LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of John Murray
Chapter XII.

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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During Mrs. Murray’s absence in Edinburgh, the dwelling-house at 50 Albemarle Street was made over to the carpenters, painters and house decorators. “I hope,” said Mr. Murray to his wife, “to leave the drawing-room entirely at your ladyship’s exclusive command.” But the drawing-room was used for other purposes than the reception of society callers. It became for some time the centre of literary friendship and intercommunication at the West End. In those days there was no Athenæum Club for the association of gentlemen known for their literary, artistic, or scientific attainments. That institution was only established in 1823, through the instrumentality of Croker, Lawrence, Chantrey, Sir Humphry Davy and their friends. Until then, Murray’s drawing-room was the main centre of literary intercourse in that quarter of London. Men of distinction, from the Continent and America, presented their letters of introduction to Mr. Murray, and were cordially and hospitably entertained by him; meeting, in the course of their visits, many distinguished and notable personages.

In these rooms, young George Ticknor, from Boston, in America, then only twenty-three, met Moore, Campbell, D’Israeli, Gifford, Humphry Davy, and others, early in 1815. He thus records his impressions of Gifford:—


“Among other persons, I brought letters to Gifford, the satirist, but never saw him till yesterday. Never was I so mistaken in my anticipations. Instead of a tall and handsome man, as I had supposed him from his picture—a man of severe and bitter remarks in conversation, such as I had good reason to believe him from his books, I found him a short, deformed, and ugly little man, with a large head sunk between his shoulders, and one of his eyes turned outward, but withal, one of the best-natured, most open and well-bred gentlemen I have ever met. He is editor of the Quarterly Review, and was not a little surprised and pleased to hear that it was reprinted with us, which I told him, with an indirect allusion to the review of ‘Inchiquen’s United States.’ . . . He carried me to a handsome room over Murray’s book-store, which he has fitted up as a sort of literary lounge, where authors resort to read newspapers, and talk literary gossip. I found there Elmsley, Hallam, Lord Byron’s ‘Classic Hallam, much renowned for Greek,’ now as famous as being one of his lordship’s friends, Boswell, a son of Johnson’s biographer, &c., so that I finished a long forenoon very pleasantly.”*

Croker and Barrow were both frequenters of the drawing-room, being constant contributors to and ardent supporters of the Quarterly. Croker had already made his mark in literature by his poem on ‘Talavera,’ which had gone to a ninth edition, and which, Mr. Murray informed him, “had been more successful than any poem that I know, exceeding in circulation Mr. Heber’sPalestine’ or ‘Europe,’ or even Mr. Canning’s ‘Ulm’ and ‘Trafalgar.’” This was, however, before the appearance of Lord Byron’s poems. Scott wrote to Croker: “Many a heart has kindled at your ‘Talavera,’ which may be the more patriotic for the impulse as long as it shall last.” With respect to his contributions to the Quarterly, Croker, who was then in full work as Secretary to the Admiralty, wrote to Murray on sending his

* ‘Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor,’ i. p. 48.

review of Miss Edgeworth’s works: “Whatever you may think of my literary merits, if you could be aware of the circumstances of incessant and accablant business and fatigue in which I have written this review, you would at least thank me for my diligence and perseverance.”

Madame de Staël, who had been driven from Switzerland and France by the tyranny of Napoleon, was an occasional frequenter of Murray’s drawing-room. H. Crabb Robinson says in his Diary (i. 416):—

“I called this morning on Madame de Staël at 3 George Street, Hanover Square. It is singular that, having in Germany assisted her as a student of philosophy, I should now render her service as a lawyer. Murray, the bookseller, was with her, and I assisted at drawing up the agreement for her forthcoming work on Germany, for which she is to receive 1500 guineas.”

To one of his relatives, Murray wrote at the end of 1813:—

“I have lately ventured on the bold step of quitting the old establishment to which I have been so long attached, and have moved to one of the best, in every respect, that is known in my business, where I have succeeded in a manner the most complete and flattering. My house is excellent; and I transact all the departments of my business in an elegant library, which my drawing-room becomes during the morning; and there I am in the habit of seeing persons of the highest rank in literature and talent, such as Canning, Frere, Mackintosh, Southey, Campbell, Walter Scott, Madame de Staël, Gifford, Croker, Barrow, Lord Byron, and others; thus leading the most delightful life, with means of prosecuting my business with the highest honour and emolument.”

It was in Murray’s drawing-room that Walter Scott and Lord Byron first met. They had already had some friendly intercourse by letter and had exchanged gifts, but in the early part of 1815 Scott was summoned to London
on matters connected with his works. Mr. Murray wrote to Lord Byron on the 7th of April:—

Walter Scott has this moment arrived, and will call to-day between three and four, for the chance of having the pleasure of seeing you before he sets out for Scotland. I will show you a beautiful caricature of Buonaparte.”

Lord Byron called at the hour appointed, and was at once introduced to Mr. Scott, who was in waiting. They embraced each other in the most affectionate manner, and entered into a cordial conversation. How greatly Mr. Murray was gratified by a meeting which he had taken such pains to bring about, is shown by the following memorandum carefully preserved by him:—

“1815. Friday, April 7.—This day Lord Byron and Walter Scott met for the first time and were introduced by me to each other. They conversed together for nearly two hours. There were present, at different times, Mr. William Gifford, James Boswell (son of the biographer of Johnson), William Sotheby, Robert Wilmot, Richard Heber, and Mr. Dusgate.”

The present Mr. Murray—then John Murray, Junior—gives his recollections as follows:—

“I can recollect seeing Lord Byron in Albemarle Street. So far as I can remember, he appeared to me rather a short man, with a handsome countenance, remarkable for the fine blue veins which ran over his pale, marble temples. He wore many rings on his fingers, and a brooch in his shirt-front, which was embroidered. When he called, he used to be dressed in a black dress-coat (as we should now call it), with grey, and sometimes nankeen trousers, his shirt open at the neck. Lord Byron’s deformity in his foot was very evident, especially as he walked downstairs. He carried a stick. After Scott and he had ended their conversation in the drawing-room, it was a curious sight to see the two greatest poets of the age—both lame—stumping
downstairs side by side. They continued to meet in Albemarle Street nearly every day, and remained together for two or three hours at a time. Lord Byron dined several times at Albemarle Street. On one of these occasions, he met
Sir John Malcolm—a most agreeable and accomplished man—who was all the more interesting to Lord Byron, because of his intimate knowledge of Persia and India. After dinner, Sir John observed to Lord Byron, how much gratified he had been to meet him, and how surprised he was to find him so full of gaiety and entertaining conversation. Byron replied, ‘perhaps you see me now at my best.’ Sometimes, though not often, Lord Byron read passages from his poems to my father. His voice and manner were very impressive. His voice, in the deeper tones, bore some resemblance to that of Mrs. Siddons.”

About this time, Mr. Murray had a personal encounter with two thieves. While returning from Stoke Newington, across the fields, he was assailed by two ruffians, who knocked him down and robbed him of his money, but did not take his watch. His brother-in-law, Elliot, referred to this circumstance in a letter (June 27th, 1815).

“I was much alarmed by seeing in the newspapers that you had been knocked down and robbed of all your money (3s. 6d. in silver, and 4d. in copper coin). Fortunately, Annie’s (his sister) letter of the 16th arrived at same time, and informed me of your not having suffered much personal injury. The pecuniary loss will not ruin you. If you are always as moderate in your pocket-money, you will not be meddled with again.”*

* Lord Byron also wrote to Tom Moore of this robbery: “Murray,” he said, “has been cruelly cudgelled of misbegotten knaves, ‘in Kendal Green,’ at Newington, on his way home from a dinner, and robbed—would you believe it?—of three or four bonds of forty pounds a piece, and a seal ring of his grandfather’s, worth a million! This is his version,—but others affirm that D’Israeli, with whom he dined, knocked him down with his last publication, ‘The Quarrels of Authors,’ in a dispute about copyright. Be this as it may, the newspapers have teemed with his ‘injuria formæ,’ and he has been embrocated, and invisible to all but the apothecary ever since.”


Shortly before this first interview between Scott and Byron the news had arrived that Bonaparte had escaped from Elba, and landed at Cannes on the 1st of March, 1815. The French troops flocked to his standard, and Europe was again thrown into a state of excitement. Mr. Elliot continued, with reference to these events:

“We are all in a state of delirium about the news from Brabant. We look anxiously for the English news. The English Gazette is more relied on than any State papers in Europe. As yet, we have no minute particulars but from Holland. We have to-day accounts of Bonaparte having left the army for Paris. . . . From the imperfect accounts which we have, it is thought that the English army was surprised; as well as Blucher. You have no idea of the malignity with which this occasion is taken hold of, and how willingly it is supposed that the Duke of Brunswick fell a sacrifice to the errors of the others.”

When the news of the Battle of Waterloo reached London, Murray sent an account of it to his agent at Edinburgh. It was the first intelligence of the victory that Blackwood had received. In great triumph he showed Murray’s letter about, to Walter Scott among the rest; and then the Lord Provost confirmed the news.

Mr. Wm. Blackwood to John Murray.
June 24th, 1815.

“The whole town is in an uproar, and all the bells have been set a-ringing. One can think of nothing else to-day. I met Walter Scott this forenoon, and read him your letter. He desired me to tell you that he hoped Mr. Hammond* was not in a strait-waistcoat. He said a great many kind things about you. Everything is fixed about my going to Princes Street.”

A few days before—indeed on the day the battle was fought—Blackwood gave great praise to the new

* Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, father of the late Lord Hammond.

number of the
Quarterly, containing the contrast of Bonaparte and Wellington. It happened that Southey wrote the article in No. 25, on the ‘Life and Achievements of Lord Wellington,’ in order to influence public opinion as much as possible, and to encourage the hearts of men throughout the country for the great contest about to take place in the Low Countries. About the same time, Sir James Mackintosh had written an able and elaborate article for the Edinburgh, to show that the war ought to have been avoided, and that the consequences to England could only be unfortunate and inglorious. The number was actually printed, stitched, and ready for distribution in June; but it was thought better to wait a little, for fear of accidents, and especially for the purpose of using it instantly after the first reverse should occur, and thus to give it the force of prophecy. The Battle of Waterloo came like a thunderclap. The article was suppressed, and one on ‘Gall and his Craniology’ substituted. “I think,” says Ticknor, “Southey said he had seen the repudiated article.”*

Lord Byron did not write another ‘Ode on Napoleon.’ He was altogether disappointed in his expectations. Nevertheless, he still, like Hazlitt, admired Napoleon, and hated Wellington. When he heard of the result of the Battle of Waterloo, and that Bonaparte was in full retreat upon Paris, he said, “I’m d——d sorry for it!”

There were still meetings in Murray’s drawing-room, and literary banquets in Murray’s dining-room. On the 22nd of June, 1815, Ticknor was present at one of the dinners. He says:—

“I dined with Murray, and had a genuine bookseller’s dinner, such as Lintot used to give to Pope, and Gay and

* ‘Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor’ (2nd ed.) i. p. 41.

Swift, and Dilly to Johnson and Goldsmith. Those present were two Mr. Duncans, Fellows of New College, Oxford; D’Israeli, author of the ‘Quarrels and Calamities of Authors’; Gifford, and Campbell. The conversation of such a party could not be confined to politics, even on the day when they received full news of the Duke of Wellington’s successes; and, after they had drunk his health, and Blucher’s, they turned to literary topics as by instinct, and from seven o’clock until twelve the conversation never failed or altered. D’Israeli, who, I think, is no great favourite, though a very good-natured fellow, was rather the butt of the party. The two Duncans were acute and shrewd in correcting some mistakes in his books. Gifford sometimes defended him, but often joined in the laugh; and Campbell, whose spirits have lately been much improved by a legacy of £5000, was the life and wit of the party. He is a short, small man, and has one of the roundest and most lively faces I have seen amongst this grave people. His manners seemed as open as his countenance, and his conversation as spirited as his poetry. He could have kept us amused till morning; but midnight is the hour for separating, and the party broke up at once.”*

Mr. Murray, about this time, began to adorn his dining-room with portraits of the distinguished men who met at his table. His portraits include those of Gifford,† by Hoppner, R.A.; Byron and Southey, by Phillips; Scott and Washington Irving, by Stewart Newton; Croker, by Eddis, after Lawrence; Coleridge, Crabbe, Mrs. Somerville, Hallam, T. Moore, Lockhart and others. In April 1815 we find Thomas Phillips, afterwards R.A., in communication with Mr. Murray, offering to paint for him a series of Kit-cat size at eighty guineas each, and in course of time his pictures, together with those of John Jackson, R.A., formed a most interesting gallery of the great literary men of the time, men and women of science, essayists, critics,

* ‘Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor’ (2nd ed.) i. pp. 52-3.

† This portrait was not painted for Mr. Murray, but was purchased by him.

Arctic voyagers, and discoverers in the regions of Central Africa.

Byron and Southey were asked to sit for their portraits to Phillips. Though Byron was willing, and even thought it an honour, Southey pretended to grumble. To Miss Barker he wrote (9th November, 1815):—

“Here, in London, I can find time for nothing; and, to make things worse, the Devil, who owes me an old grudge, has made me sit to Phillips for a picture to Murray. I have in my time been tormented in this manner so often, and to such little purpose, that I am half tempted to suppose the Devil was the inventor of portrait painting.”

Meanwhile Mr. Murray was again in treaty for a share in a further work by Walter Scott. No sooner was the campaign of 1815 over, than a host of tourists visited France and the Low Countries, and amongst them Murray succeeded in making his long-intended trip to Paris, and Scott set out to visit the battlefields in Belgium. Before departing, Scott made an arrangement with John Ballantyne to publish the results of his travels, and he authorized him to offer the work to Murray, Constable, and the Longmans, in equal shares.

Mr. Ballantyne to John Murray.
July 27th, 1815.

Mr. Walter Scott has left town to-day for the Continent, and proposes writing from thence a series of letters to supposititious correspondents, varied in matter and style according to the persons supposed to be addressed. This work is to form a demy 8vo. volume of twenty-two sheets, to sell at 12s. It is to be immediately begun on his arrival in France, and to be published, if possible, in the second week of September, when he proposes to return. His first visit is to the field of Waterloo, viâ Brussels. We print 3000 of this, and I am empowered
to offer you one-third of the edition, Messrs.
Longman and Messrs. Constable having each the same share. The terms twelve months’ acceptance for paper and print in shipment, and half profits at six months, granted now, the bills payable to me. Mr. Scott only made up his mind to-day respecting this mode of disposal.”

Mr. Murray had already reached Paris, when Ballantyne’s letter arrived in Albemarle Street, but on his return he wrote to Ballantyne as follows:—

John Murray to Mr. Ballantyne.
August 12th, 1815.

“I have just arrived from the Continent, and find your favour of the 27th ult., upon the subject of Mr. Walter Scott’s letters from the Continent. I have much pleasure in subscribing to the terms of your proposal for a third share of an edition, to consist of 3000 copies; and I now enclose my note, at six months from this date, of £150 accordingly, the receipt of which you can do me the favour to acknowledge at your leisure.”

Mr. Murray’s visit to Paris was of much interest. He set out with his friend, Mr. George Basevi, a nephew of Mr. D’Israeli, on the 14th of July, 1815, a month after the Battle of Waterloo. They reached Dover by coach, after a long and fatiguing journey. The packet was to sail on the following morning at eleven. The voyage was accomplished, with a favourable wind, in about two hours and a half, but the packet had to remain about two hours more outside the bar before it could enter Calais Harbour. At Calais, the companions hired a calèche on two wheels, with an apron of wood, and left for Paris on the following morning, making the journey by land in about three days.

Arrived at Paris, the travellers put up at the Hôtel des Étrangers, Rue Vivienne.

John Murray to Mrs. Murray.
Paris, July 22nd, 1815.

“We employed ourselves yesterday in delivering our letters of introduction. The first of those to whom our letters were addressed, who happened to be at home, was a respectable merchant, a friend of Mr. Basevi. From him we first learnt the state of anxious feeling here. The military of all nations, including our own, are billeted upon individuals, and all except the English, and of course the French, behave with greater or less humanity or moderation. The Prussians have been particularly outrageous in their demands; pillaging, devastating and destroying in the provinces, wherever they came, all that they cannot use or take away, even to burning the houses and inhabitants upon whom they had lived. This is truly horrible, and much to be lamented where such retribution falls upon the innocent; but even these ought to consider justly the cause of it, and then their indignation and curses must fall, not upon the allies, but upon their own villanous army. It is most gratifying—however justly I think this nation is at length made to feel the misery they have spread over Europe—to find that the torch of retributive justice has not been consigned to the arms of the British. Respecting their conduct, there is but one universal sentiment of admiration; their forbearance has been exemplary indeed and equal to their courage, and extends to the most inferior private. The officers, this gentleman assured us, when quartered upon him, never would dine with him, though their right, nor yield to repeated solicitation, except once or twice to show their respect, and they have invariably conducted themselves, as he expressed it, ‘comme voyageurs.’ This feeling towards the English is truly gratifying to us in a foreign country at such a juncture. Buonaparte had built a bridge here—the finest in Paris—to commemorate his victory over the Prussians at Jena; this the Prussians, with some justice, absolutely swore they would blow up, and no entreaties could preserve it. The delicate ingenuity of Lord Wellington, however, saved it. He simply ordered one British soldier to walk backwards and forwards on the bridge as sentinel, and upon no account
to quit it. The Prussians were confounded; they declared they could never destroy one English soldier. It is said, also, that the
King, finding that nothing would move the determination of the Prussians, at length wrote to Blucher, saying that, as it must be so, he had only one favour to ask—that he would give him two hours’ notice before it took place, that he might be prepared to place himself upon it. The Prussians are literally execrated by the French.”

The visitors called upon Miss Helen Maria Williams, who afterwards wrote a book about France. They saw most of the sights of Paris; but the most important of these was a review of the British troops on the 24th of July, 1815. We quote Mr. Murray’s own words in his letter to Mrs. Murray:—

“This whole day, from 10 o’clock, we have been at a review of the British Army before Lord Wellington, the Emperors of Russia and Austria, and the King of Prussia. The troops were five hours in passing, and are computed at 70,000 men, including Hanoverians, &c.—all that formed Lord Wellington’s army. It will operate very usefully, I can see, upon this flighty and ignorant people, from the conversations I took care to place myself in the way of overhearing. They were, however, most completely astonished by the appearance of our cavalry; they had not previously any idea of them, really believing them to be contemptible. Hundreds around were vociferating sacré dieu; some of them said that they had been told that Paris had been delivered to us by the treason of Fouche, but now they saw the true cause. It was indeed a gratifying and triumphant sight for an Englishman. Our men are all such truly respectable fine fellows. The Duke had his carriage there with two ladies.

“I must now conclude hastily, as the carriage is come to take us to dinner. We know nothing whatsoever of politics here, nor do the Parisians yet know if Buonaparte be really taken.

“This will be carried by Capt. Herd, who is to put it into the Post Office.”


The remainder of the visit passed off very pleasantly. Basevi revelled in the statues and pictures in the Louvre, and wished to study them more. The collection contained the finest pictures in the world—which Napoleon had brought from Italy, Germany, and Holland—as well as the principal statues, included the Venus de Medici, the Laocoon, the Apollo Belvedere, and others, which were soon to be returned to the galleries from which they had been taken. To oblige Basevi, Murray consented to stay a few days longer, during which time he delivered some letters of introduction from Sir James Mackintosh, all of which proved exceedingly valuable and interesting.

John Murray to Mrs. Murray.


After other visits—to Baron Humboldt amongst them—and several excursions in the neighbourhood of Paris—to Versailles, to Malmaison, the favourite residence of Josephine, and to St. Cloud—the pair of travellers set out from Paris to Dieppe on the 5th of August They reached Dieppe after an exhausting journey by diligence, and embarked for Newhaven. The voyage across the Channel at that time occupied more than eighteen hours. Before returning to London they visited Mr. Isaac D’Israeli, who had been ill, and told him all the news of their pleasant excursions in and about Paris.

In the meantime Ballantyne, who was printing Scott’sPaul’s Letters to his Kinsfolk,’ wrote to Murray that, instead of 3000 copies, double the number, or 6000, had been thrown off, and requesting Murray to send him the bill for the additional amount, dated three months back, which was at once complied with.

Notwithstanding the commercial distress which prevailed during the early part of 1815, Mr. Murray continued increasingly busy in the publication of new works. He again undertook the publication of ‘Mungo Park’s Travels,’ though a portion of the work had been published by the African Institution in Lincoln’s Inn. Mr. Whishaw, in acknowledging the receipt from Mr. Murray of £400 for the copyright of the journals, added that “Sir Joseph Banks is much pleased with your conduct in waiving the objection arising from the publication of ‘Isaaco’s Journal,’ and has looked out some other papers which may be useful for our purpose.”


In a subsequent letter to Mr. Murray, Thomas Harrison, Secretary to the African Institution, says:—

“I have again the satisfaction of expressing to you the high sense which the Board cannot but feel at another instance of your liberal conduct respecting the family of the late Mungo Park, which I had the pleasure of reporting to them this morning.”

And Adam Park (Mungo’s brother), then living at Gravesend, in acknowledging the receipt of the book, wrote (29th September, 1815):—

“The rapid sale of the first edition encourages me to hope that your candour and liberality towards the interests of my late brother’s family will meet a commensurate reward from a generous public.”

Among the other miscellaneous works published this year was the ‘Paradise of Coquettes,’ originally issued anonymously, but now acknowledged to be by Dr. Thomas Brown, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, author of the ‘Philosophy of the Human Mind.’ The ‘Paradise of Coquettes’ excited a good deal of interest, one of the ablest critics declaring it to be “by far the best and most brilliant imitation of Pope that has appeared since the time of that great writer.” J. H. Merivale also published through Mr. Murray his ‘Orlando in Roncesvalles’—an imitation, or rather an abridgment, of a part of the ‘Morgante Maggiore.’ Mr. Murray’s list included also Sir R. C. Hoare’sAntiquities of Wiltshire,’ Lord Woodhouselee’sElements of History’ (being the text-book of his course as Professor of Universal History in the Edinburgh University), Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’sLetters,’ and Hamilton’sEast India Gazetteer,’ a work amassed and digested with singular industry, and containing a vast treasury of
Lord Sheffield, in sending the publisher the receipt for £1000 for the copyright of Gibbon’s miscellaneous works—which have already been referred to—wrote, “I have had more satisfaction in treating with you than with any other bookseller with whom I have had dealings.”

In 1815 a very remarkable collection of documents was offered to Mr. Murray for purchase and publication. They were in the possession of one of Napoleon’s generals, a friend of Miss Waldie.* The collection consisted of the personal correspondence of Bonaparte, when in the height of his power, with all the crowned heads and leading personages of Europe, upon subjects so strictly confidential that they had not even been communicated to their own ministers or private secretaries. They were consequently all written by their own hands.

As regards the contents of these letters, Mr. Murray had to depend upon his memory, after making a hurried perusal of them. He was not allowed to copy any of them, but merely took a rough list. No record was kept of the dates. Among them was a letter from the King of Bavaria, urging his claims as a true and faithful ally, and claiming for his reward the dominion of Würtemberg.

There were several letters from the Prussian Royal family, including one from the King, insinuating that by the cession of Hanover to him his territorial frontier would be rendered more secure. The Emperor Paul, in a letter written on a small scrap of paper, proposed to transfer his whole army to Napoleon, to be employed in turning the English out of India, provided he would prevent them passing the Gut and enclosing the Baltic.

The Empress of Austria wrote an apology for the

* Afterwards Mrs. Eaton, author of ‘Letters from Italy.’

uncultivated state of mind of her daughter,
Marie Louise, about to become Napoleon’s bride; but added that her imperfect education presented the advantage of allowing Napoleon to mould her opinions and principles in accordance with his own views and wishes.

This correspondence would probably have met with an immense sale, but Mr. Murray entertained doubts as to the propriety of publishing documents so confidential, and declined to purchase them for the sum proposed. The next day, after his refusal, he ascertained that Prince Lieven had given, on behalf of his government, not less than £10,000 for the letters emanating from the Court of Russia alone. Thus the public missed the perusal of an important series of international scandals.

Towards the end of the same year, Miss H. M. Williams published, through Mr. Murray, her ‘Narrative of Events in France in 1815.’ While expressing her pleasure at his consenting to bring out the work, she added, “for my part I accuse myself of having spared the tyrant (Bonaparte) too much.” Mr. Murray sent a copy of the book to his friend Isaac D’Israeli, who wrote in reply:—

Mr D’Israeli to John Murray.
Dear Murray,

I have just finished Miss Williams’s narrative, and the result is so very different from what I expected, that I can’t refrain from telling you that I consider it a capital work, written with great skill, talent, and care; full of curious and new developments, and some facts which we did not know before. There breathes through the whole a most attractive spirit, and her feelings sometimes break out in the most beautiful effusions. This narrative is not a book made up for the occasion, but will enter the historical list; and it must be popular, as it is the most entertaining imaginable; one of those books one does not like to quit before
finishing it. I cannot tell whether she writes for a particular purpose, but she writes well. Time has sobered her volatile nonsense, while near thirty years ago she wrote novels and middling poetry. It is true she writes now with very different feelings, but that does not prove that the present are not genuine. She has turned her petti-coat, for ladies have no other coats to turn; but if she has discovered that the former side was both dirty and faded, the present one is not the less decent for that.

I write this because I can’t get conveniently to you, and further, that you never spoke to me in the highest commendation of the book. It is one of the very best we have long had.

In haste, yours,
I. D’I.

Benjamin Constant wrote to Murray from Brussels, offering him for publication a work dealing with the History of the Government of France, from the return of the Royal family to the day on which the book was printed. “The period I mean to describe,” said Constant, “is better known to me than to most men in Europe, and my name will perhaps be of some interest, as a witness or an actor in the last events.” He referred Mr. Murray to Sir James Mackintosh—a friend of both—but the work does not seem to have been published—at least in English.

Some of the obscure authors who applied to Mr. Murray were exorbitant in their ideas of remuneration, but this was not the case with Miss Jane Austen, one of the most modest of authoresses. Her first novel was ‘Northanger Abbey.’ It remained long in manuscript, and eventually she succeeded in selling it to a bookseller at Bath for £10. He had not the courage to publish it, and after it had remained in his possession for some years, Miss Austen bought it back for the same money he had paid for it. She next wrote ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ The latter book was summarily rejected by
Mr. Cadell. At length these two books were published anonymously by Mr. Egerton, and though they did not make a sensation, they gradually attracted attention, and obtained admirers. No one could be more surprised than the authoress, who received no less than £150 from the profits of her first published work—‘Sense and Sensibility.’

When Miss Austen had finished ‘Emma,’ she put herself in communication with Mr. Murray, who read her ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ and sent it to Gifford. Gifford replied as follows:—

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.

“I have for the first time looked into ‘Pride and Prejudice;’ and it is really a very pretty thing. No dark passages; no secret chambers; no wind-howlings in long galleries; no drops of blood upon a rusty dagger—things that should now be left to ladies’ maids and sentimental washerwomen.”

In a later letter he said:—

September 29th, 1815.

“I have read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ again—’tis very good—wretchedly printed, and so pointed as to be almost unintelligible. Make no apology for sending me anything to read or revise. I am always happy to do either, in the thought that it may be useful to you.” * * * * *

“Of ‘Emma,’ I have nothing but good to say. I was sure of the writer before you mentioned her. The MS., though plainly written, has yet some, indeed many little omissions; and an expression may now and then be amended in passing through the press. I will readily undertake the revision.”

Emma’ was accordingly published in December 1815. By request of Miss Austen, Mr. Murray sent a copy to the Prince Regent, who had granted the authoress permission
to dedicate the work to his Royal Highness. Miss Austen’s two other novels, ‘
Northanger Abbey,’ and ‘Persuasion’ were also published by Murray, but did not appear until after her death in 1818. The profits of the four novels which had been published before her death did not amount to more than seven hundred pounds.

At the time when Lord Byron’s poems and Miss Austen’s novels were published, Mr. Murray was inundated with poems and novels from all parts of the country. Some of the poets wished to have “the honour of the name of Lord Byron’s publisher on the title-page,” while one of them, a lady of Cirencester, applied to him for “his celebrity and acknowledged liberality.” Manuscripts without end came to hand; in the haste of business they were sometimes overlooked; and indignant letters arrived demanding their return. The poems and novels were for the most part declined.

Mr. Murray also began to publish the works of Mr. Malthus on ‘Rent,’ the ‘Corn Laws,’ and the ‘Essay on Population.’ His pamphlet on Rent appeared in March 1815. Writing to Mr. Murray, he says:—

Mr. Malthus to John Murray.

“I am fully persuaded that all the trading classes, not immediately connected with foreign commerce, will feel very severely the loss of home demand, and the increased pressure of taxation occasioned by the fall in the price of corn; but if the nation is almost unanimous against restrictions, I fear that the passing of the Act under such circumstances will be a perpetually reviving cause of discontent.”

Number 24 of the Review pleased Gifford very much. In writing to Murray on the subject, he said:—

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.
Jan. 27th, 1815.

“I will beg you to get a work for Mr. Lyall. His article, which I have looked at again, is truly excellent*—but you must never venture into Scotland again without a coat of mail and a blunderbuss. Seriously, the sterling, manly sense of the Review pleases me very much, indeed.”

The Rev. P. Elmsley, vicar of St. Mary Cray—a contributor to the Quarterly—was not so well pleased as Gifford.

Rev. P. Elmsley to John Murray.

“I think you have not been very brilliant of late. I must say that there is as great a difference between Jeffrey’s best papers and your politics as between Handel and his bellows-blower. If this comparison does not please you, you may erase Handel and the bellows-blower, and read Burke and Junius, or Milton and Blackmore. . . . Is there not too much of the dry rot? Barrow ought not to ride you so unmercifully.”†

Referring to the previous number, Mr. Elmsley said:—

“I want to know, what I don’t expect you to tell me, who did the ‘Paradise of Coquettes?’‡ Is it not the same hand which did ‘Brand’s Popular Antiquities’ in the last number but one.§ I should be sorry to have my brain so full of cobwebs as that gentleman’s, be he who he may. Then, your politician, who talks about that ‘enemy to Europe, the King of Saxony,’ is a most useful performer. I wish he would take to some other subject, for, as to politics, he is hardly superior to a newspaper editor. I

* Archdeacon Lyall’s article was a review of Stewart’sPhilosophy of the Human Mind.’

† Numbers 15, 19, and 23, had each contained an article on timber and shipbuilding, by John Barrow. Number 59 (in 1824) contained another article by him, exclusively on “Naval Dry Rot.”

‡ It was written by F. Cohen (afterwards Sir F. Palgrave).

§ Mr. Elmsley was right in his conjecture.

have been in the habit of attributing these essays to
Reginald Heber, who has the common infirmity of clever men, of thinking himself able to write on subjects that he has never studied.”

It will thus be seen that Murray had no want of severe critics on his own staff. The next number (25) which was better, contained an article by a new and distinguished contributor, Henry Hallam.

In May 1815 Southey sent to Murray an article for the Quarterly written by a friend. Murray read it, but did not like it. He then sent it to Gifford, who wrote to him as follows:—

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.

“The great difficulty with me is Southey. He entertains a very high opinion of his friend’s talents, as he showed by employing him, and he has seen and approved the critique. No great proof of his own modesty, you will say, and I agree with you. But he is after all the sheet anchor of the Review, and should not be lightly hurt. Grosvenor Bedford’s influence with him is so great that he can mould him as he pleases. I do think, however, that some little good may be done by a few omissions towards the conclusion. . . . I think you might have spent the day more cheerfully than in going so many miles to eat up a poor poet’s Sunday dinner. But perhaps you took a basket with you.”

Murray sent Scott a copy of Mountstuart Elphinstone’sCabul,’ which is referred to in the course of the following letter. The first part of the communication refers to the ‘Lord of the Isles’ and the ‘Antiquary,’ which had recently made their appearance. It had been suggested in a letter from Scott to Ballantyne, that the latter work should be offered to Murray and Blackwood, in the event of Constable and the Longmans not accepting the terms; but Constable held to the work, and, in conjunction with
the Longmans, granted bills for £1500, and relieved Ballantyne of stock to the amount of £500. Therefore, the suggested arrangement with Murray and Blackwood fell through. The rest of Murray’s letter to Scott was as follows:—

John Murray to Mr. Scott.
Nov. 8th, 1815.

I trust it will not be necessary to give yourself any thought again of what will be agreeable to me with regard to any publication of yours, for what you desire will be completely satisfactory to me. As to the enlargement of the edition of ‘Paul’s Letters’ to 6000, I can only assure you that, in my opinion, such an impression will be sold in a fortnight.

I sent you also a copy of a valuable work by Mountstuart Elphinstone on the ‘Kingdom of Cabul,’ which will, I think, interest you; and to-day I have enclosed in a mail packet to Blackwood a copy of Helen Maria Williams’s account of the ‘Events in France,” which is to be published here to-morrow, and which you will be curious, at any rate, to see. I have added the addenda to ‘Park,’ and sent with it the ‘Travels,’ complete in 2 vols., 8vo., which I shall not publish till the end of the year, and which, therefore, I do not wish to be much seen.

Southey arrived last week from his travels, in great health and spirits. He would not go near Paris. He says that if Paris is not burnt to the ground, then the two cities that we read of in Scripture have been very ill used. He was very sorry that he missed seeing you in London. Lord Byron is perfectly well, and is in better dancing spirits than I ever knew him, expecting every day a son and heir. Mr. Hammond continues the same, and all talk of you repeatedly. Southey is sitting to Phillips for me, and I now want Crabbe, to whom I would beg the favour of a line at your leisure. Mr. Ward has just returned from Italy, and Rogers from a recent trip, to take a farewell view of the statues. Sotheby is recovering from the loss of his son in the bustle attending the preparation for ‘Ivan,’ which is to be performed at Drury Lane early in the year. Sir H. Davy read his Paper to-day at the Royal Society, on
his most valuable discovery of the means of preventing the fatal accidents in collieries from inflammable air.
Canova is in London. Sir James Mackintosh has given up his house in town, and retired to Buckinghamshire to complete his ‘History.’ Campbell is carrying fast through the press his ‘Selections of Poetry,’ with original lives and criticisms, which are written with great simplicity and interest. Mr. Gifford is very well, and will be even better if you can find time to think of him. However, we both are aware that you are not idle; and we hope, if you have a spare moment, that you will dash us out something. I have a great many interesting works in the press. I will take care to remember you to your friends; and if I can be in any way useful to you in London, I hope you will not fail to command my services.

I remain, dear Sir,
Yours very sincerely,
John Murray.

The following, which may be regarded as a continuation of the previous letter from Murray to Scott, may also be given.

John Murray to Mr. Scott.
December 25th, 1815.
Dear Sir,

I was on the point of writing to you, when I received Mr. Blackwood’s letter. Elphinstone’s ‘Cabul’ has been, since the day of publication, in the hands of Mr. Barrow, whose article upon it is in progress, and will appear in our next number. I hope, therefore, that Lord Meadowbank will not feel disappointed; but allow us to hope for the favour of his valuable assistance on some other work, in which we would prefer to anticipate, rather than to follow the Edinburgh Review. I was about to tell you that Croker was so pleased with the idea of a Caledonian article from you, that he could not refrain from mentioning it to the Prince Regent, who is very fond of the subject, and he said he would be delighted, and is really anxious about it. Now, it occurs to me, as our Edinburgh friends choose on many occasions to bring in the Prince’s name to
abuse it, this might offer an equally fair opportunity of giving him that praise which is so justly due to his knowledge of the history of his country. We expect to publish our next number in the last week in January next. Eight sheets are already printed, and we will reserve the last place d’honneur for you.

I was with Lord Byron yesterday. He enquired after you, and bid me say how much he was indebted to your introduction of your poor Irish friend Maturin, who had sent him a tragedy, which Lord Byron received late in the evening, and read through, without being able to stop. He was so delighted with it that he sent it immediately to his fellow-manager, the Hon. George Lamb, who, late as it came to him, could not go to bed without finishing it The result is that they have laid it before the rest of the Committee; they, or rather Lord Byron, feels it his duty to the author to offer it himself to the managers of Covent Garden. The poor fellow says in his letter that his hope of subsistence for his family for the next year rests upon what he can get for this play. I expressed a desire of doing something, and Lord Byron then confessed that he had sent him fifty guineas. I shall write to him to-morrow, and I think if you could draw some case for him and exhibit his merits, particularly if his play succeeds, I could induce Croker and Peel to interest themselves in his behalf, and get him a living.

Your interesting letter respecting poor Park’s family is at present with Whishaw, who desires me to assure you that he will try all his means to effect your benevolent object; though the chances of at least immediate success are lessened at this time by the complete derangement of all our landholders. You will have noticed, perhaps, in the Gazette, the appointment of our friend Hammond as one of the Commissioners for arranging the claims of the British in France; and he sets out for Paris in a fortnight, so that I lose my chief 4 o’clock man. Have you any fancy to dash off an article on ‘Emma’? It wants incident and romance, does it not? None of the author’s other novels have been noticed, and surely ‘Pride and Prejudice’ merits high commendation.

Yours ever faithfully,
John Murray.

Scott immediately complied with Murray’s request. He did “dash off an article on ‘Emma,’” which appeared in No. 27 of the Quarterly. In enclosing his article to Murray, Scott wrote as follows:—

Mr. Scott to John Murray.
January 19th, 1816.
Dear Sir,

Enclosed is the article upon ‘Emma.’ I have been spending my holidays in the country, where, besides constant labour in the fields during all the hours of daylight, the want of books has prevented my completing the Highland article. [The ‘Culloden Papers,’ which appeared in next number.] It will be off, however, by Tuesday’s post, as I must take Sunday and Monday into the account of finishing it. It will be quite unnecessary to send proofs of ‘Emma,’ as Mr. Gifford will correct all obvious errors, and abridge it where necessary. I have obtained a promise of a provision for poor Archie Park; pray say so, with my best respects to Mr. Whishaw. I have sent a commission to Wurz and Treuttel to procure me the Benedictine edition of the French Historians.* If they should advise you that they have succeeded, and draw upon you for the price, please advise me, that I may put you in funds. I desired them to draw upon you at a month’s sight. I wrote Lord Byron a few days since. But I must to the Highlands in great haste, so this is all at present from

Yours truly,
W. Scott.
January 25th, 1816.

My article is so long that I fancy you will think yourself in the condition of the conjuror, who after having a great deal of trouble in raising the devil, could not get rid of him after he had once made his appearance. But the Highlands is an immense field, and it would have been much more easy for me to have made a sketch twice as long than to

* This was no doubt the source whence Scott drew his novel of ‘Quentin Durward.’

make it shorter. There still wants eight or nine pages, which you will receive by to-morrow’s or next day’s post; but I fancy you will be glad to get on. I sent you a few days since the article on ‘
Emma.’ Inclosed is a letter from Mrs. Scott to her friends in Whitehorse Street,* which I beg you will have the goodness to forward.

Yours truly,
W. Scott..

Elphinstone’s book is by far the most interesting of the kind I have ever read.”

The article on the ‘Culloden Papers,’ which occupied fifty pages of the Review (No. 28), described the clans of the Highlands their number, manners, and habits; and gave a summary history of the Rebellion of ’45. It was graphically and vigorously written, and is considered one of Scott’s best essays. The other review, of ‘Fair Isabel of Cothele,’ was only three pages in length. The writer presumed that the MS. of the poem had been enclosed in a bureau of Walter Scott, and hence the great likeness between it and ‘The Lady of the Lake.’ It might also have been closeted with the papers of Lord Byron, and hence its resemblance to his Lordship’s works.

Two other letters from Mr. Scott to Murray may be given, as they relate to articles in the Review.

Mr. Scott to John Murray.
October 10th, 1815. (?)
Dear Sir,

After carefully looking over the series of novels, which I re-inclose, I find I can make nothing of them. The canvas is, in fact, too narrow for so extensive a subject. I have written to Mr. Gifford, wishing to review Polwhele’s works [‘Fair Isabel of Cothele’] or the ‘Theatrical

* The Dumerques, with whom Sir Walter generally resided during his visits to London.

Row.’ The last has never, I think, been attempted, at least in a general point of view, and might, I think, be made a pleasing and original article. Should Mr. G. approve, you will be so good as to send me such of the trashy publications concerning it as may be most current. I must have a text, though the sermon will rather refer to the thing itself than the publications concerning it. I will be happy to look over the article on
Crabbe should Mr. G. wish it, but it is always difficult (I find it so at least) to do much in the way of addition or emendation unless the general colouring and style should agree more than is likely.

I have written a long letter to Gifford on all these matters. I am greatly obliged to you for settling with my newspaper man, which, I suppose, will square accounts between us for my two little articles in last number.

I am, dear Sir, yours very truly,
Walter Scott.

The other letter is as follows [no date, but supposed to be Edinburgh, 1816]:—

My dear Sir,

I am glad you like the article. With all my exertions I have not got through the corrections to save this post, and I wish to avail myself of the admirable letters of Croker and Malcolm to mend the reflections on Waterloo. Tomorrow is no post, but you will have the remaining sheets by the first post, sans faute. I am writing during a long and confused pleading.

Yours truly,
Walter Scott.

From these letters it will be observed how diligently Mr. Scott was helping onward the progress of the Quarterly.