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Lot 7

Sold for £ 2,400 (US$ 3,151) inc. premium
Papers of Edmund Burke and of his literary executor Walker King, including an autograph letter by Burke, to King, urging publication in the face of obstructions raised by committees ("...a thousand times better it had been that the Paper had gone to press with a thousand Errours than be Delayed so long from the Press. You see another Committee has started up. God send they may not knock their heads together, or at least distract & dissipate the Efforts, & particularly disorder the distribution..."); a joint autograph letter by Burke and his wife Jane, to King, congratulating the Kings on the birth of "your little stranger", Burke grumbling about "the unpleasant account of my miserable affairs of which Mr Pitt is not yet brought to bed" (1 July 1795); an autograph letter by Jane Burke, summoning King to her husband's side ("...I am commanded to tell you that your advice assistance Company - &c &c &c is so necessary to Your friend at Beaconsfield, that until he sees you, he will not have a Moments ease..."); a draft of a letter by Richard Burke Senior; an autograph letter by Thomas Burke, to his kinsman Burke, sending his Irish pedigree (with three pedigrees present); a letter evidently by William Burke (Burke's friend, political ally and putative cousin), to his Burke ("My dear Edmund"), paying him affectionate tribute ("...My Edmund I don't apologise, I am sure you will do what is right, but your greatest folly is to be afraid to do what is right, if you are to get any thing by it..."); a draft of speech attributed to "R.B." [?Richard Burke Senior], attacking Fox's conduct towards revolutionary France; a draft for a speech to the House of Commons docketed "Mem: respecting some motion on War between Russia & Turkey", discussing parliamentary prerogative; an autograph letter by C.J. Fox, to Lord Rockingham ("...Eden has made just such a figure as you could wish; & every thing seemed to go on very well... May it not possibly be right to send for him to night?..."); an autograph letter by King's brother James (later to serve with Captain Cook), written at the outset of his naval career (1771); drafts of a letter by King to Lady Rockingham, about Burke's school at Penn, and of a speech to be delivered in the House of Lords; six autograph letter signed by Charles O'Hara to Burke ("...I have a vast deal to say to you, but yours is a name to excite curiosity at the Post Office. We were affected by a general principal, which does not seem to have succeeded in America, and might therefore be suppos'd to discourage further extension of it, but we propose to try it here; and to see how far we can drive. Was it not Caligula who said He would make his Horse Emperour, and that He shoud be obey'd? Wilkes and liberty will do mischief..."); three autograph letters by the Duke of Portland to King; three autograph letters by the Duke of Richmond to King (about the tutorship of his son); two autograph letters by the Duchess of Rockingham to King, one about her late husband, the Prime Minister who King had served so loyally; autograph letter by William Windham to King; and other miscellaneous material


  • AN IMPORTANT ARCHIVE OF BURKE PAPERS, BELONGING TO HIS LITERARY EXECUTOR. The Rev Dr Walker King, later Bishop of Rochester (1751-1827) had entered the Burke circle in about 1774, when he became Classics tutor to the Whig politician, Charles, third Duke of Richmond, and tutor to his nephew and heir, Charles Lennox. In 1782 he was appointed private secretary to Lord Rockingham, during his second administration, becoming at about the same time Burke's part-time confidential secretary: "In 1784-5, he paid a long visit to Ireland, where his father was a dean. Burke wrote to him about July 1785, urging his return to England, where 'you certainly may be of use to us in an hundred ways'. King probably helped with transcribing, for he was an expert decipherer of Burke's hand. Like [French] Laurence, he became a close friend of Burke; the two later collaborated on the editing of Burke's collected Works (1792-1827)" (F.P. Lock, Edmund Burke, 2006, ii, p.77-8). In 1809 he was appointed Bishop of Rochester.

    Lawrence and King were responsible for editing an edition of Burke's Works during in his lifetime (1792). After Burke's death in 1797 they acted as his unofficial literary executors (his widow Jane being in fact sole executrix and legatee) and edited further editions of his works. Laurence died in 1809, Jane Burke in 1812, and King in 1827. After King's death his duties were taken over by the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam, who eventually became sole trustee of the estate. The present collection comprises a further, as yet unstudied, section of Burke's papers: a fuller list is available on request.
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