British Fiction, 18001829

LOCKHART, John Gibson. Some Passages in the Life of Mr Adam Blair Minister of the Gospel at Cross-Meikle (1822)

Publishing Papers

Correspondence, Journals, and Memoirs:

Letter from William Blackwood to John Gibson Lockhart.
12 Feb 1822.
I now enclose you my note at 12 mos for £300, being my final payment for the copyright of Adam Blair, and on the publication of the second edition, I will give my note for Two Hundred Pounds at 12 mos being the final settlement for the copyright as we agreed upon to day. I send you the remainder of the sheets. The title page is I think without exception the handsomest and the most striking I ever saw.
Source: E, MS 30002, fol. 70.

Letter from William Blackwood to Thomas Cadell jun.
16 Feb 1822.
On Tuesday I shipped for you 350 Nodier’s Promenade and yesterday 800 Adam Blair. I now send you two copies of each. I also inclose the Advertisements which you will immediately insert in the papers. I sent you slips last week to announce Blair, and I expected to have seen it advertised two days ago. Do not spare the advertising of it, as it is a book that must attract attention. Sir Andrew Wylie I have only seen for the first time to day advertised as published. I had a letter this morning too from the Author noticing this. I will be obliged to you to attend particularly to the advertising of it, and likewise of Blair. Nodier, of course, you need not advertise so extensively as these two. There will be great speculation as to the Author of Blair, both here and in London, but his name will not be made known. A few friends have seen the book, and speak of it as highly as I would wish.
Source: E, MS 30301, p. 273 (copy).
Notes: The other work shipped is presumably the English translation of J. E. C. Nodier Promenade from Dieppe to the Mountains of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1822). Sir Andrew Wylie is EN2 1822: 33.

Letter from William Blackwood to Thomas Cadell jun.
5 Mar 1822.
The subscription for Adam Blair was a very handsome one indeed, and I shall be glad to hear all particulars about its sale and what is thought of it. Be so good as to write me every thing you hear as you have no idea how much an Author is interested in any London news with regard to his book. It is of particular consequence that I should be able to shew to this Author that you take a lively interest in the success of his Book, for he is likely to do a great deal, and he had very strong predilections for another London publisher. Do not spare advertising which I leave to yourself. I would be much obliged to you could get into the Globe or any of the other Papers the extract which was in the Courant which I sent you yesterday.
Source: E, MS 30301, p. 275 (copy).

Letter from Caroline Bowles to William Blackwood.
9 Mar 1822.
But what shall I say of ‘Adam Blair’? that is indeed ‘no common work’—That it is most powerfully written—taking the attention—the whole mind, captive to a degree I have never seldom, never I might almost say—experienced.
Source: E, MS 4009, fol. 157.
Notes: Letter comments on various books that Blackwood had sent her.

Letter from John Galt to William Blackwood.
14 Mar 1822.
I have managed to get through Adam Blair & the promenade. The former is without question a work that displays the author to be possessed of extraordinary power. It is the toe of a Hercules, and I think the owner cannot be mistaken—no one [166/166v] but himself possesses the same splendour of fancy and freedom of expression—But I was disappointed; you had led me to expect a description of domestic scenes—a vicar of Wakefield—It is neither vicar nor minister, but the workings of a man—It belongs to no age or country, but to general human nature, from which the beautiful descriptions of local scenery will not redeem it, if that can be called a fault which affects the universal feelings of mankind instead of peculiar or national affections. But why did the author not write in the character of Adam Blair himself? why did he make those vivid sketches of passion, instead of doing what would have been infinitely more shocking express the action of the passions themselves. The work belongs to the class of Werter & the new Eloise, and it is only inferior to them from the effect of that to which I have object [sic].
Source: E, MS 4008, fol. 166.
Notes: Referring to (in English trans.) Goethe’s Sorrows of Werther and Rousseau’s Eloisa (1761).

Letter from Mary Diana Dods to William Blackwood.
1 Apr [1822].
[...] I have to offer my best thanks for Adam Blair, which is delightful, and Wylie, which is (though very different) no less so—the former in point of language is really a study, so chastely and elegantly do I find it written—the latter is very rich particularly in the character of Wylie, the Author by placing the parsimony of which our nation is accurs’d in so just and pleasing a light, has done no trifling kindness to his Countrymen—the other personages are so well sustain’d that I recur to my former opinion, the Author should write a Comedy [...].
Source: E, MS 4009, fol. 10.
Notes: Year is from contents. The letter is signed David Lyndsay, one of the pseudonyms of Mary Diana Dods, author of Tales of the Wild and the Wonderful (EN2 1825: 15).

Letter from William Blackwood to Thomas Cadell jun.
5 Apr 1822.
You may still go on advertising Adam Blair twice in Courier, John Bull & Observer. Once in M[orning] Post. Globe and New Times, M[orning] Chronicle, & Literary Gazette.
Source: E, MS 30301, p. 277 (copy).

Letter from Thomas Hamilton to William Blackwood.
[June 1822].
Lights & Shadows are beautiful & beat anything Henry Mackenzie ever wrote [261/261v] Of course they are by the Author of Adam Blair.
Source: E, MS 4008, fol. 261.
Notes: Date from contemporary docket on cover. Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life (EN2 1822: 82) is by John Wilson.

Letter from William Blackwood to Thomas Cadell jun.
3 Sept 1822.
As I have only remaining 100 Lights & Shadows 100 Ayrshire Legatees, 200 Adam Blair and 150 Pen Owen [285/286] I would thank you therefore to send me a note how many you have of each of these and at the same time let me know the number you have on hand of Annals of the Parish, Sir Andrew Wylie, The Provost, Marriage, and Valerius.
Source: E, MS 30301, pp. 285–86 (copy).
Notes: Galt’s The Ayrshire Legatees is EN2 1821: 37, The Annals of the Parish EN2 1821: 36, The Provost EN2 1822: 32; Hook’s Pen Owen is EN2 1822: 45; Lockhart’s Valerius EN2 1821: 46; and Ferrier’s Marriage is EN2 1818: 29.

Letter from Caroline Bowles to William Blackwood.
28 Dec 1822.
But (as an advertisement now informs us) that ‘Valerius’ and ‘Adam Blair’ are by the same Author, is passing strange! Both admirable; each is strongly in contrast with the other—Indeed Mr Blackwood you deal in riddles, but they are very pleasant ones.
Source: E, MS 4009, fol. 161.

Letter from George Robert Gleig to John Murray II.
21 July 1823.
My business was in the first place, to shake you by the hand, & secondly to offer to you a little tale for publication, which I have lately written [The Stranger’s Grave]. It will make up, I apprehend, a volume similar in point of size to Lockhart’s Adam Blair, at least if you can [illeg.] the 8vo type to the large 12mo paper, it will certainly not fall short of the book I have mentioned.
Source: MS letter, Murray Archives.
Notes: Addressed from Ash near Wingham, in Kent. The rest of the letter concerns the The Stranger’s Grave (EN2 1823: 38).

Letter from James Hogg to William Blackwood.
28 May 1827.
I have only got about half through Cyril Thornton as yet […] I had no sooner opened the book than I set it down for James [sic] Wilsons and though it is ten to one I am wrong as I was with Adam Blair the impression in the one case as well as the other will remain as long as I live.
Source: E, MS 4019, fol. 191.
Notes: He means John Wilson. Cyril Thornton is Thomas Hamilton’s (EN2 1827: 37).

Blackwood’s List of Items for Cadell & Davies Sale.
[Adam Blair is priced at 4s. 4d. for the sale].
Source: E, MS 30301, p. 272.

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