British Fiction, 18001829

NEAL, John. Brother Jonathan (1825)

Publishing Papers

Correspondence, Journals, and Memoirs:

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
23 Apr 1824.
You sometimes publish novels, I perceive; and some that I have seen from your press, are among the most beautiful things in our language, or in any language. Pray tell me how long it would take you to get out a work of three volumes—about 300 pages each—a very difficult and provoking manuscript—whether you can publish it in this town?—and how I shall contrive to get it to you, for adjudication, safely and speedily, if I can manage to have it published, before I go to the continent—for I have a particular desire to be in Spain, where, I think, there will be some spirit for an adventurer, before long. // I want to be off, as soon as possible. The manuscript is in the hands of a publisher at this moment who thought fit to apply to me on suspicion—of misprision of authorship. I am sorry for it—because if he should ever find me out entirely, he cannot keep a secret—and I am afraid, respectable as he is, that he is rather tardy,and a little too squeamish and particular about hot pressed wire wove paper, new type, and all that—things that are exactly calculated to make me forswear authorship for ever. // It is a bold story—written partly on ship board, oftentime while we were in some danger, or on shore, while I was hurrying and scampering about like a strange bird in a hurricane—or, as Moore would say—like [5/6] butterflies or singing birds blown off at sea—// I should leave the terms to yourself, but I have an unconquerable aversion to having my manuscript overhauled by a common man, or a common critick—superficially—by the square foot—as the jobbers write. // I am under no engagement toward anybody, or with anybody—. But, if I can get it to you, and have it out, within a couple of months—with an opportunity to read the proofs, myself—I may be glad to do it. // Let me have a reply, as soon as convenient, and say how I shall send the manuscript to you—for you to look over it—or to overlook it […] // I warn you, in advance, that the book [? obscured by impress of seal from fol. 6v] is the very devil—It is my own to be sure—but then it is my own—as you’ll probably imagine, when you see it—during some fit of the ague—or, when I was on horseback—or while the ship was rocking upon a centre point—and shuddering fore and aft, like a live creature, at every plunge.
Source: E, MS 4013, fols 5–6.
Notes: Neal wrote to Blackwood under the pseudonym of Carter Holmes. This letter and the following ones are addressed from 7 Warwick Street, Charing Cross.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
23 May 1824.
The novel I shall make more worthy of you, since it is too late for the season; [9/9v] and put it in such a shape, that it can be published during my absence; or else, before I am off to the continent, I will pay a visit to Scotland, and Ireland so as to get into France, when the French winter begins—that is—about August and September. In which case, it may be done before I go.
Source: E, MS 4013, fol. 9.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
29 Sept 1824.
I have a novel nearly ready for you, which is altogether American—scenery—incidents—characters—It will require a week or so, to finish it.—It is that, of which I spoke some time ago. I have written it all over every word of it, since—altered and arranged the whole—and infused all that I could, of distinctness—vigour—and peculiarity into it.
Source: E, MS 4013, fol. 21.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
7 Oct 1824.
I send the manuscript, of which I spoke, herewith. It is in three volumes; and, so far as historical facts or national peculiarities are concerned, is faithful—You must judge of the rest. // I have tried, by bestowing more time upon it, ten times over, than I ever have upon anything else, to make it precisely what I believe to be now required by the publick appetite.—no matter what may [be] the merit of the novel writers, now in vogue—the publick have grown too familiar with all their peculiarities—excellencies—styles and subjects.—They want something new though it be worse.—These are my notions: you will judge for yourself.
Source: E, MS 4013, fol. 22.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
23 Oct 1824.
I leave the terms, my dear Sir, altogether to yourself.—You know better than I, what such a work is worth: and I have absolute confidence in you. // I should like to see the proofs: and have it produced in a superior style. […] // Your opinion is right. I was ‘a little excursive’; and shall be less in that way. It was by design: You will see a deal of order, in some other papers. // My principal reason for not communicating my name to you is this. If you know it—you cannot say—positively and unequivocally, that you do not know the name of the author. It is important, I think, that you should be able so to speak.
Source: E, MS 4013, fol. 24.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
11 Nov 1824.
I thank you very heartily and sincerely for your kind and candid advice: and hasten to reply to it—line by line—[…] // No, I do not accuse you of wanting either taste or judgment, in yr decision upon poor ‘Brother Jonathan’: and that, for the best of reasons—because you have convinced me that you are right, and I, wrong. // As a general defence to the plan—I should say that it was hastily got up, in the first place; and that—in revising it—the feelings of an author—a parent (in that particular) kept me from amendment and alteration, even where my judgment intimated that such alteration was necessary. // I thank your friend for his remarks. They are very judicious, discriminating; and will be useful to me. I have read them with singular pleasure; and I hope, profit—// I agree with you concerning the didactick part in the commencement. It is out of place in a novel—notes and all. They did not so appear—I confess—till you mentioned them. But now, they do. So too, with the controver[30/30v]sial discussion of the character of women. // In short, I agree with you in your opinions throughout except in some particulars, which (if, as you say, we could have half an hours chat), might also be a subject of coincidence—// It is only of late—(since I finished the second volume) that I have come to reflect seriously upon the whole of the work, and, though I neither intended mischief, nor would be an instrument in communicating mischief to others, I do confess that I was fearful—rather fearful—that my aim might be misunderstood—and that mischief might ensue.—Your observations have convinced me. // I shall follow your advice. The novel shall not be published in its present state. But—perhaps I may revise it—and make it what it shd be. I shall do it if on reflection—I think it practicable and proper […]. [30v/31] […] [postscript] I shd be glad to hear in reply—concerning these papers (for the Mag)—with any further intimations of yours concerning the plan & characters of the novel. Do—you will oblige me. I have an ambition that cannot easily be discouraged.
Source: E, MS 4013, fols 30–31.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
24 Nov 1824.
Thank you for your plain dealing.—It enables me to take the bull by the horns, without any preliminary flourishing—// Brother Jona:—You will form some idea of my determination when I tell you that I went immediately to work, after I wrote you, with a resolution to write it all over—every word—and adopt all your suggestions and those of your friend, which I should think advisable, in the progress of the story.—Well—I worked away, almost without eating or sleeping, until I had come to p. 100, all at once—a thought struck me. I spent a whole night in thinking of it […] and began anew.—I shall now spare no pains upon it—I would rather die, than fail. I shall preserve all that is worth preserving—reject a world of stuff—and work into it a quantity of better material.
Source: E, MS 4013, fol. 32.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
24 Dec 1824.
I work, as I never worked before, at Brother Jonathan; and so far—so much pleased with my improvements upon what it was—that I have no patience with the old manuscript; and feel, seriously, under a deep obligation to you for not publishing it as it was.—I shall make a radical change: leave out much—put in much—and avoid more carefully than ever any resemblances to popular writers. I see a [illeg.] and faults in it, which you and your friend [34/34v] by your admonitions enabled me to see.—Still, however, you must not look for too much.—my belief is that I shall have it ready in 6 or 8 weeks.—I shall spare no pains.
Source: E, MS 4013, fol. 34.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
3 Jan 1825.
I shall go to work upon the novel tomorrow. Nothing shall interfere with it—nothing I mean that I can foresee. I am sorely tempted but shall never be easy till you have that book in such a shape as will pay you for the trouble that you have had.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 114.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
31 Jan 1825.
I am getting on with Brother Jonathan. You will hear from me, I dare say, about a month hence. I shall permit nobody—nothing to interfere with you.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 116.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
27 Feb 1825.
Bro. Jona. wd have been ready long before this—but—I have set my heart upon making it worthy [MS torn] your hopes.—It will be, perhaps, three weeks yet, [MS torn] I shall give it into Mr Cadells hands—One day you shall know how much labour I have bestowed upon it.—large parts I have written many times over—every part, more than twice. I labour to be natural yet original, & strong.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 119.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
22 Mar 1825.
The work is now accomplished. You will not be disappointed, I hope.—I have spared no labour. There is not a single page of the manuscript which you saw in this—perhaps, not a line, as you saw it.—My aim was to make a solid, rich book: original—with as much power and as great a variety of power, as I could possibly throw into it.—I have sought, also, to give as great a variety of character, and style, as I could.—It contains more truth—more historical truth—more truth which is peculiar to America, and descriptive of the Americans, I do believe, than all the books, which have appeared in America, or about America—saving their histories. // My design was to shorten the MS more than I have. The original pages were larger […] I thought of making these about from 300 to 320 pages a volume. But finding that I had been giving short measure, by dialogue, blanks, & other tricks of authorship: and that Sir. W. Scott in his Red Gauntlet had given 319, 328 & 331 pages to his three volumes—I extended mine—partly from choice—partly from necessity to 365, 349, 362—that is—to about 100 pages more: for which—please to make me no allowance.—I would lay a good secure foundation for something better. If the [121/121v] book should succeed: and I confess that I have great hope, when I see what books do succeed—and how great the interest now is, here, about America—If it should succeed, these superfluous pages will be an advantage to every succeeding work.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 121.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. Neal is also laying plans to take charge of marketing Blackwood’s Magazine in America; these were not realised. Scott’s Redgauntlet is EN2 1824: 83.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
19 Apr 1825.
I thank your two friends for their remarks. They are of great value to me, although I do not entirely agree with either: or, perhaps, I should say, that, although I do agree with both, in a great measure concerning the peculiarities in the book, (I say nothing of the greater faults at present)—I am afraid that any serious attempt on my part to overcome them, would be destruction to the wholeness and character of the book.—I have felt the difficulty already. I have been writing to a measure, which measure, although it was one that I liked—I had never thought of applying till my materials were all hewn out.—I do not think that the love of exaggeration now, is anything like what it was, and, after all is not some exaggeration necessary?—Is there not an heroick style in prose, as in poetry—painting—sculpture or the drama? a style which makes what is above nature appear natural? […] [124/124v] […] Is Meg Merillies [sic] natural? […] I shall profit by your hints about the memoranda. You are right: and so is your friend. My reason for introducing them was a bad one.—// About the preface, and introduction, I am yet determined.—I shall spare niether [sic], when I come to read the whole over again, if I shd think, they ought to come out.—[…] I shall go over the whole again: By Saturday, however, unless the printer disappoint me, I shall be able to send you a proof, I hope.—The work is faulty—I see it—I acknowledge it—and if I were to write it over twenty times, I should still see it. I shall do better, when I know what the public require of me.—I have been writing here, partly after my own ideas, partly after those of other people.—Hereafter, I shall prepare myself before hand; a thing that I never did in my life—except for you and if this should succeed I may do something much better. [124v/125] Until our correspondence began, whatever I wrote in the shape of a book, with one exception, was always published without being read by anybody but myself—Hence the mischievous and prevailing faults of my manner. I was too proud—much too jealous—and much too vain. […] I have been lately made to believe—I hardly know how—that post 8vo would be better.—You, however, are the proper judge.—I should prefer post and am willing to sustain a part of the expense. […] The terms—upon my work, I know not what to say.—Give me what you please: and yet—protect yourself.—By your desire, I have made some enquiry of one person only. The author of Don Esteban, just published by Colburn 3 vols—12 mo—small I am told I have not seen it—has 200 guineas for it now, and is to have 100 guineas more, if it go to a second edition.—I am poor—in debt—and shall be glad to get 200 guineas for this—or what you please: for to be in debt is a new thing for me, & a painful one. […] [125/125v] […] I shall permit nothing to interfere with the accomplishment of this work, now. […] I return the notes, with many thanks to you, and to the authors […] On looking over the MS I have concluded to strike out the particular passages which interfere with the main story. Yet the book will be about 250 pages each vol. [fol. 126: postscript] I have just returned from Mess. Spottiswoode. Paper, he says, is scarce & cannot be had on demand. He will make inquiries, and I shall inform you, of course, The men too are not to be depended upon, at this season so great is the pressure of business—It may be two months before he will get out the 3 vols—but will say six weeks without binding himself. I tell him that he will not lose an hour by me on account of the proofs, or copy. […] If post cannot be had, why—take such as we can get. I care but little about it.
Source: E, MS 4015, fols 124–26.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. The notes mentioned refer to comments made by readers to whom Blackwood had sent the manuscript. A & R Spottiswoode were the printers, situated in London. Don Esteban is by Valentin Llanos Guitierrez (EN2 1825: 55). Meg Merrilies is in Scott’s Guy Mannering (EN2 1815: 46).

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
22 April [1825].
Herewith, I enclose you the first proof. It is not wholly corrected yet; but you will be able to perceive, by it, how I have regarded the hints of yourself and your two friends—I have been employed almost every hour since I wrote you, in preparing the book. It is much improved I think, already, in style, arrangement, and punctuation. A large part of it is now with Mess Spottiswoode, and the rest will be soon.—Perhaps you may wish to put a volume into the hands of another printer.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 127.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. Year from contents.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
23 Apr 1825.
I sent you a proof today; or rather, I sent one to Mr Cadell, enclosing it with the two notes of your friends, which I could not send by mail.—A moment or two ago, I recd a line from Messr Spottiswoode saying that Messrs Longman & Dickinson can supply the paper (like Percy Mallory, they mean, of course; that being the work of which I gave them a copy).—I, therefore, send you by mail that no risk, or delay may occur.—I am still occupied on the MS—& shall be for several days but not so, as to retard the printer.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 129.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. Percy Mallory is by James Hook (EN2 1824: 51). Longman & Dickinson were London stationers (BBTI).

Letter from William Blackwood to Andrew & Robert Spottiswoode.
23 Apr 1825.
I have a Letter from Mr Holmes today in which he tells me that he had been with you about Brother Jonathan. // It is of the greatest consequence that the Book should be hurried on as rapidly as you can drive it through the press. The size I wish it to be is post 8vo exactly similar to Percy Mallory, Reginald Dalton and the Inheritance. The two former have [11/12] 24 lines in a page, the last 25. [...] all I want is that the volumes should rather exceed 350 pages each. The Impression you will make 2000. [also notes that volumes should be either post octavo or, if not, ‘just like Adam Blair’].
Source: E, MS 30302, pp. 11–12 (copy).
Notes: E, MS 30302, p. 13 has directions to Longman & Dickinson, Wholesale Stationers, London, to supply Spottiswoode, the London printers, for this novel with paper ‘cut as sheet and half post’ or 250–300 reams of ordinary post. Another letter to the same, at E, MS 30302, p. 15, says ‘I understand from the Author of the work which Messrs Spottiswoode are Printing for me that you have been able to supply them with the paper, and I hope nothing will occur to retard the press as it is of so much consequence to me to get the Book out.’ Reginald Dalton and Adam Blair are by J.G. Lockhart (EN2 1822: 54 & 1823: 57) and Inheritance by Susan Ferrier (EN2 1824: 33). All were published by Blackwood.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
26 Apr 1825.
On getting your note, I hurried off to Mess. Spottiswoode. They have not recd your letter. […] They are going on bravely with Jonathan. I have improved it, considerably, I think, so far as I have gone. At least—I like it much better, in the sheets, with my emendations; those which have arisen from what you and yr friends said.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 131.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
28 Apr 1825.
Mr A Spottiswoode wrote me a line last eveng too late for the post, or I shd have apprised you of it; saying that your letter had gone, by mistake, to his brother—I have delivered your message. He will go on with 1500 copies, for the present. He has obtained laid post: that which you desired, he said. […] The alterations are numerous; but not very material. They are chiefly in style. I wish [133/133v] to improve the book, and I have, I think, so far, very much. I shall spare no pains with it, you may be sure. I wd. not be obstinate, and yet, I wd. rather be obstinate than servile. The omissions are, I now think required; but after all, the book will be rather more than under 350 pages a volume. [...] I have absolute confidence in you, and in Mr S[pottiswoode] from what you say. I do not withhold my name from any distrust; but simply as a thing rather expedient in my opinion for you as well as for me. I have a new name to support, a new character. I am tired of my old one.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 133.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from William Blackwood to Longman & Dickinson.
29 Apr 1825.
I understand from the Author of the work which Messrs Spottiswoode are Printing for me that you have been able to supply them with the paper, and I hope nothing will occur to retard the press as it is of so much consequence to me to get the Book out.
Source: E, MS 30302, p. 15 (copy).

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
2 May 1825.
I feel for your perplexity; and have taken every measure precisely as you would wish, I believe.—In fact, if I had not recd your instructions, about the paper, I wd have taken it on myself, to order such as you required—at my own hazard. // You will judge how seriously I am engaged; when I tell you that my whole time is taken up in correcting the proofs, & arranging the MS with extreme accuracy. // More sheets wd have been sent you—one more perhaps, had I been easily satisfied; but I have taken a revise hitherto, and, have then made a good many improvements […] I do wish to have this work turn out well […] It is of more consequence I think to have the work done as well as it can be so as far as I am concerned in correcting the proofs than it will be to have it out, two or three days earlier. […] [fol. 135v] I have thought more seriously too, about harmony & fluency and vigour united than I ever did before in prose. I make alterations frequently, to avoid the recurrence of similar sounds and similar letters. I have a theory to support, by and by, and this book will be of use—not only to me, but, I believe to you. [135v/136] Nothing material was done, till the paper was obtained; or you wd have had, as you expected, by the steam packet, several sheets. // I shall give you the sheets & proofs too, as fast as I receive them.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 135–36.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
9 May 1825.
I am very much gratified with yr letter. […] Have you resolved about the 1500 copies? // I shall give you sheets twice a week, unless prevented by accident. If I shd fail tomorrow, you will know the reason. Mess S[pottiswoode] employ Monday I believe in correcting proofs, for last Monday night I recd no proof. It may happen so tonight. Another reason is, that, anxious to get off as many sheets & proof as possible, on Saturday they put all their power[?] upon the compositors, for new proofs, and postpone the corrections: that is, they give me as many proofs as possible on Saturday; & employ Monday in correcting the same; not in getting up new ones. […] Thank you, I will read the Foresters & give you my opinion. Do you wish a review of it? a short one?
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 137.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. The Foresters is by John Wilson, (EN2 1825: 90).

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
10 May 1825.
[postscript] I had no proof last night, of course, have none for you to day. To night I shall have two or three, I dare say.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 139v.
Notes: Letter concerns Neal’s plans to acquire an American distributor for Blackwood’s Magazine. Letter is unsigned.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
14 May 1825.
I […] am very glad to hear that you are pleased, so far as you have been able to look into the sheets. […] Yes—you did write me ‘particularly’ concerning the 1500 copies. I gave the order, within a few hours, after it came to me. But I was afraid, as you spoke with some qualification, that, by some possibility, a letter might have miscarried; a letter, perhaps, containing the order for 2000. You wd determine you said, after seeing the sheets: meantime go on with 1500.—I do not believe that more than 1500 have been worked off, in any case. I have written to ask, however; and shall inform you. The excess will be put aside—if there are any. […] [fol. 142] I have not finished the Forresters [sic]; but I like what I have read, very much—not so much, however, as I did like Lights & Shadows.—Perhaps I shd not like that so much now […] I should say, in a review, substantially this of the Forresters [sic]—full of poetry—beautiful poetry—pathos & sweet natural power: […] the whole work rather too much of a piece with Lights & Shadows—blind people, & beautiful things rather too much in a stock way—on the whole—one of the most—if not the most beautiful (I must use that word now) writers in our language; but not very bold—not very surprising. […] [postscript] It never occurred to me, till after I had sealed this that our running title is Brother Jonathan. Let it be as you say ‘Brother Jonathan’ only; or Brother Jonathan; or The Real Yankies; whichever you like.
Source: E, MS 4015, fols 141–42.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life is by John Wilson (EN2 1822: 82).

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
21 May 1825.
I see two or three trivial errors in the sheets that I have sent, & in these; but I have no time to point them out.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 143v.
Notes: This short letter is mainly about a woman friend of Neal’s, whom he describes as a mother with several children and destitute. Neal is apparently living in a room in her house.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
25 May 1825.
I shall be very glad to see you.—I do think with you, that so far as I have gone the book is greatly improved.—I too am concerned about the season, and shall write Mess. S[pottiswoode] this morning begging three sheets a day, of possible. We do get along much more rapidly now; but I have had no proofs this week—I had none Monday night, none last night; but I expect a heap to night; for these gentleman [sic] are by far the best printers, in every respect that I ever had any thing to do with. // You have adopted the best of the titles. […] I shall send to Mr Cadells without losing an hour the advertisement & notice. I thank you for the draft—It has come precisely in time to help me, in relieving a friend.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 145.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes.

Letter from William Cooke Stafford to William Blackwood.
6 June 1825.
When you publish ‘Brother Jonathan’ I should like to see a copy—I resided about four years in America, from 1806 to 1810. I was then very young, scarcely 18; but I resided in a family where I had a good opportunity of hearing & seeing much of the republican spirit, […] With much of what has been published in Maga relative to the United States, I cordially agree; and they are written in a spirit which I should like to see more generally diffused—Brother Jonathan I therefore expect to be highly pleased with.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 247v.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
11 June 1825.
The book is larger than you calculated. The copy over-ran 15 to 25 per cent. The vol will be over 400 pages each; nearly equal, therefore to four volumes. It is only two days since I finished the complete revisal of the mss. I have been at work, literally night and day; and have not been able to keep more than 100 to 150 pages ahead of the printers […] The book is a thing of labour, downright, severe, uninterrupted labour; whether it be a work of genius or not—is another question. By the way your celebrated Mr Lockhart is already named here as the author of it!—Have you seen the paragraph given to Cadell? I have not. I did it [147/147v] as well as I could of course. But—I did feel rather squeamish in telling what I heard was the truth of those papers in Blackwood.—I would rather have written a puff, and signed it thus—‘By the author, himself.’
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 147.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. The paragraph referred to is one evidently designed to puff the work, and that could be inserted in newspapers without incurring the high charges (largely due to taxes) that were associated with advertisements.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
18 June 1825.
I have not seen the paragraph, in any of the papers; but it has appeared, I know; because I have heard it spoken of. I shall write Mr Cadell however, and , if it should appear necessary, give him another. When I saw him, he asked me if it should be paid for—that is—if they would not insert it otherwise, ought he to pay for it. I said yes; by all means—taking care only that it should not appear as an advertisement. He mentioned some paper—perhaps more than one—whose editor would not publish any such articles, except, with the word, advertisement at the beginning. This would, of course, defeat your object; and therefore I asked him not to offer it, to any such paper, in any shape. // I am glad that Sir Walter Scott, is coming up in four volumes. It will be a sort of passport, or excuse for the great length of Bro. Jonathan. // The literary men whom I know here would be glad, I think to give us a puff but how could they [149/149v] at my suggestion?
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 149.
Notes: Signed Carter Holmes. The reference to Scott is to his Tales of the Crusaders (EN2 1825: 73) the 4 volumes of which were published in late June 1825.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
26 June 1825.
[postscript] [...] after I receive the balance of Bro. Jonathan’s dues, I shall be very ne[arly? MS torn at seal] where I was a twelvemonth ago—However I shall be free of debt.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 152.
Notes: Addressed to Blackwood from a coffee house; apparently written just before his first actual meeting with Blackwood. Signed John Neal, as are all the subsequent letters.

Letter from William Blackwood to Janet Blackwood.
26 June 1825.
I am very much pleased with Mr Neale. He is quite a gentleman in his manners, and appears to be so [56v/57] in his feelings, so far as I can yet judge. He is a person evidently capable of greater things than he has yet done.
Source: E, MS 4014, fols 56v-57.
Notes: The letter is addressed to his wife from London.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
30 June 1825.
I thank you heartily for the balance of the two hundred guineas which you have sent me, and hereby acknowledge the reciept [sic], as in full for Brother Jonathan, reserving the Claim, which you have been liberal enough to recognize, of one hundred guineas more, when a thousand copies shall have been sold.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 153.
Notes: The issue of the 100 guineas is to resurface in 1826 in letters from Neal and in 1828 in letters to Blackwood from John Chesterton.

Letter from William Blackwood to Alexander Blackwood.
2 July 1825.
Cadell’s Man is at Spottiswoode today printing the copies of Brother Jonathan. Send copies to Mr Cay, Mr Moir, Mr Scott[?] Mr Gillies, or any one else that occurs to you. Today I had a long chat with Mr Gifford the Editor of the St James’s Chronicle who has already noticed this No of Maga most favourably and is to notice Brother Jonathan on Tuesday. He is a fine clever spirited Irish Barrister.
Source: E, MS 4014, fol. 62.

Letter from Alexander Blackwood to William Blackwood.
2 July 1825.
I am rather disappointed I confess with the sub[scription] of Brother Jonathan, but I hope you will soon be able to get off a great [27/27v] many more.
Source: E, MS 4014, fol. 27.
Notes: The letter is addressed to Blackwood at Somerset Hotel, London.

Letter from John Galt to William Blackwood.
4 July 1825.
I am obliged by your attention. Brother Jonathan I have not been able to look at, but I send it to a lady of some [illeg.] consideration and she has but sent to me, to day to say, she suspects it is my own. This is quite as much as you could expect any author to say of another’s production.
Source: E, MS 4014, fol. 231.

Letter from William Blackwood to Alexander Blackwood.
6 July 1825.
I saw Black of the M[orning] C[hronicle] again this forenoon. He spoke very favourably of Brother Jonathan and is to have a notice of it in the Chronicle in a day or two. Enter his name to send a Magazine to regularly. I sent you the St James’s Chronicle by last night’s post. I hope you will put the notice into the Courant and Advertiser.
Source: E, MS 4014, fol. 66v.
Notes: John Black became joint editor with William Perry of the Morning Chronicle in 1817; he became sole editor in 1821 on Perry’s death.

Letter from Alexander Blackwood to William Blackwood.
6 July 1825.
I will […] send him [ie. John Wilson] B. J. —I am rather disapointed [sic] at the London sub[scription]—I will subscribe here tomorrow. I sent it to Glasgow last night.
Source: E, MS 4014, fol. 29.

Letter from David Macbeth Moir to William Blackwood.
24 July 1825.
I am afraid Brother Jonathan cannot be getting on well. He seems even more long winded in print than MS.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 91.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
30 July 1825.
The papers here continue to puff poor Jonathan, in very good style. I met with a ‘Literary Chronicle’ a few days ago, which goes further in praising it, than the ‘News of Literature’ did. I think very much as your Scotch critics do. There is too much of it—and I am not half satisfied with it, although it is a much better book than I could have written, a year ago, because it is not so good a one as I could write now.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 154.

Letter from Basil Steuart to William Blackwood.
10 Aug 1825.
Brother Jonathan is not as well liked by My Friends as I expected from the account you gave of it. And from what I have understood by calling at two or three of the Booksellers it does not move off very well. I have not however read the work myself.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 272v.
Notes: Steuart was a London bookseller (BBTI).

Letter from Alaric Watts to William Blackwood.
13 Aug 1825.
[...] I am [...] constrained to employ my wife as my amanuensis to convey to you my thanks for your obliging letter and present of ‘Brother Jonathan’ which I shall notice at some length in the course of a few days.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 312 (aman).
Notes: Watts was editor of the Leeds Intelligencer at this time (DNB).

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
1 Sept 1825.
Deuce take Brother Jonathan. I must make a better book, and I will, if God spares me. I have the right stuff, I am sure, and I will make use of it more wisely, more as I ought. // Peters would have made a capital hero, but—but—I did not think of him, in that shape, till it was too late, and I was weary of the work—and yet, I never slighted a page, no—not a line. I worked it up too much. I nearly re-wrote it, after you saw the MS. Had I been less careful, I should have been more natural and easy, and attractive—I cant [sic] bear to think of it; and yet, I hear it praised in all quarters, by people who do not know me—by the papers, &c.
Source: E, MS 4015, fol. 156v.

Letter from John Neal to William Blackwood.
15 May 1826.
I am going abroad, and I wish to know something about the 100 guineas, which are still owed me by the terms of our contract. // I should be sorry to give you trouble, but if I do not hear from you, in a satisfactory way before I go, I shall have to cause the enquiry to be made in some other stage. // You are not aware perhaps that I have all the proof required for my purpose in my own hands; and if you look to my receipt, you will perceive that I provided for this very situation.
Source: E, MS 4018, fol. 97.
Notes: On 12 Feb 1826, Neal wrote Blackwood a long rambling letter asserting various wrongs (MS 4018, fols 93–96). The matter in dispute there seems to be articles for the magazine, and Neal’s proposed plan to market the magazine in America. In this letter of 15 May, he seems to be referring to money owed for the novel; certainly Blackwood understood it so. See his reply of 17 May.

Letter from William Blackwood to John Neal.
17 May 1826.
I can only account for your letter which I this moment recd. by supposing you to labour under a fit of temporary insanity. I paid you for what you asked for your book and I have only to add that having no wish to continue such a correspondence it will be quite unnecessary for you to put yourself at the expence of farther postage as your letters will be returned unopened.
Source: E, MS 4018, fol. 98 (copy).
Notes: The copy is written on the second page of Neal’s letter of 15 May.

Letter from John Chesterton to William Blackwood.
4 Oct 1828.
Mr Neal having assigned over to me his claim upon you for the balance of the sum agreed upon to be given by you for his work entitled ‘Brother Jonathan’, I beg to request that you will have the goodness to inform me if you are prepared to pay the amount or when I may expect to receive the same.
Source: E, MS 4022, fol. 194.

Letter from William Blackwood to John Chesterton.
10 Oct 1828.
Mr Neal has not the shadow of a claim upon me, on account of Brother Jonathan, and his pretending to assign to you any such claim is only another specimen of his [illeg.] impudence and extreme folly.
Source: E, MS 4022, fol. 194v (copy).
Notes: The copy is written on the verso of Chesterton’s letter of 4 Oct.

Letter from John Chesterton to William Blackwood.
21 Oct 1828.
[...] you must excuse me troubling you with an extract from a letter written by you dated 26 April 1825, containing the original agreement with regard to the work in question. Accompanied by one from Mr Neal, [...] You will not I am certain be surprised at my requesting the favor of an explanation [...].
Source: E, MS 4022, fol. 196.
Notes: On fol. 196v. are copied extracts from the mentioned letters to document that Blackwood agreed to pay an additional 100 gns after 1000 copies of the work had been sold.

Letter from William Blackwood to John Chesterton.
19 Nov 1828.
To save yourself and me any further trouble, I shall now state to you that so far from my having sold 1000 copies I have not sold 500, and will does your employer know the total failure of his Book, and the loss I have sustained from it.
Source: E, MS 4022, fol. 198v.
Notes: fol. 198 has a note from Chesterton, dated 14 Nov, requesting an immediate reply to his last.

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