Letter from Scott to Murray2, 15 Nov 1808

Author(s): Scott, Sir Walter


4 not in Scotts Life Nov 15. 1808
Dear Sir

I received two days ago a letter from Mr Gifford highly
approving of the particulars of the plan which I had sketched
for the Review. But there are two points to be considered. In
the first place I cannot be in town as I proposed for
the Commissioners under the [Judication] Bill to whom
I am to act as Clerk have resolved that their first
sittings shall be held here so that I have now no
chance of being in London before Spring. This is very un:
lucky as Mr Gifford proposes to wait for my arrival in
town to set the great machine agoing. I will write to
him that this is impossible & that I wish he would
with your assistance & that of his other friends make up
a list of the works which the first No: is to contain
& consider what is the extent of the aid he will require
from the North. — The other circumstance is that Mr
Gifford pleads the state of his health and his retired habits
as sequestrating him from the world & rendering him
less capable of active exertion & in the kindest & most
polite manner he expresses his hope that he should
receive very extensive assistance & support from me
without which he is pleased to say he would utterly
despair of success. Now between ourselves (for this is
strictly confidential) I am rather alarmed at this
prospect. I am willing & anxiously so to do all in my

power to serve the work but my dear Sir you know how
many of our very ablest hands are engaged in the Edinr.
Review and what a dismal work it will be to wring
assistance from the few whose indolence has left them
neutral. I can to be sure work like a horse myself
but then I have two heavy works on my hands
already namely Somers & Swift. Constable had lately
very nearly relinquished the latter work & I now hear:
tily wish it had never commenced. But two volumes
are nearly printed so I conclude it will now go on
If this work had not stood in the way I should have
liked Beaumont & Fletcher much better. It would
not have required half the research & would have
occupied much less time. I plainly see that according
to Mr Giffords view I should have almost all the
trouble of a co-editor both in collecting & revising
the articles which are to come from Scotland as
well as in supplying all deficiencies from my own
stores. These considerations cannot however operate upon
the first No: so pray send me a list of books & perhaps
you may send a few on a venture you know the
department I had in the Edinr Review. I will
sound Southey agreeable to Mr Giffords wishes on
the Spanish affairs. The last No: of the Edinr Review
has given disgust beyond measure owing to the tone of the
article on Cevallos' Exposé — Subscribers are falling off like witherd


leaves. I retired my name among others after explaining the
reasons both to Mr Jeffrey & Mr Constable. So that there never
was such an opening for a new Review — I shall be glad
to hear what you think on the subject of terms for my
Northern troops will not move without pay — but there
is no hurry about fixing this point as most of the
writers in the first No: will be more or less indifferent
on the subject. For my own share I care not what the
conditions are unless the labour expected from me is to
occupy a considerable portion of time in which case
they might become an object. — While we are on this
subject I may as well mention that as you
incur so large an outlay in the case of the
Novels I would not only be happy that my
remuneration should depend on the profits
of the work but I also think I could
command a few hundreds to assist in
carrying it on. — By the way I see notes on Don
Quixote advertised — This was a plan I had for enriching
our collection having many references by me for the
purpose I shall be sorry if I am powerfully anticipated
Perhaps the book would make a good article in the
Review — Can you get me Gaytouns festivous Notes on
Don Quixote.

I thank our friend Ballantyne is grown an
inch taller on the subject of the Romances Believe me
Dear Sir
yours very truly
Walter Scott

Edinr 15 November G

Gifford is much pleased with you

1808 Novr. 15th. Edinbro
Scott Walter
3d Letter - Rev. & Novels
Mr John Murray
Fleet Street


Cite this Document

APA Style:

Letter from Scott to Murray2, 15 Nov 1808. 2023. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved February 2023, from

MLA Style:

"Letter from Scott to Murray2, 15 Nov 1808." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. February 2023.

Chicago Style

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "Letter from Scott to Murray2, 15 Nov 1808," accessed February 2023,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2023. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Letter from Scott to Murray2, 15 Nov 1808

Document Information

Document ID 191
Title Letter from Scott to Murray2, 15 Nov 1808
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1808
Wordcount 792

Author information: Scott, Sir Walter

Author ID 47
Title Sir
Forenames Walter
Surname Scott
Gender Male
Year of birth 1771
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Author, solicitor
Father's occupation Solicitor
Education University
Locations where resident Edinburgh
Other languages spoken Latin