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BY JAMES GRANT WILSON
S this year marks the centenary of novelist of distinction, in fact, completing
the birth of William Makepeace with Sir Walter Scott and Charles DickThackeray (he was born at Calcutta, ens the triumvirate of leading British novJuly 18, 1811, his father being in the civil elists of the nineteenth century. service of the East India Company), spe- The letter which follows (given in part cial interest attaches to memorabilia of in facsimile on page 335) was written to the distinguished novelist. The undying a brother of Bulwer the novelist, well legion of his admirers has eagerly sought known to the citizens of this country as and treasured whatever it could discover the negotiator, in 1850, with Senator John of Thackeray's personality, and most of M. Clayton of Delaware, Secretary of this has been published; but it was the State, of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, writer's good fortune to find in the exten- which guaranteed the neutrality and ensive collection of Major Lambert of Phila- couragement of lines of interoceanic travel delphia, two illustrated letters and two across the Isthmus of Panama. He was sketches from his pen that I think have appointed British minister to the United never been made public. They portray him, States in April, 1849, remaining in Washwhom Carlyle acidly characterized as "a ington three years. During that time his half-monstrous Cornish giant," in his gen- secretary was his nephew, Lord Lytton, tlest, most considerate, and merriest moods. afterward Viceroy of India, and known in
After the appearance of “The Yellow- literature as “Owen Meredith." plush Papers" (first published in Philadelphia in 1838, and the earliest book of
"Kensington, Friday 1848 Thackeray's to appear on either side of “DEAR SIR HENRY BULWER: the Atlantic), "From Cornhill to Grand “I am very sorry indeed that I am enCairo," and some minor volumes, Thack- gaged on Sunday; and wanted to make a eray gave to the world, in January, 1847, bold proposal to you last night relative to the first monthly part of “Vanity Fair," a dinner which comes off here to-day and and before that work was completed he of which Dorsay has been good enough to had won an unquestioned position as a say he will partake, but just as I was coming up to you, Sartorissa [something is disengaged & will do me the favor. omitted] and before I could turn her, Smoking commences at an early hour: so you were gone. The dinner will take that gentlemen may bring their dressing
1 This publication is made with permission of Lady Ritchie and of Messrs. Smith,
Elder and Co., the London publishers of Thackeray's Works.
place about 72 clock. I don't know how gowns. Ambassadors to appear in broit arose or how many are coming, but as cade, but literary gentlemen in the robe it only consists of various joints of meat . de chambre which you admired the other and a pudding, anybody may come who day.
" I intend to send a copy of 'Vanity Fair' impending journey to America. The letto a gentleman whom I have been admir- ter is in part as follows: ing and making fun of all my life.
"My time is drawing near for the "Faithfully dear Sir Henry Bulwer, ingens sequor: I have taken places for self "W'. M. Thackeray." and Crowe Jr. by the Canada which de
parts on the 30th of this month, a SaturThackeray came to the United States day, and all you who pray for travellers
for the first time in 1852 to deliver a by land and sea (if you do pray in your series of lectures, “The English Humour- Scotch church) are entreated to offer up ists.” In a letter, dated October 6 of that supplications for me. I don't like going at year, he wrote to his much attached friend, all, have dismal presentiments sometimes, Dr. John Brown of Edinburgh, the au- but the right thing is to go; and the thor of “Rab and His Friends” of the pleasant one will be to come back again 1 The gentleman here referred to was Sir Henry's brother, Lord Lytton, whom earlier in life Thackeray
immortalized as SAWEDWARDGEORGEARLITNBULWIG!
with a little money for those young ladies. mother and you two girls. And I think, if I I hope to send you 'Henry Esmond' be- have luck, I may secure nearly a third of the fore I sail; if not it will follow me as a sum that I think I ought to leave behind legacy."
me by a six months' tour in the States."
To his eldest daughter, now Lady For fellow-passengers aboard the CanRitchie, he also wrote of the voyage: ada, Thackeray had James Russell Lowell,
"I must and will go, not because I like fresh from his first visit to Italy, and Arit, but because it is right I should secure thur Hugh Clough, the English poet, who, some money against my death for your as a youth, had spent several years in the
United States. After a rough voyage, the of Arthur Hallam, who inspired Tennysteamer reached Boston on Friday, No- son's “In Memoriam.” For many years vember 10, and six days later Thackeray Thackeray was Mrs. Brookfield's constant arrived at the Clarendon Hotel, on the correspondent when absent from London. corner of Fourth Avenue and Eighteenth She died very suddenly of heart failure in Street, New York, replaced in 1910 by a 1901, and to the last was fond of speaklofty office building. An eager audience ing of "dear Thackeray,” who sent her of about twelve hundred filled every seat many letters written in the United States. in Dr. Bellows's church on Broadway, be- Her only daughter married the elder brolow Prince Street,
ther of Sir Richmond when Thackeray
Thackeray Ritchie, gave his first lecture
husband of Lady on the English hu
Ritchie. In his first morists, his subject
letter from the being Swift.
Clarendon to NIrs. Five years later
Brookfield, the deThackeray met his
lighted novelist, with old friend James E.
slight exaggeration, Freeman, an Amer
stated that he was ican artist whom he
receiving for his had known in Rome,
lectures “almost a and said to him:
pound a minute!" “Since I saw you
From Buffalo, on last I have been lec
December 29, 1852, turing in your vast
Thackeray wrote to and wonderful coun
his mother, Mrs. try, and my visits
Carmichael Smyth: were well repaid. I
health was delighted with
holds out I must go both nature and
on money-grubbing man in America, and
for some months to I gained the first
They have money that I have
nearly ever been able to put
1600£ in 2 months aside for the future.
of wh. I have spent But I very much
200 in travellingfear I shall not be
it is awfully dear able to repeat my
work --next month visits with equal suc
will be another profTHACKERAY READING ONE OF HIS cess, inasmuch as in
itable month-afterLECTURES, “THE FOUR GEORGES." one of my lectures I
wards in the South spoke of your im
not so much profit mortal Washington
but more pleasure as Mr. Washington. Do you believe your for February & March-afterwards profit countrymen will ever forgive me?”
again & afterwards-Oh ye Gods, won't Among women, Mrs. Jane Octavia I be glad to come back leaving 500 £ Brookfield was Thackeray's dearest friend. a year behind me [invested] in this She was the wife of the Rev. William country! Then grim death will not look Henry Brookfield, a Cambridge classmate so grim. Then the girls will have someand lifelong friend, and is believed to have thing to live upon or
to bestow upon suggested the character of Lady Castle- the objects of their young affectionswood in “Henry Esmond,” who has then, when the house is paid for, we may been described as “ perhaps the finest pic- live and take things easily- then, when I ture of splendid, lustrous physical beauty have written 2 more novels, for wh. I ever given to the world.” Mrs. Brook- shall get 5000£ apiece-why then, at 50, field, a portrait of whom accompanies this I shall be as I was at 21. You will be article, was a famous beauty and a cousin only a young person of 69 then, and will
Owned by the Drexel Institute, Philadelphia
SKETCHED BY HIMSELF