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Charles Dickens

Madeline House and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 2: 1840–1841

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MS Private.

Broadstairs, Kent Thursday Evening | Twenty Sixth August 1841

My Dear Lord Nugent.

I write to you from the place where I am staying for the Autumn; for a most extraordinary and unheard-of purpose. I am an author—yet I want pg 371to recommend a Publishing firm to your favorable notice, and to give them a high character!

You are one of the Committee of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.1 I understand the Society are in want of a Publisher; and further that my publishers, Messrs. Chapman and Hall of the Strand, aspire to that office.2 If you take any interest in the matter, I think my recommendation will have its weight with you when I tell you, after long dealings of very considerable magnitude with these gentlemen, that I respect them highly—that I have unbounded confidence in their honor, integrity, and first-rate business qualities—and that I am certain there is not a House in London that would better answer the Society's purpose.

Mrs. Dickens begs her compliments to Lady Nugent.3 I take leave to add mine—and am, Dear Lord Nugent,

  •                                       Faithfully Yours
  • The Lord Nugent.                         Charles Dickens

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Editor’s Note
1 Founded by Lord Brougham in 1827. Its first Committee, almost half of them Whig MPs, included J. S. Mill, Lord Denman, Matthew Davenport Hill and eight Fellows of the Royal Society; Brougham was elected Chairman annually, and Lord John Russell Vice-Chairman. It suspended operations in 1846 owing to losses on its Biographical Dictionary. For accounts of the Society's cheap publications and the important part it played in the movement for popular education, see R. D. Altick, The English Common Reader, Chicago, 1957, pp. 269–73, and Chester W. New, The Life of Lord Brougham to 1830, Oxford, 1961, pp. 347–57.
Editor’s Note
2 Charles Knight published for the Society 1829–46. But CD's recommendation—made also to Brougham on 2 Sep—seems to have been at least partially successful. In Oct 41 Chapman & Hall announced their appointment as agents for the sale of the Society's monthly publications, and the Society's maps of 1841 and 1844 carry their imprint.
Editor’s Note
3 Anne Lucy, daughter of Gen. the Hon. Vere Poulett. She married Lord Nugent in 1813.
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