Richard Cobden

The Letters of Richard Cobden, Vol. 4: 1860–1865

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To LADY LAURA OLLIFFE134 Craven Hill Gardens, London, 20 June 1861

Text: MS Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, L Add/5347

34 Craven Hill Gardens

20 June 1861

My dear Lady Olliffe

The 10th July would I believe suit all parties best.—

I have a letter from my friend Mr Michel Chevalier who would accept an invitation,2 & he would be accompanied by perhaps half a dozen of the best political Economists & free traders in France. as for instance Count Kergorlay,3 Mr Arlés-Dufour (of Lyons)—Mr Dollfus (of Mulhausen) &c.—Had I better write & ask M. Chevalier to send the names of the French guests in order that you may forward an invitation to each, or would you prefer to send the blank cards to him to be filled up?4

If you are so good as to place some cards of invitation for English guests at my disposal, I will let you have their names in order to prevent the mistake of some of them being possibly invited twice.5

By the way, there is no avoiding this being made a Free trade Banquet, & so I would respectfully suggest that in order to take away its political party character it would be well to make it as much as possible international in its composition.—In addition to the Frenchmen would it not be well to ask a few Belgians & Germans? Mr Van de Weyer the Belgian minister6 would probably give you a name or two to be invited.—I do not know whether the Prussian minister7 could also help you in a similar way.—Excuse all this freedom.—

I am going into the Country today—My address till Saturday included will be Midhurst, Sussex.

Believe me Yours truly | R Cobdenpg 186

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 Laura (1823–98), wife of Sir Joseph Francis *Olliffe (1808–69), largely resident in Paris, where physician to British Embassy and creator, with the Count de Morny, of Deauville; Laura was the daughter of William *Cubitt (q.v.), and mother of Florence *Bell (1850–1930), authoress, wife of the free trader Hugh Bell, and Mary Emma (1845–97), who married Sir Frank *Lascelles, diplomat; Cubitt's wife having died in 1854, Laura acted as Lady Mayoress during what proved a highly successful period of office, see 12 June to Chevalier, n. 1.
Editor’s Note
3 Comte Hervé Jean Florian Kergorlay (1803–73), an improving landowner with a model farm at Canisy, Normandy; member (and president of) the Central Society for Agriculture; served as a Bonapartist in the Corps Législatif, 1852–63; author of several works relating to agriculture, including De la réduction des droits d'entrée sur les bestiaux étrangers (1838) and a report on agricultural food products at the Great Exhibition, 1851; a vice-president of the Free Trade (Commercial Reform) Association founded in 1860 and subsequently a strong defender of the treaty. Cobden had heard Kergorlay speak 'at length and well in favour of free trade' in the Corps Législatif on 30 Apr. 1860, a speech which led to strong criticism in the Times (4 May, 9c, with Kergorlay's reply, 10 May, 9c); he also dined with him on 2 June 1860 (FD). See too 18 July 1861 to Catherine.
Editor’s Note
4 'I have a letter from M. Chevalier in which he says that Sir Joseph & he have arranged the names of the French guests', Cobden to Laura Olliffe, n.d. (?25 June or 2 July), University of Birmingham, L Add/5343; Chevalier to Cobden, 6 July, BL Add. MS 43648, fo. 88, with list of French guests and their addresses.
Editor’s Note
5 In the undated letter to Lady Olliffe (see n. 4), Cobden also sent a list of MPs to be invited, 'I am afraid you will think the enclosed a very radical lot'; see too Cobden to Laura Olliffe, 7 July, University of Birmingham, L Add/5348.
Editor’s Note
7 Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff (1809–73), who had replaced Bunsen in 1854 on the eve of the Crimean War; in Oct. 1861 he became Prussian Foreign Secretary, helping to negotiate the Franco-Prussian commercial treaty of 1862.
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