William Gifford to Edward Copleston (8/4/1811)

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William Gifford to Edward Copleston
Aug. 4, 1811
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Devon 1149M/F93. 4pp. Date at top: Aug. 4, 1811


Isle of Wight

Aug. 4th. 1811


My dear Sir,

I find from Heber that you have seen our Northern friend's contribution.1 I rather feel inclined to regret this; for though I consciously wished to avail myself of your kindness in looking over the Article, yet I had no idea of putting it into your hands till it had received some correction. The writer, strange to say, after keeping me in expectation for many weeks, complained that he was hurried; & I, therefore, determined to send him the critique as I received it, for his final revision. As for myself, I had not touched it, though I saw several things which called for alteration or expunction.—among the latter was a passage equally impertinent and incorrect, which no consideration should induce me to preserve, & which I never intended to have met your eye.

I am not very prone to flattery by nature; and to those with whom I am combined in the service of literature, such a quality, if I ever possessed it, would be exhibited with as little propriety as good sense: you will therefore, I trust, credit me when I say that such is my sincere respect for your talents, learning and judgment, and such my proud and grateful feeling of your personal kindness, that I should think my very nature changed, if I could hesitate for a moment on the absolute rejection of whatever I considered as offensive, or (if not offensive) unjust to you. I say this, my dear Sir, lest Heber (who is friendship & zeal personified) should have accidentally omitted to inform you that I had not read the article in its way to the Press.

I hope it will be in your power to assist us in the next No.—in this, as I have not heard from you, I scarcely venture to expect it, though we shall be somewhat pushed. Do you ever look down upon Novels? if so, there is Miss Owenson just audacious enough to justify a castigation in good humour, & wicked enough to make it a sort of duty.2 This, however, I merely mention, as something that might amuse you for an hour [af]ter dinner; as I recollect you [tear] manifested a fugitive inclin[ation] to review the egregious Northern [tear]

I earnestly hope that you will think of Ensor—he,3 indeed, not so much in himself as in the pernicious use which is attempted to be made of him, is worthy of all severity—cape saxa manu &c. Lord Clarendon, too, stretches out his hands to you—To you, I could confide with security & pleasure the great and important question on which we have not yet ventured to touch,4 though called upon by more than one person, who have volunteered their services.—But you will suspect that I purpose to overwhelm you—& with some reason.

I write "at you," for I rather fear that you may not be at Oxford, and merely take my chance. I have been for some days at Ryde hunting green crab with great success, & counting tenth waves: but imperious Proserpine on business, in her shape, is dragging me to town where I hope to meet Heber. I am, with the truest regard, ever, dear

Sir, your faithful & obliged servt

Wm. Gifford


Address: London Aug six 1811

Revd. E. Copleston

Oriel College St. Thomas

Oxford Exeter

J W Croker


Postmark [two cancel marks]: Oxford 7 Aug 1811

: Crown. Free 5 Aug 1811