LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
William Gifford to Francis Hodgson, 3 June 1809

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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James Street, Buckingham Gate: June 3, 1809.

My dear Sir,—I have been so busy in forwarding our 2nd No.3 that I have not been able to look to the right hand or the left. It is now out, and I am running away for a short time to the seaside to refresh my eyes and do nothing. I do not wonder that some objectionable passages are found in the first No. I see too many myself, but the allusion to the holy-water of the Mexican converts is an historical fact. But, in truth, there is vast room for

1 Dean Ireland. 2 Sir Walter.

3 The allusions to a Review in these two letters refer to the Quarterly, which had only just come into existence under Gifford’s auspices, and to the early numbers of which Hodgson contributed.

improvement; and for this I am very anxious. Such articles as appear in some of the smaller reviews might be got by loads, but we aim at, or at least wish for, something better. That we shall succeed is, indeed, problematical; but without it, it is quite certain that we might as well sit with our hands before us, and do nothing. It is not by common exertions that the ‘
Edinburgh Review’ can be met, and the others are not objects of contention. To write panegyrics and. satires is easy enough; but this is not criticism: and I have already been obliged to omit more than I have inserted. From you, my dear Sir, I look for valuable assistance: for this, it will be necessary to put friendship out of the question, and to judge from established principles of the art. What has sunk the British critic but a base dereliction of all independence? I know little of the other Reviews, but I suspect they do not flourish greatly—and from the same cause.

Lord Byron’s poem1 sales well I understand. I have an angry review of it, which I shall not use; for though it is well written, it is manifestly unjust. Unless works can be made to amuse or instruct the reader, it is loss of time to dwell long on them or

1English Bards.’

indeed to dwell on them at all. ‘
Hesiod,’ which is gone to your cousin,1 may afford a neat article, but seems scarcely worth a long one. However, you will judge. I think, indeed, that almost all our articles are too long.

If success be a proof of merit (which it certainly is not) we might be vain; for our second number is nearly out of print in the first three days. Yet we must look forward to something better.

Ever, my dear, Sir,
Your very faithful friend and servant,
Wm. Gifford.

P.S. I leave town this morning for Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, where I shall remain for about six weeks, and where, as well as in every other place, I shall be glad to hear from you.