Basil Champneys.

Memoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore (Volume 2) online

. (page 34 of 36)
Online LibraryBasil ChampneysMemoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore (Volume 2) → online text (page 34 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

description. The French element can only be recognized
in a phrase or two forced in to fortify the illusion, as when
the author speaks of Paris as " the metropolis of the world."
Probably the pseudo-authorship was introduced merely to
palliate any inaccuracy or want of method which might
otherwise have called for remark, and to account for dis-
quisitions on subjects which would seem too hackneyed
for an English writer.

Edin., 23 March, 1818.
To A. Z.


By the Magazine which I now send you, you will see that
your communication came safe to hand.

I was also duly favoured with yours of the 1 7th, relative to your
proposed work. I think the plan is an excellent one. It is a
bold attempt for one person to undertake, the subjects are so
varied and extensive, yet I have no doubt you will make it inter-
esting. I am very anxious therefore to see any part of it that
you have ready. Messrs. Baldwin and Co. will be sending off a
coach parcel to me on the 30th, so you might send your packet to
them, marking on it to h^ forivarded by first Coach parcel. Should
it not be convenient for you to send it so soon, you can enclose
it with your next communication.

I am not so sure with regard to that part of your plan, the writing
in the character of a Foreigner. I rather think that one writing

^ Sea vol. i., p. 66, and vol. ii., pp. 226-227.


in their own character will do so with more natural ease and force
than in any assumed one. I see well enough that there are a
number of little details which a Frenchman would enter into, and
which an Englishman would not find it necessary to notice. Per-
haps this might be obviated by supposing your Correspondent a
Frenchman who had been in this country for a short time, and
wished for farther information, whose remarks called from you obser-
vations and details. Besides, the French mode of thinking and
expressing themselves is so different from ours that it would be
difficult to keep up the idea of the work being a translation. And
then, as to the French translation, I fear it would be difficult to
get this well done and properly managed.

I merely throw out these hints, which are indeed rather prema-
ture, as I cannot pretend to judge till I have seen some part of
your MS.

As to the volume of Poems I feel more doubtful. Mr. Wilson
(and there cannot be a better judge) admires your pieces very
much. All my experience however of publishing poetry tells me
that, unless there be one poem of some length in a volume, which is
likely to attract for its story, subject, or execution, a collection of
short pieces, however beautiful, do not take hold of the public —
particularly if the Author's name is unknown.

My Editor has been much occupied lately, but I have some
hopes of seeing him to-day, and that he will give me a letter to
transcribe for you.

Almost none of the London Papers have ever noticed the Maga-
zine. If you have access to any of their Editors, we would be
particularly obliged to you if you could get any extracts or remarks
inserted. " The Courier," and particularly " The Times," I should
think would be glad to insert some extracts from the Strictures on
the " Edin. Review." " The Champion " also and some of
the other papers might also be tried. I would be glad to send
copies of the Magazine to any of the Editors. I sent it for some
time to several of the papers, but have given it up, finding they
made no use of it.

I am Sir

Your Most Obt. Ser.
W. Blackwood.

P.S. — The Editor desires me to say that he will write you in a
few days. On showing him my letter he said he agreed with me
in thinking that it would not answer to have a translation. But
he supposes that you have so much of the work already executed
that it must remain as written by a Frenchman, and indeed he is
not sure but what you are right in this conception.

I sent the Magazine to Mr. Kean.


Edin., 19 April, 1818.

... As to the line on Mr. Hazlitt,^ I believe it was put in
without thought, and I am sure that if the Editor had considered
it he would have altered it.

We received your articles just in time. They are very interest-
ing indeed. Your communications are much liked here. I shall
see the Editor to-morrow, when I hope he will give me a letter for


I am, Sir

Your Most Ob. Sr.

W. Blackwood.

Edin., 20 April, 1818.


I ought to have written you long ago, but have been pre-
vented by a thousand circumstances which it would be tedious to

I return to you my most hearty thanks for the effective aid you
have lent to our work ; and hope that you will continue it. It is
succeeding remarkably well, and I think that you must be of
opinion that on the whole its character is improving. I am well
aware that it may be still greatly improved ; and it is to yourself,
and correspondents like you, that I look for such improvement.
It cannot be that the sentiments and opinions expressed in it shall
please all hearts and minds ; but it is my most anxious wish to
give currency to nothing that is not fair, upright and manly. A
strong push is made here and elsewhere to put it down ; but I am
confident that it will not only stand its ground, but erelong be
greatly superior to any Miscellany of the kind in Britain.

Your Notices of Mr. Hazlitt's Lectures have been admirable,
and must I think have been satisfactory to himself. The joke
about him in the Notices I do not understand nor much care
about. The said Notices were written in a few hours by a gentle-
man of real wit, and perfect good humour. Some one had told
him (it would seem erroneously) that Mr. Hazlitt had a pimpled
face, and he accordingly said so, without much meaning. — Mr.
Hazlitt is beyond all doubt a man of great talents. But is it pos-
sible, that he, the most severe and slashing satyrist of the day,
can care for an unmeaning expression in an unmeaning yV?/ d' esprit 1
Surely not. If so, it is a curious enough instance of human in-
consistency. I can have no wish to offend or irritate Mr. Hazlitt.
But neither have I the slightest fear of him. I am mistaken

* Probably that in which he is called " Pimpled Hazlitt."


greatly, if there be not a pen ready to be drawn in my service, by
" one as good as he." The Baron Lauerwinkel * is ready and able
to enter the lists with any antagonist. At the same time, I know
the powers of Mr. Hazlitt, and perfectly sympathise with your
admiration of them.

Now that the Lectures are over, I hope that you will exert
yourself on some other interesting subject. That you may write
free from all restraint, might it not be advisable to adopt a certain
signature (say A. Z.) and write from " London " ? In this way you
would be fully entitled, as our London Correspondent, to say
what you choose on any subject, without regard to me or my
opinions. Whatever you write I will insert in the Magazine. I
reserve to myself the liberty of writing against you, if I think
proper ; but you may depend upon being spoken of, at all times,
in the most friendly and respectful language. This is the only
way in which I could admit a critique on Mr. Hunt's poetry.
Had he used less violent language towards the Reviewer of his
"Rimini," it might have been in my power to have given a friendly
explanation. But as it is, I cannot. I do not greatly blame him
for what he has said — but I cannot give up to threats and fury
what I intended to give from a sense of justice. The subject is
a painful one, and let us dismiss it. If you choose to write about
Mr. Hunt, do so — but candour compels me to say, that I cannot
consider him a great poet, and that his conceit and affectation
are to me most offensive and disgusting. He also, like his friend
Mr. Hazlitt, is a little inconsistent. He cheerfully takes part with
the writer of a late letter to Mr. Canning — a letter in all respects
as bitter as that of Z.^ to Mr. Leigh Hunt. Neither does he
seem to think the writer of that letter a Coward. There is much
nonsense in the charge of cowardice. I am uncertain what Z.
may wish to say farther about Mr. Hunt. The Magazine is open
to him. But not a word of dubious import shall ever again
appear in it relative to that Gentleman. Once more I say, if you
chuse to vindicate Mr. Hunt, do so.

Mr. Blackwood has just given me to read, a specimen of your
intended work. It is written with much spirit, liveliness, and
acuteness. If I can be of any use to you in correcting the proofs,
or otherwise, command my services.

I have written a long letter, I fear without saying anything.
Once more be assured of my high consideration, and that all your
communications to me, hints, etc. etc. will be received with the
most friendly and respectful feelings. If you favour me with any
thing for next Number, besides the Acted Drama (always much

^ One of the many pseudonyms of John Gibson Lockhart.
* John Wilson, "Christopher North," frequently signed his articles with
this initial.


admired here) be so good as to let me receive it, if possible, on or
before the loth of May. I am Sir,

Yours with esteem

The Editor.
The copies of verses will be sent in next packet.

Most confidential.

Edin., 27 Au., 1818.

My Dear Sir,

It gave me great pleasure indeed this morning to see your
handwriting again. I hope you have had a delightful tour, and
that you have a great store of materials collected during your
travels which you will be giving us from time to time. The Editor
is very desirous of your resuming your "Notices of the Acted
Drama," and I hope I shall be able in a few days thro' a friend to
obtain free access for you to the Theatres.

As to the wretched Pamphlet ^ which you mention, it is full of
falsehoods, calumnies and misrepresentations of every kind, but
just now I have no time to write you particularly about it. But
what you have heard about Mr. Hazlitt is quite true — he has
actually begun a prosecution on account of the article " Hazlitt
Cross-questioned." This is an unpleasant business to all parties,
and I am induced to write about it, from your so kindly offering
to endeavour to settle it. I need hardly say that what I now
write is in the strictest sense to yourself alone as a friend, and
only to be acted upon if you find you can really be of use in the
affair. Without farther preface therefore I shall state to you as
shortly as I can what are my views and feelings with regard to the
whole of this business.

When Mr. Hazlitt first gave me the intimation of his intention
to prosecute, I did not for a moment believe that he sincerely in-
tended doing so, or would ever be so ill advised as to sacrifice
himself merely to gratify the rancorous malignity of the persons
here who have used every means in their power to injure me.
You can have no idea of Constable's rage and fury at the success
of my Magazine. He has tried every method to attack me, and
to stir up actions against the Magazine. He caused his two poor
Creatures, my old Editors,- to raise an action, but they have never
ventured to go on with it, knowing how hopeless their cause would

' This may possibly have been Hazlitt's letter to Gifford, from which Keats
quotes long extracts in a letter to George and Georgiana Keats, dated March
12/19. Given in Sidney Colvin's " Letters of Keats," pp. 226-230.

^ Messrs. Pringle and Cleghorn. To those who have read the article
" Hazlitt Cross-questioned," it will appear astonishing that William Black-
wood should have thought it necessary to account by external inlluence for
Hazlitt's action.


be, as well as what a terrible exposure they would be subjected to,
and how completely they would be gibbetted if they were foolish
enough to come into a court. For all this Constable does not
care a fig, and provided he could by any means trouble me, it
matters not to him how contemptible soever he renders his poor
tools. They however seem to have more sense than to risk them-
selves, and now his only resource and that of his party is your
friend Mr. Hazlitt. He is a person at a distance whom they are
glad to get hold of as a scape-goat, through whose means they
may vent all their malignity towards me. What makes it the
more absurd in this party now taking up Mr. Hazlitt's cause, is,
that they were all ready enough in sneering at him, particularly
Constable's mouth-piece, Macvey Napier, the Editor of his
Encyclopsedia, who was busy on all occasions telling stories to
Mr. Hazlitt's discredit.

I have no fear as to the result of the action if it were to go on,
but I would rather make a sacrifice in order to settle this matter
j>rivately, as it is so unpleasant for one to have a process, which
must occasion some trouble, going on perhaps for a length of
time. I do not hesitate to say this much to you in confidence.
You will be aware too, on the other hand, that, taking a contrary
view of the result of the action, it is still more Mr. Hazlitt's interest
than mine to have the matter accommodated privately. On this
head every friend of Mr. Hazlitt's can only have one opinion, for
should the cause ever go into Court, every particle of the ques-
tions must be gone into, and my Counsel would contest the whole
Inch by Inch, so that there would be such an exposure of Mr.
Hazlitt's life and writings that he could never get the better of it.
The expense of such a litigation I daresay Mr. H. would not feel,
as I have no doubt but that Constable is to pay the whole, and
little as he would mind this expense, he would care still less for
the exposure which all Mr. Hazlitt's friends would deprecate so
much, and which I confess to you I would not myself much like,
as being in some measure the cause of it.

Having thus explained myself to you, I trust to your friendship
in managing this matter delicately with Mr. Hazlitt, and, as I hope
your opinion in regard to these matters will coincide with mine,
you will take your own way in ascertaining his sentiments. In
the first instance you will not give him any reason to believe that
you speak to him on that subject by my desire. You will soon be
able to discern if he is disposed to settle the matter by a pecuniary
compensation. If you find that he is, you will immediately com-
municate with Mr. Sharon Turner, who will send you his address
with this letter, to whom I have given full powers and instructions
to conclude the affair on my part. I hope therefore Mr. Hazlitt
will name a reasonable sum, and the affair may be concluded in


five minutes. One great object you will see must be kept in view,
which is to have the matter settled without the intervention of
Constable (who I believe is now in London) or any of his party.
The moment they heard of any thing of this kind they would do
all they could to prevent accommodation. You will thus see the
necessity ;of proceeding cautiously, and, if the matter is to be
settled in this way at all, that it should be settled at once. I
need not say how much I shall feel indebted to you if you are
successful in your mediation. I am sure that, if you are, you will
be doing both Mr. Hazlitt and me a real service, but, if not, it will
not I know be your fault, and it cannot be helped — we are pre-
pared well, and matters must just take their course. I shall only
regret having given you so much trouble to no purpose. As the
cause will be going in a few days I hope you will be able to see
Mr. H. without delay, and write me in a post or two.

I had almost forgot to say that the Editor is very anxious to
have the next No. a strong one, and he hopes you will be able to
send me some communications before the 7th or 8th.

I hope you will pardon all this trouble from

My Dear Sir, Yours faithfully

W. Blackwood.

Edin., 25 Dec, 1818.

Mv Dear Sir,

By the time this reaches you, I hope you will have received
No. XXI. I have delayed writing from day to day expecting to have
been able to have told you that I had finally settled with Mr.
Hazlitt's Agent. Shortly after I received your last letter, he made
a proposition to my Agent to drop the affair, provided the expenses
already incurred were paid, and a small sum given to some charity.
My Agent told Mr. Hazlitt's that he would certainly advise me to
pay the expenses, as it was desirable for everyone to get out of
court, but that he never would advise me to agree to the second
part of the proposition. Mr. H.'s Agent said he himself did not
expect this, and that he would write Mr. H. accordingly. I under-
stand he had a letter two days ago authorizing him to settle as he
thought best. My Agent is in the country, but, when he comes to
town to-morrow or next day, everything will be adjusted satis-
factorily. I beg again to return you my warmest thanks for your
kind offices on this occasion.

I hope you will like this Number, as there is a great variety in
it both of amusing and valuable Papers. The Editor was to have
written you himself with regard to Mr. Coleridge's Lectures on
Shakespeare, but neglected it, being obliged to go to the country.
I did not know in time, else I would have written you. He is very
anxious to have them, and I hope you have attended them though


you have not heard from us. I expect the Editor in town to-day
and shall probably have a letter from him to enclose with this.

I am,

My Dear Sir,

Yours very truly,

W. Blackwood.

P.S. I have just received the note of which you have a copy on
the other side — I wish you may be able to accede to it, as I have
not a moment's time — the parcel is just going off.

Edin., 25 Dec, 1818.
My Dear Sir,

I shall be most happy to receive from you any Sketches
you may have by you of your late Tour on the Continent.

If you can send us any full or interesting account of Mr.
Coleridge's Lectures on Poetry, I conceive nothing could be more
valuable for our purposes. Your Notices of the Drama are
extremely acceptable to our Readers. I expected to have heard
from the person to whom I write with regard to admission to the
Theatres. In the meantime any expenses on this head you will
be so good as charge to me.

The arrangements entered into by the Publishers, have enabled
me to offer my Correspondents 10 Gs. a sheet, which I hope will
be approved of by you. If therefore you have any literary friends
disposed and able to lend effectual assistance, you have it in your
power to state the above to them, and in doing so confer an
additional favour on me.

Accept of my warmest acknowledgements for your many good
offices and believe me to be.
My Dear Sir,

Yours truly,

The Editor of Blackwood's Mag.

Edin., 23 May, 1820.
My Dear Sir

My friend Christopher desires me to say that he fears you
are either getting tired of the " Acted Drama " or careless, for he
thinks your last not so good as formerly. He also bids me tell
you that he reserves to himself any notice whether laudatory or
the reverse of such a work as Baldwin's Magazine, and that there-
fore he omitted your note. For my own part I hope it never will
be noticed in our pages, but allowed to sink or swim according to
its own merits. I am,

My Dear Sir,

Yours truly

W. Blackwood.



The history of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, which
Patmore presented to the British Museum, is interesting so
far as it can be recovered. I give below all that I have
been able to gather on the subject.

The following is the printed description of the book affixed
to the binding of vol. i. :

" Thomae Aquinatis (Divi Doctoris Angelici) Opera omnia
CUM Tabula aurea eximii Doctoris Fratris Petri de Ber-
GOMO, 17 vols, in 21, beautifully pri7ited on velbini, purple morocco
super extra, joints, gilt gaufre edges.

Romae, apud heredes A. Bladi. 1570-71.

" First and best edidon of the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas,
and considered the most extensive Book ever printed on Vellum.
This magnificent set was the Dedication Copy to Pope Pius V.
(see his arms illuminated in gold and colours at the commence-
ment), and by him was presented to Philip the Second, King of
Spain, who deposited it in the library of the Escurial, whence it
was taken during the occupation of Spain by the French. Sub-
sequently, it came into the possession of Sir Mark Sykes, at
whose sale, before bound (at an expense of one hundred and five
guineas) for Mr. Williams,' it was sold for ^162 15^., and re-sold
in Mr. Kerr's sale for ;^2 3i. The only other copy known
ON vellum is that in the Nat. Library of Paris."

The latter part of this description is somewhat obscure.
What is evidently implied is that the book passed from Sir
Mark Sykes to Dr. Williams, by whom it was bound.
Brunet says : " Un autre [sc. copy on vellum] a ete vendu
162 liv. 15 sh. Sykes ; 178 liv. 10 sh. Williams." From Dr.
Williams it passed to Mr. Kerr, at whose sale the Museum
failed to obtain it, probably because it fetched more than
Mr. Panizzi was empowered to give.

' Rev. Theodore Williams, D.D., vicar of Hendon.


The description appears to have been cut out of a sale
catalogue, presumably that of Dr. Williams. After the words,
" gaufr6 edges," a passage has been crossed out in ink, but
can be deciphered. This reads, " with the arms of Revd. T.
Williams in gold on sides." The binding is that of Dr.
Williams, but his arms have been cut out and the space filled
in, and covered by a more extensive device, which almost
conceals the scar.

The tabula auj^ea mentioned in the sale catalogue given
above (printed at Bologna in 1472), became separated from
the set, and was in 1894 bought for the Museum from
Messrs. Sotheran and Co. by Dr. Garnett. It had previously
been in the Aldenham collection. It is in Dr. Williams's
binding with the arms complete, is "stilted" to make it
range with the other volumes, and shows inside the cover
the Aldenham bookplate. There is a scar in the corre-
sponding position in the other volumes, which indicates
that they once held a similar, and presumably the same,
bookplate. Though there is no actual evidence on the
subject, it seems probable that the whole book, including
the separate index volume, passed from Mr. Kerr's sale
to the Aldenham collection, and it may be conjectured that
it came thence into Mr. Toovey's hands, from whom Pat-
more probably purchased it. His family think that the price
he gave for it was ;^300, but there seems to be no actual
evidence on this point.

The following letter from Patmore is placed inside the
cover of vol. i. together with a copy of Mr. Panizzi's reports.


" Feb. 9, 1880.

" Mr. Patmore begs to present the accompanying copy of the
works of St. Thomas Aquinas to the Right Honourable and
Honourable the Trustees of the British Museum."

These words are followed by a brief description of the

The following are Mr. Panizzi's reports advocating the

" Department of Printed Books,

" Feb. 26, 1847.

"Mr. Panizzi begs to report that on the 12th of next month a
copy on vellum of all the works of Thomas Aquinas in 1 7 vols,
fol. in 21, printed at Rome in 1570, is to be sold by auction.


" It is the largest work on vellum in existence, and there is.
only another copy of it on the same material in the Royal Library
at Paris. There is not even a paper copy in the Museum Library.
At Dr. Williams's sale the same vellum copy now to be disposed
of sold for one hundred and seventy guineas. Mr. Panizzi thinks
that it ought to be purchased for the Trustees even for ten guineas
a volume (210 guineas for the 21 vols.) if it could not be obtained
for less.

(Signed) "A. Panizzi."

" Department of Printed Books,

" Feb. 27, 1847.

" In addition to his report dated yesterday suggesting the pur-
chase of Thomas Aquinas's works on vellum for ^220 loi-., Mr.
Panizzi begs to state that, from what he has since learnt, there is
reason to think that more than that sum will be bid for them.
These books are now in the British Museum for the inspection of
the Trustees, and their condition and beauty is such that Mr.
Panizzi begs to recommend their purchase for the Museum at any
price not exceeding ;£so^ (three hundred and five pounds).

(Sd.) "A. Panizzi."



A. Z. P. G. Patmore's pseudo-
nym, i. 2 2, ii. 437-438-

A Kempis, Thomas, i. 124, ii.

"Acted Drama, The," ii. 431-

433> 438-439> 442-

"Aids to Reflections," ii. 48.

AUingham, WilHam, i. 87, 93,
195 ; letters from, ii. 356-357;
letters to, i. 154-156, ii. 166-

"Amelia," opening lines of, i.
33; mentioned, i. 72, 109,

Online LibraryBasil ChampneysMemoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore (Volume 2) → online text (page 34 of 36)