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Memoir of John Murray
Thomas Campbell to John Murray, 3 March 1806

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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Produced by CATH
March 3rd, 1806.
My dear Sir,

As I put down in my own memorandum book all the desultory ideas respecting the new publication which we have in contemplation that occur to me, I think it may not be improper to transmit them to you also. You will be so good as to pardon the unsystematic appearance which those ideas must have, but which I trust will alter for the better as our scheme gets riper, and nearer being put in execution.

I have thought on many respectable names (since I had the pleasure of your society), of persons who, I think, may in all probability be brought to lend us their aid, Although our scheme is not scientific, yet a very pleasant mixture of science may enter it, and I have recollected since we met that Charles Bell, of Edinburgh, has come to London to settle—a man of really superior genius, as his forthcoming publication will show. I think we shall get something from him on his own favourite pursuit, the anatomy of painting.

Alison, the author of ‘Essays on Taste,’ is my particular friend. I am pretty sure he will give me important support. John Allen, a most admirably ingenious man, will assist me in a track of study which I mean immediately and eagerly to pursue—Spanish literature, as the little knowledge I possess of it may be easily improved, into what may usefully promote our magazine.

Professor Playfair, an elegant writer as well as philosopher, will contribute, I know, with my other northern friends, to give some éclat to our work. There are names I forgot to mention to you. Miss Baillie, I hope, will also give us a bit of poetry now and then. I have the honour to be her particular acquaintance. Let us by all means keep our scheme to ourselves till great aids are quite secure—till we are ready to step forward before the public without a hem or an apology, but boldly, and as becomes men conscious of deserving notice. I dread of all things the hue and cry getting up before we are ready. I trust, however, implicitly in the great degree of judgment and discretion which I know you to possess.


Let us also, my dear Sir, while we court great aids, keep ourselves disentangled from little ones. It is an invidious thing to hunt down tolerable though second-rate writers. It is breaking the peace and wounding their feelings by severe sayings or writings in public; but when our fame and fortune are staked on a plan like this, we must have no second-rates—especially in poetry.

In your plan of the ancient classics I feel myself warmly interested. I shall take very great pleasure indeed in every opportunity that you give me of suggesting what some fourteen years’ experience in the original and translated authors may make of use to the plan. I have little doubt also, that I could put you on a plan of supplying the “hiatuses” in poetical translation. These thoughts come at random.

From your very respectful and sincerely obliged,
Thomas Campbell.