[ Rev. Robert Whiston, inspiration for Trollope's 'The Warden'. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('Robert Whiston') to the Mayor and Corporation of the City of Rochester, regarding an application to make a dock and use a creek in the River Medway.

Robert Whiston (1808-1895), Headmaster of Rochester Cathedral Grammar School [ King's School ], 1842 -1877, inspiration for Anthony Trollope's 'The Warden'
Publication details: 
Rochester [ Kent ]; 16 June 1854.
SKU: 19657

3pp., 4to. Bifolium. In fair condition, aged and worn. Docketed: 'Application of the Revd. Robt. Whiston to make Dock & use Creek'. Written in a hurried hand. Begins: 'Gentlemen, | I have received a Notice from the Town Clerk, informing me that I have acted illegally, & infringed upon your Rights by endorsing & converting into a Dock, without your License, a portion of a Creek of the River Medway described in this Notice | Permit me then to assure you that in doing so, I acted without any knowledge that I was committing an illegal action, & I now beg to express my regret for having done so, in any way or to any extent.' He assures them that he is 'desirous of doing whatever may be right & proper in the matter', and asks them to grant him a license, for which he will be happy to pay a 'reasonable amount'. He hopes concludes 'in the hope that you will not compel me to close an establishment which furnishes some employment in & contributes somewhat to the trade of the City'. The beginning of Raymond Postgate's review in the Spectator (31 August 1961) of Ralph Arnold's book sums up the story of 'The Whiston Matter': 'In the year 1842 the Reverend Robert Whiston was appointed by the Dean and Chapter to be headmaster of Rochester Cathedral grammar school, which had been so badly run by the previous headmaster that only one pupil was left in it. He brought with him his own private pupils and his brother-in-law as assistant master; he was successful and popular and the school was ' quickly full again. The dean and chapter were pleased with him. They soon ceased to be. Whiston investigated the affairs of the cathedral and discovered that the statutes were being broken on a large scale. […] The chapter had pocketed the proceeds of these malversations, and he wrote to it requiring it to reform, and using fairly peremptory terms. But they would not—they were by now very rich. […] When Whiston published the facts about Rochester and other cathedrals in a pamphlet it was not very surprising that they dismissed him. […] The story of his subsequent light and victory against the cathedral reads like an excerpt from Trollope or Dickens; it was in fact used by both of them as raw material.'