[ William Cunningham, Archdeacon of Ely, Scottish economist. ] Two Autograph Letters Signed (both 'Wm. Cunningham') to an unnamed party, explaining why he must decline his invitation to co-operate, despite the 'flattering invitation' of the Delegates

William Cunningham (1849-1919), Archdeacon of Ely, Scottish economist [ Harvard University ]
Publication details: 
Both from Trinity College, Cambridge. 9 and 12 October 1899.
SKU: 20132

The two letters were written on Cunningham's return from America, where he had been lecturing in economic history at Harvard. Both are in good condition, lightly aged. Both are addressed from Trinity College, Cambridge. ONE: 9 October 1899. 2pp., small 4to. He has 'just returned to England after a long absence'. He appreciates 'the honour you have done me in asking me to cooperate in such a work', but regrets 'that it is impossible for me to undertake anything of the kind at present'. TWO: 12 October 1899. 4pp., small 4to. He apologises for not writing 'more definitely at first, as it would have saved you the trouble of farther correspondence'. At the same time, after the recipient's second letter, '& the kind expressions which you quote from the Delegates', he feels that 'a fuller statement is necessary'. He spells out his reasons from declining: 'I have very little time for literary work of any kind, as the claims of my college & my parish are rather heavy, and I am bound to get on with two pretty big undertakings as fast as I can – the second volume of my essay on Western Civilisation, & the recasting of the second volume of my Growth of English Industry & Commerce.' On Cunningham's 'most sanguine calculation' the two books together 'will occupy a couple of years at least', and he feel justified in laying either of them aside 'in order to take up another piece of work for a time – however tempting it may be'. He asks him to explain to the delegates 'the precise circumstances under which I have declined their flattering invitation'.