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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

X. Memoir and Letter Writers

§ 26. Letters of Rachel Lady Russell

The Letters of Rachel Lady Russell, the devoted widow, as she had been the faithful wife, of William lord Russell, virtually begin with the death of her husband (of whose last paper, delivered to the sheriffs on the scaffold, a letter to king Charles II vindicates the genuineness) and with that of her only son, Wriothesley duke of Bedford. She survived him and her daughter the duchess of Rutland (who died a few months later) for twelve years, retaining to the last the clearness of mind and serenity of spirit which are characteristic of all her writing. Through all her troubles, she preserved a keen interest in public affairs, as well as in the extensive business of her private estate. Her chief correspondents were divines, more especially her father’s chaplain and her own tutor John Fitzwilliam, whom she consulted on all subjects, together with Burnet and Tillotson; but she was also in frequent correspondence with leading statesmen and ladies of high rank. Her tone throughout is that of a self-possession at the same time devout and reasonable, to which the even calm of her style corresponds. She is not, however, without moments of wrath as well as of tenderness—the former being, on occasion, directed against the archfoe of civil and religious liberty both within and beyond his dominions—Louis XIV. She died in 1723, in her eighty-seventh year. Her Letters were first published in 1773.