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Lot 233
THACKERAY, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE (1811-1863, novelist)
Sold for £480 (US$ 806) inc. premium
Lot Details
THACKERAY, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE (1811-1863, novelist)
UNPUBLISHED AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED WITH INITIALS, to C[harles] C[avendish] Clifford (1821-1895), private secretary to Lord Palmerston, largely about Gilbert A'Beckett whom he goes to 'rebury' the following day ('...than whom I have never known a better literary man...'), telling him of A'Beckett's early disadvantages ('...At 15 his father left him to himself, and he had a long & hard battle to fight with fortune...') and the 'noble conduct' of his publisher Bradbury and Evans ('...they lent him a very considerable sum of money to clear off his debts and he has been most loyally paying this for many years -- But there was still a balance of 800£ owing to B & E -- and they forego it, and never say one word except of the truest commiseration for the widow & family...'); Thackeray then offers up a prayer for 'literary persons (to be said or sung night and morning)' ('...O Jove! When I die, may I die solvent; and may there be no need to send a hat round for my family! Amen...'); he also comments on the paper on which he is writing ('...What nice paper Treasury paper is! I wish you'd sell me a few reams at a fair price...') and alludes to 'poor Mr. Reach' ('...Who ought to thank Lord Palmerston for his kindness? The little fund I have in store for him, with this in addition, will last his life through in all probability, and keep his wife's heart out of anxiety...'), 3 pages, octavo, with the original autograph envelope signed in full, 36 Onslow Square, 14 October [1856]


  • Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett, the comic writer and author of the Comic History of England, died on 30 August 1856 at Boulogne-sur-Mer from typhus fever, which probably accounts for his 'reburial' in England. He wrote fifty or sixty plays during his short life. One of the original staff of Punch, he was also one of the principal leader-writers of The Times. He edited the Table Book, which contained Thackeray's 'Legend of the Rhine' and dramatised The Chimes and other works by Dickens. Angus Bethune Reach, who also died in 1856, was a novelist and journalist, also on the staff of Punch.

    This letter by Thackeray is apparently unpublished; not in The Letters and Private Journals of W.M. Thackeray, 1946, edited by G.N. Ray.
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