[I assume the date of this note to be summer, 1821, because it was then that Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, the London Magazine’s first publishers, gave it up. The reason was the death of John Scott, the editor, and probably to a large extent the originator, of the magazine. It was sold to Taylor & Hessey, their first number being dated July, 1821.
Scott had become involved in a quarrel with Blackwood, which reached such a pitch that a duel was fought, between Scott and Christie, a friend of Lockhart’s. The whole story, which is involved, and indeed not wholly clear, need not be told here: it will be found in Mr. Lang’s memoir of Lockhart. The meeting was held at Chalk Farm on February 16, 1821. Peter George Patmore, sub-editor of the London, was Scott’s second. Scott fell, wounded by a shot which Christie fired purely in self-defence. He died on February 27.
Mr. Cary. Henry Francis Cary the translator of Dante and a contributor to the London Magazine.
The London Magazine had four periods. From 1820 to the middle of 1821, when it was Baldwin, Cradock & Joy’s. From 1821 to the end of 1824, when it was Taylor & Hessey’s at a shilling. From January, 1825, to August of that year, when it was Taylor & Hessey’s at half-a-crown; and from September, l825, to the end, when it was Henry Southern’s, and was published by Hunt & Clarke.]
CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN TAYLOR
Margate, June 8, 1821.
Dear Sir,—I am extremely sorry to be obliged to decline the article proposed, as I should have been flattered with a Plate accompanying it. In the first place, Midsummer day is not a topic I could make anything of—I am so pure a Cockney, and little read, besides, in May games and antiquities; and, in the second, I am here at Margate, spoiling my holydays with a Review I have undertaken for a friend, which I shall barely get through before my return; for that sort of work is a hard task to me. If you will excuse the shortness of my first contribution-and I know I can promise nothing more for July—I will endeavour a longer article for our next. Will you permit me to say that I think Leigh Hunt would do the article you propose in a masterly manner, if he has not outwrit himself already upon the subject. I do not return the proof—to save postage—because it is correct, with ONE EXCEPTION. In the stanza from Wordsworth, you have changed DAY into AIR for rhyme-sake: DAY is the right reading, and I IMPLORE you to restore it.
The other passage, which you have queried, is to my ear correct. Pray let it stand.
D’r S’r, yours truly, C. LAMB.
On second consideration, I do enclose the proof.
[John Taylor (1781-1864), the publisher, with Hessey, of the London Magazine was, in 1813, the first publicly to identify Sir Philip Francis with Junius. Taylor acted as editor of the London Magazine from 1821 to 1824, assisted by Thomas Hood. Later his interests were centred in currency questions.