Page 128. " Lord Aberdeen and Lord Clarendon believe that war can be avoided "
Lord Aberdeen by John Partridge
Public DomainLord Aberdeen by John Partridge

In December 1851 George Hamilton-Gordon, the 4th Earl of Aberdeen (1784-1860) became Prime Minister, leading a coalition of Liberal and Peelite MPs. A respected academic, Lord Aberdeen had previously served in the Foreign Service and then as Foreign Secretary in the Duke of Wellington's government. As Prime Minister, Lord Aberdeen was unable to control his coalition cabinet, especially with regards to Lord Palmerston. Their disputes over the Crimean War eventually led to Aberdeen's downfall.

George William Frederick Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon (1800-1870) was the Foreign Secretary in Aberdeen's cabinet. He coined the phrase that the government was 'drifting' towards war with Russia, and is thought to have been responsible for maintaining Britain's relations with France, ensuring their eventual victory. During Lord Palmerston's premiership he was out of the government; he returned to the cabinet again during Lord John Russell's second time in power, remaining as Foreign Secretary under Gladstone until his death.

 

Page 128. " Paget's Chippendale desk-chair "

 

 

In 1754, the furniture designer Thomas Chippendale published a book called The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director. The designs in his book set the tone for furniture design for many years. He also advised on interior decorating, designing rooms in aristocratic estates such as Blair Castle in Perthshire and Nostell Priory in Yorkshire. His work generally took one of four styles: French Rococco, English, Chinese lacquer work, and Gothic.

 

Page 130. " the Connecticut river, which has a famous propensity to flood "

 

 

The Connecticut river is 407 miles long, flowing from the Connecticut Lakes in New Hampshire south to Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The last sixty miles of the river is tidal, and thus prone to flooding; it also carries a lot of silt, which has built up in Long Island Sound, rendering it notoriously difficult to navigate. In 1936 a major flood caused 171 deaths, destroying the homes of 430,000 people.

 

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Page 139. " a crisp new mark from Liège's central post office "

 

 

Liège is a city in Belgium. Emerging out of the Napoleonic Era, which had seen the city pass through French and Dutch hands, by 1853 Liège was a thriving industrial city, one of Europe's first steel-making centres. The city is situated near Belgium's borders with Germany and the Netherlands, in the French-speaking Wallonia region.

 

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