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THE LETTERS OF CHARLES AND MARY LAMB

1796-1820

EDITED BY E. V. LUCAS

WITH A FRONTISPIECE



PREFACE


This edition of the correspondence of Charles and Mary Lamb contains 618
letters, of which 45 are by Mary Lamb alone. It is the only edition to
contain all Mary Lamb's letters and also a reference to, or abstract of,
every letter of Charles Lamb's that cannot, for reasons of copyright, be
included. Canon Ainger's last edition contains 467 letters and the
_Every-man's Library Edition_ contains 572. In 1905 the Boston
Bibliophile Society, a wealthy association of American collectors,
issued privately--since privately one can do anything--an edition in six
volumes (limited to 453 sets) of the correspondence of Charles and Mary
Lamb, containing everything that was available, which means practically
everything that was known: the number reaching a total of 762 letters;
but it will be many years before such a collection can be issued in
England, since each of the editions here has copyright matter peculiar
to itself. My attempt to induce the American owner of the largest number
of new letters to allow me to copy them from the Boston Bibliophile
edition has proved fruitless.

And here a word as to copyright in such documents in England, the law as
most recently laid down being established upon a set of sixteen of
Lamb's letters which unhappily are not (except in very brief abstract)
in the present edition. These letters, chiefly to Robert Lloyd, were
first published in _Charles Lamb and the Lloyds_, under my editorship,
in 1900, the right to make copies and publish them having been acquired
by Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. from Mrs. Steeds, a descendant of Charles
Lloyd. The originals were then purchased by Mr. J. M. Dent, who included
copies in his edition of Lamb's letters, under Mr. Macdonald's
editorship, in 1903. Meanwhile Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. had sold their
rights in the letters to Messrs. Macmillan for Canon Ainger's edition,
and when Mr. Dent's edition was issued Messrs. Macmillan with Messrs.
Smith, Elder & Co. brought an action. Mr. Dent thereupon acquired from
Mr. A. H. Moxon, the son of Emma Isola, Lamb's residuary legatee, all
his rights as representing the original author. The case was heard
before Mr. Justice Kekewich early in 1906. The judge held that "the
proprietor of the author's manuscript in the case of letters, as in the
case of any other manuscript, meant the owner of the actual paper on
which the matter was written, and that in the case of letters the
recipient was the owner. No doubt the writer could restrain the
recipient from publishing, and so could the writer's representatives
after death; but although they had the right to restrain others from
publishing, it did not follow that they had the right to publish and
acquire copyright. This right was given to the proprietor of the
manuscript, who, although he could be restrained from publishing by the
writer's personal representatives, yet, if not so restrained, could
publish and acquire copyright."

Mr. Dent appealed against this verdict and his appeal was heard on
October 31 and November 7, 1906, when the decision of Mr. Justice
Kekewich was upheld with a clearer definition of the right of restraint.
The Court, in deciding (I quote again from Mr. MacGillivray's summary)
that "the proprietors of manuscript letters were, after the writer's
death, entitled to the copyright in them when published, were careful to
make it clear that they did not intend to overrule the authority of
those cases where a deceased man's representatives have been held
entitled to restrain the publication of his private letters by the
recipients or persons claiming through them. The Court expressly
affirmed the common law right of the writer and his representatives in
unpublished letters. It did not follow that because the copyright, if
there was publication, would be in the person who, being proprietor of
the author's manuscript, first published, that that person would be
entitled to publish. The common law right would be available to enable
the legal personal representatives, under proper circumstances, to
restrain publication." That is how the copyright law as regards letters
stands to-day (1912).

The present edition has been revised throughout and in it will be found
much new material. I have retained from the large edition only such
notes as bear upon the Lambs and the place of the letters in their life,
together with such explanatory references as seemed indispensable. For
the sources of quotations and so forth the reader must consult the old
edition.

For permission to include certain new letters I have to thank the Master
of Magdalene, Mr. Ernest Betham, Major Butterworth, Mr. Bertram Dobell,
Mr. G. Dunlop, and Mr. E. D. North of New York.

As an example of other difficulties of editing, at any given time, the
correspondence of Charles and Mary Lamb, I may say that while these
volumes were going through the press, Messrs. Sotheby offered for sale
new letters by both hands, the existence of which was unknown equally to
English editors and to Boston Bibliophiles. The most remarkable of them
is a joint letter from sister and brother to Louisa Martin, their
child-friend (to whom Lamb wrote the verses "The Ape"), dated March 28,
1809. Mary begins, and Charles then takes the pen and becomes
mischievous. Thus, "Hazlitt's child died of swallowing a bag of white
paint, which the poor little innocent thing mistook for sugar candy. It
told its mother just before it died, that it did not like soft sugar
candy, and so it came out, which was not before suspected. When it was
opened several other things were found in it, particularly a small
hearth brush, two golden pippins, and a letter which I had written to
Hazlitt from Bath. The letter had nothing remarkable in it." ... The
others are from brother and sister to Miss Kelly, the actress, whom
Lamb, in 1819, wished to marry. The first, March 27, 1820, is from Mary
Lamb saying that she has taken to French as a recreation and has been
reading Racine. The second is from Lamb, dated July 6, 1825, thanking
Miss Kelly for tickets at Arnold's theatre, the Lyceum, and predicting
the success of his farce "The Pawnbroker's Daughter." How many more new
letters are still to come to light, who shall say?

In Mr. Bedford's design for the cover of this edition certain Elian
symbolism will be found. The upper coat of arms is that of Christ's
Hospital, where Lamb was at school; the lower is that of the Inner
Temple, where he was born and spent many years. The figures at the bells
are those which once stood out from the faηade of St. Dunstan's Church
in Fleet Street, and are now in Lord Londesborough's garden in Regent's
Park. Lamb shed tears when they were removed. The tricksy sprite and the
candles (brought by Betty) need no explanatory words of mine.

E. V. L.




CONTENTS OF VOLUME V

LETTERS BY NUMBER

1796.

1 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge May 27
From the original in the possession of Mrs.
Alfred Morrison.

2 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge End of May?
From the original (Morrison Collection).

3 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge June 10
From the original (Morrison Collection).

4 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge June 13
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn's edition).

5 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge July 1
From the original (Morrison Collection).

6 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge July 5
From the facsimile of the original (Mr. E.
H. Coleridge).

7 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge July 6
From the original (Morrison Collection).

8 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Sept. 27
From the original (Morrison Collection).

9 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Oct. 3
From the original (Morrison Collection).

10 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Oct. 17
From the original (Morrison Collection).

11 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Oct. 24
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

12 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Oct. 28
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

13 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Nov. 8
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

14 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Nov. 14
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn) with alterations.

15 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Dec. 2
From the original (Morrison Collection).

16 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Dec. 5
From the original (Morrison Collection).

17 Charles Lamb to S. T, Coleridge Dec. 9
Mr. Hazlitt's text (The Lambs).

18 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Dec. 10
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

1797.

19 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Jan. 2
From the original (Morrison Collection).

20 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Jan. 10
From the original (Morrison Collection).

21 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Jan. 18
From the original (Morrison Collection).

22 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Feb. 5
From the original (Morrison Collection).

23 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Feb. 13
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

24 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge April 7
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

25 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge April 15
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

26 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge June 13
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

27 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge June 24
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

28 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge (?)June 29
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

29 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Late July
Mr. Hazlitt's text (Bohn).

30 Charles Lamb to S. T. Coleridge Aug.



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