Opium eater

Quincey, Thomas de, English essayist (1785-1859). Autograph letter signed.

Edinburgh, 13 Oct. [1857].

8vo. 4 pp. on bifolium. With autogr. envelope.


To his solicitor, John Sudlow, at Manchester, on his worries about his youngest daughter Florence (1827-1904), who is married to a British officer serving in India, and who is in great danger through the Indian uprising: "Pardon my abruptness, and pardon also my egotism - which in this case is inevitable. Here is my case, and the one insurmountable excuse for my delay in writing. Two years ago my second daughter married Lt. Col. Baird Smith - favorably known as an Artillery officer, and by his plans of Irrigation for Scinde, Lahore, &c. The station, at which he resided, was a small and obscure one, viz. Rourkee [...] However the Sappers and miners, all natives, that happened to be quartered at Rourkee, were among the earliest Mutineers [...]". Next up the exact description of an "alarming incident" that was completed by his son-in-law, who had captured the insurgents, and was transferred to Delhi afterwards: "There at once my poor Florence was stripped of her special protector; and already in the earliest stage of the tumult she had given birth to a daughter; so that secret escape, in the event of necessity arising, would become 10 times less feasible. After this my anxiety became insupportable [...] This day's second telegraphic report leaves me no other fear than that the Scoundrels will never stand to face us, or give us an opportunity of that vengeance which every just man desires [...]".

Richard Baird Smith died in 1861 of an injury; Florence and her two young daughters returned to England.

Stock Code: BN#28181 Tag: