To Graf von Brühl8
ALS: Scottish Record Office
Passy, near Paris, Augt. 22. 1783
M. de Kempel, the ingenious Author of the Automaton that plays Chess, will have the Honour of putting this Line into the Hands of your Excellency; and I beg leave to recommend him to your Protection, not merely on Account of that wonderful Machine, but as a Genius capable of being serviceable to Mankind by more useful Inventions which he has not yet communicated.9 With great Respect, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant
His Excelly. Count Bruhl, Minister of Saxony
8. Hans Moritz Graf von Brühl (1736–1809) served in London as envoy extraordinary from the elector of Saxony from 1764 to his death. He also enjoyed an international reputation as a chess player and was a patron of science: ODNB; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter, III, 374; R. Marsham-Townshend, “Count de Bruhl,” Notes and Queries, 9th ser., XII (1903), 275.
9. For Kempelen’s chess-playing “automaton” and his speaking machine see his letter of May 28. The mechanical chess player created a sensation in London, as well; see Tom Standage, The Mechanical Turk: the True Story of the Chess-Playing Machine That Fooled the World (London, 2002), pp. 61–2.