Philidor Handwritten Letter 1787

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A letter hand-written and signed by the top player of the 18th century, François-André Danican Philidor.

Philidor's treatise on chess, first published in 1749, is one of the most important chess books in history.

The letter provides unequivocal evidence that it was written in 1787. Translation of Philidor's letter:

London, [?] 11 May [1787]

My dear and charming friend, I received my books by carriage and I was reimbursed on the spot. I’ll return the advance Philidor gave me as soon as I arrive in Paris.

The proposal from the abbot of the chapel is very difficult given that ladies around the world prefer to choose companions from their families or old acquaintances, rather than committing to a stranger whose character they are uncertain about.

As for the other commission for the letter from Europe, this doesn’t seem difficult to me. I congratulate you on restoring your health and for the joy you have given our new cook, in spite of the sorrows of Mrs. Doublet. I ask that you congratulate her for me for the commission that the government is giving to her husband. This is a path to fortune and honor.

The motion to pay the debts of the Prince of Wales did not take place, since the Minister had planned for him to be in the minority in order to try to reconcile the King with the Prince and to make arrangements to pay, but since this motion is only suspended and that the King is stubborn, I think it will take place next Tuesday and very certainly, the Prince will win.

Mrs. De Polignac, with all French people of quality who are here, asked permission from the Prince of Wales to see his palace, which has not yet been finished, and will be one of the most beautiful homes in England. As a result, he had a lunch prepared and he was at his home to show and explain all the curiosities there to the entire company of our beautiful Duchope. Please tell Philidor that the Count of Zambeccari has entered into the service the Empress of Russia in the marines. Mr. De Boullogne informed me of the horrible accident that happened to the two sons of Mr. De la Borde. I really wanted to know what Mr. D’Ogny said to Huguet, and certainly [?] his secretary, with whom he will have an audience.

The hope that I have to be able to leave in three weeks is such a pleasure to me that I am much less bored.

Finally, my dear, good friend, for me it will be a celebration beyond all expression [hope?] as soon as I will have the joy of seeing you again [?] and I swear to you that I will never cease loving you and being your lifelong very dear and very good friend.

AD Philidor

PS: Send my regards to all your family and friends.