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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 12: 1821-25
William Wright to John Gibson Lockhart, 3 October 1825

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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“I saw Murray soon after my return from Edinburgh. We conversed on the subject of the Quarterly Review. He disapproved of his Editor, and I recommended, and he approved of you, and I was desired to write on the subject; but afterwards I was desired to suspend for a while my communication. For the newspaper business I did not recommend you as fit; but on being asked as to your fitness and inclinations, I stated my belief in your fitness, accompanied with strong observations as to its unsuitableness to your rank and feelings, and I believe Mr. Canning, on being spoken to by Mr. Ellice, said

1 William Wright to J. G. Lockhart, 6 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn; October 3, 1825.

you could come as Editor of the Quarterly, but not as editor of a newspaper, or at least as known and reputed editor. I told
Disraeli before he left he had a very delicate mission, and that though my rank in life was different to your own, having no relations whose feelings could be wounded by my accepting any honest employment, I should not receive an offer of the editorship of a newspaper as a compliment to my feelings as a barrister and a gentleman, however complimentary it might be as to my talents. In short, I enter entirely into your feelings on this head, and we think alike, for, whatever our friend Disraeli may say or flourish on this subject, your accepting of the editorship of a newspaper would be infra dig., and a losing of caste; but not so, as I think, the accepting of the editorship of the Quarterly Review. . . . Murray will in his letter, I presume, offer you the Quarterly, but as to bargaining, and making your contract certain and available, when you have agreed on general principles, you may, I think, trust that to me; and though I should like you for a neighbour, weigh all things well, and let not haste cause you to overrun your discretion and so bar judgment. An editor of a Review like the Quarterly is the office of a scholar and a gentleman; but that of a newspaper is not, for a newspaper is merely stock-in-trade, to be used as it can be turned to most profit. And there is something in it (when
Disraeli has gilded and adorned it with his new notions as much as he can) that is repugnant to the feelings of a gentleman. . . . If you think of accepting Murray’s proposals in any shape, leave all particulars to discussion and arrangement after you come to London, and let us talk the matter over first for a few hours ourselves.1

Disraeli, who is with you, I have not seen much of, but I believe he is a sensible, clever young fellow. His judgment, however, wants settling down. He has never had to struggle with a single difficulty, nor been called on to act in any affairs in which his mind has been necessarily forced to decide and choose in difficult situations. At present his chief exertions as to matters of decision have been with regard to the selection of his food, his enjoyment, and his clothing, and though he is honest, and, I take it, wiser than his father, he is inexperienced and untried in the world, and of course though you may, I believe, safely trust to his integrity, you cannot prudently trust much to his judgment.

Sir Walter was so good as to promise me a little dog. Has he such a thing for me? If so, our friend Constable promised to take care of it for me. I believe you were thought of for the newspaper from what had passed as to the Review, and the conversations about you were between Ellice

1 The lines omitted contain a criticism of Mr. Murray, conjectural, and probably baseless.

Canning, and, I think, not between Murray and Canning directly.—I am, dear Lockhart, yours most truly,

William Wright.”