1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Ritson

Joseph Cooper Walker to Thomas Percy, 1794 ca.; Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-58) 7:727.



If Mr. Ritson, in the warmth of gratitude for any little service I may have formerly rendered him, has made handsome mention of me in his last work, am I to blame? I did not offer myself a candidate for a niche. Thinking I might be of service to him, Mr. Ritson early applied to me for assistance; and my love of letters, and in particular of subjects on which he was employed, would not allow me to deny it to him. Does that reflect on my moral character? With his moral character I had nothing to do. I observed he was peevish, and I endeavoured to soften his asperity; I saw his prejudices against the Editor of the Reliques were strong, and I endeavoured to subdue them. Nor is Mr. Ritson the only person with whom my friendship for the Editor has been active. Not many weeks since I tried to undeceive (at Bristol) Mr. Catcott, the friend of the unfortunate Chatterton. But there is no one living who has a stronger claim on my poor services than your Lordship, and I trust that ingratitude is not an ingredient in my composition.