January 24, 2013 - 12:00 am
No matter what cause he espoused, what major politician or other grandees he met or wrote about, Russell always had the self-confidence and the manners of a British aristocrat. These characteristics were always coupled with his ability to relate to people of all classes and occupations. He recognized personal courage and integrity wherever it occurred, notably in the Quaker teacher Edward Grubb. His Radicalism encompassed an extraordinarily wide range, from support for women’s suffragists, such a Catherine Marshall, trade unionists, guild socialists, notably G. D. H. Cole, pacifists, conscientious objectors, especially Alfred Barratt Brown, to advocates of companionate marriage. Those of high rank whom he quarrelled with over major policy issues, he did not hesitate to take issue, sometimes with harsh words. Thus in April 1916 he claimed that Cabinet Minister, David Lloyd George, soon to be Prime Minister, would have a name that “would live in infamy” because of his hostility to conscientious objectors. My talk will argue that Russell was consistent in his radicalism ideas and behaviour and, indeed, was the dominant aristocratic radical in twentieth-century Britain.