James Thomson

David Mallet to John Ker, 31 July 1727; European Magazine 25 (February 1794) 100.

I beg leave to take notice of a mistake that runs through your last letter, and that was occasioned by your not understanding a passage of mine. The copy of verses that I sent you, was indeed written by me; and I never intended to make a secret of it; but Mr. Thomson's Winter is a very different poem, of considerable length, and agreeing with mine in nothing but the name. It has met with a great deal of deserved applause, and was written by that dull fellow whom Malcolm calls the jest of our club. The injustice I did him then, in joining with my companions to ridicule the first, imperfect, essays of an excellent genius, was a strong motive to make me active in endeavouring to assist and encourage him since, and I believe I shall never repent it. He is now settled in a very good place, and will be able to requite all the services his friends have done him in time.

The second edition of his poem is now in the press, and shall be sent you as soon as it is published. You will find before it three copies of recommendatory verses; one written by Mr. Hill, the second by a very fine woman at my request, and the third by myself. Since all this is so, I will say nothing of your suspecting me of insincerity, a vice which I am very free from.