30 January 2013

Pretending that nothing is wrong

text of a letter

I am sorry that I have not yet been able to meet you again. I could have put you in the picture about all the interaction connected with Charles’s claims for reparation, up to and including the two years or so during which Richard Mead, the biographer of Charles’s father, has been writing his book. As it is, no one has heard Charles’s side of it, and it is probable that the fictitious distortions put around by his family have continued to circulate quite widely. From time to time we get indications of this from some quarter or another, as we did from Richard Mead himself.

We are in a position in which it is apparently considered right and proper automatically to presume that we are in the wrong, and to refrain from considering that anyone else might be at fault.

We have always thought that his family's treatment of Charles was so deplorable and unjustifiable that other upper-class people who got wind of it would, and should have, put them under pressure to reverse the harm that had been done, and to give Charles positive support in the future, to enable him to make up for the delay in his productive intellectual career.

We were shocked at the time that apparently no one attempted to put pressure on his family to do so, including relatives and former friends of Charles. We were shocked again when the publication of the biography of Charles’s father did nothing to produce any expression of sympathy with Charles's position, or of any intention to attempt to remedy it.

When we heard that Richard Mead was about to start writing this book, we hoped that this would make Charles’s family think that they should set their house in order before attention was drawn to the General's life, but they did not do this. Instead, both his brothers approached Charles with disingenuous attempts to embark on social interaction as if nothing had gone wrong in the past that needed to be set right.

As Charles did not accept these approaches, and had previously made it clear that the resumption of social relationships could only take place after reparation for the wrongs of the past had at least been started upon, it seems that his family relied on getting Richard Mead to accept their version of events, and he (Mead) certainly showed every sign of wishing to do so.

I have attempted to deal, in pieces which I have posted on my blog, with some of the worst misrepresentations which we have encountered, and I hope that you will take the trouble to read them, so that you will not support any misrepresentation of Charles's position which may be made. (In the same way that, even now, I am widely supposed to have 'followed my interests' in being thrown out of an academic career.)