A collection of letters from Politicians / Literary Figures to W.T. Stead 1890

A collection of letters from Politicians / Literary Figures to W.T. Stead 1890


A large collection of 23 signed letters all dated from 1890 to investigative journalist W.T. Stead. (letters are in nice condition most near fine) All of the letters are from notable figures from politics and literature of that time.


Their connection is that they are all in "Portraits of autographs" a series of portraits published in 1890 by Stead to raise funds for his "Review of Reviews" office. The letters also come with Stead's copy of this title and on the front is a large note pasted that says "autograph letters received re portraits of autographs" on Steads "review of reviews" office paper (This is in good condition only).


Stead was a well known journalist and author of that time. Is is widely considered he was ghost writer for 'Darkest England and the way out' and he wrote several novels and short stories. He was editor of a short lived occult quarterly magazine called Borderland. He is also infamous for being on and not surviving the sinking of the Titanic.


In these series of letters, it is clear that he has asked a question or two as well as submit his book, as the replies have answers on a variety of topics from consumption and the age of consent to the formation of a voluntary army. 


The signed letters received are from:


1. Dame Millicent Fawcett - Leader of the Constitutional Women's Suffrage Movement. She mentions how she is happy and thankful that "criminal conspiritors have been unmasked.." (although it is unclear what this is in reference to)


2. Professor Thomas Henry Huxley - Biologist known as Darwin's Bulldog for his advocacy of Charles Darwins theory of evolution. 


3. Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne - a British statesman who served as the fifth Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In 1917, during the First World War, he wrote the "Lansdowne Letter" advocating, in vain, a compromise peace. Answers a question from Stead about the age of consent.


4. Archdeacon Frederic Farrar - Cleric and author of childrens school fiction. He mentions "The Darkest England Scheme' in his letter in reference to Stead's editorial role in "Darkest England.."


5. The General Viscount Wolseley - was one of the most influential and admired british generals. Played a central role in modernising the British Army. In his letter he answers a question about a voluntary army (territorials). 


6. George J Goschen - Politician. Was first lord of the admiralty and at the time of writing his letter, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Devised the 'Goschen Formula' to allocate funding to Scotland and Ireland.


7. Edward Stanley, The 15th Earl of Derby. Served as the secretary of state for foreign affairs in Benjamin Disraeli's Government. Mentions a cure for consumption (tuberculosis) in his letter.


8. M, Emile de Laveleye  - a belgian economist and one of the co-founders of the instut de droit. Connected with bimetallism and primitive property.


9. Sir Harry Johnston - british explorer, botanist, colonial administrator and author. He travelled widely across africa and published 40 books about the continent. 


10. Rev J Clifford - non conformist minister and politician. Notorious for being an early advocate of passive resistance (to the education act 1902 and the boer war). Mahatma Ghandi quoted clifford as an early model of passive resistance.


11. C Pobedonostzeff or Konstantin Pobedonostsev. A russian jurist, statement and adviser. Was ober procurator during the reign of Alexander III.


12. The Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, Frederick Temple Hamilton Blackwood - Public servant and prominent member of victorian society. He published an account of his travels in the north atlantic that was popular at the time. 


Along with letters from James Anthony Froude (Novelist), M Wishchigradsky (russian politician), a note from the secretary of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, trade unionist Tom Mann, W.A. White (canadian politician), Edward Malet (diplomat), Marquis of Hartington, Hercules Robinson (Governor of Hong Kong) and Dr Hanna (nicknamed Roaring Hanna - an evangelical preacher). 


A scarce collection of letters from notable politicians and literary figures from that time. 


    Come and visit us

    Our contact details


    9 Gordon Square

    Birchington, Kent CT7 9SL

    Telephone Number




    ©2019 by TPK Books Limited