Joseph Johnson

John Bugg (ed.), The Joseph Johnson Letterbook

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199. To Elizabeth Hamilton, 16 January 1807

January 16th 1807

Miss Hamilton

Dear Madam

    Towards the close and the beginning of the year we tradesman are necessarily much employed about debtors and creditors and such like humbug indeed. However I did not apprehend that you were anxious about an immediate answer but find I have been to blame, looking at the date of your letter and crave your pardon.

pg 139With respect to the publication mentioned the Authors have nothing to do but to send their manuscript in a legible state to the bookseller; furnishing paper, employing a printer and corrector of the press, advertising, vending, in short, everything else will be his business.

The mode of printing, or size, I believe should be the same as the Rambler &c. when first published, namely a sheet and half of what stationers call fools cap because we are hampered with duties, we cannot issue a single sheet without a stamp. Whether it should appear once or twice a week may depend on the confidence the writers have in their powers and resources.

The names of the writers should be a profound secret for which reason their hand writing ought not to appear.

A partnership between author and bookseller I do not recommend, it rarely turns out satisfactory. It seems better that he should pay a certain sum for each number, what that sum should be I have doubts about, from experience, in the Rambler &c. it appears that there was no gain till the papers were collected into volumes.

I have the first volume of your Letters on Education and think a number should contain about fourteen such pages, but fear the compensation that could be offered will fall very short of what you have been accustomed to receive.1

You have not favoured me with the name of your coadjutors, indeed I had imagined that Mrs. Barbauld and Miss Edgeworth were of your party.

If I have not answered all your queries tell me so and I will do it by return of post. I have been not only busy but unwell.

You will have timely notices when a new edition is wanted of your letters. In a parcel going to Edinburgh the pocket books shall be sent and Cowper's Poems, 8o, but the plates intended for that edition are not ready.

  • I am
  •        Dear Madam
  •             Your obt. Sert.
  •                  J.J.

PS. A second dividend of 5s. as before, on Robinson's Estate, is now ready. In your Letter desire me to receive it and tell me whether you will draw or where I shall lodge it.

Text: JJLB 98v–r, 99v. Unpublished.

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Editor’s Note
1 Letters on Education, first published in 1801, examined the processes through which children acquired knowledge.
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