used to see him in the distance.

Some of my moods in prison are illustrated by the following extracts from letters to my brother, all of which had to be such as to be passed by the Governor of the prison:

(May 6,1918) ... 'Life here is just like life on an Ocean Liner; one is cooped up with a number of average human beings, unable to escape except into one's own state-room. I see no sign that they are worse than the average, except that they probably have less will-power, if one can judge by their faces, which is all I have to go by. That applies to debtors chiefly. The only real hardship of life here is not seeing one's friends. It was a great delight seeing you the other day. Next time you come, I hope you will bring two others - I think you and Elizabeth both have the list. I am anxious to see as much of my friends as possible. You seemed to think I should grow indifferent on that point but I am certain you were wrong. Seeing the people I am fond of is not a thing I should grow indifferent to, though thinking of them is a great satisfaction. I find it comforting to go over in my mind all sorts of occasions when things have been to my liking.

'Impatience and lack of tobacco do not as yet trouble me as much as I expected, but no doubt they will later. The holiday from responsibility is really delightful, so delightful that it almost outweighs everything else. Here I have not a care in the world: the rest to nerves and will is heavenly. One is free from the torturing question: What more might I be doing? Is there any effective action that I haven't thought of? Have I a right to let the whole thing go and return to philosophy? Here, I have to let the whole thing go, which is far more restful than choosing to let it go and doubting if one's choice is justified. Prison has some of the advantages of the Catholic Church ...'

(May 27, 1918) ... 'Tell Lady Ottoline I have been reading the two books on the Amazon: Tomlinson I loved; Bates bores me while I am reading him, but leaves pictures in my mind which I am glad of afterwards. Tomlinson owes much to Heart of Darkness. The contrast with Bates is remarkable: one sees how our generation, in comparison, is a little mad, because it has allowed itself glimpses of the truth, and the truth is spectral, insane, ghastly: the more men see of it, the less mental health they retain. The Victorians (dear souls) were sane and successful because they never came anywhere near truth. But for my part I would rather be mad with truth than sane with lies...'

(June 10,1918) ... 'Being here in these conditions is not as disagreeable as the time I spent as attache 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 there were almost all going into the Army or the Church, so they were at a much lower moral level than the average...

(July 8, 1918) ... 'I am not fretting at all, on the contrary. At first I thought a good deal about my own concerns, but not (I think) more than was reasonable; now I hardly ever think about them, as I have done all I can. I read a great deal, and think about philosophy quite fruitfully. It is odd and irrational, but the fact is my spirits depend on the military situation as much as anything: when die Allies do well I feel cheerful, when they do badly, I worry over all sorts of things that seem quite remote from the War ...'

(July 22, 1918) ... 'I have been reading about Mirabeau. His death is amusing. As he was dying he said "Ah! si j'eusse vécu, que j'eusse donne de chagrin à ce Pitt!" which I prefer to Pitt's words (except in Dizzy's version). They were not however quite the last words Mirabeau uttered. He went on: "Il ne reste plus qu'une chose à faire: c'est de se parfumer, de se couronner de fleurs et de s'environner de musique, afin d'entrer agréablement dans ce sommeil dont on ne se réveille plus. Legrain, qu'on se prepare a me raser, a faire ma toilette toute entière." Then, turning to a friend who was sobbing, "Eh bien! êtes-vous content, mon cher connoisseur en belles morts?" At last, hearing some guns fired, "Sont-ce déjà les funérailles d'Achille?" After that, apparently, he held his tongue, thinking, I suppose, that any further remark would be an anticlimax. He illustrates the thesis I was maintaining to you last Wednesday, that all unusual energy is inspired by an unusual degree of vanity. There is just one other motive: love of power. Philip II of Spain and Sidney Webb of Grosvenor Road are not remarkable for vanity.'

There was only one thing that made me mind being in prison, and that was connected with Colette. Exactly a year after I had fallen in love with her, she fell in love with someone else, though she did not wish it to make any difference in her relations with me. I, however, was bitterly Jealous.1 I had the worst opinion of him, not wholly without reason. We had violent quarrels, and things were never again quite the same between us. While I was in prison, I was tormented by jealousy the whole time, and driven wild by the sense of impotence. I did not think myself justified in feeling jealousy, which I regarded as an abominable emotion, but none the less it consumed me. when I first had occasion to feel it, it kept me awake almost the whole of every night for a fortnight, and at the end I only got sleep by getting a doctor to prescribe sleeping-draughts. I recognise now that the emotion was wholly foolish, and that Colette's feeling for me was sufficiently serious to persist through any number of minor affairs. But I suspect that the philosophical attitude which I am now able to maintain in such matters is due less to philosophy than to physiological decay. The fact was, of course, that she was very young, and could not live continually in the atmosphere of high seriousness in which I lived in those days. But although I know this now, I allowed jealousy to lead me to denounce her with great violence, with the natural result that her feelings towards me were considerably chilled. We remained lovers until 1920, but we never recaptured the perfection of the first year.

1 Later I recognised the fact that my feeling sprang not only from jealousy, but also, as is often the case in so deeply serious a relationship as I felt ours to be, from a sense both of collaboration broken and, as happened so often and in so many ways during these years, of the sanctuary defiled.

I came out of prison in September 1918, when it was already clear that the War was ending. During the last weeks, in common with most other people, I based my hopes upon Woodrow Wilson, The end of the War was so swift and dramatic that no one had time to adjust feelings to changed circumstances. I learned on the morning of November 11th, a few hours in advance of the general public, that the Armistice was coming. I went out into the street, and told a Belgian soldier, who said: ' Tiens, c'est chic!' I went into a tobacconist's and told the lady who served me. 'I am glad of that', she said, 'because now we shall be able to get rid of the interned Germans.' At eleven o'clock, when the Armistice was announced, I was in Tottenham Court Road. Within two minutes everybody in all the shops and offices had come into the street. They commandeered the buses, and made them go where they liked. I saw a man and woman, complete strangers to each other, meet in the middle of the road and kiss as they passed.

Late into the night I stayed alone in the streets, watching the temper of the crowd, as I had done in the August days four years before. The crowd was frivolous still, and had learned nothing during the period of horror, except to snatch at pleasure more recklessly than before. I felt strangely solitary amid the rejoicings, like a ghost dropped by accident from some other planet. True, I rejoiced also, but I could find nothing in common between my rejoicing and that of the crowd. Throughout my life I have longed to feel that oneness with large bodies of human beings that is experienced by the members of enthusiastic crowds. The longing has often been strong enough to lead me into self-deception. I have imagined myself in turn a Liberal, a Socialist, or a Pacifist, but I have never been any of these things, in any profound sense. Always the sceptical intellect, when I have most wished it silent, has whispered doubts to me, has cut me off from the facile enthusiasms of others, and has transported me into a desolate solitude. During the War, while I worked with Quakers, non-resisters, and socialists, while I was willing to accept the unpopularity and the inconvenience belonging to unpopular opinions, I would tell the Quakers that I thought many ware in history had been justified, and the socialists that I dreaded the tyranny of the State, They would look askance at me, and while continuing to accept my help would feel that I was not one of them. Underlying all occupations and all pleasures I have felt since early youth the pain of solitude. I have escaped it most nearly in moments of love, yet even there, on reflection, I have found that the escape depended partly upon illusion.1 I have known no woman to whom the claims of intellect were as absolute as they are to me, and wherever intellect intervened, I have found that the sympathy I sought in love was apt to fail. What Spinoza calls 'the intellectual love of God' has seemed to me the best thing to live by, but I have not had even the somewhat abstract God that Spinoza allowed himself to whom to attach my intellectual love. I have loved a ghost, and in loving a ghost my inmost self has itself become spectral. I have therefore buried it deeper and deeper beneath layers of cheerfulness, affection, and joy of life. But my most profound feelings have remained always solitary and have found in human things no companionship. The sea, the stars, the night wind in waste places, mean more to me than even the human beings I love best, and I am conscious that human affection is to me at bottom an attempt to escape from the vain search for God.

1 This and what follows is no longer true (1967).

The War of 1914-18 changed everything for me. I ceased to be academic and took to writing a new kind of books. I changed my whole conception of human nature. I became for the first time deeply convinced that Puritanism does not make for human happiness. Through the spectacle of death I acquired a new love for what is living. I became convinced that most human beings are possessed by a profound unhappiness venting itself in destructive rages, and that only through the diffusion of instinctive joy can a good world be brought into being. I saw that reformers and reactionaries alike in our present world have become distorted by cruelties. I grew suspicious of all purposes demanding stern discipline. Being in opposition to the whole purpose of the community, and finding all the everyday virtues used as means for the slaughter of Germans, I experienced great difficulty in not becoming a complete Antinomian. But I was saved from this by the profound compassion which I felt for the sorrows of the world. I lost old friends and made new ones. I came to know some few people whom I could deeply admire, first among whom I should place E. D. Morel. I got to know him in the first days of the War, and saw him frequently until he and I were in prison. He had single-minded devotion to the truthful presentation of facts. Having begun by exposing the iniquities of the Belgians in the Congo, he had difficulty in accepting the myth of 'gallant little Belgium'. Having studied minutely the diplomacy of the French and Sir Edward Grey in regard to Morocco, he could not view the Germans as the sole sinners. With untiring energy and immense ability in the face of all the obstacles of propaganda and censorship, he did what he could to enlighten the British nation as to the true purposes for which the Government was driving the young men to the shambles. More than any other opponent of the War, he was attacked by politicians and the press, and of those who had heard his name ninety-nine per cent believed him to be in the pay of the Kaiser. At last he was sent to prison for the purely technical offence of having employed Miss Sidgwick, instead of the post, for the purpose of sending a letter and some documents to Remain Rolland. He was not, like me, in the first division, and he suffered an injury to his health from which he never recovered. In spite of all this, his courage never failed. He often stayed up late at night to comfort Ramsay MacDonald, who frequently got 'cold feet', but when MacDonald came to form a government, he could not think of including anyone so tainted with pro-Germanism as Morel. Morel felt his ingratitude deeply, and shortly afterwards died of heart disease, acquired from the hardships of prison life.

There were some among the Quakers whom I admired very greatly, in spite of a very different outlook, I might take as typical of these the treasurer of the No Conscription Fellowship, Mr Grubb. He was, when I first knew him, a man of seventy, very quiet, very averse from publicity, and very immovable. He took what came without any visible sign of emotion. He acted on behalf of the young men in prison with a complete absence of even the faintest trace of self-seeking. When he and a number of others were being prosecuted for a pacifist publication, my brother was in court listening to his cross-examination. My brother, though not a pacifist, was impressed by the man's character and integrity. He was sitting next to Matthews, the Public Prosecutor, who was a friend of his. When the Public Prosecutor sat down at the end of his cross-examination of Mr Grubb, my brother whispered to him: 'Really, Matthews, the role of Torquemada does not suit you!' My brother's remark so angered Matthews that he would never speak to him again.

One of the most curious incidents of the War, so far as I was concerned, was a summons to the War Office to be kindly reasoned with. Several Red Tabs with the most charming manners and the most friendly attitude, besought me to acquire a sense of humour, for they held that no one with a sense of humour would give utterance to unpopular opinions. They failed, however, and afterwards I regretted that I had not replied that I held my sides with laughter every morning as I read the casualty figures.

When the War was over, I saw that all I had done had been totally useless except to myself. I had not saved a single life or shortened the War by a minute. I had not succeeded in doing anything to diminish the bitterness which caused the Treaty of Versailles. But at any rate I had not been an accomplice in the crime of all the belligerent nations, and for myself I had acquired a new philosophy and a new youth. I had got rid of the don and the Puritan. I had learned an understanding of instinctive processes which I had not possessed before, and I had acquired a certain poise from having stood so long alone. In the days of the Armistice men had high hopes of Wilson. Other men found their inspiration in Bolshevik Russia. But when I found that neither of these sources of optimism was available for me, I was nevertheless able not to despair. It is my deliberate expectation that the worst is to come,1 but I do nor on that account cease to believe that men and women will ultimately learn the simple secret of instinctive joy.

1 This passage was written in 1931.


From Norbert Wiener

Bühlstr. 28 Göttingen Germany [c. June or July, 1914]

My dear Mr Russell

At present I am studying here in Göttingen, following your advice. I am hearing a course on the Theory of Groups with Landau, a course on Differential Equations with Hilbert (I know it has precious little to do with Philosophy but I wanted to hear Hilbert), and three courses with Husserl, one on Kant's ethical writings, one on the principles of Ethics, and the seminary on Phenomenology. I must confess that the intellectual contortions through which one must go before one finds oneself in the true Phenomenological attitude are utterly beyond me. The applications of Phenomenology to Mathematics, and the claims of Husserl that no adequate account can be given of the foundations of Mathematics without starting out from Phenomenology seem to me absurd.

Symbolic logic stands in little favour in Göttingen. As usual, the Mathematicians will have nothing to do with anything so philosophical as logic, while the philosophers will have nothing to do with anything so mathematical as symbols. For this reason, I have not done much original work this term: it is disheartening to try to do original work where you know that not a person with whom you talk about it will understand a word you say.

During the Pfingsten holidays, I called on Frege up at Brunnshaupten in Mecklenburg, where he spends his holidays. I had several interesting talks with him about your work.

A topic which has interested me of late is the question whether one can obtain a simpler set of postulates for Geometry by taking the convex solid & relations between convex solids as indefinable, and defining points as you define instants. I have obtained five or six sets of definitions of the fundamental Geometrical concepts in this manner, but I am utterly at a loss for a method to simplify the postulates of Geometry in this manner: e.g. the triangle-transversal postulate offers almost insuperable difficulties if one attempts to simplify it by resolving it into a proposition about arbitrary convex surfaces.

I thank you very much for your interest in my article & discovery. I have some material now that might go with my work on sensation-intensities to make a new article: I would like to ask you what I should do with it. It is an extension of my work on time to polyadic relations having some of the properties of series: for example, to the 'between' relation among the points of a given straight line ...1

1 The central part of this letter has been omitted as being too technical for general interest.

I herewith send you my reprints, and offer my apologies to you for not having sent them sooner. The reason is this: I sent all of my articles destined for distribution in America to father, with directions to 'sow them where they would take root'. Father probably imagined that I had sent your copies to you direct.

I am very glad to hear that you had such an enjoyable time with us, and I shall certainly spend next year studying under you in Cambridge. I am just beginning to realise what my work under you there has ment [sic] for me.

Yours very respectfully Norbert Wiener

To the London Nation for August 15, 1914


Against the vast majority of my countrymen, even at this moment, in the name of humanity and civilisation, I protest against our share in the destruction of Germany.

A month ago Europe was a peaceful comity of nations; if an Englishman killed a German, he was hanged. Now, if an Englishman kills a German, or if a German kills an Englishman, he is a patriot, who has deserved well of his country. We scan the newspapers with greedy eyes for news of slaughter, and rejoice when we read of innocent young men, blindly obedient to the word of command, mown down in thousands by the machine-guns of Liège. Those who saw the London crowds, during the nights leading up to the Declaration of War, saw a whole population, hitherto peaceable and humane, precipitated in a few days down the steep slope to primitive barbarism, letting loose, in a moment, the instincts of hatred and blood lust against which the whole fabric of society has been raised. 'Patriots' in all countries acclaim this brutal orgy as a noble determination to vindicate the right; reason and mercy are swept away in one great flood of hatred; dim abstractions of unimaginable wickedness - Germany to us and the French, Russia to the Germans - conceal the simple fact that the enemy are men, like ourselves, neither better nor worse - men who love their homes and the sunshine, and all the simple pleasures of common lives; men now mad with terror in the thought of their wives, their sisters, their children, exposed, with our help, to the tender mercies of the conquering Cossack.

And all this madness, all this rage, all this flaming death of our civilisation and our hopes, has been brought about because a set of official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly stupid, and all without imagination or heart, have chosen that it should occur rather than that any one of them should suffer some infinitesimal rebuff to his country's pride. No literary tragedy can approach the futile horror of the White Paper. The diplomatists, seeing from the first the inevitable end, mostly wishing to avoid it, yet drifted from hour to hour of the swift crisis, restrained by punctilio from making or accepting the small concessions that might have saved the world, hurried on at last by blind fear to loose the armies for the work of mutual butchery.

And behind the diplomatists, dimly heard in the official documents, stand vast forces of national greed and national hatred - atavistic instincts, harmful to mankind at its present level, but transmitted from savage and half-animal ancestors, concentrated and directed by Governments and the Press, fostered by the upper class as a distraction from social discontent, artificially nourished by the sinister influence of the makers of armaments, encouraged by a whole foul literature of 'glory', and by every text-book of history with which the minds of children are polluted.

England, no more than other nations which participate in this war, can be absolved either as regards its national passions or as regards its diplomacy.

For the past ten years, under the fostering care of the Government and a portion of the Press, a hatred of Germany has been cultivated and a fear of the German Navy. I do not suggest that Germany has been guiltless; I do not deny that the crimes of Germany have been greater than our own. But I do say that whatever defensive measures were necessary should have been taken in a spirit of calm foresight, not in a wholly needless turmoil of panic and suspicion. It is this deliberately created panic and suspicion that produced the public opinion by which our participation in the war has been rendered possible.

Our diplomacy, also, has not been guiltless. Secret arrangements, concealed from Parliament and even (at first) from almost all the Cabinet, created, in spite of reiterated denials, an obligation suddenly revealed when the war fever had reached the point which rendered public opinion tolerant of the discovery that the lives of many, and the livelihood of all, had been pledged by one man's irresponsible decisions. Yet, though France knew our obligations, Sir E. Grey refused, down to the last moment, to inform Germany of the conditions of our neutrality or of our intervention. On August 1st he reports as follows a conversation with the German Ambassador (No. 123):

'He asked me whether, if Germany gave a promise not to violate Belgian neutrality, we would engage to remain neutral. I replied that I could not say that; our hands were still free, and we were considering what oar attitude should be. All I could say was that our attitude would be determined largely by public opinion here, and that the neutrality of Belgium would appeal very strongly to public opinion here. I did not think that we could give a promise of neutrality on that condition alone. The Ambassador pressed me as to whether I could not formulate conditions on which we would remain neutral. He even suggested that the integrity of France and her colonies might be guaranteed. I said I felt obliged to refuse definitely any promise to remain neutral on similar terms, and I could only say that we must keep our hands free.'

It thus appears that the neutrality of Belgium, the integrity of France and her colonies, and the naval defence of the northern and western coasts of France, were all mere pretexts. If Germany had agreed to our demands in all these respects, we should still not have promised neutrality.

I cannot resist the conclusion that the Government has failed in its duty to the nation by not revealing long-standing arrangements with the French, until, at the last moment, it made them the basis of an appeal to honour; that it has failed in its duty to Europe by not declaring its attitude at the beginning of the crisis; and that it has failed in its duty to humanity by not informing Germany of conditions which would insure its non-participation in a war which, whatever its outcome, must cause untold hardship and the loss of many thousands of our bravest and noblest citizens.

Yours, etc. Bertrand Russell

August 12, 1914

From Lord Morley1

1 I wrote to congratulate him on having resigned from the Government on the outbreak of war.

Flowermead Princes Road Wimbledon Park, S.W. Aug. 7. 16 ['14]

Dear Mr Russell

Thank you for telling me that you and I are in accord on this breakdown of right and political wisdom. The approval of a man like you is of real value, and I value it sincerely.

Yours M [Morley]

From C. P. Sanger

Cote Bank Westbury-on-Trym Bristol Friday 7th Aug. 1914

Dear Bertie

It was very kind of you to write. I feel overwhelmed by the Horror of the whole thing. As you know I have always regarded Grey as one of the most wicked and dangerous criminals that has ever disgraced civilisation, but it is awful that a liberal Cabinet should have been parties to engineering a war to destroy Teutonic civilisation in favour of Servians and the Russian autocracy. I pray that the economic disturbance may be so great as to compel peace fkirly soon, but it looks as bad as can be.

Yours fraternally C. P. Sanger

From F. C. S. Schiller

Esher House Esher, Surrey 19/8/14

Dear Russell

I have just read first your admirable letter in the Nation and then the White Book, with special attention to the sequence of events which culminated in the passage you quote from No. 123. As a result I must express to you not only my entire agreement with your sentiments (which are those of every civilised man) but also with your argument. It seems to me clear on his own evidence that Sir E. Grey must bear a large share of the catastrophe, whether he acted as he did consciously or stupidly. He steadily refused to give Germany any assurance of neutrality on any conditions, until he produced a belief that he meant England to fight, and Germany thereupon ran 'amok. But the evidence shows that she was willing to bid high for our neutrality.

First (No. 85) she promised the integrity of France proper and of Belgium (tho leaving her neutrality contingent). When Grey said that wasn't enough (No. 101) and demanded a pledge about Belgian neutrality (No. 114), the German Secretary of State explained, stupidly but apparently honestly, what the difficulty was (No. 122), and said he must consult the Chancellor and Kaiser. This the papers have represented as a refusal to give the pledge, whereas it is obvious that Lichnowsky's conversation with Grey (No, 123) next day was the answer. And I don't see how anything more could have been conceded. Belgian neutrality and the integrity of France and her colonies, with a hint of acceptance of any conditions Grey would impose if only he would state them. Of course, that would have reduced the war with France to a farce, and meant presumably that France would not be (seriously) attacked at all, but only contained. One gets the impression throughout that Germany really wanted to fight Russia and had to take cm France because of the system of alliances. Also that Russia had been goading Austria into desperation, (No. 118 s.f.), was willing to fight, (109,139), was lying, or suspected of lying by Germany (112, 121, 139 p. 72 top of 144). It is sickening to think that this deluge of blood has been let loose, all in order that the tyranny of the Tsar shall be extended over all the world. As regards the question of Grey's good faith, have you noted that the abstract of the despatches gives no hint of the important contents of No. 123? That was presumably the reason why none of the papers at first noticed it. As for the Nation Editor's reply to you, he simply distorts the time order. Lichnowsky's offer to respect Belgian neutrality came after Grey's inquiry and answered it. Grey's answers seem mere 'fencing', and if he had really wanted to be neutral he would surely have said to L's. offers 'are these firm pledges?'. But he did not respond at alL

However it is no use crying over spilt milk, and not much to consider as yet how European civilisation can be saved; I fear this horror will go on long enough to ruin it completely. But I suspect that not much will be left of the potentates, statesmen and diplomats who have brought about this catastrophy, when the suffering millions have borne it 6 months.

Ever sincerely yours F. C. S. Schiller

To and from J. L. Hammond

5 Sept. 1914

Dear Hammond

I am glad Norman Angell is replying and am very satisfied to be displaced by him.

As regards Belgium, there are some questions I should like to ask you, not in a controversial spirit, but because I wish, if possible, to continue to feel some degree of political respect for the Nation, with which in the past I have been in close agreement.

I. Were the Nation ignorant of the fact, known to all who took any interest in military matters, that the Germans, for many years past, had made no secret of their intention to attack France through Belgium in the next war?

II. Did the Nation in former years regard the violation of Belgium, if it should occur, as a just ground for war with Germany?

III. If so, why did they never give the slightest hint of this opinion, or ask the Government to make this view clear to Germany? If the object was to save Belgium, this was an obvious duty.

IV. Why did the Nation in the past protest against Continental entanglements, when the alleged duty of protecting Belgium already involved all the trouble that could arise from an alliance with France and Russia?

It seems to me that in the past, as in the present, the policy of the Nation has been sentimental, in the sense that it has refused to face facts which went against its policy. I do not see, at any rate, how it can be absolved from the charge of either having been thoughtless in the past, or being hysterical now.

If there is an answer, I should be very grateful for it.

Yours sincerely Bertrand Russell

Oatfield 19 Oct. 1914

Dear Russell

Your letter - accusing my handwriting of a certain obscurity - was a great shock, but less than it would have been had I not already received a similar intimation, less tactfully conveyed, from the printers, I had therefore already addressed myself to the painful task of reform, with the result that you see.

My letter was in answer to one from you asking why if the Nation thought we should fight over Belgium it had not let its readers know that this was its opinion, and why if it took this view, it objected to foreign entanglements. (I send your letter as the simplest way.) First of all I must ask you - in justice to the Nation - to distinguish between the Nation and me. I have had no responsibility for the paper's line on foreign policy (or on Armaments) with which I have not associated myself. I agreed with the N. entirely on Persia. I am therefore not quite the right person to answer your questions; but I think the Nation could clear itself of inconsistency.

I. I don't know whether the Nation was aware of this or not. (Personally I was not. I always thought Germany might develop designs on Belgium and Holland and in the last article on Foreign Policy that I wrote in the Speaker I said we could not look idly on if she attacked them.)

2. The Nation drew attention to our obligation to Belgium in April 19123 March 1913, and the week before the war.

3. I imagine that they did not call upon the Government to impress this on Germany because they imagined that it was generally known that an English Government would consider the obligation binding.

4. The Nation argued that the entente with France and Russia made a general war more probable, and that if we were quite independent we could more easily protect Belgium. 'Germany would not violate the neutrality of Belgium for the sake of some small military advantage if she might otherwise reckon on our neutrality' (March 1.1913). They may have been wrong, their general criticisms of Grey may have been right or wrong and their idea that it was possible to build up an Anglo-French-German entente may have been impracticable, but there seems to be no inconsistency in working for that policy for some years and in thinking that it is Germany that has wrecked it. Massingham's view is that Germany 1) would make no concessions during the last fortnight for the Peace of Europe 2) insisted on invading Belgium.

If you say that you think the Nation has not allowed enough for the warlike forces in Germany in the past I agree. I think that has been the mistake of all the Peace people. In his book - in many respects admirable - on The War of Steel and Gold Brailsford was entirely sceptical, predicting that there would never be a great war in Europe again.

Yours J. L. Hammond

From Helen Dudley


Thank you so much for the flowers. They are a great comfort to me and your letter also - I have read it many times. It was terrible the other evening - yet if we had not seen each other it might have been infinitely more terrible - I might have come to feel that I could never see you again. That is all past now -I do understand how it is with you and I feel more than ever that a profound and lasting friendship will be possible -I hope very soon - as soon as I get back my strength. Nothing that has happened makes any difference finally - it was and still is of the very best.

Goodbye now and if one may speak of peace in this distracted world - peace be with you.

H. [Helen Dudley]

To Geo. Turner, Esq.

Trinity College Cambridge 26 April 1915

Dear Sir

I am sorry to say I cannot renew my subscription to the Cambridge Liberal Association, and I do not wish any longer to be a member of it. One of my chief reasons for supporting the Liberal Party was that I thought them less likely than the Unionists to engage in a European war. It turns out that ever since they have been in office they have been engaged in deceiving their supporters, and in secretly pursuing a policy of which the outcome is abhorrent to me. Under these circumstances I can do nothing directly or indirectly to support the present Government.

Yours faithfully Bertrand Russell

The writer of the following letter was a distinguished explorer and soldier. He was in command of the British Expedition to Tibet in 1903-4. He was a very delightful and liberal-minded man, for whom I had a great regard. We travelled together on the 'Mauretanta' in 1914.

From Sir Francis Younghusband

London May 11 1915

My dear Russell

I am so distressed at what you say about feeling a sense of isolation because of your views regarding the war. It should be all the other way round. You ought to be feeling the pride your friends feel in you for your independence and honesty of thought. Vain and conceited cranks may well be abominated by their friends. But unfortunately it is not they who have the sense of isolation which you feel. They are too satisfied with themselves to have any such feelings. It is only men like you would have the feeling.

But do please remember this that your friends admire and are helped by you even though they may not agree. It is everything that at such a time as this you should have said what you thought. For you know more about the Germans and other continental countries than most of us and you have also made a special study of the first principles of action. And in these times it is of the utmost importance and value that there should be men like you by whom the rest of us can test themselves. I knew scarcely anything of Germany until the war came on. And I am by heredity inclined to take the soldier's view. So I approached this question from quite a different standpoint to what you did. I was all the more interested in knowing what you thought, and tried to get my ideas straight and just by yours.

From my own experience of Government action and of military attitudes I should say that it was almost impossible for any one outside the inner Government circle to get a true view at the first start off. The crisis came so suddenly to the outside public. Underneath the surface it had been brewing up but we knew nothing of it - or very little. Then suddenly it breaks and we have to form the best opinion we can. And as regards the military attitude I know from experience how frightfully dangerous it is when you have the physical means of enforcing your own point of view - how apt you are to disregard any one else's. I have seen that with military commanders on campaign and probably I have been pretty bad myself. This it seems to me is what Germany is suffering from. She certainly had accumulated tremendous power and this made her utterly inconsiderate of the feelings and rights of others. And what I take it we have to drive into her is the elementary fact that it does not pay to disregard these rights and feelings - that she must regard them.

Yours very sincerely Francis Younghusband

A specimen typical of many:

Ryde Sept. 20 '15

It may be perfectly true, and happily so, that you are not a Fellow of Trinity, - but your best friends, if you have any, would not deny that you are a silly ass. And not only a silly ass, - but a mean-spirited and lying one at that, - for you have the sublime impertinence and untruthfulness to talk about 'no doubt atrocities have occurred on both sides'. You, together with your friends (?) Pigou, Marshall, Walter G. Bell, A. R. Waller, Conybeare, etc. know perfectly well that to charge the British Army with atrocities is a pernicious lie of which only an English Boche traitor could be guilty, - and your paltry attempt to introduce the Russians stamps you for what you are!

Yours J. Bull

The occasion of the following letter was my taking the chair for Shaw at a meeting to discuss the War:

From G. B. Shaw

10 Adelphi Terrace [London] W.C. 16th October. 1915

Dear Bertrand Russell

You had better talk it over with the Webbs. As far as I am coilcerned, do exactly as the spirit moves you. If you wish to reserve your fire, it is quite easy to open the meeting by simply stating that it is a Fabian meeting, and that the business of the Fabian Society is, within human limits, the dispassionate investigation of social problems, and the search for remedies for social evils; that war is a social problem like other social problems and needs such investigation side by side with recruiting demonstrations and patriotic revivalsj that the subject of this evenings lecture is the psychological side of war; and that you have pleasure in calling upon etc etc etc etc.

I am certainly not going to be obviously politic, conciliatory and bland. I mean to get listened to, and to make the lecture a success; and I also mean to encourage the audience if I can; but I shall do it with as much ostensible defiance of the lightning as possible. The important thing is that the meeting should be good humoured and plucky; for what is really the matter with everybody is funk. In the right key one can say anything: in the wrong key, nothing: the only delicate part of the job is the establishment of the key.

I have no objection on earth to the lines you indicate; and before or after my speech is the same to me. Our job is to make people serious about the war. It is the monstrous triviality of the damned thing, and the vulgar frivolity of what we imagine to be patriotism, that gets at my temper.

Yours ever G.B.S.

P.S. As this will not be delivered until late afternoon (if then) I send it to Webb's.

The occasion of the following letter was my pamphlet on the policy of the Entente, in which I criticised Gilbert Murray's defence of Grey.

To Gilbert Murray

34, Russell Chambers Bury Street, W.C. 28th December 1915

Dear Gilbert

Thank you for your letter. I am very sorry I gave a wrong impression about your connection with the F.O. I certainly thought you had had more to do with them.

I agree with all you say about the future. I have no wish to quarrel with those who stand for liberal ideas, however I may disagree about the war. I thought it necessary to answer you, just as you thought it necessary to write your pamphlet, but I did not mean that there should be anything offensive in my answer; if there was, I am sorry. I feel our friendship still lives in the eternal world, whatever may happen to it here and now. And I too can say God bless you.

Yours ever B. Russell

The following letter should have been included in Volume I [Part I of this edition] had it been available at the time of the publication of Volume I. As it was not, I add it here to other letters from Santayana.

From George Santayana

Queen's Acre Windsor Feb. 8. 1912

Dear Russell

Many thanks for your message, which came this morning in a letter from your brother. I am going to spend Sunday with him at Telegraph House, but expect to go up to Cambridge on Monday or Tuesday of nest week, and count on seeing you. Meantime I have a proposal to make, or rather to renew, to you on behalf of Harvard College. Would it be possible for you to go there nest year, from October 1912 to June 1913, in the capacity of professor of philosophy? Royce is to be taking a holiday, I shall be away, and Palmer will be there only for the first half of the academic year. Perry, Münsterberg, and two or three young psychologists will be alone on hand. What they have in mind is that you should give a course - three hours a week, of which one may be delegated to the assistant which would be provided for you, to read papers, etc. - in logic, and what we call a 'Seminary' or 'Seminar' in anything you liked. It would also be possible for you to give some more popular lectures if you liked, either at Harvard, or at the Lowell Institute in Boston. For the latter there are separate fees, and the salary of a professor is usually $4000 (£800). We hope you will consider this proposal favourably, as there is no one whom the younger school of philosophers in America are more eager to learn of than of you. You would bring new standards of precision and independence of thought which would open their eyes, and probably have the greatest influence on the rising generation of professional philosophers in that country.

There is no particular urgency in receiving your answer, so that you needn't write to me at all, but wait until I see you next week, unless your decision is absolutely clear and unalterable, in which case you might send me a line to Telegraph House. My permanent address is

c/o Brown Shipley & Co. 123 Pall Mall, S.W.

Yours sincerely G. Santayana

P.S. I didn't mean to decline your kind offer to put me up, when I go to Cambridge, but as I am going in the middle of the week, I don't know whether it would be equally convenient for you to do so.

Oxford, May 5th [1915]

I read this about 'war babies' in a Spanish newspaper: 'Kitcnener, in creating an army, has created love. This is a great change In a country where only marriage was known before.'

G. Santayana

[Dec. '17]

The situation is certainly bad from a military point of view, or for those who are angry because the war interferes with their private or political machinations. It may last a long time yet; or else be renewed after a mock peace. But, looking at it all calmly, like a philosopher, I find nothing to be pessimistic about. When I go to Sandford to lunch, which is often, it does my heart good to see so many freshly ploughed fields: England is becoming a cultivated country, instead of being a land of moors and fens, like barbarous North Germany. That alone seems to me more than a compensation for all losses: it is setting the foundations right. As for Russia, I rather like Lenin, (not that fatuous Kerensky!); he has an ideal he is willing to fight for, and it is a profoundly anti-German ideal. If he remains in power, he may yet have to fight the Germans, and it will be with very poisonous gas indeed. Besides, I think their plans at Berlin have profoundly miscarried, and that the Prussian educational-industrial-military domination we were threatened with is undermined at home. Military victory would not now do, because the more peoples they rope in, the more explosives they will be exploding under their own establishment.

As for deaths and loss of capital, I don't much care. The young men killed would grow older if they lived, and then they would be good for nothing; and after being good for nothing for a number of years they would die of catarrh or a bad kidney or the halter or old age - and would that be less horrible? I am willing, almost glad, that the world should be poorer: I only wish the population too could become more sparse: and I am perfectly willing to live on a bread-ticket and a lodging-ticket and be known only by a number instead of a baptismal name, provided all this made an end of living on lies, and really cleared the political air. But I am afraid the catastrophe won't be great enough for that, and that some false arrangement will be patched up - in spite of Lenin - so that we shall be very much as we were before. People are not intelligent. It is very unreasonable to expect them to be so, and that is a fate my philosophy reconciled me to long ago. How else could I have lived for forty years in America?

All this won't interest you, but since it is written I will let it go.

[G. Santayana]

To Ottoline Morrell

[Cambridge] 1915

Did you see in to-day's Morning Post a letter from an American, dated 'Ritz Hotel', expressing his horrified bewilderment to find, in New College Chapel, a tablet inscribed 'Pro Patria', on which are being inscribed the names of New College men who have been killed in the war, among the rest three Germans! He expressed his horror to the verger, who replied 'They died for their country. I knew them - they were very fine men.' It is creditable to New College. The worthy American thinks it necessary to give us a lesson in how to be patriots.

'Elizabeth' [my sister-in-law] expressed regret at the fact that her 5 German nephews in the war are all still alive. She is a true patriot. The American would like her.

I could come to you Tues. & wed. 15th and 16th, if it suited you. I should like to see [D. H.] Lawrence ...

[Cambridge] Sunday evg. [Postmark 10 May '15]

I am feeling the weight of the war much more since I came back here - one is made so terribly aware of the waste when one is here. And Rupert Brooke's death brought it home to me. It is deadly to be here now, with all the usual life stopped. There will be other generations - yet I keep fearing that something of civilisation will be lost for good, as something was lost when Greece perished in just this way. Strange how one values civilisation - more than all one's friends or anything - the slow achievement of men emerging from the brute - it seems the ultimate thing one lives for. I don't live for human happiness, but for some kind of struggling emergence of mind. And here, at most times, that is being helped on - and what has been done is given to new generations, who travel on from where we have stopped. And now it is all arrested, and no one knows if it will start again at anything like the point where it stopped. And all the elderly apostates are overjoyed.

34 Russell Chambers Wed. night [Postmark 27 My. '15]

I am only just realising how Cambridge oppressed me. I feel far more alive here, and far better able to face whatever horrors the time may bring. Cambridge has ceased to be a home and a refuge to me since the war began. I find it unspeakably painful being thought a traitor. Every casual meeting in the Court makes me quiver with sensitive apprehension. One ought to be more hardened.

My Dearest, forgive me that I have been so horrid lately. But really I have had rather a bad time, and I have been haunted by horrors, and I didn't want to speak all that was in my mind until it had subsided, because it was excessive and mad. So I got stiff and dull.

Friday [Postmark 11 Ju '15]

I think I will make friends with the No-Conscription people. The U.D.C. is too mild and troubled with irrelevancies. It will be all right after the war, but not now. I wish good people were not so mild. The non-resistance people I know here are so Sunday-schooly - one feels they don't know the volcanic side of human nature, they have little humour, no intensity of will, nothing of what makes men effective. They would never have denounced the Pharisees or turned out the money-changers. How passionately I long that one could break through the prison walls in one's own nature. I feel now-a-days so much as if some great force for good were imprisoned within me by scepticism and cynicism and lack of faith. But those who have no such restraint always seem ignorant and a little foolish. It all makes one feel very lonely.

I can't make head or tail of Lawrence's philosophy. I dread talking to him about it. It is not sympathetic to me.

July 1915

Lawrence took up my time from morning till 10.30, so I couldn't write yesterday. We had a terrific argument but not a disastrous one. He attacks me for various things that I don't feel to blame about chiefly, in effect, for having a scientific temper and a respect for fact. I will send you his written comments on my syllabus. I shall be glad to know what you think of them. He took me to see a Russian Jew, Kotiliansky, and [Middleton] Murry and Airs Murry [Katherine Mansfield] - they were all sitting together in a bare office high up next door to the Holborn Restaurant, with the windows shut, smoking Russian cigarettes without a moment's intermission, idle and cynical. I thought Murry beastly and the whole atmosphere of the three dead and putrefying.

Then we went to the Zoo - the baboon gave me much cynical satisfaction: he looked long and deliberately at everybody, and then slowly showed his teeth and snarled, with inconceivable hatred and disgust. Swift would have loved him. Then we went up to Hampstead, to the Radfords, where Mrs Lawrence was staying, I was dead tired after the first hour, as we began arguing at once. I told Lawrence that I thought we ought to be independent of each other, at any rate at first, and not try to start a school. When he talks politics he seems to me so wild that I could not formally work with him. I hope he won't be hurt He did not seem to be, as I put it very carefully. He is undisciplined in thought, and mistakes his wishes for facts. He is also muddle-headed. He says 'facts' are quite unimportant, only 'truths' matter. London is a 'fact' not a 'truth'. But he wants London pulled down. I tried to make him see that that would be absurd if London were unimportant, but he kept reiterating that London doesn't really exist, and that he could easily make people see it doesn't, and then they would pull it down. He was so confident of his powers of persuasion that I challenged him to come to Trafalgar Square at once and begin preaching. That brought him to earth and he began to shuffle. His attitude is a little mad and not quite honest, or at least very muddled. He has not learnt the lesson of individual Impotence. And he regards all my attempts to make him acknowledge facts as mere timidity, lack of courage to think boldly, self-indulgence in pessimism. When one gets a glimmer of the facts into his head, as I did at last, he gets discouraged, and says he will go to the South Sea Islands, and bask in the sun with 6 native wives. He is tough work. The trouble with him is a tendency to mad exaggeration.

July 1915 Tuesday

Yes, the day Lawrence was with me was horrid I got filled with despair, and just counting the moments till it was ended. Partly that was due to liver, but not wholly. Lawrence is very like Shelley - just as fine, but with a similar impatience of feet. The revolution he hopes for is just like Shelley's prophecy of banded anarchs Seeing while the people celebrate a feast of love. His psychology of people is amazingly good up to a point, but at a certain point he gets misled by love of violent colouring.

Friday evg. I dined with my Harvard pupil, [T. S.] Eliot, and his bride. I expected her to be terrible, from his mysteriousness; but she was not so bad. She is light, a little vulgar, adventurous, full of life - an artist I think he said, but I should have thought her an actress. He is exquisite and listless; she says she married him to stimulate him, but finds she can't do it. Obviously he married in order to be stimulated. I think she will soon be tired of him. She refuses to go to America to see his people, for fear of submarines. He is ashamed of his marriage, and very grateful if one is kind to her. He is the Miss Sands type of American. [Miss Sands was a highly-cultivated New Englander, a painter and a friend of Henry James and Logan Fearsall Smith.]

Hatch Kingsley Green Haslemere Thurs. nag. [Postmark 9 Sp. '15]

My Darling

I was very glad of your letter this morning - such a dear letter. I wish I could avoid getting unhappy. I can, if I have interests away from you and do not stay on and on in the family atmosphere - but otherwise the feeling of being a mere superfluous ghost, looking on but not participating, grows too strong to be borne. By spending some days in town each week it will be all right. The Lady1 has been explaining the situation to me, and is going to do so further today, as she is taking me out for a picnic, while Mrs Waterlow [her sister] goes to town. She says - and I believe her - that she was unguarded with my brother at first, because she looked upon him as safely married, and therefore suitable as a lover. Suddenly, without consulting her, he wrote and said he was getting divorced. It took her breath away, and rather flattered her; she drifted, said nothing definite, but allowed him tacitly to assume everything. Now she is feeling very worried, because the inexorable moment is coming when his divorce will be absolute and she will have to decide. Her objections to him are the following:

1 'Elizabeth', my brother's third wife.

1. (а) He sleeps with 7 dogs on his bed. She couldn't sleep a wink in such circumstances.2

2. (b) He reads Kipling aloud.

3. (c) He loves Telegraph House, which is hideous.

2 I told her about Josephine's dog biting Napoleon. What Emperors have borne, she may. [Josephine's dog bit Napoleon in the calf on their wedding-night]

I daresay other objections might be found it one searched long enough, they are all three well chosen to appeal to me. She is a flatterer, and has evidently set herself to the task of getting me to be not against her if she breaks with him. But it is an impossible task. I am too fond of my brother, and shall mind his suffering too much, to forgive her inwardly even if she has a perfectly good case. She says she is Still in great uncertainty, but I don't think she will marry him. She would be delighted to go on having him for a lover, but I feel sure he will never agree to that.

I must finish, as must be posted in a moment.

Don't worry about me. It will be all right as long as I don't let my thoughts get too concentrated on what I can't have. I loved the children's picnic, because for once I was not a ghost. I can't enter into the family life when you are present, partly because you absorb my attention, partly because in your presence I am always paralysed with terror, stiff and awkward from the sense of your criticism. I know that some things I do or don't do annoy you, for reasons I don't understand, and it makes it impossible for me to be natural before you, though sometimes it makes me exaggerate the things you hate. But when I am not tired, I can surmount all those things. Owing to being constrained and frightened when I am with you, my vitality doesn't last long at Garsington, and when it is gone I become defenceless against thoughts I want to keep at a distance.

Thursday night [Postmark London, 29 October '15]

My Darling

I was glad to get your letter. I had begun to feel anxious. I am glad Lawrence was so wonderful. I have no doubt he is right to go, but I couldn't desert England. I simply cannot bear to think that England is entering on its autumn of life - it is too much anguish. I will not believe it, and I will believe there is health and vigour in the nation somewhere. It is all hell now, and shame - but I believe the very shame will in the end wake a new spirit. The more England goes down and down, the more profoundly I want to help, and the more I feel tied to England for good or ill. I cannot write of other things, they seem so small in comparison.

Your B.

Wednesday [Postmark Nov. 10, '15]

Eliot had a half holiday yesterday and got home at 3.30. It is quite funny how I have come to love him, as if he were my son. He is becoming much more of a man. He has a profound and quite unselfish devotion to his wife, and she is really very fond of him, but has impulses of cruelty to him from time to time. It is a Dostojevsky type of cruelty, not a straightforward every-day kind. I am every day getting things more right between them, but I can't let than alone at present, and of course I myself get very much interested. She is a person who lives on a knife-edge, and will end as a criminal or a saint - I don't know which yet. She has a perfect capacity for both.

[1915] Wed.

My Darling

I don't know what has come over me lately but I have sunk again into the state of lethargy that I have had at Intervals since the war began. I am sure I ought to live differently, but I have utterly lost all willpower. I want someone to take me in hand and order me about, telling me where to live and what to do and leaving me no self-direction at all. I have never felt quite like that before. It is all mental fatigue I am sure, but it is very intense, and it leaves me with no interest in anything, and not enough energy to get into a better frame of mind by my own efforts. In fact I should fight against anything that might be suggested to do me good. My impulse is just to sit still and brood.

I can't do much till my lectures are over but that won't be long now. If I could get some one like Desmond [MacCarthy] to come to the country with me then and make me walk a lot, I should get better. But everyone is busy and I haven't the energy to arrange things. I don't do any work. I shall have to get to work for Harvard some time but the thought of work is a nightmare. I am sure something ought to be done or I shall go to pieces.

Irene [Cooper Willis] has just been here scolding me about Helen [Dudley] - someone told her the whole story lately - that hasn't made me any more cheerful than I was before. Sense of Sin is one of the things that trouble me at these times. The state of the world is at the bottom of it I think, and the terrible feeling of impotence. I thought I had got over it but it has come back worse than ever. Can you think of anything that would help me? I should be grateful if you could. My existence just now is really too dreadful.

I know now that it is just an illness and it doesn't any longer make me critical of you or of anybody. It is my will that is gone. I have used it too much and it has snapped;

You have enough burdens already - but if you know anyone who could look after me for a while and order me about it would make a difference.

Your B.

Sat. [1916]

I enclose a letter from Captain White. You will see that he feels the same sort of hostility or antagonism to me that Lawrence feels -I think it is a feeling that seems to exist in most of the people with whom I feel in sympathy on the spiritual side - probably the very same thing which has prevented you from caring for me as much as you thought you would at first. I wish you could find out and tell me what it is. It makes one feel very isolated. People with whom I have intellectual sympathy hardly ever have any spiritual life, or at any rate have very little; and the others seem to find the intellectual side of me unbearable. You will think I am lapsing into morbidness again, but that is not so; I simply want to get to the bottom of it so as to understand it; if I can't get over it, it makes it difficult to achieve much.

I had told White I was troubled by the fact that my audiences grow, and that people who ought to be made uncomfortable by my lectures1 are not - notably Mrs Acland [whose husband was in the Government], who sits enjoying herself, with no feeling that what I say is a condemnation of the Government. I thought after my last lecture I would point the moral practically.

1 These lectures afterwards became Principles of Social Reconstruction.

I feel I know very little of what you have been thinking and feeling lately. I have been so busy that my letters have been dull, so I can't complain. But it will be a relief to see you and to find out something of what has been going on in you. Ever since the time when I was at Garsington last, I have been quite happy as far as personal things are concerned. Do you remember that at the time when you were seeing Vittoz [a Swiss physician who treated her] I wrote a lot of stuff about Theory of Knowledge, which Wittgenstein criticised with the greatest severity? His criticism, tho' I don't think you realised it at the time, was an event of first-rate importance in my life, and affected everything I have done since. I saw he was right, and I saw that I could not hope ever again to do fundamental work in philosophy. My impulse was shattered, like a wave dashed to pieces against a breakwater. I became filled with utter despair,2 and tried to turn to you for consolation. But you were occupied with Vittoz and could not give me time. So I took to casual philandering, and that increased my despair. I had to produce lectures for America, but I took a metaphysical subject although I was and am convinced that all fundamental work in philosophy is logical. My reason was that Wittgenstein persuaded me that what wanted doing in logic was too difficult for me. So there was no really vital satisfaction of my philosophical impulse in that work, and philosophy lost its hold on me. That was due to Wittgenstein more than to the war. What the war has done is to give me a new and less difficult ambition, which seems to me quite as good as the old one. My lectures have persuaded me that there is a possible life and activity in the new ambition. So I want to work quietly, and I feel more at peace as regards work than I have ever done since Wittgenstein's onslaught.

2 I soon got over this mood.

From Stanley Unwin

40, Museum Street London, W.C. November 29th, 1915

Dear Sir

I notice with very great interest in the current number of The Cambridge Magazine that you are planning to give a Course of Lectures on 'The Principles of Social Reconstruction'.

If it is your intention that the Lectures should subsequently be published in book form, I hope we may have the pleasure of issuing them for you.

We enclose a prospectus of Towards a Lasting Settlement, a volume in which we know you are interested. We hope to publish the book on December 6th.

Yours faithfully Stanley Unwin

[This was the beginning of my connection with Allen & Unwin.]

From T. S. Eliot

Tuesday [Jan. 1916.]

Dear Bertie

This is wonderfully kind of you - really the last straw (so to speak) of generosity. I am very sorry you have to come back - and Vivien says you have been an angel to her - but of course I shall jump at the opportunity with the utmost gratitude. I am sure you have done everything possible and handled her in the very best way - better than I -I often wonder how things would have turned out but for you -I believe we shall owe her life to you, even.

I shall take the 10.30, and look forward to a talk with you before you go. Mrs Saich1 is expecting you. She has made me very comfortable here.

1 The charwoman at my flat. She said I was 'a very percentric gentleman'. Once when the gasman came and turned out to be a socialist, she said 'he talked just like a gentleman'. She had supposed only 'gentlemen' were socialists. Mrs Eliot was ill and needed a holiday. Eliot at first could not leave London, so I went first with her to Torquay, and Eliot replaced me after a few days.

Affectionately Tom

From Charlotte C. Eliot

4446 Westminster Place May 23rd, 1916

Dear Mr Russell

Your letter relative to a cablegram sent us, was received some little time ago. I write now to thank you for the affection that inspired it. It was natural you should feel as you did with the awful tragedy of the Sussex of such recent occurrence. Mr Eliot did not believe it possible that even the Germans, (a synonym for all that is most frightful,) would attack an American liner. It would be manifestly against their interest. Yet I am aware there is still a possibility of war between Germany and America. The more we learn of German methods, open and secret, the greater is the moral indignation of many Americans. I am glad all our ancestors are English with a French ancestry far back on one line. I am sending Tom copy of a letter written by his Great-great-grandfather in 1811, giving an account of his grandfather (one of them) who was born about 1676 - in the county of Devon, England Christopher Pearse.

I am sure your influence in every way will confirm my son in his choice of Philosophy as a life work. Professor Wood speaks of his thesis as being of exceptional value. I had hoped he would seek a University appointment next year. If he does not I shall feel regret. I have absolute faith in his Philosophy but not in the vers libres.

Tom is very grateful to you for your sympathy and kindness. This gratitude I share.

Sincerely yours Charlotte C. Eliot [T. S. Eliot's mother]

To Lucy Martin Donnelly, Professor of English at Bryn Mawr College

34 Russell Chambers Bury St., W.C. 10 Feb. 1916

My dear Lucy

I was glad to hear from you at Kyoto - as for Continents, there are so far only 3 in which I have written to you - it is your plain duty to go to Africa & Australia in order to complete your collection.

I do hope you will manage to come to England by the Siberian Railway. It would be a great pleasure to see you., & I am sure that I could make you sympathise with the point of view which I & most of my friends take about the war.

You needn't have been afraid about my lectures. Helen [Flexner] wrote me quite a serious remonstrance, which amused me. I should have thought she would have known by this time that social caution in the expression of opinion is not my strong point. If she had known Christ before he delivered the Sermon on the Mount she would have begged him to keep silence for fear of injuring his social position in Nazareth. People who count in the world are oblivious of such things. As a matter of fact, my lectures are a great success - they are a rallying-ground for the intellectuals, who are coming daily more to my way of thinking not only as regards the war but also as regards general politics. All sorts of literary & artistic people who formerly despised politics are being driven to action, as they were in France by the Dreyfus case. In the long run, their action will have a profound effect. It is primarily to them that I am speaking. - I have given up writing on the war because I have said my say & there is nothing new to say. My ambitions are more vast & less immediate than my friends' ambitions for me. I don't care for the applause one gets by saying what others are thinking; I want actually to change people's thoughts. Power over people's minds is the main personal desire of my life; & this sort of power is not acquired by saying popular things. In philosophy, when I was young, my views were as unpopular & strange as they could be; yet I have had a very great measure of success. Now I have started on a new career, & if I live & keep my faculties, I shall probably be equally successful. Harvard has invited me to give a course of lectures 12 months hence on the sort of things I am now lecturing on, & I have agreed to go. As soon as the war is over, people here will want just that sort of thing. When you once understand what my ambitions are, you will see that I go the right way about to realise them. In any large undertaking, there are rough times to go through, & of course success may not come till after one is dead - but those things don't matter if one is in earnest. I have something important to say on the philosophy of life & politics, something appropriate to the times. People's general outlook here has changed with extraordinary rapidity during the last 10 years; their beliefs are disintegrated, & they want a new doctrine. But those who will mould the future won't listen to anything that retains old superstitions & conventions. There is a sharp cleavage between old & young; after a gradual development, I have come down on the side of the young. And because I am on their side, I can contribute something of experience which they are willing to respect when it is not merely criticism. - Let me hear again soon -I am interested by your impressions of the Far East.

Yrs affly B Russell

Have you read Romain Rolland's Life of Michel Angelo? It is a wonderful book.

To Ottoline Morrell

Sunday aft. [Postmark London 30 Jan. '16.]

I have read a good deal of Havelock Ellis on sex. It is full of things that everyone ought to know, very scientific and objective, most valuable and interesting. What a folly it is the way people are kept in ignorance on sexual matters, even when they think they know everything. I think almost all civilised people are in some way what would be thought abnormal, and they suffer because they don't know that really ever so many people are just like them. One so constantly hears of things going wrong when people marry, merely through not knowing the sort of things that are likely to happen, and through being afraid to talk frankly. It seems clear to me that marriage ought to be constituted by children, and relations not involving children ought to be ignored by the law and treated as indifferent by public opinion. It is only through children that relations cease to be a purely private matter. The whole traditional morality I am sure is superstitious. It is not true that the very best things are more likely to come to those who are very restrained - they either grow incapable of letting themselves go, or when they do, they become too violent and headlong. Do you agree?

Goodbye my darling. I am as happy as one can be in these times, and very full of love. It will be a joy to see you again if you come up.

Your B.

Trin. Coll. Feb. 27 1916

My Darling

I believe I forgot to tell you I was coming here for the week-end. I came to speak to the 'Indian Majliss' a Club of Indian students here. They were having their annual dinner, about 100 of them, and they asked me to propose the toast of 'India'. Your friend Professor Shaheed Suhrawardy was there, and spoke extraordinarily well. They had asked me because of the line I have taken about the war - at least I suppose so. But when I came to speak an odd sense of responsibility came over me. I remembered that after all I don't want the Germans to win, and I don't want India to rebel at this moment. I said that if I were a native of India I did not think I should desire a German victory. This was received in dead silence, and subsequent speeches said that was die only thing in my speech that they disagreed with. Their nationalism was impressive. They spoke of unity between Moslems and Hindoos, of the oppressiveness of England, of sharp defeat as the only way of checking tyrants. Many of them were able, very earnest, quite civilised. The man who spoke last was a biologist, full of passion for science, just going to return to India. 'I am going', he said, 'from this land of prosperity to the land of plague and famine, from this land of freedom to the land where if I am truthful I am disloyal, if I am honest I am seditious; from this land of enlightenment to the land of religious bigotry, the land that I love, my country. A man must be more than human to love such a country; but those who would serve it have become more than human.' What a waste to make such men fight political battles! In a happier world, he would probably discover preventives for cholera; as it is, his life will be full of strife and bitterness, resisting evil, not creating good. All of them were fearless and thoughtful; most of them were very bitter. Mixed in with it all was an odd strain of undergraduate fun and banter, jibes about the relative merits of Oxford and Cambridge, and such talk as amuses the English youth In quiet times. The mixture, which was in each separate speech, was very curious.

Tonight I meet them again, or some of them, and give them my lecture on education. I am very glad indeed to have got to know their point of view and their character. It must be appallingly tragic to be civilised and educated and belong to such a country as India.

Helen [Dudley] is coming to lunch. I hope I shall see Nicod; also Armstrong1. Yesterday I lunched with Waterlow2 which was dull.

1 Armstrong was a man whom I came to know as an under-graduate at Cambridge. He enlisted at the beginning of the war, lost a leg and became a pacifist.2 Afterwards Sir Sidney. He was a nephew of Elizabeth, and in the Foreign Office. We had many common friends at Cambridge.

I spoke to the Indians for half an hour, entirely without preparation or any scrap of notes. I believe I speak better that way, more spontaneously and less monotonously.

Trinity College Sunday evening 19 Mar. '16

My Darling

The melancholy of this place now-a-days is beyond endurance - the Colleges are dead, except for a few Indians and a few pale pacifists and bloodthirsty old men hobbling along victorious in the absence of youth. Soldiers are billeted in the courts and drill on the grass; bellicose parsons preach to them in stentorian tones from the steps of the HalL The town at night is plunged in a darkness compared to which London is a blaze of light. All that one has cared for is dead, at least for the present; and it is hard to believe that it will ever revive. No one thinks about learning or feels it of any importance. And from the outer deadness my thoughts travel to the deadness in myself - I look round my shelves at the books of mathematics and philosophy that used to seem full of hope and interest, and now leave me utterly cold. The work I have done seems so little, so irrelevant to this world in which we find we are living. And in everything except work I have failed so utterly. All the hopes of five years ago come before me like ghosts. I struggle to banish them from my mind but I can't. All our happy times are in my memory, though I know it is better not to think of them. I know I must work and think and learn to be interested in mental things, but utter weariness overwhelms me in the thought. It is no use to keep on running away from spectres. I must let them catch me up and then face them. When I have learnt to work properly again, I shall feel more inward independence, and things will be better. Ever since I knew you, I have tried to get from you what one ought to get out of oneself.

46 Gordon Square Bloomsbury Tuesday night [1916]

My Darling

I have not heard from you since the letter you wrote on Friday, but as I only get my letters once a day now (when I call for them, in the morning) it is not surprising.

I had a queer adventure today. Lloyd George was led to think he might as well find out at first hand about the conscientious objectors, so he had Clifford Allen and Miss Marshall and me to lunch at his place near Reigate, fetching us and sending us back in his own motor. He was very unsatisfactory, and I think only wanted to exercise his skill in trying to start a process of bargaining. Still, it was worth something that he should see Allen and know the actual man. It will make him more reluctant to have him shot.

I feel convinced the men will have to suffer a good deal before public opinion and Government will cease to wish to persecute them. I got the impression that LI. George expects the war to go on for a long time yet; also that he thinks the whole situation very black. He seemed quite heartless. Afterwards I saw Anderson [a Labour MP] at the House: he is tn oily humbug.

It is quite private about L. G. I suppose.

The first thing that wants doing is to overhaul the whole of the decisions of the Tribunals and have all conscience cases re-heard. No doubt a good many are cowards: people are unspeakably cruel about cowardice - some have gone mad, some have committed suicide, and people merely shrug their shoulders and remark that they had no pluck. Nine-tenths of the human race are incredibly hateful.

From Bernard Shaw

10 Adelphi Terrace. W.C. 18th April 1916

Dear Bertrand Russell

Yeats wrote to me about Chappelow, enclosing a letter from a lady, a cousin of his. But I really don't see what is to be done. The Acthas been passed; and he must either serve or go through with his martyrdom. There is no ground on which exemption can be demanded for him: he seems to have just let things slide, like a child unable to conceive that the law had anything to do with him personally, instead of appealing or taking advice. I have no private influence; and exflucnce, which I probably have, would not help him.

His letter is not that of a man made of martyr-stuff. He seems to be, like many literary people, helpless in practical affairs and the army is in some ways the very place for him; for he will be trained to face the inevitable, and yet have no responsibilities. He will be fed and clothed and exercised and told what to do; and he will have unlimited opportunities for thinking about other things. He will not be asked to kill anybody for a year to come; and if he finds his conscience insuperably averse, he can throw down his arms and take his two years hard labour then if he must, and be in much better condition for it. But by that time he will either have been discharged as unfit for service or else have realised that a man living in society must act according to the collective conscience under whatever protest his individual conscience may impel him to make. I think that is what we are bound to tell all the pacific young men who apply to us. Martyrdom is a matter for the individual soul: you can't advise a man to undertake it.

I do not blame any intelligent man for trying to dodge the atrocious boredom of soldiering if it can be dodged; but Chappelow seems to have been too helpless to make any attempt to dodge it: he simply stood gaping in the path of the steamroller. I am sorry for him; but I can only advise him to serve. Can you suggest anything better?

Yours ever G. Bernard Shaw


It would hardly help him to say 'I don't mind being bound by the conscience of England, or by my own conscience; but I don't feel at home with the conscience of Lord Northcliffe, Sir Edward Carson, and General Robertson, who naturally thinks there is nothing like leather'. P.P.S.

Influence can work only in the direction of letting the prisoner out after he is sentenced on some pretext or other.

The following is the leaflet for which I, in common with those who distributed it, was prosecuted:

Two Years’ Hard Labour for Refusing to Disobey the Dictates of Conscience.

This was the sentence passed on Ernest F. Everett, of 222, Denton's Green Lane, St Helens, by a Court Martial held on April 10th [1916].

Everett was a teacher at St Helens, and had been opposed to all war since the age of 16. He appealed as a Conscientious Objector before the Local and Appeal Tribunals, both of which treated him very unfairly, going out of their way to recommend his dismissal from school. They recognised his conscientious claim only so far as to award him noncombatant service. But as the purpose of such service is to further the prosecution of the war, and to release others for the trenches, it was impossible for him to accept the decision of the Tribunals.

On March 31st he was arrested as an absentee, brought before the magistrates, fined £2, and handed over to the Military Authorities. By them he was taken under escort to Warrington Barracks, where he was compelled to put on uniform. On April 1st he was taken to Abergele, where he was placed in the Non-Combatant Corps, which is part of the Army.

He adopted consistently a policy of passive resistance to all military orders. The first morning, April 2, when the men were ordered to fall in for fatigue duty, he refused, saying: 'I refuse to obey any order given by any military authority.' According to the Corporal, who gave the order, Everett 'said it in quite a nice way'.

The Corporal informed the Lieutenant, who repeated the order, and warned Everett of the seriousness of his conduct. Everett still answered politely, but explained why he could not obey. The Lieutenant ordered the Conscientious Objector to the guard-room, where he remained all night.

The Captain visited the prisoner, who stated that 'he was not going to take orders'. The Captain ordered him to be brought before the Commanding Officer on a charge of disobedience.

Everett was next brought before the Colonel, who read aloud to him Section 9 of the Army Act, and explained the serious consequences of disobedience. But Everett remained firm, saying 'He could not and would not obey any military order'.

The result was that he was tried by Court Martial on April 10th. He stated in evidence in his own defence: 'I am prepared to do work of national importance which does not include military service, so long as I do not thereby release some other man to do what I am not prepared to do myself.'

The sentence was two years' hard labour. Everett is now suffering this savage punishment solely for refusal to go against his conscience. He is fighting the old fight for liberty and against religious persecution In the same spirit in which martyrs suffered in the past, Will you join the persecutors? Or will you stand for those who are defending conscience at the cost of obloquy and pain of mind and body?

Forty other men are suffering persecution for conscience sake in the same way as Mr Everett. Can you remain silent whilst this goes on?

Issued by the No-Conscription Fellowship, 8, Merton House, Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, London, E.C.

From The Times of May 1701, 1916


1 The heading to this letter was added by The Times.

To the editor of The Times

Sir, A leaflet was lately issued by the No-Conscription Fellowship dealing with the case of Mr Everett, a conscientious objector, who was sentenced to two years' hard labour by Court-martial for disobedience to the military authorities. Six men have been condemned to varying terms of imprisonment with hard labour for distributing this leaflet. I wish to make it known that I am the author of this leaflet, and that if anyone is to be prosecuted I am the person primarily responsible.

Yours faithfully Bertrand Russell

From A. N. Whitehead

June 4th [1916]

Dearest Bertie

Good luck to you in every way. Let me know if and how I can help or shew any office of friendslup. You know well enough that the mere fact that I think your views of state policy and of private duty in relation to it to be mistaken, do not diminish affection.

Yours affectionately A. N. Whitehead

I am just going to commence my address for Section A at Newcastle in September - I will shew it you in ms.

From Cecil Spring Rice [British Ambassador in Washington]

British Embassy Washington 8 June 1916

My dear Mr President2

2 The President of Harvard University.

I am sorry to say that Russell has been convicted under 'defence of the realm act' for writing an undesirable pamphlet. Under these circumstances it would be impossible to issue a passport to him to leave the country.

I am sorry, and Sir Edward Grey is sorry, that it is impossible to meet your wishes but I trust that you will understand the necessity in which my government is placed.

Oddly enough I was at the Berlin Embassy when we got into trouble owing to Russell's attitude when on a visit to Berlin as the German government strongly objected to his language.1

1 It was not my language, but my attending Socialist meetings, that was objected to.

Yours sincerely Cecil Spring Rice

To Professor James H. woods, of the Harvard Department of Philosophy

34 Russell Chambers 30 July 1916

Dear Professor Woods

Your letter and the Ambassador's were not wholly a surprise to me. I cabled to you on receiving them, but I doubt if the cable ever reached you. Your letter was most kind. The allusion to my doings in Berlin was misleading. I was there in 1895 for the purpose of writing a book on German Socialism; this led me to associate with Socialists, and therefore to be excluded from the Embassy. I did nothing publicly all the time I was there. The Kaiser was having Socialists imprisoned in large numbers for their opinions, which gave me a hatred for him that I retain to this day. But unless in quite private conversations I never expressed my feelings all the time I was there. I have never been in Berlin since 1895.

I should be glad to know whether you have seen or received the verbatim report of my trial. It has been sent you, but may have been stopped by the Censor, who is anxious that America should not know the nature of my crime. You will have heard that I have been turned out of Trinity for the same offence. The sum-total of my crime was that I said two years' hard labour in prison was an excessive punishment for the offence of having a conscientious objection to participation in war. Since then, the same offence has been punished by the death-sentence, commuted to 10 years' penal servitude. Anyone who thinks that I can be made to hold my tongue when such things are being done is grossly mistaken. And the Government only advertises its own errors by trying ineffectually to punish those of us who won't be silent. Working men are sent to prison when they commit the crime that I committed. And when they come out, no one will employ them, so that they are reduced to living on charity. This is a war for liberty.

This letter will no doubt never reach you, but it may be found interesting by the Censor. If it does reach you, please let me know by return of post. It is a matter of some public interest to know what is allowed to pass, and if I don't hear from you within 6 weeks I shall assume that this letter has been stopped.

These are fierce times. But there is a new spirit abroad, and good will come out of it all in the end. I wish your country had not embarked upon the career of militarism.

Yours ever gratefully B.R.

To Ottoline Morrell

[June 1916]

My Darling

A 1000 thanks for your dear dear letter which I have just got. I am grateful for it.

This prosecution is the very thing I wanted. I have a very good case morally - as good as possible. I think myself that the legal case is good tho' no doubt they will convict, and I rather hope they will. I have seen the solicitor (George Baker) and arranged to defend myself without a barrister in the 1st Court on Monday. Then I shall appeal,1 and employ a barrister the 2nd time. The 2nd time is not till the autumn, so I shall be able to go round the country in the summer as I had planned. That is not at all a wild scheme - apart from any good it may do, I shall learn a lot that I want to know.

1 I appealed and was again convicted.

I saw Miss Marshall and Allen and a number of the others - they were all delighted and hoping I should get a savage sentence. It is all great fun, as well as a magnificent opportunity. The sort of opportunity I have longed for - and I have come by it legitimately, without going out of my way. I am going back to Cambridge now, coming up again Friday and staying here till Monday. Think of me Monday 11.30. I hope I shall be worthy of the occasion.

Goodbye my Darling Love. Your love and sympathy do help far more than you know.

Your B.

Monday evg. [1916]

Today I had lunch and a country walk with the Rev. Morgan Jones, a prominent pacifist here [in South Wales] and a real saint. Then I went to a neighbouring town for a meeting - it was to have been in the school, but that was refused at the last moment, so we had it in the open air. A Unitarian Minister spoke who has a son a co. It is wonderful what the cos. have done for the cause of peace - the heroism is no longer all on the side of war.

I ought to have gone into more hostile districts. Here it is merely a picnic and I feel I should be better employed in town. After the 23rd I shall be back in town - by then most of our Nat. Committee will be gone.

I am longing to know how Allen's visit went off. I am so terribly afraid it will have been a failure.

Speaking is a great nervous strain, I feel very slack all the rest of the time. But I sleep well and my mind is at peace so I don't get really tired. I never have any fundamental worries now-a-days.

I shall be very poor, having lost America and probably Trinity. I shall have to find some other way of making money. I think if Trinity turns me out I shall advertise academic lectures in London on philosophical subjects. It would be delightful if they succeeded, as they wouldn't interfere with political work. I have often dreamt of having an independent school like Abelard. It might lead to great things. I feel I am only on the threshold of life - the rest has been preparation - I mean as far as work is concerned. Quite lately I have somehow found myself - I have poise and sanity - I no longer have the feeling of powers unrealised within me, which used to be a perpetual torture. I don't care what the authorities do to me, they can't stop me long. Before I have felt either wicked or passively resigned - now I feel fully active and contented with my activity - I have no inward discords any more - and nothing ever really troubles me.

I realise that as soon as the worst of the stress is over I shall want some more intellectual occupation. But I see room for endless work on political theory. And it will have the advantage that it will involve seeing all sorts of people and getting to know all sorts of human facts - it won't leave half of me unsatisfied as abstract work does. The only doubt is whether I shan't some day be suddenly overwhelmed by the passion for the things that are eternal and perfect, like mathematics. Even the most abstract political theory is terribly mundane and temporary. But that must be left to the future.

It is very sad seeing you so seldom. I feel as if we should lose intimacy and get out of the way of speaking of personal things - it would be a great loss if that happened. I know extraordinarily little of your inner life now-a-days, and I wish I knew more, but I don't know how to elicit it. My own existence has become so objective that I hardly have an inner life any more for the present - but I should have if I had leisure.

My Dearest, I am full of love to you - visions are always in my mind of happy days after the war, when we shall get back to poetry and beauty and summer woods, and the vision of things outside this earth. But the war keeps one tied to earth. And sometimes I wonder if we have both grown so impersonal that it has become difficult to give oneself to personal love - it always was difficult for you. It is a great loss if It is so. I hope it isn't. Do write a full letter when you can, and tell me something of your inward life.

From the Trlaity College Council

Trinity College Cambridge 11 July 1916

Dear Russell

It is my duty to inform you that the following resolution was unanimously passed by the College Council today:

'That, since Mr Russell has been convicted under the Defence of the Realm Act, and the conviction has been affirmed on appeal, he be removed from his Lectureship in the College.'

Yours sincerely H. McLeod Innes

From S. Alexander

24, Brunswick Road Withington M/C 16.7.16

Dear Russell

I feel indignant about the action of Trinity, which disgraces them (as well as making them ridiculous). I don't share your views about War (as I think you may know) and I can't well judge the effect of your action - though I have hated the bungling and injustice of the treatment of Conscientious Objectors. But sensible people, even if they don't know and admire you personally, respect honest convictions; and Trinity's action is both intolerant and impertinent. It matters to all of us at Universities (and elsewhere) more perhaps than it matters to you.

Yours sincerely S. Alexander [The distinguished philosopher]

I have only the Trinity address, and must send that way.

From my brother Frank

Telegraph House Chichester 16 July 1916

My dear Bertie

I have seen the Trinity announcement in the paper, and whatever you may say, I very much regret it. No doubt these stuffy old dons were very uncongenial to you, and were also unfriendly on account of your views, but still, I always thought you well suited to an academic life, and a personality of great value to the young - in stirring their ideas. I think as time goes on you will miss it more than you realise and probably regret it.

I can't attempt to shape your career for you - you must be the only guide and the only judge of your own actions - but don't finally cut yourself off too rashly and above all beware of popular audiences. The average [man] is such a fool that any able man who can talk can sway him for a time. What the world wants of first class intellects like yours is not action - for which the ordinary politician or demagogue is good enough - but thought, a much more rare quality. Think out our problems, embody the result in writing, and let it slowly percolate through the teachers of the next generation. And don't suppose the people you meet are as earnest, as deep or as sincere as you are.

As mere experience and learning about human beings what you are doing now may have its value, but you see what I am trying to say is that you are wasting yourself. You are not making the best use for the world of your talents. As soon as you come to see that you will change your activities.

Well - I don't preach to you often, because as a rule you don't need it, but at the moment I think you are a little (or rather, a great deal) carried away.

It's a long time to Feb, 1 - why not go to America sooner? - they ought to be glad to get rid of you!

Come and see us when you are in London and try and spend a few placid days here with us in August.

Yours affectionately F

From F. M. Cornford1

1 Cornford was a Fellow of Trinity, and a distinguished writer on ancient philosophy. His wife was Frances Cornford the poet. His son was killed in the Spanish Civil War. I was very fond of both him and his wife.

Burrows Hill Gomshall Surrey 23 July 1916

Dear Russell

I have only today received an account of the College Council's action and a report of your trial before the Mayor.

I must tell you that I think your case was as unanswerable as it was unanswered, and the decision, so far as I can see, was utterly unwarranted by the evidence.

I was glad you said you could respect your friends who are not pacifists in quite the same sense that you are. What you think of me I don't know: but I have admired the fight you have put up.

As for the College Council, you know too much to confuse it with the College. The older dons, last time I saw them, seemed to me to be in various stages of insanity. Something will have to be done when the younger ones come back. I am sure there would have been a majority of the whole body against the Council, if it had come before a full College meeting.

I feel very bitterly that the Council has disgraced us. When you and Moore came back,' I was delighted that we had recovered you both, and now we have lost one of you, it is a real grief and humiliation.

' Moore had been invited back from Edinburgh where he had had a post.

Yours sincerely F. M. Cornford

To G. Lowes Dickinson

34 Russell Chambers Bury Street, W.C. Sunday [1916]

Dear Goldie

Thank you very much for your letter in the Nation,2 which I read with gratitude. One has a little the sense of reading one's own obituaries,3 a thing I have always wished to be able to do! The Whiteheads are very decent about this. I think McT.4 and Lawrence were the prime movers. I have been sold up, but owing to kind friends I have lost nothing. I don't know who they are - whoever they are, I am most grateful and touched.

2 Of July 29th, 1916.3 I was able to in 1921. The allusion is to my being turned out of Trinity.4 McTaggart.

Clifford Allen is to be taken tomorrow. Casement5 is to be shot. I am ashamed to be at large.

5 Sir Roger Casement, who first became known for his protests against atrocities in the Congo, was an Irish rebel who sided with the Germans. He was captured, tried and executed.

Yours ever B.R.

From C. P. Sanger

Finches Aston Tirrold 22 Aug. 1916

Dear Bertie

You will have realised how I feel about all this persecution. Did you ever meet Constable - a young economist who was going to the bar at our house. He's a Major now and in writing to me from the front says 'I was very glad to see that there have been protests against the action of Trinity with regard to Bertrand Russell. I must say that men I have met out here nearly all agree with me that the College has merely stultified itself'...

Masefield writing up the Dardanelles - has been allowed to see some official documents and so on. It is most disheartening that literary men of standing should try to make a mere calamity 'epic' for American consumption.

Yours fraternally Charles Percy Sanger

From James ward

6, Selwyn Gardens Cambridge 3.ix.16

Dear Russell

I am amazed and grieved to see how you are being badgered and hounded about. It is most outrageous, and what the motive for it all may be I am quite at a loss to surmise. Are they afraid that you will sneak off to America or is there some rabid fanatic trying to persuade them that you are what the McTaggarts call us - pro-Germans? I see you are announced to lecture in Manchester: is there no danger of your lectures being prohibited? Well you have just got to compose yourself with dignity and patience and there will be voices in your favour to speak out before long.

Since I saw you I have been trying to draw up a statement to justify your action and to serve as a separate preamble to accompany an invitation to protest against the action of the College Council to be sent to all the fellows of the College (exclusive of the Council)1...

1 Nothing came of this.

Yours ever James Ward

The writer of the following letter was killed not long afterwards. I never met him, but I came to know his fiancee, Dorothy Mackenzie, who, on the news of his death, became blind for three weeks.

From Lieut. A. Graeme West

9th Batt. Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Bovington Camp Wareham Dorset Sunday, Sept. 3. 1916

Dear Mr Russell

Seeing the new scene that has been added to this amazing farce of which you are the unfortunate protagonist, I could not help writing to you. Of course you know that such sane men as still live, or have kept their sanity, have nothing but admiration for you, and therefore you may cry that this note is impertinent. Literally, I suppose it is; but not to me.

I cannot resist the joy of communicating directly with one whom I admired so much before the war, as the writer of the clearest and finest philosophical English prose, and whom I admire so much more now when all the intellectuals, except, thank god, Shaw, have lost the use of their reason.

I think there may be some shade of excuse for this liberty at a time when reason and thought are in danger and when you, their ablest champion, are the victim of incompetence and derision: at such a time those who love Justice should speak.

I know you must have many friends in the army, and are aware that it, too, contains men of good-will, though it is through it and its domination that England finds herself as she is; yet one more assurance of complete understanding and sympathy may not annoy you.

Were I back in the Ranks again - and I wish I were -I could have picked half-a-dozen men of our platoon to have signed with me: here, it is not so.

Thank you, then, for all you are and all you have written, for 'A Free Man's Worship' and Justice in War Time and The Policy of the Entente and many others; and I hope that I (and you, of course, for we don't know what they mayn't do to you) may live to see you.

Yours sincerely A. Graeme West 2nd Lieut.

From H. G. Wells [to Miles Malleson]

52, St James's Court Buckingham Gate, S.W. [1916]

My dear Str

I think that a small minority of the co's are sincerely honest men but I believe that unless the path of the co is made difficult it will supply a stampede track for every variety of shirker. Naturally a lot of the work of control falls on the hands of clumsy and rough minded men, I really don't feel very much sympathy for these 'martyrs'. I don't feel so sure as you do that all co's base the objection on love rather than hate. I have never heard either Caiman or Norman speak lovingly of any human being. Their normal attitude has always been one of opposition - to anything. Enthusiasm makes them liverish. And the Labour Leader group I believe to be thoroughly dishonest, Ramsey MacDonald, I mean, Morel and the editor. I may be wrong but that is my slow and simple conviction.

Very sincerely yours H. G. Wells

My statement concerning my meeting with General Cockerill on September 5th, 1916:

I called at the War Office with Sir Francis Younghusband by appointment at 3.15 to see General Cockerill. He had beside him a report of my speeches in S. Wales and drew special attention to a sentence in a speech I made at Cardiff saying there was no good reason why this war should continue another day. He said that such a statement made to miners or munition workers was calculated to diminish their ardour. He said also that I was encouraging men to refuse to fight for their country. He said he would withdraw the order forbidding me to enter prohibited areas if I would abandon political propaganda and return to mathematics. I said I could not conscientiously give such an undertaking.

He said:

'You and I probably regard conscience differently, I regard it as a still small voice, but when it becomes blatant and strident I suspect it of no longer being a conscience.'

I replied:

'You do not apply this principle to those who write and speak in favour of the war; you do not consider that if they hold their opinions in secret they are conscientious men, but if they give utterance to them in the Press or on the platform they are mere propagandists. There seems some lack of justice in this differentiation.'

He remained silent a long while and then replied:

'Yes, that is true. But', he said, 'you have said your say, can you not rest content with having said it and return to those other pursuits in which' - so he was pleased to add - 'you have achieved so much distinction? Do you not think there is some lack of a sense of humour in going on reiterating the same thing?'

I failed to reply that I had observed this lack - if it were one - in The Times, the Morning Post and other patriotic organs, which appeared to me to be somewhat addicted to reiteration, and that if it would not serve any purpose to repeat myself I failed to see why he was so anxious to prevent me from doing so. But what I did say was that new issues are constantly arising and I could not barter away my right to speak on such issues. I said:

'I appeal to you as a man, would you not feel less respect tor me if I agreed to this bargain which you propose?'

After a long hesitation he replied:

'No, I should respect you more; I should think better of your sense of humour if you realised the uselessncss of saying the same thing over and over again.'

I told him that I was thinking of delivering lectures on the general principles of politics in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle. He asked whether these would involve the propaganda he objected to. I said no, not directly, but they would state the general principles out of which the propaganda has grown, and no doubt men with sufficient logical acumen would be able to draw inferences. He then gave it to be understood that such lectures could not be permitted. He wound up with an earnest appeal to me not to make the task of the soldiers more difficult when they were engaged in a life and death struggle.

I told him that he flattered me in supposing my influence sufficient to have any such result, but that I could not possibly cease my propaganda as the result of a threat and that if he had wished his appeal to have weight he ought not to have accompanied it by a threat. I said I was most sincerely sorry to be compelled to do anything which the authorities considered embarrassing, but that I had no choice in the matter.

We parted with mutual respect, and on my side at least, without the faintest feeling of hostility. Nevertheless it was perfectly clear that he meant to proceed to extremities if I did not abandon political propaganda.

To Ottoline Morrell

[September 1916] Monday night

My Darling

There seems a good chance that the authorities will relent towards me - I am half sorry! I shall soon have come to the end of the readjustment with Mrs E. [Mrs T. S. Eliot] I think it will all be all right, on a better basis. As soon as it is settled, I will come to Garsington. I long to come.

I have been realising various things during this time. It is odd how one finds out what one really wants, and how very selfish it always is. What I want permanently - not consciously, but deep down - is stimulus, the sort of thing that keeps my brain active and exuberant. I suppose that is what makes me a vampire. I get a stimulus most from the instinctive feeling of success. Failure makes me collapse. Odd things give me a sense of failure - for instance, the way the cos all take alternative service, except a handful. Wittgenstein's criticism gave me a sense of failure. The real trouble between you and me has always been that you gave me a sense of failure - at first, because you were not happy; then, in other ways. To be really happy with you, not only momentarily, I should have to lose that sense of failure. I had a sense of success with Mrs E. because I achieved what I meant to achieve (which was not so very difficult), but now I have lost that, not by your fault in the least. The sense of success helps my work: when I lose it, my writing grows dull and lifeless. I often feel success quite apart from happiness: it depends upon what one puts one's will into. Instinctively, I turn to things in which success is possible, just for the stimulus.

I have always cared for you in yourself, and not as a stimulus or for any self-centred reason; but when I have felt that through caring few you and feeling unsuccessful I have lost energy, it has produced a sort of instinctive resentment. That has been at the bottom of everything and now that I have at last got to the bottom of it, it won't be a trouble any longer. But unless I can cease to have a sense of failure with you, I am bound to go on looking for stimulus elsewhere from time to time. That would only cease if I ceased to care about work - I am sure all this is the exact truth.

I would set my will in a different direction as regards you, if I knew of any direction in which I could succeed. But I don't think it can be done in that way.

The rare moments of mystic insight that I have had have been when I was free from the will to succeed. But they have brought a new kind of success, which I have at once noticed and wanted, and so my will has drifted back into the old ways. And I don't believe I should do anything worth doing without that sort of will. It is very tangled.

To Constance Malleson (Colette)

Gordon Square September 29, 1916

You are already where I have struggled to be, and without the weariness of long effort. I have hated many people in the past. The language of hate still comes to me easily, but I don't really hate anyone now. It is defeat that makes one hate people - and now I have no sense of defeat anywhere. No one need ever be defeated - it rests with oneself to make oneself invincible. Quite lately I have had a sense of freedom I never had before... I don't like the spirit of socialism - I think freedom is the basis of everything.

* * *

'The keys to an endless peace'

I am not so great as that, really not - I know where peace is - I have seen it, and felt it at times - but I can still imagine misfortunes that would rob me of peace. But there is a world of peace, and one can live in it and yet be active still over all that is bad in the world. Do you know how sometimes all the barriers of personality fall away, and one is free for all the world to come in - the stars and the night and the wind, and all the passions and hopes of men, and all the slow centuries of growth - and even the cold abysses of space grow friendly - 'E il naufragar m'e dolce in questo mare'. And from that moment some quality of ultimate peace enters into all one feels - even when one feels most passionately. I felt it the other night by the river - I thought you were going to withdraw yourself - I felt that if you did I should lose the most wonderful thing that had ever come to me - and yet an ultimate fundamental peace remained - if it hadn't, I believe I should have lost you then. I cannot bear the littleness and enclosing walls of purely personal things - I want to live always open to the world, I want personal love to be like a beacon fire lighting up the darkness, not a timid refuge from the cold as it is very often.

London under the stars is strangely moving. The momentariness of the separate lives seems so strange

In some way I can't put into words, I feel that some of our thoughts and feelings are just of the moment, but others are part of the eternal world, like the stars - even if their actual existence is passing, something - some spirit or essence - seems to last on, to be part of the real history of the universe, not only of the separate person. Somehow, that is how I want to live, so that as much of life as possible may have that quality of eternity. I can't explain what I mean - you will have to know - of course I don't succeed in living that way - but that is 'the shining key to peace'.

Oh, I am happy, happy, happy


Gordon Square October 23, 1916

I have meant to tell you many things about my life, and every time the moment has conquered me. I am strangely unhappy because the pattern of my life is complicated, because my nature is hopelessly complicated; a mass of contradictory impulses; and out of all this, to my intense sorrow, pain to you must grow. The centre of me is always and eternally a terrible pain - a curious wild pain - a searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transfigured and infinite - the beatific vision - God - I do not find it, I do not think it is to be found - but the love of it is my life - it's like passionate love for a ghost. At times it fills me with rage, at times with wild despair, it is the source of gentleness and cruelty and work, it fills every passion that I have - it is the actual spring of life within me.

I can't explain it or make it seem anything but foolishness - but whether foolish or not, it is the source of whatever is any good in me. I have known others who had it - Conrad especially - but it is rare - it sets one oddly apart and gives a sense of great isolation - it makes people's gospels often seem thin. At most times, now, I am not conscious of it, only when I am strongly stirred, either happily or unhappily. I seek escape from it, though I don't believe I ought to. In that moment with you by the river I felt it most intensely.

'Windows always open to the world' I told you once, but through one's windows one sees not only the joy and beauty of the worldj but also its pain and cruelty and ugliness, and the one is as well worth seeing as the other, and one must look into hell before one has any right to speak of heaven.


From Lieut. A. Graeme West

Wednesday night Dec. 27. 1916

Dear Mr Russell

To-night here on the Somme I have just finished your Principles of Social Reconstruction which I found waiting for me when I came out of the line. I had seen a couple of Reviews of it, one in the Nation, one in Land and Water and from the praise of the former and the thinly veiled contempt of the latter I augured a good book. It encouraged me all the more as the state of opinion in England seems to fall to lower and lower depths of undignified hatred. It is only on account of such thoughts as yours, on account of the existence of men and women like yourself that it seems worth while surviving the war - if one should haply survive. Outside the small circle of that cool light I can discern nothing but a scorching desert.

Do not fear though that the life of the spirit is dying in us, nor that hope or energy will be spent; to some few of us at any rate the hope of helping to found some 'city of God' carries us away from these present horrors and beyond the grayer intolerance of thought as we see in it our papers. We shall not faint and the energy and endurance we have used here on an odious task we shall be able to redouble in the creative work that peace will bring to do. We are too young to be permanently damaged in body or spirit, even by these sufferings.

Rather what we feared until your book came was that we would find no one left in England who would build with us. Remember, then, that we are to be relied on to do twice as much afterwards as we have done during the war, and after reading your book that determination grew intenser than ever; it is for you that we would wish to live on.

I have written to you before and should perhaps apologise for writing again, but that seems to me rather absurd: you cannot mind knowing that you are understood and admired and that those exist who would be glad to work with you.

Yours sincerely A. Graeme West. 2nd Lt. 6th Oxford & Bucks, L.I. B.E.F.

From the Press:

SECOND LIEUTENANT ARTHUR GRAEME WEST, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, whose death is officially announced to-day, was the eldest son of Arthur Birt West, 4 Holly Terrace, Highgate, He fell on April 3 [1917], aged 25.

To Colette

Guildford December 28, 1916

How can love blossom among explosions and falling Zeppelins and all the surroundings of our love? It has to grow jagged and painful before it can live in such a world. I long for it to be otherwise - but soft things die in this horror, and our love has to have pain for its life blood.

I hate the world and almost all the people in it. I hate the Labour Congress and the journalists who send men to be slaughtered, and the fathers who feel a smug pride when their sons are killed, and even the pacifists who keep saying human nature is essentially good, in spite of all the daily proofs to the contrary. I hate the planet and the human race -1 am ashamed to belong to such a species - And what is the good of me in that mood?


From Dorothy Mackenzie

77, Lady Margaret Road Highgate. N.W.5 June sth. [1917]

Dear Mr Russel

I am glad you sent Graeme West's letters to the Cambridge Magazine, for I am very sure he speaks for a great many, some of whom will survive.

When I had read your Principles of Social Reconstruction, being a young woman instead of a young man, I had the joy of being able to come and hear you speak at the Nursery of the Fabian Society. And I dared to say you were too gloomy, and that the world was not so spoilt as you thought. It was because West was in my thoughts that I was able to do that, and kindly you smiled at the optimism of youth, but the sadness of your smiling set me fearing.

Now I know that you were right and I was wrong. But I assure you Mr Russel, that we women want to build, and we unhappily do survive. And I can end my letter as he ended his and say very truly 'it is for you that we would wish to live on'.

It is very difficult to know what to do. I am an elementary teacher, and every class in the school but mine is disciplined by a military method. I have to work as it were by stealth, disguising my ideas as much as possible. Children, as you are aware, do not develop themselves, in our elementary schools. Your chapter on education encouraged me more than anything I have read or heard since I started teaching. I thank you for that encouragement. It is most sad to teach in these days j underpaid, overworked, the man I loved most killed for a cause in which he no longer believed, out of sympathy with most of my friends and relations, I find strength and comfort in you through your book. I feel indeed that you understand.

Dorothy Mackenzie

From A. N. Whitehead

Twelve Elm Park Gardens Chelsea. S.W. Jan. 8th, 17

Dear Bertie

I am awfully sorry, but you do not seem to appreciate my point.

I don't want my ideas propagated at present either under my name or anybody else's - that is to say, as far as they are at present on paper. The result will be an incomplete misleading exposition which will inevitably queer the pitch for the final exposition when I want to put it out.

My ideas and methods grow in a different way to yours and the period of incubation is long and the result attains its intelligible form in the final stage, - I do not want you to have my notes which in chapters are lucid, to precipitate them into what I should consider as a series of half-truths. I have worked at these ideas off and on for all my life, and should be left quite bare on one side of my speculative existence if I handed them over to some one else to elaborate. Now that I begin to see day-light, I do not feel justified or necessitated by any view of scientific advantage in so doing.

I am sorry that you do not feel able to get to work except by the help of these notes - but I am sure that you must be mistaken In this, and that there must be the whole of the remaining field of thought for you to get to work on - though naturally it would be easier for you to get into harness with some formed notes to go on. But my reasons are conclusive. I will send the work round to you naturally, when I have got it into the form which expresses my ideas.

Yours affectly Alfred N. Whitehead

Before the war started, Whitehead had made some notes on our knowledge of the external world and I had written a book on this subject in which I made use with due acknowledgement of ideas that Whitehead had passed on to me. The above letter shows that this had vexed him. In fact, it put an end to our collaboration.

To Lady Emily Lutyens

57, Gordon Square W.C. (1) 21.III.17

Dear Lady Emily

I have shortened my article by seven lines, which was what seemed needed - six lines close to the end and one in the middle of the last column.

Is it really necessary to say that I am 'heir-presumptive to the present Earl Russell'? I cannot see that my brother's having no children makes my opinions more worthy of respect.

I have corrected a few inaccuracies in the biography.

'Critical detachment' is hardly my attitude to the war. My attitude is one of intense and passionate protest - I consider it a horror, an infamy, an overwhelming and unmitigated disaster, making the whole of life ghastly.

Yours very sincerely Bertrand Russell

To Colette

Gordon Square March 27, 1917

I cannot express a thousandth part of what is in my heart - our day in the country was so marvellous. All through Sunday it grew and grew, and at night it seemed to pass beyond the bounds of human things. I feel no longer all alone in the world. Your love brings warmth into all the recesses of my being. You used to speak of a wall of separation between us. That no longer exists. The winter is ending, we shall have sunshine and the song of birds, and wild flowers, primroses, bluebells, and then the scent of the may. We will keep joy alive in us. You are strong and brave and free, and filled with passion and love - the very substance of all my dreams come to life.

Gordon Square September 23, 1917

The whole region in my mind where you lived, seems burnt out.

There is nothing for us both but to try and forget each other.



From Colette

Mecklenburgh Square September 26, 1917

I thought, until last night, that our love would grow and grow until it was strong as loneliness itself.

I have gazed down Eternity with you. I have held reins of glory in my two hands - Now, though I will still believe in the beauty of eternal things, they will not be for me. You will put the crown on your work. You still stand on the heights of impersonal greatness. I worship you, but our souls are strangers - I pray that I may soon be worn out and this torture ended.


To Colette

Gordon Square October 25, 1917

I have known real happiness with you - If I could live by my creed, I should know it still. I feel imprisoned in egotism - weary of effort, too tired to break through into love.

How can I bridge the gulf?


From The Tribunal. Thursday, January 3rd, 1918

The German Peace Offer

Bertrand Russell

The more we hear about the Bolsheviks, the more the legend of our patriotic press becomes exploded. We were told that they were incompetent, visionary and corrupt, that they must fall shortly, that the mass of Russians were against them, and that they dared not permit the Constituent Assembly to meet. All these statements have turned out completely false, as anyone may see by reading the very interesting despatch from Arthur Ransome in the Daily News of December 31st.

Lenin, whom we have been invited to regard as a German Jew, is really a Russian aristocrat who has suffered many years of persecution for his opinions. The social revolutionaries who were represented as enemies of the Bolsheviks have formed a connection with them. The Constituent Assembly is to meet as soon as half its members have reached Petrograd, and very nearly half have already arrived. All charges of German money remain entirely unsupported by one thread of evidence.

The most noteworthy and astonishing triumph of the Bolsheviks is in their negotiations with the Germans. In a military sense Russia is defenceless, and we all supposed it a proof that they were mere visionaries when they started negotiations by insisting upon not surrendering any Russian territory to the Germans. We were told that the Germans would infallibly insist upon annexing the Baltic Provinces and establishing a suzerainty over Poland, So far from this being the case, the German and Austrian Governments have officially announced that they are prepared to conclude a Peace on the Russian basis of no annexations and no indemnities, provided that it is a general Peace, and they have invited the Western Powers to agree to these terms.

This action has placed the Governments of the Western Powers in a most cruel dilemma. If they refuse the German offer, they are unmasked before the world and before their own Labour and Socialist Parties: they make it clear to all that they are continuing the war for purposes of territorial aggrandisement. If they accept the offer, they afford a triumph to the hated Bolsheviks and an object lesson to democratic revolutionaries everywhere as to the way to treat with capitalists, Imperialists and war-mongers. They know that from the patriotic point of view they cannot hope for a better peace by continuing the war, but from the point of view of preventing liberty and universal peace, there is something to be hoped from continuation. It is known that unless peace comes soon there will be starvation throughout Europe. Mothers will be maddened by the spectacle of their children dying. Men will fight each other for possession of the bare necessaries of life. Under such conditions the sane constructive effort required for a successful revolution will be impossible. The American Garrison which will by that time be occupying England and France, whether or not they will prove efficient against the Germans, will no doubt be capable of intimidating strikers, an occupation to which the American Army is accustomed when at home. I do not say that these thoughts are in the mind of the Government. All the evidence tends to show that there are no thoughts whatever in their mind, and that they live from hand to mouth consoling themselves with ignorance and sentimental twaddle. I say only that if they were capable of thought, it would be along such lines as I have suggested that they would have to attempt to justify a refusal to make Peace on the basis of the German offer, if indeed they do decide to refuse.

Some democrats and Socialists are perhaps not unwilling that the war should continue, since it is clear that if it does it must lead to universal revolution. I think it is true that this consequence must follow, but I do not think that we ought on that account to acquiesce in the refusal to negotiate should that be the decision at which our Governments arrive. The kind of revolution with which we shall in that case be threatened will be far too serious and terrible to be a source of good. It would be a revolution full of violence, hatred and bloodshed, driven by hunger, terror and suspicion, - a revolution in which all that is best in Western civilisation is bound to perish. It is this prospect that our rulers ought to be facing. It is this risk that they run for such paltry objects as the annexation of African Colonies and Mesopotamia, Labour's war aims accepted almost unanimously on December 28th are on the whole very sane, and might easily form the basis for the immediate initiation of negotiations. Labour at the moment has enormous power. Is it too much to hope that it will use this power to compel some glimmer of sanity on the part of the blinded and maddened rulers of the Western Powers? Labour holds the key. It can if it chooses secure a just and lasting peace within a month, but if this opportunity is allowed to pass by, all that we hold dear will be swallowed up in universal ruin.

The above article was that for which I was sentenced to prison.

To Professor Gilbert Murray

57, Gordon Square London, W.C.I 15th February 1918

My dear Gilbert

I am very much touched by the kindness of your letter. It really is good of you to act when our views are so different. Of course if I had known the blaze of publicity that was going to be directed upon that one sentence of the Tribunal, I should have phrased it very much more carefully, in such a way as to prevent misunderstanding by a public not used to the tone of exasperated and pugnacious pacifists. Unless the Government had prosecuted, no-one but pacifists would ever have seen the sentence. Certainly it is a thousand to one that no American would ever have seen it. I wrote for the Tribunal once a week for a year, generally in great haste in the middle of other work. In the course of this time it was almost unavoidable that I should emit at least one careless sentence - careless that is as to form, for as regards the matter I adhere to it.

So far as I can discover, the immediate cause of the prosecution was die fact that I had ceased to write these articles, or indeed to take any part in pacifist work beyond attending an occasional Committee. I made up my mind to this course last autumn, but it was impossible to carry it out instantly without inconvenience to colleagues. I therefore informed the NCF that I would cease to be their Acting Chairman at the New Year. Accordingly, the last article I wrote for the Tribunal appeared on January 10, a week after the article for which I am prosecuted. It seems that the authorities realised that if they wished to punish me they must act at once, as I should not be committing any further crimes. All my plans were made for going back entirely to writing and philosophical lecturing, but whether I shall now be able to resume these plans when I come out of prison is of course doubtful. I do not much dislike the prospect of prison, provided I am allowed plenty of books to read. I think the freedom from responsibility will be rather restful. I cannot imagine anything that there could be to do for me, unless the American Embassy were to take the view that the matter is too trumpery to be worth a prosecution, but I cannot say that I have any great desire to see the prosecution quashed. I think those of us who live in luxury on money which is secured to us by the Criminal Law ought to have some idea of the mechanism by which our happiness is secured, and for this reason I shall be glad to know the inside of a prison.

with my very wannest thanks,

Yours ever affectionately Bertrand Russell

57 Gordon Square W.C.I 27.3.18

Dear Gilbert

You have been so very kind that I feel I ought to write to you in regard to what is being done in my case. Assuming that the sentence is confirmed, it seems it will be the thing to ask for 1st Division. This will need preparing soon, as things move slowly. Hirst is willing to approach Morley, Loreburn, Buckmaster, & Lansdowne, asking them to write to Cave. It seems to me that Asquith & Grey might be willing to; also a certain number of un-political learned men. If you were willing, you could do this better than any one else. If private representations fail (as they probably will) letters to the Press will be necessary. All this will have to be done quickly if it is to be effective.

I saw E. D. Morel yesterday for the first time since he came out, & was impressed by the seriousness of a six months' sentence. His hair is completely white (there was hardly a tinge of white before) - when he first came out, he collapsed completely, physically & mentally, largely as the result of insufficient food. He says one only gets three quarters of an hour for reading in the whole day - the rest of the time is spent on prison work etc. It seems highly probable that if the sentence is not mitigated my mind will not remain as competent as it has been. I should regret this, as I still have a lot of philosophy that I wish to do.

Yrs ever Bertrand Russell

From E. M. Forster

Alexandria 12-2-18

Dear Russell,

In the middle of a six course dinner at the Club last night I was told that you were in prison. This is to send you my love. I suppose they will let you have it when you come out.

Here all is comfort and calm. One will become very queer indeed if it, and the war, last much longer.

Yours fraternally E. M. Forster

From Lancelot Hogben

London April 10th. 18

Dear Mr Russell

I am only writing a little note to tell you how splendid I think your stand has been. Being an ex convict, I understand a little at what cost you have been true. It is inspiring to us who are younger men and who see so many of our own friends succumbing to cynical indifference or academic preoccupation to know that there is at least one of the Intellectuals of Europe who have not allowed the life of the mind to kill the life of the spirit... This is rather ineffective, but well,

Good luck Yours very sincerely Lancelot Hogben

From G. Lowes Dickinson

II Edwardes Square W. 8. Ap. I9, [1918]

Dear Bertie

I wish I could have seen you, but I haven't been able to fit it in, and I go away today for the rest of April. I hope to be there on May 1st. It is difficult to have any hope. I suppose the best thing that could happen now would be for you to get first-class imprisonment. If they fine you, you will I suppose be called up at once, and have to go through the mill as a co. The only chance is that the brute [Lord] Derby has gone from the War Office and I understand that Milner is more sympathetic to the cos. We are governed by men as base as they are incompetent, and the country, maddened by fear and hate, continues to will it so, I blush all over to be English, sometimes. Yet one knows that the individual Englishman is a decent, kindly well-meaning chap. Its the pack, and its leaders, that are so vile. But what use in words? One can alter nothing; and human speech seems to have lost all meaning. To change the subject, I am reading Aristotle on the Soul. Its refreshing to be back at a time when the questions were being examined freshly by first-class minds. Aristotle's method of approach might be yours. One sees however, I think, that the conception of 'substance' has already fixed thought in a certain unconscious rut. In my old age, owing I suppose to you and others, I find my mind more disencumbered and active than it was in youth. But the packs of wolves will not be satisfied until they have killed off every free mind and brave soul. That's the secret object of the war. So long.

G.L.D. [Lowes Dickinson]

From C. P. Sanger

58 Oakley Street Chelsea, S.W.3 28th April 1918

Dear Bertie

Although we haven't met much lately, you are constantly in my thoughts. Its difficult to say what one feels - you have always been so very much to me and I can't bear the thought that you may go to prison, though I know that your fortitude and self control will bring you safely through the ordeal. Its a mad world — a nightmare. I sometimes think I shall wake up and find that it was a dream after all. I hope that reality will prove to be better than appearance - if there is anything besides this absurd world of blood and explosives.

But if things can be improved, it is you and those like you who will do it and the younger men - if any of them survive - will look to you.

Yours fraternally C. P. Sanger

P.S. Daphne1 directs me to send her love.

1 His daughter.

From G. B. Shaw

Ayot St Lawrence Welwyn, Herts. 18th March 1918

Dear Miss Mackenzie

I am naturally a good deal concerned about Russell; but I can do nothing: he must help himself, and that vigorously, if he is to win his appeal. At his trial there seems to have been no adequate defence: he, or his counsel, should have talked for a week and clamoured to the heavens against tyranny and injustice and destruction of popular rights and deuce knows what else in order to make the authorities as sorry as possible that they had stirred up these questions, even if they had obtained the sentence all the same. Russell is not an imbecile who cannot defend himself. He is not a poor man who cannot afford a strong bar. He is practically a nobleman with a tremendous family record on the Whig side as a hereditary defender of popular liberties. Yet the impression left on the public is that he has been disposed of in ten minutes like an ordinary pickpocket. That must be to some extent the fault of himself and his friends. It seems like a repetition of the monstrous mistake of Morell's plea of guilty, which must have been made under silly advice under the impression that guilt is a question of fact, and not of the ethical character of the action in question.

The only matter that is really in doubt is whether Russell should conduct his own case or employ counsel. In his place I should unhesitatingly do the job myself. A barrister will put up some superficially ingenious plea which will give him a good professional chance of shewing off before the Court of Appeal, one which will not compromise him by any suspicion of sympathy with Russell's views, and the failure of which will be a foregone conclusion. Russell will have no preoccupations of that sort j and he can, as an amateur, take liberties with court procedure which a barrister cannot. He is accustomed to public speaking, and therefore not under the necessity of getting another man to speak for him simply through nervousness and inexperience.

His case is not by any means a weak one. To begin with, he can point out that he is being prosecuted for a hypothetical prophecy occupying half a dozen lines in an article containing several positive statements which have since turned out to be entirely wrong and might even have been dangerously misleading. He was wrong about the Bolsheviks, about the Constituent Assembly, about the German and Austrian Governments. Yet no exception is taken to these errors.

But when he got on to the solider ground taken by Lord Lansdowne, and argued that a continuation of the war must lead inevitably to starvation throughout Europe, a ridiculous pretext is found for attacking him. The war is full of ironies: the belligerents claiming to be the defenders of liberties which they have all been engaged at one time or another in vigorously suppressing. The Germans forget their oppression of Prussian Poland, and denounce England as the oppressor of Ireland, Egypt and India. The French forget Tonquin, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and the Bonapartist regime, and revile the Germans as conquerors and annexationists. Italy forgets Abyssinia and the Tripolitaine, and claims Dalmatia and part of the Austrian Tyrol, whilst driving Austria from the Trentino on nationalist grounds. Finally, America, which has been engaged in conflicts with her own workers which in Colorado and some other States have almost approached the proportions of a civil war, assumes the mission of redeeming the German proletariat from slavery. All these ironies have been pointed out again and again in the bitterest terms by philosophic journalists, except the last which Russell was the first to hint at very mildly in The Tribunal. Immediately some foolish censor, knowing nothing about irony or history or anything else except the rule of thumb of his department, pounces on the allusion as something that has not been passed before, and therefore must be challenged.

But the main point is that if Russell, in spite of his social and academic position, is to be savagely punished for writing about the war as a Pacifist and a philosopher, the intimidation of the Press will be carried thereby to a point in England which it has not yet attained in Germany or Austria; and if it be really an advantage to be a free country, that advantage will go to Germany. We are claiming the support of the world in this war solely on the ground that we represent Liberal institutions, and that our enemies represent despotic ones. The enemy retorts that we are the most formidable and arbitary Empire on the face of the earth; and there is so much to be said for this view in consequence of our former conquests that American and Russian public opinion is sorely perplexed about us. Russell can say, 'If you like to persecute me for my Liberal opinions, persecute away and be damned: I am not the first of my family to suffer in that good cause; but if you have any regard for the solidarity of the Alliance, you will take care to proclaim to the world that England is still the place where a man can say the thing he will &c. (peroration ad lib.).

This is the best advice I can give in the matter as Russell's friend.

Yours faithfully G. Bernard Shaw

10 Adelphi Terrace W.C.2 29th April 1917 [1918]

Dear Bertrand Russell

I have an uneasy feeling that you will take legal advice on Wednesday, and go into prison for six months for the sake of allowing your advocate to make a favourable impression on the bench by advancing some ingenious defence, long since worn out in the service of innumerable pickpockets, which they will be able to dismiss (with a compliment to the bar) with owl-like gravity.

I see nothing for it but to make a scene by refusing indignantly to offer any defence at all of a statement that any man in a free country has a perfect right to make, and declaring that as you are not an unknown person, and your case will be reported in every capital from San Francisco east to Tokyo, and will be taken as the measure of England's notion of the liberty she professes to be fighting for, you leave it to the good sense of the bench to save the reputation of the country from the folly of its discredited and panic striken Government. Or words to that effect. You will gain nothing by being considerate, and (unlike a barrister) lose nothing by remembering that a cat may look at a king, and, a fortiori, a philosopher at a judge.

ever G.B.S.

To my brother Frank

Brixton June 3, 1918

Existence here is not disagreeable, but for the fact that one can't see one's friends. The one fact does make it, to me, very disagreeable - but if I were devoid of affection, like many middle aged men, I should find nothing to dislike. One has no responsibilities, and infinite leisure. My time passes very fruitfully. In a normal day, I do four hours philosophical writing, four hours philosophical reading, and four hours general reading - so you can understand my wanting a lot of books. I have been reading Madame Roland's memoirs and have come to the conclusion that she was a very over-rated woman; snobbish, vain, sentimental, envious - rather a German type. Her last days before her execution were spent in chronicling petty social snubs or triumphs of many years back. She was a democrat chiefly from envy of the noblesse. Prisons in her day were more cheerful than now: she says if she were not writing her memoirs she would be painting flowers or playing an air. Pianos are not provided in Brixton. On the other hand, one is not guillotined on leaving, which is in some ways an advantage. - During my two hours' exercise I reflect upon all manner of things. It is good to have a time of leisure for reflection and altogether it is a godsend being here. But I don't want too much godsend!

I am quite happy and my mind is very active. I enjoy the sense that the time is fruitful - after giving out all these last years, reading almost nothing and writing very little and having no opportunity for anything civilised, it is a real delight to get back to a civilised existence. But oh I shall be glad when it is over! I have given up the bad habit of imagining the war may be over some day. One must compare the time with that of the Barbarian invasion. I feel like Appolinaris Sidonius - The best one could be would be to be like St Augustine. For the next iooo years people will look back to the time before 1914 as they did in the Dark Ages to the time before the Gauls sacked Rome. Queer animal, man!

Your loving brother Bertrand Russell

To Colette

5th July 1918

Beloved I do long for you - I keep thinking of all the wonderful things we will do together - I think of what we will do when we can go abroad after the war - I long to go with you to Spain: to see the great Cathedral of Burgos, the Velasquez in Madrid - the gloomy Escorial, from which madmen used to spread ruin over the world in the days before madness was universal - Seville in dancing sunlight, all orange groves and fountains - Granada, where the Moors lingered till Ferdinand and Isabella drove them out - Then we could cross the straits, as the Moors did, into Morocco - and come back by Naples and Rome and Siena and Florence and Pisa - Imagine the unspeakable joy of it - the riot of colour and beauty - freedom - the sound of Italian bells - the strange cries, rich, full-throated, and melancholy with all the weight of the ages - the great masses of flowers, inconceivably bright - men with all the beauty of wild animals, very erect, with bright swiftly-glancing eyes - and to step out into the morning sunshine, with blue sea and blue hills - it is all theri for us, some day. I long for the madness of the South with you.

The other thing I long for with you - which we ran get sooner - is the Atlantic - the Cormemara coast - driving mist - rain - waves that moan on the rocks - flocks of sea-birds with wild notes that seem the very soul of the restless sadness of the sea - and gleams of sun, unreal, like glimpses into another world - and wild wild wind, free and strong and fierce - There, there is life - and there, I feel, I could stand with you and let our love commune with the western storm - for the same spirit is in both. My Colette, my Soul, I feel the breath of greatness inspiring me through our love -1 want to put the spirit of the Atlantic into words - I must, I must, before I die, fine some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet - a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scom, but the very breath of life, fierce, and coming from far away, bringing into human life the vastness and the fearful passionless force of non-human things.

10th August [1918]

If I had been in Gladstone's place I would never have let Gordon go to Khartoum, but having let him go I think it was foolish not to back him up, because it was bound to incense people. It started the movement of imperialism which led on to the Boer War and thence to the present horror. It is useless in politics to apply a policy people won't understand. I remember a talk we had in the woods once about what Allen would do if he were Prime Minister, in which this came up.

I didn't realise that the film job you refused was the life of Lloyd George. Certainly you had to refuse that. One might as well have expected St John to take employment under Pontius Pilate as official biographer of Judas Iscariot.

What a queer work the Bible is. Abraham (who is a pattern of all the virtues) twice over, when he is going abroad, says to his wife: 'Sarah my dear, you are a very good-looking person, and the King is very likely to fall in love with you. If he thinks I am your husband, he will put me to death, so as to be able to marry you; so you shall travel as my sister, which you are, by the way.' On each occasion the King does fall in love with her, takes her into his harem, and gets diseased in consequence, so he returns her to Abraham. Meanwhile Abraham has a child by the maidservant, whom Sarah dismisses into the wilderness with the new-born infant, without Abraham objecting. Rum tale.

And God has talks with Abraham at intervals, giving shrewd worldly advice. Then later, when Moses begs to see God, God allows him to see his 'hind parts'. There is a terrible fuss, thunder and whirlwind and all the paraphernalia, and thai all God has to say is that he wants the Jews to eat unleavened bread at the Passover - he says this over and over again, like an old gentleman in his dotage. Queer book.

Some texts are very funny. Deut. XXIV, 5: 'When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.' I should never have guessed 'cheer up' was a Biblical expression. Here is another really inspiring text: 'Cursed be he that lieth with his mother-in-law. And all the people shall say, Amen.' St Paul on marriage: 'I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.* This has remained the doctrine of the Church to this day. It is clear that the Divine purpose in the text 'it is better to marry than to burn' is to make us all feel how very dreadful the torments of Hell must be.

Thursday 16th [August 1918]

Dear one, will you be very patient and kind with me the seven weeks that remain, and bear with me if I grow horrid? It has been difficult after the hopes of release. I am very tired, very weary. I am of course tortured by jealousy; I knew I should be. I know so little of your doings that I probably imagine more than the truth. I have grown so nervy from confinement and dwelling on the future that I feel a sort of vertigo, an impulse to destroy the happiness in prospect. Will you please quite calmly ignore anything I do these next weeks in obedience to this impulse. As yet, I am just able to see that it is mad, but soon it will seem the only sanity. I shall set to work to hurt you, to make you break with me; I shall say I won't see you when I first come out; I shall pretend to have lost all affection for you. All this is madness - the effect of jealousy and impatience combined. The pain of wanting a thing very much at last grows so great that one has to try not to want it any longer - Now here it is: I want everything as we planned it - Ashford, then Winchelsea if you can. If later J say I don't want this, please pay no attention.

To Miss Rinder1

1 Miss Kinder worked at the No Conscription Fellowship, and was chiefly concerned with details in the treatment of pacifist prisoners.

30th July, 1918

Many thanks for Spectator review. Is it not odd that people can in the same breath praise 'the free man's worship' and find fault with my views on the war? The free man's worship is merely the expression of the pacifist outlook when it was new to me. So many people enjoy rhetorical expressions of fine feelings, but hate to see people perform the actions that must go with the feelings if they are genuine. How could any one, approving the free man's worship, expect me to join in the trivial self-righteous moral condemnation of the Germans? All moral condemnation is utterly against the whole view of life that was then new to me but is now more and more a part of my being. I am naturally pugnacious, and am only restrained (when I am restrained) by a realisation of the tragedy of human existence, and the absurdity of spending our little moment in strife and heat. That I, a funny little gesticulating animal on two legs, should stand beneath the stars and declaim in a passion about my rights - it seems so laughable, so out of all proportion. Much better, like Archimedes, to be killed because of absorption in eternal things. And when once men get away from their rights, from the struggle to take up more room in the world than is their due, there is such a capacity of greatness in them. All the loneliness and the pain and the eternal pathetic hope - the power of love and the appreciation of beauty - the concentration of many ages and spaces in the mirror of a single mind - these are not things one would wish to destroy wantonly, for any of the national ambitions that politicians praise. There is a possibility in human minds of something mysterious as the night-wind, deep as the sea, calm as the stars, and strong as Death, a mystic contemplation, the 'intellectual love of God'. Those who have known it cannot believe in wars any longer, or in any kind of hot struggle. If I could give to others what has come to me in this way, I could make them too feel the futility of fighting. But I do not know how to communicate it: when I speak, they stare, applaud, or smile, but do not understand.

To Ottoline Morrell

August 8th, 1918

All you write about S.S. [Siegfried Sassoon] is interesting and poignant. I know so well the indignation he suffers from -I have lived in it for months, and on the edge of it for years. I think that one way of getting over it is to perceive that others might judge oneself in the same way, unjustly, but with just as good grounds. Those of us who are rich are just like the young women whose seat flourishes on the blood of soldiers. Every motor-tyre is made out of the blood of negroes under the lash, yet motorists are not all heartless villains. When we buy wax matches, we buy a painful and lingering death for those who make them ... War is only the final flower of the capitalist system, but with an unusual proletariat. S.S. sees war, not peace, from the point of view of the proletariat. But this is only politics. The fundamental mistake lies in wrong expectations, leading to cynicism when they are not realised. Conventional morality leads us to expect unselfishness in decent people. This is an error. Man is an animal bent on securing food and propagating the species. One way of succeeding in these objects is to persuade others that one is after their welfare - but to be really after any welfare but one's own and one's children's is unnatural. It occurs like sadism and sodomy, but is equally against nature. A good social system is not to be secured by making people unselfish, but by making their own vital impulses fit in with other people's. This is feasible. Our present system makes self-preservation only possible at the expense of others. The system is at fault; but it is a weakness to be disgusted with people because they aim at self-preservation. One's idealism needs to be too robust for such weaknesses. It doesn't do to forget or deny the animal in man. The God in man will not be visible, as a rule, while the animal is thwarted. Those who have produced stoic philosophies have all had enough to eat and drink. The sum total of the matter is that one's idealism must be robust and must fit in with the facts of nature; and that which is horrible in the actual world is mainly due to a bad system. Spinoza, always, is right in all these things, to my mind.

11th August, 1918

It is quite true what you say, that you have never expressed yourself - but who has, that has anything to express? The things one says are all unsuccessful attempts to say something else - something that perhaps by its very nature cannot be said. I know that I have struggled all my life to say something that I never shall learn how to say. And it is the same with you. It is so with all who spend their lives in the quest of something elusive, and yet omnipresent, and at once subtle and infinite. One seeks it in music, and the sea, and sunsets; at times I have seemed very near it in crowds when I have been feeling strongly what they were feeling; one seeks it in love above all. But if one lets oneself imagine one has found it, some cruel irony is sure to come and show one that it is not really found. (I have come nearest to expressing myself in the chapter on Education in Social Reconstruction. But it is a very long way from a really full self-expression. You are hindered by timidity.)

The outcome is that one is a ghost, floating through the world without any real contact. Even when one feels nearest to other people, something in one seems obstinately to belong to God and to refuse to enter into any earthly communion - at least that is how I should express it if I thought there was a God. It is odd isn't it? I care passionately for this world, and many things and people in it, and yet... what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don't believe there is. I am haunted - some ghost, from some extramundane region, seems always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand the message. But it is from listening to the ghost that one comes to feel oneself a ghost. I feel I shall find the truth on my deathbed and be surrounded by people too stupid to understand - fussing about medicines instead of searching for wisdom. Love and imagination mingled; that seems the main thing so far.

Your B.

27th August, 1918

I have been reading Marsh1 on Rupert [Brooke], It makes me very sad and very indignant. It hurts reading of all that young world now swept away - Rupert and his brother and Keeling and lots of others in whom one foolishly thought at the time that there was hope for the world - they were full of life and energy and truth - Rupert himself loved life and the world - his hatreds were very concrete, resulting from some quite specific vanity or jealousy, but in the main he found the world lovable and interesting. There was nothing of humbug in him. I feel that after the war-mongers had killed his body in the Dardanelles they have done their best to kill his spirit by 's lies ... When will people learn the robustness of truth? I do not know who my biographer may be, but I should like him to report 'with what flourish his nature will' something like this: 'I was not a solemn stained glass saint, existing only for purposes of edification; I existed from my own centre, many things that I did were regrettable, I did not respect respectable people, and when I pretended to do so it was humbug. I lied and practised hypocrisy, because if I had not I should not have been allowed to do my work; but there is no need to continue the hypocrisy after my death. I hated hypocrisy and lies: I loved life and real people, and wished to get rid of the shams that prevent us from loving real people as they really are. I believed in laughter and spontaneity, and trusted to nature to bring out the genuine good in people, if once genuineness could come to be tolerated.' Marsh goes building up the respectable legend, making the part of youth harder in the future, so far as lies in his power - I try so hard not to hate, but I do hate respectable liars and oppressors and corrupters of youth -1 hate them with all my soul, and the war has given them a new lease of power. The young were shaking them off, but they have secured themselves by setting the young to kill each other. But rage is useless; what is wanted is to carry over into the new time something of the gaiety and civilised outlook and genial expansive love that was growing when the war came. It is useless to add one's quota to the sum of hate - and so I try to forget those whom I cannot but hate when I remember them.

1 Afterwards Sir Edward. He had been a close friend of mine when we were undergraduates, but became a civil servant, an admirer of Winston Churchill and then a high Tory.

Friday, 30 Aug. 18

My dearest O

It was a delight seeing you - tho' you do not seem in very good health - and those times are difficult for talking - letters are really more satisfactory - your letters are the very greatest joy to me - To begin with personal things: I do trust my friends to do everything possible - no one ever had such kind and devoted friends -I am wonderfully touched by what all of you have done; the people I don't trust are the philosophers (including Whitehead). They are cautious and constitutionally timid; nine out of ten hate me personally (not without reason); they consider philosophical research a foolish pursuit, only excusable when there is money in it. Before the war I fancied that quite a lot of them thought philosophy important; now I know that most of them resemble Professors Hanky and Panky in Erewhon Revisited.

I trust G. Murray, on the whole, over this business. If he gets me a post, I hope it will be not very far from London - not further than Birmingham say. I don't the least desire a post except as a way of getting round Geddes: what I desire is to do original work in philosophy, but apparently no one in Government circles considers that worth doing. Of course a post will interfere to some extent with research tho" it need not interfere very much. I must have some complete holiday when I first come out of prison. I do not want residence away from London: I would almost as soon face another term of imprisonment, for reasons which can't be explained to G. Murray. But I am most grateful to him for all the trouble he is taking. I am not worrying in the least.

How delightful of you to think of Lulworth too. It was the very place I had been thinking of, because I came upon it in R. Brooke. I was only there once for a moment on a walking-tour (1912) and have always wanted to go back. Do stick to the plan - latlsh October. We can settle exactly when, later. It will be glorious.

I wonder whether you quite get at Brett. I am sure her deafness is die main cause of all that you regret in her. She wrote a terrible account of what it means to her the other day in a letter you sent me -I don't know whether you read it. If not I will show it you. I am very sorry about Burnley. It is a blow. There will be no revival of pacifism j the war will go on till the Germans admit themselves beaten, which I put end of nest year. Then we shall have the League to Enforce Peace, which will require conscription everywhere. - Much interested about S.S. and munition factory; all experience may be useful. It would never occur to me to think of it as an 'attitude'.

I was sorry to refuse so many books, and also to give you the trouble of taking so many away. I believe in future I shall be able to send them by Carter Paterson. My cell is small and I must keep down the number of books. Between books and earwigs I have hardly had room to turn round.

Please thank Miss Bentinck most warmly for the lovely peaches. I think it very kind of her to send them when she thinks me so wicked. I don't know how long you are staying at Kirkby Lonsdale - All that region is so associated in my mind with Theodore's death.

Oh won't it be glorious to be able to walk across fields and see the horizon and talk freely and be with friends - It is near enough now to believe it will come -I am settled into this existence, and fairly placid, but only because it will end soon. All kinds of delights float before my mind - above all talk, talk, TALK. I never knew how one can hunger for it - The time here has done me good, I have read a lot and thought a lot and grown collected, I am bursting with energy - but I do long for civilisation and civilised talk - And I long for the SEA and wildness and wind - I hate being all tidy like a book in a library where no one reads - Prison is horribly like that - Imagine if you knew you were a delicious book, and some Jew millionaire bought you and bound you uniform with a lot of others and stuck you up in a shelf behind glass, where you merely illustrated the completeness of his System — and no anarchist was allowed to read you - That is what one feels like — but soon now one will be able to insist of being read. — Goodbye — Much much love - and endless thanks for your endless kindness. Do stick to Lulworth

Your B.

P.S. Letter to Brett elsewhere. Please return commonplace books Wednesday will do. But I run short of them unless they are returned.

To Dorothy Brett

30. 8 18

My dear Brett

Thank you for your letter. It is a kindness writing letters to me when I am here, as they are the only unhampered contact I can have with other people. I think prison, if it lasted, would be worse than your fate, but as mine is so brief it is nothing like as bad as what you have to endure. I do realise how terrible it is. But I believe there are things you could do that would make it less trying, small things mostly. To begin with a big thing: practise the mental discipline of not thinking how great a misfortune it is; when your mind begins to run in that direction, stop it violently by reciting a poem to yourself or thinking of the multiplication-table or some such plan. For smaller things: try, as far as possible, not to sit about with people who are having a general conversation; get in a corner with a tête-à-tête; make yourself interesting in the first place by being interested in whoever you are talking with, until things become easy and natural. I suppose you have practised lip-reading? Take care of your inner attitude to people: let it not be satirical or aloof, set yourself to try and get inside their skins and feel the passions that move them and the seriousness of the things that matter to them. Don't judge people morally: however just one's judgment, that is a barren attitude. Most people have a key, fairly simple; if you find it, you can unlock their hearts. Your deafness need not prevent this, if you make a point of tête-à-tête. It has always seemed to me fearfully trying for you at Garsington to spend so much time in the middle of talk and laughter that you cannot understand. Don't do more of that than you must. You can be 'included in human life'. But it wants effort, and it wants that you should give something that people will value. Though your deafness may make that harder, it doesn't make it impossible. Please don't think all this very impertinent. I have only written it because I can't bear to think how you suffer.

Poor Mr Green! Tell him to consult me when he wants to make a conquest; I will give him sage advice, which he evidently needs. Your picture of the 3 women sounds most exciting. I do hope it will be glorious. I hope I shall see you when you return from destroying your fellow-creatures in Scotland - I sympathise with the Chinese philosopher who fished without bait, because he liked fishing but did not like catching fish. When the Emperor found him so employed, he made him Prime Minister. But I fear that won't happen to me.

Yrs. B.R.

The lady to whom the above letter is addressed was a daughter of Lord Esher but was known to all her friends by her family name of Brett. At the time when I wrote the above letter, she was spending most of her time at Garsington with the Morrells. She went later to New Mexico in the wake of D. H. Lawrence

To Ottoline Morrell


(For any one whom it may interest)

There never was such a place as prison for crowding images - one after another they come upon me - early morning in the Alps, with the smell of aromatic pines and high pastures glistening with dew - the lake of Garda as one first sees it coming down out of the mountains, just a glimpse far below, dancing and gleaming in the sunlight like the eyes of a laughing, mad, Spanish gypsy - thunderstorm in the Mediterranean, with a dark violet sea, and the mountains of Corsica in sunshine far beyond - the Scilly Isles in the setting sun, enchanted and unreal, so that you think they must have vanished before you can reach them, looking like the Islands of the Blest, not to be achieved during this mortal life - the smell of the bog myrtle in Skye - memories of sunsets long ago, all the way back into childhood -I can hear now as if it were yesterday the street-cry of a man in Paris selling 'artichaux verts et beaux' 24 years ago almost to a day. Quite from childhood I member a certain row of larches after rain, with a raindrop at the end of every twig - and I can hear the wind in the tree-tops in midnight woods on summer nights - everything free or beautiful comes into my thoughts sooner or later. What is the use of shutting up the body, seeing that the mind remains free? And outside my own life, I have lived, while I have been here, in Brazil and China and Tibet, in the French Revolution, in the souls of animals and even of the lowest animals. In such adventures I have forgotten the prison in which the world is keeping itself at the moment: I am free, and the world shall be.

September 4th, 1918

Dearest O

It is dreadful the killing of the people who might have made a better future. As for me: I am sure it is a 'sure firm growth'. It is two quite distinct things: some quite good technical ideas, which have come simply because they were due, like cuckoos in April; and a way of feeling towards life and the world, which I have been groping after especially since the war started, but also since a certain moment in a churchyard near Broughton, when you told me to make a place for wildness in my morality, and I asked you what you meant, and you explained. It has been very difficult: my instinctive morality was so much that of self-repression. I used to be afraid of myself and the darker side of my instincts; now I am not. You began that, and the war completed it.

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