[Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, radical politician ruined by the Crawford Scandal.] Autograph Note Signed to ‘Cavendish’ on ‘the Revenue & Expenditure estimate of Cyprus’; and galley proof of memoir by ‘MELIORIST’, containing personal recollections.

Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke (1843–1911), radical Liberal politician and author, ruined by the Crawford Scandal ['Meliorist']
Publication details: 
Dilke's note dated 21 January 1880 and on Foreign Office letterhead [Whitehall, London]. The galley proofs without date or place, but dating from Dilke's death in 1911, and probably from London.
SKU: 23856

See Dilke’s entry in the Oxford DNB. Lurid claims of three-in-a-bed adulteries put a paid to Dilke’s political ambitions (he had been touted as a future prime minister), and rendered him the butt of musical hall jokes. ANS: 1p, 12mo. In good condition. Reads: ‘My dear Cavendish, / I’ve told them to send you the Revenue & Expenditure estimate of Cyprus for the current year. | Sincerely Yrs. / Charles W. Dilke’. GALLEY PROOFS: 104 lines of text, in the customary block, on one side of a 17 x 38 cm piece of good laid paper. In good condition, lightly aged. Folded once. Headed ‘The Rt. Hon. Sir Charles W. Dilke, Bart., P.C., etc.’ and signed at end ‘MELIORIST.’ (‘Meliorist’ is an interesting word. In 1877 George Eliot claimed to James Sully that she had never heard anyone else use the word apart from her.) Neither the identity of the writer or periodical has been established, but the writer discloses a personal acquaintance with Dilke of more than thirty years. The following are the personal elements of an entirely positive account of Dilke: ‘It is now nearly thirty years ago since I, then a resident in Chelsea, first joined as a recruit the ranks of Liberalism. He was then a popular and distinguished representative of the old borough. [...] Never shall I forget the admiration which his splendid advocacy excited in me at the time. [...] His marriage with Mrs. Pattison was to him the gift of a complete and rare comradeship that endured for nineteen years. Many of us remember how from a sick bed far away in India she, at the very moment when that awful storm had broken out upon him, courageously telegraphed her permission for the dramatic announcement to be made of her approaching marriage with him. [...] The loss of this gifted lady, who was verily his “other soul,” was Dilke’s final sorrow. From this staggering blow he never recovered. I saw the signs of age fast gather upon his once athletic form. But with an iron resolution he worked unceasingly on through the grey and lonely days that had become his. / “Death,” said he to me one night, “has no terrors for me. I am anxious to live merely one day at a time and to fill it with work.” It was an illuminating remark.’