William Roscoe

William Blackwood to William Maginn, 22 August 1825; Margaret Oliphant, William Blackwood and his Sons (1897) 1:402.

LONDON, Aug. 22, 1825.

Even if I had read this earlier I am not sure it would have been either proper or prudent to have printed the charge against the Marquis of Hastings, however true it may be. It is rather serious to state so broadly that he furnished Tommy Moore "with libels" against the king. Nothing would delight the Whigs and their worthy ally, the Chief Commissioner, so much as getting me into the jury court again. This is an expense I would not be fond of encountering again. I am as little fearful as most people, but I would really beg of you to weigh consequences when you are cutting right and left....

The attack upon Roscoe is most just and carefully done; but for two reasons I would leave it to you yourself to say would it be prudent for me to publish it. In the first place, he is a very old friend of the Professor's, and he would feel it very sore if Roscoe were to be attacked, as Mrs. Wilson's relations are very much connected with him: this has saved Roscoe oftener than once. Now the Professor is getting into better spirits and is giving me articles, therefore you will see that it is necessary to avoid any annoyance to him. But in the second place, such an article would absolutely horrify my poor friend Cadell, who is at present about to bring out a new edition of some of Roscoe's books, and had a large interest in his edition of Pope. Now whatever Roscoe may be, is it worth while to flay him this way, when there is a chance of it being hurtful to me individually? I would always hope you would place yourself somewhat in my situation, though I would never expect you for one moment to write merely for my personal objects.