[N.p., London? n.d., 1860 or 1861].
Lithographic facsimile printing of the original autograph letter. Two pages, printed in blue-black ink on laid paper. 1 vols. Oblong 4to. Old fold The Letters of Charles Dickens, British Academy/Pilgrim Edition, Vol. 9: 1859–1861, pp. 196-7. Item #308427
Uncommon printed facsimile of this notable letter from Charles Dickens, writing as the editor of All the Year Round, to Rev. Hughes of St Gallgo’s Church, whose heroic efforts at the time of the wreck of the Royal Charter off the coast of Anglesey in August 1859 inspired Dickens to write the “little article” mentioned here, published in All the Year Round for 28 January and subsequently adapted as the first chapter of The Uncommercial Traveller. The invitation extended by Dickens to the minister and his family is poignant, as the strain of the exertions contributed to Hughes’ untimely death on 4 February 1862.
In the British Academy/Pilgrim Edition of Dickens’ letters, the original letter is recorded as in the collection of Mrs. A.K. Frazer; it is further noted that “facsimiles of this letter were sold by Hughes, to provide a monument (now in Llanallgo Church) to those drowned in the Royal Charter.” This allows a narrow dating to 1860 or 1861. No copies of this facsimile are recorded in the Gimbel collection, in other major Dickens holdings, or in OCLC.
The facsimile reproduces Dickens’ Office of All the Year Round letterhead in monochrome, slightly reduced, and the text is as follows:
My Dear Mr Hughes,
You will receive from my printer's office by this same post, a Proof of the little article I have written on the subject of my late visit. I am under the necessity of asking you to send it back to W. Wills here, by return of post. For although a fortnight will elapse before it is published, the mechanical necessities of this Journal and its simultaneous publication in England and America, render its going to press at once imperative.
I doubt whether I am quite right respecting the number of the drowned buried in your churchyard, and the greatest number that lay in the church at one time. Will you do me the favour to correct me on those points? And if you should observe any similar inaccuracy, will you do me the additional kindness to mark it? I trust that there is nothing in the article that you, or your household, will find displeasing. I have written it out of the honest convictions of my heart and in the hope that it will at least soften the distress of many people from whom you have not yet heard. It says for me all that I should otherwise have attempted to say in this note and merely strives to express what any visitor to you must surely feel.
My daughters have taken a great interest in all I have told them, and particularly in Mrs Hughes's idea of coming to London in the summer. They earnestly beg me to assure her and you, that they hope to know you both very well, and that it will be an uncommon gratification to them if you will come and see us, down at my Kentish house on the top of Shakespeare's Gad's Hill, which is little more than an hour's railway ride from town.
I beg to present my true regard to the ladies of your house and to your brother, and to assure you of the hearty esteem and respect with which I am, Very faithfully yours,
This same post will also bring you the documents you [also?] lent me, returned with thanks.
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