Charles Lamb.

Lamb and Hazlitt: further letters and records hitherto unpublished online

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Copyright, 1899, by Dodd, Mead & Company




Typography by D. B. Updike, The Merrymount Press, Boston
Fresswork by The University Press, Cambridge, U.S.A.





The Earlier Hazlitts


Hazlitfs School Days


Hazlitt at Hackney College


Between Two Paths


A Curious Historiette


The Subject Cojitinued


Hazlitfs Earlier Married Life


Liher Amoris. Part II.


A Packet of New Lamb Notes and Verses





IN the autumn of 1898 a circumstance
occurred which placed in my hands a
remarkable assemblage of papers illus-
trative of the lives of Charles Lamb and Wil-
liam Hazlitt. A very old and intimate friend
of the present writer and of his father, and a
warm admirer of the essayist and critic of our
name, the late Mr. Raymond Yates, shortly be-
fore his death, did me the favour to restore to
us certain letters and other documents which
my father presented to him, it now appears, in
1838, and of which the existence or where-
abouts was previously unknown. The acquisi-
tion of this small treasure coincided with my
independent ownership by gradual means of
several other inedited pieces by both authors,
and it seemed to be worth while, and even ex-


pedient, to take steps to preserve them from

The long and close friendship between Lamb
and Hazlitt, and the nature of some of these
new additions to our stores, have led to the
adoption of a plan, by which the whole of the
matter hereinafter given is, as far as possible,
arranged in chronological order, and although
the material placed at my disposal by Mr. Yates
comprises letters hitherto inaccurately and im-
perfectly printed by all the editors, it was
thought advisable, on the whole, to limit the
present undertaking to what I believe to be un-
published compositions, with a connecting ex-
planatory gloss. The little volume may be
treated as a sequel and companion to Messrs.
Bell & Sons'* edition of the Letters, 1886, and
the book edited by me in 1897 under the title
of The Lambs. The remainder of the matter
must be held over till a really final edition — at


present impracticable from the want of certain
important desiderata known to exist — of such
of Lamb's writings as may be judged worth per-
petuation, is undertaken.

I shall in a prefatory way endeavour to point
out the change and progress which only a year
or two have accomplished in reference to a sub-
ject on which the discoveries appear to be al-
most as inexhaustible as the public interest.



LamVs Family^ the Brutons^ Fields,
and Gladmans.

IAMB preserved his acquaintance with the
^ Brutons of Wheathampstead down at
least to 1823, when we find a letter of thanks
addressed to Farmer Bruton and his wife for
the present of a sucking-pig. But the writer


had spoken of Mrs. Bruton in a letter of 1819

to Manning, who also knew the family.

Under date of December 30th, 1898, Mr. D.

Yeo Bruton writes to me : —

''Have you, may I ask, at any time met with any
information showing Charles Lamb's connection
with the Hertfordshire Brutons ? I imagine they
were an old yeoman family, who settled in Hert-
fordshire about 1690. On Mackery End is one of
his most personal essays, where he avows his con-
nection with the Bruton family, and their con-
nection with the Fields and the Gladmans, who
were certainly among the oldest and most re-
spectable families in the County. One is almost
tempted to think that the essay upon Mackery
End might well be annotated into a small vol-
ume. There are still descendants of the Mackery
End Brutons living in the immediate neighbour-
hood, and if the Fields and Gladmans were also
included, I should say the whole district of Wheat-
hampstead, Harpenden, and St. Albans, is all
alive with them."


Mr. Bruton farther informed me that his family
came from Lincolnshire, that Mr. Field, Lamb's
grandfather on the maternal side, married a
Miss Bruton, and that a descendant was not
long since residing at Lea Bridge Farm, near
Mackery End.

H John Lamh^ the Elder.

Since The Lambs appeared, two or three copies
of the 4to. volume of Poems printed by John
Lamb the elder have come to light. One (a
very bad one) is in the British Museum. The
title is : Poetical Pieces on several Occasions.
[Quotation from Pope.] Printed for P. Shat-
well. Without date. 4to., pp. 76 + iv. The sole
interest of the book is biographical and indi-
rect, as the productions themselves are of no
literary significance. They may be considered
the prototype of the Poetry Jbr Children,
Prince Dorus, &c.


Mr. Samuel Salt, M. P., the Bencher of the
Inner Temple, to whom Lamb's father stood in
the relation of servant, was the son of the Rev.
John Salt, of Audley, Staffordshire. He was
admitted as a Student at the Middle Temple
in 1741, removed to the Inner in 1745, and at
least as early as the succeeding year rented the
premises, of which No. 2, Crown Office Row,
formed part. John Lamb and his wife, and
their three children, resided there with him.
Mr. Salt was called in 1753, was Reader in
1787, and Treasurer of his Inn in 1788. He
was also a Governor of the South Sea Com-
pany, and thus the Lambs enjoyed the advan-
tage of a double influence in that quarter, Mr.
Thomas Coventry, of the Inner Temple, being
also on the Board. Salt is almost certainly the
same person who is mentioned by J. T. Smith
in his Book for a Rainy Day. The author
states that Mr. Salt was introduced to him in


1785 at Tottenham, and that he spoke to him
of himself as one of the four who contributed
to bury Sterne. The Bencher died in Crown
Office Row, July 27, 1792, and was buried in
the Temple Church. In 1793, his library was
sold by auction ; it is the collection of books to
which Lamb himself hints at having obtained
access, and which may have inspired the father
with his touches of literary taste. Farther par-
ticulars of Salt may be found in Notes and
Queries^ August 4, 1888.

But we seem as if we had yet to ascertain where
and how Mr. Salt and his attendant first be-
came acquainted, and when the latter originally
migrated from Lincoln or Stamford to the me-
tropolis. He must have been born about 1725.

% John Lamb the Younger.

The conjectures as to the existence and iden-
tity of the pamphlet written and printed by


John Lamb the younger have at last been set
at rest by the discovery of a copy in a volume
of tracts on sale by Messrs. Dodd, Mead, & Co.,
of New York, in 1898-9. Readers of the Lamb
Letters will call to mind that the author of
EUa, in a letter to Crabb Robinson of 1810,
speaks of his relative's book about humanity as
then out, and forwards Robinson a copy ; but
the difficulty was, that no clue was obtainable
to the production, which was anonymous. The
collection of pamphlets above mentioned, how-
ever, contains a list of the contents in Lamb''s
own hand, and although he has for some un-
known reason scored out this and another item,
the particulars are decipherable, and the rid-
dle is solved. The title is : A Letter to the
Right Hon. William Windham, on his Opposi-
tion to Lord ErsMne''s Bill, for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals. London, 1810, 8vo.,
pp. 38.


The second piece which Lamb sought to dis-
guise was the Confessions of a Drunkard, by

If Charles Lloyd and his Family.
Apropos of the new volume, giving for the first
time in a collective form the letters of Lamb to
Robert Lloyd, there is much that is new about
the latter family, and Lamb's communications
to Robert must take high rank among the cor-
respondence in any ultimate edition. But the
book adds comparatively little to our know-
ledge of Charles Lloyd— the more interesting
member of this house. The letters to Robert,
however, are a treasure for ever. What young
man of three and twenty could write such now-
adays ? In the New Dublin Review for March,
1898, there is the following passage : —
*'In 1797 Coleridge and his wife, ^honest, simple,
lively-minded woman that she was/ had settled
down at Nether Stowey in Somersetshire, to a


life of Arcadian simplicity. Here, though the rent
was but a poor seven or eight pounds a year, the
poet had for some time unsuccessfully carried on a
desultory warfare with two leagued giants, ' Bread
and Cheese.' Towards the close of the year his anx-
ieties were lessened, so far as the giants were con-
cerned, by taking into his family, as a boarder,
Charles Lloyd, a kindly and intellectual youth,
with a nice taste for literature, but a sufferer from
the terrible disease of epilepsy. Poor Lloyd's
' fantastic wantonness of woe ' must at times have
acted adversely upon Coleridge's own phases of
gloom ; but, upon the whole, the young married
couple and their visitor had many things to make
them happy.

'^ There was a comfortable bed-room and sitting-
room for C. Lloyd, another for themselves, a ser-
vant's room, a kitchen and an out-house."

This is the ari'angement to which Coleridge

refers in his verses, To a Friend, On his p70-

posing to domesticate with the Author.

My late brother^s old and intimate friend, Ar-


thur Lloyd, son of James Farmer Lloyd, and
grandson of Charles, tells me that he heard his
father speak of the last time he saw Lamb, and
it was at a bookstall in Copthall Court about
1825. The same gentleman also gave me an ac-
count of a convivial meeting — possibly at Al-
sager''s — where Coleridge and Wordsworth (the
latter then in the Revenue Department), and a
gentleman high up at Somerset House, were
present. Wordsworth was very reserved toward
the latter ; and then the official grandee began
to put questions to the poet on critical mat-
ters, as to what he thought of Milton, &c., while

Lamb persisted in interrupting with,
"Hey diddle diddle,
My man John

Went to bed with his breeches on — "
and other nonsense, till one of the party coaxed
him away. This irrepressible hilarity and these
high animal spirits were characteristic of his


earlier life. It was while Lamb was in his rooms
at Mitre Court Buildings that he insisted one
evening, when Coleridge was there, on carrying
the latter upstairs, and then on Coleridge carry-
ing him down again. The anecdote was related
to me by Mr. George Daniel of Canonbury.

II The Pipe and the Glass.

Lamb''s propensity for wandering beyond the
line of prudence in drinking and smoking is a
point which has divided his biographers. In
one of his earlier letters he alludes with regret
to the intemperate habits of a friend at whose
house he visited. "It is a blemish," says he, "in
the greatest characters."" But there is a dis-
position to think that a very small amount of
stimulant upset him. So far as smoking is con-
cerned, we know that he gave it up about the
time that Mr. H. failed, and imagined that
he should get on better without it. "A smoky


man must write smoky farces/' But he returned
to the practice as vehemently as ever. I have
heard my father say that he used strong Ori-
noco tobacco. His Ode on the subject was
written about 1805, as I judge from a letter
to Manning of February 24th that year; in one
to Hazlitt of the ensuing year he speaks of
having had ten pipes overnight, and signs him-
self yours Fumosissimus.

We can hardly fancy Lamb, "when he was a
Rechabite of six years old," drinking water
from the pump in Hare Court. The court pos-
sessed three trees and this pump; and Lamb''s
room, when he subsequently lived in Inner
Temple Lane, overlooked it.
As regards the delicate and rather shirked
question of intemperance in drinking among
our more immediate forefathers, one rises from
a ^udy of the Club and Coffee-house life of
the last century and the opening years of the


present with an inclination to view that ques-
tion in another and more lenient light. During
their earlier life, Lamb and the two Hazlitts
(John and William) were in the midst of a so-
ciety which still preserved the old toping tradi-
tions ; and the modern domestic hospitality,
only modified by a more refined and limited use
of the Club, had yet to come. Probably Lamb
and Hazlitt, so far from drinking more than
others, drank much less, if merely for the rea-
son that in both instances a slight amount
went a long way. Lamb adhered to his porter
and weak diluted gin to the last ; his friend
during many years partook exclusively of water
and tea. The decline of coffee-house, and of the
original type of club, life, may be ascribed to
the changes in our social habits. Convivial
institutions, which necessitate attendance at
stated hours, have almost ceased to be in har-
mony with our average habits.


If LaniFs Library.

In Mary and Charles Lamh^ 1874, and in The
Lambs, 1897, a strong attempt was made to re-
construct the bookshelves of Lamb and their
contents, as they stood in the lifetime of the
owner, saving only a number of presentation
copies of contemporary literature, some of
which he did not retain, but gave or even
threw away. Since 1897, however, a few addi-
tions, which I proceed to enumerate, have oc-
curred to me: —

Bistonio (Tigrinio), Gli Elogi del Porco Capitoli
Berneschi. In 7-line stanzas, 4to., Modena, 1761.

§ Mentioned by me in 1874 as the original of the
Dissertation on Roast Pig : I was not, however,
aware that Lamb actually possessed the book.
But a writer in Notes and Queries, October 5,
1878, points out a prototype in the Turhish Spy.

Tracts. A volume in 8vo., containifig' :

Antonio : a Tragedy in Five Acts. By W. God-
win. 1800.


Co7ifessions of a Drunkard. By C. Lamb. From

the Philanthropic Magazine. Reprinted in 1814

by Basil Montagu as part of another volume^

again in the London Magazine for 1822, and

eventually in Elia.

Recollections of Christ's Hospital. By C. Lamb.

From Gentleman s Magazine , June, 1813, and


§ See infra.

Remorse: a Tragedy. By S. T. Coleridge. Third

Edition. 1813.

Antiquity: a Farce in Two Acts. By Barron

Field. 1808.

Speech of the Right Hon. W. Windham in the

House of Commons, June 13th, 1809, on Lord

Erskine's Bill for the more effectual prevention

of cruelty towards animals. 1810.

A Letter to the Right Hon. William Windham.

[By John Lamb, Charles's brother.] 1810.

§ An answer to the preceding.
Ramsay (Allan), Chris fs Kirk on the Green,
1718; The Scribblers Lashed, 1718; The
Morning Interview, 1719; Content, 1719;


Scots Songs, 1719; and The Prospect of Plenty,


In a vol., 8VO.3 from the libraries of Dr. Farmer
and J. M. Gutch, and with a MS. note by Lamb
on back of title.

Robinson (Robert), Miscellaneous Worlds. 8vo.

1807. 4, vols.

Shakespear (W.), Hamlet, 1603. Reprinted.

8vo., 1825.

Given in 1829 to the Rev. John Mitford. See
letter to Barton of March 25th, 1 829.

Blake (William), A Descriptive Catalogue of
Pictures painted by himself. 12mo. 1809.
Coleridge (S. T.), Christabel, a Trariscript by
Sarah Stoddart, afterwards Mrs. Hazlitt, and
other MS. matter by Mr. and Mrs. Hazlitt
(rough memoranda, culinary receipts, &c.).

§This volume has been in the hands of C.
Lamb, his sister, W. Hazlitt, and John Payne
Collier. Inside the cover is the bookplate of S.


Stoddai% St. Ann's Street, Sarum. It has lately
gone to America.

H The Lamb Correspondence.
There is little doubt that the Lamb corres-
pondence, extensive as it has gradually shown
itself to have been, has suffered more or less
from the ravages of carelessness or neglect.
Within the covers of the Elogi del Porco, by
Bistonio, 1761, mentioned above, occurs, in the
copy said to have been Lamb's, a small frag-
ment of a note to some one, including the sig-
nature of the essayist. It was during a long
period a not unfrequent practice on the part of
autograph-hunters to cut off the subscription
and cast away the rest.

The correspondence with the Norris family,
printed in The Lambs, 1897, and formerly in
the possession of Mrs. Arthur Ineen, one of
Norris'^s daughters, who died in 1891, was an
unexpected and welcome accession. It appears


from a communication to Notes and Queries^
August 26, 1893, that the address given by
Miss Lamb is identifiable with No. 4, York
Cottages, near the Priory Bridge, where, in
1825, Mrs. Gibbs advertised one sitting-room
and three bed-rooms to let. Not far off, a Mr.
Hogsflesh had a large lodging-house. Could
Lamb have heard of him in earlier years ?
The Barton Letters, by the generosity of the
late Mrs. Edward Fitzgerald (Lucy Barton),
are now deposited in the British Museum {Add.
MS. 85^56). They have been preserved with
the most religious care ; but the series is un-
fortunately not quite complete, as the masterly
and beautiful letter to Barton of 1822 on Wil-
liam Blake, first printed entire by myself in
1886, appears to have gone astray.
The unexpected and fortunate restoration of a
parcel of autograph and other MSS. papers to
our family in 1898 adds, so far as Lamb is con-


cerned, a letter to Hazlitt, two to Joseph
Hume, and one to W. Hazlitt, the younger.
The Epistemon of a letter to Hazlitt himself
(1810) appears to have been a name borrowed
from Rabelais, as the Menenius introduced into
the paper On Persons One Would Have Wished
to Have Seen is taken from Shakespear^s Corio-
lanus, ii., 1.

The courtesy of Messrs. Dodd, Mead, & Co., of
New York, has enabled me to supply an inedited
note to Allan Cunningham — the sole relic of
the kind ; and Mr. Way, of Chicago, kindly fur-
nished me with a transcript of a second one to
Harley the comedian, which, however, is printed
in my 1886 edition of the Correspondence.
A remote correspondent was to have forwarded
to me an inedited letter from Lamb to Miss
Fanny Kelly, the actress — apparently the only
one known — but it has not arrived in time for
publication. It was described to me, rather tan-


talizingly, as " full of puns and humour." Fanny
(Frances Maria) Kelly had a sister Lydia.
There is a letter, not in the editions, to John
Scott, belonging to 1814, in HilFs Talli:s on
Autographs ; but, being in type, I merely make
a note of it here.

There are no ascertained or even rumoured
letters to the Burneys. Admiral Burney was
Southey's Capitaneus. Referring to a statement
in The Lambs relative to Miss Burney, Mrs.
Foss writes to me as follows. I give the lady's
letter entire, because it supplies a few other
points of interest : —

The Priory,

Totteridge, Herts.
January 6th, 1897.

DEAR Sir, — Feeling sure that you wish your
lately published work on The Lambs, &c.,
to be as correct as possible, permit me to call your
attention to a note on page 230. Mrs. Payne was
the only daughter of Admiral Burney and sister of


Martin Burney. And Elia's essay called The
Wedding is a real account of her wedding_, ini-
tials and all correct. " One of the handsome Miss
T — s" alluded to was my aunt. Miss S. B.
Thomas, fourth daughter of Honoratus Leigh
Thomas, sometime President of the Royal College
of Surgeons. Mrs. Payne was a fine performer on
the pianoforte. Her husband was for many years
partner with my brother-in-law, Henry Foss, in
Pall Mall, and the firm procured and supplied
many treasures to the Grenville Library. My hus-
band, the late Edward Foss, author of The
Judges of England, was closely connected with
the Burney family. His mother, daughter of the
Rev. Wm. Rose of Chiswick, sister of Samuel Rose,
Cowper's friend, was also sister of Mrs, Charles
Burney, whose husband was son of the Historian
of Music and father of Archdeacon Burney, late
of St. Alban's, and grandfather of the present
Archdeacon Charles Burney, of Kingston-on-
Thames. Apologizing for the length of this letter.
Believe me.

Faithfully yours,

Maria E. Foss.


A few months only 'before his death, on August
5, 1834, the Rev. J. Fuller Russell paid a visit
to Lamb, of which an interesting record is pre-
served in Notes and Queries, April 1, 1882.

IF The Works of Lamb.

In The Lambs, 1897, p. 79, it was perhaps too
positively stated that the verses contributed by
Lamb to the elegiac collection on Priscilla
Farmer, folio, 1796, was his earliest appearance
in type ; for it may be a question whether his
share in the Coleridge volume of the same year
is not entitled to this distinction. It was issued
in the early months of 1796. There Coleridge,
in lines To a Friend together with an Un-
finished Poem, refers to a similarity of do-
mestic or personal circumstances in having also
had an only sister, and he adds : —

" Cheerily, dear Charles,
Thou thy best friend shall cherish many a year."

The minor works of Lamb have long formed a


field of research and controversy, less from their
independent than from their indirect value ; for
if they had never existed, the fame of the au-
thor would have stood at least as high and
have proved as permanent. The ill-fated farce,
Mr. H., produced at Drury Lane, December
10th, 1806, with Elliston and Miss Mellon in
the cast, was never printed separately in Eng-
land, but was included in the so-called Worhs
in 1818. In 1813, however, it was published at
Philadelphia, as performed at the Philadelphia
Theatre, in an octavo volume of 36 pages.
Lamb himself told Fuller Russell (see just
above) that he lost £9^5 by John Woodvil — a
serious sum in 1801 ; he seemed to regard it
after all those years as his best production.
Some uncertainty has prevailed, not only as re-
gards the earliest appearance, but as regards
the parentage of Beauty and the Beast, while
Prince Dorus is accepted as Lamb's on the au-


thority of Crabb Hobinson, who saw him at
work upon it in 1811.

Now, among the advertisements at the end of
a copy, in its original binding, of Godwin's
Essay on Sepulchres^ 1809, occur as Presents
for Youth of both Sexes, from Ten Years of
Age and Upwards, '^ Beauty and the Beast;
or, a Rough Outside, &c. 5s. 6d. coloured, or Ss.
6d. plain," with a note — "This Work is bound
in a way to lay conveniently open on a Music
Desk"; and immediately follows, '' Prince Dorus ;
or. Flattery put out of Countenance : A Poem,
with 9 elegant Engravings. 9>s. 6d. coloured or
Is. 6d. plain," with a Note — "This Work, as
well as the preceding, may be considered as a
well-adapted introductory step to a higher
range of Poetry." There is no reference to the
author in either case.

The previous notice is not exactly conclusive,
but it seems to go so far as to shew that both


volumes were by an author who desired to pre-
serve his anonymity, which is done in the
printed copies ; and with our accidental know-
ledge through Robinson that the Prince Dor us
was written by his friend, I should be disposed
to hazard a guess that the other was so too.
Then comes the difficulty that both are adver-
tised as ready in 1809. So far as Beauty and the
Beast is concerned, this may harmonize with the
fact that no copy of the first edition with the
title appears to have been found ; but I cannot
reconcile Godwin's advertisement with Robin-
son's entry in his Diary, unless the latter has
given a wrong date. A copy of Beauty and the
Beast, on sale by Messrs. Dodd, Mead, and Co.,
appears to be dated on the cover 1813 ; but on
page 3 is a watermark, 1810. The copy of God-
win's Essay, 1809, may have been put into
boards a little latei', and the book under con-
sideration may have been issued in 1810 or


1811, and had a fresh cover, dated 1813, added
to the then unsold stock. At the same time
there was, according to Messrs. Dodd & Co-'s
account, a distinct undated impression without
a watermark; and a third, called Second Edi-

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Online LibraryCharles LambLamb and Hazlitt: further letters and records hitherto unpublished → online text (page 1 of 8)