William Gifford to Edward Copleston (12/7/1811)

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William Gifford to Edward Copleston
Dec. 7, 1811
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Devon 1149/F102. 4 pp. Date at top: Dec. 7, 1811.


James St.

Decr. 7th. 1811

My dear Sir,

I have now the pleasure of saying that I look on myself as a convalescent of the first order—but I have been sadly pulled down.

I thank you very sincerely for your little Art. which I hope to send you in a few days in the proof for your final glance. I like the tone of it, which accords with our plan; though the man (as far as personally concerned) deserved no mitigation of terms. Croker, who knows him, tells me that he is an officer of cavalry, & just what his book shews him to be—1

And now, my best friend, let us look forward—What will your kindness & leisure admit of your doing for our next? Have you thought of any thing? Can I procure you any books here that you would wish to look at, for the chance of being tempted to give us your opinion of them?

One word in private. You know the talents of Burney & Elmsley, & how serviceable they might be made to us, and how honourable—Yet, by some strange fatality, all turns out perversely. Instead of assisting us in the only way they can—they have both chosen to offer their lucubrations in theology. You probably saw the long winded review of Bishop Tomline's Calvinism in the Brit. Critick about 5 months ago—that was offered me by the former, & would have sunk us. And it is with very sincere regret I add, that I was compelled to return to the latter a long article on the Dispute about the burial of Dissenters, with Judge Nichols. It was heavy & indistinct, & instead of taking a view of the question & turning it in his own mind, the writer traveled backward and forward from the Judge to the Clergyman, till the patience was absolutely wearied out. This is a little hard—they send their learning to the Edinburgh where it is not understood nor valued, but received for selfish purposes, & their theology, which Jeffrey would not condescend to look at, to us.—We should at least have both. Still, I hope we are on fair terms; for I have never expressed myself but with the sincerest respect for both these admirable scholars.2

Our friend Davison is in Coll. I find, & am glad of it. He speaks modestly of his Article; but since I heard from him, I have had many warm congratulations on it, & some very cordial ones from Scotland.3 I shall write to him on Monday in the hope of procuring a short article from him for this No. for we shall be so hard driven (owing, in some measure to my long illness) that I must sue my friends in formâ pauperis.

The Brit. Crit. has, as you say, changed hands—It was not a moment too soon; for it was on the verge of ruin, & even now will be saved with difficulty.4 See the effects of a mean spirit! Both Nares (Whom I respect) & Beloe (whom I do not) wrote for promotion, & never "stood in the presence of a great man."5—Beloe came to me with a message from some Bishop on the appearance of our first No. which had spoken too freely, as he thought of the Church. I treated the messenger & the message with equal light, & heard no more.

Ever, my dear Sir, with

the sincerest esteem,

your obliged & faithful

servt. Wm. Gifford