LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of John Murray
Chap. XXIII.

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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About the beginning of 1819, the question of publishing the letters and reminiscences of Lady Hervey, grandmother of the Earl of Mulgrave, was brought under the notice of Mr. Murray. Lady Hervey was the daughter of Brigadier-General Lepel, and the wife of Lord Hervey, of Ickworth, author of the ‘Memoirs of the Court of George II. and Queen Caroline.’ Her letters formed a sort of anecdotal history of the politics and literature of her times. A mysterious attachment is said to have existed between her and Lord Chesterfield, who, in his letters to his son, desired him never to mention her name when he could avoid it, while she, on the other hand, adopted all Lord Chesterfield’s opinions, as afterwards appeared in the aforesaid letters. Mr. Walter Hamilton, author of the ‘Gazetteer of India,’ an old and intimate friend of Mr. Murray, who first brought the subject under Mr. Murray’s notice, said, “Lady Hervey writes more like a man than a woman, something like Lady M. W. Montagu, and in giving her opinion she never minces matters.” Mr. Hamilton recommended that Archdeacon Coxe, author of the ‘Lives of Sir Robert and Horace Walpole,’ should be the editor. Mr. Murray, however, consulted his fidus Achates, Mr. Croker; and, putting the letters in
his hands, asked him to peruse them, and, if he approved, to edit them. The following was Mr. Croker’s answer:—

Mr. Croker to John Murray.
November 22nd, 1820.
Dear Murray,

I shall do more than you ask. I shall give you a biographical sketch—sketch, do you hear?—of Lady Hervey, and notes on her letters, in which I shall endeavour to enliven a little the sameness of my author. Don’t think that I say sameness in derogation of dear Mary Lepel’s powers of entertainment. I have been in love with her a long time; which, as she was dead twenty years before I was born, I may without indiscretion avow; but all these letters being written in a journal style and to one person, there is a want of that variety which Lady Hervey’s mind was capable of giving. I have applied to her family for a little assistance; hitherto without success; and I think, as a lover of Lady Hervey’s, I might reasonably resent the little enthusiasm I find that her descendants felt about her. In order to enable me to do this little job for you, I wish you would procure for me a file, if such a thing exists, of any newspaper from about 1740 to 1758, at which latter date the Annual Register begins, as I remember. So many little circumstances are mentioned in letters and forgotten in history, that without some such guide, I shall make but blind work of it. If it be necessary, I will go to the Museum and grab them, as my betters have done before me. My dear little Nony* was worse last night, and not better all to-day; but this evening they make me happy by saying that she is decidedly improved.

Yours ever,
J. W. Croker.

Send me ‘Walpoliana.’ I have lost or mislaid mine. Are there any memoirs about the date of 1743, or later, beside Bubb’s?

That Mr. Croker made all haste and exercised his

* Mr. Croker’s adopted daughter, afterwards married to Sir George Barrow.

usual painstaking industry in doing “this little job” for
Mr. Murray, will be evident from the following letters:—

Mr. Croker to John Murray.
December 27th, 1820.
Dear Murray,

I have done ‘Lady Hervey.’ I hear that there is a Mr. Vincent in the Treasury, the son of a Mr. and Mrs. Vincent, to whom the late General Hervey, the favourite son of Lady Hervey, left his fortune and his papers. Could you find out who they are? Nothing is more surprising than the ignorance in which I find all Lady Hervey’s descendants about her. Most of them never heard her maiden name. It reminds one of Walpole writing to George Montagu, to tell him who his grandmother was! I am anxious to knock off this task whilst what little I know of it is fresh in my recollection; for I foresee that much of the entertainment of the work must depend on the elucidations in the Notes.

J. W. C.

Another letter from Croker on the same subject is interesting for its allusion to two works with which his name was, in after years, to be so intimately associated.

December 29th, 1820.

“I want to consult only the first volume of Bozzy’sJohnson,’ and any complete edition of ‘Pope.’ You can have no idea of the labour of detecting the meaning of allusions in a private correspondence of 80 years old. But I shall be able, I hope, to throw a great deal of light on Lady Hervey’s riddles.”

The publication of Lady Hervey’s letters in 1821 was so successful that Mr. Croker was afterwards induced to edit, with great advantage, letters and memorials of a similar character.*

* As late as 1848, Mr. Croker edited Lord Hervey’sMemoirs of the Court of George II. and Queen Caroline,’ from the family archives at Ickworth. The editor in his preface said that Lord Hervey was almost the Boswell of George II. and Queen Caroline.


The next important mémoires pour servir were brought under Mr. Murray’s notice by Lord Holland, in the following letter:—

Lord Holland to John Murray.
Holland House, November 1820.

I wrote a letter to you last week which by some accident Lord Lauderdale, who had taken charge of it, has mislaid. The object of it was to request you to call here some morning, and to let me know the hour by a line by twopenny post. I am authorized to dispose of two historical works, the one a short but admirably written and interesting memoir of the late Lord Waldegrave, who was a favourite of George II., and governor of George III. when Prince of Wales. The second consists of three close-written volumes of ‘Memoirs by Horace Walpole’ (afterwards Lord Orford), which comprise the last nine years of George II.’s reign. I am anxious to give you the refusal of them, as I hear you have already expressed a wish to publish anything of this kind written by Horace Walpole, and had indirectly conveyed that wish to Lord Waldegrave, to whom these and many other MSS. of that lively and laborious writer belong. Lord Lauderdale has offered to assist me in adjusting the terms of the agreement, and perhaps you will arrange with him; he lives at Warren’s Hotel, Waterloo Place, where you can make it convenient to meet him. I would meet you there, or call at your house; but before you can make any specific offer, you will no doubt like to look at the MSS., which are here, and which (not being mine) I do not like to expose unnecessarily to the risk even of a removal to London and back again.

I am, Sir, your obedient humble Servant, &c.,
Vassall Holland.

It would appear that Mr. Murray called upon Lord Holland and looked over the MSS., but made no proposal to purchase the papers. The matter lay over until Lord Holland again addressed Mr. Murray.

Lord Holland to John Murray.

It appears that you are either not aware of the interesting nature of the MSS. which I shewed you, or that the indifference produced by the present frenzy about the Queen’s business* to all literary publications, has discouraged you from an undertaking in which you would otherwise engage most willingly. However, to come to the point. I have consulted Lord Waldegrave on the subject, and we agree that the two works, viz., his grandfather, Lord Waldegrave’sMemoirs,’ and Horace Walpole’sMemoirs of the Last Nine Years of George II.,’ should not be sold for less than 3000 guineas. If that sum would meet your ideas, or if you have any other offer to make, I will thank you to let me know before the second of next month. I am likely to be in the country for the next ten days, and I have not hitherto mentioned the subject of these MSS. to any publisher or bookseller, as both Lord Waldegrave and myself were anxious to give you the refusal. It will, however, for obvious reasons, be inconvenient to me and disadvantageous to Lord Waldegrave not to terminate the negociations soon. You will, therefore, excuse my pressing you for an answer in time enough to enable us (in case of your refusal) to enter into an arrangement with others for publishing the works next spring.

I am, Sir, your obliged and obedient,
Vassall Holland.

Three thousand guineas was certainly a very large price to ask for the Memoirs, and Mr. Murray hesitated very much before acceding to Lord Holland’s proposal. He requested to have the MSS. for the purpose of consulting his literary adviser—probably Mr. Croker, though the following remarks, now before us, are not in his handwriting.

“This book of yours,” says the critic, “is a singular production. It is ill-written, deficient in grammar, and

* The trial of Queen Caroline was then occupying public attention.

often in English; and yet it interests and even amuses. Now, the subjects of it are all, I suppose, gone ad plures; otherwise it would be intolerable. The writer richly deserves a licking or a cudgelling to every page, and yet I am ashamed to say I have travelled unwearied with him through the whole, divided between a grin and a scowl. I never saw nor heard of such an animal as a splenetic, bustling kind of a poco-curante. By the way, if you happen to hear of any plan for making me a king, be so good as to say that I am deceased; or tell any other good-natured lie to put the king-makers off their purpose. I really cannot submit to be the only slave in the nation, especially when I have a crossing to sweep within five yards of my door, and may gain my bread with less ill-usage than a king is obliged to put up with. If half that is here told be true,
Lord Holland seems to me to tread on
Suppositos cineri doloso’
in retouching any part of the manuscript. He is so perfectly kind and good-natured, that he will feel more than any man the complaints of partiality and injustice; and where he is to stop, I see not. There is so much abuse that little is to be gained by an occasional erasure, while suspicion is excited. He would have consulted his quiet more by leaving the author to bear the blame of his own scandal.”

Notwithstanding this adverse judgment, Mr. Murray was disposed to buy the Memoirs. Lord Holland drove a very hard bargain, and endeavoured to obtain better terms from other publishers, but he could not, and eventually Mr. Murray paid to Lord Waldegrave, through Lord Holland, the sum of £2500 on November 1st, 1821, for the Waldegrave and Walpole Memoirs. They were edited by Lord Holland, who wrote a preface to each, and were published in the following year, but never repaid their expenses. After suffering considerable loss by this venture, Mr. Murray’s rights were sold, after his death, to Mr. Colburn.
The last letter that Lord Holland addressed to Mr. Murray on the subject was as follows:—

Lord Holland to John Murray.
December 21st, 1821.
Dear Sir,

Allow me to thank you for your note and enclosure. The latter, which I return [a letter of Lord Byron’s], is full of wit and fancy, of satire and gaiety. Perhaps I enjoy it more than those whose reverence for the late King’s public character is greater than my own, and who will be shocked at his political delinquencies being made the vehicle for ridiculing an injudicious panegyrist [Southey’sVision of Judgment’]. Your letter is very obliging. The time I have devoted to Walpole’s work has been very amusing, and in some measure instructive to me, and I should feel very happy if I could believe my labours in any degree contributed to the success of the publication. I wrote a long letter to you yesterday on the subject of the MSS. of both Memoirs, Waldegrave’s and Walpole’s. As, however, the purport of it was to communicate to you Lord Waldegrave’s wishes and intentions, of which I am sure you will approve, I enclosed it for his perusal before I sent it to you, and he has not hitherto returned it.

I am, Sir, Your obliged and obedient,
Vassall Holland.

The last of the mémoires pour servir to which we shall here refer was the Letters of the Countess of Suffolk, bedchamber woman to the Princess of Wales (Caroline of Anspach), and a favourite of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George II. The Suffolk papers were admirably edited by Mr. Croker. Thackeray, in his ‘Lecture on George the Second,’ says of his work: “Even Croker, who edited her letters, loves her, and has that regard for her with which her sweet graciousness seems to have inspired almost all men, and some women, who came near her.”
The following letter of Croker shows the spirit in which he began to edit the Countess’s letters:—

Mr. Croker to John Murray.
May 29th, 1822.
Dear Murray,

As you told me that you are desirous of publishing the Suffolk volume by November, and as I have, all my life, had an aversion to making any one wait for me, I am anxious to begin my work upon them, and, if we are to be out by November, I presume it is high time. I must beg of you to answer me the following questions.

1st. What shape will you adopt? I think the correspondence of a nature rather too light for a quarto, and yet it would look well on the same shelf with Horace Walpole’s works. If you should prefer an octavo, like Lady Hervey’s letters, the papers would furnish two volumes. I, for my part, should prefer the quarto size, which is a great favourite with me, and the letters of such persons as Pope, Swift, and Gay, the Duchesses of Buckingham, Queensberry, and Marlbro’, Lords Peterborough, Chesterfield, Bathurst, and Lansdowne, Messrs. Pitt, Pulteney, Pelham, Grenville, and Horace Walpole, seem to me almost to justify the magnificence of the quarto; though, in truth, all their epistles are, in its narrowest sense, familiar, and treat chiefly of tittle-tattle.

Decide, however, on your own view of your interests, only recollect that these papers are not to cost you more than ‘Belshazzar,’* which I take to be of about the intrinsic value of the writings on the walls, and not a third of what you have given Mr. Crayon for his portrait of Squire Bracebridge. 2nd. Do you intend to have any portraits? One of Lady Suffolk is almost indispensable, and would be enough. There are two of her at Strawberry Hill; one, I think, a print, and neither, if I forget not, very good. There is also a print, an unassuming one, in Walpole’s works, but a good artist would make something out of any of these, if even we can get nothing better to make our copy from. If you were to increase your number of

* Mr. Milman’s poem, for which Mr. Murray paid 500 guineas. See pp. 105-6.

portraits, I would add the
Duchess of Queensberry, from a picture at Dalkeith which is alluded to in the letters; Lady Hervey and her beautiful friend, Mary Bellenden. They are in Walpole’s works; Lady Hervey rather mawkish, but the Bellenden charming. I dare say these plates could now be bought cheap, and retouched from the originals, which would make them better than ever they were. Lady Vere (sister of Lady Temple, which latter is engraved in Park’s edition of the ‘Noble Authors’) was a lively writer, and is much distinguished in this correspondence. Of the men, I should propose Lord Peterborough, whose portraits are little known; Lord Liverpool has one of him, not, however, very characteristic. Mr. Pulteney is also little known, but he has been lately re-published in the Kit-cat Club. Of our Horace there is not a decent engraving anywhere. I presume that there must be a good original of him somewhere. Whatever you mean to do on this point, you should come to an early determination and put the works in hand.

3rd. I mean, if you approve, to prefix a biographical sketch of Mrs. Howard and two or three of those beautiful characters with which, in prose and verse, the greatest wits of the last century honoured her and themselves. To the first letter of each remarkable correspondent I would also affix a slight notice, and I would add, at the foot of the page, notes in the style of those on Lady Hervey. Let me know whether this plan suits your fancy.

4th. All the letters of Swift, except one or two, in this collection are printed (though not always accurately) in Scott’s edition of his works. Yet I think it would be proper to reprint them from the originals, because they elucidate much of Lady Suffolk’s history, and her correspondence could not be said to be complete without them. Let me know your wishes on this point.

5th. My materials are numerous, though perhaps the pieces of great merit are not many. I must therefore beg of you to set up, in the form and type you wish to adopt, the sheet which I send you, and you must say about how many pages you wish your volume, or volumes, to be. I will then select as much of the most interesting as will fill the space which you may desire to occupy.

Yours truly,
J. W. Croker.

Mr. Croker also consented to edit the letters of Mrs. Delany to Mr. Hamilton, 1779-88, containing many anecdotes relating to the Royal Family.

Mr. Croker to John Murray.

“I have shown Mrs. Delany’s MS. letters to the Prince Regent; he was much entertained with this revival of old times in his recollection, and he says that every word of it is true. You know that H.R.H. has a wonderful memory, and particularly for things of that kind. His certificate of Mrs. Delany’s veracity will therefore be probably of some weight with you. As to the letter-writing powers of Mrs. Delany, the specimen inclines me to doubt. Her style seems stiff and formal, and though these two letters, which describe a peculiar kind of scene, have a good deal of interest in them, I do not hope for the same amusement from the rest of the collection. Poverty, obscurity, general ill-health, and blindness are but unpromising qualifications for making an agreeable volume of letters. If a shopkeeper at Portsmouth were to write his life, the extracts of what relates to the two days of the Imperial and Royal visit of 1814 would be amusing, though all the rest of the half century of his life would be intolerably tedious. I therefore counsel you not to buy the pig in Miss Hamilton’s bag (though she is a most respectable lady), but ask to see the whole collection before you bid.”

The whole collection was obtained, and, with some corrections and elucidations, the volume of letters was given to the world by Mr. Murray in 1821.

In May 1820 Mr. Murray requested Mr. Croker to edit Horace Walpole’s ‘Reminiscences.’ Mr. Croker replied, saying: “I should certainly like the task very well if I felt a little better satisfied of my ability to perform it. Something towards such a work I would certainly contribute, for I have always loved that kind of tea-table history.” Not being able to undertake the work himself, Mr. Croker recommended Mr. Murray to apply to Miss Berry, the
editor of
Lady Russell’s letters. “The Life,” he said, “by which those letters were preceded, is a beautiful piece of biography, and shows, besides higher qualities, much of that taste which a commentator on the ‘Reminiscences’ ought to have.” The work was accordingly placed in the hands of Miss Berry, who edited it satisfactorily, and it was published by Mr. Murray in the course of the following year.

Dr. Tomline, while Bishop of Winchester, entered into a correspondence with Mr. Murray respecting the ‘Life of William Pitt.’ In December 1820, Dr. Tomline said he had brought the Memoirs down to the Declaration of War by France against Great Britain on the 1st of February, 1793, and that the whole would make two volumes quarto. Until he became Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. Tomline had been Pitt’s secretary, and from the opportunities he had possessed, there was promise here of a great work; but it was not well executed, and though a continuation was promised, it never appeared. When the work was sent to Mr. Gifford, he wrote to Mr. Murray that it was not at all what he expected, for it contained nothing of Pitt’s private history. “He seems to be uneasy until he gets back to his Parliamentary papers. Yet it can hardly fail to be pretty widely interesting; but I would not have you make yourself too uneasy about these things. Pitt’s name, and the Bishop’s, will make the work sell.” Gifford was right. The ‘Life’ went to a fourth edition in the following year.

Among Mr. Murray’s devoted friends and adherents was Giovanni Belzoni, who, born at Padua in 1778, had, when a young man at Rome, intended to devote himself to the monastic life, but the French invasion of the city altered his purpose, and, instead of being a monk, he became
an athlete. He was a man of gigantic physical power, and went from place to place, gaining his living in England, as elsewhere, as a posture master, and by exhibiting at shows his great feats of strength. He made enough by this work to enable him to visit Egypt, where he erected hydraulic machines for the Pasha, and, through the influence of
Mr. Salt, the British Consul, was employed to remove from Thebes, and ship for England, the colossal bust commonly called the Young Memnon. His knowledge of mechanics enabled him to accomplish this with great dexterity, and the head, now in the British Museum, is one of the finest specimens of Egyptian sculpture.

Belzoni, after performing this task, made further investigations among the Egyptian tombs and temples. He was the first to open the great temple of Ipsambul, cut in the side of a mountain, and at that time shut in by an accumulation of sand. Encouraged by these successes, he, in 1817, made a second journey to Upper Egypt and Nubia, and brought to light at Carnac several colossal heads of granite, now in the British Museum. After some further explorations among the tombs and temples, for which he was liberally paid by Mr. Salt, Belzoni returned to England with numerous drawings, casts, and many important works of Egyptian art. He called upon Mr. Murray, with the view of publishing the results of his investigations, which in due course were issued under the title of ‘Narrative of the Operations and recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs, and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia.’

It was a very expensive book to arrange and publish, but nothing daunted Mr. Murray when a new and original work was brought under his notice. Although only 1000 copies were printed, the payments to Belzoni and his
translators, as well as for plates and engravings, amounted to over £2163. The preparation of the work gave rise to no little difficulty, for Belzoni declined all help beyond that of the individual who was employed to copy out or translate his manuscript and correct the press. “As I make my discoveries alone,” he said, “I have been anxious to write my book by myself, though in so doing the reader will consider me, with great propriety, guilty of temerity; but the public will, perhaps, gain in the fidelity of my narration what it loses in elegance.”
Lord Byron, to whom Mr. Murray sent a copy of his work, said: “Belzoni is a grand traveller, and his English is very prettily broken.”

Belzoni was a very interesting character, and a man of great natural refinement. After the publication of his work, he became one of the fashionable lions of London, but was very sensitive about his early career, and very sedulous to sink the posture-master in the traveller. He was often present at Mr. Murray’s receptions; and on one particular occasion he was invited to join the family circle in Albemarle Street on the last evening of 1822, to see the Old Year out and the New Year in. All Mr. Murray’s young people were present, as well as the entire D’Israeli family and Crofton Croker. After a merry game of Pope Joan, Mr. Murray presented each of the company with a pocket-book as a New Year’s gift. A special bowl of punch was brewed for the occasion, and, while it was being prepared, Mr. Isaac D’Israeli took up Crofton Croker’s pocket-book, and with his pencil wrote the following impromptu words:—
“Gigantic Belzoni at Pope Joan and tea,
What a group of mere puppets we seem beside thee;
Which, our kind host perceiving, with infinite zest,
Gives us Punch at our supper, to keep up the jest.”


The lines were pronounced to be excellent, and Belzoni, wishing to share in the enjoyment, desired to see the words. He read the last line twice over, and then, his eyes flashing fire, he exclaimed, “I am betrayed!” and suddenly left the room. Crofton Croker called upon Belzoni to ascertain the reason of his abrupt departure from Mr. Murray’s, and was informed that he considered the lines to be an insulting allusion to his early career as a showman. Croker assured him that neither Murray nor D’Israeli knew anything of his former life; finally he prevailed upon Belzoni to accompany him to Mr. Murray’s, who for the first time learnt that the celebrated Egyptian explorer had many years before been an itinerant exhibitor in England.

In 1823 Belzoni set out for Morocco, intending to penetrate thence to Eastern Africa; he wrote to Mr. Murray from Gibraltar, thanking him for many acts of kindness, and again from Tangier.

M. G. Belzoni to John Murray.
April 10th, 1823.

“I have just received permission from H.M. the Emperor of Morocco to go to Fez, and am in hopes to obtain his approbation to enter the desert along with the caravan to Soudan. The letter of introduction from Mr. Wilmot to Mr. Douglas has been of much importance to me; this gentleman fortunately finds pleasure in affording me all the assistance in his power to promote my wishes, a circumstance which I have not been accustomed to meet in some other parts of Africa. I shall do myself the pleasure to acquaint you of my further progress at Fez, if not from some other part of Morocco.”

Belzoni would appear to have changed his intention, and endeavoured to penetrate to Timbuctoo from Benin, where, however, he was attacked by dysentery, and died a short time after the above letter was written.


Like many other men of Herculean power, he was not eager to exhibit his strength; but on one occasion he gave proof of it in the following circumstances. Mr. Murray had asked him to accompany him to the Coronation of George IV. They had tickets of admittance to Westminster Hall, but on arriving there they found that the sudden advent of Queen Caroline, attended by a mob claiming admission to the Abbey, had alarmed the authorities, and who caused all the doors to be shut. That by which they should have entered was held close and guarded by several stalwart janitors. Belzoni thereupon advanced to the door, and, in spite of the efforts of these guardians, including Tom Crib and others of the pugilistic corps who had been engaged as constables, opened it with ease, and admitted himself and Mr. Murray.

Captain Parry, on returning from his first voyage to the Polar Regions, prepared a narrative of his expedition, and called upon Mr. Murray with respect to its publication. On the 7th November, 1820, he wrote to Mr. Murray accepting his offer of one thousand guineas for the work; the engravings to be done at the publisher’s expense. Some official delays, however, interfered with the due delivery of the MS., and Murray found himself, as in the case of Mungo Park’s Journal, and Tuckey’s Narrative, anticipated by another work on the same subject. After waiting for more than six months, he was under the necessity of addressing the following letter to Mr. Croker, Secretary to the Lords of the Admiralty:—

John Murray to Mr. Croker.
May 3rd, 1821.

I beg leave most respectfully to state, for the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that I have paid to Captain W. E. Parry the sum of One Thousand
Guineas for the entire copyright of his ‘
Journal of the late Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage,’ and also for the exclusive right of first publication on that subject, which I was assured their Lordships had vested in me and would secure to Captain Parry. That I have further been at a considerable additional expense in procuring the necessary and suitable charts, maps, and other engravings, and in printing the Work with a view in all respects to render its appearance not unworthy of their Lordships’ “Authority,” with which the imprint has been officially honoured; and that I have used every means in my power to effect the speedy publication of this Work. I beg you, Sir, further to state to their Lordships that I now find, with astonishment and mortification, that all my expense and labour will terminate most probably in loss and disappointment, in consequence of the unexpected and, as I conceive, illegal publication of another account of the same Voyage, by Mr. Alexander Fisher, who accompanied the expedition in quality of Surgeon on board H.M.S. Griper. I therefore throw myself on the protection of their Lordships, and solicit such remedy as the case may appear to require, and their Lordships may be disposed in their wisdom to grant me.

Mr. Murray had also reason to complain that he had not been furnished with an account of the botanical specimens found by Captain Parry during his voyage; and that, if published without them, the work would be imperfect. Mr. Barrow informed Mr. Murray that the list and description had been prepared by Mr. Brown.

Mr. Barrow to John Murray.

“I feel, as Captain Sabine and every officer employed on the voyage must feel, that yourself, and above all, the Public, at whose expense the voyage was performed, have reason to complain of the shameful delay and apparent neglect that have taken place, and which certainly call for public explanation. If Captain Parry had left with me the proper authority, I would have taken care no such delay nor neglect should have happened; but you
agreed with him and paid him for a complete work. I consider that you are authorized to demand from
Mr. Brown what, by his own admission, he undertook to perform; and in failure of compliance, to desire him to return to you immediately the specimens of plants, which you may easily get described by some other botanist in the course of a week.”

The work was at length published in 1821; but the Supplement, containing the Natural History, did not appear until 1824.

In May 1820, Mr. W. C. Macready offered to Mr. Murray, Sheridan Knowles’ tragedy of ‘Virginius,’ then about to be performed at Covent Garden. Mr. B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) supported Mr. Macready’s application, and said that ‘Virginius’ “is the most spirited and dramatic tragedy of late years, and certainly more free from fustian and commonplace than any that has been written for the London boards within my memory.” But Mr. Murray was now less disposed to publish dramas than he had been at the commencement of his career, when he offered to publish Colman’s work, and at a later date, when he had published Maturin’sBertram,’ and Sheil’sApostate’ and ‘Evadne.’ He had now much more important works to engross his attention, and he therefore declined the proposal.

After Lord Byron, the principal dramatic writer, whose works were published by Mr. Murray, was the Rev. H. H. Milman, afterwards Dean of St. Paul’s. He had attained much distinction at Oxford, had won the Newdigate prize in 1812, the Chancellor’s prize in 1813, and the prize for English and Latin essays in 1816, besides being elected a Fellow of Brasenose College in 1815. His tragedy of ‘Fazio,’ which he wrote while at Oxford, was published by Mr. Murray soon after he had taken his first degree, and
was subsequently produced on the stage, the heroine being splendidly acted first by
Miss O’Neil, and afterwards by Miss Fanny Kemble. ‘Fazio’ was followed, in 1818, by an epic poem in twelve books, ‘Samor, Lord of the Bright City.’ It was commenced while Milman was an Eton boy, but was not finished and published until after the success of ‘Fazio.’ He had been appointed Vicar of St. Mary’s, Reading; and it was there that he composed his next great work ‘The Fall of Jerusalem: a Sacred Tragedy,’ which was sent to Mr. Murray, accompanied by the following letter:—

The Rev. H. H. Milman to John Murray.
Jan 3, 1820.

“Though written in a dramatic form, it is neither intended for, nor can be adapted to public representation. It is religious in its scope and language. . . . I shall be happy to receive a proposal from you, should you be inclined to purchase the copyright. I should however recommend—and indeed require—that it should be as little talked of as possible before the time of actual publication. I suppose you are all ‘Ivanhoe’ mad in London. Really, this Scott, or whoever he may be, is a marvellous fellow—absolutely inexhaustible in resources.”

Mr. Murray, as usual, consulted Mr. Gifford, whose opinion was most favourable. “I have been more and more struck,” he said, “with the innumerable beauties in Milman’sFall of Jerusalem.’” This judgment was communicated to the author, who replied:—

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

“I shall be happy to receive an offer from you for the copyright. I depend upon you stating as high a sum as you can safely venture on the speculation and such as you are in the habit of giving for similar productions, of course taking into consideration the good or evil repute of the
author . . . If I recollect right, you bought all ‘
Fazio,’ except the first edition. Of the popularity of ‘Samor’ I myself always entertained doubts, independent of other objections. It was too long and too laboured for the hurrying taste of the day, which reads in the morning what it may talk of in the evening. Much of it was written at an early period; indeed, the first notion was formed when I was at Eton; it, therefore, wanted both unity of character and of style. Should another edition ever be called for I should alter it much, and, above all, take especial care of the havock which the printers’ devils made in it. Of the present work none of the same objections have been made, and the subject ought at least to ensure it a considerable interest with the public.”

Mr. Murray, having requested the author to state his own price for the copyright, Mr. Milman wrote:—

“I am totally at a loss to fix one. I think I might decide whether an offer were exceedingly high or exceedingly low, whether a Byron or Scott price, or such as is given to the first essay of a new author. Though the ‘Fall of Jerusalem’ might demand an Israelitish bargain, yet I shall not be a Jew further than my poetry. Make a liberal offer, such as the prospect will warrant, and I will at once reply, but I am neither able nor inclined to name a price . . . As I am at present not very far advanced in life, I may hereafter have further dealings with the Press, and, of course, where I meet with liberality shall hope to make a return in the same way. It has been rather a favourite scheme of mine, though this drama cannot appear on the boards, to show it before it is published to my friend Mrs. Siddons, who perhaps might like to read it, either at home or abroad. I have not even hinted at such a thing to her, so that this is mere uncertainty, and, before it is printed, it would be in vain to think of it, as the old lady’s eyes and MS. could never agree together.

“P.S.—I ought to have said that I am very glad of Aristarchus’ [Gifford’s] approval. And, by the way, I think, if I help you in redeeming your character from ‘Don Juan,’ the ‘Hetæræ’ in the Quarterly* &c., you ought to estimate that very highly.”

* Mitchell’s article on ‘Female Society in Greece,’ Q. R. No. 43.


Mr. Murray offered Mr. Milman five hundred guineas for the copyright, to which the author replied: “Your offer appears to me very fair, and I shall have no scruple in acceding to it.”

The ‘Fall of Jerusalem,’ brought out at the end of 1820, with illustrations after the designs of Mr. R. Westall, quickly caught the public attention, and was crowned by general applause.

Mr. Milman continued his poetic career, and soon announced to Mr. Murray the completion of a dramatic poem on the ‘Martyrdom of St. Margaret,’ afterwards denominated ‘The Martyr of Antioch.’

The Rev. H. H. Milman to John Murray.
July, 1821.
My Dear Murray,

It will afford me an opportunity of introducing the most splendid part of the heathen worship—that of Apollo. I do not wish this to be known just at present . . . Babylon will probably follow, at least Belshazzar. But I rather wish to throw out those who suppose me now occupied with that subject. By the way, I believe you are the worst secret-keeper possible; at least, you have the character of being a very leaky vessel. Now do not, to prove to me that I am slandering you, refuse to let me into all the secrets I wish to know about the writers in the Review, &c.

September, 1821.

“I suppose you are debating with yourself how many thousand pounds you intend to give me for my poem, or do you intend to enjoy your summer holidays without a single interruption from authors or bookmakers, whichever name you condescend to dignify us with? I shall be sorry to have disturbed your quiet enjoyment of your due repose, but cannot help wishing to hear what is become of the fair Lamb who was committed to your keeping about a month ago, and whom you have not yet noticed.”


The poem was accepted, printed, and published at the beginning of 1822, in the course of which year the poem of ‘Belshazzar’ was also published. Neither of these dramas was so well received as ‘The Fall of Jerusalem.’ In sending the MS. of ‘Belshazzar’ to Mr. Murray, the author said, “I give you fair warning that all the friends who have hitherto seen it, assure me that I shall not do myself justice unless I demand a very high price for it.” Mr. Murray made an offer for the work, which Mr. Milman did not consider sufficient. He replied (March 15, 1822), “If it had been double I should have hesitated; as it is, I have no scruple in stating that I cannot accede to it.” He added that he was opposed to any other plans than the sale of the copyright. This drew from Mr. Murray the following letter:—

John Murray to Mr. Milman.
Albemarle Street, March 18th, 1822.
Dear Sir,

I did not return to town in time to reply to your letter on Saturday; but, after my last to you, I have only to express my sincere and great regret that we should differ so totally in our estimates of copyright. Such a circumstance never occurred to me before, for I have usually had the good fortune to anticipate the expectations of those who have honoured me with the publication of their works. In the present instance you should consider that my valuation is formed upon the sale of your former works, and yours upon the opinion of friends. I have told you what has been gained by the one, and of the uncertainty which still obtains—if there may not be a loss—upon the other; and, in such circumstances, and as I was certainly not illiberal in my proposal for the first drama, I might have flattered myself that something might have been confided to me in case your new poem should succeed beyond my expectations. I will very readily print it and give you two-thirds of the profit. Your friends thought more of the ‘Martyr of Antioch’ than of the ‘Fall of
Jerusalem’; but my opinion of it has already been verified by the public; and, if ‘
Belshazzar’ be better than either, it would have made up for the last. What I mean by the three dramas forming a 12s. volume is, that this is what they naturally would form, and it was my own ingenuity that enabled me to publish them in a way never before attempted, and to put such a price upon them as might insure the return of the large sum I had given for them. You appear not to be aware that it is a much larger sum, considering their sale, than ever was given to Lord Byron; but, when our difference is so wide, more need not be said, and I shall conclude by repeating that I am at this moment uncertain if the sale of the ‘Martyr of Antioch’ will repay its expenses, and that, should you finally determine to quit me, you will be the first author who has ever left me upon account of money.

Yours very faithfully and obediently,
John Murray.

The truth is that Mr. Murray paid what would now be considered a rather excessive price for Mr. Milman’s works. For ‘Fazio,’ which was published in 1818, he paid 150 guineas; for the ‘Fall of Jerusalem,’ published in 1820, he paid 500 guineas; for the ‘Martyr of Antioch,’ published in 1821, and for ‘Belshazzar,’ published in 1822, he paid 500 guineas each. But, as these were indifferently received, he was unwilling to give so large a price for his next work, ‘Anne Boleyn,’ for which Mr. Milman received 100 guineas for the first edition and 50 guineas for the second. When Mr. Milman afterwards sent Mr. Murray the revised poem of ‘Samor,’ he said, “As to the copyright of ‘Samor,’ whatever you think it worth I shall be glad to receive.” Nothing appears to have been paid for it, nor did it even pay its expenses.

During the time that ‘Belshazzar’ was in course of printing and publication Mr. Milman went for a month’s
holiday on the Continent. While at Venice a canal had been dredged under his window. He wrote to
Murray on his return home:—

The Rev. H. H. Milman to John Murray.
December 27th, 1822.

“If Lord Byron had written about Venice while I was there he would not have talked of the ‘Bridge of Sighs,’ but of the ‘Bridge of Stinks’. . . It really is lamentable to see your friend Lord Byron do everything which people who hate, fear, and envy him, would have especially wished him to do. One would have hoped that poor Shelley’s fate would have had one good effect—the producing a little serious sober thought.”

Milman became a contributor to the Quarterly, and one of Murray’s historians, and wrote the ‘History of the Jews,’ and the ‘History of Christianity;’ he edited Gibbon and Horace, and continued during his lifetime to be one of Mr. Murray’s most intimate and attached friends.

In 1820 we find the first mention of a name afterwards to become as celebrated as any of those with which Mr. Murray was associated. Owing to the warm friendship which existed between the Murrays and the D’Israelis, the younger members of both families were constantly brought together on the most intimate terms. Mr. Murray was among the first to mark the abilities of the boy, Benjamin Disraeli, and, as would appear from the subjoined letter, his confidence in his abilities was so firm that he consulted him as to the merits of a MS. when he had scarcely reached his eighteenth year.

Mr. Benjamin Disraeli to John Murray.
August, 1822.
Dear Sir,

I ran my eye over three acts of ‘Wallace,’* and, as far as I could form an opinion, I cannot conceive these acts to be as effective on the stage as you seemed to expect. However, it is impossible to say what a very clever actor like Macready may make of some of the passages. Notwithstanding the many erasures the diction is still diffuse, and sometimes languishing, though not inelegant. I cannot imagine it a powerful work as far as I have read. But, indeed, running over a part of a thing with people talking around is too unfair. I shall be anxious to hear how it succeeds. Many thanks, dear sir, for lending it to me. Your note arrives. If on so slight a knowledge of the play I could venture to erase either of the words you set before me, I fear it would be Yes, but I feel cruel and wicked in saying so. I hope you got your dinner in comfort when you got rid of me and that gentle pyramid [Belzoni].

Yours truly,
B. D.

Mr. Southey was an indefatigable and elaborate correspondent, and, as his letters have already been published, it is not necessary to quote them. But a few extracts maybe given from those written to Mr. Murray in 1820, which do not seem yet to have been given to the world. He rarely wrote to Mr. Gifford, who cut down his articles, and, as Southey insisted, generally emasculated them by omitting the best portions.

Mr. Southey to John Murray.

February 1, 1820.—I have made a good beginning of a little book upon the ‘Danger of the Times, and the Prospects

* ‘Wallace: a Historical Tragedy,’ in five acts, was published in 1820. Joanna Baillie spoke of the author, C. E. Walker, as “a very young and promising dramatist.”

of Society,’ and, as my thoughts would not have been so much occupied on this subject if they had not been directed that way by the
Q. R., you have a right to their publication. The form upon which I have fixed is that of Dialogue between the author and the spirit of Sir Thomas More, or rather a series of dialogues, in which a parallel between the present age and that of the Reformation is drawn, as to the chief characteristics of society. Under this form I can advance more than I should choose to make myself responsible for without occasion. I shall bring together curious historical matters, and relieve the subject by interspersing a few pieces of poetry (as Boethius has done, from whom, indeed, the conception of the book was taken), and by some local descriptions so managed as to be introductory of the dialogue. It may be worth while to give the volume an attractive appearance by a few views, which Wm. Westall may make when he comes next into this country. I have very little doubt that it will excite considerable attention, and lead many persons into a wholesome train of thought. . . . My main employment at this time is in finishing Wesley, which I shall have completed in little more than a fortnight, and in filling up the paper upon the New Churches for your number after the next. The old books which you collected for me have been of the greatest service. . . . You had better send me Cromwell’s Memoirs. There can be no better subject for a biographical article. And with it Noble’sMemoirs of the Regicides.’ I have his Memoirs of the Cromwell family, and I have also the Cromwelliana, and Harris, and I believe most, if not all, the important books connected with his history.”

“February 19, 1820.—You have sent me a duplicate of Chabouton de Fleury and of Burckhardt, which I will return, cum multis aliis. Burckhardt is an excellent traveller in every respect. Oliver Cromwell’s book is one of the very worst that was ever made by a dull man, and will hardly be of the slightest use in drawing up a life of Old Oliver. It will serve, however, for text. The French life I have not yet examined further than to see that some pains have been taken with it, and that even painstaking Frenchmen are wretchedly acquainted with our bibliography. The author conceives De Foe’sMemoirs of a Cavalier’ to be authentic history, and knows nothing of what Noble has done. . . . The reign of George III. is a
wide subject, and I must talk seriously with you concerning it. Such a work, in its present design, as
Voltaire’sLife of Louis XIV.,’ upon a larger scale in proportion to the greater extent of the subject, is what I have long thought of. A comprehensive and philosophical view of all the revolutions which have occurred during those eventful sixty years, with no more detail than is required for effect, for a detailed history would be a tremendous undertaking, almost beyond any man’s strength. But I am sure that a most popular work upon my plan might be produced within the compass of four volumes, or perhaps of three; a book which everybody would read, and which would keep its place.”

“April 5, 1820.—Before I leave home I shall send you the paper on the Churches, and I shall bring up Huntington, the Sinner Saved, to finish at Streatham. This fellow’s life and writings will form a very amusing and uncommon article. Cromwell is next on the list, and this, with a life of Camoens, and more forthcoming ‘Travels in Brazil,’ will make up a year’s work for the Review, unless the state of affairs in Spain should make you desirous of a paper on that subject. I have that ‘History of the Inquisition’ here of which you formerly sent me the Spanish manuscript; this might furnish an important paper, where the prospects of Spain (very dismal ones, I fear) might be brought in at the conclusion. I had nearly forgotten to mention ‘Antar,’ for which I have been reading widely concerning Arabic and other points connected with it. That poem of Mrs. Hemans upon the king is very beautiful. . . . My ‘Life of Wesley,’ I hear, has been noticed in the Literary Gazette before it is published. I suppose it will be ready next week. It will not please any particular set of men, and will violently offend all the bitter part of the Dissenters, who are the larger part. Attacks, no doubt, will be made upon me from all quarters, and of course I shall reply to none.”

“July 10, 1820.—Thank you for the draft. I am now preparing for you with all proper dispatch both the ‘Peninsular War’ and the ‘Book of the Church,’ and you will have the commencement of the first very shortly, and that of the second soon after it, for I am now as seriously at work as the summer interruptions of this place will admit. An hour or two before I left London, I found a card from
Sir George Dallas expressing a wish on the part of Mrs. Hastings to see me the next day at twelve. . . . From our connection with
Sir George Dallas, it appears to me that the proper plan will be to publish a selection from Warren Hastings’s papers and correspondence, accompanying it with his life. That life requires a compendious view of our Indian history down to the time of his administration, and in its progress it embraces the preservation of our Indian empire and the establishment of the existing system. Something must be interwoven concerning the history of the native powers, Mahomedan, Moor, Mahratta, &c., and their institutions. I see how all this is to be introduced, and see also that no subject can afford materials more important or more various. And what a pleasure it will be to read the triumph of such a man as Hastings over the tremendous combination of his persecutors at home! I had a noble catastrophe in writing the life of Nelson, but the latter days of Hastings afford a scene more touching, and perhaps more sublime, because it is more uncommon. Let me have the works of Orme and Bruce and Mill, and I will set apart a portion of every day to the cause of reading, and begin my notes accordingly.”

“October 28, 1820.—You ask me concerning the times, a subject on which, living in perfect peace, and out of the sphere of the prevailing madness, I am little qualified to form an opinion, except, indeed, the opinion which I have long held, that things must be worse before they are better. The Whigs will go on as they have begun, till an explosion takes place, and then we shall see who among them are fools and who traitors; the traitors will be five to one, but the fools are those who have the most weight to throw into the scale, provided the balance be not destroyed. I shall probably have something for you when it is time—some preventives and remedies to suggest; but we must wait for the proper season. I expect that my book of dialogues will produce some impression now, and some good in time. I mean to sweeten it, that it may go down, with descriptive sketches of the country, and some poems, so that there may be something for various tempers. Westall has made some sketches for it, and I shall spare no pains in the composition, designing that any reputation for political sagacity should rest upon this work. The ‘Book of the Church’ will so certainly do good, that I feel a sense of duty among
my motives for delaying it no longer. I could send you a portion now, but it will be better to advance further, that I may more accurately estimate its extent; the subject might easily tempt me to be more diffuse than I intended. You will really serve as well as oblige me, if you will let me have a duplicate set of proofs of my articles, that I may not lose the passages which
Mr. Gifford, in spite of repeated promises, always will strike out. In the last paper, among many other mutilations, the most useful fact in the essay, for its immediate practical application, has been omitted, and for no imaginable reason (the historical fact that it was the reading a calumnious libel which induced Felton to murder the Duke of Buckingham). When next I touch upon public affairs for you, I will break the Whigs upon the wheel.”

It will be observed from these extracts from Southey’s letters in one year, 1820, how entirely occupied he was with literary work. He went from subject to subject, planning many works which he had not the time or opportunity to elaborate—constantly reading, writing, and storing up knowledge. He could not accept Murray’s handsome offer of £500 per volume for six volumes of his ‘Biographies,’ expanded from the Quarterly, as his ‘Life of Nelson’ had been, because he was too much occupied in writing for daily bread. When reviewing Hayley’s Life, he wrote to his friend Bedford, “I am reviewing ‘Hayley’ to pay my midsummer bills.” When the ‘Book of the Church’ was finished, Murray offered 700 guineas for it, but Southey preferred to take his chance of half profits, believing it would become a valuable property. It would have been better for himself had he taken the cash down.

There seems to be a sort of fascination about periodical literature to those who once touch it. The Quarterly was certainly enough to absorb Mr. Murray’s spare energies, yet, after it had been fairly and successfully established, he was desirous also of having a monthly
periodical, as we have already seen. His acquaintance with
Blackwood, and consequent partnership in the Edinburgh Magazine, for a time satisfied this desire. After withdrawing from this, he contemplated starting a Foreign Quarterly Magazine. Then he was offered a share in the Sun newspaper, which he declined; and now, in 1820, we find him part proprietor with Mr. Croker of the Guardian newspaper, printed by Charles Knight, at Windsor.

Mr. Croker, when leaving London for Paris in company with Mrs. Croker, on the 24th of July, 1820, writes to Mr. Murray:—“The Guardian will apply to you for some of the weekly advances which we promised, and which you are to make on our joint account; you ought to watch and control their expenditure.”

Application was accordingly made to Mr. Murray by Street, the publisher. In his first letter he writes:—

“The fact is that you have almost always been out of town since the 27th of July—the time of the last advance. I should be very much obliged to you for part, if not the whole, of the arrears, as I have accepted a bill which becomes due on the 15th of October, which if not paid will subject me to great inconvenience.”

He proceeded to say that he had written to Mr. Croker, asking him to accept his resignation. In his next letter he requested Mr. Murray to advance him the arrears of £10 per week, for the purchase of stamps for the Guardian. This was followed by a letter from Charles Knight, intimating his fear lest the paper should be entirely stopped, Mr. Street gave no attention to the business—“Indeed, I may consider that he has abandoned it altogether.” There was, therefore, the greatest difficulty in procuring money for stamp and advertisement duty. The amount due for stamps, paper, and printing was about £500, and the paper makers and the stationers had refused to supply any more
paper and stamps. The result was that the concern was wound up, and the proprietors burnt their fingers. Mr. Murray was not, however, cured of his desire to establish a newspaper, as will be found from a future chapter of this biography.

Besides the pulls upon him on account of the Windsor newspaper, Mr. Murray had numerous applications for advances and loans to poor authors as well as to those who were not authors. The Hon. Augusta Leigh asked for a further loan, as she was “poverty’s self.” Ugo Foscolo requested a loan of £50. Mr. Salamé, author of Lord Exmouth’s ‘Expedition to Algiers,’ also wanted a loan of £250. John Miller, who was “very distressed, and at the last gasp,” wanted pecuniary help; and Charles Marsh had left an article for the Quarterly, for which (though not accepted) he desired to have £15, in addition to what he already had borrowed “as money on manuscripts deposited.”

At the beginning of 1821, Mr. Murray was strongly recommended to publish Mr., afterwards Sir Charles, Eastlake’sTranslation of Baron Bartholdy’s Memoirs of the Carbonari.’ Mr. Eastlake had been an art student at Rome, and was recommended by Mr. John Crawford as “a painter of very considerable merit,” and was at the same time introduced by Mr. Murray’s old friend, Mr. R. W. Hay. On Eastlake’s arrival in England, he put himself in communication with Mr. Murray, and sent his translation of ‘Memoires sur les Socie’tes Secretes dans le Midi de l’Italie,’ together with ‘Memoires sur le Brigandage dans le Midi de l’Italie.’ Baron Bartholdy required £1500 for the original and the translation. Mrs. Graham, who had seen Eastlake at Plymouth, and thought the manuscript most interesting, urged Mr. Murray to publish ‘The Carbonari;’ and he eventually acceded to her request.

Mrs. Graham to John Murray.
February 24th, 1821.

All great men have to pay the penalty of their greatness, and you, arch-bookseller as you are, must now and then be entreated to do many things you only half like to do. I shall half break my heart if you and Bartholdy do not agree.

* * * * * *

Now, whether you publish ‘The Carbonari’ or not, I bespeak your acquaintance for the translator, Mr. Eastlake. I want him to see the sort of thing that one only sees in your house, at your morning levies—the traffic of mind and literature, if I may call it so. To a man who has lived most of his grown up life out of England, it is both curious and instructive, and I wish for this advantage for my friend. And in return for what I want you to benefit him, by giving him the entrée to your rooms, I promise you great pleasure in having a gentleman of as much modesty as real accomplishment, and whose taste and talents as an artist must one day place him very high among our native geniuses. You and Mrs. Murray would, I am sure, love him as much as Captain Graham and I do. We met him at Malta on his return from Athens, where he had been with Lord Ruthven’s party. Thence he went to Sicily with Lord Leven. In Rome, we lived in the same house. He was with us at Poli, and last summer at Ascoli with Lady Westmoreland. I have told him that, when he goes to London, he must show you two beautiful pictures he has done for Lord Guilford, views taken in Greece. You will see that his pictures and Lord Byron’s poetry tell the same story of the ‘Land of the Unforgotten Brave.’ I envy you your morning visitors. I am really hungry for a new book. If you are so good as to send me any provision fresh from Murray’s shambles, as Mr. Rose says, address it to me, care of Wm. Eastlake, Esq., Plymouth. Love to Mrs. Murray and children.

Yours very gratefully and truly,
Maria Graham.

P.S.—If Graham has a ship given him at the time, and at the station promised, I shall be obliged to visit London towards the end of March or the beginning of April.


Mrs. Graham (afterwards Lady Callcott) was on very intimate terms with Mr. and Mrs. Murray, and became godmother to one of their daughters. She paid her visit to London in due course, and afterwards set out to accompany her husband in H.M.S. Doris, to the coast of South America, where we shall afterwards find her—an established favourite at the Court of the Emperor and Empress of Brazil.

Lord Byron’s works continued to be in great demand at home, and were soon pounced upon by the pirates in America and France. The Americans were beyond Murray’s reach, but the French were, to a certain extent, in his power. Galignani, the Paris publisher, wrote to Lord Byron, requesting the assignment to him of the right of publishing his poetry in France. Byron replied that his poems belonged to Mr. Murray, and were his “property by purchase, right, and justice,” and referred Galignani to him, “washing his hands of the business altogether.” M. Galignani then applied to Mr. Murray, who sent him the following answer:—

John Murray to M. Galignani.
January 16th, 1821.

I have received your letter requesting me to assign to you exclusively the right of printing Lord Byron’s works in France. In answer I shall state what you do not seem to be aware of, that for the copyright of these works you are printing for nothing, I have given the author upwards of £10,000. Lord Byron has sent me the assignment, regularly made, and dated April 20, 1818; and if you will send me £250 I will make it over to you. I have just received a Tragedy by Lord Byron, for the copyright of which I have paid £1050, and also three new cantos of Don Juan, for which I have paid £2100. What can you
afford to give me for the exclusive right of printing them in France upon condition that you receive them before any other bookseller? Your early reply will oblige

Your obedient Servant,
J. Murray.

M. Galignani then informed Mr. Murray that a pirated edition of Lord Byron’s works had been issued by another publisher, and was being sold for 10 francs; and that, if he would assign him the new Tragedy and the new Cantos of Don Juan, he would pay him £100, and be at the expense of the prosecution of the surreptitious publisher. But nothing was said about the payment of £250 for the issue of Lord Byron’s previous work.

In May 1821 Mr. Murray suffered a serious domestic calamity in the death of his second son William. Many condolences came to him from his intimate friends. Mr. Gifford, in his letter of the 24th, wrote:—

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.

“I say nothing of your recent loss, though I lament it from my heart. You have already reasoned sadly and wisely on the subject. You have still abundant blessings—still all the ingredients of rational happiness. Use them well and hope for the best results. I went this morning to the British Gallery, and am much pleased, though in constant pain. Pray remember me in the kindest manner to Mrs. Murray.”

Mr. Murray also received the kindest sympathy from Mrs. Graham, Mr. Barrow, Dr. Somerville (of Edinburgh), and Mr. Croker. The latter had recently suffered a similar bereavement, losing his only son. Writing to Mr. Murray he said:—

“All my books are at Munster House, whither I have not the courage to go; for the rooms there, that look so empty, are full of my poor boy.”


And now he said to his equally distressed friend:—

“You believe that I can pity you and Mrs. Murray though I have known too well the folly of all condolence to attempt it with you. But, in comparing your loss with my own, I see how incomparably less dreadful your losses, than that which has broken our hearts and blasted our hopes.”

Mr. Murray continued to publish poetry, though not to the same extent as before. “Here I am again! the plague of your life!” wrote Lady Dacre* to him, enclosing a collection of poems for private circulation, and desiring him to send copies to “the dear little Anacreon Moore,” to Mr. Gifford, Madame de Flahaut, Mr. Sotheby, Lady Maryborough, and others.† A few months later, she wrote to her publisher:—

Lady Dacre to John Murray.
November, 1821.
Dear Mr. Murray,

I did not even attempt to see you in my way through town, having found by experience that you are only to be taken as wasps are, by setting fire to your nest at Wimbledon and smoking you out. I could find it in my heart to do it but for the lady love and the baby bees.

In August 1821 Mr., afterwards Sir Charles Bell, entered into a correspondence with Mr. Murray as to the publication of the second edition of his ‘Essay on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting.’ Mr. Bell was not only an able surgeon (having been Professor of Surgery in Edinburgh), but an admirable draughtsman. He went to Waterloo, shortly after the battle, and made a series of

* Formerly Mrs. Wilmot.

Lady Dacre was afterwards the author of ‘Recollections of a Chaperon’ (1833), and ‘Trevelyan’ (1834).

rapid sketches, in water-colour, of patients in the various hospitals, which are unequalled for vividness and expression. These are now the property of the London Society of Apothecaries. Mr. Bell eventually settled in London, and became highly distinguished for his skill and professional knowledge. The ‘Anatomy of Expression’ was first published in 1806 by the
Longmans. Mr. Bell was not dissatisfied with their treatment, but he thought he might obtain some help from Mr. Murray as a friend as well as a publisher. The reasons for his application are best set forth in his own letter:—

Mr. Bell to John Murray.
August 25th, 1821.

An old West India debt of £200 has been unexpectedly demanded of me at this dead season, and this has spurred me to fulfil an intention which I have entertained for three or four years past, a revisal and addition to my work on ‘Expression,’ 4to. I published the first edition with the Longmans, on the plan of dividing profits. They wish to cut it down to an octavo. I wish to improve it, and make it more splendid. You will perceive how I am situated—pride and poverty at issue; no unfrequent situation of my countrymen. I wish to give you the property of this book, prescribing one handsome edition, with two additional essays and some spirited etchings in illustration; after which you might reprint it in what fashion you please, you in the meantime enabling me to meet this demand upon me by bills. The complication of the subject made me say that I wished for the advice of a friend. I must add that there is no misunderstanding betwixt me and the Longmans. I am inclined to believe they would do much to favour me. But I know you can do for me what I wish through this publication; that is, to have a work of some taste and judgment in the Arts before the public, and I would be sorry to sacrifice this object to a trifling present necessity.

I am, dear Sir, yours truly,
Charles Bell.

Mr. Murray undertook the publication of this work, as well as of other works, for his friend Sir Charles Bell.

Among his other correspondents, Mr. Murray had frequent communications with Miss Eleanor Annie Porden, daughter of Mr. Porden, architect, a great friend of Mr. Gifford, afterwards wife of Captain Franklin, the Arctic navigator. The first communication which we have before us was written on the 10th December, 1821, when she informed Mr. Murray that she had completed her revision of ‘Cœur de Lion.’ She also asked about her ‘Arctic Expedition,’ a poem which had appeared in 1818. A previous poem of hers ‘The Veils; or, the Triumph of Constancy,’ issued in 1815, had met with some success. It was the publication of ‘The Arctic Expedition’—suggested by her visit to the Isabella and Alexander, the discovery ships—which led to her making the acquaintance of Captain Franklin, and afterwards to her marriage to him in 1823. Mr. Murray also published the works of Captain (afterwards Sir John) Franklin as well as her own. Captain Franklin’s ‘Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea,’ 1819-22, appeared in 1823, and Mrs. Franklin’s ‘Cœur de Lion’ in 1824.*

Towards the end of 1821 Mr. Murray received a letter from Messrs. Longman & Company, intimating, in a friendly way, “you will see in a day or two, in the newspapers, an advertisement of Mrs. Rundell’s improved edition of her ‘Cookery Book,’ which she has placed in our hands for

* Mrs. Franklin died in the following year. Captain Franklin had submitted to the Government a plan for an expedition overland to the north-west extremity of America, with the object of surveying the coast between the Mackenzie and Copper Mine Rivers. He set out on the 16th February, 1825, and his wife died six days after he departure. Captain Franklin was absent more than two years, and about a year after his return in September 1827, he married again and afterwards received the honour of knighthood.

publication.” Now, the ‘Domestic Cookery,’ as enlarged and improved by Mr. Murray, had been one of his best properties. It had been written out from various receipts collected by Mrs. Rundell, while living at Swansea, in 1806. Previous works of the kind had been chiefly adapted to the requirements of large households or public institutions, but Mr. Murray at once discerned the need for a manual for family use, and suggested the admirable title ‘Domestic Cookery.’ The first edition was very imperfect, and Mr. Murray had taken considerable pains to improve it, sending to Mrs. Rundell several receipt books, from which she made extracts, assisted by her daughters, for the second edition.

Mrs. Rundell to John Murray.
July 4th, 1806.

I am sorry I am so slow with the second edition, and much vexed that ill-health delays it, as several of my young friends are just setting out in household concerns, and wish the book as a companion. I am indeed flattered to find it is deemed useful in its present defective state, and hope it will have more merit when reproduced.

And again:—

September 17th, 1808.
My dear Sir,

Your very handsome and most unexpected present I have just received; I can truly say I never had the smallest idea of any return for what I considered, and which really was, a free gift to one whom I had long regarded as my friend.

If in truth you have found my little work productive so far above your expectations as to render your very obliging enclosure a satisfaction to your own feelings, I will not affront your noble sentiment by returning it—although your persuasion of its being honourable to my poor abilities is really necessary to make me believe I do not err in accepting it.


I beg to return you my best acknowledgments, my dear sir, and to assure you, of what I however hope you do not doubt, that I am your obliged friend and obedient servant,

Maria Eliza Rundell.

The second edition, completed at Ambleside, where Mrs. Rundell was residing with her daughters, was submitted to the inspection and correction of Mr. Nott; and Frances Ann (Mrs. Rundell’s daughter) wrote to Mr. Murray that “we shall feel less terror in presenting it to the world after it has passed through his hands.” The proofs of this edition had, according to Mrs. Rundell, “been miserably prepared for the press.” “Pray employ some proper person to correct it after me, I beg.” In sending in the “copy,” Mrs. Rundell said: “As to receiving remuneration for such trifles, I beg you will not think of it, especially as I do not consider you under any obligation for them, being actuated to the work by a desire, for my own sake, to make the work as good as in my power, from its being generally known to come from my pen.”

The correspondence with Mrs. Rundell ceased, and Mr. Murray took the editing, correction, and improvement of the ‘Domestic Cookery’ into his own hands. He not only had the whole work thoroughly revised by efficient editors,* who added many new receipts and omitted much that was useless or out of date, but introduced numerous engravings, showing the proper method of carving and how dishes ought to be served up. He thus made the work virtually a new one, and, by means of constant advertising, he eventually succeeded in making it a valuable property. He was always on the look-out for new contributors for the ‘Cookery.’ When Moore informed him that

* One of them was Dr. Charles Taylor, of the Society of Arts.

Lady Morgan was willing to write something for his Library, he asked, “Isn’t Lady Morgan a good cook?”—“Why?” “Perhaps she would do something in that line.” “Why, you don’t mean,” said Moore, “that she should write a cookery book for you?” “No,” answered Murray, coolly, “but I thought she might re-edit mine.”

When Mr. Murray heard of Mrs. Rundell’s intention to bring out her Cookery Book through the Longmans, he consulted his legal adviser, Mr. Sharon Turner, who recommended that an injunction should at once be taken out to restrain the publication, and retained Mr. Littleday and Mr. Serjeant Copley for Mr. Murray. The injunction was duly granted. Mr. Turner wrote to Mr. Rees, one of the Longmans’ partners, as follows:—

Mr. Sharon Turner to Mr. Rees.
January 1st, 1822.

I am sorry that any difference should arise about the ‘Domestic Cookery.’ But the facts stand thus. The Chancellor has granted an injunction to restrain from writing and publishing any edition of that part of the work which belongs to Mr. Murray, or any part of it under that title, or with their embellishments and arrangements and from making any use whatever of the title and embellishments and arrangements made by Mr. Murray. Now, your announcement, I think, will bring you in the scope of this, for it expressly makes an important use of the title.

He proceeded to say that Mr. Murray had given orders to take immediate steps if the injunction should be infringed, and also that Mr. Murray’s right of publishing continued unrestricted.

Mrs. Rundell gave notice of her intention to move the Lord Chancellor to dissolve the injunction, and Mr.
Longman offered to act as a mediator between Mr. Murray and Mrs. Rundell. To this proposal Mr. Sharon Turner sent the following communication:—

Mr. Sharon Turner to Mr. Longman.
January 15th, 1822.

“I thank you for your letter. But you have not a more full conviction of your right to any of your most certain copyrights than Mr. Murray has of his as to the ‘Domestic Cookery.’ And, as the Chancellor takes the same view of it, the matter must be determined by legal authority.”

The result of the litigation, which lasted for some time, was that Mr. Murray voluntarily agreed to pay to Mrs. Rundell £2000, in full of all claims, and her costs and expenses. The Messrs. Longman were to deliver to Mr. Murray the stereotype plates of her Cookery Book, and they stopped all further advertisements of Mrs. Rundell’s work. Mr. Sharon Turner thus sums up the result of the controversy:—

Mr. Sharon Turner to John Murray.
Dear Murray,

The discussion on the Cookery Book has made but one impression everywhere, and highly to your credit. Even the Literary Gazette, which you do not, I believe, much befriend, showed this feeling. I told Mr. Shadwell what you had authorized me to do if they abandoned all legal proceedings, and he expressed himself strongly on your handsome conduct. Mrs. R., therefore, has only augmented your reputation by her attack, and this is really one of the highest prizes of human life, which few get, or, if they get, can keep. As Home and Shadwell took much pains, I think if you were to send them each a copy of the Cookery Book, and (as a novelty) of ‘Cain,’ it would please them.

Ever yours, sincerely and obliged,
Sh. Turner.

The result was that Mr. Murray continued to hold complete control of the ‘Domestic Cookery,’ and that it long continued to be one of his most popular publications. When Moore heard that £2000 had been given for the copyright, he was astonished. “Gad!” said Luttrell, “one wonders that there should be any bad dinners going.” Moore continues, in his Diary:* “I called at Pickering’s, in Chancery Lane, who showed me the original agreement between Milton and Symonds for the payment of five pounds for ‘Paradise Lost.’ The contrast of this sum with the £2000 given by Mr. Murray for Mrs. Rundell’s ‘Cookery’ comprises a history in itself. Pickering, too, gave forty-five guineas for this agreement, three times as much as the sum given for the poem.”

* ‘Moore: Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence,’ v. p. 119.