PHILLIPPS, Sir Thomas (1792-1872). A collection of autograph letters signed, comprising six to Sir Henry Ellis, 25 March 1835 - 2 May 1847, fifteen to Sir Frederic Madden, 20 June 1846 - 21 July 1866, and single letters to 'Mr Keys', 19 July 1837, and 'Mr Pickering', 19 August 1840, altogether approximately 72 pages, various sizes, in autograph; together with autograph letters signed by Madden to Phillipps, 22 August 1845, and by J.O. Halliwell to Madden, 2 September 1845, and a copy letter of Madden to Halliwell, 4 September 1845; in a morocco backed box.
Letters to officials at the British Museum. The correspondence with Sir Henry Ellis begins dramatically with a brief letter , 'Do you think the Government would purchase my Manuscripts? at a fair Estimate', the following letter giving a figure of £50,000, 'a sum which probably can only be raised by an appeal to the Nation'; later letters discuss individual manuscripts and collections, particularly relating to Phillipps's topographical interests and relating to Ellis's projected New Monasticon.
The correspondence with Sir Frederic Madden does explore the final resting-place of the Middle Hill manuscripts -- 'If I were to give my MSS to Brit. Mus. could I be secured against their being looked at for 50 years, or more?'; and there are routine enquiries about manuscripts, collections and collectors. But above all they are concerned with Phillipps's vendetta against his son-in-law, James Orchard Halliwell, a bookseller both he and Madden suspect of thefts from Trinity College, Cambridge and elsewhere -- 'he who would steal a man's Daughter would not hestitate to steal a book'; Phillipps reports every instance of Halliwell's suspected activities, and repeatedly wishes that he could be transported -- 'I am sorry to hear the fellow cannot be trounced'. Later letters worry about Madden's successor as keeper of manuscripts at the BM, fearing that if a 'Papist', he might take the opportunity of destroying all anti-Catholic material, 'as has been done in the State Paper Office'. Phillipps's letters to Keys and Pickering touch on genealogical and legal concerns. The letter from Madden to Phillipps also refers to the Halliwell affair: 'A man who would wantonly mutilate MSS as H. has done ... could do anything bad'.