Samuel Richardson

James Hervey to Samuel Richardson, 3 November 1747; Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, ed. Barbauld (1804) 2:180-82.

Weston, Nov. 3, 1747.


I can hardly forbear saying, that I almost envy the generosity which breathes in your letter. I hope it will always tend to fill my heart with conscious shame; and to enlarge it with some inferior degrees of emulating benevolence. Before this incident, I could not so much as guess at the solid worth of Mr. Richardson: but now I beg leave to regard him, not as a printer whom I employ, but as a choice friend, whom I highly honour, cordially love, and for whom I shall frequently pray.

And now, my dear friend, let me ask, whether you know any virtuous and valuable person in distressed circumstances, to whom a few guineas might be a seasonable and acceptable present. If you do, be so kind as to inform me at your leisure; and withal permit me to put such a little gift into your hand, to be transmitted to the worthy object.

I agreed with Mr. Rivington for the impression now printing off, at the rate of twenty-five guineas, and two dozen of copies, bound and lettered for my share. I was willing to transfer my right to him; because I imagined it would be natural for him, in such a case, to push the sale, and be more concerned for the reputation of the book.

I assure you, Sir, if any of my thoughts are so happy as to please you, I shall entertain the more chearful hope with relation to the work that is going to appear; and shall be the more easily induced to form some other attempt of a public nature. O! that my capacities were equal to the arduous, but delightful task, which your pen has assigned! Nothing could be more pleasing to my own taste, than to explain the meaning, point out the beauties, and enforce the evangelical truths, with which the admirable prophecy of Isaiah is most copiously enriched, most illustriously adorned. I almost despair. — Nevertheless, I should be very glad, if, in some future vacant half-hour, you would suggest such a form and method of executing this design, as might be most acceptable and useful. I am, dear Sir, with very great respect and affection,

Your sincere and cordial Friend,


London, June 22, 1750.