Sir Arthur CONAN DOYLE. Autograph drafts, correspondence, election manifesto and pamphlets relating to Conan Doyle as prospective parliamentary candidate for Edinburgh and the Borders, comprising:
Autograph drafts and notes for speeches by Conan Doyle, 5 pages, folio, [1905-6] (four creased and torn along lower border), referring to the woollen industry, free trade, unemployment, food production ('We get 43 per cent of our food from U. S.'), education, temperance, the nationalization of railways and canals ('I don't know where the money is coming from for these gigantic operations') and metrication:
'There is a very simple remedy for
decaying trade, decreasing exports,
and increasing imports. Of course,
we must not use these extreme measures
at once. Let us save it up for some
great national crisis. Then when all
else has failed us we'll call the
yard a metre and so find salvation';
Autograph memorandum on wages and labour, 1 page, 8vo;
Autograph letter signed by Conan Doyle to unknown correspondent, annotated 'W.A.' [William Archer?], Undershaw, 19 November 1902, clarifying his political stance ('I think I stand near the dividing line -- or sit on the dividing fence -- of parties ... I can hardly picture myself standing against a Unionist but I can imagine myself as an Independant' [sic]), 1½ pages, 8vo;
Typed retained copy of letter Conan Doyle to [John Roberts, Selkirk], 1908, deploring the exploitation by the radical press during the 1906 election of 'cheap loaves, Chinese slavery, and other catch-vote cries' and thanking the Unionists of the Border for a picture;
Conan Doyle's printed election poster as a candidate for the Border Burghs, with portrait and manifesto ;
Five letters signed by Joseph Chamberlain to Conan Doyle, 1900-1904, insisting that 'I am only too glad to have intelligent suggestions and information on which I can depend', discussing the remuneration of government officials particularly in South Africa, regretting his failure at Edinburgh Central and thanking him for a copy of his speeches on Tariff Reform, 14 pages, 8vo, some staining by glue; also telegram regretting his defeat in 1906 (7);
Typed letter [by John Boraston], secretary of the Liberal Unionist Association, offering Conan Doyle the Edinburgh Central seat which he describes as almost entirely working class with a strong trade vote, 1900; typed letter signed by Boraston, insisting that Conan Doyle had won his spurs in the political field, 1900; 6 letters received from constituents in the Border Burghs regretting his defeat ('If the Ladies had had but votes I am sure you would have got in by a huge majority'), 1906; letter signed by 41 'South African Colonists hailing from the Scottish Border', 3 pages, folio, torn at folds, pledging their support in the election, n.d.; 5 letters and 6 telegrams relating to his nomination in 1916 (19);
Two printed pamphlets by Conan Doyle, 'An Address to The Edinburgh University Tariff Reform League', 20 pages, 8vo, 1905, foxed [not in Green and Gibson]; 'The Fiscal Question', 55 pages, 8vo, 1905 [Green and Gibson, B4];
Album of newspaper cuttings relating to Tariff Reform, 1900, some annotated by Conan Doyle, other pages glued together, 4to, half morocco, spine defective.
Arthur Conan Doyle stood for Parliament on two occasions. In 1900 he was invited by the Liberal Unionist Association to stand as their candidate for Edinburgh Central. His opponent at the election in October was a managing partner in Thomas Nelson & Son, 'in every respect an untried man', a factor which the Association believed gave Conan Doyle a good chance of success. The evening before the election posters were placed denouncing Conan Doyle as a Papist conspirator, a Jesuit emissary and a subverter of the Protestant Faith. His opponent was duly elected with a majority of 569.
In the late summer of 1903 Conan Doyle was invited to stand as Unionist and Tariff Reform Candidate for the Border Burghs of Hawick, Selkirk and Galashiels where the woollen trade had suffered much from foreign competition. As part of his campaign he gave a series of speeches on Tariff Reform, lectured on the literature of the Borders and brought a team of MCC players to the constituency. At the General Election of January 1906 the Liberals routed the Unionists and Conan Doyle lost by 689 votes.
This was the last serious attempt by Conan Doyle to enter Parliament although he allowed his name to go forward in December 1916 for nomination as a Unionist candidate for the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh.