KINGLAKE, Alexander William (1809–1891), historian & travel writer. ALS to John F. Maurice 1889

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KINGLAKE, Alexander William (1809–1891), historian & travel writer. Autograph letter signed to Mr Maurice, 3 sides of an 8vo bifolium, 17 Bayswater Terrace, Kensington Gardens, W., March 22 1889, explaining his absence from London being in retirement and invalided, and was consequently in arrears in reading the “Balance of Military Power in Europe” sent him. “Meanwhile, I have sent for the current number of the Fortnightly & shall address myself to the articles you speak of ……….. Since 1871 I have been accustomed to say that the more France thinks of a conflict with Germany, the more she will dread it, & would be glad to recover her self-respect by action of some kind directed against an unprepared country like England”.

Kinglake’s correspondent was John Frederick Maurice (1841–1912), an army officer and military writer. Although frustrated at not obtaining a senior command, his literary and historical publications established his reputation as a writer, and by 1900 he was made KCB. In 1883 he published Hostilities without Declaration of War, a scholarly polemic against the projected channel tunnel, showing that from 1700 to 1871 there had been fewer than ten formal declarations prior to hostilities, implying a tunnel would make Britain vulnerable to surprise invasion. His Balance of Military Power in Europe (1888) was a masterly survey which anticipated modern strategic studies, while his essay ‘War’ for the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1891) remains valuable. (ODNB).

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