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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 27

Remarkable Letters

Remarkable Letters.

I will now pass to other points. I wish to impress upon your particular attention,—because all may aid in this—the letters which your Library will contain. The collection has been formed upon this principle. As far as I know there is but one scurrilous production in the whole collection, I think, and that one was printed in New South Wales; and on account of its extreme ferocity I kept that one as a specimen. (Laughter.) No other work has been admitted which was evidently written for the purpose of wounding and doing harm. Many works are written pro- page 16 fessing to be so and so, but the real object of which is to injure and stab and hurt. No such work or letter will be found in any that is handed over to you. Amongst those handed over to you will be a complete correspondence with very many of those who have been great and remarkable in this century—letters from remarkable men, men of character, which will enable you to live with them, to feel with them, to understand what was their mode of life, what were their thoughts, what their aspirations, what were their pleasures, and often what were their sorrows; how sometimes a great author has gone on for years without any remuneration, without his work selling, hardly without any appreciation, and at last you will find a letter coming from him "the flood of prosperity has broken on me; my work sells, I am in easy and comfortable circumstances, all I have toiled for for years has at last been brought home to me quite unexpectedly;" and you will find the man broken with his work, his life having been a life of labour and disappointment; at last, but when he can hardly enjoy it, entering upon the possession of that comfort of which he was worthy years before. (Cheers.) You will find him saying, "I have felt so disappointed in life, I have known such sorrows, I am ill, I am weary when all this good fortune has at last come upon me," and you will see from some sign at the end of his letter that he has hardly realised the pleasure he has henceforth an opportunity of enjoying in the world. Your sympathies will be enlisted in the people by the various letters you will find. I thought of trying to illustrate this subject by just reading a few letters to you. (Cheers.)