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Memoir of John Murray
Chap. XXXII.

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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It would be tedious and unprofitable to give a mere list of the works offered to Mr. Murray even by authors of recognised repute, save in cases where the negociation was attended by some special incident or correspondence which might appear worthy of record. The burst of inspiration which had marked the commencement of the present century had all but died out, and the public demand for poetry, as well as the quality of the supply, had waned. From this time forward we find Mr. Murray making it his rule to refuse all original works of this kind, and when Henry Taylor offered him his ‘Philip van Artevelde,’ the drama by which he established his reputation, Mr. Murray, mindful of the ill-success of ‘Isaac Comnenus,’ declined the proposal. In the department of fiction, too, the quality of the MSS. submitted was so disproportionate to the quantity, that few of them found favour in Albemarle Street. Mr. G. P. R. James, historian and novelist, had some correspondence with Mr. Murray, and on one occasion described his method of composition, though he did not succeed in getting any of his books accepted:

Mr. G. P. R. James to John Murray.

“I have said that I write very rapidly, and when I tell you that this often amounts to twenty-four pages in four or five hours, you may perhaps think that such speed is
incompatible with care; but I can assure you I find by experience that when my pen moves thus fluently—before the ideas that flash across my mind have time to escape—the sheets may want correction afterwards—but in point of spirit and interest they are always far more to my satisfaction than when I proceed slowly.”

Mrs. Sarah Austin’s literary career, including her dealings with Mr. Murray, have been so well described by her grand-daughter in the ‘Lives of Three Englishwomen,’ that it would be superfluous to do more than mention her name here.

Among a host of letters from more or less distinguished authors, we insert the following as forming an interesting link between Mr. Murray’s generation and that of his father:—

Professor Leslie to John Murray.
Edinburgh, November 19th, 1830.

I was very sorry not to have the pleasure of seeing you when you visited this place last autumn. I was then in Fife, where I should have been most happy to receive a visit from you; and indeed had I known you were to stay so long in Edinburgh, I should have crossed the water to meet you.

I lately purchased a small but beautiful property on the reef of Largs Bay, and have been labouring earnestly in improving and decorating it. Things are succeeding to my wishes: but then I have laid out a great deal of money, which I must endeavour to replace by literary exertion. Nothing seems to answer now but the cheap popular volumes. I have therefore been projecting two or three of that nature which I am confident would answer; and I prefer applying to yourself, not only as a liberal and spirited publisher, but as the son of an old friend for whose memory I cherish a tender regard. What I would propose in the first place is a ‘History of Natural Philosophy, or General Physical Science.’ I could make it interesting, and at once amusing and instructive. But then I shall expect a handsome premium. I would exert all my
various talents only on high terms, and would despise all mediocrity either of execution or reward. Be so good as consider this proposition maturely, and let me know your decision, as I am ready to set about the task immediately, and can execute it here more easily than in the country.

There is another matter that I have to mention at the express desire of some members of the Bannatyne Club. You reserved the right of bringing out an edition of Sir James Melville’s ‘Memoirs.’ Only 80 copies were printed, and the later members are anxious to have the work. They think that an octavo edition would sell readily and come out with great effect under your name.

Most sincerely yours,
John Leslie.

The years 1830-32 were a time of great perplexity to the conductors of the Quarterly Review. Reform was in the air, and party spirit ran high. The Duke of Wellington’s action in regard to Roman Catholic Emancipation was looked upon as a surrender, and the consequent disquiet of some sections of his followers rendered it very difficult for the editor of the Tory organ to choose and pursue an unbiassed line of policy. Mr. Murray wrote to William Blackwood, with whom he was in regular correspondence:

John Murray to Mr. W. Blackwood.
December 20th, 1830.

“Most extraordinary changes have taken place here, all arising from the Duke’s rash and impolitic conduct respecting the Catholic question (which Moore said had made him cease to be a rebel), and his unstatesmanlike speech at the opening of Parliament. Where the rolling stone will stop God only knows. I was with Southey this morning, when he told me that as he rose from his knee at the last levee, who should be the first man to embrace him but the Lord High Chancellor of England! Lord Brougham is writing and circulating all sorts of trash to quiet the people; proving to them that they get much more by machinery than without it.”


“Well, we shall have precious work when we come to the question of Reform. It will almost to a certainty turn the Whigs out; but what the consequences may be is, I think, subject for the most alarming apprehensions. I dined on Monday last at Lord Henley’s (Peel’s brother-in-law), where I met Mr. Dawson and Sir Edward Sugden; and on Saturday last I dined in company with the whole of her Majesty’s present Ministers; I being almost the only unofficial man at table. It was really a most splendid banquet and scene altogether, all in full dress costume, even the Lord Chancellor!”

The unsettlement of men’s minds during the Reform Bill period exercised a detrimental influence on the Quarterly. which began to fall off in circulation. Lockhart even thought that Mr. Murray should reduce his honorarium to himself. Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.

Chiefswood, September 16th, 1831.

“The present number is as strong a number as you ever put forth . . . but in consequence of the bad times, and the declining sale of the Review during the Reform Bill agitation, you may find it necessary to lower the scale of remuneration to editor as well as author, and I am quite willing to abide by your decision in the matter. When another fortnight is past and gone, we shall begin to have some notion of the probable future of public affairs, which must, of course, as we all feel, have great influence over private resources and arrangements. Thank God! this country is quiet. There has not been such a harvest in every way for ten years, and the heart of the husbandman singeth aloud for joy.”

Croker also sympathized with Murray, and wrote:—

Mr. J. W. Croker to John Murray.
Kensington Palace, March 26th, 1831.
Dear Murray,

I return you a cheque for fifty guineas, which I suppose you meant for the article in the Q. R. on ‘The French
Revolution.’ If so, it is much too large a sum, and I could only look upon it as a kind of retaining fee, and not as a remuneration. Now, I want no retainer, for I am willing to help now and then, as opportunities may arise; and therefore you must forgive my insisting on your cutting down the said cheque to the ordinary size; for instance, what any of the authors (except
Southey) of the other articles have received. This I leave to your honour, and when you have done so, pray carry the reduced amount to my credit with you, for I fear I must be in your debt.

Yours ever,
J. W. Croker.

Even in these times, however, encouragement was not wanting, and the following letter from Mr. Philip Pusey, M.P., the brother of the late Canon of Christ Church, and a contributor to the Quarterly, is an example of the more sanguine communications which reached Mr. Murray:—

Mr. Philip Pusey, M.P., to John Murray.
February 8th, 1832.

“You need not say you have not quitted the field. The last number of the Quarterly is praised even by Radicals. Things look better than they did. If they go well, we shall owe you much. If not, you and Lockhart will have rivalled ‘The Retreat of the Ten Thousand.’”

Mr. Murray did not consent to reduce the salary of the editor, nor the payment for contributions of the authors; but on the contrary, resolved to increase them. When he paid for the articles, which appeared in the Quarterly for March 1834, Lockhart answered:—“Many thanks for your cheques: that for the article on Southey’sDoctor’ makes one ashamed.” And again, he wrote:—

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
November 20th, 1834.
My Dear Murray,

I have to thank you in my own name, and for all others concerned, for your very handsome cheques. It gives me great pleasure to hear good accounts of the Number, and I sincerely hope you are not too liberal, which I often fear you are.

One result of the Reform Bill was the final retirement of Mr. Croker from official life. His active mind, however, could not remain at rest, and he turned with redoubled energy to literary work, promising to devote his pen exclusively to the Quarterly, though he seldom, if ever, from this time forward wrote an article on current politics. Mr. Lockhart wrote to Murray that he should press Croker to review the Duke of Wellington’sDespatches.’ Croker immediately answered the appeal, and reviewed the ‘Despatches’ admirably in No. 102. When sending an article for the April number, he wrote to Murray from his country house at Molesey, that he had written thirty-two pages in four hours. In 1836, in which year five numbers of the Review appeared, Croker wrote ten articles, including three on ‘French subjects,’ and five on books of the season. From the commencement of the Review to April 1835, he had written no fewer than 99 articles in the first 100 numbers; some of them were brief, but others were most elaborate. After he had finished his review of Dr. Keith on the ‘Prophecies,’ he wrote:—

The Right Hon. J. W. Croker to John Murray.
January 16th, 1835.

“I like it as well as anything I ever did. It seems to me a clear exposure of one of the most extraordinary frauds ever attempted, and the latter part is, to me at least, an
original view of
Mr. Hume’sEssay on Miracles’. . . If you could borrow for me Bishop Sherlock on ‘The Use and Abuse of Prophecy’ I should be obliged to you. If all your slaves give you as much trouble as I do, you may envy a West India planter.”

January 19th, 1835.

“You remember telling me that some one (I suppose Dr. Milman) had put you on your guard about the comparatively modern date of the architecture at Petra. Is it not wonderful that that adverse point should have led to the discovery by me (if I am not deceived) of another most marked accomplishment of prophecy? for, though I did not give much weight to the objection, as the answer was obvious, still it seemed to require some explanation; and lo! while I was looking through the ‘Prophecies,’ I lighted upon Malachi i. 4, which positively predicts the subsequent more modern re-building, and I have made use of it accordingly. As this is quite new, I should like, when you read this article, to know how it strikes you. I know not how to believe that it should be left for me to discover so remarkable a corroboration of the original prophecy and the newly-discovered facts.”

March 12th, 1835.
Dear Murray,

I send, as you were so good as to desire me to do, a list—as well as I could make it out—of my articles in the Q. R., being exactly as I reckon, 99 in the first hundred numbers. There are now, I believe, 115, which will make about four volumes of my works, and certainly the most valuable part of that respectable collection, if ever such a collection be made; for I have been so long dawdling about it, that I am grown more indifferent than ever. Your offer to give me the missing, or rather wanted, articles has revived my spirit of authorship. I am going to cut up ‘The Georgian Era’* for you—rare game; but I know not what else to do. If ‘Robespierre’ does not arrive in time, I think I shall try ‘Mirabeau’—but what else? There seems a dearth of matter.

Yours ever,
J. W. Croker.

* Memoirs of the most eminent persons who have flourished in Great Britain from the accession of George I. to the demise of George IV. Reviewed in Q. R., April 1835.


Not infrequently Mr. Murray was made the medium of communication between Mr. Lockhart and his somewhat wilful contributor Mr. Croker, as when the editor writes: “My dear Murray—I shall study the last revise of the last article and send my humble suggestions to you by-and-by, that Mr. Croker may have them in the evening;” or, “I have received a very thankful letter from Monkland and a short self-lauding one from J. W. C.;” or, again, when Mr. Croker writes: “My dear Murray—Pray forgive me, I am very sorry to give trouble and make expense, but our friends POSITIVELY Insist that I shall not give up the Thompson episode, and I am forced to submit; I send you, therefore, the sheet to be revised and have this added—if the press be not broken up, there will be little delay.”

In January 1835, we find Mr. Murray writing to Lockhart: “I had written to Mr. Croker as you desired, but upon consideration it appeared to me, that it would be so much more appropriate if done by the editor that I have not sent my letter. You can have nothing to say but that you were so much struck with the pamphlet on the first perusal that you had written a letter to me to be forwarded to the author.” In spite of this wise resolve, however, Mr. Murray did address a letter at the close of the same month to Mr. Croker, endeavouring to pacify him, and to persuade him to co-operate in producing a worthy political article “at a time when the expectation of a political article is stronger and more eager than ever I remember it to have been, and therefore to publish without one would be a shattering disappointment; but to publish with a political article which ran counter to the views of the Conservative leaders would prove very injurious to them, and to the Quarterly, as the organ of the party, so I trust and entreat, upon public grounds, that you will fulfil what I am sure
you must feel to be a duty.” But Mr. Croker still remained obdurate, as we find from Murray’s letter to Lockhart on February nth, 1835: “My dear Lockhart,—As nothing has been done, said or conceived on my part that can possibly tend to alter or interfere with my arrangements with Mr. Croker respecting his connection with Q. R., I trust that they will be allowed to continue unmolested; but as my interference has, however, unintentionally given offence, I beg that you will do me the favour to assure Mr. Croker that he shall not in future be troubled with any observations of mine upon the articles which he may do me the favour of contributing to the Review.

The two following letters, the second of which was called forth by the death of Mrs. Lockhart, must, however, be added, to show that the disagreement between the two men was, after all, but superficial, and as proving the genuine kindness of heart of Mr. Croker:—

The Right Hon. J. W. Croker to Mr. Lockhart.
Molesey Grove,
Sunday, January 31st, 1836.
My Dear Lockhart,

I am very glad for your sake and for that of the Review that you have had this explanation with Murray. You know that I have always attended to—I might almost say invariably followed—his opinions, for two reasons—because he is a sensible man, and because he is master of his own publication, and therefore has a right to be heard in matters so deeply concerning his interests. I therefore did not object to his interference, but to the tone of it, which was, to my feelings, intolerable. I acknowledge fully Murray’s sovereignty over the Review, but ’tis a constitutional sovereignty, and must be exercised through his ministers. He has a perfect right to change them as he thinks proper, but not to dictate to them what they shall think or say, and, above all, not to do so offensively.


As to my resuming my stated service, that is a matter which is, I admit, possible under the explanation you have had, but I should like, before I reply definitely to that proposition, to have a few minutes’ conversation with you. The late arrangement seemed to me to have two defects, which, at first sight, might appear contradictory. The work was too much, and the pay too great; and to tell you the truth, it was because I fancied that I saw, in all Murray’s communications, that he was of the same opinion, that I was resolved to terminate an engagement which, under such a suspicion, was not endurable. I wish you and Mrs. Lockhart would come here on Wednesday to dine and sleep, and meet the Bishop of Exeter and Mrs. Phillpotts, who come here for that day on their way to town. You and Mrs. Lockhart could stay a day or two longer, and we could talk over our late emeute and future settlement.

Yours ever,
J. W. Croker.
The Right Hon. J. W. Croker to John Murray.
Molesey Grove, Wednesday, May 24th, 1837.
Dear Murray,

This is a terrible blow for us all—to me, somehow, ’tis like Walter Scott dying again; but then, poor Lockhart, and the dear motherless children!!! Is there anything that I or Mrs. Croker could do to alleviate this distress? Would they like to come here? They should find, after Monday, solitude and sympathy, and such opportunity for the diversion of sad thoughts as the country affords. I do not write to Lockhart; but as you will no doubt have some communication with him, say anything on our part that you think timely or likely to be acceptable, and offer from me to do anything that I can to relieve him from the troubles of business—though I know well that generally “the troubles of business” are God’s most bountiful mercies on such occasions. Prayer and business are the only consolations.

Yours ever,
J. W. Croker.

Mr. Murray was frequently invited to obtain situations for young men in London. It was through his influence with Sir Francis Freeling, with whom he was very intimate, that Mrs. Trollope obtained for her son Anthony a clerkship at the Post Office. She writes from Bruges to Mr. Murray (20th January, 1835) expressing her thanks to him and the Freelings, and adds, “he leaves the office at five, and would like to be employed as corrector of the press, or in some other occupation of the kind.” She deplored the loss of her boy, but says, “I can never forget that the last weeks of his life here were rendered as comfortable as they could be, by your premature payment.”*

Among other recommendations of young men, Murray received one in 1836, from an old friend, the Duke of Gordon, in favour of a countryman named John Douglas Cook, who came up to London, a raw Scotchman, to seek his fortune. Murray gave him a kind reception, and to aid him in the quest of literary employment placed in his hand such work as he had at his disposal. Finding out that Cook possessed real abilities, he invited him to his home and showed other kindnesses to one who had arrived in London with few other friends. More than this, Murray introduced him to Lord Mahon—for whom he executed some literary work—and to Mr. Barnes, the editor of the Times. Cook was employed by Mr. Walter as his election agent in Nottingham, where he made the acquaintance of Lord Lincoln, by whom he was sent on official business into Cornwall. Having been engaged for some years on the staff of the Times, he was selected by Mr. Beresford Hope and Mr. Cardwell to assist in the Morning Chronicle, from which he was finally transferred to the editorship of the Saturday Review. He acquired a share in that paper, and died a man of wealth.

* For her work on ‘Belgium and Western Germany.’


Mr. Crabbe, the poet, died on the 3rd of February, 1832; and his son, in communicating the event to Mr. Murray, stated that his father had left an eighth volume of poetry, and gave the contents of the work, adding, “my father has always spoken of you as having acted in the most friendly manner with regard to his literary transactions.” He also desired to know whether Mr. Murray would be disposed to publish the posthumous works, and on what terms. Mr. Murray replied by informing him of the loss which he had sustained by publishing Crabbe’s Poems. He had given £3000 for the copyright, and spent a considerable sum on the illustrations, but in the end his total loss had been about £2500. He sold the greater part of the remainder to Mr. Tegg, for one-third of what the poems and illustrations had cost him. Nevertheless he was willing to publish the life and posthumous poems under the direction of Mr. Lockhart, and offered 500 guineas for the work, but Mr. Crabbe preferred a division of profits. Mr. Murray then offered him the whole profit on the first edition of 5000 copies, taking his chance on the sale of future editions, when two-thirds of the profits were to be given to Mr. Crabbe.

Mr. Murray circulated the work, when published, to the reviewers and his friends. Praises came from all quarters, but it is unnecessary to quote them. He sent one to Dr. Paris, the well-known physician and author of ‘Philosophy in Sport made Science in Earnest,’ who replied from Brighton:—

Dr. Paris to John Murray.
My Dear Mr. Murray,

In order to convince you that I am not only living, but actually picking up my crumbs and becoming saucy,
I send you an early acknowledgment of your present, received through the hands of
Mr. Horace Smith:—
“If Paris you would please, a gift appropriate proffer,
The Apple, not a Crab, the classic sure would offer;
And yet with points of taste, I will not stop to grapple,
But wish your Crabbe may prove as golden as my Apple”

In a previous chapter we have mentioned the anxiety of Dr. Paris that he should not be publicly announced as the author of ‘Philosophy in Sport,’ lest it should injure him in his profession. A curious instance of this same professional jealousy is that of Samuel Warren, the author of the ‘Diary of a late Physician.’ Warren had originally studied medicine at Edinburgh, but was by profession a barrister. When the work appeared some of the medical journals made a severe attack upon it for betraying the secrets of the profession, under the belief that it was the actual reminiscences of a doctor and not a work of fiction.

To judge from the following letter, the work was detrimental to Mr. Warren’s prospects at the Bar.

Mr. Warren to John Murray.
April 20th, 1835.
Dear Sir,

I beg to forward to you the enclosed volume, the very first that is published, and to express a hope that it may not unpleasantly remind you of a person who experienced much gratification in meeting you at Mr. Brockedon’s. Permit me to add that on the success of this book depend almost entirely my professional prospects, which have suffered severely through the connection of my name with ‘The Diary of a late Physician’; a circumstance which has set afloat the notion that I am not a practical lawyer. I wish I could show those who think thus how heavily they wrong me. The effect of it is that though I am one of the most laborious members of the profession, I sit from morning to night at my chambers neglected. May I hope that, if you should think it worth while to cast your eye over these pages, they may satisfy you that I do not deserve such treatment?


I think you will find that this book is one calculated for general readers; and it is certainly the only one extant that exhibits a complete picture of the present state of the English Bar, the qualifications required in those who seek to become members of it, and the nature of legal studies.

If, in short, I may, without presumption, hope for a favourable notice of it in the Quarterly—and I trust your kindness will forgive the anxiety with which I mention such a thing—I shall consider myself ever under the very greatest obligation to you.

I intended to write a note to Mr. Lockhart, but as I have not the honour of any personal acquaintance with him, I have chosen rather to throw myself entirely on your good nature.

I am, dear Sir, yours most respectfully,
Samuel Warren.

The volume enclosed by Mr. Warren was his popular and practical introduction to Law Studies; and an excellent review of the work, by Mr. W. Smith, appeared in No. 112 of the Quarterly.

Southey, who had been returned Member of Parliament for Downton (before the Reform Bill passed), but refused the honour, had written, between 1808 and 1838, ninety-four articles for the Quarterly; the last was upon his friend Thomas Telford, the engineer, who left him a legacy. When about 55 years old, his only certain source of income was from his pension, from which he received £145, and from his laureateship, which was £90. But the larger portion of these sums went in payment for his life insurance, so that not more than £100 could be calculated on as available. His works were not always profitable. In one year he only received £26 for twenty-one of his books, published by Longman. Murray gave him £1000 for the copyright of the ‘Peninsular War;’ but his ‘Book of the Church’ and his ‘Vindiciæ’ produced nothing.

Southey’s chief means of support was the payments
(generally £100 for each article) which he received for his contributions to the
Quarterly; but while recognising this, as he could not fail to do, as well as Murray’s general kindness towards him, he allows a constant vein of discontent to show itself even in his acknowledgment of favours received.

We give a few extracts, taken almost at random, from his very voluminous letters to Murray.

Mr. Southey to John Murray.
October 7th, 1818.

“Your pay is very liberal, and the price which I receive for my writings is by no means a matter of indifference to me, but it can make no difference in the manner of my writing. The same diligence, the same desire, and the same power (whatever that may be) were brought to the task when you paid me ten guineas per sheet, as when you raised it to £100 per piece. This last is a great price, and it is very convenient to me to receive it, but I will tell you with that frankness which you have always found in my correspondence and conversation, that I must suspect my time might be more profitably employed (as I am sure it might be more worthily) than in writing for your journal even at that price.”

March 3rd, 1823.

“I thank you for your letter, and return the receipt, reminding you that our agreement is for guineas, as the letter containing your offer shows. You have dealt fairly and uprightly with me, as I was confident you would do, and as I have deserved to be treated.”

“I am going tooth and nail to the ‘Peninsular War,’ and shall undertake nothing serious until it is completed. On the score of my procrastination in this and other things, you have shown a forbearance which I have always felt as a kindness, and as evincing much more of gentlemanly feeling than of what is too commonly the spirit of business.”


“The sale of books is grievously diminished within the last six or eight years: I speak feelingly. To have any
success, a book must be new—a single season antiquates it; it must have come from a fashionable name (nobility is now turned to a marketable account in this way); or it must be personal, if not slanderous; but if slanderous, then best of all.”

It was said of Southey, that literature had been to him a mine of wealth. Charles Lamb said, “Southey has made a fortune by book drudgery.” But it was really very different.

“Writing for a livelihood,” said Southey—“a livelihood is all that I have gained; for, having something better in view, and therefore never having courted popularity, nor written for the mere sake of gain, it has not been possible for me to lay by anything . . . Happily, while my faculties last, I shall never be in want of employment. Just now (29th September, 1835), two presses are calling upon me, a third longing for me, and a fourth at which I cast longing eyes myself. The two which, like the daughters of the horse-leech, cry Give! Give! are employed upon Cowper and the Admirals; the third is asking for the new edition of ‘Wesley;’ and the quantity of a good Quarterly article must be written before that can be satisfied.”

In 1835 Southey received a pension of £300 from the Government of Sir Robert Peel. He was offered a Baronetcy at the same time, but he declined it, as his circumstances did not permit him to accept the honour.

Mr. Southey to John Murray.
June 17th, 1835.

“What Sir Robert Peel has done for me will enable me, when my present engagements are completed, to employ the remainder of my life upon those works for which inclination, peculiar circumstances, and long preparation, have best qualified me. They are, ‘The History of Portugal,’ ‘The History of the Monastic Orders,’ and ‘The History of English Literature,’ from the time when Wharton breaks off. The possibility of accomplishing three such works at my age could not be dreamt of, if I had not made very
considerable progress with one, and no little, though not in such regular order, with the others.”

Dr. Shelton Mackenzie recollects the conversation at a meeting between Southey and Wordsworth:—

“We spoke,” he says, “of American reprints of English works; and Wordsworth said it was wonderful what an interest they took in our literature: ‘it was like the yearning of a child for its parents;’ while Southey remarked, with a smile, ‘Rather the yearning of a robber for his booty.’ They reprint English works because it pays them better than to buy native copyrights; and until men are paid, and paid well for writing, depend upon it that writing well must be an exception rather than the rule. . . . . Wordsworth could scarcely believe that of a three volume work, published here at a guinea and a half, the reprint was usually sold at New York for two shillings—in later days the price has been as low as sixpence, the great sale making a fraction of profit worth looking for. Wordsworth expressed a strong desire to obtain an American reprint of any of Southey’s works; but Southey appeared quite indifferent. ‘I should be glad to see them,’ said he, ‘if the rogues would only give me a little of what the work of my brains may yield to them.’”

While Mr. Charles Lyell was in Paris, superintending the translation of his ‘Principles of Geology,’ he wrote:

Mr. Charles Lyell to John Murray.
September 30th, 1830.

“The work is to be translated by M. Prevost, and he has been waiting on the king with an address from the Geological Society of Paris; since which he has been dining with his Majesty as a savant, in the uniform of a bold dragoon of the National Guards. All this, as you may well suppose, has not assisted the translation. Indeed, you can scarcely imagine a more thorough stagnation than that of the business of authors and publishers, and booksellers of works on Natural History and Physical Science in this city, of whom there are so many. I was in the medical quarter yesterday, and the booksellers told me
they were reduced at last to stick up political brochures in their windows. The scientifics having at last a government to which they are not ashamed to turn courtiers, are become thorough-paced place-hunters, and they complain that they must go at 5 o’clock in order to get an audience at 10,—so crowded are the ante-chambers of every minister with suitors . . . I trust the public mind on the British side of the channel is not half so much absorbed in political affairs; if so, the success of my book must be small. In the meantime, I am well satisfied with the reception it has met with among the geologists here, some of whom have studied it already more closely than Prevost, notwithstanding his start. I am determined to spare neither time nor money to make the second volume good. To this end, finding that
Deshayes is living from day to day on what he earns by writing for Encyclopaedias, &c., I have taken him off this work, and advanced a sum to get from him the full results of his magnificent collection of fossil remains, and of his extensive zoological knowledge. His own book on the subject, in consequence of his pecuniary difficulties, will not appear in less than eighteen months. Although I expend this on my own account (and it will cost me three months’ pay of his valuable time), I have been obliged to make use of your name, and to represent to him that you had at my request agreed that he should receive so much from you for zoological assistance given to me. He would not have been a stipendiary of mine, but has of course no objection to become a joint workman with me for the public.”

A curious testimony to the pains which Mr. Lyell bestowed on the working out of his theories is afforded by an extract from a letter of Mr. Murray to his son, then travelling on the Continent:

John Murray to John Murray, junior.
September 16th, 1833.

Mr. Lyell called this morning, having returned last night. He has been quite astonished at the far advanced state of geological knowledge which he found in Germany, vastly beyond France and England, and he said he was astonished
at his own deficiency. He was induced to study the German language and intends to visit Germany for many succeeding years. He has given up his King’s College Professorship, nor will he lecture again at the Institution. He was chiefly in Bavaria, where men of science are stimulated by the munificent endowments of the government.”

Mr. Roderick I. Murchison was also busy with his geological works. He wrote to Mr. Murray, from Hereford (24th July, 1834), saying that he was preparing his opus magnum on the geology of the country of the Silures, and requesting that the work should be announced:—

“I have been leaving,” he said, “no stone unturned to render my Transition History, or a Tale of a very ancient Family, as perfect as the evidence will admit. First, I had Professor Sedgwick four weeks in my little carriage, and we have climbed ‘many a hill together;’ and as he has absconded—having first fully approved of all my doings—Mrs. Murchison has taken his place, and we are now moving from the Uske to the Vale of Radnor.”

A few years later, when Mr. Murchison had returned from his famous expedition to Russia and the Ural Mountains, Lockhart, who was a personal friend of the distinguished geologist, wrote of him:—

Mr. Lockhart to John Murray.
Milton Lockhart,
Sept. 28th, 1840.
My dear Murray

Murchison has come back grander by far than ever from his Russian travels. I fancy he must now take rank as Grand Duke. He sported in a military cap two little geological hammers in silver crosswise, so as to represent an order, and was everywhere treated, he says, en prince, and he sent the Czar a superb copy of ‘My System’ with a valedictory autograph, expressing his approbation of the Muscovite empire in general, and its Siberian strata in particular, which I strongly suspect was designed to be
recompensed in some splendid shape by that amiable brother potentate. Murchison, however, seems to have amassed much curious and interesting information about Russia and the Russians, and I have encouraged him to draw out his journal in his own way with the view of letting me work its contents into an article in Venables’ little volume, including of course copious extracts from “the MS. diary of a distinguished friend.”

Your very sincere and faithful
J. G. L.

Sir Alexander Burnes had published in 1834 his ‘Travels into Bokhara,’ giving an account of his wonderful journey of exploration on the N.W. Frontier of India. In 1835 he returned to India for the last time, and his account of the recently instituted Overland Route will be read with interest in these days when the journey from London to Bombay can be performed within a fortnight.

Sir A. Burnes to John Murray.
On the Nile, March 30th, 1835.
My Dear Murray,

It is only four weeks this very day since I took leave of you in Albemarle Street, and here I am within a couple of hours’ sail of Grand Cairo, and in sight of those stupendous monuments of folly, the Pyramids of Egypt, which, as my favourite author Gibbon has it, “still stand erect and unshaken above the floods of the Nile, after an hundred generations and the leaves of autumn have dropped into the grave.” I cannot believe myself so far distant from the saloons of London, but the moment I reached Alexandria the line of demarcation was too apparent, the transition from civilization to barbarism was instantaneous, and we received before quitting the steamer the astounding intelligence that 15,000 human beings had died of plague within the last three months, and that 129 had perished on the preceding day in the isolated town of Alexandria. My fellow-passengers and myself tumbled
our boxes into a boat and set off for Cairo without holding communication with a human being, and hitherto our journey has been most prosperous. A couple of days more will transport us across the Isthmus, and we shall in all probability reach India within fifty days of quitting the Land’s End. What locomotion! before I have done with it I shall begin to doubt my existence; as it is, I do take these towering masses, which they all tell me are the Pyramids, for those beautiful lithographs which I was looking at with
Mrs. Murray on your table a month since, but then I have since spanned a goodly portion of the world, and, as you expressed some interest in my wanderings, I have resolved to fill this sheet by telling you what you and your friends may expect who are resolved on profiting by this new steam communication with India and what you may do in three months. . . .

Having thus landed in Egypt in twenty-two days, a month, or rather six weeks, may be spent in visiting Cairo, Jerusalem, Damascus, and by availing myself of the packet after the next it would be quite possible to be in London in three months!! One author—I forget his name—gives his book the name of ‘Dates and Distances, showing what may be done,’ &c. in a certain time. He does not outdo this, which ought to tempt some of the thousand and one tourists who wish to write a “book for next season,” and sigh for immortality as authors.

The Quarterly is lying before me, and, strange enough, I have been reperusing the very article which treats of Mahommed Ali in that able essay regarding the encroachment of Russia.* The Journal from which the quotations are made regarding the state and government of Egypt prove the writer to have been an accurate and an acute observer, but I do think that he has been too severe on the Pasha. To be sure he is a wholesale merchant and a wholesale oppressor, but compare him with his predecessors in this land of bondsmen, and then judge. From the very spot where I first beheld the Pyramids, Mahommed Ali has begun to dig an enormous aqueduct into which he is to turn the Nile after having bridged a new channel! the bridge is to be so constructed that he may inundate any part above the delta, and the river itself will be passed out

* ‘England, France, Russia, and Turkey,’ by Sir John MacNeill.

of its channel by an embankment which is to be formed by boats filled with stones and sunk across it!! Is this the work of a barbarian? Can a work so useful, though he may force the peasants to perform it, be called anything but a national undertaking, and whence are the supplies to be derived by Mahommed Ali but from his “faithful Commons?” But I must be done: Cairo is in sight, the boatmen are singing a song of delight, in the music not such, however, as attended Cleopatra in her galley, nor enough to make me charmed into a forgetfulness of all your many attentions to me. With the best regards to
Mrs. Murray and your family, and particular remembrances to your son—Ever believe me,

Yours very sincerely,
Alex. Burnes.

P.S.—I go to the Pyramids to-morrow morning, and start in the evening for the Red Sea: quick work,—but not too quick—for 190 people died here (Cairo) yesterday of the plague.

A. B.