LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of John Murray
Chapter XIII.

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. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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Scott’s “poor Irish friend, Maturin,” referred to in the previous chapter, was a young Irish clergyman, who was under the necessity of depending upon his brains and pen for the maintenance of his family. Charles Maturin, after completing his course of education at Trinity College, married Miss Harriet Kinsburg. His family grew, but not his income. He took orders, and obtained the curacy of St. Peter’s Church, Dublin, but owing to his father’s affairs having become embarrassed, he was compelled to open a boarding-school, with the view of assisting the family. Unfortunately, he became bound for a friend, who deceived him, and eventually he was obliged to sacrifice his interest in the school. Being thus driven to extremities, he tried to live by literature, and produced ‘The Fatal Revenge; or, the Family of Montorio,’ the first of a series of romances, in which he outdid Mrs. Radcliffe and Monk Lewis. ‘The Fatal Revenge’ was followed by ‘The Wild Irish Boy,’ for which Colburn gave him £80, and ‘The Milesian Chief,’ all full of horrors and misty grandeur. These works did not bring him in much money; but, in 1815, he determined to win the height of dramatic fame in his ‘Bertram; or, the Castle of St. Aldebrand,’ a tragedy. He submitted the
drama to Walter Scott, as from an “obscure Irishman,” telling him of his sufferings as an author and the father of a family, and imploring his kind opinion. Scott replied in the most friendly manner, gave him much good advice, spoke of the work as “grand and powerful, the characters being sketched with masterly enthusiasm;” and, what was practically better, sent him £50 as a token of his esteem and sympathy, and as a temporary stop-gap until better times came round. He moreover called the attention of
Lord Byron, then on the Committee of Management of Drury Lane Theatre, to the play, and his Lordship strongly recommended a performance of it. Thanks to the splendid acting of Kean, it succeeded, and Maturin realized about £1000.

Lord Byron, when referring to Maturin, says:—“He sent his ‘Bertram’ and a letter without his address, so that at first I could give him no answer. When I at last hit upon his residence, I sent him a favourable answer, and something more substantial. The play succeeded, but I was at that time absent from England.”

Bertram’ was published by Murray, a circumstance which brought him into frequent communication with the unfortunate Maturin. The latter offered more plays, more novels, and many articles for the Quarterly. With reference to one of his articles—a review of Sheil’sApostate’—Gifford said, “a more potatoe-headed arrangement, or rather derangement, I have never seen. I have endeavoured to bring some order out of the chaos. There is a sort of wild eloquence in it that makes it worth preserving.”

Maturin acknowledged Murray’s kindness in sending him some books which he desired to read, and after
referring to his novel of ‘
Montorio’ and his play of ‘Bertram,’ he concluded:—

The Rev. C. Maturin to John Murray.
Dublin, June 22nd, 1816.

I am in horrid dejection; every shilling that I draw from England goes to pay the debts of that scoundrel to whom I don’t owe a farthing, and from whom I shall never receive one. My dear Murray, I must write to you more confidentially. I am given to understand, from all sides, that I have not been so well treated as I ought in another quarter. I know not how to act; at all events, Volto sciolto, i pensieri stretti must be my motto for the present. I am in such a wretched state of lassitude and depression that I have been some hours writing these few lines, pausing over every sentence to know whether it had any meaning, and doubting whether I was capable of giving it any. However, I have still some gratitude left, to send my best respects to Mrs. Murray, and to assure you that to your friendly and hospitable attention I am indebted for the only pleasant hours passed during my sojourn in London.

Yours, my dear Murray, most truly,
Charles Robert Maturin.

Should you think of answering this incoherent scrawl, let me know if ‘Bertram’ keeps any hold of the public still, as I see Kean is announced in his former characters.

Two months later Maturin wrote:—

The Rev. C. Maturin to John Murray.
August 19th, 1816.

From your letter I judge that you do not wish me to produce anything till after the appearance of my next
tragedy. I perfectly agree with you, but entre nous I labour under most serious difficulties in the composition. I have not a single friend to consult, no books, no excitement of any description, and you know not what nonsense a man may write who has only his own imagination to prompt, and his own ear to please. The state of the public mind, too, is unfavourable; the nation is out of humour with the Peace, and the marriage, and the taxes make the success of a work of imagination more problematical than ever. There is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your ‘English’ lion living, when once his rage is roused. However, I am, as all authors should be, doing my best and thinking my worst; and, to confess the truth, what I have written pleases me better than ‘
Bertram.’ I am infinitely obliged by your having the goodness to assure me that the impression I made was favourable, but I confess I want all the evidence of your testimony to prove it. I went over, not expecting much, and came back receiving nothing, not even common civility, which in certain quarters I surely was entitled to as an invited stranger. But let that go to the Tomb of all the Capulets. Let me beg of you to write to me. I cannot describe to you the effect of an English letter on my spirits; it is like the wind to an Æolian harp. I cannot produce a note without it. Give me advice, abuse, news, anything, or nothing (if it were possible that you could write nothing), but write. Send me an account of your tour, and I will give you in return the ‘Journal of an Irish Lodging House,’ where I have been murdering the summer, and I can promise the balance will not leave me in your debt for the miseries of excursions. With best respects to Mrs. Murray,

Believe me, yours most truly,
C. Rob. Maturin.

Maturin continued to press his literary work on Murray, who however, though he relieved him by the gift of several large sums of money, declined all further offers of publication save the tragedy of ‘Manuel,’ which he undertook as a charity. Lord Byron also continued to take an interest
in him, and in answer to enquiries received the following information from Mr. Murray:—

John Murray to Lord Byron.
March 15th, 1817.

Maturin’s new tragedy, ‘Manuel,’ appeared on Saturday last, and I am sorry to say that the opinion of Mr. Gifford was established by the impression made on the audience. The first act very fine, the rest exhibiting a want of judgment not to be endured. It was brought out with uncommon splendour, and was well acted. Kean’s character as an old man—a warrior—was new and well sustained, for he had, of course, selected it, and professed to be—and he acted as if he were—really pleased with it. But this feeling changed to dislike after the first night, for he then abused it, and has actually walked through the part ever since, that is to say, for the other three nights of performance, for they do not act on Wednesdays or Fridays, and this night the performance is changed to ‘Lovers’ Vows.’ I met Geo. Lamb on Tuesday, and he complained bitterly of Kean’s conduct, said that he had ruined the success of the tragedy, and that in consequence he feared Maturin would receive nothing. The expense to the managers must have been very great, and it will complete, I suspect, the ruin of Drury under its present directorship, and so I rejoice that your name appears not amongst them. I send you the first act, that you may see the best of it. I have undertaken to print the tragedy at my own expense, and to give the poor Author the whole of the profit.

In 1824 poor Maturin died, in Dublin, in extreme poverty. The leniency and kindness extended to him by Byron and Scott was not shared by Coleridge, who, in his ‘Biographia Litteraria,’ uses the most severe and uncompromising language against ‘Bertram.’

The mention of the name of Coleridge, who was in frequent correspondence with Mr. Murray about this time (1816), induces us to revert to an earlier date to record the origin of their association.


It is not improbable that it was Southey who suggested to Murray the employment of his brother-in-law, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from his thorough knowledge of German, as the translator of Goethe’sFaust.’ The application came to him in a roundabout manner. The following is Mr. Coleridge’s first letter to Murray:—

Mr. Coleridge to John Murray.
Josiah Wade’s, Esq., 2, Queen’s Square, Bristol.
August 23rd, 1814.
Dear Sir,

I have heard, from my friend Mr. Charles Lamb, writing by desire of Mr. Robinson, that you wish to have the justly-celebrated ‘Faust’ of Goethe translated, and that some one or other of my partial friends have induced you to consider me as the man most likely to execute the work adequately, those excepted, of course, whose higher power (established by the solid and satisfactory ordeal of the wide and rapid sale of their works) it might seem profanation to employ in any other manner than in the development of their own intellectual organization. I return my thanks to the recommender, whoever he be, and no less to you for your flattering faith in the recommendation; and thinking, as I do, that among many volumes of praiseworthy German poems, the ‘Louisa’ of Voss, and the ‘Faust’ of Goethe, are the two, if not the only ones, that are emphatically original in their conception, and characteristic of a new and peculiar sort of thinking and imagining, I should not be averse from exerting my best efforts in an attempt to import whatever is importable of either or of both into our own language.

But let me not be suspected of a presumption of which I am not consciously guilty, if I say that I feel two difficulties; one arising from long disuse of versification, added to what I know, better than the most hostile critic could inform me, of my comparative weakness; and the other, that any work in Poetry strikes me with more than common awe, as proposed for realization by myself, because from long habits of meditation on language, as the symbolic medium of the connection of Thought with Thought, and
of Thought as affected and modified by Passion and Emotion, I should spend days in avoiding what I deemed faults, though with the full fore-knowledge that their admission would not have offended perhaps three of all my readers, and might be deemed Beauties by 300—if so many there were; and this not out of any respect for the Public (i.e., the persons who might happen to purchase and look over the Book), but from a hobby-horsical, superstitious regard to my own feelings and sense of Duty. Language is the sacred Fire in this Temple of Humanity, and the Muses are its especial and vestal Priestesses. Though I cannot prevent the vile drugs and counterfeit Frankincense, which render its flame at once pitchy, glowing, and unsteady, I would yet be no voluntary accomplice in the Sacrilege. With the commencement of a Public, commences the degradation of the Good and the Beautiful—both fade and retire before the accidentally Agreeable. ‘
Othello’ becomes a hollow lip-worship; and the ‘Castle Spectre,’ or any more peccant thing of Froth, Noise, and Impermanence, that may have overbillowed it on the restless sea of curiosity, is the true Prayer of the Praise and Admiration.

I thought it right to state to you these opinions of mine, that you might know that I think the Translation of the Faust a task demanding (from me, I mean), no ordinary efforts—and why? This—that it is painful, very painful, and even odious to me, to attempt anything of a literary nature, with any motive of pecuniary advantage; but that I bow to the all-wise Providence, which has made me a poor man, and therefore compelled me by other duties inspiring feelings, to bring even my Intellect to the Market. And the finale is this. I should like to attempt the Translation. If you will mention your terms, at once and irrevocably (for I am an idiot at bargaining, and shrink from the very thought), I will return an answer by the next Post, whether in my present circumstances, I can or cannot undertake it. If I do, I will do it immediately; but I must have all Goethe’s works, which I cannot procure in Bristol; for to give the ‘Faust’ without a preliminary critical Essay would be worse than nothing, as far as regards the Public. If you were to ask me as a Friend, whether I think it would suit the General Taste, I should reply that I cannot
calculate on caprice and accident (for instance, some fashionable man or review happening to take it up favourably), but that otherwise my fears would be stronger than my hopes. Men of genius will admire it, of necessity. Those must, who think deepest and most imaginatively. Then ‘
Louisa’ would delight all of good hearts.

I remain, dear Sir,
With every respect,
S. T. Coleridge.

To this letter Mr. Murray replied as follows:—

John Murray to Mr. Coleridge.
August 29th, 1814.
Dear Sir,

I feel greatly obliged by the favour of your attention to the request which I had solicited our friend Mr. Robinson to make to you for the translation of Goethe’s extraordinary drama of ‘Faust,’ which I suspect that no one could do justice to besides yourself. It will be the first attempt to render into classical English a German work of peculiar but certainly of unquestionable Genius; and you must allow that its effects upon the public must be doubtful. I am desirous however of making the experiment, and this I would not do under a less skilful agent than the one to whom I have applied. I am no less anxious that you should receive, as far as I think the thing can admit, a fair remuneration; and trusting that you will not undertake it unless you feel disposed to execute the labour perfectly con amore, and in a style of versification equal to ‘Remorse,’ I venture to propose to you the sum of One Hundred Pounds for the Translation and the preliminary Analysis, with such passages translated as you may judge proper of the works of Goethe, with a copy of which I will have the pleasure of supplying you as soon as I have your final determination. The sum which I mention shall be paid to you in two months from the day on which you place the complete Translation and Analysis in my hands; this will allow a reasonable time for your previous correction of the sheets through the press. I shall be glad to hear from you by return of Post, if convenient, as I propose to set
out this week for the Continent. If this work succeeds, I am in hopes that it will lead to many similar undertakings.

With sincere esteem, I am, dear Sir,
Your faithful Servant,
J. Murray.

I should hope that it might not prove inconvenient to you to complete the whole for Press in the course of November next.

Mr. Coleridge replied as follows, from the same address:—

Mr. Coleridge to John Murray.
August 31st, 1814.
Dear Sir,

I have received your letter. Considering the necessary labour, and (from the questionable nature of the original work, both as to its fair claims to Fame—the diction of the good and wise according to unchanging principles—and as to its chance for Reputation, as an accidental result of local and temporary taste), the risk of character on the part of the Translator, who will assuredly have to answer for any disappointment of the reader, the terms proposed are humiliatingly low; yet such as, under modifications, I accede to. I have received testimonials from men not merely of genius according to my belief, but of the highest accredited reputation, that my translation of ‘Wallenstein’ was in language and in metre superior to the original, and the parts most admired were substitutions of my own, on a principle of compensation. Yet the whole work went for waste-paper. I was abused—nay, my own remarks in the Preface were transferred to a Review, as the Reviewer’s sentiments against me, without even a hint that he had copied them from my own Preface. Such was the fate of ‘Wallenstein’! And yet I dare appeal to any number of men of Genius—say, for instance, Mr. Walter Scott, Mr. Southey, Mr. Wordsworth, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Sotheby, Sir G. Beaumont, &c., whether the ‘Wallenstein’ with all its defects (and it has grievous defects), is not worth all Schiller’s other plays put together. But I wonder not. It
was too good, and not good enough; and the advice of the
younger Pliny: ‘Aim at pleasing either all, or the few,’ is as prudentially good as it is philosophically accurate. I wrote to Mr. Longman before the work was published, and foretold its fate, even to a detailed accuracy, and advised him to put up with the loss from the purchase of the MSS. and of the Translation, as a much less evil than the publication. I went so far as to declare that its success was, in the state of public Taste, impossible; that the enthusiastic admirers of ‘The Robbers,’ ‘Cabal and Love,’ &c., would lay the blame on me; and that he himself would suspect that if he had only let on another Translator than, &c. Everything took place as I had foretold, even his own feelings—so little do Prophets gain from the fulfilment of their Prophecies!

On the other hand, though I know that executed as alone I can or dare do it—that is, to the utmost of my power (for which the intolerable Pain, nay the far greater Toil and Effort of doing otherwise, is a far safer Pledge than any solicitude on my part concerning the approbation of the Public), the translation of so very difficult a work as the ‘Faustus,’ will be most inadequately remunerated by the terms you propose; yet they very probably are the highest it may be worth your while to offer to me. I say this as a philosopher; for, though I have now been much talked of, and written of, for evil and not for good, but for suspected capability, yet none of my works have ever sold. The ‘Wallenstein’ went to the waste-basket. The ‘Remorse,’ though acted twenty times, rests quietly on the shelves in the second edition, with copies enough for seven years’ consumption, or seven times seven. I lost £200 by the non-payment, from forgetfulness, and under various pretences, by ‘The Friend’;* and for my poems I did get from £10 to £15. And yet, forsooth, the Quarterly Review attacks me for neglecting and misusing my powers! I do not quarrel with the Public—all is as it must be—but surely the Public (if there be such a thing) has no right to

* Twenty-seven numbers of The Friend were published by Coleridge at Penrith in Cumberland in 1809-10, but the periodical proved a failure, principally from the irregularity of its appearance. It was about this time that he was addicted to opium-eating.

quarrel with me for not getting more, for I fail by publishing what they will not read!

The ‘Faust,’ you perhaps know, is only a Fragment. Whether Goethe ever will finish it, or whether it is ever his object to do so, is quite unknown. A large proportion of the work cannot be rendered in blank verse, but must be given in wild lyrical metres; and Mr. Lamb informs me that the Baroness de Staël has given a very unfavourable account of the work. Still, however, I will undertake it, and that instantly, so as to let you have the last sheet by the middle of November, on the following terms:—

I. That on the delivery of the last MS. sheet you remit 100 guineas to Mrs. Coleridge, or Mr. Robert Southey, at a bill of five weeks. 2. That I, or my widow or family, may, any time after two years from the first publication, have the privilege of reprinting it in any collection of all my poetical writings, or of my works in general, which set off with a Life of me, might perhaps be made profitable to my widow. And 3rd, that if (as I long ago meditated) I should re-model the whole, give it a finale, and be able to bring it, thus re-written and re-cast, on the stage, it shall not be considered as a breach of the engagement between us, I on my part promising that you shall, for an equitable consideration, have the copy of this new work, either as a separate work, or forming a part of the same volume or book, as circumstances may dictate to you. When I say that I am confident that in this possible and not probable case, I should not repeat or retain one fifth of the original, you will perceive that I consult only my dread of appearing to act amiss, as it would be even more easy to compose the whole anew.

If these terms suit you I will commence the Task as soon as I receive Goethe’s works from you. If you could procure Goethe’s late Life of himself, which extends to a short way, or any German biographical work, it would enable me to render the preliminary Essay more entertaining.

Most respectfully yours, dear Sir,
S. T. Coleridge.

Mr. Murray’s reply to this letter has not been preserved. At all events, nothing further was done by Coleridge with
respect to the translation of ‘
Faust,’ which is to be deplored, as his exquisite and original melody of versification might have produced a translation almost as great as the original.

Shortly after Coleridge took up his residence with the Gillmans at Highgate, and his intercourse with Murray recommenced. Lord Byron, while on the managing committee of Drury Lane Theatre, had been instrumental in getting Coleridge’s ‘Remorse’ played upon the stage, as he entertained a great respect for its author. He was now encouraging Mr. Murray to publish other works by Coleridge—among others, ‘Zapolya’ and ‘Christabel.’

On the 12th of April, 1816, Coleridge gave the following lines to Mr. Murray, written in his own hand:—*

Glycine: a Song.
A sunny shaft did I behold,
From sky to earth it slanted,
And pois’d therein a Bird so bold—
Sweet bird! thou wert enchanted!
He sank, he rose, he twinkled, troll’d,
Within that shaft of sunny mist:
His Eyes of Fire, his Beak of Gold,
All else of Amethyst!
And thus he sang: Adieu! Adieu!
Love’s dreams prove seldom true.
Sweet month of May! we must away!
Far, far away!
To day! to day!

In the following month (May 8th, 1816) Mr. Coleridge offered Mr. Murray his ‘Remorse’ for publication, with a Preface. He also offered his poem of ‘Christabel,’ still unfinished. For the latter Mr. Murray agreed to give him seventy guineas, “until the other poems shall be completed, when the copyright shall revert to the author,” and also

* We give the lines because they are not included in Coleridge’s complete works; yet they were set to music many years ago.

£20 for permission to publish the poem entitled ‘
Kubla Khan,’ but which the author should not be restricted from publishing in any other way that he pleased.

Next month (June 6th, 1816) Mr. Murray allowed Coleridge £50 for an edition of 1000 of his ‘Christmas Tale,’ and he also advanced him another £50 for a play then in course of composition; in default of this being completed, the ‘Christmas Tale’ to become Mr. Murray’s property. The drama proved to be ‘Zapolya,’ which was not completed till the following year. In the meantime Coleridge was full of “plans,” as will be seen from the following letter:—

Mr. Coleridge to John Murray.
Highgate, July 4th, 1816.

I have often thought that there might be set on foot a review of old books, i.e., of all works important or remarkable, the authors of which are deceased, with a probability of a tolerable sale, if only the original plan were a good one, and if no articles were admitted but from men who understood and recognized the Principles and Rules of Criticism, which should form the first number. I would not take the works chronologically, but according to the likeness or contrast of the kind of genius—ex. gr. Jeremy Taylor, Milton (his prose works), and BurkeDante and Milton (poetry)—Scaliger and Dr. Johnson. Secondly, if especial attention were paid to all men who had produced, or aided in producing, any great revolution in the Taste or opinion of an age, as Petrarch, Ulrich von Hutten, &c. (here I will dare risk the self-conceit of referring to my own parallel of Voltaire and Erasmus, of Luther and Rousseau in the seventh number of ‘The Friend’). Lastly, if proper care was taken that in every number of the Review there should be a fair proportion of amusing matter, such as a review of Paracelsus, Cardan, Old Fuller; a review of Jest Books, tracing the various metempsychosis of the same joke through all ages and countries; a History of Court Fools, for which a laborious German has furnished ample and
highly interesting materials; foreign writers, though alive, not to be excluded, if only their works are of established character in their own country, and scarcely heard of, much less translated, in English literature.
Jean Paul Richter would supply two or three delightful articles.

Any works which should fall in your way respecting the Jews since the destruction of the Temple, I should of course be glad to look through. Above all, Mezeray’s (no! that is not the name, I think) ‘History of the Jews,’ that I must have.

I shall be impatient for the rest of Mr. Frere’s sheets. Most unfeignedly can I declare that I am unable to decide whether the admiration which the excellence inspires, or the wonder which the knowledge of the countless difficulties so happily overcome, never ceases to excite in my mind during the re-perusal and collation of them with the original Greek, be the greater. I have not a moment’s hesitation in fixing on Mr. Frere as the man of the correctest and most genial taste among all our contemporaries whom I have ever met with, personally or in their works. Should choice or chance lead you to sun and air yourself on Highgate Hill during any of your holiday excursions, my worthy friend and his amiable and accomplished wife will be happy to see you. We dine at four, and drink tea at six.

Yours ever respectfully,
S. T. Coleridge.

Mr. Murray did not accept Mr. Coleridge’s proposal to publish his works in a collected form or his articles for the Quarterly, as appears from the following letter:—

Mr. Coleridge to John Murray.
Highgate, March 26th, 1817.
Dear Sir,

I cannot be offended by your opinion that my talents are not adequate to the requisites of matter and manner for the Quarterly Review, nor should I consider it as a disgrace to fall short of Robert Southey in any department of literature. I owe, however, an honest gratification to the conversation between you and Mr. Gillman, for I read
Southey’s article, on which Mr. Gillman and I have, it appears, formed very different opinions. It is, in my judgment, a very masterly article.* I would to heaven, my dear sir, that the opinions of Southey,
Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Mr. Frere, and of men like these in learning and genius, concerning my comparative claims to be a man of letters, were to be received as the criterion, instead of the wretched, and in deed and in word mystical jargon of the Examiner and Edinburgh Review.

Mr. Randall will be so good as to repay you the £50, and I understand from Mr. Gillman that you are willing to receive this as a settlement respecting the ‘Zapolya.’ The corrections and additions to the two first books of the ‘Christabel’ may become of more value to you when the work is finished, as I trust it will be in the course of the spring, than they are at present. And let it not be forgotten, that while I had the utmost malignity of personal enmity to cry down the work, with the exception of Lord Byron, there was not one of the many who had so many years together spoken so warmly in its praise who gave it the least positive furtherance after its publication. It was openly asserted that the Quarterly Review did not wish to attack it, but was ashamed to say a word in its praise. Thank God! these things pass from me like drops from a duck’s back, except as far as they take the bread out of my mouth; and this I can avoid by consenting to publish only for the present times whatever I may write. You will be so kind as to acknowledge the receipt of the £50 in such manner as to make all matters as clear between us as possible; for, though you, I am sure, could not have intended to injure my character, yet the misconceptions, and perhaps misrepresentations, of your words have had that tendency. By a letter from R. Southey I find that he will be in town on the 17th. The article in Tuesday’s Courier was by me, and two other articles on Apostacy and Renegadeism, which will appear this week.

Believe me, with respect, your obliged,
S. T. Coleridge.

* This must have been Southey’s article on Parliamentary Reform, in No 31, which, though due in October 1816, was not published until February 1817.


The following letter completes Coleridge’s correspondence with Murray:—

Mr. Coleridge to John Murray.
Highgate, March 29th, 1817.
Dear Sir,

From not referring to the paper dictated by yourself, and signed by me in your presence, you have wronged yourself in the receipt you have been so good as to send me, and on which I have written as follows—“A mistake; I am still indebted to Mr. Murray £20 legally (which I shall pay the moment it is in my power), and £30 from whatever sum I may receive from the ‘Christabel’ when it is finished. Should Mr. Murray decline its publication, I conceive myself bound in honor to repay.” I strive in vain to discover any single act or expression of my own, or for which I could be directly or indirectly responsible as a moral being, that would account for the change in your mode of thinking respecting me. But, with every due acknowledgment of the kindness and courtesy that I received from you since my first coming to town,

I remain, dear Sir, your obliged,
S. T. Coleridge.

Leigh Hunt was another of Murray’s correspondents. When the Quarterly was started, Hunt, in his Autobiography, says that “he had been invited, nay pressed by the publisher, to write in the new Review, which surprised me, considering its politics and the great difference of my own.” Hunt adds that he had no doubt that the invitation had been made at the instance of Gifford himself. Murray had a high opinion of Hunt as a critic, but not as a politician. Writing to Walter Scott in 1810 he said:—

John Murray to Mr. Scott.

“Have you got or seen Hunt’s critical essays, prefixed to a few novels that he edited. Lest you should not, I
send them. Hunt is most vilely wrongheaded in politics, and has thereby been turned away from the path of elegant criticism, which might have led him to eminence and respectability.”

Hunt was then, with his brother, joint editor of the Examiner, and preferred writing for the newspaper to contributing articles to the Quarterly.

On Leigh Hunt’s release from Horsemonger Lane Gaol, where he had been imprisoned for his libel on the Prince Regent, he proceeded, on the strength of his reputation, to compose the ‘Story of Rimini,’ the publication of which gave the author a place among the poets of the day. He sent a portion of the manuscript to Mr. Murray before the poem was finished, saying that it would amount to about 1400 lines. Hunt then proceeded (18th December, 1815) to mention the terms which he proposed to be paid for his work when finished. “Booksellers,” he said, “tell me that I ought not to ask less than £450 (which is a sum I happen to want just now); and my friends, not in the trade, say I ought not to ask less than £500, with such a trifling acknowledgment upon the various editions after the second and third, as shall enable me to say that I am still profiting by it.”

Mr. Murray sent his reply to Hunt through their common friend, Lord Byron:—

John Murray to Lord Byron.
Dec. 27th, 1815.

“I wish your lordship to do me the favour to look at and to consider with your usual kindness the accompanying note to Mr. Leigh Hunt respecting his poem, for which he requests £450. This would presuppose a sale of, at least, 10,000 copies. Now, if I may trust to my own experience in these matters, I am by no means certain that the sale
would do more than repay the expenses of paper and print. But the poem is peculiar, and may be more successful than I imagine, in which event the proposition which I have made to the author will secure to him all the advantages of such a result. I trust that you will see in this an anxious desire to serve Mr. Hunt, although as a mere matter of business I cannot avail myself of his offer. I would have preferred calling upon you to-day were I not confined by a temporary indisposition; but I think you will not be displeased at a determination founded upon the best judgment I can form of my own business. I am really uneasy at your feelings in this affair, but I think I may venture to assume that you know me sufficiently well to allow me to trust my decision entirely to your usual kindness.”

John Murray to Mr. Leigh Hunt.
Dec. 27th, 1815.
Dear Sir,

I have now read the M S. poem, which you confided to me, with particular attention, and find that it differs so much from any that I have published that I am fearful of venturing upon the extensive speculation to which your estimate would carry it. I therefore wish that you would propose its publication and purchase to such houses as Cadell, Longman, Baldwin, Mawman, &c., who are capable of becoming and likely to become purchasers, and then, should you not have found any arrangement to your mind, I would undertake to print an edition of 500 or 750 copies as a trial at my own risk, and give you one half of the profits. After this edition the copyright shall be entirely your own property. By this arrangement, in case the work turn out a prize, as it may do, I mean that you should have every advantage of its success, for its popularity once ascertained, I am sure you will find no difficulty in procuring purchasers, even if you should be suspicious of my liberality from this specimen of fearfulness in the first instance. I shall be most happy to assist you with any advice which my experience in these matters may render serviceable to you.

John Murray.

Leigh Hunt replied at once:—

Mr. Leigh Hunt to John Murray.
Dec. 27th, 1815.

“The proposal to share the profits of a moderate first edition, and then to leave me in possession of the copyright, appears to me to be not at all wanting in liberality, especially under the impression you have of it, as being an experiment. Should the poem not succeed, I shall, on my own part, be relieved from the awkward feeling of having been paid for what was not worth it. Should it be otherwise, I shall have the pleasure of showing my sense of your gentlemanly conduct in the fresh bargain you will allow me to make with you.”

After the poem was printed and published, Mr. Hunt, being pressed for money, made an application to the publisher, to which the following reply was given:—

John Murray to Mr. Leigh Hunt.
March 29th, 1816.

“The net balance of profit, supposing every copy to be sold, is £91 5s., of which your half will be £45 12s. 6d., for which, deducting £3 2s. 6d. for copies delivered to your order, there remains £42 10s. This I very willingly make £50, and enclose a note at three months for that sum in full for your share of this edition, and thus we will close the account. I have no doubt of the quick sale of the remainder of this edition, and look confidently to the publication of many others. I hope the bill I enclose will answer your present occasion, for the demands on me are so extensive that I am under the necessity of weighing out my means with circumspection. If you are satisfied with my statement, you will perhaps write a few lines saying that you have received a note from me at three months, £50 in full for your share and demand upon the first edition of ‘Rimini.’”


Mr. Hunt delayed sending the receipt until the 9th of April following, when he enclosed it with the following letter:—

Mr. Leigh Hunt to John Murray.
Dear Sir,

You would have had the enclosed sooner, but I hoped, day after day, to have the pleasure of calling upon you, and have been twice in Piccadilly since you wrote to me. On one of the days, however, I was very late at dinner where I was engaged, and the other was a Sunday, when I thought you might choose to have one day out of seven to yourself and not be profanely interrupted. I am now going to say a word or two on the subject of the sale of my copyright, and ought indeed to have mentioned it before, but for a foolish disinclination I have to talk of these matters. Before I proceed any further I wish to say that I consider you, and you alone, as having possession of that copyright ultimately, from your having gone so far with it already in the publication, and treated me in so gentlemanly a manner; nor, in case it should be inconvenient to you to do what I am about to mention, shall I make use of the book in any other quarter, not that you might object perhaps to my so doing, but because, for my own gratification and convenience, I would much rather raise the money I want in another manner. There is no question therefore whatsoever on that point; all that I want to know is, whether you can do for me what I ask conveniently for your general speculations and the other demands upon you.

After a tedious recitation of his pecuniary troubles, Hunt concludes:

What I wanted to ask you then is simply this—whether, in the first instance, you think well enough of the ‘Story of Rimini’ to make you bargain with me for the copyright at once; or, in the second instance, whether, if you would rather wait a little, as I myself would do, I confess, if it were convenient, you have still enough hopes of the work, and enough reliance on myself personally, to advance me £450 on security, to be repaid in case you do not conclude
the bargain, or merged in the payment of the poem in case you do.

Believe me, very sincerely yours,
Leigh Hunt.

To this letter, Mr. Murray at once replied, desiring Mr. Hunt to stop for the present his proposed publication, as it might have the effect of drawing attention from the ‘Story of Rimini,’ which was rising in public estimation, and, left to itself, would make its way. “Any publication,” he said, “of the nature you propose, succeeding it so rapidly, would have the effect, at least, of dividing attention, and perhaps of drawing it off from an important object to fix it upon one of less moment.” Mr. Murray’s reply was not satisfactory, as will be observed from the following letter of Leigh Hunt:—

Mr. Leigh Hunt to John Murray.
April 12th, 1816.
Dear Sir,

I just write to say something which I had omitted in my last, and to add a word or two on the subject of an expression in your answer to it. I mean the phrase “plan of assistance.” I do not suppose that you had the slightest intention of mortifying me by that phrase; but I should wish to impress upon you, that I did not consider my application to you as coming in the shape of what is ordinarily termed an application for assistance. Circumstances have certainly compelled me latterly to make requests, and resort to expedients, which, however proper in themselves, I would not willingly have been acquainted with; but I have very good prospects before me, and you are mistaken (I beg you to read this in the best and most friendly tone you can present to yourself) if you have at all apprehended that I should be in the habit of applying to you for assistance, or for anything whatsoever, for which I did not conceive the work in question to be more than a security.


I can only say, with regard to yourself, that I am quite contented, and ought to be so, as long as you are sincere with me, and treat me in the same gentlemanly tone.

Believe me, very sincerely yours,
Leigh Hunt.

This negotiation was ultimately brought to a conclusion by Mr. Hunt, at Mr. Murray’s suggestion, disposing of the copyright of ‘Rimini’ to another publisher.

Mr. Murray had a good deal of correspondence with Madame de Staël. He had in 1813 published her ‘L’Allemagne,’ which was translated by F. Hodgson, edited by William Lamb, and excited a considerable sensation at the time. Napoleon was furious at its original publication at Paris, and ordered Savary, the Minister of Police, to seize the whole stock of ‘L’Allemagne’ at the Paris publishers, virtually hunted Madame de Staël from France, and had a strict watch kept upon her at Coppet, in Switzerland, whither she had retired for refuge. At length she contrived to escape, and went by way of Russia to England, where she superintended the translation and publication of her work.

Neither Byron nor Gifford had a very high opinion of Madame de Staël, though readers of Byron’s letters are aware that in later years, when he came to know Italy, he saw reason to modify some of his criticisms, as, for instance, when he wrote in a note to Corinne, “I little thought that one day I should think with her thoughts, in the country where she has laid the scene of her most attractive production. She is sometimes right, and often wrong, about Italy and England; but almost always true in delineating the heart, which is of but one nation, and of no country; or, rather, of all.”


Gifford wrote of her to Murray, when the question of publishing the translation of her ‘L’Allemagne’ was under consideration.

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.
Ryde, July 12th, 1813.

“As to Madame de Staël, I can say nothing, and perhaps your bargain is off. At any rate, I can venture to assure you that the hope of keeping her from the press is quite vain. The family of Œdipus were not more haunted and goaded by the Furies than the Neckers, father, mother, and daughter, have always been by the demon of publication. Madame de Staël will therefore write and print without intermission. The volumes you were in treaty for promised to have something of novelty, and are besides well timed. Her suicidal work* I have not yet looked at; but in a note I have had to-day from Mr. Wilmot, he proposes a short review of it.”

The work was afterwards accepted and published by Mr. Murray, and succeeded tolerably well. During the time of her residence in London, Madame de Staël used frequently to dine with Mr. Murray, and was in the habit of writing short notes to him, of which the following are given as specimens. The first contains her proposed introduction to the forthcoming work:—

Madame de Staël to John Murray.
Lundi, Nov. 30, 1813.

Cet ouvrage sur les mœurs, la société, la littérature, la philosophie et la réligion des Allemands, a été imprimé à dix milles exemplaires à Paris en 1810, et au moment où il allait paraître il a été supprimé par la police et tous les exemplaires mis en pièces. Un seul a échappé par hasard,

* “Mdme. de Staël hath published an essay against Suicide, which I presume will make somebody shoot himself; as a sermon by Blenkinsop in proof of Christianity sent a hitherto most orthodox acquaintance of mine out of a chapel of ease a perfect atheist.”—Byron to Moore, July 8th, 1803.

et c’est sur celui-là que
Mr. John Murray a ré-imprimé l’ouvrage.

J’ai assez de chose à vous dire et à vous demander, my dear Sir. Un diner de famille vous ennuyerait-il? Et voulez-vous venir demain à 6 h. et demie chez moi?

Mille compliments,
A. De Staël.
Bowood, near Calne, le 26 8bre, 1813.

Voilà la préface, my dear Sir, avec les corrections de Sir James que je vous prie de faire accepter. Je serai de retour à Londres vendredi 5 Novembre; ainsi je vous prie de ne pas envoyer l’exemplaire du Prince Regent avant que je vous aye vu; ce qui sera j’espére samedi matin, Argyle Street, No. 31.—Nous avons ici la plus intéressante réunion du monde, tout-à-fait digne du maître et de la maîtresse de la maison: on s’y parle beaucoup de vos procédés envers les hommes de lettres: j’entends Sir James [Mackintosh] et moi. Je vous demanderai un exemplaire à Dument, un à Rogers, et un à Lucien, à qui j’ecrirai. Je souhait presqu’autant pour vous que pour moi le succés de mon ouvrage.

Mille compliments,
A. De Staël.
Mercredi, Sept. 15, 1813.

Je serai chez vous vendredi à cinq heures, my dear Sir. J’ai été charmée de Mr. Southey; son âme et son esprit m’ont paru de la même force et dans le même sens. Il y a bien longtemps que je n’ai été chez vous, c’est à dire in the head-quarters of Mr. Canning.

Mille compliments,
A. De Staël.

Mille graces du ‘Corsaire;’ il y a de l’esprit beaucoup et de l’interêt. Je vous attendrai un de ces matins avec Mr. Hamilton. Mille remerciements pour le roman de Mlle. Burney! Et répondez-moi un de ces jours sur mes diverses
propositions à l’égard de
M. Constant, lettres sur Rousseau, Delphine, &c. Parlez à Colburn, mais quand vous voudriez; je ne suis pas pressée.

In 1814, after Napoleon’s abdication, Madame de Staël returned to Paris, where she supported Louis XVIII.; she remained there until after the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, when she returned to Coppet, in Switzerland, and proceeded to prepare her final work for the press, ‘Considérations sur la Révolution Française.’

On the 28th of June, 1816, the Baron de Staël wrote to Mr. Murray on the subject of his mother’s work, ‘Des Causes et des Effets de la Révolution Française.’ He said that the plan had been extended, that it would be in three volumes, and that the work was calculated to produce a general sensation in Europe.

“From all this,” he continued, “you must conceive that the offer you made of £2000 to my mother for the two first volumes is no more acceptable, since the book is extended to three, and contains two different works united in one. She therefore insists upon £4000, besides a credit in books for every new edition. . . . Another circumstance worthy of your consideration is, that the censure making it impossible to print the book in France, you will probably find the means of selling part of your edition in that country.”

Murray having conferred with the Messrs. Longman on the subject, proposing that they should share it, replied as follows:—

John Murray to Baron de Staël.
July 19th, 1816.
Dear Sir,

I have just returned to town after a sudden call to the country, after the receipt of your obliging letter, which I now answer in haste. You are not aware, I suppose, of the great changes which have taken place in the sale of everything in this country, which is operating to the
destruction of speculations of any kind. I am truly sorry to say that neither I, nor
Mr. Longman conjointly with me, can venture upon the new work of Mad. de Staël at the sum which you mention; but we are desirous that the author should reap every fair advantage in case the work should succeed beyond our calculations: and we therefore propose to offer the sum of one thousand pounds for one edition of the work in French and one in English—we paying for the translation—each to consist of fifteen hundred copies; the sum to be paid at two months from the day on which we shall publish each edition; and for every future edition, of either the original or the Translation, to consist of one thousand copies, we engage to pay the sum of three hundred and fifty pounds after the sale of the one thousand copies. You have no conception of the total alteration since we have had the opportunity of emigrating to foreign countries, and I could not have made you this slender offer unless Messrs. Longman had agreed to take half the risk. I beg the favour of you to offer my compliments to Madame de Staël. I will have the pleasure of writing more at large in a few days when I shall send the account. In the meantime,

I remain, dear Sir,
Your obliged and faithful Servant,
John Murray.

Madame de Staël was not satisfied with this letter. Mr. Murray had explained that her work ‘L’Allemagne’ had not been so satisfactory as she supposed; nevertheless, she urged that the proposed work was likely to be much more attractive to the public—especially the third volume, which would

“Contain a picture of all your public characters. I don’t question,” she said, through the pen of her son, the Baron de Staël (28th December, 1816), “the exactitude of the statement which you give me of the returns of ‘L’Allemagne’: but whatever it be, I don’t hesitate to say that I should think it a good speculation to pay for the grandest work
the double of what you paid to the former; considering, besides, that you have the privilege for the translation as well as of the original. In short, the only reduction which I think my mother would agree to is the sum of £2500 for her volumes, that
Sir J. Mackintosh had been commissioned by you to propose to her two years ago.

A. Staël De G.

Madame de Staël died in the following year (14th July, 1817), and the work in question was not published until 1818. A few days after her death Mr. J. W. Ward (afterwards Lord Dudley) wrote to Mr. Murray:—

The Honble. J. W. Ward to John Murray.
July 17th, 1817.

“I saw poor Madame de Staël four days before she died. She was looking wretchedly ill, and showed indications of great languor and weakness. But her understanding was quite unimpaired. She evidently thought very ill of her own situation, though at the same time she had no notion how near she was to her end. There is a story here (Paris), that just at last she was reconciled to the Church of Rome, chiefly, it is said, by the persuasion of Viscount Montgomery. Perhaps, too, Mr. Schlegel contributed his influence to this event. He had already set the example. I do not know the fact for certain, but I think it is not improbable. I also understand that it now appears she had been for some time married to Mr. Rocca, I do not know in what state of forwardness her book was; but I should hope that a part of it at least was fit for publication.”

After his mother’s death, Baron de Staël continued his negotiations with Mr. Murray, but no satisfactory arrangement could be arrived at, and the work was in the end published by Messrs. Baldwin and Cradock.

Another lady who was to be enrolled on the list of Mr. Murray’s most successful authoresses was the daughter of
Rear-Admiral Dundas, then the wife of
Captain Graham, R.N., nephew of James Graham, author of ‘The Sabbath.’ Mr. Murray had sent her a copy of the Quarterly, and received the following reply:—

Mrs. Graham to John Murray.
Broughty Ferry, December 9th, 1815.
My dear Sir,

I conclude that the Quarterly Review and Miss Williams’ account of France, which I have lately received from the Foreign Office, are from you. I assure you that both are most acceptable in this retired place; between which and the nearest court of Modern Literature lie the two formidable waters which keep this corner of Angus at least a century behind other places in the known civilized world. It is true that the ruins of Cardinal Beatoun’s tower, and the Cathedral and College of St. Andrews, are visible from our windows; but they carry one back only to times of violence and civil war, and make one expect to hear more particulars of Huntley’s conspiracy, or of Mary’s weakness, and Knox’s hard justice, while you are listening to tales from Paris of oppressed people and king, and spoiled galleries and humbled conquerors, and imprisoned Emperors, and things just, and but just, remembered here, where a weekly paper at most connects us with the news of the southern world. But we have books and a garden, and, like all poor people, plenty of occupation for our hands, and even heads, that we may live and not lose caste, which in this poor, proud country, where Montrose and Dundee are still in the mouths of the people, is even more difficult than in most parts of the southern portion of the Island. Our establishment here consists of our two selves, a sister of Graham’s, two women, two dogs, and some poultry; and our cottage is large enough to entertain a friend; so that in spite of peace and half pay we are far better off than most of our brother officers. The dogs and gun furnish an excuse for a great deal of walking to the Captain, and the garden for a good deal of exercise to me; but as to a party, either for a dinner, or an evening, or a morning visit, they are things quite unknown and un-
thought of. It is a better life than a London one, perhaps, and if it has fewer pleasures, it has fewer cares and disappointments; for we know to a certainty who we shall sit by at dinner, and which portion of our book of last night will either divert or weary us to-night, unless indeed the morning’s post brings such a variety as this morning produced, from any kind person who happens to remember our existence here. Our best thanks, and believe me to be always,

Your much obliged,
Maria Graham.

Some years afterwards Mrs. Graham visited London, and called upon Mr. Murray. She was exceedingly anxious that her husband should leave his half pay, and be again put in command of a ship. Murray promised to help her so far as he could, and to this end he invited Croker, then Secretary to the Admiralty, to dine at Albemarle Street, and arranged to place Mrs. Graham by his side, in order that she might have an opportunity of stating her views as to the reappointment of her husband. Murray had not fully taken into account that Mrs. Graham was not only a Whig, but a high-spirited woman, who did not hold back her opinions—nor did Croker hold back his—and the consequence was that they got into collision about politics. At the close of the dinner, Croker said to Murray’s son, John, “Run down for a copy of the Navy List, and bring it here.” After it had been brought, Croker looked through the list, and found the name of Graham. Murray thought he had intended to put a black mark after his name, in consequence of what had occurred; but on the contrary, Croker, who liked a woman of spirit, took occasion to speak in Captain Graham’s favour; and he was shortly after appointed to the command of the Doris, and made a voyage, with Mrs. Graham on board,
in the Mediterranean. Captain Graham was afterwards ordered to the coast of Brazil, whence Mrs. Graham addressed many interesting letters to her friends in Albemarle Street Some time after the death of Captain Graham, R.N., she married Mr., afterwards
Sir Augustus, Callcott, R.A. Although she had before published some interesting books—such as ‘An Account of her Travels in India,’ her ‘Three Months in the Environs of Rome,’ her ‘History of Spain,’ and several works on Art,—her most popular and best read work was ‘Little Arthur’s History of England.’ many hundred thousand copies of which have by this time been printed and published.