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Memoir of John Murray
Thomas Campbell to Walter Scott, 5 November 1806

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
November 5th, 1806.
My Dear Scott,

A very excellent and gentlemanlike man—albeit a bookseller—Murray, of Fleet Street, is willing to give for our joint ‘Lives of the Poets,’ on the plan we proposed to the trade a twelvemonth ago, a thousand pounds. For my part, I think the engagement very desirable, and have no uneasiness on the subject, except my fear that you may be too much engaged to have to do with it, as five hundred pounds may not be to you the temptation that it appears to a poor devil like myself. Murray is the only gentleman, except Constable, in the trade;—I may also, perhaps, except Hood. I have seldom seen a pleasanter man to deal with. I foresee no chance of our disagreeing about the minuter arrangements, should the affair proceed. I
think our choice of the lives for each would not be likely to set you and me by the ears. And, what makes me excessively desirous of the engagement, independent of its being pleasant work and good reward, is that it would probably fix me beside you in Edinburgh. . . . Our names are what Murray principally wants—yours in particular. The size, the manner, the time, and the whole arrangement of this work will be in our hands. . . . For my own part, I am not assuming any mock modesty, when I say that, so thankful shall I be to have an engagement to the amount of £500, that I will think no effort too great to show my sense of the good fortune to be associated with you in the undertaking. I have too much respect for you, and for myself, to importune you to join names with me; but I cannot disguise that I am deeply anxious for your answer. I will not wish, even in confidence, to say anything ill of the London booksellers beyond their deserts; but I assure you that, to compare this offer of Murray’s with their usual offers, it is magnanimous indeed.
Longman and Rees, and a few of the great booksellers, have literally monopolised the trade, and the business of literature is getting a dreadful one indeed. The Row folks have done nothing for me yet; I know not what they intend. The fallen prices of literature—which is getting worse by the horrible complexion of the times—make me often rather gloomy at the life I am likely to lead. You may guess, therefore, my anxiety to close with this proposal; and you may think me charitable indeed to restrain myself from wishing that you were as poor as myself, that you might have motives to lend your aid.