Letter from Scott to Murray2, 30 Oct 1808

Author(s): Scott, Sir Walter


2 not on Scotts Life Oct 30 1808
Dear Sir

Since I had the pleasure of seeing you I have
the satisfaction to find that Mr Gifford has accepted
the task of editing the intended Review. This was
communicated to me by the Lord Advocate who at the
same time requested me to write Mr Gifford on the
subject. I have done so at great length pointing out
whatever occurd to me on the facilities or difficulties
of the work in general as well as in the editorial department
offering at the same time all the assistance in my
power to set matters upon a good footing & to keep
them so. I presume he will have my letter by the
time this reaches you & that he will communicate
with you fully upon the details. I am as certain as
of my existence that the plan will answer
provided sufficient attention is used in procuring &
selecting articles of merit.

I have been also turning over in my mind
the plan of the Novels & Romances. In my opinion they
should be set about without loss of time beginning
with the Novels. Richardson Fielding & Smollet will

lead the van with a very short memoir of each of their
lives & a prefatory Essay on the peculiarities of their
stile: These will be followed by a good selection of
novels of less name. Those of late date may however
be property but I presume that the proprietors for exam
=ple of Miss Burneys novels or Mr Ratcliffes may
be easily induced to consent to their insertion — I
want very much an old catalogue of a large circulating
Library (suppose Hookhams or Lanes) to assist my memory
in pointing out the works which should be inserted.
I have the utmost confidence in this plan succeeding to
an extent almost immense & will gladly make you
a present of my own time & labour should the
work not prove profitable. Dispatch is however
the surest fore runner of success. I am endeavouring
to get Richardsons Novels — pray send me his Letters
lately published. As the criticism will be of a
different text & paging the Novels which in double
columns may I think be comprized in two or at
most three volumes being either 10 or seven 8vo
volumes to one of the new Edition.

Pray dont omit to pick up old romances
& novels & tales & above all keep your plan secret.


If you send me any packages before the 12th of next
month direct them to Ballantynes care. On that day
I must be in Edinburgh as our courts sit down — The
time of my London journey is still uncertain but
must take place before Xmas.

I shewd Mr Rob.t Dundas (presid.t of the Board
of [Controul]) our plan of a review & told him I should
call on him for a good account of Indian affairs
as opportunity shall offer He approves highly as
does Mr Canning I am Dear Sir
your faithful humble
Walter Scott
Ashestiel by Selkirk
30th October

1808 Octr 30th Ashestiel
Scott Walter
Dr Gifford Editr [&c]
Mr John Murray
Fleet Street


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Letter from Scott to Murray2, 30 Oct 1808. 2023. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved September 2023, from

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Letter from Scott to Murray2, 30 Oct 1808

Document Information

Document ID 190
Title Letter from Scott to Murray2, 30 Oct 1808
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1808
Wordcount 526

Author information: Scott, Sir Walter

Author ID 47
Title Sir
Forenames Walter
Surname Scott
Gender Male
Year of birth 1771
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Author, solicitor
Father's occupation Solicitor
Education University
Locations where resident Edinburgh
Other languages spoken Latin