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As Mr. Irving was not in the country to meet this coarse aspersion with instant denial should he see fit to notice it, before communicating with him on the subject, I addressed a letter to Mr. Griswold, asking his authority for the statement, and requesting him to name the Reviews containing the laudatory notices in question. His reply gave a Mr. E- -, an English gentleman, with
whom his acquaintance was limited to a single interview, as the person who informed him that "Mr. Irving wrote the articles in the Quarterly Review,' on the 'Life of Columbus,' and the Chronicles of Granada."" I replied that the "London Quarterly" contained no reviews of the "Life of Columbus," "laudatory" or otherwise, and that the review it did contain of the "Chronicles of Granada” had not a commendatory expression of the work or its author, or a single sentence that might not have come from the pen of Mr. Irving without the slightest impeachment of his delicacy. If a self-review,—and I did not then know whether it was or not,-it was not, at any rate, a self-eulogy.
Pointing out these facts to Mr. Griswold, and referring him to the files of the "Quarterly" for proof, I appealed to his sense of equity whether it were not due to Mr. Irving that he should review the grounds upon which, thus publicly and uncalled for, he had sought to bring the delicacy of his character into suspicion.
In his reply, dated October 13th, he expressed great regret for the whole matter, and said he would do Mr.
Irving justice in the December number of the "Magazine," the November number being already printed. He was as good as his word, and in that number retracted, though rather ungraciously, the pitiful charge he had been too eager to catch up and circulate. The imputation upon Scott, I presume, had as little foundation.
On the 6th of October-before, of course, the receipt of Mr. Griswold's promise of recantation of the 13th-I wrote to Mr. Irving, enclosing the leaf of "Graham's Magazine" which contained the offensive imputation, and a copy of Mr. Griswold's answer to my first letter. In his answer, which named his authority for the assumed self-laudation, he took occasion to add that he had strong ground for supposing Mr. Irving to have been a frequent contributor to the "London Quarterly," while that periodical, more than any other in Europe, was distinguished for its unprincipled hostility to the United States.
With this preface, I submit the letters of Mr. Irving on the subject of these separate charges:
[To Pierre M. Irving.]
MADRID, November 12, 1842.
MY DEAR PIERRE :
I have just received your letter of October 6th, inclosing an article from "Graham's Magazine," charging me with writing laudatory notices of my own works for the Reviews, and alluding especially to the "Quarterly." The only notice I ever took of any of my works was an article which I wrote for the "Quarterly Review" on my "Chronicle of the
Conquest of Granada." It was done a long time after the publication of the work, in compliance with the wishes of Mr. Murray, who thought the nature of the work was not sufficiently understood, and that it was considered rather as a work of fiction than one substantially of historic fact. Any person who will take the trouble to read that review, will perceive that it is merely illustrative, not laudatory of the work, explanatory of its historical foundation. I never made a secret of my having written that review: I wrote it under the presumption that the authorship of it would become known to any person who should think it worth his while to make the inquiry. I never wrote any other article for the "Quarterly Review," excepting a review to call favorable attention to the work of my friend and countryman, Captain McKenzie (then Slidell), entitled "A Year in Spain, by a young American," and another review, for the same purpose, of a work of my friend and countryman, Mr. Wheaton, at present Minister at the Court of Prussia. This last article, though written for the "Quarterly Review" did not appear in that publication, but was published in the North American Review." The work of Mr. Wheaton which it reviews, was, I think, the "History of the Northmen." These are the only articles that I am conscious of having ever written for the "Quarterly," or any other European Review. I have never inserted in any publication in Europe or America a puff of any of my works, nor permitted any to be inserted by my publishers when I could prevent it; nor sought to procure favorable reviews from others, nor to prevent unfavorable ones where I thought they were to be apprehended. I have on all occasions, and in every respect, left my works to take their chance, and I leave them still to do the same. My present reply to your inquiry is only drawn forth by a charge that would affect my private character; though I hope that is sufficiently known to take care of itself on the point in question.
I understand a kind friend has recently been vindicating me against attacks made on me in the "Southern Literary Messenger," on the subject of my "Life of Columbus." I have never read those attacks, having been assured there was nothing in them that called for reply, and not being disposed to have my feelings ruffled unnecessarily. I understood
they mainly charged me with making use of Mr. Navarrete's work without giving him due credit. Those who will look into my "Life of Columbus" will find that in the preface I have cited the publication of Mr. Navarrete as the foundation of my work, and that I have referred to him incessantly at the foot of the pages. If I have not done so sufficiently, I was not aware of my "short-comings.' His work was chiefly documentary, and, as such, invaluable for the purpose of history. As my work was not a work of invention, I was glad to find such a store of facts in the volumes of Mr. Navarrete; and as I knew his scrupulous exactness, wherever I found a document published by him, I was sure of its correctness, and did not trouble myself to examine the original. My work, however, was made up from various sources, some in print, some in manuscript, all of which, I thought at the time, I had faithfully cited. Those who wish to know Mr. Navarrete's opinion of the work will find it expressed in the third volume of his collections of documents, published after the appearance of "Columbus," in which his expressions are anything but those of a man who felt himself wronged. I can only say that I have never willingly, in any of my writings, sought to take advantage of a contemporary, but have endeavored to be fair in my literary dealings with all men; and if ever you hear again of my having practiced any disingenuous artifice in literature, to advance myself or to injure others, you may boldly give the charge a flat contradiction. What I am as an author, the world at large must judge. You know what I am as a man, and know, when I give you my word, it is to be depended upon. Your affectionate uncle,
Five days later he returns to the subject of these attacks with the following supplementary letter, which relates, in his own words, particulars in his literary history heretofore hinted at by myself, and disposes of Mr. Griswold's epistolary intimation about the frequency of his contributions to the "London Quarterly." I have already
briefly refuted this charge, by which it was intended to prejudice his popularity at home, but the reader may be willing to see in what spirit it is met by Mr. Irving. Mr. Griswold, it will be understood, makes no such charge himself, but only reports it as a supposition which he was disposed to entertain.
[To Pierre M. Irving.]
MADRID, November 17, 1842.
MY DEAR PIERRE :
I wrote to you a few days since, in reply to your letter concerning the attack upon me in "Graham's Magazine." As that reply was written hastily, I may not have been precise in one or two particulars. The review of the "Conquest of Granada" was written nearly, if not quite, two years after the publication of the work, and after it had been very favorably noticed in several periodical publications. As I before observed, it was written in compliance with the wishes of Mr. Murray, to state the historical nature of the work; my use of the soubriquet of Fray Antonio Agapida, and the occasional romantic coloring, having led many to suppose it was a mere fabrication. I did not ask or expect any remuneration from Mr. Murray, but he sent me the sum he was accustomed to pay for similar contributions to his "Review," and I did not hesitate to accept it, the article, in fact, being written for his benefit. Perhaps it would be as well to have the review republished in the "Knickerbocker," and then the public will be able to judge whether or no it is "laudatory."
While I am upon these literary matters, I will furnish you with a fact or two in my literary life in Europe, which may enable you to reply to any similar charges that may be brought against me. In the early struggle of my literary career in London, before I had published the "SketchBook" in England, I received a letter from Sir Walter Scott, inviting me to Edinburgh to take charge of a periodical publication, holding out the