Letter from Blackwood to Murray2, 21 Jan 1815

Author(s): Blackwood, William


Sunday Morning

I am disappointed at not hearing from you, but will surely have a
letter tomorrow.
21 Jany
Dear Murray

I think you are fretting yourself a
great deal more than there is the least necessity for with regard
to poor Hogg's Pilgrims. It has many faults certainly, but
on the other hand contains passages which should redeem it
from utter damnation. Your quickness & rapidity, which have
enabled you to do so much and so well as may [othe]
misled you here, as it is probable, that, had you taken time
to consult me before concluding the bargain, the Poem would
not have been published. I would in the first instance have
read the M.S and I think by our joint advice the Author would
have kept it till he had wrought it up into a different kind
of production, which I am still confident he is perfectly capable of.
But it is needless to say more on this head as the thing is done.
I am surprised as well as [amused] at the horrors in which you
seem to be in about the ridicule & damnation that we must
have been subjected to. I can assure you your fears are wholly
groundless. My not saying anything about the poem id not proceed
from my being feeared to tell you all that was said, but simply
from my not being interested by it, and of course not a little disap
pointed with it. I really cannot say much about anything that
does not please or displease me much. It is my way to
commend perhaps too highly what I like, or to condemn too harshly
what is not to my taste. The opinions with regard to the poem
have been very various, but no one here has ever hinted or thought
that it was in the smallest degree discreditable to us to have
published it. His character in the Edin Review is quite sufficient
to prevent such a thing being ever thought of. I sent your letter to Hogg
yesterday. He has been very unwell, and was out to day for the
first time when he called on me. He [has] the matter very philosophically
— he told me he had written you — he appeared rather
vexed at you [altering] the imprint — with regard to me this was

not of the smallest consequence.

I have staid at home this afternoon and been reading M.De
Rocca — he is really a spirited and lively writer so far as I have
gone, and I think it is a book which will make some noise, particularly
just now when the wretched government of Spain seems to be
[driving] fast towards another revolution. I have also dipt into portions
of your [P.S] Gazetteer, which seems to be a most respectable and
valuable work, and I have not the least doubt of its becoming a
standard book. Everyone wishes to know something about India, and
no where was information to be had without hunting thro' expensive
and ponderous tomes. You deserve great credit for this speculation,
as well for the respectable way in which it is [got up].

I am glad to hear [Gibbon] is so nearly ready, and therefore [Parke] is
also nearly printed. You may well call these great guns. Matthews' three
tracts will also excite great interest at this moment when every one
is laying down laws about Reid and the Corn Laws. I have sent
the advertisements to three different papers, but I think it is quite
unnecessary to apply to the [Crafly], both because I know he would
refuse, and because they will be sufficiently made known without the
aid of the Farmer's Magazine. Besides as soon as they appear they
will be reviewed or noticed in it in some way or another.

I shall make a point of seeing Mr Bradfute on Monday and
write you what he says about [Durban]. Bryce is a terrible pest, and
I shall do everything I can to rid you of him.

Many thanks for your attention to our reprints — The Subscribers
you have got are most respectable, and I have no doubt of you
best [¿] every day. We have got several here already, and
hope it will be filled in a short time. Your people will write
me if you want any more of the Household Book sent up just now.
The way they are announced in the Quarterly has been of most
essential service & must have been very galling to L & Co
You were so good as write to [Deighton] Cambridge, and to [Parke]
Oxford for some extracts which we require for the Metrical Tracts.
I would be much obliged to you if you would write them again
as we will be stopped if we do not receive them soon. He will
not grudge any expence only let them be forwarded without delay.
I have another favour to ask of you, which I hope you will be

able to grant me. In an announce of Drummond you will [obscure]
or do not give any Editor's name. Our first idea was merely to give
an accurate reprint of the poems, and letters, with additions from MS.s
and a small detail of the author's life, which could have been drawn
up by any body from the material we have already collected. On thinking
of the matter further it occurs to me that your friend Southey if he
could be prevailed upon to undertake it, could made it a delightful
and most interesting memoir. He would at once enter into the spirit
of the age, and have an opportunity of characterizing the poets of
the period from Shakespeare to Milton in his own inimitable way.
Drummond's life and also from his connection with Charles I possesses
political interest, independent of its high poetical content from his
connection with Ben Johnson and all the poets of that age. He [would]
collect all the materials as to facts and dates, and as to the rest he is
more at home than any man that ever attempted poetical biography.
Mr Southey would have no trouble with the press, as we would [attend]
If you approve of the undertaking you might have a third of it,
this you will act [as] you think best yourself. All that I am an
for in the mean time is to have access to Mr Southey, and you can
take a share or not afterwards as you may feel inclined. After supplying
the Amateurs and Collectors of [¿], Books, we would some time
afterwards print a pocket edition which would be a saleable book
among ordinary readers. I hope you will think of all this, and
find time to mention it to Mr S. any time you are writing him.

The enclosed letter from Mr Dunlop Senr which you [found] his
Son left with me to day, will explain to you an application I had
made to me the the other day thro' James Ballantyne. Mr D. applied to
Ballantyne in the first instance who mentioned to me fairly that in answer
to Mr D's enquiries about an Edin Bookseller he told Mr D. both of Constable
and myself not feeling himself at liberty as a [Printer] to recommend either of us at the
expence of the other — he took care at same to mention C's connection
with L & Co and mine with you. This decided Mr D. at once and I accordingly
at his request waited upon him. He showed me the [¿]
[¿] letters and read some of them. Not having made up his mind
about the Memoir, and being obliged to leave town, he told me he would write
me, when I would correspond with you on the subject. He is a clever
shrewd well informed man, and I daresay his Memoir will be good.

But I have some doubts about its general interest from Sir Ian [¿]
Steuart being [very] known as a [writer] on Political Economy. You will find a
a short but dull sketch of his life by your friend Alexr Chalmers at the
end of the 8vo edition of his Works published by Cadell & Davies. There are
so few of the letters that it will make rather a petite publication.
Write me fully your opinion so as I may write Mr D. as I told his son
I would defer answering his father's letter till I had heard from you. I tried
every thing I could to learn what was expected, but could not make it out
from either of them. Return me the letters as I have not time to
make a copy of it. — This No has given universal and unequalled delight
and has silenced the adversaries.

John Murray Esq
50 Albemarle Street

only double
Jan 21
Blackwood Wm

Creech has died quite in character. He has not left
the smallest remembrance of any old friend or old servant. His whole fortune
goes to a young Man the son of his cousin the late Charles Watson
two of whose sisters get £1,000 and a third £1500 — these are the
only legacies except £500 to Mrs D Simpson (the sister of Miss Kerr who left
him £1000 or £1500) and £100 to each of his five Trustees my friend Revd
Mr Andew Thomson, Revd Dr Campbell, two Miss [Bonars] and his Man of
Business Mr Robert Fleming. What a shame it is of the fellow not to have
left something handsome to poor Fairbairn, to whom he made the most
solemn promises [¿] to his dying day. The shop has not been opened, but
what is to be done with the stock is not yet determined.

I am
Dear Murray
Yours very truly
W Blackwood
Saturday [¿] 21 Jany 1815
I shall not seal this till to morrow morning as I hope to have a letter from you


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Letter from Blackwood to Murray2, 21 Jan 1815

Document Information

Document ID 196
Title Letter from Blackwood to Murray2, 21 Jan 1815
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1815
Wordcount 1652

Author information: Blackwood, William

Author ID 48
Forenames William
Surname Blackwood
Gender Male
Year of birth 1776
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Publisher, bookseller
Education School to age 14, then apprenticeship
Locations where resident Edinburgh