1739 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

Aaron Hill to Alexander Pope, 21 February 1739; Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 10:77.



I did not recollect, until you told it me, that the Gazetteers were printed by Mr. R[ichardson]; I am acquainted with none of their authors; not so much as with any one of their names; and, as to Mr. R[icharson] himself, (among whose virtues I place it, that he knows and considers you rightly,) there should be nothing imputed to the printer, which is imposed for, not by him, on his papers, but was never impressed on his mind. I am very much mistaken in his character, or he is a plain-hearted, sensible, and good-natured honest man. I believe, when there is any thing put into his presses, with a view to such infamous slander as that which you so justly despise, he himself is the only man wounded; for I think there is an openness in his spirit, that would even repel the profits of his business, when they were to be the consequence of making war upon excellence.

In the mean time, give me leave to be glad you are slandered a little. Crimes deserve to be heartily pardoned, when they are the cause of producing great virtues; and, I am sure, one such generous example of charity, as that which you show in your letter, will, by the contagious effect of its beauty, carry influence enough to deface all the triumphs of a thousand heavy patterns of malice.