25 September 2002
SIR ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922)
Typed letter (secretarial signature) to Daniel Bishop, 4 New Burlington Street, London, 18 June 1914, on paper with printed heading of The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 2 pages, 4to.
A begging letter in the final stages of preparation for the expedition, sending a booklet showing the expedition's organisation, quoting the endorsement of 'the Government, The Royal Geographical Society, the War Office and the Admiralty', and others, stressing 'the importance of the undertaking, which should redound to the prestige of our country and the general advancement of human knowledge', appealing for a contribution towards the last £10,000, and promising a pass to inspect 'the Expedition's new Flagship "Endurance" which is now stationed in one of the London Docks'.
After the withdrawal of his main backer, the shadowy Alfred Harvey, Shackleton became involved in a frantic dash for money. The situation was saved by a donation of £24,000, free of conditions, enclosed with a letter of 17 June 1914 (the day before this) from Sir James Key Caird. This may therefore have been one of the last begging letters written for the Endurance expedition.
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