[Sir John Bowring, fourth Governor of Hong Kong.] Playful Autograph Letter Signed to Lady Theresa Villiers, explaining how on receipt of her dinner invitation he wrote to her brother by mistake.

Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), fourth Governor of Hong Kong, traveller, writer and economist [Lady Theresa Villiers (1775-1856), wife of George Villiers (1759–1827), son of Earl of Clarendon]
Publication details: 
‘1 Queen Square West [London] / 4 April 1836’.
SKU: 25622

See his entry in the Oxford DNB. 5pp, 16mo, on two bifoliums of gilt-edged laid paper. In very good condition, lightly aged and folded once for postage. Signed ‘John Bowring’. Written in playful, mock-heroic style. Begins: ‘Many, many days ago my dear Mrs Villiers, did I put sackcloth on my shoulders & pile ashes on my head anent a very wicked sin of omission, in which I was peccant towards you - you who I humbly trust in your great goodness will fling over me the mantle of your forgiving charity’. He continues: ‘The fact is - no living Lady - I mean no mortal lady writes so well as you do so I attributed your note to gentlemanly calligraphy & sent an answer to an E. Villiers who rejoiceth (as he may in truth well rejoice) in being your son.’ The letter continues in the same tone, with the son having ‘disdained any such beneficient intention towards me - & then the light flashed on me - & then came a resolution to crave mercy at your hands - & then - and then - the old worn out story - of the creeping on of to morrow’. He hopes to be pardoned for his ‘shameful and ungrateful request’. The item is from the papers of Lady Maria Theresa Lewis (nee Villiers) (1803-1865), to whom Mary Berry left her papers for publication. The Lewis papers also contain a covering letter on the subject to Lady Theresa Lewis from Lockhart.