Rare, Important and Angry Autographed Letter Signed by a Flat-Earther

HAMPDEN, John (1819 - 1891)

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Place Published: London
Date Published: 1876

Description: 3 pages each measuring 8.5 x 7.75 inches, London, February 9, 1876. In this extremely rare and historically important letter, Hampden chastises an individual for being a non-believer in the flat earth philosophy, in part: "...What do you think would be said of that deluded fool that talked about the apparent motion of a railway train caused by the earth's rotation? How you dare to fool the public with such lies such as the apparent motion of this, that, and other which we see and know to move, I do not understand...only fools would venture to expose themselves in this disgraceful manner. No man but a contemptible liar would tell me no one ever really moved your place to roll. It was only the apparent progress he made by moving his legs as the earth rotated under him. I wonder you are not ashamed to call yourself a man and spew such trash." There is a strong possibility that this letter is part of the original surviving correspondence between Dr. Hampden and Professor Alfred Wallace, soon after the Bedford experiment. The date is certainly correct and the flow of the letter is consistent with others currently housed in the Academy of Science, especially a letter written to Mrs. Wallace at the height of the feud, which said: "Madam: If your eternal thief of a husband is brought home some day on a hurdle, with every bone in his head smashed to a pulp, you will know the reason. Do you tell him from me he is a lying infernal thief and as sure as his name is Wallace he never dies in bed. You must be a miserable wretch to be obliged to live with him. Do not think or let him think I have done with him..." Several folds; uneven browning on the first page. Still very good condition with dark, bold handwriting.

Comments: English scientist of the Royal Academy who believed that the sun was only 66 miles from earth and that it was 32 miles in diameter. He vigorously promoted the Flat Earth idea in England during the 19th century and found great support in the scientific community through articles published in the Truth-seeker's Oracle and Scriptural Science Review in 1876. Though a gentleman of high standing in the scientific community, Hampden was known for his piety and abusive language. He once made a bet with naturalist Alfred Wallace on the outcome of a test of the flatness of water in the Old Bedford Canal. Both sides claimed the test confirmed their view, and flat-earthers to this day assert that "water surfaces have been proved to be flat." Feeling he had been wronged in the Bedford experiment, he buried Wallace in a blizzard of vitriolic pamphlets and letters.

Signed: Y
Binding: unbound
Language: English
Type: Autographs

Book ID: 227631


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