1872 - 1970 (97 years)
Has more than 250 ancestors and 2 descendants in this family tree.
||Bertrand Russell |
||18 May 1872
||2 Feb 1970
||This person is also Bertrand Russell at Wikipedia |
||23 Jun 2016 |
||Alys Pearsall Smith, b. 1867, Philadelphia, PA, USA , d. 22 Jan 1951 (Age 84 years) |
||13 Dec 1894
||December 13, 1894 in the Quaker Meeting House in St. Martin's Lane, London, England
||24 Jul 2010 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- 3rd Earl Russell
His parents died when he was very young and he was brought up by his grandmother, the widow of John Russell, the former Liberal Prime Minister. At Trinity College, Cambridge, Russell obtain a first-class honours degree in mathematics and philosophy.
A visit to Berlin after university led to his first book German Social Democracy (1896). This was followed by two extremely important books on mathematical logic and philosophy The Principles of Mathematics (1903) and Principia Mathematica (1910).
In 1907 a group of male supporters of votes for women formed the Men's League for Women's Suffrage. Bertrand Russell joined and as well as making speeches and writing newspaper articles for the cause, stood unsuccessfully as a Suffragist candidate at a parliamentary by-election at Wimbledon.
Russell was a member of the Fabian Society, where he met the pacifist, Clifford Allen. Soon after the outbreak of the First World War Russell, Allen and Fenner Brockway formed the the No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF), an organisation that planned to campaign against the introduction of conscription.
Russell was also a founder member of the Union of Democratic Control (UDC), the most important of the anti-war organisations during the First World War. Other members of the organisation included Joseph Rowntree, Ramsay MacDonald, E. D. Morel, Charles Trevelyan and Norman Angel. The UDC argued for a foreign policy that was under parliamentary control. The UDC called for immediate peace negotiations and warned that if the war continued and one side was defeated, the victorious nations should not impose harsh conditions on the defeated nations.
The passing of the Military Service Act in January 1916 had made every man between the ages of eighteen and forty-one liable for military service. With the introduction of military conscription the No-Conscription Fellowship concentrated its efforts on persuading men to refuse to be called up into the armed services. Russell's activities in the the NCF resulted in him being sacked from his post as a lecturer at Cambridge University.
When Clifford Allen and Fenner Brockway were imprisoned for refusing to be conscripted, Russell became chairman of the Non-Conscription Fellowship. Russell worked closely with military officers who were now having doubts about the war. July 1917 Russell helped Siegfried Sassoon draft a statement of protest against "this evil and unjust war".
Russell was also the editor of the NCF journal Tribunal. The authorities took exception to an article that Russell wrote in January 1918 criticizing the American Army for strike-breaking. Russell was arrested and charged with making statements "likely to prejudice His Majesty's relations with the United States of America.". He was found guilty and sentenced to six months in Brixton Prison.
While in prison Russell wrote Political Ideals: Roads to Freedom. In the book he attempted to explain why he was willing to suffer for his political beliefs: "The pioneers of Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndicalism, have, for the most part, experienced prison, exile, and poverty, deliberately incurred because they would not abandon their propaganda; and by this conduct they have shown that the hope which inspired them was not for themselves, but for mankind."
Russell had originally welcomed the Russian Revolution. He defended the use of violence because unlike pacifists, Russell believed that violence was morally acceptable if it removed "bad systems of government, to put an end to wars and despotism, and bring liberty to the oppressed." After the war Russell visited Russia with Dora Black and after meeting Lenin and Trotsky wrote a book, Theory and Practice of Bolshevism (1919), that was very critical of communism.
When they returned to England in 1921 Dora agreed to marry Bertrand. Over the next few years Bertrand became increasing interested in the subject of schooling and in 1926 published his book On Education. In 1927 the couple opened their own progressive boarding school at Beacon Hill in West Sussex. The school reflected Bertrand's view that children should not be forced to follow a strictly academic curriculum. In 1931 Bertrand succeeded his elder brother as 3rd Earl of Russell. He used the forum of the House of Lords to promote his views on pacifism. He also created controversy with his book Marriage and Morals (1932) where he advocated free love. Later Russell was sacked from his post at City College, New York, because he was considered to be an enemy of "religion and morality". Both Bertrand and Dora continued to have sexual relationships with other partners. This resulted in Dora having two children with the journalist, Griffin Barry. In 1935 Bertrand Russell left Dora for one of his students, Patricia Spence.
Like his friend Clifford Allen, Russell ceased to be a pacifist in the late 1930s with the rise of Hitler in Germany. Russell was rewarded with the restoration of his fellowship at Cambridge University. As acceptance by the establishment was reflected by being asked to give the first BBC Reith Lectures in 1949. The following year Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In the 1940s and 50s Russell published a series of important books including An Equiry into Meaning and Truth (1940), History of Western Philosophy (1945), Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (1948) and Why I am not a Christian (1957)
Russell became increasing concerned about the major powers producing nuclear weapons and in 1958 joined with Dora Russell, J. B. Priestley, Fenner Brockway, Victor Gollancz, Canon John Collins and Michael Foot to form the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). In 1961 Russell was imprisoned for his part in a CND demonstration in London.
In his final years Russell lived with his fourth wife, Edith Finch, in North Wales, where he wrote three volumes of Autobiography (1967-69). Bertrand Russell died in 1970.
(1) Beatrice Webb, diary entry (July, 1901)
Bertrand Russell is a slight, dark-haired man, with a prominent forehead, bright eyes, strong features except for a retreating chin, nervous hands and alert quick movements. In manner of dress and outward bearing he is most carefully trimmed, conventionally correct and punctiliously polite, and in speech he has an almost affectedly clear enunciation of words and preciseness of expression. In morals he is a puritan; in personal habits almost an ascetic, except that he lives for efficiency and therefore expects to be kept in the best physical condition. But intellectually he is audacious - an iconoclast, detesting religions or social conventions, suspecting sentiment, believing in the 'order of thought' and the order of things, in logic and in science. He is a delightful talker, especially in general conversation. He dislikes bores and hates any kind of self-seeking selfishness or coarse-grainedness. He looks at the world from a pinnacle of detachment, dissects persons and demolishes causes. And yet recognizes that as a citizen you must be a member of a party, therefore he has joined the Fabian Society.
(2) Bertrand Russell was a pacifist who campaigned against the war. On 15th August, 1914, he sent a letter to the magazine The Nation.
A month ago Europe was a peaceful group of nations: if an Englishman killed a German, he was hanged. Now, if an Englishman kills a German, or if a German kills an Englishman, he is a patriot. We scan the newspapers with greedy eyes for news of slaughter, and rejoice when we read of innocent young men, blindly obedient to the world of command, mown down in thousands by the machine-gun of Liege.
Those who saw the London crowds, during the nights leading up to the Declaration of War saw a whole population, hitherto peaceable and humane, precipitated in a few days days down the steep slope to primitive barbarism, letting loose, in a moment, the instincts of hatred and blood lust against which the whole fabric of society has been raised.
The friends of progress have been betrayed by their chosen leaders, who have plunged the country suddenly into a war which must cause untold misery, and which an overwhelming majority of those who voted for the present Government believe to be as unwise as it is wicked. No man whose liberalism is genuine can hearafter support the members of the present Cabinet.
(3) Bertrand Russell, letter to Lady Ottoline Morrell (18th November, 1914)
It is clear the Socialists are the hope of the world; they have gained in importance during the war. What I can do further in philosophy does not interest me, and seems trivial compared to what might be done elsewhere. I can't bear the sheltered calm of university life - I want battle and stress and the feeling of doing something.
(4) Bertrand Russell, letter to Herbert Bryan about joining the Independent Labour Party (6th July, 1915)
I have been for some time in two minds as to joining the I.L.P. I agree most warmly with the attitude which the I.L.P. has taken up about the war, and that makes me anxious to support the I.L.P. in every possible way. But I am not a socialist, though I think I might call myself a syndicalist. I hardly know how much I commit myself to in joining; it is always difficult to sign a declaration of faith without reservations. Perhaps my hesitation is unduly scrupulous; perhaps it will cease; but for the moment I do not quite feel as if I could join you.
(5) After attending a Non-Conscription Fellowship Convention in April 1916, Bertrand Russell wrote a letter to The Nation about the organisation's members.
Like William Blake, they had seen a vision; they wished to "build Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land". Let the authorities make no mistake. The men in that Convention were filled with a profound faith, and with a readiness for sacrifice at least as great as that of the soldier who dies for his country. If persecution is to be meted out to them, they will joyfully become martyrs.
(6) Bertrand Russell wrote a letter to Lady Ottoline Morrell after meeting E. D. Morel, the secretary of the UDC, who had just been released from prison (27th March, 1918)
His hair is completely white (there was hardly a tinge of white before) when he first came out, he collapsed completely, physically and mentally, largely as the result of insufficient food. He says one only gets three quarters of an hour reading in the whole day - the rest of the time is spent on prison work, etc.
(7) Bertrand Russell, Political Ideals: Roads to Freedom (1918)
The pioneers of Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndicalism, have, for the most part, experienced prison, exile, and poverty, deliberately incurred because they would not abandon their propaganda; and by this conduct they have shown that the hope which inspired them was not for themselves, but for mankind.
(8) In his Autobiography published in 1967, Bertrand Russell wrote about how people in London reacted when they heard that the war was over.
They commandeered the buses, and made them go where they liked. I saw a man and a woman, complete strangers to each other, meet in the middle of the road and kiss as they passed. I watched the crowd, as I had done in the August days four years before. The crowd was frivolous still, and had learned nothing during the period of horror, except to snatch at pleasure more recklessly than before. I felt strangely solitary amid the rejoicings, like a ghost dropped by accident from some other planet. The crowd rejoiced and I also rejoiced. But I remained as solitary as before.