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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 20: 1826-52
John Gibson Lockhart to John Wilson, 11 April 1851

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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Produced by CATH
Sussex Place, Regent Park,
April 11, 1851.

My dear Wilson,—I was, I need not say, well pleased to hear of your restoration to health and all your usual duties, as soon as of your having been out of order. Pray assure me that all continues well with you.

Quillinan called here yesterday, and told me he understood you had declined to review the ‘Memoirs of William Wordsworth,’ by his nephew, the canon of Westminster. I have this day got the book and read two or three chapters. I fear it is clumsily executed—but these opening chapters contain some very striking specimens of Wordsworth’s early letters, and I see, on glancing through the book, more correspondence than I had expected; so that there must be abundant interest of some kind in this book.


“I have no notion what you think of the Prelude, but I confess it very much disappointed me. Coleridge, and you, and lesser men, had conspired to give me very lofty expectations. I found it, on the whole, heavy, and what there is of life in far greater proportion strong rhetorical declamation than poetry. But I am conscious that I may have outlived any degree of capacity for feeling poetry that I ever had—albeit not much—and would very gladly learn your impressions on now reading for yourself what you had in young days listened to ex ore magistri. Pray indulge me for once—and indeed if you have no view of criticising the ‘Memoirs,’ nor are in communication with any one who counts on your hints for an article thereon in Maga, anything that occurs to you on reading this book too would be very thankfully received by me. I wonder who writes the two articles in Ebony on the Life of Southey—if no secret, tell me. He has in various places contradicted what I had said in the Quarterly Review,1 but nowhere, I think, brought any argument to his side. He is, however, an able reviewer, and I should think has had suggestions from H. Taylor—though I can hardly doubt that Taylor will in the Edinburgh Review, or somewhere else, treat the ‘Life’ of his friend for himself. He wished to write on it in the Quarterly, but as he would insist that of all men Southey had the least vanity, I was reluctantly compelled to reject his always

1 No. clxvii.

vigorous assistance. How good was
Hogg’s communicating to Southey what Jeffrey said about his being ‘about as conceited a fellow as his neighbour Wordsworth.’ To be sure they were both magnificent peacocks! I wish for a good letter of the Professor’s.

Manning is, I fancy, on the whole, next if not equal to Newman for importance as a convert: his influence very great in society at large, as well as among the younger clergy. He is a very agreeable and polished gentleman—a fine ascetical coxcomb (and tuft-hunter)—the image of a Jesuit Cardinal of the sixteenth century, and I expect him to be followed by a long train of ladies, including probably the —— of ——, and Lady ——.1

“I am hopeful that Rutherford is really recovered, but even so think him wise in taking the Bench, especially under existing circumstances as to Whiggery.—Ever yours affectionately,

J. G. Lockhart.
Professor Wilson.”