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Society in town, and try to procure you assistance from that noble and praiseworthy establishment. In addition to the information with which I have furnished them, they wish that a short account of your early years should be drawn up and sent to them. Now I am perfectly of the same opinion; and if you have no objection, draw up the narrative as speedily as possible. An Institution is about to be established on a grand scale, under the patronage and authority of the king, something like the Royal Academy, for the aid and encouragement of literary talent. The Rev. Mr. Bowles has spoken to me about endeavouring to serve you, by your being made a member of that Society. At a meeting of the members of a book-club in this neighbourhood lately, Mr. L. Bowles was asked by the Marquis of Lansdowne, to whom I wrote concerning you, for his opinion of your work; which he freely gave in such terms as fully confirmed my own, and greatly strengthened my efforts to serve you. I have written to Mr. Meyler three times, about applying to Elliston, but he gives no answer: he has been lately very much afflicted with the gout, and is an old man. A gentleman in this neighbourhood lately published a poem. He got it reviewed in the Edinburgh. The next week, he
received an offer from a bookseller of £400. for any thing he had in hand, or could produce, good, bad, or indifferent. Having something ready, he immediately accepted the offer. In about ten days more, he received another offer of £600. and the next day, a third of £700. both couched in the same terms. So you see what is done by these reviews? I hope P. and M. will bring out your small volume of poems directly. Barry Cornwall, who is the fortunate bard that received the above offers from the London booksellers, is now spoken of as bringing out a Tragedy, which is exciting great interest, and will immediately be performed. Now, my dear friend, I hope and beg, in justice to yourself and family, that you will not abstain from those necessary comforts which your present prospects will justify you in procuring. I trust the clouds, the wintry blasts at any rate, are all past and gone. Of one thing you may rest assured, that I will never shrink from what I have begun, as long as I can do the least service. I consider it a duty entailed upon me by God. I think I have but just begun, and will leave no stone that I can move unturned, obscure as I am, even in the road to Royal patronage. But still we must proceed with care and prudence, and soon, I trust, you will not want my feeble aid.
I have just received a letter from Mr. Britton, to whom I sent a copy of your poem, thanking me for it; and saying, that from what he had read, you appeared to him “to possess very high talents, and such as require only to be known to be appreciated and well rewarded.” After some further remarks he says, “I fear the author has not been fortunate in getting known; for though I am personally known to, and often converse with most of our first-rate poets, though I am pretty generally acquainted with the novelties of literature, I never heard of the poem in question, till Mr. Gaby brought it to my notice. Being now, however, introduced to the poem, to the cause, and to you as the kind friend of the author. I hope it will be in my power to serve one, and gratify all.” He then goes on to propose the employment of ten copies of your work, and requests further particulars respecting you, that he may lay your case before the committee of the Literary Society, of which he is a member.
A Mr. Moore, a brother I believe of the late lamented Sir John Moore, has written twice about you : his last letter, after perusing your poem, is full of praise; and although he finds some faults, he expresses astonishment and
delight. He has put it into the hands of the poet Rogers, and offers to assist your cause in any way that he possibly can. I shall conclude my letter by sending you a few lines from the last Literary Gazette, respecting the establishment of the new Royal Literary Institution, which is designed to give protection, encouragement, and honour to genius. It may suggest something useful, and show you what a cheering prospect there is before you.
“It is remarkable how little the higher literature has mingled itself in the disturbances of late years. The country has been in great agitation; the minor agents of mischief have been busied in dismantling, fragment by fragment, the constitution; the war on morals and the healthful allegiance of the English mind, has been desperate and unrelaxing; it has come, like the battle of the Trojans with its tumultuous array, trampling and triumphing to the very trench : but no magnificent Champion has been roused from his indolence, and come forth; no Achilles has flung down his idle lyre, and shouted and turned the day. The battle has been nobly fought in the senate, great ability has been united with great zeal, and there it has conquered. But the true place of combat is without the walls of the legislature. It is in the fields, the market-places, and highways, and dwellings of the multitude. And this battle must be fought, not by the sword, nor even by the tongue; but ming season, I have no doubt many more will, as the interest is increasing, and almost all the “libraries have taken up your cause. Now you had better, I think, communicate these particulars to your former publishers, either at once in confidence, or by degrees, as you will judge best from your knowledge of them. I see on two copies I had from Town last week, they have now put The Second Edition on the labels of the R JM. I am glad, very glad now, I did not urge K–, as you wished me, to bring out your pieces. I only hope during the time that has elapsed he has not gone to press, and you may be able to recover them. Looking over a London catalogue of books, I do not see his name from beginning to end. ... I am trying to get the book you named; and my next step will be to see if we cannot interest the reviewers, some by one means, some by another: the British Critic through Dr. Fisher. Have you any copies of the R JM. by you on your own account? If so, Mr. Meyler, Herald Office, Bath, would wish you to send some to him on sale, conceiving it might serve you. Having now said all I think is requisite, and being pressed for time, I must conclude, remaining Faithfully yours, Josiah ALLPoRT.