LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of John Murray
Walter Scott to John Murray, 15 November 1808

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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Produced by CATH
Edinburgh, November 15th, 1808.
Dear Sir,

I received two days ago a letter from Mr. Gifford highly approving of the particulars of the plan which I had sketched for the Review. But there are two points to be considered. In the first place, I cannot be in town as I proposed, for the Commissioners under the Judicial Bill, to whom I am to act as clerk, have resolved that their final sittings shall be held here, so that I have now no chance of being in London before spring. This is very unlucky, as Mr. Gifford proposes to wait for my arrival in town to set the great machine a-going. I shall write to him that this is impossible, and that I wish he would, with your assistance and that of his other friends, make up a list of the works which the first number is to contain, and consider what is the extent of the aid he will require from the North. The other circumstance is, that Mr. Gifford pleads the state of his health and his retired habits as sequestrating him from the world, and rendering him less capable of active exertion, and in the kindest and most polite manner he expresses his hope that he should receive very extensive assistance and support from me, without which he is pleased to say he would utterly despair of success. Now between ourselves (for this is strictly confidential) I am rather alarmed at this prospect. I am willing, and anxiously so, to do all in my power to serve the work; but, my dear sir, you know how many of our
very ablest hands are engaged in the
Edinburgh Review, and what a dismal work it will be to wring assistance from the few whose indolence has left them neutral. I can, to be sure, work like a horse myself, but then I have two heavy works on my hands already, namely, ‘Somers’ and ‘Swift.’ Constable had lately very nearly relinquished the latter work, and I now heartily wish it had never commenced; but two volumes are nearly printed, so I conclude it will now go on. If this work had not stood in the way, I should have liked Beaumont and Fletcher much better. It would not have required half the research, and occupied much less time. I plainly see that, according to Mr. Gifford’s view, I should have almost all the trouble of a co-editor, both in collecting and revising the articles which are to come from Scotland, as well as in supplying all deficiencies from my own stores.

These considerations cannot, however, operate upon the first number, so pray send me a list of books, and perhaps you may send some on a venture. You know the department I had in the Edinburgh Review. I will sound Southey, agreeable to Mr. Gifford’s wishes, on the Spanish affairs. The last number of the Edinburgh Review has given disgust beyond measure, owing to the tone of the article on Cevallosexposé. Subscribers are falling off like withered leaves.

I retired my name among others, after explaining the reasons both to Mr. Jeffrey and Mr. Constable, so that there never was such an opening for a new Review. I shall be glad to hear what you think on the subject ot terms, for my Northern troops will not move without pay; but there is no hurry about fixing this point, as most of the writers in the first number will be more or less indifferent on the subject. For my own share, I care not what the conditions are, unless the labour expected from me is to occupy a considerable portion of time, in which case they might become an object. While we are on this subject, I may as well mention that as you incur so large an outlay in the case of the Novels, I would not only be happy that my remuneration should depend on the profits of the work, but I also think I could command a few hundreds to assist in carrying it on.

By the way, I see ‘Notes on Don Quixote’ advertised. This was a plan I had for enriching our collection, having
many references by me for the purpose. I shall be sorry if I am powerfully anticipated. Perhaps the book would make a good article in the Review. Can you get me ‘
Gaytoun’s Festivous Notes on Don Quixote?’

I think our friend Ballantyne is grown an inch taller on the subjects of the ‘Romances.’

Believe me, dear Sir,
Yours very truly,
Walter Scott.

Gifford is much pleased with you personally.