William Gifford to Edward Copleston (3/3/1812)

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William Gifford to Edward Copleston
Mar. 3, 1812
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Devon 1149/F106. 4pp. Date at top: Mar. 3, 1812.


James St

Buckingham Gate

March 3rd 1812.

My dear Sir

My bed, as you rightly conjecture, is not always a bed of roses; but I have seldom lain so uneasy as on the thorns of your friend. My respect for his principles and talents would at all times lead me to treat him with particular regard, and, as our success, was in no inconsiderable degree, dependent on his friendship & assistance, I must have been worse than mad to risk the loss of them by inattention and wanton neglect. I am not aware of the circumstances alluded to—It may be that I waited for George's letter—for Canning had taken the book from me, to tempt him—but this is conjecture, and the impression on my mind was that I had mentioned the preoccupation of Trotter either to you or your friend.1 I have no doubt that I was mistaken, and I sincerely regret it. I will however take every possible care to prevent a recurrence of this circumstance, and I beg that you will have the goodness to assure him that he may in future depend on having a direct and immediate answer to his propositions, & that his m.s.s. shall be submitted to him entire.

I ought, however, to add to you, that of the very few changes which were made in Lord C. he seemed to approve;2 and that even then, trifling as they were, were merely introduced to preserve consistency of plan—When you convey any part of this to your friend, do not forget to add how anxious I am for his good opinion & support: nothing would grieve me more than the idea that I had forfeited any part of the former.

I shall accept with thankfulness the article on the disputed point about burying Dissenters.3 I believe that I mentioned to you that Elmsley had sent me one on the subject:—but it was lifeless, presented no view of the question; but followed the Judge & the Pamphleteer step by step, & backward and forward till it produced a sentiment of wearisomeness very unpleasant. I like your view of it, which you say is, in a great degree, that of your friend.

I have a thousand obligations to your kindness—but you have the satisfaction of knowing—that if want can justify it, it is not ill bestowed. Want is, indeed, my plea. Now you have gone so far with Mr Vaux, may I ask you, at your own leisure, to trouble him with a question whether he will specify any books for his Criticism [.] I would send him Galt,4 or I would keep Morier for him,5 or Hobhouse now in the press: &c.6 Meanwhile, I am greatly obliged by his inclination to assist me.

You would smile sometimes, if you saw my letters—I inclose you one which I have this inst. received from Scotland. Some wag, I suppose has been playing on the fears of poor Drummond.7 I never mentioned his book but to you—& yet, weeks ago, a report you see, had been made on my having procured a review of it. Let it go: it is, as you say, improper to notice it at all. But what do you think of the "best Hebraists"? Surely old Broughton8 must have yet some scholars among us. Do you recollect Dol Commons' bursts of Talmud learning, in the Alchemist?9

I have the pleasure to add that our last No. is sold, & that Murray has written to say that he must immediately put to press a second edition. Should you wish for any alteration, or shall any errors have escaped me in Ensor, be so good as to mention them & they shall be removed.10 This success only terrifies me—I know not yet how I shall make up the next No. for my contributions are not come to hand. Indeed, my dear friend, I need all your kindness, and you do not know how grateful I feel for it.

Heber has just called in his way to Raine's sale.11 He begs his remembrances. Ever my dear Sir, your truly obliged and faithful servt.

Wm. Gifford.