Opening of the South-Eastern Railway Company Line from Minster to Deal


Speech given at a dinner celebrating the opening of the South-Eastern Railway Company (SER) line from Minster to Deal, Kent (30 June 1847).


Dickens, Charles


'Opening of the Minster and Deal Railway.' The Railway Times (3 July 1847): p. 875.



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Bibliographic Citation

Dickens, Charles. 'Opening of the South-Eastern Railway Company Line from Minster to Deal' (30 June 1847). Dickens Search. Eds. Emily Bell and Lydia Craig. Accessed [date].


The allusion, at the bottom of the table, to my travels abroad, is particularly agreeable and pleasant to me at this moment, for I can assure you that I never felt more perfectly and entirely at home than your kind reception has made me. Gentlemen, I confess that I should have felt it a subject of great embarrassment to have my name connected with so great an occasion as the present, under any circumstances, but I feel it particularly so, when the hasty requisition by electric telegraph which brought me here, and which reached me about the middle of the day; but through your kindness, I am relieved of much of that embarrassment. Gentlemen, nothing which extends the happiness, intelligence, and welfare of the human race – nothing which tends to diminish prejudices – nothing which tends to cement us together as one body – nothing which tends to bring down to places such as these those great armies of invasion which my friend on my right has just spoken of, bearing, instead of warlike banners, those little fluttering flags which we have seen to-day – gentlemen, nothing of that kind can be foreign to the profession of literature or art. And nothing so agreeable and so pleasant as the faces I have seen here to-day, and the honest, earnest, and generous welcome that I have witnessed in this room, can be foreign to the breast of any man who is a man. Gentlemen, as time is wearing I will only detain you by saying that I hope and believe that so long as the broad sea rolls on this beautiful beach of Deal – so long as the men who launch their boats on that sea – so well alluded to just now – so long as they are framed for gallantry and skill throughout England and throughout the world, so long I hope and believe that you will feel the advantages of the great work which has been brought home to your doors to-day, in the persons of your sons, and sons' sons', and your sons' sons' sons. Gentlemen, I beg to return you my most cordial thanks, and to drink all your healths in return.





Dickens, Charles, “Opening of the South-Eastern Railway Company Line from Minster to Deal,” Dickens Search, accessed December 10, 2023,

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