Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand (1869-1948)
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Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand (1869-1948), Important signed letter with corrections, October 12th, 1929, one page, to Henry S. Salt, Brighton, England, concerning thoughts on vegetarianism and Henry David Thoreau.Text in full: Dear Friend, I was agreeably surprised to receive your letter. Yes, indeed your book which was the first English book I came across on vegetarianism was of immense help to me in steadying my faith in vegetarianism. My first introduction to Thoreau's writings was I think in 1907 or later when I was in the thick of the passive resistance struggle. A friend sent me Thoreau's essay on civil disobedience. It left a deep impression upon me. I translated a portion of that essay for the readers of Indian Opinion in South Africa which I was then editing and I made copious extracts from that essay for the English part of that paper. That essay seemed to be so convincing and truthful that I felt the need of knowing more of Thoreau and I came across your life of him, his "Walden" and other short essays all of which I read with great pleasure and equal profit. Yours sincerely, M.K. Gandhi.Note: Thoreau enjoyed some moderate success during his lifetime; however, in the 1870s and 1880s, critics attacked Thoreau's character and style of life, accusing him of crankiness and irresponsibility. In the 1890s a group of admirers who had not known Thoreau personally but who had been affected by his writings began actively to promote him. One of the first substantial biographies of Thoreau, The Life of Henry David Thoreau, was published by an Englishman, Henry Salt, in 1890.