Today is remembered for the evacuation of the Crimea in 1856, ending another of Europe's many wars. The Crimean War involved Russia, Great Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. A Wikipedia article sums the war up thus: "As the legend of the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' demonstrates, the war quickly became an iconic symbol of logistical, medical and tactical failures and mismanagement."
A few good things came out of the war—such as Russia's decision to sell Alaska to the US, the battlefield nursing methods of Florence Nightengale, and the rise of writer Leo Tolstoy. Here's a succinct article about these.
In 1859 Frances Rolleston wrote, "It is said in statistic reports, that of 650,000 females between the ages of fifteen and forty in the city of London, there are 450,000 unmarried."
She might have used this statistic to suggest the terrible loss of young men in war, but Frances had something else in mind that she found more important. Using the example of the unmarried women who followed Florence Nightengale to nurse the soldiers in the Crimea, Frances suggested that unmarried women be encouraged to carry the good news of Jesus Christ to the Orient—to India and China. She could not go herself, getting on towards eighty years of age, but "Still," she wrote, "I have influence, and wish to exert it to induce my younger countrywomen to serve the Lord."
Frances gave much of her time and resources to serving the temporal needs of the poor and ailing, but the eternal needs of people pressed upon her even more.
January 11th, 1862
"Joyfully do I take the remaining few minutes to post time to bless the God of all peace, for peace between the sister countries. Every body is for giving every possible indulgence to wounded pride, &c; and now it is known that this Mason was the author of the Fugitive Slave Law, his reception will give no offence, it will be cool indeed, if not actively adverse--otherwise the released captive would have interested England, but anti-slavery England can not bear this."
The American Civil War endangered peace between England and the United States. The Confederacy had hoped for Great Britain's support, and in November 1861 sent James Murray Mason as commissioner for the Confederacy. He was aboard the RMS Trent on his way to England when Federal troops captured the ship. The north celebrated a little too much, bringing the threat of war with Great Britain.
Lincoln cooled off and engaged in some diplomacy by admitting that capturing the Trent was contrary to maritime law and that private citizens could not be considered enemy despatches, and everyone settled down. Mason sailed again in early January, and Frances predicted that his reception would be cool because of his pro-slavery views.
On this day in 1798, five years after Great Britain had entered the wars of the French Revolution, Horatio Nelson led the attack that destroyed the French fleet. Frances Rolleston was 17 years old, and although this event is not mentioned in her letters, she was certainly learned about it. The French Revolution terrified the English upper classes who feared revolution would spread to England. French aristocrats who escaped the guillotine fled to England. Frances' father welcomed them to his table.
Horation Nelson was a most interesting character with a brilliant military career. Here is an overview of his life.