LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
R. Plumer Ward XI

Vol I Contents
Charles Lamb I
Charles Lamb II
Charles Lamb III
Charles Lamb IV
Charles Lamb V
Charles Lamb VI
Charles Lamb VII
Charles Lamb VIII
Charles Lamb IX
Charles Lamb X
Thomas Campbell I
Thomas Campbell II
Thomas Campbell III
Thomas Campbell IV
Thomas Campbell V
Thomas Campbell VI
Thomas Campbell VII
Lady Blessington I
Lady Blessington II
Lady Blessington III
Lady Blessington IV
Lady Blessington V
R. Plumer Ward I
R. Plumer Ward II
R. Plumer Ward III
R. Plumer Ward IV
R. Plumer Ward V
R. Plumer Ward VI
Appendix vol I
Vol II Contents
R. Plumer Ward VII
R. Plumer Ward VIII
R. Plumer Ward IX
R. Plumer Ward X
‣ R. Plumer Ward XI
R. Plumer Ward XII
R. Plumer Ward XIII
R. Plumer Ward XIV
R. Plumer Ward XV
R. Plumer Ward XVI
R. Plumer Ward XVII
R. Plumer Ward XVIII
R. Plumer Ward XIX
R. Plumer Ward XX
R. Plumer Ward XXI
R. Plumer Ward XXII
R. Plumer Ward XXIII
Horace & James Smith I
Horace & James Smith II
William Hazlitt I
William Hazlitt II
William Hazlitt III
William Hazlitt IV
William Hazlitt V
William Hazlitt VI
William Hazlitt VII
William Hazlitt VIII
Appendix vol II
Vol III Contents
William Hazlitt IX
William Hazlitt X
William Hazlitt XI
William Hazlitt XII
William Hazlitt XIII
William Hazlitt XIV
William Hazlitt XV
William Hazlitt XVI
William Hazlitt XVII
William Hazlitt XVIII
William Hazlitt XIX
William Hazlitt XX
William Hazlitt XXI
William Hazlitt XXII
William Hazlitt XXIII
William Hazlitt XXIV
William Hazlitt XXV
William Hazlitt XXVI
Laman Blanchard I
Laman Blanchard II
Laman Blanchard III
Laman Blanchard IV
Laman Blanchard V
Laman Blanchard VI
Laman Blanchard VII
Laman Blanchard VIII
R & T Sheridan I
R & T Sheridan II
R & T Sheridan III
R & T Sheridan IV
R & T Sheridan V
R & T Sheridan VI
R & T Sheridan VII
R & T Sheridan VIII
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The following letter is the first addressed to me by Mr. Plumer Ward in his own name. It was occasioned by one that I had addressed himself directly and by name, through the medium of a mutual friend; for he had now avowed the authorship of those works of which, until such avowal, he had scarcely been suspected, except among his most intimate friends.

The occasion of my addressing him was one exactly similar to that which had called forth the preceding explanation and letter, and though not quite so discreditable in its character, it rendered an explanation on my part equally necessary as in the preceding instance. The review I had written, in the present instance, was that to which his letter at p. 42 refers, and in preparing which I had expressed, in still stronger terms than I had used to the author himself, my opinions
as to what I deemed the defective and objectionable points in the conduct of the story, as it had finally left the hands of the author. On seeing the article in print, however, I found that not only had all the portions of it just referred to been omitted, but passages had been interpolated expressing opinions I had not expressed, and did not hold.

As the absolute identity of all the favourable portions of this article with the written opinions I had given of “De Vere” to its publisher rendered it impossible for the author (to whom all my opinions had been transmitted) to doubt that the review was mine, it was evidently even more indispensable for me to explain to him the real state of the case in this instance than in the other; for the first only involved a question of courtesy and good feeling, whereas the second involved one of common honesty.

In giving to the world two letters so purely personal to myself as the following and that which precedes it, I am doubtless subjecting myself to a charge of egotism. But the charge, even if warranted, will not be urged in an unkind and disparaging spirit,
except by those who are unlucky enough to fail in appreciating the true character of documents which there would have been at least as much egotism in suppressing as there is in giving.

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Whitehall, May 7, 1827.

My dear Sir,—I have many and sincere apologies to make you for not having much sooner answered your kind and interesting letter, delivered to me by Captain Williams, though I sent you a message through him, which I hope he delivered the next day (as he promised), thanking you for it, as I heartily did, till I could do so under my own hand. A sick daughter, and some very absorbing public business connected with the present changes, must be my excuse for not having sooner done what I now endeavour to do.

“At the same time, it was not very easy to answer you as I wished, that is, to tell you how much I have really felt your kindness, as well as valued your approbation, in respect to ‘Tremaine’ and ‘De Vere.’ In truth,
I may say, from appreciating your talents as I ought, that that approbation was a very great impetus to much of my late literary exertion, and that the indication of your good opinion of the earlier parts of ‘De Vere’ gave me an encouragement to go through with it, which I might otherwise have wanted.

“I am free to say also, that, though we have sometimes differed on a few points of criticism, I have, for the most part, reaped the greatest possible benefit from your valuable emendations. You may, suppose, therefore, how much I enter into the feelings of your letter, and how much I wish to mark my sense of it.

“And yet, if I may say so consistently with my real deference for those feelings which only do honour to your sensibility and independence of mind, I almost wondered you could think what you complain of (just as your complaint is) of consequence sufficient to have given you the anxiety it evidently has. As far as regards myself, I assure you no explanation whatever was necessary; for never for one moment could I tax the kind critic I was so long, though
anonymously, thrown with, as a man capable of compromising the independence of his opinions. The whole strain and tenour of your various communications with me proved the complete contrary. So much so, that when, on reading the
review in the ——, my first impulse was a wish to convey my thanks to you for its kind mention of ‘De Vere,’ I checked myself, from the remembrance that I had almost hurt you by offering something of the same kind on the review of ‘Tremaine.’

“Be assured, therefore, that, although I did not find what I expected—some reassertion of the opinions on the plan and other parts of ‘De Vere’ on which we had essentially differed—I by no means set it down to any compromise you had made of your sincerity. In fact, I rather hoped, particularly from what I thought some faint signs of it in our last communications, that if you had not entirely come round to me, you had begun at least so far to doubt of your own criticism, as to have suppressed the desire of promulgating it as a thing on which you still rested satisfied. I am perhaps a little sorry that
this is not quite the fact, but beg to repeat, that the explanation you have thought it worth while to give, on the score of consistency, was not necessary. I never thought you could be inconsistent.

“As little, on the ground of self-defence, was it necessary to explain the omissions which you complain of; though I am free to own, when I perceive how important the passages omitted would have been to what I had at heart, I could complain too. I, however, am glad to think that the opinion of the thinking part of the world goes always with the sentiments which have been expunged, for the detail of which I much thank you. I wish the omission had not occurred; but I am more at my ease, if not quite so, on the score of applications.

“In respect to what was interpolated in the beginning of the review, you have been very condescending in showing so much anxiety about it. But I assure you, from any feeling it might have caused in myself, that explanation was also unnecessary. Had the passages been yours, I should only have thought you right in expressing the
little blame they contain; and all through I am but too happy in thinking that I can have written anything that has been so little blamed, either by you or your brother critics.

“Having replied, I think, to the most essential parts of your letter (essential, I mean, as they regard criticism), permit me again to thank you for all the kind passages of your letter, which regard me personally in a manner very much to gratify me. I assure you the esteem you profess for a mind which so entirely esteems your own, is too creditable to me not to feel proud of it. I cannot, however, permit you to suppose that on my side it will be only transitory, while on yours it will be permanent. Being mutual, and (I trust, as I hope) springing from the same causes—similarity of tastes and principles—I am at a loss, as well as sorry, to think you can suppose there can be any difference.

“The air of melancholy which hangs over the concluding sentence of your letter is the only part of it which is at all unwelcome. I will trust, my dear Sir, that there is no real cause for it, but that it may be a passing
cloud, to which all of us (and literary persons by no means excepted) are often, though temporarily, subject.

“Believe me, with much esteem,

“Dear Sir, your obliged
“And faithful servant,
“R. P. Ward.”