German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke
20 Ernst Ludwig von Gerlach (1844)
Ernst Ludwig von Gerlach (1795 - 1877) made a three-month-long semi-official visit to Britain in 1844 with the main purpose of studying the British legal system. On arrival in London on 30th May he was given a letter of introduction by the then Prussian ambassador to England named Karl von Bunsen which described Gerlach as “one of our first-rate statesmen and one of the candidates for the position of Minister for Justice – a particular friend and companion of the King [Friedrich Wilhelm IV] – his visit to England is a matter of great importance for Prussia – he is the chief mover of the reform of our law of divorce and adviser of the King on these and other important matters – high conservative firm Protestant – one of the eight great judges of Prussia” [ELvG, 351f.]. At a dinner party held in Gerlach’s honour by the King in Potsdam prior to his departure, Friedrich Wilhelm asked him to convey his greetings to Daniel O’Connell. In July Gerlach attended the early stages of the criminal pro- ceedings against O’Connell on the charge of conspiracy. When in Ireland he was to visit him in Richmond Jail, despite the warnings of the Scottish Lord Justice [John] Hope that such an undertaking would be exploited by the Irish newspapers to their own ends. 20.1 An Irish view of the King of Prussia While still in England, Gerlach had the following exchange of words with an Irish porter in Paddington Station: […] after he had received my sixpence, he...
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