HUSKISSON, William, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts



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HUSKISSON, William (1770-1830). Statesman. Killed by a railway train.
Autograph Letter Signed to an unnamed correspondent ('Sir'), 3 pages 4to, St James's Place, 29 July 1804. A long letter justifying himself in having sold inferior wines, and asking for his account to be settled forthwith.

'... I am certainly sorry that Mr Blake should have been disappointed, but I am sure no part of his disappointment is imputable to me.
 'You will recollect that I distinctly told you that the wines were not of the first quality, or that I should not part with them, except the Port and the Sweet Cape, which when you tasted the other Cape, I agreed to spare in consideration of the latter & of the Champagne being taken at the same time. Indeed had the Champagne been of the first quality Mr B. never could expect that I should part with it a five shillings per Bottle, and that to induce his taking it at this Price I should further spare him 10 Doz. of Port at 50/. when Mr Burroughs wishes me to leave Him all I had of the sort at £3 which would also have saved me the expence of Carriage etc. But I don't know why I enter into all this detail ...'

Huskisson succeeded George Canning as MP for Liverpool after deputising for him on Livepool business in parliament. He was present at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester railway when 'On 15 September, in an atmosphere of technological excitement compounded by political intrigue, Huskisson, having alighted from the train during a stop at Parkside, fell into the path of the oncoming Rocket engine while attempting to re-enter the duke of Wellington's carriage.' [Samuel Smiles (Lives of the Engineers) gives a graphic account of his being conveyed pell-mell in a carriage hauled by the same engine with George Stephenson on the footplate in search of help.] He died later that evening at the home of the Revd Thomas Blackburne, facing death stoically but with characteristic attention to detail, correcting the signature to the hasty codicil to his will. He was the first fatality of the railway age. His widow reluctantly acceded to civic request, and Huskisson was buried at St James's Church, Liverpool, on 24 September. A monument stands by the track near the scene of the accident.' [Oxford DNB].
[No: 25618]


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