John Gibson Lockhart

Baldwin, Cradock, & Co. to William Blackwood, 3 November 1817; Margaret Oliphant, William Blackwood and his Sons (1897) 1:134-35.

Messrs Baldwin, Cradock, & Co. to W. Blackwood.

LONDON, Nov. 3, 1817.

We were much surprised and hurt this morning at receiving a visit from Mr. John Hunt, complaining on behalf of his brother of an article in your new Magazine signed Z. Not having had time since the arrival of the copies to read the number, we were entirely ignorant of the nature of the article of which he complained; but, on examining it, we certainly think that it contains expressions which ought not to have been used. Being a convicted libeller himself, Mr. Leigh Hunt has little right to complain of such attacks; but, as it is utterly contrary to our principles and conduct to publish them, we cannot but seriously regret that our names should be affixed to the Magazine containing the one in question. It appears that Mr. John Hunt's object in calling was to demand that we should endeavour to procure for him the name of the writer of the article. We told him that we thought it very unlikely that we should be successful in such an attempt; but that if he would state his demand in writing, we would send it to you. He immediately, in our house, wrote the annexed, which we hasten to transmit.

Whatever answer you may think proper to send in satisfaction to Mr. Hunt, we expect that you will make it clear that we have no knowledge of the writer, and that we had none of the article itself till it was printed: for, whatever our opinion may be of Mr. Hunt, we surely cannot sanction the publication of such an article under our name. On the present occasion we shall merely add, that our continuing the agency in London of your Magazine must entirely depend upon its being free from personalities on the moral character of any individual.