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

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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After the calamitous affair of the Representative, Mr. Murray saw but little of the Disraeli family, but at the commencement of 1830, Mr. Benjamin Disraeli once more applied to him for an interview. Mr. Disraeli had, in the meanwhile, appeared as an author. He visited Germany in his eighteenth year, and on his return he proceeded to write the novel of ‘Vivian Grey,’ the first two volumes of which were published in 1826, and the third in the following year. The work was well received, and is now regarded as, in some measure, a prediction of his own future life. Mr. Murray, however, in whose mind the former episode was still fresh, was unwilling to accede to this request, and replied in the third person.

John Murray to Mr. B. Disraeli.

Mr. Murray is obliged to decline at present any personal interview; but if Mr. Benjamin Disraeli is disposed to confide his MS. to Mr. Murray as a man of business, Mr. Disraeli is assured that the proposal will be entertained in every respect with the strictest honour and impartiality.”

Mr. B. Disraeli to John Murray.
Union Hotel, Cockspur Street, 1830.

The object of my interview with you is purely literary. It has always been my wish, if it ever were my fate to
write anything calculated to arrest public attention, that you should be the organ of introducing it to public notice. A letter I received this morning from my elected critic was the reason of my addressing myself to you.

I am sorry that Mr. Mitchell is out of town, because he is a person in whom you rightly have confidence; but from some observations he made to me the other day it is perhaps not to be regretted that he does not interfere in this business. As he has overrated some juvenile indiscretions of mine, I fear he is too friendly a critic.

I am thus explicit because I think that candour, for all reasons, is highly desirable. If you feel any inclination to pursue this affair, act as you like, and fix upon any critic you please. I have no objection to Mr. Lockhart, who is certainly an able one, and is, I believe, influenced by no undue partiality towards me.

At all events, this is an affair of no great importance—and whatever may be your determination, it will not change the feelings which, on my part, influenced this application. I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,
Benj. Disraeli.

P.S.—I think it proper to observe that I cannot crudely deliver my MS. to any one. I must have the honour of seeing you or your critic. I shall keep this negotiation open for a couple of days—that is, I shall wait for your answer till Tuesday morning, although, from particular circumstances, time is important to me.

Mr. Disraeli was about to make a prolonged journey abroad. Before he set out he again wrote to Mr. Murray:

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Bradenham, Berks, May 27th, 1830.

I am unwilling to leave England, which I do on Saturday, without noticing your last communication, because I should regret very much if you were to misconceive the motives which actuated me in not complying with the suggestion
therein contained. I can assure you I leave in perfect confidence both in your “honour” and your “impartiality,” for the first I have never doubted, and the second it is your interest to exercise.

The truth is, my friend and myself differed in the estimate of the MS. alluded to, and while I felt justified, from his opinion, in submitting it to your judgment, I felt it due to my own to explain verbally the contending views of the case, for reasons which must be obvious.

As you forced me to decide, I decided as I thought most prudently. The work is one which, I dare say, would neither disgrace you to publish, nor me to write; but it is not the kind of production which should recommence our connection, or be introduced to the world by the publisher of Byron and Anastasius.

I am now about to leave England for an indefinite, perhaps a long period. When I return, if I do return, I trust it will be in my power for the third time to endeavour that you should be the means of submitting my works to the public. For this I shall be ever ready to make great sacrifices, and let me therefore hope that when I next offer my volumes to your examination, like the Sibylline books, their inspiration may at length be recognized.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
B. Disraeli.
John Murray to Mr. Disraeli.
May 29th, 1830.

Mr. Murray acknowledges the receipt of Mr. Benjamin Disraeli’s polite letter of the 27th. Mr. Murray will be ready at all times to receive any MS. which Mr. B. Disraeli may think proper to confide to him. Mr. Murray hopes the result of Mr. Disraeli’s travels will complete the restoration of his health, and the gratification of his expectations.”

Nearly two years passed before Mr. Disraeli returned to England from those travels in Spain, the Mediterranean and the Levant, which are so admirably described in his
Home Letters,’* and which appear to have exercised so powerful an influence on his own character, and his subsequent career. Shortly after his return, he wrote to Mr. Murray:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Bradenham House, Wycombe,
February 10th, 1832.

I have at length completed a work which I wish to submit to your consideration. In so doing, I am influenced by the feelings I have already communicated to you. If you retain the wish expressed in a note which I received at Athens in the autumn of 1830, I shall have the honour of forwarding the MS. to you. Believe me, Sir, whatever may be the result,

Very cordially yours,
Benj. Disraeli.

The MS. of the work was at once forwarded to Mr. Murray, who was, however, averse to publishing it without taking the advice of his friends. He first sent it to Mr. Lockhart, requesting him to read it and pronounce his opinion.

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
March 3rd, 1832.

“I can’t say what ought to be done with this book. To me, knowing whose it is, it is full of interest; but the affectations and absurdities are such that I can’t but think they would disgust others more than the life and brilliancy of many of the descriptions would please them. You should send it to Milman without saying who is the author.—J. G. L.

* ‘Home Letters,’ written by the late Earl of Beaconsfield in 1830 and 1831. London, 1885.


The MS. was accordingly sent to Mr. Milman, but as he was very ill at the time, and could not read it himself, but transferred it to his wife, much delay occurred in its perusal. Meanwhile, Mr. Disraeli became very impatient about the publication, and again wrote:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
March 4th, 1832.
My Dear Sir,

I wish that I could simplify our arrangements by a stroke by making you a present of ‘The Psychological Romance’; but at present you must indeed take the will for the deed, although I hope the future will allow us to get on more swimmingly. That work has, in all probability, cost me more than I shall ever obtain by it, and indeed I may truly say that to write that work I have thrown to the winds all the obvious worldly prospects of life.

I am ready to make every possible sacrifice on my part to range myself under your colours. I will willingly give up the immediate and positive receipt of a large sum of money for the copyright, and by publishing the work anonymously renounce that certain sale which, as a successful, although I confess not very worthy author, I can command. But in quitting my present publisher, I incur, from the terms of our last agreement, a virtual penalty, which I have no means to pay excepting from the proceeds of my pen. Have you, therefore, any objection to advance me a sum on the anticipated profits of the edition, not exceeding two hundred pounds?

It grieves me much to appear exacting to you, but I frankly tell you the reason, and, as it will enable me to place myself at your disposal, I hope you will not consider me mercenary, when I am indeed influenced by the most sincere desire to meet your views.

If this modification of your arrangement will suit you, as I fervently trust it will, I shall be delighted to accede to your wishes. In that case let me know without loss of time, and pray let us meet to talk over minor points, as to the mode of publication, &c. I shall be at home all the morning; my time is very much occupied, and on Thursday
or Friday I must run down, for a day or two, to Wycombe to attend a public meeting.*

Fervently trusting that this arrangement will meet your wishes,

Believe me, yours,
Benj. Disraeli.

While the MS. was still in Mr. Milman’s hands, Mr. Disraeli followed this up with another letter:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
35 Duke Street, St. James’s.
My Dear Sir,

I am very sensible that you have conducted yourself, with regard to my MS. in the most honourable, kind, and judicious manner; and I very much regret the result of your exertions, which neither of us deserve.

I can wait no longer. The delay is most injurious to me, and in every respect very annoying. I am therefore under the painful necessity of requesting you to require from your friend the return of my work without a moment’s delay, but I shall not deny myself the gratification of thanking you for your kindness and subscribing myself, with regard,

Your faithful Servant,
Benj. Disraeli.

At length Mr. Milman’s letter arrived, expressing his judgment on the work, which was much more satisfactory than that of Mr. Lockhart.

The Rev. H. H. Milman to John Murray.
Reading, March 5th, 1832.
My dear Sir,

I have been utterly inefficient for the last week, in a state of almost complete blindness; but am now, I trust,

* Mr. Disraeli was then a candidate, on the Radical side, for the Borough of Wycombe.

nearly restored.
Mrs. Milman, however, has read to me the whole of the MS. It is a very remarkable production—very wild, very extravagant, very German, very powerful, very poetical. It will, I think, be much read—as far as one dare predict anything of the capricious taste of the day—much admired, and much abused. It is much more in the Macaulay than in the Croker line, and the former is evidently in the ascendant. Some passages will startle the rigidly orthodox; the phrenologists will be in rapture. I tell you all this, that you may judge for yourself. One thing insist upon, if you publish it—that the title be changed. The whole beauty, of the latter part especially, is its truth. It is a rapid volume of travels, a ‘Childe Harold’ in prose; therefore do not let it be called “a Romance” on any account. Let those who will, believe it to be a real history, and those who are not taken in, dispute whether it is truth or fiction. If it makes any sensation, this will add to its notoriety ‘A Psychological Auto-Biography’ would be too sesquipedalian a title; but ‘My Life Psychologically Related,’ or ‘The Psychology of my Life,’ or some such title, might be substituted.

H. H. Milman.

Before Mr. Milman’s communication had been received, another pressing letter arrived from Mr. Disraeli.

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
My dear Sir,

It is with deep regret and some mortification that I appear to press you. It is of the highest importance to me that the ‘P. R.’ should appear without loss of time. I have an impending election in the country, which a single and not improbable event may precipitate. It is a great object with me, that my work should be published before that election.

Its rejection by you will only cause me sorrow. I have no desire that you should become its publisher, unless you conceive it may be the first of a series of works, which may support your name, and sustain your fortunes. There is no question of pecuniary matters between us; I leave all these with you, with illimitable trust.

Pray, pray, my dear Sir, do not let me repeat the feelings
’Contarini Fleming.’339
which impel me to seek this renewal of our connection. I entreat therefore your attention to this subject, and request that you will communicate your decision.

Believe me, as I have already said, that whatever that decision may be, I shall not the less consider myself,

Very cordially yours,
B. Disraeli.

And again, in a subsequent letter, Mr. Disraeli said:—

“There is no work of fiction on whose character I could not decide in four-and-twenty hours, and your critic ought not to be less able than your author. Pray, therefore, to communicate without loss of time to your obedient faithful servant.

“B. D.”

On receiving Mr. Milman’s approval, Mr. Murray immediately made up his mind to publish the work. He wrote to Mr. Disraeli:—

John Murray to Mr. Disraeli.
March 6th, 1832.
My Dear Sir,

Your MS. has this moment been returned to me, accompanied by a commendation which enables me to say that I should be proud of being its publisher. But in these times I am obliged to refrain from speculation, and I cannot offer any sum for it that is likely to be equal to its probable value.

I would, however, if it so please you, print at my expense an edition of 1200 or 1500 copies, and give you half the profits; and after the sale of this edition, the copyright shall be entirely your own; so that if the work prove as successful as I anticipate, you will ensure all the advantages of it without incurring any risque.

If this proposal should not suit you, I beg to add that I shall, for the handsome offer of your work in the first instance, still remain,

Your obedient Servant,
John Murray.

Some further correspondence took place as to the title of the work. “What do you think,” said Mr. Disraeli, “of the ‘Psychological Memoir’? I hesitate between this and ‘Narrative,’ but discard ‘History’ or ‘Biography.’ On survey, I conceive the MS. will make four Byronic tomes, according to the pattern you were kind enough to show me.” The work was at length published in 4 vols., foolscap 8vo., with the title of ‘Contarini Fleming: a Psychological Biography.’

Before the appearance of the work, Mr. Disraeli wrote to Mr. Murray as follows:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Bradenham House, May 6th, 1832.
Dear Sir,

From the notice of “C. F.” in the Literary Gazette, which I received this morning, I imagine that Jerdan has either bribed the printer, or purloined some sheets. It is evident that he has only seen the last volume. It is unnecessary for me to observe that such premature notice, written in such complete ignorance of the work, can do no good. I think that he should be reprimanded, and his petty larceny arrested. I shall be in town on Tuesday.

B. D.

The work, when it appeared in 1833, excited considerable sensation, and was very popular at the time of its publication. It is now included in the uniform edition of Lord Beaconsfield’s works.

During his travels in the East, Mr. Disraeli was attended by Lord Byron’s faithful gondolier, who had accompanied his master to Missolonghi, and remained with him till his death.

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Duke Street, July 5th, 1832.
Dear Sir,

I have just returned to town, and will call in Albemarle Street as soon as I can. Tita, Lord Byron’s faithful servant, and who was also my travelling companion in the East, called upon me this morning. I thought you might wish to see one so intimately connected with the lost bard, and who is himself one of the most deserving creatures in the world.

Yours faithfully,
B. Disraeli.

At the same time that Mr. Disraeli was engaged on his novel, he was busy with another, but this time a political work entitled ‘England and France: a Cure for the Ministerial Gallomania,’ dedicated to Lord Grey. The first letter on the subject—after Mr. Murray had agreed to publish the work—appears to have been the following, from Bradenham, Monday night, but without the date:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Dear Sir,

By to-morrow’s coach, at your desire, I send you one-half of the volume, which, however, is not in the finished state I could have wished. I have materials for any length, but it is desirable to get out without a moment’s loss of time. It has been suggested to publish a volume periodically, and let this come out as No. I; so as to establish a journal of general foreign politics, for which there are ample means of first-rate information. I have not been able even to revise what is sent, but it will sufficiently indicate the work.

I am to meet a personage on Thursday evening in town, and read over the whole to him. It is therefore absolutely necessary that the MS. should be returned to you on Thursday morning, and I will call in Albemarle Street the
moment of my arrival, which will be about four o’clock. If in time, acknowledge the receipt by return of post.

The remaining portion of the volume consists of several more dramatic scenes in Paris, a view of the character and career of L. P.* a most curious chapter on the conduct of the Diplomatists, and a general view of the state of Europe at the moment of publication. Pray be cautious, and above all let me depend upon your having the MS. on Thursday, otherwise, as Liston says in ‘Love, Law and Physic,’ “we shall get all shot.”

B. D.
Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Friday, 11 o’clock.
My dear Sir,

I much regret that I missed you yesterday, but I called upon you the instant I arrived. I very much wish to talk over the ‘Gallomania,’ and will come on to you, if it be really impossible for you to pay me a visit. I have so much at this moment on my hands, that I should esteem such an incident, not only an honour, but a convenience.

B. D.

There seems to have been a difference of opinion between the author and the publisher respecting the title of the book:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Dear Sir,

I have a great respect for your judgment, especially on the subject of titles, as I have shown in another instance, one which I shall ever regret. In the present, I shall be happy to receive from you any suggestion, but I can offer none. To me the Gallomania (or mania for what is French) appears to be one of the most felicitous titles ever devised. It is comprehensive, it is explicit, it is poignant and intelligible, as I should suppose, to learned and unlearned. The word Anglomania is one of the commonest on the other side of the channel, is repeated daily in almost

* Louis Philippe.

every newspaper; has been the title of one or two works; and of the best farce in the French language. It is here also common and intelligible.

There is no objection to erasing the epithet “New,” if you think it loads the title.

Yours truly,
B. D.

The three following letters were written on the same day:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Duke Street, March 30th, 1832.
Dear Sir,

I am going to dine with Baron D’Haussez, Baron de Haber, et hoc genus, to-day, and must report progress, otherwise they will think I am trifling with them. Have you determined on a title? What think you of ‘A Cure for the Ministerial Gallomania,’ and advertise, dedicated to Lord Grey. Pray decide. You are aware I have not yet received a proof. Affairs look awkward in France. Beware lest we are a day after the fair, and only annalists instead of prophets.

Your very faithful Servant,
B. Disraeli.
Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
March 30th.
Dear Sir,

I think it does very well, and I hope you are also satisfied. I shall send you the rest of the MS. to-morrow morning. There is a very remarkable chapter on Louis Philippe which is at present with Baron D’Haussez; and this is the reason I have not forwarded it to you. I keep the advertisement to show them.

B. D.
My dear Sir,

In further answer to your note received this evening, I think it proper to observe that I entirely agree with you that I “am bound to make as few alterations as possible,”
coming as they do from such a quarter; and I have acted throughout in such a spirit. All alterations and omissions of consequence are in this first sheet, and I have retained in the others many things of which I do not approve, merely on account of my respect for the source from whence they are derived.

While you remind me of what I observed to your son, let me also remind you of the condition with which my permission was accompanied, viz.: that everything was to be submitted to my approval, and subject to my satisfaction. On this condition I have placed the proofs in the hands of several persons not less distinguished than your friend,* and superior even in rank and recent office. Their papers are on my table, and I shall be happy to show them to you, I will mention one: the chapter on Belgium was originally written by the Plenipotentiary of the King of Holland to the Conference, Baron Van Zuylen. Scarcely a line of the original composition remains, although a very able one, because it did not accord with the main design of the book.

With regard to the omission, pp. 12, 13, I acknowledge its felicity; but it is totally at variance with every other notice of M. de Talleyrand in the work, and entirely dissonant with the elaborate mention of him in the last chapter. When the reviser introduced this pungent remark, he had never even read the work he was revising.

With regard to the authorship of this work, I should never be ashamed of being considered the author. I should be proud to be; but I am not. It is written by Legion, but I am one of them, and I bear the responsibility. If it be supposed to be written by a Frenchman, all its good effects must be marred, as it seeks to command attention and interest by its purely British spirit.

I have no desire to thrust my acquaintance on your critic. More than once, I have had an opportunity to form that acquaintance, and more than once I have declined it, but I am ready to bear the brunt of explanation, if you desire me. It is quite impossible that anything adverse to the general measure of Reform can issue from my pen or from anything to which I contribute. Within these four months

* Mr. Croker, with Mr. B. Disraeli’s knowledge, revised the proofs.

I have declined being returned for a Tory borough, and almost within these four hours, to mention slight affairs, I have refused to inscribe myself a member of “The Conservative Club.” I cannot believe that you will place your critic’s feelings for a few erased passages against my permanent interest.

But in fact these have nothing to do with the question. To convenience you, I have no objection to wash my hands of the whole business, and put you in direct communication with my coadjutors. I can assure you that it is from no regard for my situation that Reform was omitted, but because they are of opinion that its notice would be unwise and injurious. For myself, I am ready to do anything that you can desire, except entirely change my position in life.

I will see your critic, if you please, or you can give up the publication and be reimbursed, which shall make no difference in our other affairs. All I ask in this and all other affairs, are candour and decision.

The present business is most pressing. At present I am writing a chapter on Poland from intelligence just received, and it will be ready for the printer to-morrow morning, as I shall finish it before I retire. I await your answer with anxiety.

Yours truly,
B. D.

Mr. Disraeli was evidently intent upon the immediate publication of his work. On the following day he wrote again to Mr. Murray:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
March 31st, 1832.
My dear Sir,

We shall have an opportunity of submitting the work to Count Orloff to-morrow morning, in case you can let me have a set of the proofs to-night, I mean as far as we have gone. I do not like to send mine, which are covered with corrections.

Yours truly,
B. D.
Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
Monday morning, 9 o’clock [April 2],
Dear Sir,

Since I had the honour of addressing you the note of last night, I have seen the Baron. Our interview was intended to have been a final one, and it was therefore absolutely necessary that I should apprize him of all that had happened, of course concealing the name of your friend. The Baron says that the insertion of the obnoxious passages is fatal to all his combinations; that he has devoted two months of the most valuable time to this affair, and that he must hold me personally responsible for the immediate fulfilment of my agreement, viz.: to ensure its publication when finished.

We dine at the same house to-day, and I have pledged myself to give him a categorical reply at that time, and to ensure its publication by some mode or other.

Under these principal circumstances, my dear sir, I can only state that the work must be published at once, and with the omission of all passages hostile to Reform; and that if you are unwilling to introduce it in that way, I request from your friendliness such assistance as you can afford me about the printer, &c., to occasion its immediate publication in some other quarter.

After what took place between myself and my coadjutor last night, I really can have for him only one answer or one alternative, and as I wish to give him the first, and ever avoid the second, I look forward with confidence to your answer.

B. D.

Mr. Disraeli next desires to have a set of the proofs to put into the hands of the Duke of Wellington:—

Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
April 6th, 1832.
My dear Sir,

I have just received a note, that if I can get a set of clean proofs by Sunday, they will be put in the Duke’s hands preliminary to the debate. I thought you would like to know this. Do you think it impossible? Let this be between us. I am sorry to give you all this trouble, but I
know your zeal, and the interest you take in these affairs. I myself will never keep the printer, and engage when the proofs are sent me to prepare them for the press within an hour.

B. D.
Mr. Disraeli to John Murray.
My dear Sir,

I am very glad to receive the copy. I think that one should be sent to the editor of the Times as quickly as possible; that at least he should not be anticipated in the receipt, even if in the notice, by a Sunday paper. But I leave all this to your better judgment. You will send copies to Duke Street as soon as you have them.

B. D.

After the article in the Times had appeared, Baron de Haber, a mysterious German gentleman of Jewish extraction, who had taken part in the production of ‘Gallomania,’ wrote to Mr. Murray:—

Baron de Haber to John Murray.
2 Mai, 1832.
Mon Cher Monsieur,

J’espère que vous serez content de l’article de Times sur la ‘Gallomania.’ C’est un grand pas de fait. Il serait utile que le Standard et le Morning Post le copie en entière, avec des observations dans son sens. C’est à vous, mon cher Monsieur Murray, de soigner cet objet. J’ai infiniment regretté de ne m’être pas trouvé chez moi hier, lorsque vous êtes venu me voir, avec l’aimable Mr. Lockhart.

Tout a vous,
De H.
Baron de Haber to John Murray.
Mon Cher Monsieur Murray,

Vous désirez dans l’intérêt de l’ouvrage faire mentionner dans le Standard que le Times d’aujourd’hui paroît
être assez d’accord avec l’auteur de la ‘
Gallomania’ sur M. Thiers, esperant que de jour en jour il reviendra aux idées de cet auteur.

Il seroit aussi convenable de dire que la prophetic dans la lettre à My Lord Grey êtait assez juste: Allusion—“In less than a month we shall no doubt hear of their warm reception in the Provinces, and of some gratifying, perhaps startling, demonstrations of national gratitude.” Voyez, mon cher Monsieur, comme depuis 8 jours ces pauvres Députés qui ont vote pour le Ministre sont traités.

Si vous êtes à la maison ce soir, dites-le-moi, je dêsire vous parler. Dinez-vous chez-vous?

Votre dévoué,
De H.

The following announcement was published by Mr. Disraeli in reply to certain criticisms of his work:—

“I cannot allow myself to omit certain observations of my able critic without remarking that those omissions are occasioned by no insensibility to their acuteness.

“Circumstances of paramount necessity render it quite impossible that anything can proceed from my pen hostile to the general question of Reform.

“Independent however of all personal considerations, and viewing the question of Reform for a moment in the light in which my critic evidently speculates, I would humbly suggest that the cause which he advocates would perhaps be more united in the present pages by being passed over in silence. It is important that this work should be a work not of party but of national interest, and I am induced to believe that a large class in this country, who think themselves bound to support the present administration from a superficial sympathy with their domestic measures, have long viewed their foreign policy with distrust and alarm.

“If the public are at length convinced that Foreign Policy, instead of being an abstract and isolated division of the national interests, is in fact the basis of our empire and present order, and that this basis shakes under the unskilful government of the Cabinet, the public may be induced to withdraw their confidence from that Cabinet altogether.

“With this exception, I have adopted all the additions
and alterations that I have yet had the pleasure of seeing without reserve, and I seize this opportunity of expressing my sense of their justness and their value.

The Author of ‘Gallomania.’”*

The next person whom we shall introduce to the reader was one who had but little in common with Mr. Benjamin Disraeli, except that, like him, he had at that time won but little of that world-wide renown which he was afterwards to achieve. This “writer of books,” as he described himself, was no other than Thomas Carlyle, who, when he made the acquaintance of Mr. Murray, had translated Goethe’sWilhelm Meister,’ written the ‘Life of Schiller,’ and several articles in the Reviews; but was not yet known as a literary man of mark. He was living among the bleak, bare moors of Dumfriesshire at Craigenputtock, where he was consoled at times by visits from Jeffrey and Emerson, and by letters from Goethe, where he wrote that strange and rhapsodical book ‘Sartor Resartus,’ containing a considerable portion of his own experience. After the MS. was nearly finished, he wrapt it in a piece of paper, put it in his pocket, and started for Dumfries, on his way to London.

Lord Jeffrey, then Lord Advocate, recommended Carlyle to try Murray, because, “in spite of its radicalism, he would be the better publisher.” Lord Jeffrey wrote to Mr. Murray on the subject, without mentioning Carlyle’s name:—

Lord Jeffrey to John Murray.
May 1st, 1831.

Lord Jeffrey understands that the earlier chapters of this work (which is the production of a friend of his) were

* Several references are made to ‘Contarini Fleming’ and ‘Gallomania’ in ‘Lord Beaconfield’s Letters to his Sister,’ published in 1887.

shown some months ago to
Mr. Murray (or his reader), and were formally judged of; though, from its incomplete state, no proposal for its publication could then be entertained. What is now sent completes it; the earlier chapters being now under the final perusal of the author.

Lord Jeffrey, who thinks highly of the author’s abilities, ventures to beg Mr. Murray to look at the MS. now left with him, and to give him, as soon as possible, his opinion as to its probable success on publication; and also to say whether he is willing to undertake it, and on what terms.”

Carlyle, who was himself at the time in London, called upon Mr. Murray, and left with him a portion of the manuscript, and an outline of the proposed volume.

Mr. Carlyle to John Murray.
6 Woburn Buildings, Tavistock Square,
Wednesday, August 10th, 1831.
Dear Sir,

I here send you the MS. concerning which I have, for the present, only to repeat my urgent request that no time may be lost in deciding on it. At latest, next Wednesday I shall wait upon you, to see what further, or whether anything further is to be done.

In the meanwhile, it is perhaps unnecessary to say, that the whole business is strictly confidential; the rather, as I wish to publish anonymously.

I remain, dear Sir, yours truly,
Thomas Carlyle.

Be so kind as write, by the bearer, these two words. “MS. received.”

When Carlyle called a second time Murray was not at home, but he found that the parcel containing the MS. had not been opened. He again wrote to the publisher on the following Friday:—

Mr. Carlyle to John Murray.
Dear Sir,

As I am naturally very anxious to have this little business that lies between us off my hands—and, perhaps, a few minutes’ conversation would suffice to settle it all—I will again request, in case I should be so unlucky as to miss you in Albemarle Street, that you would have the goodness to appoint me a short meeting at any, the earliest, hour that suits your convenience.

I remain, dear Sir, yours truly,
Thomas Carlyle.

This was followed up by a letter from Lord Jeffrey:—

Lord Jeffrey to John Murray.
Sunday, August 28th, 1831.
My Dear Sir,

Will you favour me with a few minutes’ conversation, any morning of this week (the early part of it, if possible), on the subject of my friend Carlyle’s projected publication. I have looked a little into the MS. and can tell you something about it.

Believe me, always, very faithfully yours,
F. Jeffrey.

The interview between Lord Jeffrey and Murray led to an offer for the MS.

Mr. Carlyle to John Murray.
Dear Sir,

I have seen the Lord Advocate [Jeffrey], who informs me that you are willing to print an edition of 750 copies of my MS., at your own cost, on the principle of what is called “half profits;” the copyright of the book after that to belong to myself.

I came down at present to say that, being very anxious to have you as a publisher, and to see my book put forth soon, I am ready to accede to these terms; and I should
like much to meet you, or hear from you, at your earliest convenience, that the business might be actually put in motion. I much incline to think, in contrasting the character of my little speculation with the character of the times, that now (even in these months, say in November) were the best season for emitting it. Hoping soon to see all this pleasantly settled,

I remain, dear Sir, yours truly,
Thomas Carlyle.

Mr. Murray was willing to undertake the risk of publishing 750 copies, and thus to allow the author to exhibit his literary wares to the public. Even if the whole edition had sold, the pecuniary results to both author and publisher would have been comparatively trifling, but as the copyright was to remain in the author’s possession, and he would have been able to make a much better bargain with the future editions, the terms may be considered very liberal, having regard to the exceptional nature of the work. Mr. Carlyle, however, who did not know the usual custom of publishers, had in the meantime taken away his MS. and offered it to other publishers in London, evidently to try whether he could not get a better bid for his book. Even Lord Jeffrey thought it “was too much of the nature of a rhapsody, to command success or respectful attention.” The publishers thought the same. Carlyle took the MS. to Fraser of Regent Street, who offered to publish it if Carlyle would give him a sum not exceeding £150 sterling. He had already been to Longmans & Co., offering them his ‘German Literary History,’ but they declined to publish the work, and he now offered them his ‘Sartor Resartus,’ with a similar result. He also tried Colburn and Bentley, but without success. When Murray, then at Ramsgate, heard that Carlyle had been offering his book to other publishers, he wrote to him:—

John Murray to Mr. Carlyle.
September 17th, 1831.
Dear Sir,

Your conversation with me respecting the publication of your MS. led me to infer that you had given me the preference, and certainly not that you had already submitted it to the greatest publishers in London, who had declined to engage in it. Under these circumstances it will be necessary for me also to get it read by some literary friend, before I can, in justice to myself, engage in the printing of it.

I am, dear Sir, your faithful servant,
John Murray.

Mr. Murray, accordingly, on his return to London, submitted the MS. to one of his literary advisers, probably Lockhart, whose reply was not very satisfactory. He thought it might be a translation. The work displayed, here and there, some felicity of thought and expression, with considerable fancy and knowledge, but whether or not it would take with the public seemed doubtful. Mr. Murray thought it better, in the circumstances, to return the MS. to Mr. Carlyle, and he wrote to him accordingly. Carlyle answered as follows:—

Mr. Carlyle to John Murray.
September 19th, 1831.

I am this moment favoured with your note of the 17th, and beg to say, in reply,—

First.—That your idea, derived from conversation with me, of my giving you the preference to all other Publishers, was perfectly correct. I had heard you described as a man of honour, frankness, and even generosity, and knew you to have the best and widest connexions; on which grounds, I might well say, and can still well say, that a transaction with you would please me better than a similar one with any other member of the Trade.


Secondly.—That your information, of my having submitted my MS. to the greatest publishers in London, if you mean that, after coming out of your hands, it lay two days in those of Messrs. Longman and Rees, and was from them delivered over to the Lord Advocate, is also perfectly correct: if you mean anything else, incorrect.

Thirdly.—That if you wish the Bargain, which I had understood myself to have made with you, unmade, you have only to cause your Printer, who is now working on my MS., to return the same, without damage or delay, and consider the business as finished.

I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
Thomas Carlyle.

As Mr. Carlyle was unwilling to entertain the idea of taking his manuscript home with him, and none of the other publishers would accept it, he urgently requested Mr. Murray again to examine it, and come to some further decision. “While I, with great readiness,” he said, “admit your views, and shall cheerfully release you from all engagement, or shadow of engagement, with me in regard to it: the rather, as it seems reasonable for me to expect some higher remuneration for a work that has cost me so much effort, were it once fairly examined, such remuneration as was talked of between us can, I believe, at all times be procured.” He then proposed “a quite new negotiation, if you incline to enter on such;” and requested his decision. “If not, pray have the goodness to cause my papers to be returned with the least possible delay.” The MS. was at once returned; and Carlyle acknowledged its receipt:—

Mr. Carlyle to John Murray.
October 6th, 1831.
My Dear Sir,

I have received the MS., with your note and your friend’s criticism, and I find it all safe and right. In conclusion, allow me to thank you for your punctuality and courtesy
in this part of the business; and to join cordially in the hope you express that, in some fitter case, a closer relation may arise between us.

I remain, my dear Sir, faithfully yours,
T. Carlyle.

Mr. Carlyle returned to Craigenputtock with his manuscript in his pocket; very much annoyed and disgusted by the treatment of the London publishers. Shortly after his arrival at home, he wrote to Mr. Macvey Napier, then editor of the Edinburgh Review:—

“All manner of perplexities have occurred in the publishing of my poor book, which perplexities I could only cut asunder, not unloose; so the MS., like an unhappy ghost, still lingers on the wrong side of Styx: the Charon of Albemarle Street durst not risk it in his sutilis cymba, so it leaped ashore again. Better days are coming, and new trials will end more happily.”

A little later (6th Feb. 1832) he said:—

“I have given up the notion of hawking my little manuscript book about any further. For a long time it has lain quiet in its drawer, waiting for a better day. The bookselling trade seems on the edge of dissolution; the force of puffing can go no further; yet bankruptcy clamours at every door: sad fate! to serve the Devil, and get no wages even from him! The poor bookseller Guild, I often predict to myself, will ere long be found unfit for the strange part it now plays in our European World; and give place to new and higher arrangements, of which the coming shadows are already becoming visible.”

The ‘Sartor Resartus’ was not, however, lost. Two years after Carlyle’s visit to London, it came out, bit by bit, in Fraser’s Magazine. Through the influence of Emerson, it was issued, as a book, at Boston, in the United States, and Carlyle got some money for his production. It was eventually published in England, and, strange to say,
has had the largest sale in the ‘People’s Edition of Carlyle’s Works,’ Carlyle, himself, created the taste to appreciate ‘Sartor Resartus.’

It is a striking contrast to pass from Carlyle the recluse, with all his Scottish keenness for driving a bargain, to the lively and spirited man of the world, Captain F. B. Head, who was not addicted to haggling over a price. His first book had proved a success, and had given him that encouragement which to a man of versatile and ready wit is an irresistible incentive to further literary efforts. Some authors, like Hope, with his ‘Anastasius,’ and Beckford, with his ‘Vathek,’ stop with their first novel, and never write another; but Head went on writing, because he felt compelled to write. He was, indeed, at home on most subjects: from Rapid Rides across the Pampas, to Stokers and Pokers on a Railway; from Mining to Waterloo;* from the Red Man to the Printer’s Devil; from Steam to to Electricity and the Post Office; from governing Paupers to governing a Province. He was a man full of humour and of immense vitality. Once he wrote to Mr. Murray:—“I dined yesterday with Lord Clarendon, and drank one pint of wine; but I must have eaten a part of the Devil’s hind leg, for such a night as I passed it is impossible to tell you—as it was, I could not leave home to-day until 2; but when I called, you had just gone out. I will be with you to-morrow at 12 precisely.”

When one of his books was passing through the press, Clowes, the printer, wrote to Murray:—“Major Head is here, with his dressing gown on, and will not leave before all is ready for press, which will not, I think, be the case before 6 in the morning.” To save time he had gone

* Captain Head had been engaged in the Campaign of 1815, but was not present at the battle of Waterloo.

down prepared to spend the night in the office, while the printers were at work.

Before he had completed his ‘Life of Bruce,’ he proposed to visit Ireland, to observe the condition of the people. He asked Murray to give him 200 guineas for his MS., without reference to its size, and 100 guineas for his expenses. With these conditions Murray at once complied. His object in going to Ireland will be best explained by his own letter:—

Captain Head, R.E., to John Murray.


Captain, now Major Head, started for Ireland in 1830; but he had scarcely reached Cork ere he was recalled to England, at once, upon business. It was not until twenty years had passed that he was able to accomplish his observations and inquiry into the state of Ireland.

In 1832, he proposed a fresh subject to Mr. Murray—no other than the humorous sketches entitled ‘Bubbles
from the Brunnen of Nassau
.’ After a conversation with Mr. Murray, he sent him the following note:—

Major Head to John Murray.
Sutton, May 31st, 1832.
Dear Sir,

I send you, only for your own private perusal, almost all the Notes I have by me, which are written out. I have a very few more, but they are in hieroglyphics, which you would find it impossible to decipher. Whether or not these notes are likely to suit the appetite of the great, big, chuckle-headed public, you are best able to determine; but I think I may say that your own domestic circle would not condemn them. It is of no use talking to you about terms, until I hear from you.

Yours, very sincerely,
F. B. Head.

A few months passed before Major Head had written out his hieroglyphics; and when he had finished, and had an interview with Murray, he wrote to him again:—

Major Head to John Murray.
Sutton, October 9th, 1832.
My Dear Sir,

Although you agreed this morning to the proposal I made to you, yet, lest I should unintentionally have proposed to you more than I can perform, I think it better more deliberately to explain to you what it is I have to publish.

I have been living at Langenschwalbach and at Schlan- genbad, two very celebrated bathing places in the mountainous Duchy of Nassau. The former place alone was visited this season by about two thousand people of rank or respectability; and the place is, I assure you, known all over Germany, although even its name has probably never yet reached your ears. I was in these mountains about three months, and not having a single book to read, I was obliged to occupy my time in endeavouring to make one.
For this purpose, instead of writing to my friends, I described whatever I saw (which I thought would interest the general reader) to an imaginary correspondent; and, instead of dispatching these letters, I kept them in my portfolio. My observations are neither deep nor learned: but they describe the homely manners and habits which I witnessed; and to show you how low they descend, I enclose you, as a specimen, the rough copy of the letter which describes the pigs of Langenschwalbach.

These letters, together with the sketches of the battle of Waterloo, my travelling from Rome with a nun, &c., which you read before I left England, I would embody in a volume which would be as large, or nearly so, as my ‘Rough Notes.’*

If it would suit you to publish this volume, or, in other words, to purchase the MS., I should require for it the sum of two hundred guineas; and the only favour I have to ask of you is, to return me the enclosed letter with your answer, with as little delay as possible; for, as the hunting is about to begin, I do not wish to exist in the piebald capacity of half-huntsman half author; or, in other words, to be half a stag hunter and half a bookseller’s hack.

Yours, my dear Sir, very sincerely,
F. B. Head.

Mr. Murray at once agreed to Major Head’s proposals, The MS. was sent to press, and the book was published anonymously in 1833.

On the appearance of a new edition of this book, he wrote to Murray:—

Major Head to John Murray.
My Dear Sir,

I was very glad to hear, the other day, that you are going to blow another edition of your ‘Bubbles.’ Your son, however, told me that you were thinking of leaving out the pictures. Our friend, Miss Burges, whose per-

* ‘Rough Notes of some Rapid Journeys across the Pampas.’ (See p. 253.)

formances they are, does not at all like the divorce. She seems to think it is as cruel as the separation of man and wife in the new workhouses; and that as the letterpress and pictures were joined together in holy matrimony at your altar; and as they have “climbed the hill together,” she thinks they ought “to sleep together at the foot, John Anderson, my Jo.”

The mention of workhouses in the preceding letter is an allusion to a subject in which Major Head took a deep interest, and in the course of the following year he was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Poor Laws. He was stationed in Kent, and wrote to Murray from Sittingbourne as to the working of the Poor Law. He said:—

Major Head to John Murray.
December 31st, 1834.

“I am getting on here, in my new trade, very prosperously. Yesterday I had a separate interview with the overseers of sixteen parishes; and every one of them, in reply to my questions, confessed that the pauper in their parishes is not only infinitely better fed than any independent labourer, but that he is much better fed than many of the ratepayers who subscribe to fatten him! In fact, both the independent labourer and small ratepayer have pauperism above instead of below them. Under such a system, of course, every sensible labourer feels that he ought to be a pauper; and, as he is entitled to a reward for every child he has, of course he fiddles while his Rome is burning. Such a system would never be credited by beings of any reflection at all; but the old squire, red in the face, sits grunting in his chair, and wondering why his Poor Rates increase.

“I have just come from the island of Sheppey, and if you should ever feel an itch (before you leave Albemarle Street for ever) to know what’s done in hell, allow me to advise you to do, as I have done, spend three days at Sheerness. The town is six feet below the level of the sea; and if the ocean had any feelings of morality, it would upset the mud wall, and smother the whole apparatus of love and gin which is beneath it.”


One of the results of his appointment as Poor Law Commissioner was that, at the request of Mr. Murray and Mr. Lockhart, he wrote an article in No. 106 of the Quarterly Review on the crowning abuses of the existing system. But he warned Mr. Murray about the proposed article:—

Major Head to John Murray.
January 20th, 1835.

“I do not know whether I should have time to write the article, but if I had, I do think I could write a very short article about philanthropy (for one is tired of the words ‘Poor Laws’) which should be new and true. The only thing is, would it suit, do you think, the Q. R.? I know you to be a very liberal-minded man, and so, to a very high degree, is Mr. Lockhart; but I am sensible you have difficulty in pleasing as well as in instructing your readers, and that you don’t wish to offend them. One thing, as your friend, I can tell you, which is, that the Poor Law Bill is as sure to beat the Press as your mind would be to open an oyster; and therefore, as your friend, I would say, join and lead the winners. However, of this, judge for yourself.”

When Murray told him of the insertion of the article in the Quarterly, Head wrote (30 April, 1835):—

“I am pleased to hear that our pauper bairn is beginning to run alone. You know we agreed together in your little den, that we would try and produce an article that should make the London ladies read, and reading, scratch; by your account, it seems they are doing both.”

The interest aroused by the ‘Bubbles’ induced Mr. Murray to spend his summer holiday in 1835 in following in the footsteps of the “Old Man,” and paying a visit to the German watering-places which Head had so humorously described. In the middle of July he asked the Major for some information on the subject, and received the following reply:—

Major Head to John Murray.
July 20th, 1835.

“I should like to have spent an evening with you, before you set out for your visit to Langenschwalbach; but it is impossible; I have not a moment. My boys are there, as also my sister. I believe the waters will tinker you up in a most extraordinary manner, if you will but be sensible about them. Mind, go and hear the Jews perform their service on the Friday evening, and think of me when they begin to halloo. Go and hear the great, big, tall, lusty, pale Protestant minister preach. Search out the Schwein-General, and if his pigs’ bellies are tucked up—think of me. Watch old Dr. Fenner as he stalks up and down the promenade, and you will see what attitudes he will throw himself into. Observe the German ladies eating salad, and, when we meet, tell me if they don’t do it just like cows eating cabbage. Try (and let me know) if they don’t say Ya! Ya! to everything. Buy some cherries of the women you will see sitting under the eaves of the ‘Goldene Kette’—eat some while you are drinking the mineral waters, and observe whether they don’t make you run home at a canter.”

Leaving Mrs. Murray for a time at Schwalbach, Mr. Murray made a short excursion in order to be present at the great meeting of the German Association of Naturalists at Bonn, whence he wrote to his wife.

John Murray to Mrs. Murray.
Bonn, Aug., 1835.

I arrived here at 3 o’clock yesterday, having passed through the most beautiful parts of the Rhine land. A passenger came on board at Coblentz who spoke English well, and told me about the Bonn meeting—very agreeable. Just as we were preparing to quit the boat he came and said: “Are you Mr. John Murray?” “Yes.” “Well, you were very kind to a relation of mine, Mr. Nebel, who gave you a letter of introduction to me at Coblentz, which you never delivered; he has since returned, and is now at
Bonn. Upon enquiry I found that you had sent your courier to cash one of your drafts upon me. Well, if I can render you any service at Bonn, where I am going until Friday, I shall be most happy.” So he saw to my luggage, and we went together to a new inn, H. de Treves.

I was much amused with my first experience of a public dinner in Germany—their toasts, &c. The ladies stayed the whole time, and drank plentifully of champagne; one of them was pointed out as having taken no less than fourteen glasses! I sat near Mr. Nebel at dinner, who is very anxious to show me attention. This morning, after breakfast, I accompanied Torrie* to the General Meeting, where there were 500 gentlemen, and probably as many ladies, who had a kind of orchestra set apart for them behind the men. Every one has a number given him, and a chair with a corresponding number, so there was no disorder. As the meeting to-day was only for the receipt of communications in German, as soon as I had satisfied my eyes I came home to write. Mr. Hersser, Mr. and Mrs. Lyell, &c., were there. Mrs. Buckland is with the Professor, and is the only lady who is to accompany the expedition to-morrow, it being on their route to some other place. Torrie has just been here, and says that the party will consist of fifty gentlemen, chiefly geologists, who are to set out at 6 to-morrow in caravans for a certain distance, and are then to proceed in lighter carriages. Those who carry hammers are to walk. We sleep to-morrow at Ahrweiler; the next day, Sunday, proceed to the gardens of some prince, who gives a dinner to the whole party, and we return in the evening to Bonn. I am now going with Torrie to dine with the same party as yesterday, but at I o’clock instead of 2, to give us more time to make out an excursion afterwards to a beautiful little watering-place, of which a tower is seen on the Rhine opposite Drachenfels, called (oh for mine book!) Godesberg.

P.S.—Provokingly the dinner hour has been changed to 2, and I now write a P.S. in a saloon appropriated to the exhibition of Mr. Nebel’s drawings.

P.P.S.—Buckland has just risen to speak; applause from the assembled Society of 300 Germans.

* A Scottish friend of Murray’s son.


Mr. Murray remained at the water-drinking village for the usual time, and returned home all the better for the change. On hearing of his arrival, Head wrote to him:—

Major Head to John Murray.
November 19th, 1835.
My Dear Sir,

Welcome back to England! A piece of our roast beef, with a bottle of good strong wine at one’s elbow, is after all as good as German veal, six days old, and sour Rhein-wine.—Isn’t it? I hear you were glad to leave Langenschwalbach. It is tiresome to be drinking water all day long for six weeks; but, my dear friend, it strengthens the stomach, and makes it hold more, which is a great blessing!

They tell me you have actually managed to bring home in triumph the Schwein-General’s pig-whip!* You shall hear me smack it some day in Albemarle Street, and if I live to attend your funeral, I will ask your son (instead of a sermon) to crack it twenty or thirty times over your grave. It would frighten the worms away from you for months. You ought immediately to invite to dinner all the literary men in London, on purpose to let ’em hear me crack that whip. None of your Quarterly Review writers can hit like it—their subjects want its handle—their arguments its weight—their satire its iron lash—their wit its point. Give me but that whip, I say, and let them choose any subject they like, and I will lick ’em and drive ’em before me like a herd of swine. It could conquer every man in London, and most seriously do I congratulate you on the possession of this Herculean tool.

Yours ever,
F. B. H.

P.S.—I shall have finished with this county in about a month.

While busy with his duties as Poor Law Commissioner in Kent, Head received a summons at midnight from Lord

* This whip is still in the possession of Mr. Murray.

Glenelg, then Colonial Minister, requiring his immediate attendance in London. On his arrival, he waited on the minister, who thereupon offered him the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, which he reluctantly accepted. There was at that time much dissatisfaction in Canada, and differences occurred between the Lieutenant-Governor (then Sir John Colborne) and the Colonial Secretary as to the measures which ought to be adopted for allaying the turmoil. Major Head had already made his mark in England, and it was thought that, with his shrewdness, common sense, and knowledge of men and their ways, he might be able to quench the growing embers of discontent. The following are the letters from Major Head,—who was created a Baronet in 1837,—to Mr. Murray during his stay in Upper Canada.

Major Head to John Murray.
Toronto, April 27th, 1836.
My dear Sir,

I am playing a game here, in which I am king, and all the rest of the cards knaves; and yet I believe I have at last managed to trump them, but it is hard work. I wish I was a bookseller in Albemarle Street, and you here. I have seen much since I left you, and if I had but time to mix up my soap and water, I think I could blow you some bubbles as big as balloons. But I am restless and itching for want of my family.

I send you a copy of my speech on proroguing this Provincial Legislature. It is, as you will perceive, rather a lengthy one, but when once I managed to open my mouth, like Balaam’s ass, it came out quite easy. I wish you could get it inserted in the London newspapers, as it will explain in England the difficulties I have had to contend with.

This is a fine country, if we could but get it quiet, in which I have really nearly succeeded by upsetting the radicals. It is a fine place for emigrants, for men coming
out here have everything to gain. The more children one has here, the better, and if you want more, come here.

Toronto, June 22nd, 1836.

I am now in the midst of my elections, and I may truly say the Canadians are intensely watching the conflict. Both parties are desperate, because they know they are each fighting for life or death. I believe we shall lick the radicals, and if so, the victory will be a permanent one. . . . The fact is, the battle I am fighting here is the cause of old England, and I want to stir people up at home to their interests, which they have sadly neglected.

I often think of you, and wish you were here. Dear me, what a deal of wine I would give you.

Toronto, August 20th, 1836.

I have just returned from a tour or voyage on Lake Huron. . . . I had a special meeting of the Indians at the great Manalouli Island. I had some important business to transact with them, and we had a grand council. They appointed their best orator to reply to me. The fellow’s name was Segonal (the Black-bird), and he was celebrated for having often on grand public occasions spoken without once stopping, from Sunrise to Sunset. Is not this being what’s called “a powerful speaker?” I often thought of you, and wished I could have produced you. The Indians never saw a book; never heard of a bookseller; and would have worshipped you as the Cacique of that tribe.

God bless you!
F. B. Head.
Government House, Toronto,
October 12th, 1836.
My dear Sir,

Your handwriting always gives me pleasure, for it is like touching the finger of an old friend. I am much obliged to you for all the information you have given me. I am going on here quite quietly, and can assure you the struggle is completely over. The people are loyal (and to tell the real truth), more so than in England; but a few Radicals had been allowed to deceive them. With these fellows I
found it necessary to have the same sort of row-royal that the new police, on its first formation, had with the London pickpockets. I managed to lick them, and, having once turned tail, they will never stand again.

Our success in this province made Papineau desperate, and I always prophesied that he would break, and not bend. He has done so, and, in my opinion, the game is completely up. All that is necessary here is, not to be afraid to tell the people the truth, for you can’t conceive with what avidity they feed upon it. I have just been over the whole province. On entering each township a number of people generally met me on horseback, as a guard of honour; but before we reached the principal towns they were generally an hour, and sometimes two hours behind me, and you cannot conceive how the Radicals have been upset by being totally unable to keep up with me. I have gained more popularity by riding fast over their own corduroy roads, and their own rickety bridges, than if I had preached to them on Political Economy for a year. Depend upon it, that the British Constitution has nothing to fear from the Canadas, and it is my opinion that we shall support rather than undermine it. There is nothing to fear from the example of the United States. We will show them the road yet.

Yours in haste, my dear Sir, very sincerely,
F. B. Head.

Notwithstanding the confident hope expressed in these letters, Head’s difficulties in Upper Canada were not “completely over,” as he stated to Murray, but were only about to begin. Both Upper and Lower Canada were in a state of extreme political excitement. The Assembly of the Lower Province, under the leadership of Papineau, stopped the supplies for the payment of official salaries in 1833, and the Assembly of the Upper Province followed their example in 1836. Lower Canada, the population of which was mainly French, required that the Legislative Council should be made elective; while Upper Canada the inhabitants of which were English, required that the
Executive Council should be made responsible to the Assembly. The Government at home, at the instance of
Lord John Russell, opposed the Canadians, and treated their requests in a despotic manner. The Canadians were roused by this treatment; a meeting of the six counties was held at St. Charles, Lower Canada, to protest against the threats of the English Parliament to annihilate the fundamental laws of the colony, whereupon the Lower Canadians proceeded to take up arms, and a rebellion broke out.

The Earl of Gosford having resigned his position as Governor-General, and gone home, was superseded by Sir John Colborne as Military Governor. Sir Francis Head sent him all the troops under his command, and trusted entirely to the militia, and the loyalty of the majority of the people, for the defence of his own province. His conduct has been called Quixotic, but in this instance it was successful. The rebellion in Lower Canada was soon suppressed, but in December 1837, an unsuccessful attempt was made to seize the city of Toronto, Upper Canada. Shortly after, on the 29th of December, Colonel Macnab attacked and defeated the rebels on Navy Island, on the River Niagara; after which he seized the steamer Caroline, which had been engaged in carrying supplies of arms and ammunition across the river into Upper Canada, set her on fire, and sent her down the river and over the falls. The last letter received by Mr. Murray from Sir Francis Head, while in Canada, was as follows:—

Sir Francis Head to John Murray.
January 26th, 1838.
My dear Sir,

I send you an early copy of the printed documents, with my letter to the Ministers at Washington, respecting the
burning of the Caroline, which, in flames, went over the Cataract of Niagara. I hope soon to see you.

F. B. Head.

In fact, Head’s reign was over. He did not agree with the Ministers at home, nor they with him, and accordingly, towards the end of 1837, he resigned his office of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, and made all haste to return to London. The Earl of Durham was immediately after appointed Governor-General and High Commissioner for the adjustment of the affairs of the provinces of Lower and Upper Canada. Sir Francis Head had still a word, or rather many words, to say for himself respecting his government of Upper Canada, and before his return to England he requested that his ‘Vindication’ might be sent to the Times. It was accordingly forwarded with a note from Murray to the Editor, Mr. Barnes, with whom he was personally acquainted:—

Mr. Barnes to John Murray.
February 1st, 1838.
My dear Sir,

I have received both your letters. The interest of the past proceedings in Upper Canada is quite merged in that of more recent occurrences; so that the accompanying statement would at this moment hardly find a reader. Head, with all his talent, decision, and courage, is very conceited and injudicious. The admission to which you refer is perfectly absurd, and, as you say, completely contradicted by the whole tenor of the letter. Head seems a man born to get into scrapes and to get out of them again; but however amusing the spectacle of his active ingenuity in repairing his own blunders may be to others, the process cannot be very advantageous to his own reputation or welfare. He has, however, so many fine qualities, that it is a duty to stand by him as long as possible.

Yours very truly,
J. Barnes.

There was considerable discussion in Parliament respecting the mal-administration of Canada, Mr. Roebuck being heard at the bar of the House of Lords against the Canadian Bill, in one of his most eloquent speeches. In the same year (1838) Sir Francis Head published his ‘Narrative’—followed by a supplementary chapter—in defence of his Canadian administration. When requesting Mr. Murray to send his ‘Vindication’ to the Times, he wrote as follows:—

Sir Francis Head to John Murray.
Holland House, June 3rd, 1838.
My dear Sir,

I look upon you as one of perhaps the most faithful friends I possess, and I therefore feel I cannot do better than follow your advice and thank you for it. I will not therefore trouble the Times to produce my letters, but thank Mr. Barnes for his civility.

Yours sincerely,
F. B. Head.

The Quarterly was always open to Sir Francis, whose quickness, versatility, and keenness of observation were never at a loss for a good subject. An entirely new one was now suggested to him—that of Roads and Railroads. He wrote to Mr. Murray:—

Sir Francis Head to John Murray.
Barford, Warwick, September 9th, 1838.
My dear Sir,

I enclose you two letters I have received from Colonel Burgoyne (who belongs to the Corps of Royal Engineers, and who for many years has been Head Commissioner for the expenditure of the grant for public works in Ireland), by which you will see that he and Mr. Drummond (who is Under Secretary for Ireland) wish me to review their
report on railroads . . . If I were to attempt it, I should throw aside, for the sake of science, all my own angry feelings towards the Government, and endeavour to give an impartial judgment on an important subject.

God bless you, my dear Sir. I hope you often walk about Pope’s Villa, cracking my pig-whip; and that you have not altogether forgotten,

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully,
F. B. Head.

The result was an article for the Quarterly (No. 125), entitled ‘Locomotion by Steam, or Railroads for Ireland.’ While the article was in progress, he wrote to Mr. Murray for a quantity of books:—

Sir F. B. Head to John Murray.

“I am getting on with my article. The last quarter of a hundredweight of books you sent me I have not yet opened, for as my head is about as full of the subject as it will hold, I thought, instead of bursting the boiler, I had better get through my journey with the steam I had. As soon as I have finished it, I will overhaul what you have been good enough to send me; and I can then add or subtract as I may see reason.”

He continued to have his head full of Canada, and sent Mr. Murray many letters about Lord Durham while he remained Governor-General. An article appeared in the next number of the Quarterly, No. 126, on Head’s Narrative and Lord Durham’s Report.

Sir Francis Head to John Murray.
Atherton, January 4th, 1839.

“I thought I had skinned poor Lord Durham, but I find you have peppered and grilled him. He really is a fallen angel, or rather he has no more feathers in his wings than a young rook. It is well, however, that he is safe at home with us, for he would have done irreparable mischief had he remained at Quebec.”


He followed this up by another article in the Quarterly, No. 128, entitled ‘British Policy—a Strange Story.’ In the succeeding numbers of the Review he wrote articles on two entirely different subjects—‘The Printer’s Devil,’ and the ‘Red Man in Canada and North America’—the last a review of Catlin’s work.

The subject of Sir Francis’s administration in Canada again came up in the House of Commons. He wrote to Murray:—

Sir Francis Head to John Murray.
February 7th, 1839.
Dear Sir,

I have just received private intimation that my despatches will be called for immediately, and obtained vi et armis. Send for Clowes and get ready. “Lay on Macduff, and curst be he who first cries hold, enough!”

F. B. H.

Head’sNarrative of his Administration in Upper Canada,’ went through three editions in the course of the year. “I was glad,” he said, “to hear the child’s voice crying in the Times this morning. The extract was the very best that could be given to create an appetite.”

Sir Francis Head to John Murray.
March 5th, 1839.

“You say you cannot account for the Times being so lukewarm. I can. It has never forgiven me (and it never will) the article I wrote on ‘English Charity.’ Whenever the Times has been forced to oppose me it has done so with its usual talent and power; but depend upon it that my Poor Law Memorandum manet alia mente repostum. What is most extraordinary is the article in my favour which lately appeared in the Globe. That paper, after defending me, says that my ‘Narrative’ will be a ‘useful appendix to Lord Durham’s Report’—a butcher’s knife sticking in a pig’s throat might just as much be called ‘a useful appendix.’”

Sir Francis Head to John Murray.
Atherton, April 1st, 1839.

I cannot help thanking you for having sent us such a shower of Quarterly Reviews. My Hens are quite delighted at the review of my ‘Narrative,’ and chuckle with great pride. Although I cannot presume to crow on the occasion, yet I may tell you that I feel deeply gratified at the view that has been taken of my services. It will render me a service at a moment I require it. It is certainly not only kindly but very ably done.* It not only hits the Ministers very hard, but it tickles them so, that it will, I think, make them laugh out of the wrong sides of their mouths, while the public will laugh at them out of the other. I think of coming to London to-morrow, if so, you will see me.

Yours in haste,
Very sincerely,
F. B. Head.

* The article in No. 126, entitled ‘Colonial Government—Head’s Narrative—Lord Durham’s Report,’ was written by Croker.