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Memoir of John Murray

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
‣ Chap. XXVIII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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Allusion has been made in a previous chapter to the sudden access of speculation which occurred in connection with South America in 1824-5. Amongst other districts to which attention was especially drawn were the Cordilleras of the Andes, which were regarded as the fabled El Dorado, where gold, silver, and diamonds, might be found in immense quantities, without much difficulty or trouble.

Amongst those who were sent out to develop these resources was Captain Francis Head, of the Royal Engineers, who was entrusted with the superintendence of the gold and silver mines at the Rio de la Plata.

Captain Head, accompanied by a surveyor, an assayer, and seven miners from Cornwall, set out for Buenos Ayres in 1825, to undertake this duty. The party proceeded to the gold mines of San Luis, and thence to the silver mines of Uspallata, about 1000 miles from Buenos Ayres. Leaving them there, Head returned on horseback across the Pampas, performing the distance in eight days. The letters he then received rendered it necessary that he should go immediately to Chili, and he again crossed the Pampas, catching and lassoing wild horses wherever he could to pursue his journey. He afterwards joined his party, and with them he crossed the Andes to Santiago, and proceeded with them in different directions for about
1200 miles to inspect gold and silver mines. On completing his inspection, Captain Head again crossed the Pampas to Buenos Ayres; having ridden during his journeys more than 6000 miles; sleeping at night on the ground, and living mainly on dried beef and water. He rode at the rate of about a hundred and twenty miles a day. As a conscientious agent of those by whom he was sent out he was compelled to render an unfavourable report of the mines, but having performed this duty he took pen in hand, and dashed off, almost at a heat, a narrative of his
Rapid Journeys across the Pampas and among the Andes. After finishing it, he handed the MS. to Mr. Murray, who sent him a draft for a hundred guineas. It was far more than Captain Head had expected; and, in answering Murray’s communication, he said, “I consider your note a very gratifying instance of your honourable and liberal character.”

It was his first book, and, rapid though the narrative was, it was perhaps his best. It had all the interest of a novel, and was read with great avidity. Southey, in reviewing it, said, “His are mere sketches, it is true, but the outline is so well and clearly defined as to produce all the effect of a finished picture.”

Shortly after the appearance of this book, Captain Head published his reports relating to the failure of the Rio Plata Mining Association. A meeting of the company was held to consider the report, after which Captain Head wrote to Mr. Murray:—

Captain Head to John Murray.

“You will have seen in the Times the account of the Rio Plata meeting. A committee of shareholders is to determine what measures are now to be taken, as if there was anything now to be done but to bury the bones of the
Hobby, and to forget that he ever possessed such flesh and blood. One of the persons named for the committee was the individual who had been paid by the Directors for prosecuting me. However, it is only proper and consistent that the Speculation should end as it began—in Humbug.”

From this time, Captain Head continued to be one of Mr. Murray’s greatest friends and admirers, as we shall afterwards find from his letters. He wrote articles for the Quarterly, and all his best works, including the famous ‘Bubbles from the Brunnen of Nassau,’ were published in Albemarle Street.

We have already alluded to Mr. Benjamin Disraeli’s connection with the firm of Messrs. Powles, the City brokers, one member of which had signed the agreement for a fourth share in the Representative, but had not come forward to bear his share of the losses. Mr. Powles was only too glad to avail himself of Disraeli’s literary skill to recommend his mining speculations to the public. In March 1825, Mr. Murray published, on commission, ‘American Mining Companies,’ and the same year ‘Present State of Mexico,’ and ‘Lawyers and Legislators,’ all of them written by, or under the superintendence of, Mr. Disraeli. Mr. Powles, however, again proved faithless, and although the money for the printing had been due for some time, he paid nothing; and at length Mr. Disraeli addressed Mr. Murray in the following letter:—

Mr. Benjamin Disraeli to John Murray.
6 Bloomsbury Square, March 19th, 1827.

I beg to enclose you the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds, which I believe to be the amount due to you for certain pamphlets published respecting the American Mining Companies, as stated in accounts sent in some time
since. I have never been able to obtain a settlement of these accounts from the parties originally responsible, and it has hitherto been quite out of my power to exempt myself from the liability, which, I have ever been conscious, on their incompetency, resulted from the peculiar circumstances of the case to myself. In now enclosing you what I consider to be the amount, I beg also to state that I have fixed upon it from memory, having been unsuccessful in my endeavours to obtain even a return of the accounts from the original parties, and being unwilling to trouble you again for a second set of accounts, which had been so long and so improperly kept unsettled. In the event, therefore, of there being any mistake, I will be obliged by your clerk instantly informing me of it, and it will be as instantly rectified; and I will also thank you to enclose me a receipt, in order to substantiate my claims and enforce my demands against the parties originally responsible. I have to express my sense of your courtesy in this business, and

I am, sir, yours truly,
Benjamin Disraeli.

Mr. Murray had been so successful in publishing the early works of Washington Irving, that he was disposed to comply with a proposal to undertake a new book from the same hand. This was, however, of a very different character from those heretofore published, which had merely been descriptions. Irving’s proposed new work was ‘The Life and Voyages of Columbus.’ In November 1823, Irving wrote to Murray from Paris, saying that he had been rambling about Germany for upwards of a year, and that having settled down in Paris, he was now ready for some kind of literary work. He proposed to write ‘The Arabian Tales,’ but the tales were never written, and his mind took another direction. Irving’s literary work up to this time had consisted chiefly of a series of short, lively, and eloquent essays and sketches, but in the following year he wrote to Murray from Madrid:—

Mr. W. Irving to John Murray.
December 21st, 1826.

“I have a work nearly ready for the press, ‘The Life and Voyages of Columbus.’ It will make a couple of volumes quarto; and I will either sell the copyright, or you may print an edition, and we will share the profits.”

It was long, however, before Irving could complete the work; chiefly, he said, because of not being able to consult the MS. history of ‘Las Casas’; but that having at length obtained access to it, he had introduced many alterations and additions.

Washington Irving was at the same time proceeding with the ‘Conquest of Granada,’ and as he was travelling about Spain, from one place to another, and enjoying the natural beauties and historic associations of the country, it was long before he could complete either work. In August 1827, however, he was able to send the main body of his MSS. of ‘Columbus’ to his friend Colonel Aspinwall, the American Consul in London, who thenceforward became Irving’s agent for the sale of his copyrights. Newton, the artist, described him as a “sharp bargainer,” as he no doubt proved to be. What Murray’s first proposal was, we do not know; but from a letter of Lockhart to him (December 1827), we find that “Mr. Leslie, the artist, offered W. Irving’s ‘Columbus’ to Colburn for £1500; and that he thought it right to inform him of this proposal.”

Mr. Southey, whose opinion of the merits of the work had been asked, expressed it as follows:—

Mr. R. Southey to John Murray.
September 8th, 1827.

“I return the MS. of Columbus’ Life by this day’s coach. It appears to me to have been compiled with great
industry and to be well conceived, presenting a most remarkable portion of history in a popular form, and therefore likely to succeed; not for the ability displayed in it, but because the book is interesting and useful. There is neither much power of mind nor much knowledge indicated in it, but a great deal of diligence employed upon the subject which the author has undertaken.”

While the negotiations were in progress, Mr. Murray’s friend, Sharon Turner, sent him the following word of caution as to Irving’sColumbus’:—

Mr. Sharon Turner to Mr. Murray.
December 1827.
Dear Murray,

“Will you pardon a well-meant line? Have you finally concluded about the ‘Columbus’? If not, will you excuse me if, from the extract I see in the Literary Gazette, I am induced to ask, What has it of that superb degree as to make it fully safe for you to give the price you intend for it? I see no novelty of fact, and, though much ability, yet not that overwhelming talent which will give a very great circulation to so trite a subject. I merely take the liberty of suggesting a caution, which I do with great diffidence; for I know you have such an admirable tact of judgment about works and their probable success, that there is no one on whose prospective opinion I should rely more confidently than on yours. Yet the sum compared with the subject, and with the small part that I have seen of the execution makes me send you these hints, as a mere question for your consideration. . . . Could you make part of the price depend upon the editions or the number sold?”

The result proved that Turner was right, and that Murray, who agreed with Colonel Aspinwall to give 3000 guineas for the work, was wrong. The ‘Voyages of Columbus’ were published in February 1828, in four large octavo volumes.

Having thus concluded a very satisfactory arrangement as to the ‘Voyages of Columbus,’ Washington Irving next
proceeded with the ‘
Conquest of Granada,’ and, at the same time, with the ’Voyages of the Companions of Columbus.’ When the former work was finished, he sent the MS. to Colonel Aspinwall to bargain with the London publishers. When he thought Murray did not offer enough, he went to Bentley or Colburn and tried to get more. Murray, not liking to see the works of his famous author go into the hands of other publishers, offered a large sum for the ‘Conquest of Granada’—not less than 2000 guineas, although it, as well as the ‘Columbus,’ had been published in America before they appeared in England, and were therefore devoid of all legal protection.

Murray consulted Lockhart as to these works and received the following reply:—

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.

“I have read this MS. with my best attention, and would fain read the sequel ere I gave a decided opinion. My impression is that, with much elegance, there is mixed a good deal of affectation—I must add, of feebleness. He is not the man to paint tumultuous war, in the lifetime of Scott, when Byron is fresh. Southey’sCid’ is worth ten of this in every way. How did that succeed? Surely the Laureate’s name is at least equal to Irving’s, and what name equal to the ‘Cid’s’ can be found in the ‘Wars of Granada?’ This, however, will be the only complete intelligible history of the downfall of the last Moorish power in Europe; and therefore a valuable, and, I doubt not, a standard work. I don’t as yet see that, for all this it can be worth 2000 guineas.”

Croker did not admire Irving so much as Lockhart. He wrote to Murray:—

Mr. Croker to John Murray.
January 18th, 1825.

Thank you, for the third time, for the prints, which, however well done, lose half their merit with me; for I
never could read the ‘
Sketch Book,’ nor, what d’ye call it? ‘Knickerbocker.’ Mr. Irving has a charming English style, formed by a careful and affectionate study of Addison, perhaps a little too much sweetened; and so polished that, although the surface is proportionably bright, it is nothing but surface. I can no more go on all day with one of his books than I could go on all day sucking a sugar-plum. The ‘American Dutchmen’ I do not understand at all; an historical account of such people might be entertaining, but, without any means of distinguishing how much is fiction and how much truth, these stories puzzle and tire me. How should you like to see Jan Steen’s figures introduced in Daniell’s Judean landscapes? “Si vrai, ce n’est pas toujours vraisemblable.” I am so ignorant as not to know how much is vrai, and so stupid as to think none of it vraisemblable.

J. W. Croker.

The writings of Irving had begun to pall upon the public taste, and neither of the works—‘Columbus’ or ‘Conquest’—The successful, although they were well reviewed. Murray communicated the facts to the author, then at Granada:

Mr. Irving to John Murray.
May 9th, 1829.

“I have been annoyed by your forebodings of ill success to this work (‘Conquest of Granada’). When you have the spirit to give a large price for a work, why have you not the spirit to go manfully through with it, until the public voice determines its fate. These croakings get to my ears, and dishearten and interrupt me for a time with other things which I may have in hand. Remember, you doubted the success and declined the publication of the ‘Sketch Book,’ when I offered you the materials for the first volume, which had been already published in America, and it was only after it had been published in London by another bookseller, and had been well received, that you ventured to take it in hand. Remember too, that you lost
heart about the success of ‘
Columbus,’ and dropt a th[ousand] copies of the first edition after you had printed the first volume, and yet you see it continues to do well. I trust that you will be equally disappointed in your prognostications about the success of the ‘Conquest of Granada,’ and that it will not prove disadvantageous either to your purse or my reputation. At any rate, I should like hereafter to make our arrangements in such manner that you may be relieved from these apprehensions of loss in the publication of a work of mine.”

So great, however, was Murray’s personal regard for Washington Irving, and so high was his opinion of the merits of his writings, that he continued to purchase and publish his works though it involved him in considerable loss. On the other hand, Irving was not easily persuaded that the market value of his wares had in any measure decreased, and was by no means inclined to abate his demands. In answer to Irving’s inquiry from Birmingham, where he was then living with his brother-in-law, Henry Ward, Murray wrote:—

John Murray to Mr. Irving.
October 25th, 1831.
My dear Sir,

My reply was, “Yes, I’ll write to you;” and the cause of my not having done so earlier, is one for which I am sure you will make allowances. You told me, upon our former negotiations, and you repeated it recently, that you would not suffer me to be a loser by any of your Works; and the state of matters in this respect I am exceedingly unwilling, because it is contrary to my nature, to submit to you; and in doing so at length, you will, I am sure, do me the justice to believe that I have no other expectations than those which are founded upon your own good feelings. The publication of ‘Columbus’ cost me, paper, printing, advertising, and author, £5700; and it has produced but £4700. ‘Granada’ cost £3073, and its sale has produced but £1830; making my gross loss £2250. I have thought
it better to communicate with yourself direct than through the medium of
Mr. Aspinwall. Let me have time to read the two new MSS., and then we shall not differ, I think, about terms.

I am, my dear Sir, faithfully yours,
John Murray.

The work on which Washington Irving was then engaged consisted of the ‘Tales of the Alhambra.’ In a letter to his nephew (Feb. 6th, 1832), he wrote:—

“I have as yet made no bargain with any bookseller here, nor shall I until my manuscript is altogether complete. Indeed, the book trade is in such a deplorable state that I hardly know where to turn to; some are disabled, and all disheartened. There is scarce any demand for new works, such is the distraction of the public mind with reform, cholera, and Continental revolutions.”

Irving was more successful in selling his books to the publishers than the publishers were in selling them to the public. He once said:—

“Many and many a time have I regretted that at my early outset in life I had not been imperiously bound down to some regular and useful mode of life, and been thoroughly inured to habits of business; and I have a thousand times regretted with bitterness that I was ever led away by my imagination. Believe me, the man who earns his bread by the sweat of his brow eats often a sweeter morsel, however coarse, than he who procures it by the labour of his brains.”

Irving continued to inveigh against literature as a profession, and still to write for several years, always endeavouring to obtain as high a price as possible for his works. Some of them were published by Bentley, and one or two—including the ‘Recollections of Abbotsford and Newstead,’ which was accepted on the strong recommendation of Mr. Lockhart—by Mr. Murray.

For many years no attempt was made to bring out
pirated editions of these works in England, till at length, in 1843,
Mr. Bohn announced a complete edition of the works of Washington Irving, when it became necessary to proceed by action at law, and endeavour to protect the property in these supposed copyrights. The result is found in the following clear and explicit letter of Mr. John Murray, who succeeded his father in 1843:—

John Murray, junior, to Mr. Irving.
My dear Sir,

Having troubled you so often, and I fear seriously, on the subject of my lawsuit with Bohn, it is with peculiar satisfaction that I now write to tell you that it is at an end. Mr. Bohn has offered me terms which are satisfactory to me and not humiliating to him. He has destroyed for me all value in your works, and I make over to him the copyrights. I regret to part with them, but it seemed to me the only way to get out of the squabble, which was becoming very serious, my law expenses alone having run up to £850. One good, at least, has been elicited out of this contest—it has settled the right of foreigners to hold copyright in this country; for I am assured by my counsel, Sir Fitzroy Kelly, one of the soundest heads at our bar, that the recent decision of our judges on that head is not likely to be reversed by the House of Lords, or any other tribunal. Sir Fitzroy Kelly has studied the subject minutely, and made an admirable speech in the Queen’s Bench, on my side. I hope, therefore, that the ‘Life of Washington,’ and other works to come from your pen, may yet bring advantage to their author from this country; but priority of publication in England is an indispensable condition, and must in all cases be guaranteed and carefully attested at the time of appearance. No one can desire more than I do an international copyright arrangement with the Americans. In my desire, I am not surpassed by Mr. Bohn, nor Sir E. L. Bulwer; but I differ from them in the strong conviction which I feel, that it is not by pirating the American books that the object is to be attained.

I remain, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely,
John Murray.

Lockhart was by this time fully installed as editor of the Quarterly. While new to his position, he was always desirous of having the opinions of others as to his work. “You should tell me,” he wrote to Murray, on “all occasions what you feel and what you hear about the Review. It is only so that I can hope to be guided with advantage; for people will speak to you more candidly than to me.”

Mr. J. T. Coleridge, the late editor, had offered to review Hallam’sConstitutional History of England,’ but the work was handed over to Robert Southey; and on the Quarterly reaching Mr. Hallam at Rome, he sent an angry message to Mr. Murray, protesting against the pique of Southey, and the hostility of the editor in admitting such a review; and intimating that his transactions with the publisher must come to an end. His impression was that the publisher was influenced by his deference to Tory opinions.

To this remonstrance Mr. Murray sent the following reply:—

John Murray to Mr. Hallam.
June 27th, 1828

“If I were so foolish as to admit of such influence in the regulation of my business, its operation must inevitably be in the selection of what I should publish, and not in disparaging of what I had incurred both risk and expense in printing. No! I feel it a duty to publish, with equal integrity, for Croker and Leigh Hunt, Scott and Moore, Southey and Butler, Hobhouse and Gifford, Napier and Strangford. I have received many personal civilities, and I own obligations to the Whigs, but the Tories! I paid to the utmost their under-secretaries of state, secretaries of state, bishops, and even two prime ministers, for advocating their own cause. They took my money, but never did they confer the slightest favour in return either upon Gifford or myself. So much for my Tory relations; and, with regard to the article upon your ‘History’ in the
Quarterly, I trust that you have been convinced of the absolute injustice of allowing it to make the smallest difference in those personal relations with myself, by which I have been so long gratified and honoured.”

Mr. Murray continued that, if Mr. Southey’s article had been rejected, it would have been published elsewhere, and perhaps in a more objectionable form.

“To have such statements published would have ruined my character by insinuating that I would not suffer any works published by myself to be fairly reviewed. You cannot think me fool enough to allow any party feeling to risk such a charge. I do not mean to offer the slightest apology for the appearance of the article, because I am conscious that I have nothing personally to do with it; but, as I feel an interest in anything that concerns you, so I express my regret at any annoyance which may have been associated with my name.”

Mr. Hallam did not, however, allow his resentment to endure long, and this incident made no difference whatever in his friendship with Mr. Murray. Their next correspondence, after many interviews, was with respect to the appearance of the ‘History of Literature,’ which was published by Mr. Murray on the same terms as its predecessors.

Mr. Thomas Mitchell being, about this time, on a visit to Southey in the Lake country, communicated to Murray that Southey “complained of Lockhart’s personal neglect of him.” And yet Lockhart had one, if not two, papers in each number of the Quarterly by Southey, who received £100 for each of them, and this was the Laureate’s principal source of income.

Mr. Southey to John Murray.
August 13th, 1827.

“I was not aware that I had overdrawn my account; you have acted generously by me, and I have met with so
little of such treatment in my dealings with the world, that I am the more gratified by having now, for once, to acknowledge it.”

Lockhart, like Gifford before him, had to act as a sort of buffer between Murray’s kindness to his contributors and the articles which they thought should appear in the Quarterly. Yet Lockhart was constantly praising Southey in his communications with Murray.

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.

“I hope all is right about Southey. We cannot afford to lose him. For the actual bustle of passing politics his is not the hand; but he is continually upholding that grave character and Christian philanthropy which lends effect to the sharper diatribes of mere worldly intellects. If you write to him again on the length of articles, please say our object is only to restore the Q. R. to its own original plan and arrangement. Down to these four or five years past twelve articles were usual in a number. But perhaps he is not the one to be further cut down. I have read Mr. Dodd’sTrial of Charles.’ It is not only well, but splendidly done.”*

Lockhart had often occasion to be at Abbotsford to see Sir Walter Scott, who was then carrying on, single-handed, that terrible struggle with adversity, which has never been equalled in the annals of literature. His son-in-law went down in February 1827 to see him about further articles, but wrote to Murray: “I fear we must not now expect Sir W. S.’s assistance ere ‘Napoleon’ be out of hand.” In the following month of June Lockhart wrote from Portobello: “Sir W Scott has got ‘Napoleon’ out of his hands, and I have made arrangements for three or four articles; and

* The article appeared in No. 72, for October 1827, and was subsequently enlarged and reprinted as a volume of the Family Library. Mr. Dodd, a barrister, was the author of ‘Our Autumn on the Rhine.’

I think we may count for a paper of his every quarter.” Articles accordingly appeared from Sir Walter Scott on diverse subjects, one in No. 71, June 1827, on the ‘
Works of John Home’; another in No. 72, October 1827, on ‘Planting Waste Lands’; a third in No. 74, March 1828, on ‘Plantation and Landscape Gardening’; and a fourth in No. 76, October 1828, on Sir H. Davy’sSalmonia, or Days of Fly-Fishing.’ The last article was cordial and generous, like everything proceeding from Sir Walter’s pen. Lady Davy was greatly pleased with it. “It must always be a proud and gratifying distinction,” she said, “to have the name of Sir Walter Scott associated with that of my husband in the review of ‘Salmonia.’I am sure Sir Humphry will like his bairn the better for the public opinion given of it by one whose immortality renders praise as durable as it seems truly felt.”

With respect to ‘Salmonia’ the following anecdote may be mentioned, as related to Mr. Murray by Dr. Gooch, a valued contributor to the Quarterly.

“At page 6 of Salmonia,” said Dr. Gooch, “it is stated that ‘Nelson was a good fly-fisher, and continued the pursuit even with his left hand.’ I can add that one of his reasons for regretting the loss of his right arm was that it deprived him of the power of pursuing this amusement efficiently, as is shown by the following incident, which is, I think, worth preserving in that part of his history which relates to his talents as a fly-fisher. I was at the Naval Hospital at Yarmouth on the morning when Nelson, after the battle of Copenhagen (having sent the wounded before him), arrived in the Roads and landed on the Jetty. The populace soon surrounded him, and the military were drawn up in the market-place ready to receive him; but making his way through the crowd, and the dust and the clamour, he went straight to the Hospital. I went round the wards with him, and was much interested in observing his demeanour to the sailors. He stopped at every bed, and to every man he had something kind and cheering to
say. At length he stopped opposite a bed in which a sailor was lying who had lost his right arm close to the shoulder joint, and the following short dialogue passed between them. Nelson: ‘Well, Jack, what’s the matter with you?’ Sailor: ‘Lost my right arm, your Honour?’ Nelson paused, looked down at his own empty sleeve, then at the sailor, and then said playfully, ‘Well, Jack, then you and I are spoiled for fishermen; but cheer up, my brave fellow.’ He then passed quickly on to the next bed, but these few words had a magical effect upon the poor fellow, for I saw his eyes sparkle with delight as Nelson turned away and pursued his course through the wards. This was the only occasion on which I ever saw Lord Nelson.”

In June 1827 Charles Lyell was engaged in writing for the Quarterly an article on Scrope’sExtinct Volcanoes of France.’ He was at that time thinking of beginning a work on geology, and he was under the opinion that writing articles for the Review helped to prepare his mind for the work without exhausting his materials. He had already written two articles for the Quarterly—one on the ‘Transactions of the Geological Society,’ and the other on the ‘State of the Universities.’ Some competent judges thought that in the latter article he had gone too far; but Professor Henslow undeceived him. The Professor said to him one day:

“I have been to Paris, so I have not yet seen your article; but the Professor of Chemistry writes to me from Cambridge that a requisition is signing for the medical students to be required hereafter to attend the lectures on chemistry and botany; I suppose, if it succeeds, we may thank the Quarterly. Now the last drop makes the cup overflow, and if the seed vegetates so soon the soil must have been prepared.”

Captain Francis B. Head was also enrolled as a regular contributor to the Quarterly, In No. 71, June 1827, he
wrote his first article on ‘
Cornish Mining in America,’ which was so much admired that Mr. Murray requested him to write again on South America. In answer to this proposal Captain Head replied:

Captain Head to John Murray.

“I can fairly assure you that I cannot conceive how anything I can write can possibly be worth the sum you have given me, because writing is not my trade, and never has been my habit; and it is from this feeling that I propose to make a bargain with you, for I feel that, if I was only to receive what the thing is worth, it would be—NOTHING.”

The article which Murray had requested from Head was written from the notes which he had made on separate scraps of paper; but it was so utterly opposed to the view expressed by Southey in the Quarterly—in fact, it was an answer to his review—that it could not be accepted. Lockhart wrote to Head: “I don’t know how long Statesmen are expected to be constant, but Reviewers must make a fashion of being so for three or four months together at least.” Captain Head was annoyed at the rejection of his article, and on his proposing to issue it as an answer to Southey, Mr. Murray agreed to publish it as a pamphlet in the following year.

In January 1828, the Duke of Wellington was called upon to form his first Ministry, and the editor of the Quarterly soon found, as others have in similar circumstances, that the task of defence is more arduous than that of the attack. The question of Catholic Emancipation was pressing for legislation, and the first hints of Parliamentary Reform were making themselves heard. Lockhart and Milman were becoming alarmed at the state of affairs.

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.

“The fact is, we all feel that the accession of the Tories, which gives light and life to so many concerns, is a damper on the poor Review. Milman apprehends that Croker, in the business of eulogy and defence, will be more an incumbrance than a help; and he, like me, is excessively anxious to see new hands and young blood. Alas! we are all getting old, and it is so difficult to whip up stirring interest about any subject in jaded bosoms.”

Milman was desirous that the Review should be more independent. With respect to his article on ‘Church Patronage and Clerical Jobs,’ he wrote:

The Rev. H. H. Milman to John Murray.

“Why must every appearance of independent opinion be carefully excluded and the air of an apology given to the whole article? Why should the Quarterly Review not caution the Bishops against immoderate jobs, of which they are too often guilty, and then securing all the patronage to their own families? The system of alteration thus adopted compromises not only the independence but the utility of the Review; it ought to feel and assert its own authority on the public mind.”

The Quarterly had as yet taken no special position on the subject of Catholic Emancipation, and Lockhart was much exercised in his mind as to how it should be dealt with. In order to be properly guided he wrote the following letter to Murray:

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.

I found that the Quarterly Review had all along kept neutral on the Catholic question, and have considered it due to your interests not to be in a hurry to propose any change as to this matter. My own feeling, however, is, and always has been, that the Question will be carried in our time; and my only difficulty as to advising you results from the sense I entertain of the extreme delicacy of
thought and language that would be requisite for handling the subject with manliness, and yet without needlessly alarming and outraging a great body who have hitherto, for aught I can see, been the best and steadiest friends of the Review. May I beg you to say to
Mr. Barrow that in this case, as in all others, it is but fair I should see the MS. ere I decide on rejecting or accepting it. The mind of the public, I mean the respectable public, is in that state on this question that everything, or nearly everything, must depend, with me, upon the tone and manner of execution.

Yours truly,
J. G. L.

In the meantime Mr. Lockhart went down to Brighton in the summer of 1828, accompanied by Sir Walter Scott, Miss Scott, Mrs. Lockhart and her son John—the Little-john to whom Scott’s charming ‘Tales of a Grandfather,’ which were at that time in course of publication, had been addressed. It was on the boy’s account the party went to Brighton; he was very ill and gradually sinking. While at Brighton, Lockhart had an interview with the Duke of Wellington, and wrote to Murray on the subject.

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
May 18th, 1828.

“I have a message from the D. of W. to say that he, on the whole, highly approves the paper on foreign politics, but has some criticisms to offer on particular points, and will send for me some day soon to hear them. I have of course signified my readiness to attend him any time he is pleased to appoint, and expect it will be next week.”

That the Duke maintained his interest in the Quarterly is shown by a subsequent extract:—

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
Auchenraith, January 19th, 1829.

Sir Walter met me here yesterday, and he considered the Duke’s epistle as an effort of the deepest moment to
Quarterly and all concerned. He is sure no minister ever gave a more distinguished proof of his feeling than by this readiness to second the efforts of a literary organ. Therefore, no matter about a week sooner or later, let us do the thing justice.”

Before his departure for Brighton, Mr. Lockhart had been commissioned by Murray to offer Sir Walter Scott £1250 for the copyright of his ‘History of Scotland,’ a transaction concerning which some informal communications had already passed:

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
My dear Sir,

Sir W. Scott has already agreed to furnish Dr. Lardner’sCyclopædia’ with one vol.—‘History of Scotland’—for £1000, and he is now at this work. This is grievous, but you must not blame me, for he has acted in the full knowledge of my connection with and anxiety about the Family Library. I answered him, expressing my great regret and reminding him of Peterborough. I suppose, as I never mentioned, nor well could, money, that Dr. Lardner’s matter appeared more a piece of business. Perhaps you may think of something to be done. It is a great loss to us and gain to them.

Yours truly,
J. G. L.

After the failure of Ballantyne and Constable, Cadell, who had in former years been a partner in Constable’s house, became Scott’s publisher, and at the close of 1827 the principal copyrights of Scott’s works, including the novels from ‘Waverley’ to ‘Quentin Durward,’ and most of the poems, were put up to auction, and purchased by Cadell and Scott jointly for £8500. At this time the ‘Tales of a Grandfather’ were appearing by instalments, and Murray wrote to the author, begging to be allowed to become the London publisher of this work. Scott replied:

Sir W. Scott to John Murray.
6, Shandwick Place, Edinburgh,
November 25th, 1828.
My dear Sir,

I was favoured with your note some time since, but could not answer it at the moment till I knew whether I was like to publish at Edinburgh or not. The motives for doing so are very strong, for I need not tell you that in literary affairs a frequent and ready communication with the bookseller is a very necessary thing.

As we have settled, with advice of those who have given me their assistance in extricating my affairs, to publish in Edinburgh, I do not feel myself at liberty to dictate to Cadell any particular selection of a London publisher. If I did so, I should be certainly involved in any discussions or differences which might occur between my London and Edinburgh friends, which would be adding an additional degree of perplexity to my affairs.

I feel and know the value of your name as a publisher, but if we should at any time have the pleasure of being connected with you in that way, it must be when it is entirely on your own account. The little history designed for Johnnie Lockhart was long since promised to Cadell.

I do not, in my conscience, think that I deprive you of anything of consequence in not being at present connected with you in literary business. My reputation with the world is something like a high-pressure engine, which does very well while all lasts stout and tight, but is subject to sudden explosion, and I would rather that another than an old friend stood the risk of suffering by the splinters.

I feel all the delicacy of the time and mode of your application, and you cannot doubt I would greatly prefer you personally to men of whom I know nothing. But they are not of my choosing, nor are they in any way responsible to me. I transact with the Edinburgh bookseller alone, and as I must neglect no becoming mode of securing myself, my terms are harder than I think you, in possession of so well established a trade, would like to enter upon, though they may suit one who gives up his time to them as almost his sole object of expense and attention.


I hope this necessary arrangement will make no difference betwixt us, being, with regard,

Your faithful, humble Servant,
Walter Scott.

On his return to London, Lockhart proceeded to take a house, No. 24, Sussex Place, Regent’s Park; for he had been heretofore living in the furnished apartments provided for him in Pall Mall. Mr. Murray again wrote to him on the subject:

John Murray to Mr. Lockhart.
July 31st, 1828.

As you are about taking or retaking a house, I think it right to inform you now that the editor’s dividend on the Quarterly Review will be in future £325 on the publication of each number; and I think it very hard if you do not get £200 or £300 more for your own contributions.

Most truly yours,
John Murray.

At the beginning of the following year Lockhart went down to Abbotsford, where he found his father-in-law working as hard as ever.

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
January 4th, 1829.

“I have found Sir Walter Scott in grand health and spirits, and have had much conversation with him on his hill-side about all our concerns. I shall keep a world of his hints and suggestions till we meet; but meanwhile he has agreed to write almost immediately a one volume biography of the great Earl of Peterborough, and I think you will agree with me in considering the choice of this, perhaps the last of our romantic heroes, as in all respects happy. . . . He will also write now an article on some recent works of Scottish History (Tytler’s, &c.) giving, he promises, a
complete and gay summary of all that controversy; and next No. a general review of the Scots ballads, whereof some twenty volumes have been published within these ten years, and many not published but only printed by the Bannatyne club of Edinburgh, and another club of the same order at Glasgow. . . . I am coaxing him to make a selection from
Crabbe, with a preface, and think he will be persuaded.”

January 8th, 1829.

Sir Walter Scott suggests overhauling Caulfield’s portraits of remarkable characters (3 vols., 1816), and having roughish woodcuts taken from that book and from others, and the biographies newly done, whenever they are not in the words of the old original writers. He says the march of intellect will never put women with beards and men with horns out of fashion—Old Parr, Jenkins, Venner, Muggleton, and Mother Souse, are immortal, all in their several ways. I am getting on with ‘Napoleon,’* and shall have a good store of MS. for the printer when I return, which will be very soon.”

Lockhart proceeded to Edinburgh to have an interview, on behalf of Murray, with Professor Wilson with a view to securing the Professor’s help in the publication by Murray of the ‘Naval History of Britain.’ Lockhart reported that Wilson was willing to do the work at the rate of £1000 for the four volumes. His proposal was agreed to; but, so far as we can understand, the work, if begun, was never printed or published.

By 1829 Scott and Cadell had been enabled to obtain possession of all the principal copyrights, with the exception of two one-fourth shares of ‘Marmion,’ held by Murray and Longman respectively. Sir Walter Scott applied to Murray through Lockhart, respecting this fourth share The following was Murray’s reply to Sir Walter Scott:—

* The ‘Life of Napoleon,’ by Lockhart, formed the first volumes of Murray’s ‘Family Library.’ See p. 296.

John Murray to Sir Walter Scott.
June 8th, 1829.
My Dear Sir,

Mr. Lockhart has at this moment communicated to me your letter respecting my fourth share of the copyright of ‘Marmion.’ I have already been applied to by Messrs. Constable and by Messrs. Longman, to know what sum I would sell this share for; but so highly do I estimate the honour of being, even in so small a degree, the publisher of the author of the poem, that no pecuniary consideration whatever can induce me to part with it. But there is a consideration of another kind, which, until now, I was not aware of, which would make it painful to me if I were to retain it a moment longer. I mean, the knowledge of its being required by the author, into whose hands it was spontaneously resigned in the same instant that I read his request. This share has been profitable to me fifty-fold beyond what either publisher or author could have anticipated; and, therefore, my returning it on such an occasion, you will, I trust, do me the favour to consider in no other light than as a mere act of grateful acknowledgment for benefits already received by, my dear sir,

Your obliged and faithful Servant,
John Murray.

P.S.—It will be proper for your man of business to prepare a regular deed to carry this into effect, which I will sign with the greatest self-satisfaction, as soon as I receive it.

Sir W. Scott to John Murray.
Edinburgh, June 12th, 1829.
My dear Sir,

Nothing can be more obliging or gratifying to me than the very kind manner in which you have resigned to me the share you held in ‘Marmion,’ which, as I am circumstanced, is a favour of real value and most handsomely rendered. I hope an opportunity may occur in which I may more effectually express my sense of the obligation than by mere words. I will send the document of trans-
ference when it can be made out. In the meantime I am, with sincere regard and thanks,

Your most obedient and obliged Servant,
Walter Scott.

At the end of August 1829, Lockhart was again at Abbotsford, and sending the slips of Sir Walter’s new article for the next Quarterly. He had already written for No. 77 the article on ‘Hajji Baba,’ and for No. 81 an article on the ‘Ancient History of Scotland.’ The slips for the new article were to be a continuation of the last, in a review of Tytler’sHistory of Scotland.’ The only other articles he wrote for the Quarterly were his review of Southey’s ‘Life of John Bunyan,’ No. 86, in October, 1830; and his review—the very last—of Pitcairn’sCriminal Trials of Scotland,’ No. 88, in February, 1831.

His last letter to Mr. Murray refers to the payment for one of these articles:

Sir W. Scott to John Murray.
Abbotsford, Monday, 1830.
My dear Sir,

I acknowledge with thanks your remittance of £100, and I will be happy to light on some subject which will suit the Review, which may be interesting and present some novelty. But I have to look forward to a very busy period betwixt this month and January, which may prevent my contribution being ready before that time. You may be assured that for many reasons I have every wish to assist the Quarterly, and will be always happy to give any support which is in my power. I have inclosed for Moore a copy of one of Byron’s letters to me. I received another of considerable interest, but I do not think it right to give publicity without the permission of a person whose name is repeatedly mentioned. I hope the token of my good wishes will not come too late. These letters have been only recovered after a long search
through my correspondence, which, as usual with literary folks, is sadly confused.

I beg my kind compliments to Mrs. Murray and the young ladies, and am, yours truly,

Walter Scott.

Scott now began to decline rapidly, and was suffering much from his usual spasmodic attacks; yet he had Turner with him, making drawings for the new edition of his poems. Referring to his last article in the Quarterly on Pitcairn’sCriminal Trials,’ he bids Lockhart to inform Mr. Murray that “no one knows better your liberal disposition, and he is aware that £50 is more than his paper is worth.” Scott’s illness increased, and Lockhart rarely left his side.

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
Chiefswood, September 16th, 1831.

“Yesterday determined Sir W. Scott’s motions. He owes to Croker the offer of a passage to Naples in a frigate which sails in about a fortnight. He will therefore proceed southwards by land next week, halting at Rokeby, and with his son at Notts, by the way. We shall leave Edinburgh by next Tuesday’s steamer, so as to be in town before him, and ready for his reception. We are all deeply obliged to Croker on this occasion, for Sir Walter is quite unfit for the fatigues of a long land journey, and the annoyances innumerable of Continental inns; and, above all, he will have a good surgeon at hand, in case of need. The arrangement has relieved us all of a great burden of annoyances and perplexities and fears.”

Another, and the last of Lockhart’s letters on this subject, may be given:—

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
Chiefswood, September 19th, 1831.
Dear Murray,

In consequence of my sister-in-law, Annie Scott, being taken unwell, with frequent fainting fits, the result, no
doubt of over anxieties of late, I have been obliged to let my wife and children depart by to-morrow’s steamer without me, and I remain to attend to
Sir Walter thro’ his land progress, which will begin on Friday, and end, I hope well, on Wednesday. If this should give any inconvenience to you, God knows I regret it, and God knows also I couldn’t do otherwise without exposing Sir W. and his daughter to a feeling that I had not done my duty to them. On the whole, public affairs seem to be so dark that I am inclined to think our best course, in the Quarterly, may turn out to have been and to be, that of not again appearing until the fate of this Bill has been quite settled. My wife will, if you are in town, be much rejoiced with a visit; and if you write to me, so as to catch me at Rokeby Park, Greta Bridge, next Saturday, ’tis well.

J. G. Lockhart.

P.S.—But I see Rokeby Park would not do. I shall be at Major Scott’s, 15th Hussars, Nottingham, on Monday night.

It would be beyond our province to describe in these pages the closing scenes of Sir Walter Scott’s life: his journey to Naples, his attempt to write more novels, his failure, and his return home to Abbotsford to die. His biography, by his son-in-law Lockhart, one of the best in the whole range of English literature, is familiar to all our readers; and perhaps never was a more faithful memorial erected, in the shape of a book, to the beauty, goodness, and faithfulness of a noble literary character.

In this work we are only concerned with Sir Walter’s friendship and dealings with Mr. Murray, and of these the foregoing correspondence, extending over nearly a quarter of a century, is sufficient comment. When a committee was formed in Sir Walter’s closing years to organize and carry out some public act of homage and respect to the great genius, Mr. Murray strongly urged that the money
collected, with which Abbotsford was eventually redeemed, should be devoted to the purchase of all the copyrights for the benefit of Scott and his family: it cannot but be matter of regret that this admirable suggestion was not adopted.

During the year 1827 the present Mr. Murray was residing in Edinburgh as a student at the University, and attended the memorable dinner, at which Scott was forced to declare himself the author of the ‘Waverley Novels.’ His account of the scene, as given in a letter to his father, forms a fitting conclusion to this chapter.

“I believe I mentioned to you that Mr. Allan had kindly offered to take me with him to a Theatrical Fund dinner, which took place on Friday last. There were present about 300 persons—a mixed company, many of them not of the most respectable order. Sir Walter Scott took the chair, and there was scarcely another person of any note to support him except the actors. The dinner, therefore, would have been little better than endurable, had it not been remarkable for the confession of Sir Walter Scott that he was the author of the ‘Waverley Novels.’

“This acknowledgment was forced from him, I believe, contrary to his own wish, in this manner. Lord Meadowbank, who sat on his left hand, proposed his health, and after paying him many compliments, ended his speech by saying that the clouds and mists which had so long surrounded the Great Unknown were now revealed, and he appeared in his true character (probably alluding to the exposé made before Constable’s creditors, for I do not think there was any preconcerted plan). Upon this Sir Walter rose, and said, ‘I did not expect on coming here to-day that I should have to disclose before 300 people a secret which, considering it had already been made known to about thirty persons, had been tolerably well kept. I am not prepared to give my reasons for preserving it a secret, caprice had certainly a great share in the matter. Now that it is out, I beg leave to observe that I am sole and undivided author of those novels. Every part of them has originated with me, or has been suggested to me in the course of my reading. I confess I am guilty, and am almost afraid to examine the extent of my delinquency.
“Look on’t again, I dare not!” The wand of Prospero is now broken, and my book is buried, but before I retire I shall propose the health of a person who has given so much delight to all now present, The Bailie Nicol Jarvie.’

“I report this from memory. Of course it is not quite accurate in words, but you will find a tolerable report of it in the Caledonian Mercury of Saturday. This declaration was received with loud and long applause. As this was gradually subsiding, a voice from the end of the room was heard* exclaiming in character, ‘Ma conscience! if my father the Bailie had been alive to hear that ma health had been proposed by the Author of Waverley,’ &c., which, as you may suppose, had a most excellent effect.”

* The speaker on this occasion was the actor Mackay, who had attained considerable celebrity by his representation of Scottish characters, and especially of that of the famous Bailie in ‘Rob Roy.’