Letter from Emily de Quincey

Posted by Rachel Kneale on 21 Feb 2023

Modified by Rachel Kneale on 21 Feb 2023

Emily de Quincey

Thomas De Quincey attended MGS for a mere nineteen months before famously running away. He later achieved acclaim as an essayist and journalist. He did not enjoy his brief time at the school, but fortunately documented his experiences in his most famous work Confessions of an English Opium Eater, giving us valuable information on MGS at the turn of the eighteenth century.

The “nervous attack” referred to in the letter may have been a bout of the depression which plagued de Quincey for most of his life. Alternatively, de Quincey also suffered from severe “cluster” headaches. Many biographers have speculated that these may have driven his use of opium.]

We do not know the intended recipient of this letter, or any other information on its provenance, but it is good to have an item linked to one of our more famous old boys.

Nov 22nd 1855

Mavis Bank


Dear Sir,
I write on behalf of my father to say that he has received your flattering request, and that he will have great pleasure in offering a set of those volumes which are already published to be sent for your library. The other volumes shall be sent as soon as they are published.
He would have written himself, but unfortunately he is suffering at the moment from a nervous attack, and also from the hurry of preparing the fifth volume which is on the point of publication. As soon as this pressure is taken off however, he hopes to write and express the gratification he felt at receiving your letter. In this gratification, allow me to say that I join most heartily, and with my own and my father’s kind regards

Believe me dear Sir

Yours faithfully

Emily de Quincey

P.S. From your letter coming through Mr. Hoggs, he did not get it till yesterday


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