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"SEVRES, [no date].
"In any capacity, editorial or otherwise, I should have great pleasure and pride in placing my name beside yours in any undertaking whatever. But the few hours that the world leaves me are barely sufficient for myself, without admitting of any works of supererogation for others. The truth is, I have of late, given myself up to pleasure and dwelt carelessly. So that, though there is nothing I should like better than the light skirmishing which you propose, i. e., in your company, it is, for the present, at least, completely out of the question.. T. M."
Notwithstanding these discouragements, the editor entered upon his task with alacrity, and made a strong muster for February. The papers for that month showed very clearly the influence of a new directing power; and so far the promise given to the public was redeemed. In Mr. Cyrus Redding, Campbell found an able and zealous coadjutor; and from the day it started, until the editorship passed into other hands, the New Monthly kept the field against all competitors. Still anxious, however, to increase his force, and insure the publisher against all risk, we find him constantly reminding his friends that he had " an arduous undertaking in hand," and "calculated on their steady support." Addressing himself to one who had both the power and the disposition to serve the cause, he writes-" If you or your brother should have any desultory pieces lying by you, or should be disposed to employ a leisure hour in bestowing an essay upon me, I take the liberty of twenty years' friendship to solicit such a favor. When I speak of the liberality of my publisher, don't imagine that I can wickedly fancy anything so base of you as that, if love will not bring your aid, lucre will. No, my dear friend, it is to put you in possession of a fact which you may state with discretion to any literary man of talent who might seem to you likely to become my correspondent in the Journal."
During the spring months, we find him exclusively devoted to the interests of his Journal, the pages of which were now the record of his literary life. To be able to reside within the immediate sphere of his new duties, he exchanged his house at Sydenham for private lodgings in Margaret-street, until a permanent residence could be found. There he received and consulted with his friends; cultivated acquaintance with literary men of all parties; answered correspondents; perused contributions; wrote new and revised old papers; and, in short, identified his own reputation and interests with those of the Magazine. Thus, a new principle of vitality was infused into its pages; and, adverting to the success of his Journal, an illus
EDITORSHIP-PEOPLE OF FASHION.
trious brother poet, then abroad, tells him :-"I have had an occasional glimpse of your Mag., and enjoyed, as I always do, every movement of your Muse, whether in prose or verse'quicquid agit, quocunque vestigia vertit.' I hope Colburn knows, as he ought, the value of these monthly drafts on immortality."
The editorial correspondence of this period is too much tinctured, perhaps, with political sentiment and opinion to interest the general reader; but the following extracts, from his more private letters, are sufficiently characteristic:
"62 MARGARET-STREET, July 15, 1821. 'My second part of the Lecture* for this month goes against the grain: few people understand the first; so I am trying to make the second more explicable. . . . My zealous Foscolo fights all about for me: he said to me publicly yesterday-'I never read a sentence of your Lecture which does not appear to me true, and from which I cannot deduce some other truth!
"H. called on me to-day. We talked of Vienna. I mentioned T., whom, in my travels in Hungary, I delivered from an enchanted castle of the Turks. But oh, sad human nature, to what art thou fallen in my esteem! H., whom I always like, because she is warm-hearted to me, is a person I cannot laugh at; but T. used to shake with laughter, though naturally serious, whenever we mentioned H.; yet I fully believe they write to one another as two beloved friends! . . . Oh, you people of fashion! What a false brood you are! How thankful ought we to be when we can count on the affection of those whom we really know! The remembrance of such friends supports us against a trial more than all separation from the world—a separation from themselves! . . ."
"I have a letter from Thomas-not very comfortable. He talks of his wish to go to sea; and I am apt to believe that when a young man talks "of liking to go to sea," he must feel himself disposed to do no great good on land. T. C."
Campbell was now obliged, by the duties of his editorship, to have a fixed residence in town; and, with manifest regret, took a final leave of Sydenham. In this step he acted, not from choice but necessity; and few who knew him before, and after
* See New Monthly Magazine for June and July, 1820.
this period, will hesitate to view that change* as a misfortune. He never returned to the quiet of village life; but Sydenham, as he has often said, was "the greenest spot in memory's waste." It was the sanctuary to which he fled, and in which he found certain relief, under all the afflictions of his checkered course. When exhausted by mental labor, and the excitement of town life, or worried, as he says, with the irritating and perplexing cares of an editor, a holiday with his old friends at Sydenham always restored him to comparative health and spirits.
In the following extracts some insight is afforded into his daily habits, studies, and associates.
"62 MARGARET-STREET, August 26, 1821.
"I have just sent off my Fourth Lecture to the press, and sit down to enjoy myself in the cool of the evening, after my labors. I have been almost stifled with the heat, but must not go to the sea-side-both from motives of economy, and a desire to get on with my Fifth Lecture. I have a goodly stock of articles for my next number. I am promised an interesting one, by Foscolo, on the subject of Naples. General Pepé † is to supply him with documents; and I think it a debt due to his
* Deprecating this change, in lines worthy of the subject, a brother poet thus addressed him, on his purposing to take up his permanent residence in London:"
"Dear Poet of Hope! who has charmed us so long
And now struggling from silence and darkness to-day;
ALARIC A. WATTS.
tory, and to the brave men who have been forsaken by their countrymen in this attempt, to give a plain statement of the facts... I have seen a good deal of Pepé, and been greatly interested by many circumstances regarding himself and the Parliament of Naples, from which he brings authentic documents. Foscolo is all on fire on the subject !-Pepé is an agreeable man, and improves on acquaintance. His situation in London is forlorn as to friends-not circumstances, for he has an easy income; but he is very cautious of mixing with indiscreet Whig society; and he has but few acquaintances on the safe side. I have exhorted him to keep clear of public dinners; and he perfectly coincides in my view of his delicate position. Still he is very cheerful and gentlemanlike, and the handsomest man, I think, I ever saw. .. He calls on me, with great simplicity, for advice about little matters; and to-morrow I have to overlook his bills. While the business of Naples was going on, how little did I expect to be rendering this service, in a few months, to the poor General! . . . Had he succeeded, how different had been his history! But success with me is not a standard of esteem. I shall honor the brave man for his intentions."
"I met my friend Watt, of Birmingham-brother of Gregory. He told me that a plan had been laid for getting the king on board a steam-vessel on his voyage to Ireland. They watched him, and succeeded; and, would you believe it? that little incident has raised the credit of this kind of vessels. T. C."
"Oct. 8.—I do assure you, a London life has taken nothing away from the rustic sincerity of my regard for Sydenham and your family, which has bound me to it with cords stronger than iron. It is nothing but the consciousness of bowing to irresistible fate, that makes me able to endure a life, where I do not habitually see my friends. Unable, as I am, to go into parties, or even to call on people, for fear of being mal-opportunely called upon by them again, I am actually solitary. . . . But I live in memory, I hope, in the house, which, to me, is but another name for the house of friendship. . . . Mr. Murray has offered to pay for a bust of me at the cost of one hundred and fifty guineas, if Chantrey will do it. This, I think, is liberal. Thomas goes to school to-morrow, to Mr. Stock's Academy at Poplar, and will cost me 1207. per annum, for board and tuition. T. C."
In explanation of this passage, it is proper to notice that his
son, who had spent the winter at Bonn, returned home early in the spring; when, other means having failed for continuing his education, he was taken to Amiens and placed under the care of an experienced teacher. There he continued three months; but, disliking both the place and the people, as he informs me, he became disgusted, and started for the coast without a passport. By the great kindness of some French ladies, whom he met in the diligence, he arrived safe at Boulogne; but there he was confined three days. Having at last obtained leave to embark for England, he described his case to one of the seamen on board, who generously advanced him 5s. 6d. to pay his fare. As soon as he landed at Dover, he sold his watch, repaid his friend, started by the coach, and was at his father's house next day.*
During the remainder of the year, the calm of domestic life appears to have been ruffled by continual anxieties,—particularly by increasing solicitude regarding his son, whose unexpected return, and inclination for a seafaring life had dissipated all his parental hopes. In the meantime, as mentioned in the preceding letter, the youth was sent to school at Poplar; but this measure, though very judicious at the time, was only the beginning of new troubles and anxieties, for which there was no remedy.
The ensuing portion of Campbell's life, taken in a literary point of view, is that of an editor devoting his time and energies to the service of the public-supporting the credit already acquired by new and more vigorous efforts, and still projecting fresher plans, and higher objects in the cause of literature. The field he had undertaken to cultivate, had already given him certajn proofs of fertility; and every new mark of success was a new stimulus to industry. He found himself at the head of a literary brotherhood, every member of which was either known and respected for his abilities, or eager to distinguish himself under so popular a leader; and seldom has so much diversity. of power, with so much unity of purpose, been directed to the
At the moment of his arrival, he tells me, Anthony MacCann-the Exile of Erin-and his friend Dardis, were in the room. Anthony proposed to celebrate his return by killing the fatted calf, and endeavored to turn the whole affair into a joke; upon which Dardis quaintly observed, that Tony spoke like a true Irishman-whose thoughts came always out of his head crooked, like a stick in a basin of water. The Poet himself was deeply affected.