William Maginn

John Blackwood to Alexander Blackwood, 23 November 1840; Margaret Oliphant, William Blackwood and his Sons (1897) 2:257-58.

23 Nov. [1840.]

Of course I am looking forward with anxiety to hear what share you decide upon giving me, but the property is so entirely yours that I feel any share you may for the present think fit will be handsome.

I saw Lockhart yesterday. He still continues very much out of sorts. I most stupidly did not ask about the Dryden, but will see him again soon. He told me rather a good one of Maginn. A man Pettigrew published a catalogue of the Duke of Sussex' library, and about 18 mos. ago unluckily, hearing that the Doctor was a very learned man, he lent him a lot of the most valuable books for the purpose of assisting him in a review of the catalogue which he promised to do for the "Quarterly." Of course he has never seen anything either of the review or books, and can get the worthy's address nowhere. The books are of great value, and the poor man is in a dreadful state about it, as he is the Duke's librarian, and may possibly lose his place from inability to procure other copies. I saw Murray to-day. He was very kind as usual. Young John mentioned that he hoped to get out Lockhart's ballads by Christmas. I said nothing. I dined with Warren yesterday. He is really grieved about not having been able to do a part: you should write him a note to console him, expressing at the same time poignant regret for the want of it. There were some ladies there, and one man who, of course, had "been in the secret from the beginning."

Your views about keeping all Scotch publications precisely jump with mine. I think that Black, Whyte, and M. & S. might be induced to give us their books [adds the astute young man] on the same terms as they send them to the Row, on its being represented to them how much the sale of their books is neglected among the retail London booksellers. All these houses give the Row ten per cent under sale and the odd book. It might be well stuck into them that their books are never seen in a retail window.

I was present at the first day of Cadell's sale. It was a most extraordinary scene. Such a set of unwashed-looking savages I never saw collected. Green was almost the only decent-looking Xtian among them. Henry Bohn was sitting next me. He said he should like to have that Hooker of us. Alison continues to go off famously. I think you are calculating upon rather too large a sale for Hemans.