[Sir James Anderson, captain of SS Great Eastern.] Autograph Letter Signed to J. C. Parkinson of the Daily News, on his return from laying first transatlantic cable, complaining of 'amateur advisers'. With East Indian Railway, Special Tourist Ticket

Sir James Anderson (1824-93), captain of SS Great Eastern during the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866 [Joseph Charles Parkinson; Isambard Kingdom Brunel]
Publication details: 
Anderson's letter: '”Great Eastern” | Augst. 24th. 1865'.
SKU: 22133

Four items from the papers of Joseph Charles Parkinson (1833-1908), journalist, civil servant and social reformer, contributor to the Daily News, All the Year Round, Temple Bar, and associate of Dickens and Wilkie Collins. The material relates to Parkinson's book 'The Ocean Telegraph to India: A Narrative and a Diary' (1870). The four items are laid down on a leaf removed from an album, with typed explanatory notes at the head of both pages. ONE: ALS (signed 'James Anderson') from Anderson to Parkinson, 24 August 1865. 3pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged, with slight spotting at head. An interesting artefact relating to the Great Eastern and its historic task of laying the first transatlantic telegraph cable, as well as a splendidly characteristic letter from a no-nonsense seafaring man. Tipped-in onto one side of the album leaf, which has a typed note at its head stating that 'Mr. Anderson's letter was written a few days after the return of the ship from New York. It was in the Great Eastern that Mr. Parkinson journeyed to India in 1870 in connection with the laying of the cable to Bombay.' Anderson begins his letter by explaining that he is replying late as he only received Parkinson's 'kind invitation' the previous evening, and writes: 'I am sorry I cannot accept of it, as I meet Mrs Anderson tomorrow morning'. He was pleased by Parkinson's 'very able article in the D[aily]. N[ews]. of Monday', as 'it tells our views better than any other I have seen'. It is 'a new feature' to him to be 'in a public position of this kind. Lists of letters arrive offering advice in the laying and lifting of Submarine Cables – Some of the suggestions I am happy to say I never thought of, others I do not understand and can hardly believe the writers do either – but by far the greater part contain such matter of course details and such obvious plans of action that one is irritated to think that writers can feel as if there were inspired with an idea beyond the grasp of common mortals engaged in the work.' The writers, he opines, are unware 'that many ideas that appear at first sight practicable have been abandoned for very proper reasons'. He suspects that the authors will 'think it rude that no reply should be sent to their unasked and unwished for letters of advice'. He is 'very unwilling' to see his 'name or letters in the papers', having 'no weakness that way', and 'will not answer any attack unless by request of my employees'. He ends by suggesting that Parkinson should, if he finds himself 'in the vein', 'give these amateur advisers a hiding'. The other three items are laid down on the other side of the album leaf, with slip of paper with following note at head: 'Mr. Parkinson's journey to India in 1869-70 in connection with the laying of the cable to Bombay is fully described in his book, “The Ocean Telegraph to India.”' First is an East Indian Railway Special Tourist Ticket, '1st Class, Rs. 120'. 11.5 x 17.5 cm. Printed in red and black ink, with much text in small print, and manuscript additions including the signature of the issuer. Beneath the ticket are two small original photographs, one of an old Indian woman and the other of an old Indian man.