LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of John Murray
John Murray to Lord Byron, 16 June 1818

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.
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
June 16th, 1818.
My Lord,

Having waited, from day to day, in the incessant expectation of the opportunity of sending my letters and various packages by Hanson’s clerk, I gathered from Mr. Hobhouse yesterday the continued uncertainty of his setting out, but I can therefore delay no longer to thank you, in the first instance, for your several kind as well as entertaining letters. Mr. Hobhouse told me yesterday that Hanson had not yet been paid any sums upon your account by your bankers; and I have therefore sent this morning to Messrs. Ransom, Morland, and Co. a thousand guineas,
desiring them to remit it to you by this evening’s post. With the remaining 1.500 guineas I shall be prepared against your order; indeed, if you drew upon me for this sum, at sixty days’ sight, it would settle this matter at once; but this as you may find most convenient. I received very safely, a few days ago, by the care of
Signor Gio. Bata. Missiaglia* (I was very much obliged indeed by the books and periodicals which you were so good as to send me), the curious collection of letters described in the above-mentioned letter belonging to the Dr. Aglietti, which I gave, in the first instance, to Mr. Gifford to read. He thinks them very interesting as autographs; but with the exception of those pointed out by you, there are few that would afford more than extracts, to be selected by a judicious editor. I think D’Israeli, from the nature of his studies, might be trusted with their selection; and I shall be able to send them to him to-morrow, and, by this day week, I will propose a sum for them to your friend the proprietor. Pope, whose unmanly persecution of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and of her friend Lord Hervey arose from disappointed love, is, you see, no less insidiously spoken of by Lord Hervey, whose letters are good but not of the first water. Lord Orford beats them all. Gray’s letter excellent; and Lady M. W. Montagu’s ideas equal to her literary character. I have been lately reading again her letters, particularly her latest ones in her old age to her daughter, which are as full of wisdom, almost proverbial, as of beauty. I should think you may stumble upon a letter full of anecdotes of hers, which I beg you to hoard up, as I am the proprietor of her Works, and would like to introduce a new edition with any variety of this kind.

Mr. Frere is at length satisfied that you are the author of ‘Beppo.’ He had no conception that you possessed the protean talent of Shakespeare, thus to assume at will so different a character. He, and every one, continues in the same very high opinion of its great beauties. I am glad to find that you are disposed to pursue this strain, which has occasioned so much delight. Do you never think of prose?

* The proprietor of the Apollo Library and the principal publisher and bookseller in Venice, to whom Lord Byron gave an introduction to Murray, April 12, 1818. See Moore’s Life.

—though, like
Lord Hervey, I suspect your thoughts fall so naturally into rhyme that you are obliged to think twice to put them in prose. Yet the specimen of prose, in the dedication to Hobhouse,* is so much admired and talked of, that I should much like to surprise the world with a more complete sample,—to be given at first anonymously. None of the dons in criticism have yet taken the field for Canto IV., but the next numbers of the Edinburgh and Quarterly will certainly contain papers upon it, which I shall put into a cover and send to you at once. The whole canto has been quoted ten times over, in the different scraps which diversity of taste has selected, in the monthly, weekly, and daily journals of the metropolis and country—so that some have selected each part as the best; and, in conclusion, the public will be as eager to receive anything from your pen as ever. I am now meditating, or rather have made preparation, to print a uniform edition of your poems in three octavo volumes. ‘Childe Harold,’ four cantos, with your own notes, will form the first volume; all the ‘Tales,’ including ‘Beppo,’ will constitute the second; and the ‘Miscellaneous Poems,’ ‘Manfred,’ &c., will fill the third. These I intend to print very handsomely, and to sell very cheap, so that every facility shall be given for their popularity. I propose to print at the same time the whole works in five small volumes; in which size, when I print the 3rd and 4th cantos and ‘Beppo,’ they will occupy seven, which is, perhaps, too many. Westall has nearly completed twenty-five beautiful designs to accompany these editions; and I trust that you will have no objection to my engraving again Phillips’s portrait, which every unbiassed person thinks by far the finest. I have just put forth two more cantos of Whistlecraft—which the knowing ones think excellent, and of which the public think nothing, for they cannot see the drift of it. I have not sold 500 copies of the first parts yet; and of ‘Beppo’ I have sold six times that quantity in a sixth part of the time, and before, indeed, it is generally known to be yours. I have heard no word more from Mr. Sotheby; and as to my having ventured upon any alteration or omission, I should as soon have scooped one of my eyes out. I am anxious to know if you are satisfied with

* Of the Fourth Canto of ‘Childe Harold.’

Mr. Hobhouse’s notes. The parts he thinks best of are those upon the Antiquities; but we feel very little interest for them, and much prefer the ‘
Essay on Italian Literature,’ which, if enlarged with your Lordship’s assistance and with the addition of translations, would become a popular work, as well as one much wanted. Hobhouse set out last night for Dorchester (worn absolutely to skin and bone in a vexatious and hopeless canvass of Westminster for Mr. Kinnaird), in the neighbourhood of which he has some prospect of parliamentary success. I am glad he avoided Westminster, for after swallowing Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage by Ballot, what scope can a man have left himself?

Your Lordship’s obliged Servant,
John Murray.*