1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Wilson

John Gibson Lockhart to John Wilson, June 1823; Mary Wilson Gordon, Christopher North (1862; 1894) 260-61.



Edinburgh, Friday, June, 1823.

MY DEAR PROFESSOR:

Blackwood sends you by this post a copy of the second letter from Cadell, so that you know, ere you read this, as much of the matter as I do.

I own that it appears to me impossible we should at this time of day suffer it to be said that any man who wishes in a gentlemanly way to have our names should not have them. I own that I would rather suffer any thing than have a Cockney crow in that sort. But still there is no occasion for rashness, and I do not believe Hunt had that sort of view; at all events, he has not acted as if he had.

My feeling is that in the next number of the Magazine there should be a note to this effect: — "A certain London publisher has been making some vague and unintelligible inquiries at the shop of our London publisher. If he really wishes to communicate with the author of the article which has offended him, let him not come double-distilled through the medium of booksellers, but write at once to the author of the article in question (he may call him N.B. for the present), under cover to Mr. Blackwood, 17 Princes Street, Edinburgh. He will then have his answer."

Whether such a notification as this should or not be sent previously I doubt — but incline to the negative; at all events, the granting of it will save our credit; and as for Hunt, how stands the matter? First, Suppose he wishes to bring an action against the author; against you he has no action, and that he knows; but you would probably give him no opportunity of bringing one; at least, poor as I am, I know I would rather pay any thing than be placarded as the defendant in such an action. 2dly, Suppose he wishes to challenge the author. He cannot send a message to you, having printed the last number of the Liberal. Therefore, either way, the affair must come to naught; I mean as to any thing serious.

Blackwood is going to London next week, and will probably visit you on the way, when you and he can talk over this fully; but ere then, I confess, I should like to have your consent to print such a note as I have mentioned. I cannot endure the notion of these poltroons crowing over us; and being satisfied that no serious consequences can. result, I do think the thing ought to be done. Read Cadell's letter, and think of it, and write me.

Above all, for God's sake, be you well and hearty! Who the devil cares for Cockneydom? Write a good article, and take a couple of tumblers.

Yours, affly,

J. G. L.