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PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION.
HE following papers, with two exceptions,
were written in England, and formed but
part of an intended series, for which I had made notes and memorandums. Before I could mature a plan, however, circumstances compelled me to send them piecemeal to the United States, where they were published from time to time in portions or numbers. It was not my intention to publish them in England, being conscious that much of their contents would be interesting only to American readers, and, in truth, being deterred by the severity with which American productions had been treated by the
By the time the contents of the first volume had appeared in this occasional manner, they began to find their way across the Atlantic, and to be inserted, with many kind encomiums, in the London Literary Gazette.”
It was said, also, that a London bookseller intended to publish them in a collective form. I determined, therefore, to bring them forward myselt, that they might at least have the benefit of my superintendence and revision. I accordingly took the printed numbers which I had received from the United States, to Mr. John Murray, the eminent publisher, from whom I had already received friendly attentions, and left them with him for examination, informing
him, that, should he be inclined to bring them before
I entreat you to believe that I feel truly obliged by your kind intentions towards me, and that I entertain the most unfeigned respect for your most tasteful talents. My house is completely filled with work people at this time, and I have only an office to transact business in; and yesterday I was wholly occupied, or should have done myself the pleasure of seeing you.
It it would not suit me to engage in the publication of your present work, it is only because I do not see that scope in the nature of it which would enable me to make those satisfactory accounts between us, without which I really feel no satisfaction in engaging but I will do all I can to promote their circulation, and shall be most ready to attend to any future plan of yours. With much regard, I remain, dear sir, Your faithful servant,
John MURRAY. This was disheartening, and might have deterred me from any further prosecution of the matter, had the question of republication in Great Britain rested entirely with me; but I apprehended the appearance of a spurious edition. I now thought of Mr. Archibald Constable as publisher, having been treated by him with much hospitality during a visit to Edinburgh ; but first I determined to submit my work to Sir Walter (then Mr.) Scott, being encouraged to do so by the cordial reception I had experienced from him at Abbotsford a few years previously, and by the favorable opinion he had expressed to others of my earlier writings. I accordingly sent him the printed numbers of the Sketch-Book in a parcel by coach, and at
the same time wrote to him, hinting that, since I had had the pleasure of partaking of his hospitality, a reverse had taken place in my affairs which made the successful exercise of my pen all-important to me; I begged him, therefore, to look over the literary articles I had forwarded to him, and, if he thought they would bear European republication, to ascertain whether Mr. Constable would be inclined to be the publisher.
The parcel containing my work went by coach to Scott's address in Edinburgh ; the letter went by mail to his residence in the country. By the very first post I received a reply, before he had seen my work. “I was down at Kelse," said he,“ when
letter reached Abbotsford. I am now on my way to town, and will converse with Constable, and do all in my power to forward your views — I assure you nothing will give me more pleasure.”
The hint, however, about a reverse of fortune had struck the quick apprehension of Scott, and, with that practical and efficient good-will which belonged to his nature, he had already devised a way of aiding me.
A weekly periodical, he went on to inform me, was about to be set up in Edinburgh, supported by the most respectable talents, and amply furnished with all the necessary information. The appointment of the editor, for which ample funds were provided, would be five hundred pounds sterling a year, with the reasonable prospect of further advantages. This situation, being apparently at his disposal, he frankly offered to me. The work, however, he intimated, was to have somewhat of a political bearing, and he expressed an apprehension that the tone it was desired to adopt might not suit me.
66 Yet I risk the question,” added he, “ because I know no man so well qualified for this important task, and perhaps because it