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good man to the poor,' say they.
He was a fine bright
It is such incidental glimpses of the social condition and intellectual state of the people whom he met in the course of his researches, which, as we think, together with his own opinions on the aspects of existing society, that will mainly interest the reading class in Mr. Howitt's new work. Save the imitations found in stories, and pictures in dramas, one seldom now finds in books much of what the people really say, do, or think; and no sort of knowledge can be more desirable. Now, our author often reports his conversations with persons of what are called the lower classes; and, next to these colloquies, one likes to hear what an intelligent and free-spoken stranger thinks of the new life which he observed in Scotland, and sometimes with fully as much keenness as charity. What, nationally, may prove the most offensive passage in these volumes occurs in the Life of Thomson; and yet it is salutary to know the very worst that can be said of us, especially on points on which the Scottish people and their clergy so greatly pride themselves. The landscape of Ednam, the poet's birth-place, found no favour in the stranger's eyes. There are few trees-and upon one fine and redeeming feature, the outline of the Cheviots, Mr. Howitt has not deigned to glance. He could have been in no poetical mood on the morning he visited Ednam.
From the gloom and despondency of Chatterton's life and death, we are scarcely relieved by the piteous story of poor Goldsmith, whose personal character our author appreciates kindly, and, therefore, truly. But is the literary life really so miserable and hopeless a condition as vindicate the moral which is drawn from the history of Goldsmith-often at his worst a very happy being and one who, with a little more worldly prudence and moral firmness, might have always been so? It is thus that his story is rounded off:
| well off before they put pen to paper; when I remember; on passing my eye along them, how many of them never were raised to their present rank and occupation till the unhappy authors were beyond the knowledge of it; when I see others which had their fame during the author's life-time, but enriched only the lucky bibliopole, and left the conscious producer of wealth only doubly poor by seeing it in the enjoyment of another; when I see those works which, while the author lived, were assailed as blasphemous and devilish, and are now the text-books of liberty and progress; and when I call to mind all the tears which have bedewed them, the sadness of soul, often leading to suicide, which has weighed down the immortal spirits which created them: I own that there is to me Goldsmith had his full share of this baptism of literary no such melancholy spectacle as a fine collection of books. wretchedness. I cannot follow him minutely through the years of book drudgery and all its attendant adventures."
Now Mr. Howitt, who is no longer an inexperienced author, in the flush of high hope, who has found the critics exceedingly good-naturedas authors, whatever he may think, very generally do-and "bibliopoles," moreover, fair, and often liberal tradesmen-ought to know better than this. Something of the same sort alloys an otherwise nobly-felt sketch of Burns, many of whose 66 Homes and Haunts" were faithfully explored. But these, and every incident in the life of Burns, must be familiar to most readers; and it will be more instructive to show what an intelligent stranger thinks of one of the latest forms in which national absurdity has produced itself among us, namely, in the passion for gigantic and expensive tombstones. In this kind of emulation, Dumfries, for its size, is not behind, if it does not take the lead, of any town in Scotland:
"To our eyes, accustomed to such a different size and character of church-yard tombs, they are perfectly astotonishing. I imagine there is stone enough in the funeral monuments of this church-yard to build a tolerable street of houses. You would think that all the giants, and, indeed, all the great people of all sorts that Scotland had ever produced had here chosen their sepulture. Such ambitious and gigantic structures of free-stone, some red, some white, for dyers, ironmongers, gardeners, slaters, glaziers, and the like, are, I imagine, nowhere else to be seen. There are vintners who have tombs and obelisks fit for genuine Egyptian Pharaohs; and slaters and carpenters, who were accustomed to climb high when alive, have left monuments significant of their soaring character. These far outvie and overlook those of generals, writers to the signet, esquires, and bailiffs of the city.
"From this time to the day of his death Goldsmith was regularly launched into the drudgery of literature; the most wearing, feverish, uncertain, and worst remunerating life under the sun. To live in one long anxiety, and to die poor, was his lot, as it has been that of thousands of others. There are innocent minds who are filled with gladness at the sight of a goodly library; who feast on a well-bound row of books, as the lover of nature does on a poetical landscape, or on a bank of violets. For my part, I never see such a collection of books without an inward pang. They remind me of a catacomb; every volume is in my eyes but a bone in the great gathering of the remains of literary martyrs. When I call to mind the pleasure with which many of these books were written, followed by the agonies of disappointment they brought; the repulses and contempt of booksellers, to whom the authors had carried them in all the flush of their inexperience and of high hope; the cruel malice of the critics which assailed them
Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame; Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Munros :-→→ He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose.'-BURNS. When I think of the glorious hopes which accompanied their composition, and the terrible undeceiving which attended their publication; when I reflect how many of these fair tomes were written in bitterest poverty, with the most aching hearts, in the most cheerless homes; and how many others ruined the writers, who were tolerably
Your first view of this church-yard strikes you by the strange aspect of these ponderous monuments. A row of very ancient ones, in fact, stands on the wall next to the street. Two of them most dilapidated, and of deep red stone, have a very singular look. They have Latin inscriptions, which are equally dilapidated. other, one to Francis Irving, fairly exhausts the Latin tongue with his host of virtues, and then takes to English,
King James the First me Balive named; Dumfries ort since me Provost claimed; God has for me a crown reserved, For king and country have I served.'". The mausoleum of Burns is not forgotten; and those who have seen the poet's statue must rejoice to hear that "Nature, as if resenting this wretched caricature of her son, has already begun to deface and corrode it."
In going over Mr. Howitt's work, we have advisedly adverted rather to what is new and characteristic than to what may be described as a
thrice or a ten-times-told tale, however well or gracefully related. This principle leads us, in the sketch of Shelley, to notice rather the amusing small things Mr. Howitt ferreted out at Great Marlowe, where the poet resided for a time, than the analysis of Shelley's poetry and the record of the leading events of his brief life.
Mrs. Shelley has described her husband's way of life in this dull place-Mr. Howitt their abode as he saw it; and the strange memories which, after only twenty-eight years, remain of the poet. The story of Shelley's death had never reached Great Marlowe, or, we should rather imagine, that stupid portion of the Marloweans, to whom Mr. Howitt's inquiries were so fruitlessly addressed. Once he was tantalized by a slow, pompous, solemn-looking personage, whom he set down as the Squire of Great Marlowe; and driven fairly frantic by this ludicrous final interview, which took place just as he was about to start—
"His house was in the main street-a long stuccoed dwelling, of that species of nondescript architecture which once was thought Gothic, because it had pointed windows and battlements. It must have been, then, a spacious and a very pleasant residence. It is now, as is the lot of most places in which poets have lived, desolated and desecrated. It is divided into three tenements, a school, a private-house, and a pot-house. I entered the latter, and with a strange feeling. In a large room, with a boarded floor, and which had probably been Shelley's dining-room, was a sort of bar partitioned off, and a number of visiters were drinking on benches along the walls, which still bore traces, amid disfigurement and stains, of former taste. The garden behind had evidently been extensive and very pleasant. There were remains of fine evergreen trees, and of a mound on which grew some deciduous cypresses, where had evidently stood a summer-house. This was gone. Amongst the poor of the town the remembrance of his benevolence and unassuming kindness had still chroniclers; but from the other classes little could be learned, and that not what the memory of such a man deserves. One old shopkeeper, not far from his house, remembered him, and hoped his children did not take after him.' Why?' Oh, he was a very bad man!' But pray what has become of this Mr. Shelley, then?' asked the man's wife, who had come from an inner room. He was drowned,' I replied. 'Oh! that's just what one might have expected. Drowned! Lud-a-mercy! ay, just what one might ha' said he'd come
He was always on the water, always boating, boating-never easy but when he was in that boat. Do you know what a trick was played him by some wag? 'He called his boat " Vaga," and one morning he found the name lengthened by a piece of chalk, with the word "bond"-Vagabond. There are clever fellows here as well as in London, mind you. But Mr. Shelley was not offended.' It was in vain that I inquired amongst the class of little gentry in the place for information about Shelley-they knew nothing of any such person. At length, after much research, and the running to and fro of waiters from the iun, I was directed to an ancient surgeon, who had attended almost everybody for the last half century. I found him an old man of nearly ninety. He recollected Shelley, had attended him, but knew little about him. He was a very unsocial man, he said; kept no company but Mr. Peacock's, and that of his boat, and was seen reading as he went along.
old gentleman, however, kindly sent his servant to point
out Shelley's house to me, and as I turned up the street I saw him standing bare-headed on the pavement before his door, in active discourse with various neighbours. My inquiries had evidently aroused the Marlowean curiosity, On coming up, the old gentleman inquired eagerly if I wanted to learn more yet about Mr. Shelley. I had learned little or nothing. I replied that I should be very happy. Then,' said he, come in, Sir, for I have sent for a
gentleman who knows all about him,' I entered, and found a tall, well-dressed man, with a very solemn aspect. very solemn bow he arose, and with very solemn bows we It is the squire of the place,' said I to myself. With a sat down opposite to each other. I am happy to hear,' I said, that you knew Mr. Shelley, and can give me some particulars regarding his residence here.' 'I can, Sir,' he replied, with another solemn bow. I waited to hear news-but I waited in vain. That Mr. Shelley had lived there, and that his home was down the street, and that he was a very extraordinary man-he knew, and I knew; but that was all: not a word of his doings or his sayings at Marlowe come out of the But at length solemn brain of that large solemn man. a degree of interest appeared to gather in his cheeks and brighten in his eyes. • Thank God!' I exclaimed, inwardly. The man is slow, but it is coming now.' His mouth opened, and he said, 'But pray, Sir, Good gracious!' what became of that Mr. Shelley? I exclaimed. 'What, did you never hear? Did it never reach Marlowe-but thirty miles from London-that sad story of his death, which created a sensation throughout the civilised world?" No; the thing had never penetrated into the Baotian denseness of that place! 1 rose up, and now bowed solemnly too. And pray, what family might he leave? asked the solemn personage, as I was hasting away. You will learn that,' I said, still going away, in the Baronetage, if such a book ever reaches Marlowe.' I hastened to the inn where my chaise was standing ready for my departure, and was just in the act of entering it, when I heard a sort of outery, perceived a sort of bustle behind me, and turning my head saw the tall and solemn man hasting, with huge and anxious strides, after me. You'll excuse me, Sir; you'll excuse me, I think; but I could relate to you a fact, and I think I will venture to relate to you a fact connected with the late Mr. Shelley.' Do,' said I. I think I will,' replied the tall stout man, heaving a deep sigh, and erecting himself to his full height, far above my head, and casting a most awful glance at the sky. I think I will-I think I may venture.' It is certainly something very sad and agonising,' I said to myself; but I wish he would only bring it out.' 'Well, then,' continued he, with another heave of his capacious chest, and another great glance at the distant horizon, I certainly will mention
It was this. When Mr. Shelley left Marlowe, he ordered all his bills to be paid most honourably, certainly most honourably; and they were paid-all-exceptmine! There, Sir! it is out; excuse it-excuse it; but I am glad it is out.' "What a bill! I exclaimed, in profoundest astonishment a bill! -was that all?
All, Sir! all everything of the sort; every shilling, I assure you, has been paid, but my little account; and it was my fault; I don't know how in the world I forgot to what are you?' send it in. What,' said I, 'are you not the squire here?
"Oh, no, Sir; I am no squire here! I am a tradesman! I am in the general way!'
"Drive on!' I said, springing into the carriage, 'drive like the Dragon of Wantley out of this placeShelley is remembered in Marlowe because there was one bill left unpaid !'-There, again, is fame!"
The sketch of Shelley is, like many others, written with a warm spirit of indulgence for the poet's perversities, if it be even allowed that Shelley's mind ever knew any improper bias. As much, or even more, though from causes quite opposite, would the wayward youth or boyhood of Shelley have needed that kind, enlightened, and Chatterton perished. He was a very wise and fostering guardian friend, for want of whom liberal-minded man who said, "He that spits against the wind spits in his own face." Such, in his early youth, was the fatal error of Shelley: and for all the hard names that can be given to his oppressors, the Oxford doctors, and however much they may deserve to be called "swine,"
There are other parts of the early history of Shelley which we hope he lived to regret, and which may admit of palliation, though never of uncompromising defence. But how full of consolation the thought, that as the intellect of men of genius ripens, their moral nature ever becomes more pure and elevated ;—that the dross falls away, and the pure gold which it concealed gleams forth that the latter years of many of those on Mr. Howitt's list, of Burns, of Byron, of Shelley, of Miss Landon, were their noblest or their most redeeming ! They were all coming to themselves, all becoming what they were created to be.
To an early "Haunt" of one whose youthful life needs, and here finds great indulgence, we must now introduce our readers. This solitary and picturesque residence of Byron, when a very young boy, posseses the gloss of novelty and the freshness of nature. It seems to have been visited by Mr. Howitt in the soaking August of 1845.-Forty miles from Aberdeen, leading up through the fine scenery of Dee-side, lies the now provincially fashionable watering-place of Ballater
beauty, such as seems to belong to old romance, and
who "allowed or encouraged all manner of crime and licentiousness," and saw nothing amiss while their "brutal pride" was not wounded by the exposure of their "ignorance." This is hard lan-lands know and recollect such scenes, so carpeted with guage, Friend Howitt. the crimson heather, so beautified with the light hued fairy birch woods. Still the way leads on till you come to the Dee, where it makes a wide and splendid sweep deep below the bank on which you are, and then you wonder where can be Bellatrich, the house you seek, for you see no house at all! In the birch wood, however, you now discern one white cottage, and that must be it. spectacles on, and her Bible open in her hand. No! To that cottage I went, and out came a woman with I asked if she could tell me where Bellatrich was, and I expected her to say Here! but she replied in a low, quiet voice, I will show you, for it is not easy to find.' And so on we went for another quarter of a mile; when coming to a little hidden valley, running at right angles from the river up into the moorlands, she showed me a smoke rising above the trees, and told me there I should find the house. And here was the place to which Byron's mother used to retire in the summer months from Aberdeen with her boy. The valley is divided by a wild brook hidden among green elders, and its slopes are hung with the native birch and a few oaks. At the upper end stands a farm house, but this is new; and the farmer, to show me the house in which Byron lived, took me into his farm-yard. The house Mrs. Byron inhabited is now a barn, or sort of hay-loft rather, in his yard. It was exactly one of the one-storied, long Highland huts, and is now included in the quadrangle of his farm-yard; but the bed in which Byron used to lie is still there. It is one of the deal cupboard sort of beds that are common in Highland huts. There it stands amongst his straw. He says many people come to see the place, and several have tried to buy the bed from him; but that he should think it quite a shame to sell it. Imagine, then, Mrs. Byron living here upwards of forty years ago, and Byron, a boy of about ten years of age; soon after which he left for England, to be converted out of a poor Highland boy into a Lord. There was probably another hut or so near, as there is now, but that was all. The house they lived in was but a hut itself. There was no Ballater then. There was no carriage-road then. There was no cultivated meadow.All was moorland, and woods, and wild mountains. There was a rude road at the margin of the river, but so stony that no carriage could exist upon it. Nay, this present farmer says, that when he came to live here, within these ten years, there was no road into this little hidden valley. There was no bridge over the brook, but they went through amid the great stones, and that without taking any trouble to put them aside. There was no garden, and there was no field. Around rose, as they do now, dark moorland mountains, and the little black-faced sheep and the black cattle roamed over the boggy, heathery, and birchscattered valley, as they do still; except within the little circle of cultivation that the present tenant has made.What a place for a civilised woman and her only son! How he got so far around as he did is to me a miracle.
"All up Deeside there is well-cultivated land, but, with the exception of this meadow, on which Ballater stands, all is now hill, dark forest, and moorland; while below, on the banks of the winding and rapid Dee, birch woods present themselves in that peculiar beauty so truly belonging to the Highlands. On your right, first looks out the dark height of Culbleen, mentioned by Byron in his earlier poems :—
When I see some dark hill point its crest to the sky,
'Morven, streaked with snow ;'
and Loch-na-garr lifts himself long and lofty over the lower chains that close the valley beyond Ballater.
“Ballater, though a neat village now, did not exist when Byron was here. There were a few cottages for the use of visiters near the other side of the present bridge, but those who came to drink the waters generally located themselves in farm-houses as near as they could to the wells,' which are two miles down the opposite bank of the Dee. Mrs. Byron chose her summer residence in one of the most thoroughly secluded and out-of-the-world spots which it was possible to find, perhaps, in the whole island. It lies four miles below Ballater, on the same side of the river as the spring, that is, two miles beyond the wells,' as they call them, some chalybeate springs which issue from the hills, and which now bring many people to Ballater in summer. You proceed to them along the feet of the hills, and at the feet also of a dark pine wood. The river is below you; above you are these mountain forests, and the way lies sometimes through the wood. Under beeches, which shade the way, there are benches set at intervals, so that a more charming walk, with the noble mountain views opposite to you, cannot well be conceived. At about two miles on the road, after passing under stupendous dark cliffs that show themselves above the craggy and steep forest, you find a couple of rows of houses, and here are the waters issuing out of pipes into stone basins. Going still forwards, you come out upon the wild moorlands. Above you, on the right hand, rise the desolate hills; below, on the left, wanders on the Dee, amid its birch woods; and the valley is one of those scenes of chaotic beauty, which, perhaps, the Highlands only show. It is a sea of heath-clad little hills, sprinkled with the bright green birch trees, and here and there a dark Scotch fir. It is a fairy land of purple
* * Before, however, quitting this favourite scene of the early life of Byron, which he never again visited, I must notice it under the aspect which it happened to present to me from the particular time of my arrival. It was on the 18th of August, just one week after the commencement of the grouse-shooting season, and every inn on the road was crowded with sportsmen and their servants. Lord Castlereagh, on his way to his shooting-ground in Braemar, was my next door neighbour on the mail from Aberdeen; and his wide acquaintance with the sports of various countries, the capercalzie and bear-shooting of the north of Europe, in particular of Russia, made his descriptions of them, as well as of the deer-shooting of Braemar-his particular sport-very interesting. the weather of that wet summer was at this time outrageously rainy, and from every wayside inn the lugubrious faces of sportsmen were visible. As we drew up, at the village of Banchory, the window was thronged with livery servants; and a gentleman at an open upper window, eyeing anxiously the showery clouds hanging upon the
hills, caught sight of Lord Castlereagh, and called out, in a tone of momentary animation, quickly relapsing into melancholy, Ha, Cass! are you there? Here I have been these four days, and nothing but this confounded rain. Not a foot have I yet been able to set upon the
heath. There are six of us.
***Who is that who addresses you so familiarly?' **Oh! it is Sir John Guest! Poor Sir John! What a purgatory!'
"On went the coach. At Ballater, again thronged was the door with livery servants. The rain was falling in torrents; there were nine shooting gentlemen in the house, not one of whom could stir out."
The imagination of the reader may fill up this grand outline of the fit nursing-place of a great poet, how wayward soever was the man.
No disguise is made of Byron having contracted, in the opinion of Mr. Howitt, a marriage of convenience, but neither this nor anything else extenuates in his eyes the conduct of Lady Byron, who, he seems to think, was not the less bound to overlook the vices or eccentricities of her lord; especially now, that the world, which suffered nothing from them, is, in its late generous revulsion of feeling, disposed to forgive all, where formerly it would forgive nothing.
The second volume of the "Homes and Haunts" commences with Crabbe, whose life is compiled from the ample, excellent, and most interesting memoir written by the poet's son. On first acquaintance, Mr. Howitt would not allow Crabbe to be a poet at all; but he came to discover that Crabbe was a great and unique writer of some kind, and finally an eminent and a genuine poet. As such, he quotes verses from Crabbe's poems, which merited all the praise originally bestowed upon them by Mr. Jeffrey, whose generous criticism time has confirmed.
Hogg, to whose "Home" of Altrive a pilgrimage was made, every one allows to have been
totally destroyed they be----had not the memory and i honour of Byron, as well as the entreaty of his relatives, demanded the sacrifice. The principle of telling all that he knows, and sometimessao little more than he can well establish, has led Mr. Howitt to relate the subjoined anecdote, after stating an elaborate though somewhat contradictory case which he has made out of L. E. L. having, throughout her whole bright, brief, and: troubled literary career, been familiar with ! poisons, and with thoughts of suicide, and dy...... ing at last either from an over-dose of hydrocyanic acid, or from having mistaken that drug for a more harmless medicine
"There is a still more painful fact [than Miss Landon's acquaintance with distilling poisons] in existence, which, ' I believe, has never been before adverted to in print, but is unquestionable, which brings the matter more pain Landon suffered, at a time when calumny was dealing fully home. During the agonies of mind which Miss very freely with her name, her old friend, and, for a long time, co-inmate, Miss Roberts, came one day, and found Have those horrible re her very much agitated.
Miss Roberts? Miss Roberts assured her they had ports,' she eagerly inquired, got into the papers, not. If they do,' she exclaimed, opening a drawer in the table, and taking out a vial, I am resolved here is my remedy!' The vial was a vial of prussic acid. This fact I have on the authority of the late Emma Roberts herself. There remains, therefore, no question that Miss Landon was well acquainted with the nature of prussic acid, for she kept it by her, and had declared, under circumstances of cruel excitement, her resolve to use it in a certain contingency. Being found, therefore, with an emptied vial of this very poison in her hand, and dead on the floor, can leave no rational doubt that she died by it, and by her own hand.
"But there remains the question whether she took it purposely, and it may be very strongly doubted that she did. From all that has transpired, it is more probable that she had taken it by mistake.”
Mr. Howitt having raised up anew this on
a poet, but settles for himself the shepherd's pre-happy and mysterious affair, and given his readers cise poetical attributes and rank among the legitimate offspring of the muses.
a strong impression that Mrs. Maclean was guilty. of self-destruction, now sets himself-but, we fear, less successfully to show that it may and must have been all mistake.
In the Memoir of Hogg, and indeed in every other, Mr. Howitt has suppressed no hasty and perhaps regretted charge, or more serious revela- Except this singular anecdote, we learn nothing tion which the hero or his friends may have made; new of the gifted and unfortunate being whose nor fact, whether new or old, authentic or pro-life, as strongly as any upon record, illustrates blematical, which can either enlarge the know- the errors of genius, and the miseries of the false poledge of his readers or gratify their curiosity.sition in which literary people-authors by profes-, Thus the "Shepherd's" quarrels and squabbles sion-too often place themselves, though the hardwith Mr. Blackwood, the bookseller, and his lite-hearted, thankless world, must bear the whole of rary staff, are again brought forward at full length, and generally in Hogg's own words. The Shep herd, no doubt, had cause of complaint; but it must be remembered that here we have only one side of the story, so far at least as regards Mr. Blackwood individually. It is probable that these disclosures, or rippings up of old sores, are made upon principle, since Mr. Howitt condemns as an unpardonable, if not an immoral act, Moore's suppression of Byron's autobiography entrusted to him for publication; which suppression the English public has also resented, as most unjustifiably baulking its prurient curiosity. Yet Moore, we apprehend, has done worse things in his time; for we cannot believe that he would have been so weak as to destroy those remains-if
a blame, which, to say the least, is fairly divisible. With a little more-we must not say of prudence and discretion, as these are cold-blooded qualities, which, by its dispensing power, genius is privileged to disclaim-but of the commonplace vulgar honesty which forbids a man to live above his means-with a little more self-respect and genuine, sturdy independence of spirit, how many of "the calamities of authors" might have been averted.
Mr. Howitt powerfully advocates the necessity: of co-operation and combination among literary men against the publishers, and he gives authors, in their individual capacity, some good advice. But while the picture which he has drawn of them, and which we copy below, continues faithful
ly to represent a great number, or a majority, of the craft, they must, we sadly fear, remain the degraded slaves which they either make themselves, of consent to become. Authorship has been neither degradation nor misery to such a man as Southey, plying cheerfully and indefatigably, day by day, his allotted task, to Ebenezer Elliott with his sturdy independence, maintained by honest industry to Wordsworth, who married upon a bare hundred a-year—a pittance which must, in one month, have sent town-bred geniuses to forestall and pawn their wits, and prostrate themselves to the publishers and to a hundred more men of undoubt ed genius, from whom high-minded integrity and self-respect have warded off the worst "calamities of authors." It is in speaking of Hogg that Mr. Howitt introduces this painful subject; for Hogg, too, had his full share of the "calamities of authors," though by one means or another, he contrived to get and to spend more money than all the Hoggs since the Field of Flodden. But he is not alone
Scott, the most successful author of any age, though possessed of a good income independent of literature, died a bankrupt. Maginn, Hood, Blanchard, and a host of others, have yet to swell the history of the calamities of authors! Speaking again of a certain publisher, James says: The great fault of the man is that the more he can provoke an author by insolence and contempt he likes the better. Besides, he will never confess that he is in the wrong, else anything might be forgiven. No, no; the thing is impossible that he can ever be wrong! The poor author is not always in the wrong, but, " oh, he is the most insufferable beast!" And the truth is, that authors are in the wrong. They are in the wrong not to have combined long ago, like other professions, for the
maintenance of their common interests, and for the ele
vation of the character of the class. They are a rope of sand. Cliques and small coteries may, and do congregate, but there has ever been wanting amongst authors a comprehensive plan of union,'!
barricades of newspapers and reviews, they fire, with murderous rage on each other, instead of turning their force on the common enemy. 1
"When we call to mind the men who are now actually living as members of the great community of authors, rich bankers, men of title and large estates, wealthy traders, ladies and gentlemen of the most respectable private fortunes, professional men, clearing large incomes by their professions distinct from literature, it must be confessed that the world has no such instance of infatuation to show as that of authors. Combine, and they may defy poverty and the world."
These "movers of society, and diffusers of knowledge," are, at the same time, pronounced a set of either imbeciles, or "Ishmaelites." Tailors and bakers, and cotton-spinners, can combine though they have seldom made much by it→→but the publishers, it appears, laugh to scorn the very idea of authors acting on a plan which, though highly lauded by Mr. Howitt, does not originate with him, and which, we are told, if carried into effect, would "rapidly change the tone of publishers"
"Towards men who had not only learned to respect themselves, but were resolved to establish respect for the body. 'Get authors to combine! Sooner,' exclaim both publishers and authors themselves, when such a notion is avowed, chain the winds, or make granite slabs out of sea-sand!' Yet, spite of this humiliating opinion of authors, let but a number of the most respectable names once unite for the purpose, and it will be seen that the rest of the worthy will flock around them, and that few would venture to stand alone, as individuals improvident, or indifferent to the interests and the character of the body.
"I have considered it my duty to corroborate the main opinions of James Hogg on this point. In the course of inquiries necessary for the writing of this work, I have had thors; in rooms where they have shed their own blood, to stand on so many spots marked by the miseries of au or perished by poison in the hour of destitution or despair; by dismal pools, where they have plunged at midnight from starvation to death ; or where, covered with fame, they have lain on their death-beds, with scarce any other covering; and I have vowed on those awful spots to call on my fellow-authors to come forward and vindicate their most glorious profession, and to found an association which "You hear authors commonly spoken of by publishers shall give a motive to every member to respect the name as a most reckless, improvident, unprincipled, and con- he bears that of a prophet and an apostle of truth to the temptible set of men. This is the tone in which pub-world-and a hope of ultimate aid to him and his, if such shers are educated, it is the tone that pervades their aid be needful, as a right and not a boon.", it in noit publishing houses, it is the spirit and gospel of the Row. The authors of the present day are regarded by publishers
But Mr. Howitt has also exposed the class, as if he were a mere selfish publisher, when he thus launches forth :
exactly as they were in the days of Grub Street.
took place between himself and the publisher of Mr. Howitt here reports a conversation which
"a celebrated Review," on the relative merits of authors and publishers, which shews why the latı ter class despise the former; and, in the present condition of society--if in this respect society shall ever change-there is, it must be confessed, strong vindication, if not altogether sound reason, for the class-contempt.
Mr. Howitt, at this interview, overheard the publisher forbidding his clerk to open an account with a bookseller, when informed that the man was also "an author." But this, after all, might heither be "contempt of authorship, as a profession, nor suspicion of the applicant's honesty, but the prudent apprehension of ran experienced tradesman, who well knew, that in London, at least, the two callings are not likely, to thrive in the same firm. A very popular author was next announced, and the publisher retired with him for a few minutes, after which