William Gifford to Edward Copleston (2/9/1810)

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William Gifford to Edward Copleston
Feb. 9, 1810
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Devon 1149M/F114. 4pp. N.d. Postmark: 9 Feb. 1810. Address: Rev.d. E. Copleston / Oriel Coll. / Oxford



James St

Buckingham Gate


Dear Sir

I would have done myself the pleasure of writing to you ere this, had not my own ill health in the first place, and then the loss of ^Hoppner— my oldest and dearest friend, (next Ireland) totally unfitted me for any business whatever—I am now recovering from my complaint, and my affliction:—but why do I trouble you with such things?1

I hope that Mr Heber saw you en passant, as he promised, and made my excuses, especially as I had to thank you for many instances of kindness. He read me a part of your letter—


At this moment your letter of yesterday is brought me: ibi omnis2—yet I let it go, to shew that I was presuming on your friendship: your favour is, indeed, most welcome to me.

Mackinley sent me on Wednesday night, your excellent vol. for which I thank you most sincerely. I was engaged in Lottery business ^that evening (a species of reviewing that contributes but little to enlighten the faculties) but I yesterday found or rather made time to read the first two chapters, which are truly admirable. Thank you a thousand times for your generous defence of the old Stagyrite.3 Mousing owls have been long hawking at him—But it is not to you that I must talk of this work—Yet I think that you must have found some amusement in witnessing the awkwardness friskiness of the animal about to be immolated.

[3 lines of Greek]

I have given you much trouble, but I was desirous of obliging the writer of the Oxford article, if it could be safely done.4 I do not know him personally—he signs himself Home Drummond,5 & this is his second attempt. His first, I was obliged to lay aside, though not void of ingenuity. I give up every part of it to your judgment, from which there shall be no appeal, & shall consider it as a singular kindness, if you will correct the part specified, & "damn with a blot" whatever you disapprove. Heber had talked to me of Dr. Latham, & he spoke of him precisely as you now do. I know him not even by name, and, indeed, am ignorance itself upon the subject. The hope of doing some little justice to Oxford, encouraged me, Heber probante, to take the liberty of sending it to you6.

I am happy to hear that Sidney is ready.7 It will be quite in time for this No. as our ^journeymen printers are in a state of "permanent insurrection," and will not work until the masters submit to their impositions. I have no desire to contract it, unless you conceive that any thing can be gained by it on the score of spirit. This, and every other parcel, will best reach me by being enclosed in a cover directed to "Honble Cecil Jenkinson,8 War Office, Downing Street." The bulk of it is of no consequence.

I had the pleasure yesterday of hearing for the first time from Dr Whitaker. He speaks modestly of his publication; but wishes very much to fall into your hands. He rejects both the praise which has been inflicted on him in a critique by Crowe, but says that he shall willingly kiss the rod from you.9 As to Edgeworth, though I know and reverence the transcendent importance of your avocations, yet I cannot suppress a selfish wish that he may hereafter obtain due notice from you. He cannot wait, as you say. I seem as if I had yet a thousand things to say, & am already got to the end of my paper. I could eat my fingers for very madness at the line from Northmore—what excellent fun might have been of the stupidity of part of the Americans refusing to sell provisions for formed paper, and of the honesty of the other part[y] in offering it in payment! but it quite escaped me, [Greek]. You may have thought me, perhaps, too hard upon the Americans—but I know them well, having lived much with them &, sorry your reverence, they are a set of scoundrels.

With sincerest regards

I remain, dear Sir, your

obliged & faithful friend

Wm. Gifford