Hemans's Letters

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The Sceptic, Edited by Nanora Sweet and Barbara Taylor

Felicia Hemans's letters concerning the publication of The Sceptic

Letter to William Gifford, 17th November 1819
Letter to John Murray, 4th December 1819
Letter to John Murray, 18th December 1819
Letter to John Murray, 15th January 1820
John Murray, Hemans's publisher
William Gifford, Murray's literary advisor and editor of the Quarterly Review
Letter to William Gifford
17th November 1819

St. Asaph Nov 17, 1819

My Dear Sir

I have taken the liberty of sending for your perusal, a few extracts [of, deleted] from a little poem I have now by me, which would I should think, be appropriate to the present state of public feeling, if it were brought out promptly—It is entirely free from political allusions, and is merely meant as a picture of the dangers resulting to public and private virtue

and happiness from the doctrines of Infidelity—I have called it "the Sceptic", but perhaps if a more suitable title should occur to you, you would have the kindness to suggest it to me.

Should it be in any way inconvenient to you to favour me with your opinion of the poetry in writing, Mr Murray will, I am sure, communicate it to me; and I would also request that the specimen may be shewn to him, as I am anxious to receive his answer on the subject.

May I hope you will pardon [me ? paper torn] thus frequently troubling you, (for which I can only apologize by pleading my inexperience and want of literary friends;) and believe me to be, with sincere respect, Dear Sir,

Your much obliged
F. Hemans

Letter to John Murray
4th December 1819



Bronwhylfa—St. Asaph
4th December 1819

My dear Sir,

Some friends having requested me to procure for them twelve more copies of the "Tales & Historic Scenes", if you think there is no chance of the first parcel being eventually recovered, (as I begin to fear it will not be,) I believe I must trouble you to send me another, containing the same number, by the mail —I hope the little poem I sent you a few days since was safely received, and that I shall very shortly have the pleasure of hearing from you on the subject— I am, dear Sir,

Your obliged etc
F. Hemans

Letter to John Murray
18th December 1819


Bronwhylfa, St. Asaph
December 18th 1819

Dear Sir,

I return the proof — sheets of the "Sceptic", in which I have made all the alterations I thought necessary—Have the goodness to present my thanks to Mr Gifford for the trouble he has kindly taken in correcting the proofs, and to say that I have, I believe, attended to all his suggestions — I forgot to say when I wrote last, that I wish to be Mrs Hemans in the title page of the poem, if it is not too late.— I hope I shall soon hear from you on the subject of the publication, as a letter must undoubtedly have been lost—I am, Dear Sir,

your obedient servant,
F. Hemans

Letter to John Murray
15th January 1820

Dear Sir,

I received two days ago the parcel containing 24 copies of the "Sceptic", and also Spence's Anecdotes and Lord Grenville's and Mr Canning's speeches, for which I beg to return my best thanks —There are a few errors of the Press in the "Sceptic", and as they entirely alter the sense of the passages in which they occur, I particularly wish that a list of Errata, according to the one I now enclose, may be affixed to


the poem, as I conclude it may be easily done —Will you have the goodness to send two copies of the Sceptic to Miss Maynard, —Simpson's Cottage, Prince's Buildings, Clifton, Bristol--one to Mr Simpson 33 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh — and one to Major Freeth, Horse Guards—Three to Miss Maynard and Mr Simpson you can, perhaps, get franked — I shall be glad if you will let me know the price of the poem, and also the terms upon which it is published, respecting which I am quite ignorant—


I hope Captain Hemans did not forget to thank you, in my name, for the highly interesting little volume, I lately received from you, Captain Hall's account of the Loo Choo Islands —I have seldom read a narrative with greater pleasure —Spence's anecdotes are also extremely curious and amusing — With acknowledgments for the pleasure they have afforded me

I am, Dear Sir,

your obedient servant,
F. Hemans

St Asaph
January 15th 1820

Published @ RC

January 2004