William Gifford to Edward Copleston (3 or 4/1810)

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William Gifford to Edward Copleston
Mar./Apr. 1810
[ transcription conventions ]

Devon 1149M/F113. 4pp. Conjectural date: Mar./Apr. 1810 (on or after March 28, the date of publication of QR III, No.5).


James St.
Buckingham Gate

[no salutation]

A thousand thanks, my dear Sir, for your kindness in procuring us the Article on Sidney Smith;1 it has done us much credit, and is universally liked. I hope your friend will pardon me for the little head piece which I added in mere wantonness, to show Sidney, in his own person, a specimen of his mode of attacking others; the rest is his own. I must add that your letter procured from the author his permission to do this.

I am not anxious for the name of our unknown friend,2 about whom the guesses, as Mr Heber tells me,3 are curious enough; but I am very solicitous that he should, at his leisure, let us hear something further from him. It will be accepted with sincere pleasure. You will have the goodness, dear Sir, to put into his hands the little enclosure, for tendering him which I make no apology, as all our friends admit of my taking the same liberty with them.

I shall have written to you several days since but—for I am a mere bundle of calamities—I was prevented by an inflammation which chose to fall upon the only eye I have good for any thing.

I wish I could avoid saying what is now on my mind, but the object which I mentioned in my first letter to you, still exists in equal, or greater, force, since I have had the pleasure of corresponding with you, and therefore I must speak.

There seems an asperity in Mr Penrose for which I am utterly unable to account.4 I never entertained any sentiments respecting him but those of esteem and kindness, and never mentioned his name but to you. His letters to me acknowledged the perfect civility of mine, and he cannot possibly have any just complaint against me; yet he seems to go out of his way to shew his displeasure. Of the Review, its conduct, and its principles, he writes in the most contemptuous manner—and this to the publisher of it. Perhaps, I have no right to notice this, but he wishes to make me feel it. Guess what a letter that must be of which the publisher could so speak as he does in the enclosed scrap!

I have not written to Mr Penrose since his letter of the 25th July, which seemed to me to preclude all further correspondence; and you will see from that I ^ had then given no cause of offence. His succeeding letters are to Murray.

His critique, which I had remitted with courtesy, I hoped to receive back without exasperation, (for which there was no cause,) and would have published it with pleasure. This, Mr Penrose renders impossible, by the—what shall I call it?—needless-stipulation of receiving no money; though it knew it to be perfectly inadmissible, as our success depends upon making no exception whatever to the general rule. In this he persisted; for I waited to the last moment.

This is really unpleasant matter to trouble you with, and very unlike what I flatter myself might occasionally form the subject of our correspondence. I throw myself on your candour for pardon; and should feel most happy if all suspicion & ill humour might be terminated once for all by a perfect understanding of what has given birth to them.

I remain, dear Sir, with the

sincerest esteem, your ever obliged

& faithful humble servt

Wm. Gifford