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University of Toronto · Academic Electronic Journal in Slavic Studies

Toronto Slavic Quarterly

The Correspondence of Alexander Herzen with James de Rothschild

Edited by Derek Offord

The letters that are published here for the first time are the property of the Rothschild Archive, which is based at St Swithin's Lane in the City of London on the site of the old English branch of the House. However, they are housed not in London but in a branch of the French National Archives, the Centre of the Archives of the World of Work (Centre des Archives du Monde du Travail; hereafter CAMT), which is located at Roubaix, a short distance from Lille. The collection of documents at CAMT that relates to Herzen comprises the following elements.

Firstly, there is a set of thirty-four letters from Herzen to the Paris branch of the House of Rothschild, located in the rue Laffitte. This set is now catalogued at CAMT as 68 H-1869. The first twelve of these letters relate to the period 1849-52, for most of which Herzen was resident in Paris, Geneva or Nice. The next four belong to the years 1852-65, when he was living in London. The last eighteen were written in the years 1865-68, when he was again leading an itinerant life in continental Europe. Nine of the letters in this last category were written in Geneva, where Herzen settled after his departure from England, five in Nice and others in Florence, Paris and Milan. The spate of letters that Herzen wrote to James de Rothschild in 1867 was connected with the maturation of investments in America that dated from 1849-50 and which had been arranged through the Paris branch of the House.

Secondly, there are copies of thirty-one letters sent out by the Paris branch of the bank to Herzen and a copy of one letter that was written after Herzen's death to his surviving son Aleksandr. These copies are preserved in registers, or volumes, of the bank's letters to its private customers (catalogued at CAMT as 132 AQ). Each volume contains the copies of several hundred letters that were written over a period of a few months and has an index of the names of the addressees of the letters gathered together in it. These volumes are very numerous: there are some 650 in all for the period from 8 February 1850, when the collection of extant copies begins, to the months following Herzen's death on 21 January 1870 (New Style; see the section on dates in this introduction below). (Unfortunately there are no extant copies of letters written by Rothschilds to their private customers before February 1850, i.e. for the first three years of Herzen's emigration, because the 129 volumes of the bank's correspondence that are known to have covered the period 1812-50 have disappeared.) Twelve of the copies of the bank's letters to Herzen relate to the period before Herzen settled in England, five to the period when he was resident in London, and fourteen to the years following his departure from London.

Thirdly, there is one letter to Rothschild (chronologically the first in the whole collection) from Herzen's mother in Geneva. This letter, which is likely to have been dictated by Herzen himself, is catalogued at CAMT as 59 H-1869.

I shall briefly set this correspondence in the context of Herzen's life and relationship with James de Rothschild before outlining the way in which it is presented here and assessing its importance.

Herzen's emigration

By 1847 Alexander Herzen was already a figure of some note in the intelligentsia that was then forming in Russia. He was the author of two substantial series of philosophical essays (Dilettantism in Science (1843) and Letters on the Study of Nature (1845-46)) and a novel (Who is to Blame? (1845-46)). He had established himself as one of the leading figures among the so-called Westernizers, who looked to the West rather than to Russia's own traditions for the principles and values that might inform their nation's future development. He had also been persecuted by the Russian autocratic government. His youthful flirtation with French utopian socialism had been punished with periods of internal exile in the provincial towns of Viatka (1835-37) and Vladimir (1838-40). For a trivial indiscretion in a personal letter, which had been opened by the authorities, he had suffered a further period of exile in Novgorod (1841-42).

Having inherited a considerable fortune on the death of his father in 1846, Herzen set out early the following year on a prolonged journey to the West, from whose civilization educated Russians now sought cultural and intellectual stimulation. He was accompanied by his German mother, Luise Haag, his wife, Natalie, and the couple's three children, Aleksandr (Sasha), Nikolai (Kolia, a deaf-mute), and Natal'ia (Tata). The party crossed the Russian border on 31 January 1847 (according to the Russian calendar: see the section on dates below) and travelled via Berlin, Hanover, Cologne and Brussels to Paris, the Mecca of the Russian nobleman's Grand Tour, in which they arrived on 25 March (according to the Western calendar).

Herzen did not intend, when he left Russia in 1847, to settle in the West. However, in the course of 1848-49 revolutionary disturbances broke out in France and in various parts of Italy and Germany and the Austrian Empire. The Russian authorities, for their part, adopted repressive policies in order to prevent the outbreak of similar disturbances in Russia and in 1849 sent troops into Hungary to help to crush an uprising against Austrian autocratic rule there. In these circumstances it became clear to Herzen, who personally witnessed some of the revolutionary events of 1848-49 and enthusiastically welcomed the uprisings, that he would not be able to return to Russia without risk of further persecution. He therefore began, with the help of the Paris branch of the House of Rothschild and their agent in St Petersburg, Karl Gasser, to transfer his and his mother's wealth from Russia to the West.

Herzen's relationship with Rothschilds

Herzen's contact with the Rothschilds seems to date from February 1848, when he was assisted by the Italian branch of the House following the theft of a briefcase containing important financial documents during a visit to Naples. (The documents were quickly recovered.) On his return to Paris in May 1848 he struck up a relationship with James de Rothschild (1792-1868), who headed the Paris branch of the House. This relationship, that would prove to be of great value to Herzen, would last for the rest of Herzen's life. In the first half of 1849 James advised Herzen on investment of the capital that Herzen was extracting from Russia. Then, over the period November 1849 to June 1850, he interceded on Herzen's behalf to recover a substantial part of the remaining family wealth which the Russian authorities, once they had heard of the transfers that were being effected, had decided in the summer of 1849 to sequester.

James continued to manage Herzen's financial affairs until August 1852, when Herzen, dismayed by the coup d'état of Louis Napoleon in France on 2 December 1851 and buffeted by personal disasters (a passionate affair between his wife and the German poet Georg Herwegh; the death of his mother and younger son in an accident at sea in November 1851; the death of his wife in May 1852), moved from the francophone world to London. Here he immediately passed into the sphere of James' nephew Lionel (son of Nathan Rothschild, who had founded the English branch of the House). He did continue sporadically to correspond with the Paris branch of the House in the 1850s and early 1860s, though, especially about investments that he had taken out during the early years of his emigration when he had been moving between Paris, Geneva and Nice. In any case Herzen left London for good early in 1865 and returned to continental Europe. He therefore naturally had further contact with the Paris branch of the House in the last five years of his life.

The quality of the material at CAMT

The letters written by Herzen that are housed in the archive at Roubaix are for the most part well preserved. Herzen's hand is not difficult to read, except of course when he appears to be writing in haste or when he is understandably in distress as a result of his misfortunes at the end of 1851 and in the early months of 1852. It is therefore possible to reproduce them here in full.

The quality of the copies of the letters sent out by the bank is in general poorer than that of Herzen's original letters, because they were made on very thin paper. In many copies the ink has run or faded, in places at least, and in some instances it has disappeared altogether as far as the naked eye can see. In the case of letters where little remains that is legible I have noted only such details (e.g. the place where and date on which the letter was written and its probable contents) as can be gleaned from the copy that we have. More commonly I have omitted words, phrases or passages that are missing or that I have not been able to decipher and have indicated such omissions by use of three dots within square brackets, i.e. [. . .].

Presentation of the documents

The letters published here, all of which were written in French, are arranged not by author (i.e. Herzen himself, Rothschilds, Herzen's mother) but in chronological order, so that the reader may gain an impression of the flow of the correspondence.

The French version of each letter is reproduced with its original spelling, punctuation and use of capitals, including mistakes and inconsistencies. That is to say, I have reproduced the French texts as I have found them, without any emendation (cf. the treatment of Herzen's letters in French in the definitive Soviet edition of his works). In my accompanying English translations of the letters, on the other hand, I have brought use of capitals and punctuation into line with modern English usage in the appropriate register (i.e. business parlance, on the whole), in order that readers should not be distracted from the content by unexpected or varying forms.

I have retained in the French texts Herzen's various spellings of the name "Rothschild" (Rotschild, Rotchild, Rothschild; during and after his stay in England Herzen often used the latter, English, spelling of the name). However, in the English translations I have invariably used the accepted English form.

In the French version of the texts I have also retained Herzen's habit of using a capital V in the second-person plural form of the personal pronoun "Vous" and related possessive forms. In translating the letters, though, I have used lower-case forms for second-person personal and possessive pronouns, in accordance with modern English practice.

I have not tried in my translation of the letters to render precisely the ornate formulae with which the French originals of the letters end but have generally employed a simplified formula, such as "Yours truly", which is familiar to an English-speaker.

Various financial terms that occur frequently in the correspondence (e.g. "billet", "fonds", "obligations", "rente", "titres") present some difficulty to the translator, because they may be used interchangeably or because they might be translated in various ways. On the whole I have tried to translate recurring terms in a uniform way. Thus the term "procuration" I have translated as "authorization", although "power of attorney" might be an equally acceptable translation in many contexts. Sometimes, though, it has seemed appropriate to translate a term in different ways in different contexts. Thus the French term "inscription", which is widely used in this correspondence and which, according to most dictionaries, has the basic meaning "registration", I have translated variously as "holding", "stock-holding" or "registration document".

Any insertions of my own in the text (either in the French text or in my English translation) are enclosed within square brackets.

Notes that are indicated in the French text by a number in square brackets are placed immediately after the French version of the letter. These notes give the correct form of any French word which has been incorrectly written in the letter. Notes indicated in the French text by a number in round brackets, on the other hand, are placed at the end of the collection of letters and explain or gloss points of substance in them.

Herzen's French

As the son of a Russian nobleman Herzen had a good knowledge of French, which was still widely spoken at the Russian court and in high society in the Alexandrine period (1801-25), during the latter part of which Herzen was being raised. However, he perhaps did not have quite such an impressive command of the French written language as might have been expected of a leading Russian intellectual of his generation. "My French is being criticized here", he confessed to the French historian Michelet, with uncharacteristic diffidence, in November 1851. "I confess my ignorance. A Pole who is one of my friends, M. Chojecki, has kindly corrected my manuscript [i.e. the manuscript of Herzen's essay "The Russian People and Socialism"] but even so there are flaws. I can but beg your indulgence" (SS, xxiv, p. 203; see the section on references below).

Herzen's usage in the letters to Rothschilds confirms that he is prone to minor inaccuracy. His use of French accents, circumflexes and cedillas, for instance, is casual and often incorrect. He frequently omits to insert these signs (e.g. he writes "americain" instead of "américain", American; "egales" instead of "égales", equal; "pret" instead of "prêt", ready), or he uses an incorrect sign (e.g. "extrème" instead of "extrême", extreme), or he inserts an accent where there should not be one (e.g. "mèner" instead of "mener", to lead, manage). In many cases the omission of an accent (particularly in such words as the preposition "à", at or to) is evidently the result of carelessness or haste. In other cases, though (e.g. when he uses a cedilla under the letter c when it is followed by e, as in various forms of "recevoir", to receive), Herzen is clearly in error. Certain spelling mistakes too are explicable only as misconceptions about written usage. For example, there are some words or expressions that Herzen repeatedly misspells, especially "quatre", four (which he writes as "quattre", as if with Italian usage ("quattro") in mind), "quant à", as for (which he writes as "quand à"), and "à présent", at present (which he writes as "apresant"). Sometimes he also uses a verb form in the future tense (e.g. "pourrai-je", shall I be able) when he seems to mean to use a conditional form ("pourrais-je", would I be able). These flaws are the more surprising when one bears in mind the fact that Herzen had been resident in the francophone world for most of the two and a half years preceding the date when he wrote the first of the letters published here.


When dates relate to events in Russia they are given here in the Old Style (OS), i.e. according to the Julian calendar that was in use in Russia until shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. When they relate to events in Western Europe, on the other hand, they are given in the New Style (NS), i.e. according to the Gregorian calendar that had long since been in use there. In the nineteenth century the Julian calendar was twelve days behind the Gregorian calendar. Thus the date of Herzen's departure from Russia (31 January OS) was 12 February in the West.


Besides the silver rouble there existed in nineteenth-century Russia a paper rouble, or assignat. The silver rouble was worth between three and four times as much as the paper rouble. Roubles mentioned in the correspondence published here may be assumed to be silver roubles unless otherwise stated.

Around the middle of the century, when Herzen was investing the moneys which he had recovered from Russia, the silver rouble was worth (depending, of course, on the precise rate of exchange in effect at a given moment) up to about four French francs.

The American dollar was worth around six francs at this time. However, by 1867, when Herzen reinvested in American stock and the franc had strengthened against it, the dollar was worth only about three and three-quarter francs.

The Dutch florin (also known as a "guilder" or "gulden") was worth about one and a quarter francs in the middle of the century.

The Belgian franc, which was adopted in the new Belgian state in 1832, was equal to the French franc in weight and value.

Piedmont (see note 54 at the end of the edited collection) officially adopted parity with the French franc in 1816, although as a result of its close ties with France it had already been using the word "franc" rather than "lira" before then, especially after Napoleon's occupation of Piedmont in 1801.

Letters still not traced

Although sixty-five previously unpublished letters between Herzen and the House of Rothschild are published here (or, in the case of those that are no longer readable, their existence is noted), this collection of letters remains incomplete. It is evident from references made in the letters between Herzen and Rothschild that do survive, or in other extant letters of Herzen's, that many letters by both parties are still missing.

We know or can be reasonably sure, for example, that Herzen addressed to the Paris House of Rothschild letters that have not survived on the following dates (the reference in brackets is to the source from which the existence of the missing letter can be inferred):

20 October 1851, from Nice (letter 15 below)
25 December 1851, from Nice (letter 17 below)
30 August 1852, from London (Herzen, SS, xxiv, p. 323)
14 January 1853, from London (ibid., xxv, p. 10)
11 March 1853, from London (ibid., pp. 29, 486)
late July 1857, from London (ibid., xxvi, pp. 110, 497)
24 December 1858, from London (letter 33 below)
late August 1861, from Torquay (Herzen, SS, xxvii, pp. 174, 907)
8 November 1867, from Nice (ibid., xxix, p. 227)
late December 1867, from Nice (ibid., p. 528)
26 March 1869, from Nice (ibid., xxx, book 1, pp. 67, 68, 461)

We can also be sure that the Paris branch of the House wrote to Herzen, sometimes with enclosures, on or around the following dates:

3 September 1849, to Geneva (letter 2 below)
late October 1849, to Geneva (Herzen, SS, xxiii, p. 205)
9 July 1850, to Nice (letter 7 below)
4 January 1853, to London (Herzen, SS, xxv, p. 8)
11 March 1853, to London (ibid., p. 29)
18 April 1853, to London (ibid., p. 53)
c. 5 December 1854, to London (ibid., p. 214)
end of May 1855, to London (ibid., p. 263)
21 April 1866, to Geneva (letter 37 below)
late October 1867, to Nice (Herzen, SS, xxix, pp. 219, 648)

Also missing is a letter of 10 August 1849 from Rothschilds to Luise Haag (letter 1 below).

The most regrettable lacunae in the correspondence are (i) the complete absence of letters relating to the period between Herzen's return to Paris from Italy in spring 1848 and the late summer of 1849, and (ii) the loss of letters that we know were written, or assume must have been written, in the period between autumn 1849 and summer 1850. In the first of these periods Herzen was withdrawing his assets from Russia and in the second Rothschild was performing what was perhaps his greatest service to Herzen, i.e. recovering from Russia such assets of Herzen's and his mother's as he could. That said, the volume of letters between Herzen and Rothschilds during these two periods may have been slight since Herzen was resident in Paris, and therefore able to visit the bank in person, from 5 May 1848 to 22 June 1849 and again (this time specifically for the purpose of dealing with recovery of his assets from Russia) from 26 December 1849 to 17 June 1850.

The significance of the correspondence at CAMT

Whilst many of the letters in the correspondence between Herzen and Rothschilds relate to small transactions and are in themselves inconsequential, others are significant documents in Herzen's personal and financial biography. In this latter category I would place the following:

• Herzen's letter of 5 September 1849 (letter 2), which relates to his payment of the deposit for a newspaper being established by the French anarchist Proudhon and to his early investments in Belgium and America;

• Herzen's letter of 6 November 1849 (letter 4), in which he begs Rothschild to help him to recover from Russia the assets that the Russian authorities, he has just learnt, have sequestered;

• Rothschild's letter of 29 June 1850 (letter 5), in which he notifies Herzen of the recovery of his mother's assets from the Russian authorities and appends a financial statement about the affair;

• Rothschild's letter of 22 August 1850 (letter 8), about Herzen's investments in America, Piedmont and Holland;

• Rothschild's letter of 23 March 1852 (letter 20), attesting to Herzen's investment in a new loan to the Belgian government and to the City of Paris after the coup d'état of Louis-Napoleon;

• Herzen's letters of 14 April and 19 May 1952 (letters 21 and 23), the first anticipating and the second reporting the death of his wife;

• Herzen's letter and attachment of 25 September 1867 (letter 54), which provides greater detail on a substantial part of Herzen's American stock-holding than can be found elsewhere.

Taken as a whole, the correspondence between Herzen and James de Rothschild has significance for students of nineteenth-century Russian intellectual history in a number of ways.

Firstly, of course, the discovery of any substantial amount of correspondence involving a figure so important in the intellectual life of his nation as Herzen has some intrinsic interest.

Secondly, the correspondence throws a cold light on Herzen's financial affairs, providing much concrete detail of the investments that he made under the guidance of James de Rothschild and graphically illustrating the diversity and value of his portfolio. This evidence is fuller and more precise than the evidence that can be gleaned from Herzen's personal letters to members of his family, friends and acquaintances.

Thirdly, the correspondence adds nuance to the view of Herzen the man that has arisen in the hagiographic schools of Soviet and British scholarship on him and strengthens the case for considering him a hypocritical man whose public and private values were far apart. For Herzen the private investor and client of Europe's wealthiest and most powerful banking house is not the same man as the ironic critic of the bourgeoisie who narrates the Letters from France and Italy, or the noble observer who in his masterpiece From the Other Shore relates the tragic suppression of the workers' struggle in 1848-49, or the autobiographer who in My Past and Thoughts casts an Olympian eye over his life and times. Herzen's literary persona loathes the mercenary and utilitarian ethos of the modern age and shares the values of the Romantic poet or morally irreproachable Schillerian hero who is at odds with it. Rothschilds' client, on the other hand, managed his financial affairs with diligence and prudence and willingly, indeed enthusiastically, entered into the capitalist web that the man of letters affected to despise. This private Herzen maintained cordial relations with the House of Rothschild for over twenty years (in fact the relationship was perhaps one of the most stable relationships in his life) and readily accepted the bank's advice with no qualms about the ethical implications of his investments.


The following abbreviations are used in the notes to the correspondence.

LN       Literaturnoe nasledstvo, a series of collections of material on Russian writers and thinkers published by the Izdatel'stvo Akademii nauk SSSR, subsequently Izdatel'stvo "Nauka". The following volumes are devoted to Herzen or to Herzen and Ogariov together: 39-40 and 41-42 (1941); 61-63 (1953-56); 64 (1958); 67 (1959); 96 (1985); 99 (2 books; 1997).

PSSP   A. I. Gertsen [i.e. Herzen], Polnoe sobranie sochinenii i pisem, 22 vols., ed. M. K. Lemke (Petrograd, 1919-25). This is the first major edition of Herzen's works, compiled in the late tsarist and early Soviet periods and supported by research among the papers preserved by Herzen's son Aleksandr (Sasha) and his daughter Natal'ia (Tata).

SS        A. I. Gertsen [i.e. Herzen], Sobranie sochinenii v tridtsati tomakh (Moscow, 1954-65). This is the definitive edition of Herzen's works.

I also make frequent reference in the notes to E. H. Carr, The Romantic Exiles: A Nineteenth-Century Portrait Gallery (Harmondsworth, 1968; hereafter Carr) and to the English translation of Herzen's autobiography, i.e. Alexander Herzen, My Past and Thoughts, translated by Constance Garnett, revised by Humphrey Higgens (Oxford and New York, 1985).


I gratefully acknowledge the permission granted by The Rothschild Archive to allow me access to all the material relating to Herzen at CAMT and to publish it in this edited form. I also warmly thank Melanie Aspey and Caroline Shaw of The Rothschild Archive for the support that they have lent to my project and the archivists at CAMT, especially Amable Sablon du Corail, Andrée-Marie Dormion and Gersende Piernas, for their practical assistance before, during and after my visits to the archive in September 2005 and May 2006.

I am also grateful to Edmund Cannon, Peter Hawkins, Dorinda Offord, Claire-Amandine Soulié, Hugh Tulloch and Tim Unwin for various suggestions or advice on matters of linguistic, historical or economic detail.

1. Luise Haag to Rothschilds, 19 August 1849, from Geneva (1)

Genève (2), hôtel des Bergues
le 19 Août 1849

Messieurs les frères de Rotschild à Paris

J'ai l'honneur de vous avertir que j'ai reçu votre lettre du 10 Août (3) dans la quelle [1] Vous vous accusez de la reception [2] d'un billet sur la Banque du Lombard de Moscou (4) de la somme de soixante mille roub. ass. (5) Je met [3] cette somme et les interets [4] a [5] la pleine disposition de Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen (6), qui a un compte ouvert chez Vous; Vous aurez l'extrême obligeance de suivre son avis et de s'adresser à lui par rapport a [5] la dite somme.

Agreez [6], Messieurs l'assurance de ma haute consideration [7]

Louise Haag.

[1] laquelle [2] réception [3] mets [4] intérêts [5] à [6] Agréez [7] considération


Geneva, Hôtel des Bergues
19 August 1849

Messrs Rothschild Bros in Paris

I have the honour of advising you that I have received your letter of 10 August in which you acknowledge receipt of a bond of the Moscow Savings Bank in the sum of sixty thousand paper roubles. I put this sum and the interest [on it] completely at the disposal of Mr Alexander de Herzen, who has an account that has been opened with you; I should be most grateful if you would follow his instructions and deal with him with respect to the said sum.

Yours truly, Louise Haag.

2. Herzen to James de Rothschild, 5 September 1849, from Geneva (7)

Genève 1849 le 5 Sept.


J'ai eu le plaisir ce matin de reçevoir [1] Votre lettre amicale du 3 Sept. (8) et je Vous ecris [2] pour reiterer [3] ma prière concernant les 24,000 fr a [4] remettre a [4] un de mes compatriotes (9). Voilà des nouvelles garanties que je propose

1r J'ai recu [5] 4 traites sur Mr Roug de Liewenberg (10) par la maison Colley et Redlich (11), la somme de ces traites est de 30,000 fr., je peux Vous rembourser tout de suite la somme de 24,000. Je l'aurai [6] même fait apresant [7], mais les traites sont au nom de Mme Louise Haag et Mme est presentement [8] à Zurick.

2e En cas que Mr de Rothschild ne desire [9] pas me confier les 24,000 jusqu'a [10] l'envoi de ces traites, je pourrai lui envoyer l'inscription Belge (12), achetée par la maison, comme Vous Vous rappelez probablement.

Vous m'obligerez infiniment en m'écrivant un mot concernant cela et en ajoutant quelles sont les formalités pour la transcription ou vente de l'inscription Belge.

Aureste [11] le billet de la Banque de Moscou doit être bientot [12] realisé [13], il a été cedé [14] le 10 Août.

Me confiant entierement [15] à Votre experience [16], je prefererai [17], d'après votre conseil les 6% de New York en cas que le cours n'ira pas plus haut que 114 (13). Je ne compte pas beaucoup sur la stabilité du vieux monde – il est trop vieux (14). Je crois que Vous ferez très bien en ecrivant [18] concernant l'achat des 10,000 Piast. (15)

J'ai encore d'autres sommes que je voudrai [19] faire passer de Petersbourg [20] mais j'ecrirai [21] de cela une autre fois.

Reçevez [22] mes salutations les plus distinguées votre tout devoué [23]

Alex Herzen

[1] recevoir [2] écris [3] réitérer [4] à [5] reçu [6] aurais [7] à présent [8] présentement [9] désire [10] jusqu'à [11] Au reste [12] bientôt [13] réalisé [14] cédé [15] entièrement [16] expérience [17] préférerai [18] écrivant [19] Herzen probably means voudrais (conditional tense) [20] Pétersbourg [21] écrirai [22] Recevez [23] dévoué


Geneva 5 September 1849

I have had the pleasure this morning of receiving your kind letter of 3 September and I am writing to you to repeat my request about the 24,000 francs to be remitted to one of my compatriots. Here are some new guarantees that I propose.

1. I have received four banker's drafts on Mr Roug. de Löwenberg through the House of Colley and Redlich, [and] the total of these drafts is 30,000 francs, [so] I can repay you the sum of 24,000 straightaway. I would even have done so now, but the drafts are in the name of Mme Louise Haag and Mme is at present in Zurich.

2. In the event that Mr de Rothschild does not wish to entrust the 24,000 to me until the dispatch of these banker's drafts, I shall be able to send him the Belgian registration document that the House has purchased, as you probably recall.

I shall be awfully obliged to you if you would drop me a line about this and say in addition what the formalities are for transfer or sale of the Belgian holding.

Incidentally, the bond from the Moscow Bank must be realized soon, [since] it was made over on 10 August.

Trusting entirely to your experience, in accordance with your advice I shall choose the 6% New York as long as the rate of exchange goes no higher than 114. I do not place much reliance on the stability of the old world – it is too old. I think that to write about the purchase of the 10,000 piastres would be the right thing to do.

I have further sums that I should like to have transferred from St Petersburg but I shall write about this on another occasion.

I remain yours faithfully, Your devoted servant, Alex. Herzen.

3. Herzen to James de Rothschild, 11 September 1849, from Geneva (16)


Voilà [1] la procuration, et l'inscription Belgique (17). Aprésant [2] je crois que toutes les difficultés sont applanies [3], et Vous m'obligerez en remettant à Mr Edmond Choiecki (18) la somme de 24,000 fr. – En cas que Vous n'en userez pas de la procuration, d'après avoir prit [4] connaissance de l'encaissement du billet de Moscou (19), je Vous prierai de prendre les interets [5] de l'inscription Belgique et de les mettre dans notre compte. L'inscription peut en attendant rester dans la maison de Mrs Rotschild. -

Vraiment Vous devez avoir une forte dose de bonté en me pardonant [6] les petits embarras que je me permets de Vous faire – j'espère pourtant avoir quelque occasion, pour Vous prouver ma véritable gratitude, en attendant je me borne à repeter [7] encore une fois l'expression de mes sentiments les plus distinguées (20) Vous m'obligerez en me faisant une petite réponse.


Genève 1849. Sept. 11.

[1] voilà [2] à présent [3] aplanies [4] pris [5] intérêts [6] pardonnant [7] répéter



Here is the authorization, and the Belgian certificate. I think that all the difficulties are now smoothed over and I should be obliged if you would make over to Mr Edmond Chojecki the sum of 24,000 francs. In the event that after taking cognizance of the encashment of the bond from Moscow you do not make use of the authorization, I shall ask you to take the interest from the Belgian stock-holding and put it in our account. The certificate can for the time being remain in the House of Rothschild.

You must truly have a large amount of kindness to forgive the little troubles that I permit myself to create for you. I hope, though, that I shall have some occasion to demonstrate my true gratitude, [but] in the meantime I confine myself to repeating once again that I am yours most truly. I shall be obliged to you if you would send me a little reply.

Al. Herzen

Geneva 1849. 11 September

4. Herzen to James de Rothschild, 6 November 1849, from Geneva (21)

Monsieur le Baron,

Un de mes amis (22) a eu l'honneur de Vous entretenir d'une affaire qui m'interesse [1] beaucoup – et que je pourrai mener à une issue favorable, si Vous voudriez me preter [2] Votre assistance.

Je possède en Russie (Gouvernement de Kostroma) un bien (23), de 175,000 à 200,000 fr, en terres [etc.?], il n'est pas hypothequé [3], il ne peut y avoir ni sequestre [4], ni interdit legal [5], ni moi, ni mes prédécesseurs n'ayant eu ni procès, ni condamnation judiciaire. Tout cela pourtant ne me presente [6] pas assez de garanties pour obtenir la vente de mon bien en faveur d'un créancier, portant les meilleurs titres possibles mais sans influence (24). Vous connaissez, Monsieur, la manière comme le gouvernement Impériale envisage un long séjour à l'etranger [7], quoiqu'il n'y a [8] pas cinq ans que j'ai quitté la Russie (25) et qu'on ne m'a [8] jamais fait de sommation (26), je l'avoue franchement, que j'ai peu de confiance dans la justice du pays. Tout au contraire[.] Vous pourriez bien facilement m'aider, sans rien risquer et sans les moindres frais (27). Je Vous dois repeter [9] en homme d'honneur (28) qu'il n'y a aucune cause légale pour empécher [10] la vente de mes biens en faveur de mes créanciers - et Vous triompherez facilement des causes illégales, mon droit est evident [11].

J'attends avec impatience une réponse. Madame Haag, avec laquelle j'ai des affaires communes (29), Vous propose d'accepter mes lettres de change sur une somme de 150,000 fr.; elle ne désire aucun remboursement avant la fin de l'affaire, elle est prète [12] à payer tous les frais extraordinaires sans parler de commission, ou d'autres conditions que Vous aurez la bonté de me communiquer (30). Moi je ne prierai qu'un mot de Votre part, comme quoi je ne serai pas passible de payer cette somme en cas de réfus [13] absolu du gouvernement Russe de faire vendre le bien.

J'accepterai comme une véritable obligation personnelle de votre part, l'assistance que vous voudriez me préter [2].

Il y a quelque temps j'ai eu l'honneur de réçevoir [14] Votre lettre, me donnant l'avis concernant l'encaissement du billet de la Banque de Moscou (76,772 fr) (31) et de l'ordre que Vous avez donné pour faire un achat en Amérique (32). J'attends la réponse de New Yorck [sic], pour Vous envoyer encore des billets de la même Banque appartenants à Mme Haag. L'inscription Belge (33) si vous n'avez rien contre cela peut rester chez Vous, en attendant.

Réçévez [15], Monsieur, mes salutations les plus distinguées.

Alexandre de Herzen (34)

Genève le 6 Nov.
Hôtel des Bergues

[1] intéresse [2] prêter [3] hypothéqué [4] séquestre [5] légal [6] présente [7] l'étranger [8] ait [9] répéter [10] empêcher [11] évident [12] prête [13] refus [14] recevoir [15] Recevez


One of my friends has had the honour of talking to you about an affair which is of great interest to me and which I shall be able to bring to a favourable outcome if you would be willing to lend me your assistance.

I own an estate in Russia, in the Province [i.e. guberniia] of Kostroma, in land, [etc.?], worth between 175,000 and 200,000 francs, it is not mortgaged, it cannot be sequestered and no distraint can be placed on it, neither I nor my predecessors having been tried or convicted. All that, though, does not give me sufficient guarantee to secure the sale of my property in favour of a creditor bearing the best possible titles but without influence. You are aware, Sir, of the way in which the Imperial government looks upon a long stay abroad, although it is not five years since I left Russia and although I have never received a summons [to return], I readily confess that I have little confidence in the country's [system of] justice. Quite the reverse. You could quite easily assist me with no risk to yourself and without the least expense. I must repeat to you as a man of honour that there is no legal reason to impede the sale of my property in favour of my creditors – and you will easily overcome illegal reasons, [for] my right is plain.

I eagerly look forward to your reply. Madame Haag, with whom I have business affairs in common, proposes to you that she accept my letters of exchange for a sum of 150,000 francs; she desires no reimbursement until the conclusion of the business, she is ready to pay all extraordinary expenses, not to mention commission, or other conditions that you will be so kind as to communicate to me.

I for my part shall ask only that I shall not be liable to pay this sum in the event of an absolute refusal on the part of the Russian government to have the property sold.

I shall take it as a true personal favour on your part, the assistance that you would be willing to lend me.

I had the honour some time ago of receiving your letter notifying me of the encashment of the bond from the Bank of Moscow (76,772 francs) and the instruction that you have given for a purchase in America. I await the response from New York, to send you further bonds from the same bank belonging to Mme Haag. The Belgian certificate can remain with you for the time being if you have nothing against that.

I remain, Sir, yours truly, Alexander de Herzen

Geneva, 6 November
Hôtel des Bergues

5. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 29 June 1850 (35)

Paris 29 Juin 1850

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen à Nice (36)

Nous avons la satisfaction de pouvoir enfin vous annoncer l'encaissement de votre billet sur la Banque du Lombard de Moscou. Cet encaissement n'a été obtenu, comme vous le savez du reste par les lettres de Mr Gasser (37) que nous vous avons communiqué [1], qu'après mille difficultés et de nombreuses demarches [2], mais enfin le billet est maintenant payé, montant en capital et intérêts moins les frais à Ro 117996-62. et faisant au change de 4.00 le rouble F471,986.50. que nous avons porté au credit [3] de votre compte, et pour la bonne règle veuillez prier Madame Haag de nous confirmer que cette somme doit être portée à votre credit [3].

Nous attendons sous peu de temps recevoir l'avis d'achat fait pour votre compte de F100 000 – environ en fonds 6% de Virginie (38) et de F100000 id [i.e. environ] en fonds 6% du Gouvernement des Etats unis, que nous avons commandé suivant votre ordre, et nous ne manquerons pas de vous en informer.

Veuillez recevoir Monsieur la nouvelle assurance de notre consideration [4] la plus distinguée

Compte de l'encaissement d'un billet sur la Banque du Lombard de Moscou d'un capital de Cent six Mille Rouble argt (39) daté du 17 Juin 1846 vieux Style (40).

    Capital Ro                                                                                         106000-
intérêts du 17 Juin 1846. au 17 Juin 1847. un an à 4%                                4240.
                                                                                                        Ro 110240

 intérêts du 17 Juin 1847 au 17 Juin 1848. un an à 4%                           4409.60
                                                                                                   Ro 114649.60

 intérêts du 17 Juin 1848 au 17 Juin 1849. un an à 4%                           4585.98
                                                                                                   Ro 119235.58

intérêts du 17 Juin 1849 au 1 Juin 1850. 344 jours à 4%                        4557.44
                                                                                                   Ro 123 793.02 (41)

à déduire frais à Petersbourg [5]
     frais à Moscou 1/4                                          Ro 309.48
     assurance du transport à Petersbourg [5]            309.48                   2147.02
     port de l'argent                                                     28.06
     frais extraordinaire à Moscou et à Pétersbourg  1500.-  
reçu net Ro                  121646.-
à déduire notre commission (42) de 3%                                                   3649.38.
                                                                                                     Ro 117996.62

   faisant au change (43) de 4,00 net per Rouble                               F 471986.50

                                                                                                        Paris 29 Juin 1850

[1] communiquées [2] démarches [3] crédit [4] considération [5] Pétersbourg


Paris, 29 June 1850

Mr Alexander de Herzen in Nice

We are pleased to be able to notify you at last of the encashment of your bond with the Savings Bank in Moscow. This encashment has only been achieved, as you know in any case from the letters from Mr Gasser that we have conveyed to you, after a thousand difficulties and numerous representations, but finally the bond has now been honoured, amounting in capital and interest less costs to 117,996.62 roubles and yielding at an exchange rate of 4.00 to the rouble 471,986.50 francs, which we have credited to your account; and so that everything is in good order would you please ask Madame Haag to confirm to us that this sum is to be credited to you.

We expect to receive shortly the notice of purchase for your account of around 100,000 francs in 6% Virginia stock and around 100,000 francs in 6% United States Government stock, which we have ordered following your instructions, and we shall not fail to inform you of it.

Yours very truly,

Account of encashment of a bond of the Moscow Savings Bank for a capital sum of One Hundred and Six Thousand Silver Roubles dated 17 June 1846 Old Style.

        Capital                                                                                     Ro 106,000-
interest from 17 June 1846 to 17 June 1847. One year at 4%                     4,240.
                                                                                                        Ro 110,240
interest from 17 June 1847 to 17 June 1848. One year at 4%                     4,409.60
                                                                                                        Ro 114,649.60
interest from 17 June 1848 to 17 June 1849. One year at 4%                     4,585.98
                                                                                                        Ro 119,235.58
interest from 17 June 1849 to 1 June 1850. 344 days at 4%                       4,557.44
                                                                                                        Ro 123,793.02

deduct costs in Petersburg
    costs in Moscow 1/4                                        Ro 309.48
    insurance of transfer to Petersburg                         309.48                     2,147.02
     conveyance of money                                             28.06
    extraordinary costs in Moscow and Petersburg 1500. -
                                                                    received net                   Ro 121,646. -
deduct our commission of 3%                                                                     3,649.38.
                                                                                                         Ro 117,996.64

yielding at an exchange rate of 4.00 net per rouble                               F  471,986.50

                                                                                                                                                                                    Paris, 29 June 1850

6. Herzen to Rothschilds, 3 July 1850, from Nice (44)

Nice. 3 Juillet 1850

Messieurs les frères de Rotschild à Paris.

J'ai eu l'honneur de réçevoir [1] Votre lettre du 29 Juin (45), qui m'annonce la bonne nouvelle de l'encaissement du billet de ma mère sur la Banque de Moscou.

Vous remerciant, Messieurs, des nombreuses démarches que Vous avez eu l'extrème [2] obligeance de faire, pour obtenir ce payement, j'ai l'honneur de Vous avertir que j'ai déjà écrit à Madame Haag à Zuric, concernant la lettre qu'elle doit Vous envoyer, exprimant son desir [3] de mettre la somme à ma disposition (46).

Je Vous prierai d'ordonner encore un achat en fonds 6% des Etats Unis de 20,000 dollars (47). Le reste de la somme, restera sans destination ulterieuse [4], avant que je n'aurai une réponse de Mme Haag.

Réçevez [5] mes salutations le plus empressées.

Alexandre de Herzen.

[1] recevoir [2] extrême [3] désir [4] ultérieuse [5] Recevez


Nice, 3 July 1850

Messrs Rothschild Bros in Paris.

I have had the honour of receiving your letter of 29 June, which informs me of the good news of the encashment of my mother's bond on the Bank of Moscow.

In thanking you, Sirs, for the numerous representations that you have been so kind as to make to secure this payment, I have the honour of advising you that I have already written to Mrs Haag in Zurich concerning the letter that she is to send you expressing her wish to put the sum at my disposal.

I shall ask you to arrange a further purchase of 6% US stock for 20,000 dollars. The balance of the sum will not be put to any further use until I have had a reply from Mrs Haag.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander de Herzen

7. Herzen to Rothschilds, 13 July 1850, from Nice (48)

Nice. 13 Juillet 1850

Messieurs les frères de Rotschild à Paris.

C'est avec la plus parfaite gratitude, que j'ai eu l'honneur de réçevoir [1] Votre lettre du 9 (49). Il m'est impossible de Vous donner une meilleur [2] preuve du cas que je fais de Votre conseil – qu'en le suivant immédiatement (50). En consequence [3] j'ai l'honneur de vous prier de faire les demarches [4] nécéssaires [5] pour l'achat des fonds du 6% de l'Etat d'Ohio, rembours. en 1875, pour la somme que j'ai designée [6] pour l'achat des fonds des Etats Unis c'est à dire [7] pour 20,000 piastres (51)

Je ne puis encore faire d'autres dispositions pour la somme qui reste. Ma mère desire [8] acheter une proprieté [9] en Suisse et veut provisoirement placer une partie du capital, dans une banque Suisse. Elle le proposait même, de Vous ecrire [10] directement concernant ce sujet.

Réçevez [11] mes salutations le plus empressées.

Alexandre de Herzen.

[1] recevoir [2] meilleure [3] conséquence [4] démarches [5] nécessaires [6] désignée [7] c'est-à-dire [8] désire [9] propriété [10] écrire [11] Recevez


Nice, 13 July 1850

Messrs Rothschild Bros in Paris.

It is with the utmost gratitude that I received your letter of the 9th. I can give you no better proof of the store that I set by your advice – than to follow it immediately. I therefore have the honour of asking you to take the necessary steps to purchase 6% stock in the State of Ohio, redeemable in 1875, for the sum that I have indicated for the purchase of United States stock, that is to say 20,000 piastres.

I cannot yet make other arrangements for use of the sum that remains. My mother wishes to purchase a property in Switzerland and wants to deposit a part of the capital in a Swiss bank for the time being. She herself was proposing to write to you direct on this subject.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander de Herzen.

8. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 22 August 1850 (52)

Paris 22 Aout [1] 1850

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen à Nice

Nous avons l'honneur de vous remettre ci-joint les comptes des achats faits suivant votre ordre de divers fonds publiés savoir

Vingt Mille Dollars Capital en fonds 6% de l'Etat d'Ohio montant à Fr 123.975-35.
Dix Sept Mille Dollars Capital en fonds 6% de l'Etat de Virginie montant à F 97.143-85.
Quinze Mille Dollars Capital en fonds 6% du Gouvernement des Etats Unis montant à F 94.295-50
4° Six Mille Francs de Rente (53) Piemontaise [2] 5% montant à F 102,247.65 (54).

Ces diverses sommes ont été porté [3] au Debit [4] de votre compte, et nous avons l'avantage de vous remettre sous ce pli les Inscriptions suivantes en votre nom

à $20000. – sur l'Etat d'Ohio
   $17000. – s " l'Etat de Virginie
   $15000. – " le Gouvernement des Etats Unis

Quant aux F6000 de Rente 5% Piemontaise [2] nous les garderons en attendant à votre disposition en dépôt chez nous. Veuillez donc nous donner vos instructions à cet égard. Si vous desirez [5] les avoir, nous vous les enverrons de Turin (55).

Nous avons donné ordre d'acheter pour votre compte pour une valeur de F7500.– des fonds Hollandais 2½% (56), aussitot [6] quand l'avis d'achat nous sera parvenu, nous nous empresserons de vous fournir le conte [7].

En vous priant de vouloir bien nous [accuser?] reception [8] des titres-ci

[1] Août [2] Piémontaise [3] portées [4] Débit [5] désirez [6] aussitôt [7] Presumably an error: compte, "statement" or "account", seems to be meant rather than its homophone conte, "tale". [8] réception


Paris, 22 August 1850

Mr Alexander de Herzen in Nice

We have the honour of enclosing herewith the statements of the purchases made following your order of various quoted stocks, viz.

1. Twenty Thousand Dollars Capital in 6% State of Ohio stock amounting to 123,975.35 francs.
2. Seventeen Thousand Dollars Capital in 6% State of Virginia stock amounting to 97,143.85 francs.
3. Fifteen Thousand Dollars Capital in 6% United States Government stock amounting to 94,295.50 francs.
4. Six Thousand francs of 5% Piedmont rente amounting to 102,247.65 francs.

These various sums have been debited to your account and we are pleased to forward to you herewith the following certificates in your name

for $20,000 in the State of Ohio
      $17,000 in the State of Virginia
      $15,000 in the United States Government

As for the 6,000 francs of Piedmont rente we shall hold them here on deposit for you for the time being. Would you therefore be so kind as to give us your instructions in this regard. If you wish to have them we shall send them to you from Turin.

We have ordered the purchase of 2½% Dutch stock for your account to a value of 7,500 francs, [and] as soon as the notice of purchase reaches us we shall lose no time in supplying you with a statement.

We should be grateful if you would [acknowledge] receipt of the enclosed certificates.

9. Herzen to Rothschilds, 26 August 1850, from Nice (57)

Nice 26 Août 1850.

Messieurs les frères de Rotschild Paris.

J'ai l'honneur de Vous informer de la reception [1] de Votre lettre du 22 Août (58) avec les documents que Vous y avez inserés [2] et nomement [3] les inscriptions suivantes

1) Vingt mille Dol. en fonds de l'etat [4] d'Ohio
2) Dix sept mille D. en en [5] f. de l'état de Virginie
3) Quinze mille D. des Etats Unis (59).

Concernant la rente de 6,000 fr. en 5% Piemontais [6] (60) je Vous prie de garder les inscriptions chez Vous et de faire Vos dispositions pour toucher le montant de la rente, que Vous ordonnerez de mettre sur mon compte. Je Vous prierai de le faire aussi pour les inscriptions Hollandaises (61) dont Vous m'avez ecrit [7]. Vous m'obligerez certainement en me donnant un avis lorsque l'achat sera fait.

Réçévez [8], Messieurs, l'expression de mes sentiments les plus distingués

Alexandre de Herzen

[1] réception [2] insérés [3] nommément [4] état [5] en is erroneously repeated [6] Piémontais [7] écrit [8] Recevez


Nice, 26 August 1850

Messrs Rothschild in Paris.

I have the honour of informing you that I have received your letter of 22 August together with the documents that you have enclosed, namely the following certificates:

1. Twenty thousand dollars in State of Ohio stock
2. Seventeen thousand dollars in State of Virginia stock
3. Fifteen thousand dollars in United States [Government stock]

Regarding the 5% Piedmont rente, which yields income of 6,000 francs, I ask you to keep the certificates and to make arrangements to receive this income, which you will [then] have credited to my account. I ask you to do likewise with the Dutch certificates about which you wrote to me. I shall certainly be obliged to you if you would notify me when the purchase has been made.

I remain yours truly, Alexander de Herzen

10. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 11 September 1850 (62)

Paris 11 Septembre 1850

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen à Nice

Nous avons l'honneur de vous informer Monsieur, que conformément à vos avis nous avons fait acheter pour votre compte à Amsterdam f60,000 Capital Nominal fonds 2½% Hollandais (63).

[…] du 1er Juillet 1850 […] suivants details [1] […] F73,823.55. que nous avons portés au debit [2] de votre compte.

Vous en trouverez sous ce pli le certificat d'Inscription.

Nous y joignons le modèle de la procuration que vous aurez à nous fournir pour nous mettre à […] d'en parvenir les intérêts pour votre compte. Vous remarquerez qu'elle est composée de deux parties, la procuration elle-même et la signature légalisée, les deux sont indispensables et doivent être […] Nous appelons votre attention sur cette circonstance afin que vous ayez soin de conformer exactement au modèle inclu.

Veuillez agréer Monsieur l'assurance de notre considération la plus distinguée.

[1] détails [2] débit


Paris, 11 September 1850

Mr Alexander de Herzen in Nice

We have the honour of informing you, Sir, that in accordance with your instructions we have had 60,000 florins of 2½% Dutch Capital Nominal stock purchased for your account in Amsterdam.

[…] from 1 July 1850 […] following details […] 73,823.55 francs that we have debited to your account.

You will find enclosed herewith the certificate for the stock-holding.

We attach the model of the authorization that you will have to supply us with in order to […] have the interest from it paid into your account. You will note that it is made up of two parts, the authorization itself and the witnessed signature, both parts are essential and must be […] We draw your attention to this circumstance so that you will take care to follow exactly the model that is enclosed.

Yours very truly.

11. Herzen to Rothschilds, 21 October 1850, from Nice (64)

Messieurs les frères De Rotschild à Paris.

J'ai l'honneur de Vous envoyer quattre [1] traites sur une somme de 39,000 francs 3 sur Rougemont de Liewenberg (65), pour la somme de 21,000 francs et 2 (66) sur Mallet frères (67) pour 18,000 fr – Vous priant de les encaisser et de les mettre le produit [2] sur mon compte.

Vous verrez, Messieurs, que l'échéance des traites sur la maison Mallet est le 23 octobre, je crois pourtant que cela ne fera point de difficulté pour l'encaissement. Les secondes de ces traites sont dans mes mains.

Vous aurez l'extrème [3] obligeance de m'avertir de la récéption [4] des traites. Je joins les deux procurations pour les interets [5] du fonds Hollandais (68)

Recevez mes salutations les plus empressées

Alexandre de Herzen

Nice sur mer

Le 21 Octobre 1850

[1] quatre [2] This word is written in above the line as an afterthought and renders the object pronoun les before mettre redundant. [3] extrême [4] réception [5] intérêts


Messrs Rothschild Bros in Paris.

I have the honour of sending you four banker's drafts for a sum of 39,000 francs, three from Rougemont de Löwenberg for the sum of 21,000 francs and two from Mallet Bros for 18,000 francs, [and] I ask you to cash them and deposit the proceeds in my account.

You will see, Sirs, that the expiry date of the drafts from the House of Mallet is 23 October, but I do not think that this will cause any difficulty with the encashment. The [duplicates?] of these drafts are in my hands.

I should be most grateful if you would advise me that you have received these drafts. I attach the two authorizations for the interest on the Dutch stock.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander de Herzen


21 October 1850

12. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 26 October 1850

This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1788, folio 394. Its quality is very poor. It is blurred and faded in parts and it is not clear whether the letter continues on the reverse side of the folio. The letter evidently relates to Rothschilds' receipt of the bankers' drafts for the sum of 39,000 francs that Herzen had sent to the bank with his letter of 21 October (i.e. letter 11 above).

13. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 29 January 1851

This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1792, folio 318. The letter does not come to an end on the first side of the folio, but there is nothing on the reverse. The quality of this copy is again very poor: it too is blurred and faded in parts. The letter informs Herzen that 11,912.62 francs are being credited to his account and that he needs to provide separate forms authorizing the bank to manage two of the American stock-holdings – those in Ohio and Virginia – that he had acquired the previous year.

14. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 17 June 1851

This copy is located at 132 AQ 1799, folio 52. It is in very poor condition indeed. The ink is faded and the paper stained in the top right-hand corner. Some lines or parts of lines seem to recur, perhaps as a result of the sheet being placed against another piece of paper or being blotted. The date of the letter can be inferred from the fact that the previous letter and the following letter in the register are both dated 17 June 1851. The letter evidently concerns the sale of 3% rente that Herzen has instructed Rothschilds to arrange and the transfer of 47,701.90 francs into his account after brokerage and legal expenses had been deducted from the gross proceeds.

15. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 24 October 1851

This copy, which is better preserved than the three preceding ones, is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1805, folio 456. The letter is a reply to a letter of Herzen's, dated 20 October, which has not been traced. It concerns a payment of 3,000 francs from Herzen's account to his mother, who in August had gone to Paris with Herzen's son Kolia and the boy's German tutor to stay with the family friend Mariia Reichel, who was expecting her first child. In fact Luise Haag was never to return to Nice or see her son again (see letter 17 below).

16. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 6 November 1851

This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1806, folio 281. It is relatively well preserved but it appears to have been hastily written and the hand is difficult to read. The letter concerns a further payment, of 2,000 francs, to Herzen's mother, who would shortly set out on her return journey from Paris.

17. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 3 January 1852 (69)

Paris le 3 Janvier 1852

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen à Nice, maison Douis

Nous sommes en possession de la lettre que vous nous avez fait l'honneur de nous adresser en date du 25 Décembre (70) et aussitôt après la réception nous nous sommes empressés de donner les instructions nécessaires à Messieurs Frères Benedict à Stuttgart pour faire payer pour votre compte

f 10,000. – à Mr Gottlob Haag (71) à [Erzeuerhingen? (72)]
" 14,000. – à Mme Margarita Suzzer (73) à Heilbrunn (74)
" 2,600. – à Mme Johanna Wolff à Esslingen (75)

Le pouvoir de f. 14,000 – que vous nous chargez de fournir à Madame Marie Reichel a été effectué au débit de votre compte.

Nous avons appris avec bien de la peine le malheur qui vous a frappé et nous prions, Monsieur, d'agréer […] l'expression de la vraie […] que nous y avons prise […]


Paris, 3 January 1852

Mr Alexander de Herzen in Nice, Douis House

We are in possession of the letter dated 25 December that you have been so kind as to send us and as soon as we received it we hastened to give the necessary instructions to Messrs Benedict Bros of Stuttgart in order to have paid from your account

10,000 francs to Mr Gottlob Haag in Erzeuerhingen
14,000 francs to Mrs Margarita Suzzer in Heilbronn
2,600 francs to Mrs Johanna Wolff in Esslingen

The authorization of 14,000 francs that you instruct us to supply to Mrs Marie Reichel has been carried out and debited to your account.

We were very sorry to hear of the misfortune that has struck you and we beg you, Sir, to accept [our sincere condolences?]

18. Herzen to Rothschilds, 8 January 1852, from Nice (76)

Nice le 8 Janvier 1852

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris.

J'ai l'honneur de récevoir [1] la lettre que Vous m'avez adressée le 3 Janvier, je me vois obligé de Vous prier de donner les instructions nécéssaires [2] à Messieurs Schulthess (77) à Zuric pour faire payer pour mon compte à Mme veuve Spillmann, la mère de Jean Spillmann, naufragé le 16 Novembre (je l'ecris [3], car je ne connais pas le prenom [4] de Mme) la somme de Quattre [5] mille francs. Comme je l'ai dejà [6] prevenu [7] elle se presentera [8] elle, ou chargera quelqu'un de recevoir la somme.

Vous récevrez [9] avec la présente la procuration pour le transport de l'inscription de la rente 3% (78); j'ai l'honneur de transmettre que le Consul de France a le droit de faire les actes notariés pour les Suisses qui se trouvent à Nice (79); ce qu'il a oublié de dire dans la procuration precedente [10] et ce qu'il a corrigé maintenant.

Récévez [11], Messieurs, mes salutations les plus empressées

Alexandre de Herzen

[1] recevoir [2] nécessaires [3] écris [4] prénom [5] quatre [6] déjà [7] prévenu [8] présentera [9] recevrez [10] précédente [11] Recevez


Nice, 8 January 1852

Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris.

I have had the honour of receiving the letter that you addressed to me on 3 January [and] am obliged to ask you to issue the necessary instructions to Messrs Schulthess in Zurich to have payment made from my account to Madam Widow Spielmann, the mother of Jean Spielmann, who was shipwrecked on 16 November (I write this because I do not know Madam's forename) in the sum of Four thousand francs. As I have already anticipated she will come in person, or will instruct someone else to receive the sum.

You will receive with this letter the authorization for the transfer of the registration document for the 3% rente; I have the honour of passing on [to you the information] that the French Consul has the right to execute and authenticate deeds for Swiss residents in Nice; which he omitted to say in the previous authorization and which he has now rectified.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander de Herzen

19. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 13 February 1852 (80)

[13] Fevrier [1] 1852

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen à Nice, maison Douis

Nous avons l'honneur, Monsieur, de vous remettre dans ce pli l'extrait de votre compte chez nous arrêté au 12 et par un solde en votre faveur de f [?] que nous avons portés à votre crédit à nouveau et dont nous vous prions de vouloir bien passer […]

Comme vous nous avez exprimé le désir d'employer une partie de votre avoir entre nos mains à l'achat de fonds Belges (81) nous nous sommes fait un plaisir, Monsieur, à vous céder une somme de f 3000. – de rente dans le nouvel Emprunt 5% que le Gouvernement Belge vient de contracter, au cours de 100 avec jouissance comprise du 1er Nov […] nous avons débité votre compte par f 6000. – Ce placement est plus avantageux que si nous vous avions acheté du 2 […] % qui est plus cher en proportion et nous vous prions de vouloir bien nous dire si vous désirez obtenir des titres au porteur ou une inscription nominale.

Nous avons eu l'honneur de recevoir en […] votre lettre du 8 Janvier (82) et conformément à votre avis nous avons fait payer une somme de frs 4000. – à Mme V [2] Spielmann (83) par l'entremise […] Schulthess (84) à Zurich […] votre compte se trouve débité par f 4020. Nous avons fait le nécessaire avec la procuration contenue dans votre dite lettre pour le transfert de vos f [5000]. de rente 3% et nous serons seulement obligés de vouloir bien vous renvoyer la copie de l'inscription que nous vous avons délivrée dans […] et qui doit être annulée maintenant parce que la rente a été vendue et ne se trouve plus entre nos mains.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, la nouvelle assurance de notre parfaite considération.

[1] Février [2] i.e. Veuve


[13] February 1852

Mr Alexander de Herzen in Nice, Douis House

We have the honour, Sir, of enclosing the statement of your account with us up until the 12th and with a balance of [?] francs in your favour brought forward, which we ask you to be so good as to […]

As you have expressed a wish to use part of your credit with us to purchase Belgian stock we have pleasure in assigning to you a sum of 3,000 francs of stock in the new 5% loan that the Belgian government has just raised at the [offering] price of 100 with enjoyment of interest from the 1st of November […] we have debited 6,000 francs to your account. This investment is more advantageous than if we had bought 2 […] % which is more expensive proportionately and we should be grateful if you would let us know if you wish to obtain bearer bonds or an investment registered in your name.

We have had the honour of receiving in […] your letter of 8 January and in accordance with your instructions we have had a sum of 4,000 francs paid to the widow Mrs Spielmann through […] Schulthess in Zurich [and therefore] 4,020 francs has been debited to your account. We have done what is necessary with the authorization contained in your aforementioned letter for the transfer of your 5,000 francs of 3% rente and we should just be obliged if you would send back [to us] the copy of the registration document that we have forwarded to you […] and which must now be cancelled because the rente has been sold and is no longer in our hands.

Yours truly.


20. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 23 March 1852 (85)

Paris 23 Mars 1852

Monsieur Alex. de Herzen, Nice

Conformément à l'avis que nous avons déjà eu l'honneur de vous donner, nous avons […] vous céder

F 3000 de […] à 5% Belge du nouvel Emprunt (86) – à 100 en F. 60,000 – à votre débit

[Voici?] maintenant l'inscription que nous en avons fait faire à votre nom au Grand Livre de la Dette Publique de Belgique (4me série No 9), veuillez nous en décharger.

D'après le désir que vous nous en avez exprimé nous avons demandé au Comptoir National d'Escompte de vous comprendre pour 25000 F[rancs] dans la soumission qu'il va faire le 3 Avril prochain pour le Nouvel Emprunt de la Ville de Paris (87). Nous […] de vous faire connaitre [1] avant cette époque pour quelle somme votre demande aura été comprise. Nous croyons que cet Emprunt est un fort bon emploi; c'est ce qui nous a décidés à faire cette demande pour vous.

Veuillez recevoir, Monsieur, l'assurance de notre parfaite considération.

[1] connaître


Paris, 23 March 1852

Mr Alex. de Herzen, Nice

In accordance with the advice that we have already had the honour of giving you, we have […] in assigning to you

3,000 francs of 5% Belgian [stock] in the new loan – at [a price of] 100, 60,000 in francs – debited to you

[Here] now is the document certifying the registration that we have had made in your name in the Great Book of the Public Debt of Belgium (fourth series, no. 9), would you be so kind as to relieve us of it.

In accordance with the wish that you expressed to us we have asked the National Discount Bank to include you for 25,000 francs in the tender that it is going to make on 3 April next for the New City of Paris Loan. We […] to inform you before that date for what sum your bid will be included. We believe that this Loan represents an extremely good use [of money]; that is what has decided us to make this request on your behalf.

We remain yours truly.


21. Herzen to Rothschilds, 14 April 1852, from Nice (88)

14 Avril 1852.

Cher Monsieur Schaumbourg (89),

Vous avez comme toujours carte blanche (90) de disposer des 25,000 fr. prenez les obligations de la Compagnie du chemin de Fer de Lyon à Avignon (91).

Moi je ne peux ni ecrire [1], ni penser maintenant, ma femme a eu rechute de la maladie, et il n'y a presque pas d'espoir.

Mes lettres sont remplies de sinistres.

Adieu, je vous serre avec reconnaissance la main (92)

Tout à Vous, AHerzen

J'ai tiré sur la maison une somme de 3,500 au nom de Mr Reichel (93). Et j'ai reçu il'y a une dixaine [2] de jours, une lettre de Mr de Rotschild, avec l'insertion de l'inscription belge de 3,000 fr. de rente.

En cas de malheur chez moi, je tirerai encore une lettre de change sur Reichel, de 3 à 5,000.–

[1] écrire [2] dizaine


14 April 1852.

Dear Mr Schaumbourg,

You have as ever carte-blanche to dispose of the 25,000 francs, take the bonds of the Lyon-Avignon Railway Company.

I for my part am unable to write or think at the present time, my wife has had a relapse and there is virtually no hope.

My letters are filled with calamities.

Goodbye, I shake your hand with gratitude.

Yours truly, A. Herzen

I have drawn a sum of 3,500 on the House in the name of Mr Reichel. And about ten days ago I received a letter from Mr de Rothschild enclosing the Belgian certificate for 3,000 francs of stock.

In the event of misfortune in my household I shall draw a further bill of exchange on [in the name of?] Reichel, for 3 to 5,000.


22. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 19 April 1852 (94)

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen à Nice, maison Douis

Nous avons l'honneur, Monsieur, de vous donner par la présente note les 25 obligations de l'"Emprunt" de Lyon à Avignon que nous vous avons cédées selon votre désir au […] de 1050 cours de l'émission faisant frs 26,250. – dont nous avons débité votre compte, nous y cédons les titres provisoires dans votre dossier jusqu'à ce que nous pourrions les échanger contre les obligations définitives qui seront délivrées plus tard (95).

Nous avons acquitté à votre débit votre mandat de frs 3500. à Monsieur Reichel (96) et le meilleur accueil est réservée aux dispositions que vous serez dans le cas de faire sur nous […]

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, nos serieuses [1] salutations.

[1] sérieuses


Mr Alexander de Herzen in Nice, Douis House

We have the honour, Sir, of giving you via this note the 25 bonds in the Lyon-Avignon Loan that we have assigned to you in accordance with your wishes at the […] of the offering price of 1,050, making 26,250 francs, which we have debited to your account, [and] we are placing the provisional certificates in your file until we are able to exchange them for the definitive bonds which will be forwarded later.

We have debited to your account your order to pay 3,500 francs to Mr Reichel and shall warmly welcome any demands that you will be in a position to make of us […]

Yours truly.

23. Herzen to Rothschilds, 19 May 1852, from Nice (97)

Nice. 19 Mai 1852. –

Cher Monsieur Schaumbourg,

Le malheur que j'attendais avec effroi m'a enfin frappé. J'ai perdu ma femme (98).

Dans six mois ma famille s'est reduite [1] à moi et à 3 enfans [2] (99). Les plaies saignent trop pour pouvoir parler. Que le sort protège mieux les enfans [2]. Quand a [3] moi je ne demande rien, pas même cette protection.

De grandes depenses [4] occasionnées par cet événement, m'ont forcées [5] a [6] donner outre la lettre de change à l'ordre de Mss Avigdor (100) (10,000 fr), à la date du 6 mai je crois une autre à l'ordre de M. Adolph. Reichel (101) – 5,000 datée d'aujourd'hui. Il viendra un de ces jours pour le remboursement. De grace [7] – proteges le [8], car je crois que j'ai epuisé [9] ma bourse de revenu

Outre cela je dois envoyer en Russie 10,000 fr (à l'adresse qu'indiquera M. Reichel [10]. Pourrai-je [11] prier M. de Rotschild de faire cet envoi, ou vous me conseillerez de commencer par vendre quelques titres par ex [12] une partie des fonds d'Espagne (102), (qui sont anonymes). Vous aurez la bonté d'en faire part à M. Reichel

Votre tout dévoué

Al Herzen

[1] réduite [2] enfants [3] Quant à [4] dépenses [5] forcé [6] à [7] grace [8] protège-le [9] épuisé [10] A closing bracket seems to be missing here. [11] Herzen may mean Pourrais-je, i.e. he may intend to use the conditional tense rather than the future. [12] i.e. par exemple


Nice, 19 May 1852. –

Dear Mr Schaumbourg,

The misfortune that I was expecting with dread has finally struck me. I have lost my wife.

In the space of six months my family has been reduced to myself and three children. The wounds bleed too much for me to be able to speak. May Fate protect the children better. As for me, I ask for nothing, not even this protection.

Considerable expense occasioned by this event has forced me to supply another bill of exchange, payable to Mr Adolf Reichel [for] 5,000 and with today's date, besides the one payable to Messrs Avigdor (10,000 francs), dated 6 May I think. He will come in one of these days for reimbursement. I beg you to look after him, for I think I have used up my bag of income.

Besides this I must dispatch 10,000 francs to Russia (to the address that Mr Reichel will indicate). Could I ask Mr de Rothschild to send this off or else would you advise me to start by selling some securities, e.g. a part of the Spanish stock (which is anonymous). Please be so good as to give a part of it to Mr Reichel.

Your devoted servant, Al. Herzen

24. Herzen to Rothschilds, 21 May 1852, from Nice

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris.

Veuillez donner les ordres nécéssaires [1] à un de vos correspondants à Moscou de payer à Mr George de Herzen (103), demeurant à Moscou, proprietaire [2] d'une maison – la somme de Dix mille francs, leguées [3] par Natalie de Herzen, mon epouse [4], que j'ai perdu [5] le 2 de ce mois, et dont l'emploi lui est connu. Vous ordonnerez de faire passer cette somme comme sur mon compte.

Récévez [6] l'assurance de ma haute considération et des sentiments du plus profond respect

Alexandre de Herzen

Nice. 21 Mai 1852

[1] nécessaires [2] propriétaire [3] léguées [4] épouse [5] perdue [6] Recevez


Messrs de Rothschild in Paris.

Would you be so kind as to give the necessary instructions to one of your correspondent banks in Moscow to pay Mr George de Herzen, resident in Moscow, and owner of a house, the sum of Ten Thousand Francs, bequeathed by Natalie de Herzen, my spouse, whom I lost on 2 inst., and whose occupation is known to him. Would you give instructions for this sum to be paid out of my account.

I am yours very truly, Alexander de Herzen

Nice. 21 May 1852

25. Herzen to Rothschilds, 31 July 1852, from Bern (104)

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris

J'ai l'honneur d'avertir que j'ai tiré une lettre de change sur la somme de trois mille francs, à l'ordre de M. Kraft à Bern sur Votre maison. Vous m'obligerez en donnant l'ordre de rembourser la dite somme et la porter sur mon compte.

Agréez, Messieurs, l'expression de ma plus haute considération

Alexandre de Herzen

le 31 Juillet 1852
Bern (105). Hôtel de la Couronne


Messrs de Rothschild in Paris

I have the honour of informing you that I have drawn a bill of exchange on your house for the sum of three thousand francs payable to Mr Kraft in Bern. I should be grateful if you would pay over the said sum and charge it to my account.

I am yours sincerely, Alexander de Herzen

31 July 1852
Bern. The Crown Hotel

26. Herzen to Schaumbourg, 16 February 1853, from London (106)

16 Fevrier [1] 1853. Londres.
2 Barrow Hill place. Primrose Road

Cher Monsieur Schaumbourg,

Diverses affaires et le depart [2] de deux amis (107) pour l'Amérique m'ont empeché [3] d'aller immédiatement à Paris, je pense rester ici jusqu'au mois de Mars. En attendant je me presente [4] à vous pour une petite affaire.

Vous avez dans la maison une inscription de 6,000 piast. de titres espagnols 3% avec la jouissance du 31 Decembre [5] 1849 (108); je voudrais vendre maintenant cette rente, (d'après la bourse de Madrid publiée dans le Times c'est coté à 42) à 40-42 (109) ou à peu pres. [6] Le produit de la vente je le donne comme pret [7] à M Nicolas de Melgunoff (110) pour six mois et en conséquence je lui remets la reconnaissance qui m'a été donné par la maison de Rotchild. M. de Melgunoff vous priera d'accepter une lettre de change à mon ordre et il payera tous les frais et commission, transfert et autres.

Je pense que cette lettre suffit complêtement [8] pour terminer l'affaire, car les inscriptions ne sont pas nominales.

Est ce [9] que Vous ne m'obligerez pas en m'envoyant mon compte pour l'année ecoulee [10] –

Comme toujours Votre tout devoué [11]


[1] Février [2] départ [3] empêché [4] présente [5] Décembre [6] près [7] prêt [8] complètement [9] Est-ce [10] écoulée [11] dévoué


16 February 1853. London.
2 Barrow Hill Place. Primrose Road

Dear Mr Schaumbourg,

Various business matters and the departure of two friends for America have prevented me from going straightaway to Paris [and] I think I shall stay here until the month of March. In the meantime I am turning to you about a small business matter.

You have in your House a registration document for 6,000 piastres of Spanish 3% securities with enjoyment of interest from 31 December 1849; I should like to sell this stock now (according to the Madrid Stock Exchange published in The Times it is quoted at 42) at 40-42 or thereabouts. The proceeds of the sale I am loaning to Mr Nicholas de Mel'gunov for six months and I accordingly hand over to him the acknowledgement of indebtedness given to me by the House of Rothschild. Mr de Mel'gunov will ask you to accept a bill of exchange payable to me and he will pay all the costs, commission, transfer and other [charges].

I think that this letter should suffice to bring the matter to a close, for the stock-holdings are not registered in my name.

Would you be so kind as to send me my statement for the year now ended.

As ever your devoted servant, A. Herzen

27. Rothschilds to Herzen in London, 19 March 1853 (111)

Paris 19 Mars 1853

Monsieur A de Herzen à Londres

Nous avons l'honneur de vous adresser le compte de la […] que nous vous avons faite dans l'émission de l'Emprunt Piémontais 3% (112) au prix de 69% de Trois Mille francs de Rente portant la jouissance d'intérêts du 1 Février 1853. savoir

F. 3000 – de Rente à 69%                       F 69000 (113)
                à déduire […] du
                18 Mars au 11 Juin ([…]
                des termes de payements)
                85 jours à 4%                                 651.65
                    net à votre débit                   F 68348.35.

Nous tiendrons les titres de ces f. 3000. de Rente à votre disposition et en depot [1] chez nous.

Conformement [2] à vos instructions nous ferons […] au mieux possible de vos intérêts f60000 – fonds Hollandais 2½ % dont vous nous avez […] Nous vous envoyons à cet effet inclus le modèle de procuration necessaire [3] pour assurer le transfert de ce capital (114) Voudrez bien nous envoyer l'expedition [4] aussitot [5] que possible

Veuillez agréer Monsieur la nouvelle assurance de notre consideration [6] distinguee [7]

[1] dépôt [2] Conformément [3] nécessaire [4] expédition [5] aussitôt [6] considération [7] distinguée



Paris, 19 March 1853

Mr A. de Herzen in London

We have the honour of forwarding to you the statement of the [purchase?] that we have made for you in the issue of the 3% Piedmont Loan, at the price of 69%, of 3,000 francs of rente on which interest is payable from 1 February 1853, namely

3,000 francs of rente at 69%                     69,000 francs
            to deduct [...] from
            18 March to 11 June ([...]
            of the terms of payments)
            85 days at 4%                                    651.65
                net debit to you[r account]         68,348.35 francs

We shall keep the certificates of these 3,000 francs of rente at your disposal on deposit in our House.

In accordance with your instructions we shall [dispose?] to your best advantage [of] the 60,000 florins of Dutch 2½ % stock that you have [...] To this end we enclose the necessary authorization form to ensure the transfer of this capital. Would you be good enough to send us the copy as soon as possible.

We remain, Sir, yours truly

28. Rothschilds to Herzen in London, 11 April 1853 (115)

Paris 11. Avril 1853

Monsieur A. de Herzen à Londres

Nous avons l'honneur de vous adresser d'autre part le compte de la réalisation faite à Amsterdam de votre Inscription Hollandaise 2½% de f60 000 – capital produisant suivant detail [1] ci-contre […] Fr 82,193. que nous avons porté au credit [2] de votre compte

Veuillez agréer Monsieur la nouvelle assurance de notre consideration [3] la plus distinguee [4]

[1] détail [2] crédit [3] considération [4] distinguée


Paris, 11 April 1853

Mr A. de Herzen in London

We have the honour of forwarding to you [under separate cover?] the statement of the sale carried out in Amsterdam of your Dutch 2½% holding of 60,000 florins of capital yielding in accordance with the following item opposite […] 82,193 francs, which we have credited to your account.

We remain, Sir, yours truly

29. Rothschilds to Herzen in Richmond, 12 October 1854

This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1872, folio 563. It is of poor quality, being badly faded, and a number of words are illegible. It is addressed to Herzen at 3 St Helena Terrace in Richmond, to which he had moved in 1854, probably in June (see Carr, p. 328, for a list of Herzen's residences in London between 1852 and 1865). The letter concerns payment of five half-yearly sums of interest, amounting to 7,500 francs less charges of 37.50, on the Belgian rente that Herzen had purchased in February 1852 (see letter 19 above).

30. Herzen to Schaumbourg, 14 September 1857, from London

14 Septembre 1857. Londres

Cher Monsieur Schaumbourg,

J'ai l'honneur d'inserer [1] sous ce pli l'inscription belge sur 3,000 fr. de rente (116). L'argent de l'interet [2] n'a pas été touché depuis Novembre 1855. Veuillez faire encaisser l'argent des trois semestres par Votre agent à Bruxelles et donner Vous la peine de me renvoyer l'inscription et la somme à Londres, à la maison de M. de Rotchild à Londres.

Je vous ecris [3] de son bureau et Vous salue avec estime et amitié


[1] insérer [2] intérêt [3] écris


14 September 1857. London

Dear Mr Schaumbourg,

I have the honour of enclosing herewith the Belgian registration document for 3,000 francs of rente. The interest has not been touched since November 1855. Would you be so kind as to have the money for the three half-years encashed by your agent in Brussels and to take the trouble to send me the registration document and the sum [of money] back to London, to the London House of Rothschild.

I am writing to you from his office and greet you with respect and friendship, A. Herzen

31. Herzen to Schaumbourg, 6 October 1857, from London

6 Octobre 1857 Putney (117)
at Mr Tinker's
near Londres

Mon cher Monsieur Schaumbourg,

Mr Melgunoff me prie maintenant de prendre sur moi sa dette de 6,000 fr. Comme il s'inquiete [1] beaucoup d'une sommation qu'on a faite, je vous en prie de mon coté de passer la dette sur mon compte (118).

Je vous ai expedié [2] il y'a quelques jours la procuration pour la vente de 3,000 fr. de la rente Belge (119) – Vous m'obligerez en me disant un mot concernant les dispositions que vous avez prises.

Récévez [3] mes salutations amicales

Al. Herzen

[1] inquiète [2] expédié [3] Recevez


6 October 1857 Putney
at Mr Tinker's
near London

My dear Mr Schaumbourg,

Mr Mel'gunov is asking me now to take on his debt of 6,000 francs. As he is very worried about the notice that has been served I for my part ask you to transfer the debt to my account.

A few days ago I dispatched to you the authorization for the sale of 3,000 francs of Belgian rente – I should be grateful if you would send me word of the arrangements that you have made.

With kind regards, Al. Herzen

32. Rothschilds to Herzen in London, 7 October 1857

Paris 7 Oct 1857

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen à Londres

Nous avons l'honneur de vous adresser inclus la note de la vente faite à Bruxelles pour votre compte de F 3000. de Rente Belge 5% (120) ayant produit suivant détail Fr 59279-26 dont nous vous avons crédité vous ayant débité par contre de l'achat fait pour votre compte de 223 Obligations de Chemin de Fer de Lyon à Genève (121) montant à F 59,206-50 Nous conserverons ces Obligations à votre disposition en dépôt chez nous, conformement [1] au reçu special [2] de dépôt ci-joint.–

M. Melgunoff n'ayant pas fait honneur à son billet echu [3] le 1 Oct. (122) nous l'avons fait protester; conformément à notre lettre d'hier nous vous remettons le dit effet avec protêt en debitant [4] votre compte du principal F 6000

plus 6 mois d'interets [5] à 6%     180
frais de protêt […]                         40.50
   ensemble                             F 6220.50 (123)

Nous saisissons cette occasion pour vous prier d'agréer Monsieur l'assurance de notre consideration [6] distinguée.

[1] conformément [2] spécial [3] échu [4] débitant [5] intérêts [6] considération


Paris, 7 October 1857

Mr Alexander de Herzen in London

We have the honour of enclosing the notice of sale of 3,000 francs of Belgian 5% rente carried out on your account in Brussels, which has yielded the following item, 59,279.26 francs, with which we have credited you. As against that we have debited you for the purchase for your account of 223 bonds in the Lyon to Geneva Railway amounting to 59,206.50 francs. We shall keep these bonds at your disposal on deposit in our House in accordance with the special deposit receipt herewith.

Since Mr Mel'gunov has not honoured his bond which fell due on 1 October we have protested it; in accordance with our letter of yesterday we are transferring the said surety to you with protest and are debiting the principal of 6,000 francs to your account

plus 6 months' interest at 6%     180
protest expenses […]                 40.50
   altogether                            6,220.50

We take this opportunity to say that we remain yours truly

33. Rothschilds to Herzen in London, 18 January 1859 (124)

Paris le 18 Janvier 1859


Nous avons reçu […] votre lettre du 24 de Décembre écoulé (125) et suivant la demande qu'elle nous transmet, nous avons l'avantage de vous remettre sous ce couvert l'extrait de votre compte courant chez nous arrêté au 31 de décembre et soldant en votre faveur par:

f. 12570,27 que nous reportons à votre crédit

en Compte nouveau. Nous espérons Monsieur que vous le trouverez exact et […] d'apprendre à l'occasion qu'il en est ainsi.

En reponse [1] à la demande que vous nous faites nous vous prions Monsieur de bien vouloir adresser maintenant à nous pour vos affaires que serions toujours […] que par le passé.

Recevez, Monsieur, la nouvelle assurance de notre parfaite consideration [2]

Monsieur Al. de Herzen,
Park-house, Percy Cross – Fulham (126),

[1] réponse [2] considération


Paris, 18 January 1859


We have received […] your letter of 24 December last and pursuant to the request that it conveys we have pleasure in forwarding to you under this cover the statement of your current account with us up to 31 December and with a balance in your favour of:

12,570.27 francs, which we are carrying over

into a new account for you. We hope, Sir, that you will find the statement correct and we should be [glad?] to learn that it is so when circumstances permit.

In reply to the request that you have made to us we ask you, Sir, to be so good as to turn to us now in connection with your business affairs which we should always be [as happy to attend to?] as in the past.

We remain, Sir, yours very truly

Monsieur Al. de Herzen,
Park House, Percy Cross, Fulham,

34. Herzen to Rothschilds, 6 January 1863

6 Janvier 1863 Londres
Orsett House Westbourne Terrace (127)

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris

Veuillez mettre à ma disposition dans Votre maison de Londres Dix Mille francs et en même temps – je prie d'envoyer à un de Vos correspondants – à Florence Mille Cinq Cents fr. et de les faire rembourser à Mademoiselle Malvida von Meysenbug (128).

Vous aurez la bonté de m'informer chez qui elle pourra toucher l'argent à Florence.

Je serai [1] très reconnaissant si je pouvais recevoir mon compte pour l'année 1862 – avec la reponse [2]

Récevez [3] mes salutations les plus distinguées

Alexandre Herzen

[1] Herzen probably intends to use the conditional form serais. [2] réponse [3] Recevez


6 January 1863, London
Orsett House, Westbourne Terrace

Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris

Would you be so kind as to place Ten Thousand francs at my disposal at your London House and at the same time I ask you to send to one of your correspondent banks in Florence One Thousand Five Hundred francs and to have them paid over to Mademoiselle Malwida von Meysenbug.

Would you be kind enough to inform me at whose premises she will be able to receive the money in Florence.

I should be very grateful if I could receive my account for the year 1862 together with your reply.

Yours very truly, Alexander Herzen

35. Herzen to Rothschilds, 27 August 1865, from Geneva (129)

Messieurs les frères De Rotschild a Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous avertir que j'ai donné à la Banque Generale [1] Suisse à Genève – une procuration pour recevoir dans Votre maison Huit Mille francs que vous aurez l'extrême complaisance de faire payer et mettre et mettre [2] sur mon compte

Recevez mes salutations les plus empressées

Al. Herzen

27 Aout [3] 1865
Chateau [4] Boissière
Genève (130)

[1] Générale [2] The phrase et mettre is erroneously repeated. [3] Août [4] Château


Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour of informing you that I have authorized the General Bank of Switzerland in Geneva to receive in your House Eight Thousand francs which I would be most grateful if you would have paid and deposited in my account.

I am yours faithfully, Al. Herzen

27 August 1865
Château Boissière

36. Herzen to Rothschilds, 18 April 1866, from Geneva

Messieurs De Rothschild à Paris


J'ai deposé [1] dans Votre maison Deux cents vingt trois obligations [N-483 (131)] de Lyon a [2] Genève (132) – le reçu desquelles est signé le 7 Octobre 1857 – Je Vous prie d'en vendre 23 (vingt trois) – et de laisser le montant à ma disposition.

En attendant, Messieurs, Votre reponse [3] je prie de recevoir mes salutations empressées

Alexandre Herzen

18 Avril 1866
7 Quai Mont Blanc (133).

[1] déposé [2] à [3] réponse


Messrs de Rothschild in Paris


I have deposited with your house two hundred and twenty-three bonds [N-483] from Lyon to Geneva – the receipt is dated 7 October 1857. I ask you to sell 23 (twenty-three) of them and to put the sum at my disposal.

I await your reply and remain yours truly, Alexander Herzen

18 April 1866
7 Quai Mont Blanc

37. Rothschilds to Herzen in Geneva, 23 April 1866 (134)

Paris 23 Avril 1866

Monsieur A de Herzen
7 quai du Mont Blanc à Genève

Nous vous confirmons, Monsieur, notre lettre du 21 courant (135) et nous venons vous remettre à dessous le bordereau détaillé de l'opération dont elle vous annonçait l'éxécution (136).

Vendu. 23 obligations Lyon à Genève (1857)
            à 302.50 …                                             Frs, 6957.50
                […] Courtage %     f.9.20 (137)
                Commission              8.70                           17.90
                        Soit net                                          Fr, 6939.60

que nous plaçons au crédit de votre compte valeur demain.

Veuillez s. v. p. en prendre note et agréer, Monsieur, nos salutations empressées.


Paris, 23 April 1866

Mr A de Herzen
7 Quai du Mont Blanc in Geneva

We confirm, Sir, our letter of 21 inst. and forward to you below a detailed statement of the transaction which our letter informed you we had carried out.

Sold. 23 bonds Lyon to Geneva (1857)
            at 302.50 …                                       6,957.50 francs
                […] Brokerage ⅛%      9.20 fr
                Commission %           8.70                17.90
                    which is net                                 6,939.60 francs

with which we shall credit your investment account tomorrow.

Would you please be so kind as to take note of this. We remain yours truly

38. Herzen to Rothschilds, 18 November 1866, from Geneva

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous avertir que j'ai tiré une somme de 6,000 fr (Six mille francs) sur Votre maison à l'ordre de la Banque Générale Suisse à Genève. Vous m'obligerez en faisant rembourser la somme – et le portant sur mon compte.

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations les plus empressées

Alexandre Herzen

18 Novembre 1866 –

Genève 7 Quai du Mont Blanc


Messrs Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour to inform you that I have drawn a sum of 6,000 francs (Six Thousand francs) on your House payable to the Swiss General Bank in Geneva. I should be grateful if you would pay this sum and debit it to my account.

I am yours truly, Alexander Herzen

39. Herzen to Rothschilds, 21 November 1866, from Geneva

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous prier d'ordonner la vente de Vingt cinq obligations de Lyon à Genève que Vous avez en depot [1] (depuis le 7 Octob 1857 No. 483) (138). Le restant des obligations (soixante et quinze (139)) restera dans Votre depot. [1] Quand [2] à la somme produite – je prierai de me la faire parvenir à Genève – à mon adresse 7 Quai du Mont Blanc au 1er.

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations les plus distinguées.

Al. Herzen

21 Novem. 1866

[1] dépôt [2] Quant


Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour of asking you to order the sale of twenty-five bonds from Lyon to Geneva that you have had on deposit (since 7 October 1857, No. 483). The remainder of the bonds (seventy-five) will remain in your keeping. As for the proceeds – I shall ask that they be forwarded to me in Geneva, to my address at 7 Quai du Mont Blanc on the first floor.

I remain yours very truly, Al. Herzen

21 November 1866

40. Rothschilds to Herzen in Geneva, 24 November 1866 (140)

Paris 24 Novembre 1866

Monsieur A. de Herzen
7 quai du Mont Blanc à Genève

Nous vous confirmons, Monsieur, la lettre que nous vous avons adressée hier pour vous annonçer [1] la vente de 25 obligations Lyon à Genève 1857, et nous venons vous remettre ci-dessous le bordereau détaillé de cette opération (141).

Vente de 25 obligations Lyon à Genève

    Savoir, 4         –         307 …                Frs 1228…
                21       –         306.50 …                 6436. 50
    moins Courtage % 11.10 (142)
            Commission ⅛     9.60                              20.70
                                    Net                        Frs, 7643.80

que nous plaçons au crédit de votre compte. Pour répondre au desir [2] exprimé dans votre lettre du 21 courant nous vous expédions aujourd'hui sous pli chargé [à] valoir sur cette somme Frs, 7600.. – dont nous vous débitons.

Veuillez s. v. p. nous accuser réception de cet envoi et agréer, Monsieur, nos salutations empressées.

[1] annoncer [2] désir


Paris, 24 November 1866

Mr A. de Herzen,
7 Quai du Mont Blanc in Geneva.

We confirm, Sir, the letter that we sent to you yesterday to notify you of the sale of 25 Lyon to Geneva bonds and we forward to you herewith a detailed statement of this transaction.

Sale of 25 Lyon to Geneva bonds
    namely 4     at     307                                 1,228.00 francs
                21   at     306.50                            6,436.50
    less brokerage % 11.10
    commission ⅛            9.60                             20.70

with which we are crediting your account. In response to the wish expressed in your letter of 21 inst. we are forwarding to you today under registered cover the sum of 7,600 francs which we are debiting to you.

Would you please be so kind as to acknowledge receipt of this dispatch. We remain yours truly

41. Herzen to Rothschilds, 26 November 1866, from Geneva

26 Nov. 1866. Genève
7 Quai du Mont Blanc

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous informer que j'ai reçu hier la somme de 7,600 fr. (143) que Vous m'avez adressés et je renvoie le reçu.

Recevez, Messieurs mes salutations empressées

Alexandre Herzen


26 Nov. 1866, Geneva
7 Quai du Mont Blanc

Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour of informing you that I received yesterday the sum of 7,600 francs that you sent me and I return the receipt.

Yours truly, Alexander Herzen

42. Herzen to Rothschilds, 2 February 1867, from Florence

Messieurs les frères De Rothschild à Paris


J'ai l'honneur d'avertir que je viens de donner un cheque [1] sur Votre maison à l'ordre de M. F. Wagnière (144) sur la somme de Cinq milles francs que je prie de lui payer et de les mettre sur mon compte.

Vous m'obligerez infiniment en les faisant parvenir ici - mon compte pour l'année ecoulée [2]

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations respectueuses.

Alexandre Herzen

2 Fevr. 1867

mon adresse Florence – 41 Via Sta Monaca 2° p° (145)

[1] chèque [2] écoulée


Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour of informing you that I have just presented a cheque on your house payable to Mr F. Wagnière for the sum of Five Thousand francs that I ask you to pay to him and to debit to my account.

I should be immensely grateful if you would have my account for the past year forwarded to me here.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander Herzen

2 February 1867

my address [is] Florence – 41 Via Santa Monaca, second floor

43. Rothschilds to Herzen in Florence, 12 February 1867

This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2288, folios 128-29. The date has partially faded but can be inferred from adjacent letters. The letter is addressed to 41 via Santa Monaca in Florence, from which Herzen had dispatched his letter of 2 February (letter 42 above). Most of the contents of the copy have faded and completely disappeared. However, the letter is evidently a reply to Herzen's letter of 2 February, for it acknowledges receipt of a letter from Herzen earlier in February 1867 in which he instructs the bank to dispatch a cheque for 5,000 francs.

44. Herzen to Rothschilds, 15 February 1867, from Florence (146)

Messieurs de Rothschild frères à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous renvoyer le reçu signé de l'envoi du 12 Fev. Je remercie pour le compte – mais il me semble que je n'en ai pas reçu pour le premier semestre de 1866 (147)

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations les plus empressées

Alex. Herzen

15 Fevrier [1] 1867
41 Via Santa Monaca
2° p° (148)

[1] Février


Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour of sending you the receipt for the dispatch of 12 February [which I have duly] signed. I thank you for the account – but I do not seem to have received it for the first six months of 1866.

I am yours faithfully, Alex Herzen

15 February 1867
41 Via Santa Monaca
Second floor

45. Rothschilds to Herzen in Florence, 28 February 1867 (149)

[…] Monsieur le Baron Alexandre Herzen de lui annonçer [1] qu'ils ont bien recu [2] la lettre qu'il leur a adressée le 15 de ce mois (150) et de lui rappeler qu'ils lui ont envoyé le 2 août 1866 […] de son compte pour le premier semestre de la dite année, arrêté au 20 juin par un solde de fr 14672.70 – en leur faveur

28 février [186]7
à Florence

[1] annoncer [2] reçu


[…] Mr Baron Alexander Herzen to inform him that they have received the letter that he sent them on 15 inst. and to remind him that on 2 August 1866 they sent him […] of his account for the first six months of the year in question, up to 20 June [and] with a balance of 14,672.70 francs in their favour.

28 February [186]7, to Florence

46. Herzen to Rothschilds, 27 April 1867, from Geneva

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous informer que je viens de donner à la Banque Générale Suisse – un cheque [1] sur Votre maison – portant la somme de Huit Mille francs. Vous m'obligerez en les remboursant et en les mettant sur mon compte

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations empressées

Alex. Herzen

27 Avril 1867
Genève 7. Quai Mont Blanc
au 1er

[1] chèque


Messrs de Rothschild in Paris


I have the honour of informing you that I have just presented a cheque on your house to the General Bank of Switzerland for the sum of Eight Thousand francs. I should be grateful if you would reimburse them and debit my account.

Yours faithfully, Alex. Herzen

27 April 1867
Geneva, 7 Quai Mont Blanc, 1st floor

47. Herzen to Rothschilds, 18 June 1867, from Geneva

18 Juin 1867 Genève
7 Quai Mont Blanc


J'ai l'honneur de Vous avertir que je viens de remettre à la Banque Générale Suisse à Genève - un cheque [1] sur Votre maison sur la somme de Dix mille francs. Vous m'obligerez en donnant l'ordre d'accepter ce cheque [1] et de porter les 10,000 sur mon compte

Recevez, Messieurs mes salutations les plus distinguées

Alexandre Herzen

Messieurs les frères De Rotschild à Paris

[1] chèque


18 June 1867, Geneva
7 Quai Mont Blanc


I have the honour of informing you that I have just submitted to the General Bank of Switzerland a cheque for Ten Thousand francs on your house. I should be grateful if you would instruct [your staff] to accept this cheque and debit the 10,000 to my account.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander Herzen

Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris

48. Herzen to Rothschilds, 22 June 1867, from Geneva (151)

Messieurs De Rotschild frères à Paris


J'ai acheté par l'intermediaire [1] de Votre maison en 1849-1850 des fonds americains [2] – Un. St. 6% payable après le 31 Decembre [3] 1867 – pour la somme de Soixante Mille Dol. Le terme du remboursement s'approche. Je voudrais encaisser la somme et la placer d'une manière avantageuse; je presume [4] que le capital sera payé en or et au pair.

L'extrême obligeance avec laquelle Votre maison me donnait toujours un conseil – depuis vingt ans (152) – m'enhardit à m'adresser à Vous pour me renseigner. Je suis tout prêt de venir à Paris pour traiter cette affaire[.] Avant tous les cas je Vous prierai, Messieurs, de m'honorer d'une réponse.

Recevez mes salutations les plus empressées

Alexandre Herzen

22 Juin 1867. Genève
7 Quai Mont Blanc
au 1er

[1] intermédiaire [2] américains [3] Décembre [4] présume


Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


In 1849-50 I purchased through your house some 6% US stock redeemable after 31 December 1867 for the sum of Sixty Thousand dollars. The date for repayment is approaching. I should like to cash the sum and invest it advantageously; I presume that the capital will be paid in gold and at par.

The extreme consideration with which your house has always advised me – for twenty years – makes me so bold as to turn to you for information. I am ready to come to Paris to deal with this matter. Above all I ask you, Sirs, to honour me with a reply.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander Herzen

22 June 1867, Geneva
7 Quai Mont Blanc
1st floor

49. Rothschilds to Herzen in Geneva, 25 June 1867 (153)

Paris 25 Juin 1867

Monsieur Alexandre Herzen.
7 Quai du Mont Blanc à Genève

Nous avons eu l'avantage, Monsieur, de recevoir la lettre que vous nous avez adressée le 22 courant et nous venons vous informer en réponse à son contenu que le fonds Américain 6% que vous avez acheté par notre […] en 1850 sera effectivement remboursé en or et au pair à partir du 1er janvier 1868.

Pour obtenir ce remboursement il sera nécéssaire [1] de nous fournir au nom de Messieurs Auguste Belmont et Co nos correspondants de New-York une procuration dont le modèle vous sera fourni par le Consul Américain de votre ville, qui devra d'ailleurs y apposer son visa.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, nos salutations les plus empressées

[1] nécessaire


Paris, 25 June 1867.

Mr Alexander Herzen.
7 Quai du Mont Blanc in Geneva

We are pleased, Sir, to have received the letter that you sent us on 22 inst. and we inform you in reply to its contents that the 6% American stock that you bought through [us] in 1850 will in fact be reimbursed in gold and at par from 1 January 1868.

In order to secure this reimbursement you will need to supply our agents in New York, Messrs Augustus Belmont, with an authorization for which a form will be supplied to you by the American consul in your city, who will also need to attach his endorsement.

We remain yours truly

50. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 8 August 1867

This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2308, folio 316. For the most part the words are too faint to read. The beginning of the letter evidently concerns the rate of dividend that the State of Virginia is now paying out on old stock of the sort owned by Herzen, as Herzen's reply (letter 51 below) confirms.

51. Herzen to Rothschilds, [11?] August 1867, from Nice

Messieurs De Rothschild à Paris

Je viens de reçevoir [1] aujourd'hui Votre Compte que Vous avez envoyé à Genève – en même temps j'ai l'honneur de Vous informer que j'ai reçu de même Votre lettre de 8 Aout [2] 1867 (154) – concernant l'encaissement de 1,228 fr[ancs] 60 que l'etat [3] de Virginie a payé.

J'ai l'intention de venir dans une dixaine [4] de jours à Paris pour effectuer la vente de mes fonds americains [5] (Un. St. 6% remboursable le 31 Dec. [6] 1867.) – en attendant je resterai à Nice.

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations respectueuses

A Herzen

Nice (155) (Alp. Mar (156))
7 Promenade des Anglais

[1] recevoir [2] Août [3] état [4] dizaine [5] américains [6] Déc


Messrs de Rothschild in Paris

I have just received today your account that you sent to me in Geneva – at the same time I have the honour of informing you that I have likewise received your letter of 8 August concerning the encashment of 1,228 francs 60 [centimes] that the State of Virginia has paid.

I intend to come to Paris in about ten days' time to carry out the sale of my American stock (6% US redeemable on 31 December 1867) – in the meantime I shall stay in Nice.

I remain yours faithfully, A. Herzen

Nice (Alp. Mar.)
7 Promenade des Anglais

52. Rothschilds to Herzen in Geneva, 27 August 1867

This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2310, folio 199. The ink on it has almost entirely faded away, except for the date, Herzen's name, the bank's concluding greeting and a reference at the end of the letter to a previous letter from the bank, probably dated 25 June (i.e. letter 49 above).

53. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 21 September 1867 (157)

Paris le 21 Septembre 1867

Monsieur A. de Herzen

En nous référant à notre lettre du 8 Août (158) Mr nous avons l'honneur de vous informer que l'Etat de Virginie a suivi à l'égard des intérêts […] dûs pour l'année 1866 sur les anciennes inscriptions de cet Etat, la moderne capitalisation qu'il avait adopté pour les intérêts des cinq années précédentes.

En suite un nouveau titre […] en votre nom, nous a été délivré.

En même temps nous avons […] reconnaissance des $150 – représentant […] de [1]% qui vous […] dûs sur […] Juillet dernier.

D'après l'avis de notre Correspondant à New York, le paiement de cette reconnaissance est ajourné à une époque indéterminée […] l'Etat de Virginie [continuent?] jusqu'à nouvel ordre, à payer seulement les des intérêts échéant sur les anciennes inscriptions comme il a commencé à le faire pour le semestre de Juillet dernier.

Nous tenons les titres sus-mentionnés à votre disposition en vous faisant […] en même temps que nous avons porté à votre débit fr. 11.60c pour les frais qu'ils ont occasionés.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'assurance de notre considération distinguée.


Paris, 21 September 1867

Mr A. de Herzen

With reference to our letter of 8 August, Sir, we have the honour of informing you that the State of Virginia has with regard to the interest […] for the year 1866 on old stock-holdings in this State followed the modern capitalization that it had adopted for interest for the preceding five years.

Therefore a new certificate of […] in your name has been delivered to us.

At the same time we have […] bonus of $150 dollars representing 1% which [were] due to you […] July last.

We are advised by our agent in New York that the payment of this bonus has been indefinitely postponed […] the State of Virginia [are continuing?] until further notice to pay only of the interest falling due on the old stock-holdings as it has begun to do for the half-year from July last.

We are holding the certificates mentioned above at your disposal [and] at the same time [are notifying?] you that we have debited you for 11 francs and 60 centimes for the expenses that they [i.e. the certificates] have given rise to.

We remain, Sir, yours truly.

54. Herzen to Rothschilds, 25 September 1867, from Paris

Messieurs De Rothschild frères à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous remettre les certificats de l'emprunt americain [1] – 1847-1867 – 6% remboursables en or le 31 Decem [2] 1867 – pour la somme de soixante mille dollars. Je desire [3] les vendre maintenant aux meilleures conditions, je desire partager le produit de toute la somme en deux parties egales [4] – et je Vous prie de donner l'ordre d'acheter pour la moitié des fonds americains [5] à 6% payable en or 1882 et de faire venir l'autre moitié prenant toutes les mesures d'assurance etc. chez Vous – ou elle sera mise à ma disposition.

J'ajoutte [6], Messieurs, une procuration legalisée [7] par le consul americain [1] à Paris – au nom de M. Auguste Belmont et j'inserre [8] la liste des certificats

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations les plus respectueuses.

Alexandre Herzen

25 Septembre 1867
Paris - 26 Rue de la Chaussée d'Anton

P.S. Comme je quitte Paris dans quelques jours, je prie de m'ecrire [9] après le 1 Octobre à Nice (Alp. Mar) 27 Promenade des Anglais

Errata Au lieu d'envoyer la seconde partie du produit à la vente comme j'ai prié plus haut – je prie Messieurs Belmont de la garder à ma disposition – et seulement m'en avertir

Alexandre Herzen

Liste des certificats de l'Emprunt Americain [10] – au nom d'Alexandre de Herzen – payable le 31 Dec. [11] 1867 (159)

[1] américain [2] Décem [3] désire [4] égales [5] américains [6] ajoute [7] légalisée [8] insère [9] écrire [10] Américain [11] Déc


Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour of handing over to you the American loan certificates – 1847-1867 – for the sum of sixty thousand dollars. I wish to sell them now in the best conditions [and] I wish to split the proceeds of the whole sum into two equal parts – and I ask you to instruct [your staff] to purchase for half [of it] 6% American stock payable in gold in 1882 and to have the other half forwarded to yourselves, where it will be put at my disposal, taking all necessary steps [regarding] insurance, etc.

I append, Sirs, an authorization authenticated by the American consul in Paris in the name of Mr Augustus Belmont and I enclose the list of certificates.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander Herzen

25 September 1867
Paris - 26 Rue de la Chaussée d'Anton

PS As I am leaving Paris in a few days I ask you to write to me in Nice after 1 October (Alp. Mar.), 27 Promenade des Anglais.

Errata Instead of sending the second part of the proceeds for sale as I have requested above I ask Mr Belmont to keep it at my disposal and merely to inform me of this. Alexander Herzen

List of certificates of the American Loan – in the name of Alexander Herzen – redeemable on 31 December 1867.

55. Herzen to Rothschilds, 7 October 1867, from Nice

Monsieur le Baron

De retour à Nice, j'y ai trouvé Votre bienveillante invitation pour le 30 Sept. Malheureusement j'ai quitté Paris le 29.

L'affaire de la vente de mes 60,000 Dol. de l'emprunt americain [1] est en train, je pense qu'elle terminera bien – au commencement de Novembre. C'est alors que je profiterai de l'invitation – pour Vous prier de me donner un conseil pour le placement de la moitié du capital.

Recevez, Monsieur le Baron, mes salutations les plus respectueuses

Alex. Herzen

7 Octobre 1867
Nice (Al. Mar) 27 Promenade des Anglais.

[1] américain


Mr Baron

On my return to Nice I found here your kind invitation for 30 September. Unfortunately I left Paris on the 29th.

The matter of the sale of my 60,000 dollars of the American loan is proceeding [and] I think it will end well, at the beginning of November. That is when I shall take advantage of your invitation, to ask you to advise me on the investment of half the capital.

I remain yours faithfully, Alex Herzen

7 October 1867
Nice (Al. Mar.) 27 Promenade des Anglais.

56. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 9 November 1867 (160)

Paris 9 Novembre 1867

Monsieur A. de Herzen
Promenade des Anglais 27 à Nice.

Nous avons l'honneur de vous informer, Monsieur, que vos 60,000.. dollars de Capital United States 6% 1847 ont été réalisés à New York au cours de 144 et qu'il a été acheté en échange 38500.. dollars U.S. 5.20 emprunt 1862, au prix de 1113/4. Nous vous remettons d'autre part la note détaillée de cette double négociation dont la balance en votre faveur […] à $42920.56 – que nous tenons à votre disposition sous déduction de notre commission 1/4% sur $86100.11 $215.25 –.

Veuillez s'il vous plait [1] nous donner vos instructions relatives à l'emploi que nous avons à faire [avec?] cette somme. Agréez, Monsieur, l'assurance de notre considération distinguée.

[1] plaît


Paris, 9 November 1867

Mr A. de Herzen,
Promenade des Anglais 27 in Nice

We have the honour of informing you, Sir, that your 60,000 dollars of Capital United States 6% 1847 have been sold in New York at 144 and that in exchange 38,500 dollars of U.S. 5.20 loan 1862 have been purchased at a price of 1113/4. We are also forwarding to you a detailed notice of this double transaction, from which there is a balance of $42,920.56 in your favour, which we are holding at your disposal subject to deduction of our commission of 1/4% on $86,100.11, [that is] $215.25.

Would you please be so kind as to give us your instructions regarding the use to which we are to put this sum. We remain yours truly.

57. Herzen to Rothschilds, 12 November 1867, from Nice

12 Novembre 1867. Nice (Alp. Mar)

Messieurs De Rothschild à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous informer de la reception [1] de Votre lettre du 9 Novembre (161) contenant des details [2] de la vente de mon capital à New York et de l'achat qui a été effectué.

Quand [3] au capital qui reste 42,705 Doll (162) je voudrais faire venir en Europe 10,000 Doll (Dix Mille) – qui seront à ma disposition dans Votre maison. Pour le restant – 32,705 Doll. je Vous prie de donner l'ordre d'acheter du même emprunt U.S. 5 20 – 1862 – si les interets [4] sont payables en or.

Dois je [5] donner une nouvelle procuration pour recevoir les interets [6] – dans Votre maison?

Agreez [7] Messieurs, l'assurance de ma plus haute consideration [8].

Alexandre Herzen

[1] réception [2] détails [3] Quant [4] intérêts [5] Dois-je [6] intérêts [7] Agréez [8] considération


12 November 1867. Nice (Alp. Mar.)

Messrs de Rothschild in Paris


I have the honour of informing you that I have received your letter of 9 November containing details of the sale of my capital in New York and of the purchase that has been carried out.

As for the capital of 42,705 dollars that is left over, I should like to have 10,000 dollars (Ten Thousand) forwarded to Europe to be at my disposal in your House. For the remainder – 32,705 dollars – I ask you to instruct [your staff] to purchase some of the same loan, US 5.20 (1862) provided that the interest is payable in gold.

Do I have to provide a new authorization in order to receive the interest in your House?

I am yours very truly, Alexander Herzen

58. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 16 November 1867 (163)

Paris 16 Novembre 1867

Monsieur Alexandre de Herzen
Nice Alpes Mmes.

Nous avons l'honneur Monsieur de recevoir la lettre que vous nous avez adressée le 18 de ce mois (164), et pour nous conformer à vos instructions nous avons donné l'ordre à Mr de Belmont d' […] à l'achat de fonds Américains 5.20 1862, 32705.. dollars, à valoir sur 42705. dollars qui sont à votre disposition chez lui, et de réserver la [1] surplus dont nous vous tiendrons compte ici dès que nous avons reçu la lettre par laquelle il nous donnera avis de l'éxécution [2] de nos ordres. Quant à la procuration dont vous nous entretenez elle est inutile puisque les derniers titres achetés pour votre compte sont au porteur et non pas nominatifs. Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'assurance de notre considération la plus distinguée.

[1] le [2] exécution


Paris, 16 November 1867

Mr Alexander de Herzen
Nice, Alpes Maritimes

We have had the honour, Sir, of receiving the letter that you sent us on 18 inst., and in accordance with your instructions we have ordered Mr de Belmont to [proceed with?] the purchase of 32,705 dollars of American 5.20 1862 stock against a total of 42,705 dollars which are at your disposal in his House, and to set aside the surplus, of which we are keeping account for you here, as soon as we have received his letter advising us that our orders have been carried out. As for the authorization which you tell us of, it cannot be used since the latest certificates purchased for your account are bearer bonds rather than registered securities. We remain yours truly

59. Herzen to Rothschilds, 17 December 1867, from Milan (165)

17 Dec. 1867 – Milan – Hôtel Cavour

Messieurs De Rothschild à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous avertir que j'ai donné à mon fils une lettre de change de quattre [1] mille cinq cents francs à l'ordre de M. Vaniere banquier à Florence (166) et que je dois donner une autre à la Banque Generale [2] Suisse à Genève sur la somme de trois mille cinq cents francs. Je Vous prie en consequence [3] de les accepter et faire porter sur mon compte.

J'attendrai la seconde réponse de l'Amerique [4] à Nice (27 Promenade des Anglais).

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations les plus respectueuses

Alex. Herzen

[1] quatre [2] Générale [3] conséquence [4] Amérique


17 December 1867 – Milan – Hotel Cavour

Messrs Rothschild in Paris


I have the honour of informing you that I have given my son a bill of exchange for four thousand five hundred francs payable to the Florence banker Mr Wagnière and another in the sum of three thousand five hundred francs to the General Bank of Switzerland in Geneva. I ask you to accept them accordingly and to debit my account.

I shall await the second reply from America in Nice (27 Promenade des Anglais)

I remain yours faithfully, Alex. Herzen

60. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 18 December 1867 (167)

Paris 18 Décembre 1867

Monsieur A. de Herzen
promenade des Anglais 27 à Nice.

Nous vous confirmons, Monsieur, notre lettre du 16 novembre dernier (168), et nous venons vous annonçer [1] que Mssrs A. Belmont et Co ont acheté pour votre compte conformément aux instructions que nous leur avons transmises de votre part, $30,000.. de Capital United States 5.20. 1862, qui ont couté [2], suivant notre détaillé d'autre part $32,556.10 (169) – dont vous avez été débité. Comme aux termes de notre lettre du 9 novembre (170) votre solde disponible à New York s'élevait à $42,705.31 – il en résulte qu'il vous reste aujourd'hui $10,149.21 dont nous vous créditons à 3.75 en F., 38,059.55 – valeur ce jour.

Veuillez s'il vous plait [3] en prendre note, et Agréer, Monseiur, nos salutations empressées (171).

[1] annoncer [2] coûté [3] plaît


Paris, 18 December 1867

Mr Alexander de Herzen
27 Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

We confirm, Sir, our letter of 16 November last and we notify you that Messrs A. Belmont and Co. have purchased for your account, in accordance with the instructions that we gave them on your behalf, $30,000 of Capital United States 5.20 1862, which as per the separate detailed statement has cost $32,556.10, which has been debited to you. As set out in our letter of 9 November, your available balance in New York rose to $42,705.31 – consequently you have $10,149.21 left today, for which we are crediting you, at [an exchange rate of] 3.75, with 38,059.55 in francs at today's values.

Would you please be so kind as to take note of this, and please accept our best wishes.

61. Herzen to Rothschilds, 29 December 1867, from Nice

Messieurs De Rothschild à Paris


De retour à Nice j'ai eu l'honneur de recevoir Votre lettre du 18 Decem [1] (172) – contenant les comptes et detailles [2] de l'achat des fonds americains [3]. (173)

Je voudrais recevoir ici à Nice (174) Dix mille francs (10,000) – et je Vous prie de les mettre à ma disposition par la Banque de France – qui a ici une succursale – ou tout autre moyen que Vous trouverez meilleur.

En même temps je prierai aussi le Compte pour l'année 1867

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations les plus empressées et respectueuses

Alexandre Herzen

29 Dec.[4] 1867
27 Promenade des Anglais
au 3
Nice (Alp. Mar)

[1] Décem [2] détails [3] américains [4] Déc


Messrs de Rothschild in Paris


On my return from Nice I had the honour of receiving your letter of 18 December containing the accounts and details of the purchase of the American stock.

I should like to receive Ten Thousand francs (10,000) here in Nice and I ask you to put them at my disposal in the Bank of France, which has a branch here, or through any other channel that you think better.

At the same time I ask also for the account for the year 1867.

I remain yours faithfully, Alexander Herzen

29 Dec. 1867
27 Promenade des Anglais
3rd floor
Nice (Alp. Mar.)

62. Rothschilds to Herzen in Nice, 31 December 1867 (175)

Paris 31 Décembre 1867

Monsieur A. Herzen,
promenade des Anglais 27 à Nice.

Nous avons eu l'honneur, Monsieur, de recevoir votre lettre du 29 courant (176) et pour répondre à votre désir nous nous empressons de vous expédier en billet de banque sous pli chargé, Fr., 10,000.. – dont nous vous débitons.

Veuillez s'il vous plait [1] nous accuser […] réception de cette somme, et agréer, Monsieur, l'assurance de notre considération distinguée.

[1] plaît


Paris, 31 December 1867

Mr A. Herzen,
27 promenade des Anglais in Nice.

We have had the honour, Sir, of receiving your letter of 29 inst. and in order to respond to your wish we hasten to forward to you by registered post a banker's draft for 10,000 francs, which we are debiting to you.

Would you please be so kind as to acknowledge receipt of this sum. We remain, Sir, yours truly

63. Herzen to Rothschilds in Paris, 11 November 1868, from Geneva (177)

Genève, le 11 Novembre 1868

Messieurs De Rothschild à Paris


Veuillez payer à la Banque Générale Suisse Cinq Mille francs sur le mandat delivré [1] par moi le 11 Nov. – somme que Vous ordonnerez de porter sur mon compte.

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations empressées

Alex. Herzen

Hotel [2] de la Paix – 14

[1] délivré [2] Hôtel


Geneva, 11 November 1868

Messrs Rothschild in Paris


Would you please pay the General Bank of Switzerland Five Thousand francs on the money-order delivered by me on 11 November – a sum that should be debited to my account.

I am yours faithfully, Alex. Herzen

Hotel de la Paix – 14

64. Herzen to Rothschilds, 21 December 1868, from Nice

Messieurs de Rotschild frères à Paris


J'ai l'honneur de Vous avertir que j'ai tiré une traite de Cinq Mille francs à l'ordre de Mssrs Lacroix frères à Nice et une autre de Deux Mille Cinq Cents francs (de France) payables à l'ordre de mon fils Alex. Herzen Dr à Florence (178).

Vous priant d'accepter ces deux traites – je Vous prie de les inscrire sur mon compte et d'avoir la complaisance de l'envoyer à moi après le 1 Janvier 1869

Recevez, Messieurs, mes salutations empressées

Al. Herzen

le 21 Decem. [1] 1868
Nice Villa Filippi
Ruelle Merlanzone

[1] Décem


Messrs de Rothschild Bros in Paris


I have the honour of advising you that I have drawn a banker's draft for Five Thousand francs payable to Messrs Lacroix Bros in Nice and another for Two Thousand Five Hundred (French) francs payable to my son Dr Alex. Herzen in Florence.

In asking you to accept these two banker's drafts I ask you to enter them in my account and to be so good as to send it to me after 1 January 1869.

I remain yours faithfully, Al. Herzen

21 December 1868
Nice, Villa Filippi,
Ruelle Merlanzone

65. Rothschilds to Herzen in Geneva, 29 July 1869

This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2389, folio 560. There are almost no traces of ink left on it. All that one can glean, apart from the date and Herzen's name and part of his address (which by this time was in the Boulevard Plainpalais in the centre of the city), is that Herzen has credit in his account, it seems, of 19,932.40 francs.

66. Rothschilds to Herzen in Florence, 19 July 1870

This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2430, folio 167. Again almost nothing remains legible apart from the date, Herzen's name and whereabouts, and the bank's greeting at the end.

67. Rothschilds to Herzen's surviving son in Florence, 21 February 1871 (179)

Paris 21 février 1871

Monsieur A. Herzen fils,
à Florence.

Nous venons de recevoir, Monsieur, la lettre que vous nous avez adressée le 7 de ce mois (180) et nous nous empresserons de vous informer en réponse à son contenu que nous ne pouvons dans les circonstances présentes, vous accréditer auprès […] Landau (181) à Florence des vingt cinq mille francs que vous nous demandez de vous avançer [1].

Suivant votre désir nous allons faire réaliser à Bruxelles votre inscription de 80,000 francs de Capitale Belge 21/2% (182), et nous ferons tenir à votre disposition [le?] produit de cette opération, dès qu'elle aura été effectuée.

Ainsi que vous le supposez, il est nécessaire de nous fournir une procuration pour que nous puissions faire vendre à New-York vos fonds de Virginie. Cette pièce devra nous être fournie en blanc, et devra être légalisée par le Consul Américain du pays dans lequel vous résidez.

Vous nous informez que Messieurs N. M. Rothschild et fils vous ont […] au mois de décembre dernier […]

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, nos salutations empressées.

[1] avancer


Paris, 21 February 1871

Mr A. Herzen Jr,

We have just received, Sir, the letter that you sent us on 7 inst. and we shall hasten to inform you in reply that we cannot in the present circumstances credit you through […] Landau in Florence with the twenty-five thousand francs that you ask us to advance to you.

In accordance with your wish we are going to realize in Brussels your stock-holding of 80,000 francs of 21/2% Belgian Capital, and we shall have the proceeds of this transaction held at your disposal as soon as it has been carried out.

Just as you suppose, it is necessary to supply us with an authorization for us to be able to have your Virginia stock sold in New York. This document will need to be supplied to us uncompleted and will need to be authenticated by the American consul in the country where you are resident.

You inform us that Messrs N. M. Rothschild and Son […] you in December last year […]

Please accept, Sir, our best wishes.


  1. This letter is now catalogued at CAMT as 59 H-1869.
    Luise Haag, Herzen's mother, was the daughter of a minor German official. She had been born in 1795 in Stuttgart, in the Kingdom of Württemberg. Herzen's father, Ivan Alekseevich Iakovlev (1767-1846), had met her during a trip abroad after the death of his wife and, although he was almost thirty years her senior, brought her back to Russia as his partner in 1811 (see LN, vol. 63, pp. 410-415).
    On 1 August 1828 (OS) Iakovlev had deposited in the Moscow Savings Bank 60,000 paper roubles, stipulating that in the event of his death all the interest on this sum should go to Luise Haag (and on her death, to Herzen), but that she would not be able to take possession of the capital sum until three years had elapsed after his death. This investment was certified by a bond, no. 75,986. In July 1846, shortly after Iakovlev's death, on 6 May 1846 (OS), Haag received the interest due to her. When the bond was in due course presented for payment, in 1849, the moneys were paid with further interest and without demur. On the terms of Iakovlev's deposit see PSSP, xiv, p. 9.
    The bond to which this letter of Luise Haag's refers is presumably the source of the sum of 76,772 francs of which Herzen himself acknowledged receipt in the last paragraph of his letter of 6 November 1849 to Rothschild (CAMT, 68 H-1869; see letter 4 below).
  2. Herzen left France hurriedly in June 1849 in order to escape possible arrest by the French authorities, who, as the Second Republic established itself, were now beginning to arrest political opponents.
  3. This letter has not been found.
  4. The Moscow Savings Bank (Sokhrannaia kazna) originated within the Board of Guardians (Opekunskii sovet), an institution founded in the age of Catherine the Great (Catherine II, ruled 1762-96) for the care of widows and orphans. The Savings Bank paid interest on deposits and used its capital to lend money against the security of landed estates, stone housing and factories (see Isabel de Madariaga, Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great (London, 1981), p. 477). In the Russian primary and secondary sources on Herzen that I have consulted both the terms Sokhrannaia kazna and Opekunskii sovet are used to denote the institution that issued the bonds that Herzen wished to cash in 1849-50.
  5. See the section on currencies in the introduction.
  6. As the head of the family Herzen effectively controlled his mother's financial affairs, it seems.
  7. This letter concerns the financial project on which Herzen was engaged in 1849, namely the transfer of his wealth from Russia to the West and investment of it in the West under the guidance of James de Rothschild. More particularly it also concerns his agreement to supply the deposit, amounting to 24,000 francs, which was required under French law for the establishment of The Voice of the People (La Voix du Peuple), a daily newspaper which the French anarchist Proudhon (1809-65) was intending to produce. Herzen's payment was a loan rather than a gift: so long as it remained on deposit, Herzen would receive annual interest from the paper at 5%. (Herzen did not recover his deposit, though, when in 1850 the paper ceased to be published.) Under the terms of a written agreement with Proudhon Herzen was entitled to publish political articles in the paper whenever he wished, unless they were obviously unsuitable or likely to result in the paper being prosecuted (SS, xxiii, pp. 399-400). Herzen's own account of this episode is in My Past and Thoughts (ibid., x, pp. 190-95; My Past and Thoughts, pp. 757-65). See also Judith Zimmerman, Mid-Passage: Alexander Herzen and European Revolution, 1847-1852 (Pittsburgh, PA, 1989), pp. 123 ff., who notes that Herzen wished to exercise more control over the paper, as de facto foreign affairs editor, than Proudhon was prepared to cede to him.
  8. This letter has not been found.
  9. Herzen would appear to have in mind not a compatriot, strictly speaking, but a fellow Slav, the Polish dramatist Edmond Chojecki, who wrote under the pen-name Charles Edmond. Chojecki acted as a go-between in Herzen's dealings with Rothschild while he was away from Paris (see, e.g., SS, xxiii, pp. 181, 401).
  10. i.e. Denis Rougemont de Löwenberg, a Parisian banker.
  11. i.e. Herzen's bank in Moscow.
  12. During the 1830s and 1840s the Rothschilds invested heavily in the new Belgian state, which had come into being in 1831. They made loans of some 74 million francs in 1831, 100 million in 1832, 50 million in 1838, 38 million in 1840, 85 million in 1844 and 28 million in 1848 (see the catalogue of the Rothschild Archive at CAMT, file describing section 132 AQ of the archive, Part I (hereafter Rothschild Catalogue), p. 19). The Belgian government debt was funded through long-term government securities, or rentes (see note 53 below), of the sort that Herzen purchased. In the mid-nineteenth century there were various Belgian government securities with nominal rates of interest ranging from 21/2% to 5% (Sidney Homer, A History of Interest Rates (New Brunswick, NJ, 1963), p. 246).
    By contributing to the loan to the Belgian government, Herzen was in a small way participating, as he did through other investments as well, in Rothschild's broad financial enterprise. It is perhaps unsurprising that Herzen does not disclose this investment, or other contributions to government loans, in the account of his relationship with James de Rothschild that he gives in My Past and Thoughts (SS, x, pp. 132-40).
  13. A substantial part of the moneys transferred by Herzen from Russia in 1849 was invested, also on Rothschild's advice, in American stock. See also letters 48, 49, 54, 55, 57, 61 below, especially 54, which has an addendum that enables one to see precisely how this investment was made up.
  14. The decrepit and moribund nature of the "old world" was a favourite theme of Herzen's at this time and he would continue for many years to discourse on the subject in his journalism and in his private correspondence.
    The rather flippant, sage remark on the subject in the antepenultimate paragraph of this letter is of a piece with remarks that Herzen had addressed to Proudhon nine days earlier in a letter with which he enclosed another letter for Rothschild (which is not to be found at CAMT) and a signed copy of the agreement between himself and Proudhon. "Do you know, Sir", Herzen wrote in his letter of 27 August 1849 to Proudhon, "that you have signed an agreement with a barbarian, and a barbarian the more incorrigible for the fact that he is so not merely by birth but also by conviction. My greatest wish would be to be able to stamp on the foreign part of the journal a quality of profound and utter hatred for the old world, for a civilization in its death throes; as a veritable Scythian [i.e. a member of a wild nomadic tribe] I look with pleasure on the demise of this old world as it crumbles and I have not the slightest pity for it; and it is we whom it behoves to raise our voices to bear witness to the fact that this old world, to which we only partly belong, is dying away. Its death will be our investiture" (SS, xxiii, p. 175).
    It is notable, though, that Herzen does not pursue the subject of the death of the old world in his subsequent correspondence with Rothschild, either because it would have seemed faintly ridiculous to do so in the context of the French Second Republic and Second Empire or because Herzen realized that this note in his writing was discordant with the pragmatic commercial concerns of his correspondence with Rothschild.
  15. i.e. dollars. The French term piastres, like the English term, normally denotes a former Egyptian, Spanish or Turkish unit of currency, but it may also refer to a dollar, especially the Canadian dollar.
  16. This letter simply follows up the matter with which Herzen had dealt in his previous letter to Rothschild, namely the business of completing arrangements for the payment of the deposit for Proudhon's paper.
  17. On Herzen's purchase of a share in Rothschilds' loan to the Belgian government, see note 12 above.
  18. See note 9 above.
  19. Presumably the bond of his mother's to which letter 1 refers.
  20. While making allowance for the conventions of the day, one detects an unusually grovelling tone in Herzen's concluding paragraph. It may be that he is taking pride, at this early stage in his relationship with James de Rothschild, in what he thinks is his skill in dealing with the bourgeoisie.
  21. This is one of the most important items in the collection of Herzen's letters at CAMT. It is no doubt the "long and very detailed letter" to Rothschild that Herzen mentioned in a letter of 7 November 1849 (the day after this letter was written) to Emma Herwegh (SS, xxiii, p. 207). Its importance to Herzen is perhaps reflected in the fact that it is very neatly presented and is flatteringly addressed to "Monsieur le Baron".
    The letter is written in the light of the news that Herzen had received on 26 October 1849 of a decision taken by the Russian authorities some months earlier, in July, to sequester his and his mother's remaining assets in Russia (ibid., p. 204) The authorities had been alerted to Herzen's movement of his assets out of Russia by a document that he had signed in April in the presence of the Russian consul in Paris. In this document Herzen had authorized the executor of his father's estate, Grigorii Ivanovich Kliuchariov (1793-1868), to mortgage an estate in the Chukhloma District of Kostroma Province which he had received from his father in 1841 by a deed of transfer of ownership. The authorities also learned shortly afterwards of a document that Luise Haag had signed, again in the presence of the consul in Paris, acknowledging receipt of the cash value of her bond for 60,000 paper roubles (on which see letter 1 above).
    However, it became clear to the Russian authorities, when they looked into the matter in the late summer and autumn of 1849, that all of Herzen's capital had by then been removed from the Moscow Savings Bank. Therefore the only portions of Herzen's own wealth that it was still possible to sequester were his estate in Kostroma Province and the relatively small sums relating to current income and expenditure that were being managed in Herzen's absence by Kliuchariov. There did also remain, though, Luise Haag's share of Iakovlev's legacy, 106,000 silver roubles, which Kliuchariov had deposited in the Moscow Savings Bank. On the distraint and Herzen's attempts to have it removed see PSSP, xiv, pp. 8ff., and SS, xxiv, p. 407.
    It was the need to keep in constant touch with Rothschild over the attempt to recover the assets sequestered by the Russian authorities that detained Herzen in Paris during the winter of 1849-50 and the spring of 1850. The matter caused Herzen great anxiety as well as inconvenience. In a letter of 16 April 1850, for example, he told Herwegh, who was still a trusted friend and confidant: "I'm disagreeable and more irritated than depressed, in short this business of the bond has tied me up hand and foot and impedes my every step, destroys all my plans and will not allow me the bit of peace that I am looking for" (SS, xxiv, p. 21). Not that Herwegh, who mocked the singularly unromantic, mercenary side of Herzen's character, was sympathetic. On the contrary, he chided Herzen for his preoccupation with "this farce of francs and centimes" and advised him teasingly: "Live on the half million you already have, until you get the other half" (quoted by Carr, p. 71).
  22. Herzen's intermediary is again Chojecki (see note 9 above), whom he has asked Emma Herwegh to instruct to go to Rothschild (SS, xxiii, p. 204).
  23. The estate was quite sizable, judging by the fact that in April 1849 the village of Lepekhino on it was populated by 229 male serfs. (Only about one quarter of Russia's serf-owners possessed more than one hundred souls in all at this period: see Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter, Social Identity in Imperial Russia (Dekalb, 1997), p. 33.) Records show that in 1861 (by which time the Kostroma estate was no longer in Herzen's possession) Lepekhino was still inhabited by 204 male serfs spread over 113 households (tiagla) and that the annual quit-rent (obrok) from each household was set at 17 roubles and 30 kopecks (PSSP, xiv, pp. 14-15).
  24. On receiving the news of the distraint Herzen conceived a ruse to recover the estate. He first described the ruse as follows, in a letter of 26 October 1849 to Emma Herwegh: "Edmond must go to Rothschilds, Edmond must see the honourable Schaumbourg [see note 89 below] again and put this question to him ([or] better still address it to Rothschild himself). 'Mr H owes Mrs Haag 100,000 or 120,000 roubles in assig[nats] [see the section on currencies in the introduction above]. Mrs Haag has an acknowledgement of debt from Mr H that she would like to surrender to Mr Rothschild in order to have the immovable property that belongs to H in Russia sold. Mr Rothschild will not pay until he has received the money, but he will issue H with a certificate signed by him; H for his part will do everything within his power to expedite this sale in Russia?'" (SS, xxiii, p. 204).
  25. Herzen had been abroad for nearly three years by the time he wrote this letter.
  26. A summons to return to Russia did come, though, in mid-September 1850, through the Russian consul in Nice, which at that time was a Piedmontese city (see note 54 below). Herzen refused to return and on 23 September 1850 wrote to an influential local acquaintance, the Italian historian, journalist and diplomat Michelangelo Pinto (1818-71), to try to find out informally whether he was in danger of expulsion from Piedmont (SS, xxiv, pp. 146-47). In a further letter, in response to Pinto's reply, he gives Pinto an account of his wealth (ibid., pp. 148-49). However, Herzen's hope that he might be able to settle in Piedmont was thwarted: in June 1851 the Sardinian authorities ordered his expulsion. In any case he had already started to explore the possibility of becoming a Swiss citizen and in June 1851 completed the formalities for naturalization as a citizen of the Canton of Fribourg. As for his position vis-à-vis the Russian authorities, when he refused to return they stripped him of all his rights and deemed him to be in perpetual exile (ibid. p., 438).
  27. Herzen's claim that he believed, or expected Rothschild to believe, that Rothschild could persuade the Russian government to release his property "easily" and "without the least expense" is implausible. In any case the prediction was to prove very wide of the mark, to Herzen's intense frustration.
  28. Herzen, as an aristocrat, was greatly concerned with honour and prided himself on his sense of it.
  29. Herzen is coy about the fact that Luise Haag is his mother.
  30. Herzen's unconditional plea for help and his promise to pay Rothschild both commission and whatever expenses he incurred and to meet whatever conditions Rothschild decided to impose stand in stark contrast to the self-serving account that he gives of this episode in his life in My Past and Thoughts. In that literary account Herzen is resentful of the commission and expenses, amounting to 5%, that he says Rothschild proposes to charge for recovering the money inherited by his mother from Iakovlev, and he claims to have driven down this allegedly exorbitant commission (SS, x, pp. 139-40; My Past and Thoughts, p. 764). See also note 42 below.
  31. See letter 1 above.
  32. See letter 2 above.
  33. See letter 2 above.
  34. Herzen has now added the aristocratic "de" to his signature, perhaps to inflate his social importance, and that is how James de Rothschild always addresses him. Far from wanting to disabuse Rothschild of the notion that he is an aristocrat Herzen seems to have enjoyed playing upon his social eminence. "Nothing can be more piquant", he wrote to Granovskii in May 1849, "than my kindly relations [with] and visits to Baron de Rothschild, who up to now is convinced that I am a count and a fool" (SS, xxiii, p. 137). It would perhaps be unwise, though, to assume that Rothschild was as mistaken in his judgements as Herzen affected to believe.
  35. This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1784, folio 27. The attached statement is on folio 28.
    This is a letter of great importance to Herzen, announcing as it does the partly successful completion of the attempt that he had instructed Rothschild to begin in October 1849 to force the Russian government to release the property of Herzen's and his mother's that the government had sequestered in July that year (see note 21 above).
    It had not proved possible, it will be noted, also to recover the sequestered estate in Kostroma Province that belonged to Herzen himself and about which he had written to Rothschild on 6 November 1849.
  36. Herzen had arrived in Nice on 23 June 1850 and taken up residence there. He had insisted on renting a large house with a garden overlooking the sea on a fashionable promenade, which his family could share with Georg and Emma Herwegh.
  37. Karl Gasser was Rothschild's agent in St Petersburg. He had persistently asked that the money due on Luise Haag's bond be transferred from the Moscow Savings Bank to the St Petersburg Savings Bank and then released to him, and he even succeeded in obtaining an interview with Count Nessel'rode, the Russian Foreign Minister, at which he pressed Herzen's claim.
  38. The Rothschilds had interests in the southern states of North America and it was for this reason that they had opened agencies in New Orleans. For Herzen, though, who proclaimed himself a revolutionary and a socialist and who was to advocate the emancipation of the serfs in his native Russia, investment in Virginia was ethically dubious and smacked of hypocrisy, since Virginia was at this time a state of the southern confederacy whose economy was based on the use of slave labour on cotton and other plantations.
  39. It should be noted that the sum recovered by Rothschild was in silver roubles, which had a higher value (see the section on currencies in the introduction above) than paper roubles, in which the value of the bond recovered for Luise Haag in summer 1849 had been defined (see letter 1 above).
  40. See the section on dates in the introduction.
  41. Rothschild thus succeeded in recovering not merely the capital sum that Luise Haag had inherited from Iakovlev (and which she was not allowed to touch until three years had elapsed after his death in May 1846; see note 1 above) but also the compound interest that had accrued since Iakovlev's death, including the interest for the period during which the capital had been sequestered.
  42. Rothschilds' commission and expenses are the subject of some churlish remarks in Herzen's autobiography (see note 30 above).
  43. On the exchange rate see note 44 below.
  44. The Soviet editors of Herzen's works are aware of the existence of this letter, but not of its whereabouts (SS, xxiv, p. 536).
    On the same day that he wrote this letter to Rothschilds Herzen also wrote to his mother to describe the happy outcome (ibid., pp. 102-103). It was particularly gratifying that Luise Haag's 106,000 silver roubles were converted at a rate of exchange that was more favourable to the Herzen family than the rate that obtained in 1849 when Herzen's own bonds had been cashed by Rothschilds.
  45. i.e. letter 5 above.
  46. Again Herzen immediately takes charge of his mother's money.
  47. Herzen would shortly change his instruction, on receipt of fresh advice from Rothschild (see letter 7 below).
  48. In a letter written on 15 July 1850 to Herwegh, who had been mocking Herzen's apparent obsession with financial matters, Herzen affected a certain insouciance about investment of his newly recovered assets: "what's the good of hurrying", he mused, "this affair has now lost all its interest; the money is saved, it'll be possible to invest it one way or another" (SS, xxiv, p. 118). However, his letter of 13 July 1850 to Rothschild shows that once his mother's moneys had been received and made available to him Herzen in fact lost no time putting the new funds to good use. Here he follows the advice that Rothschild had evidently given him on 9 July to invest in Ohio State stock rather than to buy further United States Government stock.
  49. There is no copy of this letter of Rothschilds in the registers at CAMT, but one can infer from their letter of 29 June (i.e. letter 5 above) and from this letter of Herzen's that Rothschilds' letter of 9 July offered further advice about investment of the moneys recently recovered from Russia.
  50. Herzen does indeed seem almost always to follow the advice he receives from Rothschilds.
  51. See note 15 above.
  52. This copy of Rothschilds' letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1786, folio 364 and reverse.
    This letter, taken together with other documents in the Rothschild Archive, demonstrates the scale of the American stock-holdings that Herzen purchased in 1849-50. Just how substantial these investments were can be gauged from the statements of dividends to private investors that are preserved in the file "Virginia 1866" at 132 AQ 74. (I am grateful to Caroline Shaw for drawing this file to my attention.) From a list of recipients of dividends payable on Ohio State stock in July 1854, for example, we find that out of 16 investors in this stock only the Polish Count Branicki and Rothschild Brothers themselves had a larger holding than Herzen's $20,000. Out of 32 investors in Virginia State stock only the Polish Prince Joseph Lubomirski, the Duke of Polignac, Rothschild Brothers and one other private investor had stock worth more than Herzen's $17,000. Out of more than 200 investors in United States Government stock, finally, only Count Branicki and the Duke of Polignac held more than the $60,000 that Herzen had eventually acquired.
  53. This French term, which also has currency in English, denotes either a government security on which interest is paid or the income from it. Here Herzen is buying sufficient Piedmont government securities to yield an annuity of 6,000 francs, and it is costing him a little over 100,000 francs to do so.
  54. Piedmont was part of the Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia and was one of the more liberal Italian states in the period leading up to Italian unification in 1859-61. The Piedmontese government enjoyed frequent substantial loans from the Rothschilds.
    Herzen invested a further 54,000 French francs in Piedmontese stock at this time through another banker, Avigdor and Son (see SS, xxiv, p. 383), in spite of the fact that in a letter of 15 July 1850 he had told Herwegh that he did not want Piedmontese stock because it would never yield more than 3% (ibid., pp. 117-118).
    Nice, where Herzen was now living and where the banker Avigdor was based, remained a Piedmontese city under the protection of the Counts of Savoy until it was ceded to France in 1860 under the terms of the Treaty of Turin.
  55. This north-western Italian city was the capital of Piedmont.
  56. Although Herzen accepted Rothschilds' advice to buy Dutch stock he complained about its relatively low rate of interest and soon contemplated selling it, because it too produced so little income (SS, xxiv, pp. 349, 368).
  57. This letter merely deals with the continuing business of investing the proceeds of the encashment of Luise Haag's bond for 106,000 roubles in the summer of 1850.
  58. i.e. letter 8 above.
  59. See letters 5-8 above on Herzen's purchase of American stock in the summer of 1850.
  60. See note 54 above on Herzen's Piedmontese investment.
  61. See note 56 above on Herzen's investment in Dutch stock.
  62. This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1786, folio 743. The quality of the copy is poor. The first part of the page in particular has faded and the writing is very unclear.
  63. On Herzen's acquisition of Dutch stock see note 56 above.
  64. This letter chiefly concerns debts that Herzen was recovering from the widow of a cousin, D. P. Golokhvastov, at about the same time that he was investing the moneys recovered for him from Russia by Rothschild.
    Golokhvastov served as an official in the Moscow educational district and from 1847 until his death in 1849 was head of it. In 1840 he had borrowed 30,000 silver roubles from Herzen. This was a very large sum, as will be seen by comparing it with the estimated value (about 50,000 silver roubles) of Herzen's estate in Kostroma Province (see letter 4 above). The loan to Golokhvastov yielded substantial interest. From a description of Herzen's assets compiled for the Russian authorities by Kliuchariov (see note 21 above) in 1849, when they were investigating Herzen's financial affairs, it transpired that Kliuchariov had received 7,386 roubles in interest on it, presumably in the two years since Herzen's departure for the West (PSSP, xiv, pp. 10-11).
    Under the terms of a legal document drawn up in Paris on 21 April 1849 (the same day that the document mortgaging Herzen's estate in Kostroma Province was drawn up) Golokhvastov's debt was rearranged so that the interest would be payable to Herzen's mother and the capital repayable to her too on 10 May 1850, the tenth anniversary of the date when the loan was originally made (see SS, xxiii, p. 329).
    On Golokhvastov's death Herzen worried that Golokhvastov's widow would not repay the loan or that the Russian authorities would prevent repayment of this credit as well as encashment of Luise Haag's bond (ibid., xxiv, pp. 61, 69, 71, 73, 75). However, the money due was received in June, or rather some of it was received (ibid., p. 92), and Herzen planned to put it towards the cost of purchasing further American stocks (ibid., p. 76).
    It is worth adding that the Russian authorities, when they were considering sequestration of Herzen's property, did not feel that they could ignore the agreement by which Herzen had transferred Golokhvastov's debt of 30,000 roubles to his mother. The agreement did arouse suspicion, to be sure, but the authorities concluded, with a fair-mindedness that Herzen would have been loath to acknowledge, that since the document had been drawn up before their proceedings against Herzen had begun they should give Herzen and his mother the benefit of the doubt and treat the moneys owed as Haag's property rather than Herzen's (see PSSP, xiv, p. 12).
    Golokhvastov's debt was a frequent topic in Herzen's letters to Kliuchariov in 1848-49. See also Herzen's autobiography in SS, ix, pp. 200-201 (My Past and Thoughts, pp. 577-78).
    Besides the loan of 30,000 roubles in 1840 Herzen lent Golokhvastov a further 10,000 roubles in 1846. This second loan (but not the interest on it) was repaid the following year (see SS, xxiii, pp. 43, 49, 50, 354).
  65. See note 10 above.
  66. Herzen presumably means "two" on de Löwenberg or "one" on Mallet, or else he is enclosing five rather than four bankers' drafts with his letter.
  67. One of the conservative Parisian banking houses, led by a Protestant family and founded in the early eighteenth century.
  68. As requested in the fourth paragraph of Rothschilds' letter of 11 September (i.e. letter 10 above).
  69. This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1809, folios 329-30. It is relatively well preserved, but in the last paragraph on the first folio the writing fades away. On the next folio there is a statement about what is presumably a sale of stock, the net proceeds of which, amounting to 108,341.85 francs, are being credited to Herzen's account.
    The letter was written shortly after the death of Herzen's mother and deaf-mute son Kolia in an accident at sea and it concerns Herzen's bereavement and bequests made by Luise Haag. The boat on which Luise Haag and Kolia were travelling from Marseilles to Nice, on the last part of their homeward journey from Paris, was rammed by another vessel in the early hours of the morning of 16 November 1851 near the îles d'Hyères off the southern coast of France. Kolia's tutor, Johann Spielmann, drowned too. He was a strong swimmer, but was sucked down with the sinking ship as he tried to save Kolia.
  70. This letter of Herzen's is not in the collection in CAMT, nor are others (including one that seems to have been written in early December and one written on 17 December) that Herzen evidently sent to Rothschild in the one-and-a-half months that elapsed between the death of his mother and son on 16 November 1851 and the composition of this letter on 3 January 1852 (see SS, xxiv, pp. 537, 538).
  71. i.e. Luise Haag's brother.
  72. I have not been able to identify a place with this or a similar name.
  73. i.e. Luise Haag's younger sister, born in 1797.
  74. Presumably Heilbronn, situated some twenty miles north of Stuttgart, Luise Haag's native city.
  75. Esslingen am Neckar, near Stuttgart.
  76. This letter is written on notepaper with a black rim, since Herzen is mourning the death of his mother, Luise Haag, and younger son, Kolia (see note 69 above). It is a reply to Rothschilds' letter of 3 January (i.e. letter 17 above) and chiefly concerns a payment to the mother of his dead son's tutor, who had also drowned in the shipwreck.
  77. Heinrich Schulthess (1813-98) was a Zurich banker.
  78. Herzen may be referring here to Spanish rente, which yielded interest at 3%. He had invested 9,295 francs in this rente in 1850 and a further 14,000 francs of it was purchased in his mother's name in the same year (SS, xxiv, p. 383).
  79. In June 1851 Herzen had become a naturalized citizen of the Swiss Canton of Fribourg, where he deposited 25,000 francs in the cantonal bank (SS, xxiv, p. 383).
  80. This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1812, folios 146-47. The date of the letter is not clear but can be inferred from the date of the preceding and following letters in the register. The writing on the first folio is very faint towards the end and the first folio is in general difficult to read. The second folio is in better condition.
  81. On Herzen's investment in Belgian stock see note 12 above.
  82. i.e. letter 18 above.
  83. See notes 69 and 76 above.
  84. See note 77 above.
  85. This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1814, folio 253. It concerns two substantial investments, to the tune of 85,000 francs in all, these moneys having become available to Herzen following his mother's death.
  86. See the second paragraph of letter 19 above.
  87. This loan helped to support the vigorous programme of urban reconstruction that took place in Paris under the direction of Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann (1809-91) during the Second Empire, in the reign of Louis-Napoleon.
    To the dismay of Herzen the political actor, Louis-Napoleon had carried out a coup d'état on 2 December 1851 and was to establish himself as Emperor Napoleon III on the first anniversary of that coup. For Herzen the investor, on the other hand, the coup was advantageous, since it restored confidence among investors after a period during which they had been concerned that elections due to take place in 1852 would bring gains for the radical republican and socialist factions and lead to renewed political, social and economic instability of the sort that the country had experienced in 1848. Following Napoleon's seizure of power the availability of fresh capital produced a boom. The offer of municipal bonds made by the Prefect of the Seine in order to fund Napoleon's public works, for example, realized some 61 million francs.
    Herzen's investment in this programme of reconstruction, which was a favourite project of Napoleon's, does not sit easily with his political animosity towards the new Emperor. It is also a piquant fact that one of the effects of the reconstruction was to make it much easier for troops, in the long, straight, broad boulevards that now replaced the narrow alleyways of such quarters as the faubourg Saint-Antoine, to suppress urban insurrections of the sort to which Herzen had been sympathetic in the previous two decades.
    Of course, to express some surprise at Herzen's willingness to invest in this project that was emblematic of the Second Empire is not to overlook the broad beneficial effects of the reconstruction for Parisians. Napoleon's and Haussmann's project helped to create a much less crowded, more sanitary environment with more open space and the numerous parks and gardens with which the modern visitor to Paris is familiar. On the reconstruction programme and the financing of it see David H. Pinkney, Napoleon III and the Rebuilding of Paris (Princeton, NJ, 1958).
  88. This letter too, like Herzen's letter of 8 January 1852 (letter 18 above) is on notepaper with a black rim. By the time it was written Natalie had fallen seriously ill. Her constitution had never been strong and she had been severely shaken by the emotional trauma of her affair with Herwegh, Herzen's discovery of the affair and the resulting recriminations in the course of 1851. The death of her son Kolia and her mother-in-law in November 1851, of course, had also been a serious blow. Now further weakened by another pregnancy, she was succumbing to pleurisy and Herzen holds out little hope that she will recover.
  89. Schaumbourg is an assistant to James de Rothschild and it is often he who deals with Herzen's enquiries or provides assistance or advice to Herzen's family and friends. It is evident from the frequent references to him in Herzen's other correspondence that Herzen not only continually consulted him but also held him in high regard and had some affection for him.
  90. Here Herzen explicitly acknowledges the freedom that he gives the Rothschilds to manage his financial affairs.
  91. James de Rothschild had been slow to invest in railway building but when he did he invested heavily, putting two-and-three-quarter million francs into the Lyon-Avignon line in 1847, for example. It is this project that Herzen is now supporting.
    The collection of Herzen's papers at CAMT includes a certificate addressed to Herzen and dated 13 April 1852 informing him that he has been included in the loan for the Lyon-Avignon Railway, for 25 bonds at a price of 1,050 francs each. See also letter 22 below on this investment.
  92. The closing lines of the letter perhaps suggest Herzen's sincere appreciation of the understanding that Rothschilds showed him.
  93. Adolf Reichel (1817-96) was a German musician and composer who lived in Paris. In 1850, a year after the death of his first wife, he married Mariia, née Ern (see letters 15 and 17). Reichel was one of a number of friends whom Herzen asked to perform various services for him when he was not in Paris, especially services relating to his dealings with Rothschild.
  94. This copy of Rothschild's letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1815, folio 561.
  95. On this purchase see letter 21 and note 91 above.
  96. See the postscript to letter 21 above.
  97. This letter, of whose existence the editors of SS were aware (see xxiv, p. 539) but which they did not manage to trace, notifies Rothschilds of the death of Natalie, which was anticipated in Herzen's previous letter (i.e. letter 21 above). It is one of the first extant letters of Herzen's written after Natalie's death. The only earlier letter published in SS is a brief note sent on or around 13 May to the chief public official of Nice saying that at this time of bereavement Herzen's thoughts were with others who had suffered misfortune and asking the official to distribute 500 francs to the poor people of the city (ibid., p. 273).
  98. Natalie died on 2 May 1852. On 29 April she had given birth, very prematurely, to a boy, but the child did not survive.
  99. i.e. Aleksandr (Sasha), Natal'ia (Tata) and Ol'ga (Olia). Herzen has in mind in this sentence the death of his deaf-mute son Nikolai (Kolia) and his mother (see note 69 above) as well as Natalie.
  100. See note 54 above.
  101. On Reichel see note 93 above.
  102. On Herzen's Spanish stock see note 78 above.
  103. Herzen's half-brother Egor (1803-82) was also Natalie's cousin, since Natalie was the daughter of Aleksandr Alekseevich Iakovlev (1762-1825), the elder brother of Egor's and Herzen's father.
  104. After Natalie's funeral Herzen sent his two daughters, Natal'ia and Ol'ga, to Paris to stay with the Reichels (see note 93 above). (They would not rejoin their father until April 1853, by which time Herzen had settled in London.) He then set off with his son, Sasha, and one of his satellites, Vladimir Aristovich Engel'son (1821-57; see Carr, pp. 108-118), and travelled in Italy and Switzerland. He hoped in this way not merely to recuperate after his losses but also to gather support among European friends for the establishment of some notional "court of honour" that might arraign Natalie's lover, Herwegh, towards whom Herzen now harboured a raging grievance. He tried in this connection – though without success – to involve such major cultural and political figures as the composer Richard Wagner, the French historian Jules Michelet, Proudhon (see note 7 above), and the French novelist George Sand (SS, xxiv, pp. 295-97, 307-310, 324-30, 350-51), as well as less celebrated contacts in Italy. On Herzen's disappointment with those European radicals who failed to support him in the way he wanted see ibid., pp. 286-87.
    This letter is written during these peregrinations, for which Herzen needed funds, of course.
  105. Herzen stayed only briefly in Bern, to which he had set out from Lucerne on 30 July (SS, xxiv, p. 315). By 5 August he was in Geneva. On 1 August he had travelled from Bern to Fribourg, of which he had become a citizen (see note 79 above) and where on 1 August 1852 he made a will (ibid., pp. 315-316, 384-86).
  106. Herzen arrived in England, at Dover, early on the morning of 24 August 1852, and proceeded straight to London. By the time this letter was written he had settled in a house in a peaceful location near Regent's Park, one of many properties that this most restless of émigrés rented in or around London during what was to be a stay of over twelve years in England.
    Having moved to London Herzen began to bank with the London branch of the House of Rothschild, headed by Lionel (1808-89). (Lionel was the son of Nathan, who had established the British branch of the House, and the nephew of James.) Herzen's dealings with the Paris branch of the House therefore became sporadic.
    This letter is not the first letter that Herzen wrote to James de Rothschild after his arrival in London. It is clear from a letter of his to Mariia Reichel, for example, that he wrote to James on 30 August 1852 (SS, xxiv, pp. 323, 541). However, the earlier letter or letters to James from London are not in the collection at CAMT.
    The letter of 16 February 1853 is of interest in two respects. Firstly, it illustrates the close attention that Herzen always paid to his financial affairs: he follows the prices of stock in The Times, for example, and asks the bank for a statement of his account, as he often would. Secondly, he is again engaging in money-lending, not as an act of generosity to friends but as a business transaction for which his debtor will pay all costs as well as interest (see note 64 above).
  107. Presumably one of these friends is the Prussian officer and communist August Willich (1810-78) with whom Herzen had celebrated the Russian New Year (i.e. 13 January NS) in the London docks on board a ship that was about to sail to New York (SS, xxv, p. 10).
  108. On Herzen's Spanish stock see note 78 above.
  109. Of Spanish stock The Times says "The Three-per-Cents were down at 41" (15 February, 1853, p. 5) and "The Three per Cents were quoted at 41¾" (16 February, p. 6).
  110. Nikolai Aleksandrovich Mel'gunov (1804-67) was a minor Russian man of letters who in the 1830s wrote novellas in the Romantic vein. He was the Russian informant of a German scholar, Heinrich-Joseph König, who in 1837 published a ground-breaking book on Russian literature, Literarische Bilder aus Russland, which was published in Russian translation in 1862 as Ocherki russkoi literatury. (On this work see Tat'iana Kuzovkina, "Rol' knigi G. Keniga v razvenchanii Bulgarinskogo mifa", in Toronto Slavic Quarterly, no. 15 (Winter 2006).) Mel'gunov also produced some music criticism. In the 1840s he attempted to reconcile the opposing Westernist and Slavophile camps in the Russian intelligentsia. His letters to Herzen are published in LN, vol. 62, pp. 322-82, with an introductory article by N. N. Zakhar'in (pp. 308-322).
  111. This letter is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1835, folios 574-75. The bottom of the first folio has faded.
  112. See notes 53 and 54 on Herzen's first investments in Piedmontese stock. As this letter of 19 March 1853 shows, Herzen continued to follow Rothschilds' recommendations to purchase Piedmontese stock even after he had left Nice and in spite of the reservations that he had expressed about this investment to Herwegh.
  113. i.e. sufficient securities to yield an income of 3,000 francs per annum, and the price of each 100 francs' worth of this annuity was now 69 francs.
  114. Herzen had reservations about the low rate of income from his Dutch securities (see note 56 above) as well as from his Piedmontese securities. It was presumably for this reason that in this case he did instruct Rothschilds to sell. Herzen reported in a private letter of 24-25 March that he had received what is evidently this letter from Rothschild notifying him that this sale had been carried out (SS, xxv, p. 33). See also letter 28 below on this sale of his Dutch securities.
  115. This letter concerns the sale of Dutch stock that Rothschilds had informed Herzen in their letter of 19 March they were preparing to carry out for him (see the last paragraph of letter 27 above).
    One can also trace Herzen's Dutch investment in Rothschilds' records of the twice-yearly dividends paid to their private investors on various foreign stocks. In lists dated 1 July 1852 and 15 January 1853 Herzen is recorded as having received 750 (i.e. half of 2½% of 60,000), less a commission of ½% amounting to 3.75. However, in the following list, dated 11 July 1853, his name has been crossed out and "null sold" has been written in the margin (CAMT, 132 AQ 74, folder entitled "Hollande paiements semestres 1854-1860").
  116. On Herzen's Belgian investment see note 12 above and the second paragraph of letter 19.
  117. In September 1856 Herzen had moved to Laurel House in Putney High Street, where he was to remain until November 1858 (see Carr, p. 328).
  118. Mel'gunov (see note 110 above) had defaulted on his debt to Herzen. On this debt see LN, vol. 62, p. 357 (Mel'gunov's letter of 15 May 1857 to Herzen) and also pp. 353, 360, 365, 372 (from which it is apparent that the debt was still not settled in February 1858), 380 and 743-44.
  119. As is clear from the following letter (32 below), Herzen means to dispose of the capital which yields an annual income of 3,000 francs, i.e. stock worth 60,000 francs. On Herzen's Belgian stock see note 12 above and the second paragraph of letter 19.
  120. See note 119 above.
  121. On the Lyon-Geneva Railway Company, in which Rothschilds had an interest in the mid-1850s, see the Rothschild Archive catalogue at CAMT, vol. 132 AQ, Part I, p. 42. See also letters 37 and 40 below.
  122. See letters 26 and 31 above on Mel'gunov and this debt.
  123. On 24 October 1857 Herzen, aggrieved by his loss, reported to Marie Reichel that Mel'gunov had defaulted on his debt with the result that Rothschild had "fleeced" him for 6,000 francs (SS, xxvi, p. 133).
  124. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 1995, folios 341-42. The date is partly inferred from the dates of the adjacent letters in the volume. The copy is of poor quality, being badly faded, especially towards the bottom of the first folio.
  125. No copy of this letter has been found at CAMT.
  126. Herzen moved to this address on 24 November 1858 and remained there, it seems, until late May 1860 (see Carr, p. 328).
  127. Herzen had moved to this new London address on 15 November 1860 and was to stay there for a relatively long time, until June 1863 (see Carr, p. 328).
  128. Malwida von Meysenbug (1816-1903) was a German woman of radical political sympathies who had emigrated to London in 1852. She had moved into Herzen's household there towards the end of 1853 in order to supervise the upbringing of his two daughters. However, the new-found stability in Herzen's household in the early years of his residence in London was disturbed by the arrival, in April 1856, of Ogariov, to whom Herzen had been close since his childhood and university years, and Ogariov's second wife, Natal'ia Alekseevna née Tuchkova (1829-1913). (The Herzen family had already befriended Tuchkova in 1848 in Italy and France, where she had been travelling with her father and sister; in fact Natalie Herzen had at that time become very attached to her, perhaps even erotically.) In due course Herzen (who, it will be recalled, had been enraged by Herwegh's adulterous liaison with his first wife; see note 104 above), seduced, or allowed himself to be seduced by, Tuchkova-Ogariova, by whom he was in due course to father three more children. By 1860 it had become clear that Herzen's children by his first wife could not live with the highly-strung Natal'ia Tuchkova-Ogariova. At this point Malwida von Meysenbug moved out of the household, taking with her Ol'ga (Herzen's youngest child by his wife Natalie), to whom she was devoted. She went first to Paris, with Ol'ga, and thence, in 1862, to Italy, taking Herzen's elder daughter Natal'ia (Tata) with her as well.
  129. This brief letter is accompanied by a receipt from Ch. Sauter and Co. which reads as follows: "Reçu de Messieurs de Rothschild frères d'ordre de la Banque Générale Suisse et pour compte de Mr Alex Herzen la somme de Huit Mille francs. Fait double. Paris, le 28 Avril 1865" ("Received from Messrs Rothschild Bros by order of the Swiss General Bank and for the account of Mr Alex Herzen the sum of Eight Thousand francs. In duplicate. Paris, 28 April 1865").
  130. In 1865 Herzen settled in Geneva, in order to be closer to the radical younger generation of Russians who were congregating in Switzerland from the early 1860s. There, on a road leading out of the city, he rented a magnificent country house that had once been owned by the divorced wife of a son of the Russian Emperor Paul (ruled 1796-1801), and it was from this house that this letter was written.
    From the political point of view Herzen's move to Geneva could not be regarded as a success. The new generation of Russian socialists whose representatives were gathering in Switzerland held more militant views than Herzen, and being on the whole of more plebeian social origin they despised his wealth and his nobleman's ways (see Carr pp. 223-40 on Herzen's move to and later years in Geneva).
  131. This reference number, which stands below the line and seems to be in a different hand from the rest of the letter, was probably inserted by the banking house on receipt of Herzen's letter.
  132. See letter 32 above.
  133. The Château Boissière, with its numerous rooms, had proved quite unsuitable for Herzen's depleted household and he soon moved with Tata into a small flat in a new residential quarter of the city (Carr, p. 227).
  134. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2251, folios 171-72.
  135. No copy of this letter, which must have been in reply to Herzen's letter of 18 April (letter 36 above) has been found at CAMT.
  136. See letter 36 above for Herzen's instruction to proceed with this transaction. At folio 126 of vol. 2251 there is a memorandum confirming that the sale has been carried out at the stock exchange and that the statement would be forwarded to Herzen the following Monday.
  137. It will be seen that the figure given for brokerage does not amount to precisely % of the gross proceeds of the sale. (The figure for commission, on the other hand, does represent %, rounded up, of the gross proceeds.) There seems no obvious explanation for this anomaly, unless some additional tax or fixed charge is also included in the figure for brokerage.
  138. See letter 32 above.
  139. Herzen must mean cent soixante et quinze here, i.e. 175, not merely because there is no record in the correspondence of the sale of a further hundred bonds in the Lyon-Geneva railway in addition to the tranches of twenty-three and twenty-five to which letters 36-37 and this letter refer, but also because he evidently still owns that number of bonds in December 1867 (see note 165 below).
  140. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2276, folios 416-417.
  141. This is the transaction that Herzen had instructed Rothschilds to carry out in his letter of 21 November 1866, i.e. letter 39 above. At folio 383 of vol. 2276 in the collection 132 AQ there is a memorandum dated 23 November 1866 confirming that the sale has taken place.
  142. The figure for brokerage is again more than % (see also note 137 above).
  143. This sum represents the proceeds of the sale of the twenty-five bonds in the Lyon-Geneva railway that Herzen had instructed Rothschilds to carry out on 21 November (see letters 39 and 40 above). One is bound to admire the efficiency of both the postal system and the service provided by Rothschilds.
  144. Presumably the same Florentine banker to whom Herzen refers in letter 59 below.
  145. i.e. secondo piano
  146. Rothschilds' reply to this letter (i.e. letter 45 below) contained the unwelcome news that Herzen reported in a letter of 27-28 February 1867 to Ogariov, that his account was overdrawn (SS, xxix, p. 50), and by some 4,000 francs more than he had thought when he wrote to Ogariov.
  147. There is a note on the letter, presumably written by the bankers: "le compte réglé au 30 Juin a été remis a [à: DO] la correspondance le 1 août 1866" ("the account balanced on 30 June was submitted on 1 August 1866").
  148. See note 145 above.
  149. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2290, folio 276. The date is partly inferred from the date of adjacent letters.
  150. i.e. letter 44 above.
  151. This is the first of a number of letters (see also 49-51, 53-58, 60-61) which relate to the American bonds that Herzen had purchased through Rothschilds in 1849-50 (when he was transferring his own assets from Russia and recovering his mother's assets too) and to the use of the moneys that these bonds yielded when their term ended. From this set of letters of 1867 we learn precise details of some of the transactions carried out in 1849-50 (see especially letter 54 below).
    The business of ensuring that he recovered the capital that he had invested in America and the interest due on it preoccupied Herzen for several months in the summer and autumn of 1867. It put him in a disagreeable mood, as he explained to Malwida von Meysenbug (on whom see note 128 above) in a letter written three days before this letter of 22 June 1867 to Rothschild. "Without in the least wanting to", he wrote to Malwida, "I'm almost sure I'll have to go to Paris. The whole American debt Un. St. at 6% is redeemable on 1 January 1868. Volens nolens [Willy-nilly] I must get back the capital and that would be very nice. But how? Would it be partly in gold and partly in bonds, or all in bonds, or all in gold? That is the question. [The last sentence is in English in Herzen's letter.] If I am late I lose the interest. Well I need to buy something in America in the event that payment isn't made in gold. (The Green-backs [also in English; i.e. dollars] will always lose 25% [of their value] – that's exorbitant, 75 instead of 100)" (SS, xxix, p. 128).
    The uncertainty as to what the real value of his American stock would be at the end of its term made the summer and autumn months of 1867 an anxious period for Herzen, as he awaited news from Rothschild (ibid., pp. 223, 226, 227). It even occasioned some dissatisfaction with Rothschild (ibid., pp. 188, 189) of the sort that Herzen had felt in the spring of 1850 when he was waiting for his mother's sequestered assets in the Moscow Savings Bank to be recovered.
    At the same time Herzen's mind turned to ways in which he might invest the surplus that his capital would yield. "America is giving me back [my] 60,000 doll[ars]", he explained to his son Aleksandr, whose lack of financial acumen Herzen evidently found as disappointing as the mediocre level of his engagement with political issues, "and interest enough on top of that". It would therefore be prudent to consider the purchase of some investment such as shares or a house (or a steamer or balloon, Herzen added in jest) that would be sure to yield a minimum of 6% over ten years (ibid., p. 148; Herzen's italics).
  152. If it is literally true that by mid-1867 Rothschilds had advised Herzen for twenty years then Herzen's association with the banking house would have begun in the months immediately after his arrival in Paris in 1847 and would predate or coincide with his critical comments about the Rothschilds in the second of his "Letters from the Avenue Marigny", which came out in October of that year. However, it is more likely that the phrase "twenty years" in this letter should be taken as an approximation.
  153. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2302, folios 283-84.
  154. i.e. letter 50 above.
  155. The move to Geneva in 1865 had not brought contentment to Herzen's household. Herzen himself continued to lead an itinerant life, dividing his time in the years after 1865 between Geneva and, again, Nice, in which his restless second wife Natalie Tuchkova-Ogariova sought refuge with her surviving daughter by her marriage with Herzen, Liza.
  156. This abbreviation, which occurs also in letters 54, 55, 57 and 61 below, stands for Alpes-Maritimes, i.e. the region in which Nice is located.
  157. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2312, folios 536-37. The ink is very faint, especially on the right-hand side of the first folio.
    Presumably the letter was sent to Nice, although that is not clear from what remains of the copy. As it happened, though, Herzen made a brief visit to Paris in September 1867, arriving there the day after Rothschilds wrote this letter.
  158. i.e. letter 50 above.
  159. The list of certificates that is appended to the letter is as follows (the certificate number is in the left-hand column and the value, in dollars, in the right-hand column):

    1337         Jan 13 1849         2,000
    1006         April 11 1849       3,000
    1103         May 22 1849       3,000
    1774         idem                     2,000
    2121         Oct 29 1849         2,000
    1290         idem                     3,000
    3284         July 24 1849         5,000
    2298         Oct 29 1849         5,000
    1827         Apr 20 1849         5,000
    1828         idem                     5,000
    1816         Apr 12 1849         5,000
    3285         July 24 1850         5,000
    1817         April 12 1849       5,000
    1458         Jan 13 1849          5,000
    3283         July 24 1850         5,000

  160. It is hard to avoid the impression that Herzen was a hypocritical man, when one juxtaposes the sort of financial activity to which this letter and attachment attest with the vituperative comments that he was making in the same period, in both his published writings and private correspondence, about the capitalist economy and the bourgeois ethos (see e.g. his "Letters from the Avenue Marigny" (SS, v, pp. 15-67), written in 1847, and his letter of 2-8 August 1848 to his former Moscow friends (ibid., xxiii, p. 80)).
  161. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2317, folios 305-306.
  162. Rothschilds' letter of 9 November came as a great relief to Herzen after the period during which he had been anxious about the prospects of recovering all the capital that he had invested in America. His shares had been "bought and sold very well", he told a Polish friend the day before he wrote the letter published here, and he was no longer exposed to risk, because everything had been received by Belmont in New York (SS, xxix, p. 228).
  163. This sum is half the net product of Herzen's original investment of 60,000 dollars in United States stock. Since the sale of this US Government stock in 1867 yielded some 86,000 dollars, the value of this investment had grown in less than twenty years by over 40%.
  164. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2318, folios 117-118.
  165. It must be Herzen's letter of 12 November (i.e. letter 57 above) that is meant here.
  166. By the time he wrote this letter Herzen had been able to give his son Aleksandr the following account of his financial position, updated in the light of the transactions carried out for him by Rothschild in 1867:
    "1. In the House of Rothschild and his New York agent Belmont the certificates for 38,000 dol[lars] of 6% Uni[ted] St[ates] loan. They also have roughly 26,000 d[ollars] bought subsequently (there's no account yet).
    2. He also has 175 shares or bonds in the Geneva-Lyon Railway.
    3. The documents relating to the house in Paris [i.e. 14, rue Amsterdam, purchased by Herzen in 1849 for 135,000 francs with some of the assets transferred from Russia for him by Rothschild] are in Geneva in a wooden box.
    4. Of the Americ[an] certific[ates] Ohio-Canal Stok [sic] 20,000 doll. [and] commonwealth of Virginia 17,000 d. are with me.
    5. Belgian 2½ per [cent] nominal capit[al] 80,000 fr.
    6. Ital[ian] [i.e. Piedmontese] rente worth 9,000 and certificates for it. I'll probably deposit them with Rothschild.
    7. The security of 20,000 placed in the Fribourg bank [see note 79 above] has a certificate in the Banque Générale Suisse in Geneva.
    8. Rothschild still has the certificate for Italian [i.e. Piedmontese] rente worth 3,000."
    In addition to these personal assets Herzen retained 20,000 francs' worth of capital donated to him in 1857 by a wealthy sympathizer for political purposes (see LN, vols. 41-42, pp. 526-28).
    This valuable account of Herzen's financial position towards the end of his life is contained in a letter of 9 December 1867 (see SS, xxix, p. 238).
  167. In the autumn of 1863 Herzen's son had settled in Florence, where he met a local girl whom he was to marry in 1868, in spite of Herzen's objections to the union on the grounds that the girl was socially inferior. On Herzen's relations with his son, who did not follow in his father's political footsteps and was a disappointment to him, see the article by L. Matiushenko, which introduces Herzen's correspondence with Aleksandr, in LN, vol. 64, pp. 539-49.
  168. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2321, folios 30-31.
  169. i.e. letter 58 above.
  170. The cost of this stock had evidently come down slightly, to about 108½, since the purchase of the first tranche in early November (see letter 56 above).
  171. i.e. letter 56 above.
  172. There is a postscript to this letter in which Rothschilds report that Herzen's account is being credited with a further 6,070.20 francs, representing $1,618 exchanged at 3.75. This credit arises out of Belmonts' encashment of a coupon for $1,855 that relates to the recently purchased US 1862 stock to which letter 56 refers. However, the process by which the sum being paid to Herzen has been arrived at is not entirely clear from this copy of Rothschilds' letter of 18 December.
  173. i.e. letter 60 above.
  174. The reference is to the purchase of the second tranche of US 1862 stock which Herzen had authorized on 12 November (see letter 57 above).
  175. Herzen had made a quick return to Nice via Milan, Turin and Genoa, having set out from Florence on 17 December (SS, xxix, p. 654).
  176. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2322, folio 151.
  177. i.e. letter 61 above.
  178. This letter is written on note-paper of the General Bank of Switzerland (Banque Générale Suisse de Crédit Internationale Mobilier et Foncier, Geneva).
  179. On Herzen's surviving son Aleksandr, who by this time had a post as a lecturer in physiology in Florence, see notes 165 and 166 above.
  180. This copy is located at 132 AQ, vol. 2436, folios 557-58. After the first few lines the ink at the left-hand margin of the first folio has faded badly. On the second folio the same problem affects the right-hand margin. Herzen had died on 21 January 1870, in Paris, and his surviving son, Aleksandr (Sasha) was now dealing with the administration of his estate.
  181. This letter has not been found.
  182. i.e. the banker Horace Landau (1824-1903), who was Rothschilds' representative in Florence.
  183. i.e. the Belgian investment to which Herzen refers in the schedule of his assets that he sent to his son just over two years before his death (see note 165 above, item 5 in Herzen's list).


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