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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt
TEI

64. Robert Bloomfield to Thomas Hood, undated [? late October 1801]* 

To Mr Hood

Sir

A very rough morning, and the rheumatism in my shoulder prevents my calling on you as I intended. In consequence of a corispondence with my first friend Mr Lofft, in which I ventured to suggest the removal of his notes in the Quartos and Octavos of the new work, I find that any omition in the original work, 'the Farmer's Boy' will not rest on you, as you generously proposed that it might, but will infallibly fall on my shoulders. To the Duke of Grafton and many other friends it will be utterly impossible for me to escape the charge of the blackest baseness and ingratitude: for who of them will have patience, to hear my defence? Or take the pains to acquire information? My character will sink rapidly. You will hamstring me if you do it. I shall halt for the remainder of my race. You know well my real sentiments on this business; and you know too my situation, and the immense debt of gratitude I owe to Mr Lofft; and I am confident that your candor must admit that we have gaind one material point as to the notes of the new work; and that as five numerous impressions of the former work have been received by the public, though with sentiments of disappropbation to the notes in question and as Mr Ls exculpation of me in his last added note to the last Edition [1]  has past; that very consideration will throw the blame more strongly on me in his estimation.

I have acted throughout as a peacemaker as far as was in my power. I have an unshaken reliance on your integrity, and your good wishes to me and your infant family. You would not like to see me incur the disgrace of a criminal. Would not such an imputation laid at my door slacken the ardour of the reading world, and ultimately injure us both? I state this merely as a conjecture. If matters rest where they are now, I can (I believe) avoid an open rupture with Mr Lofft. If, as things stand now between us, the Sixth Edition of Giles is alter'd, I shall bear the blame, and bear the consequences. If Mr Lofft would do it himself, all would be well. As it is, I dare not do otherwise than wish that this Sixth Edition may meet the public entire as the others have done. We have both been, and shall be great gainers by 'The Boy'. if his coat has holes in it I am not authorised to strip it off. I beg of you to consider of this: and I shall not fear but we shall go smoothly on through these two publications, and perhaps through another; which if I quarrel with Mr L will loose greatly in its intended interest in my own country, where I mean it for the amusement of the rising generation.

I leave these reasons to your candid consideration and shall hope to see at Mr Swan's a copy of Mr Bensley's last impression, Then I can meet censure or praise with a face of Brass. And allways be Sir your most Obedient Serv

Rob Bloomfield

* BL Add. MS 28268, ff. 437–38 BACK

[1] The 5th edition includes the following note from Lofft: 'And here I have to remark, that whatever political Sentiments or personal Feelings I have expresst, either in the PREFACE or the APPENDIX, I trust they have not occupied a disproportion'd Space; nor have been unsuitable either to the place in which they are introduced, or to the subject or the occasion. That occasion, I am convinc'd, is just and urgent: and that it is becoming of a man, and of me in particular, and consonant to the whole course of my life, to speak openly even in these times what I think of moment to my Country and to human Society. As to what is personal to myself, I should have passed it entirely here, if that also did not concern the PUBLIC; and if it did not concern the FARMER'S BOY on account of the relation in which I stand to it as Editor. But I wish it to be understood, that neither for political Sentiments, Opinions, and Conduct, nor for any thing which I have said that personally concerns myself in the introductory part of this Appendix, is Mr. BLOOMFIELD in the smallest degree responsible. Those therefore who dislike either the sentiments or the mode of expression must, in mere justice, impute them to me alone, and in no respect as in any way implicating him. He wishes, I believe, to decline Politics and Controversy altogether; and I wish no man to mix in either farther than he feels it to be a Duty' (The Farmer's Boy, 5th edn. (London, 1801), pp. 106-107). BACK

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Published @ RC

September 2009