Charles Dickens

Madeline House and Graham Storey (eds), The British Academy/The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol. 1: 1820–1839

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To RICHARD BENTLEY, 16 SEPTEMBER 1837*

MS Berg Collection. Address: Richard Bentley Esqre. | New Burlington Street. On mourning paper.

48 Doughty Street. | Saturday September 16th. 1837.

Sir.

When I left town, I placed a number of accepted articles in the Printer's hands, with directions to set them up in sheets, beginning at the commencement of the number, and to send proofs to me. The whole of this arrangement has been altered by you; proofs of articles which I never saw in Manuscript have been forwarded to me; and notwithstanding my written notice to the Printer that I would revise no such papers, this course has been persisted in, and a second sheet sent.

By these proceedings I have been actually superseded in my office as Editor of the Miscellany; they are in direct violation of my agreement with you, and a gross insult to me. I therefore beg to inform you that henceforth I decline conducting the Miscellany or contributing to it in any way; but in order that you may suffer no inconvenience or embarrassment from the shortness of this notice, I will write a paper this month, and edit the Magazine this month—no longer.

As I feel this course of treatment most strongly, I beg you to understand pg 309that it is my firm intention to abide by this determination, regarding the propriety of which, my feeling of what is due to myself, is strengthened by the best advice from others.

  •                                    I am
  •                                         Sir,
  •                                              Yours
  • Richard Bentley Esqre.                              Charles Dickens1

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Editor’s Note
1 Bentley replied to this as follows: Sept 18. 1837 | Sir | I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th. instant. | If I am to consider the determination therein announced as final, it leaves me no alternative but that of consulting my legal advisers; and however much I may regret the necessity of doing so, I must announce to you my resolution of holding you to your agreements with me, & of requiring you to perform those agreements by continuing the office of Editor of the Miscellany and of furnishing the usual monthly articles. | I have endeavoured during all our communications to meet your requests in a fair and conciliatory manner, being desirous of doing every thing which you might in the most liberal and equitable view of our engagements be considered entitled to, in the hope that all matter[s] would be arranged between us on amicable terms, and shall certainly be much disappointed if you render a further continuance of our friendly relations towards each other impossible. I am Sir | Yours truly | Richard Bentley (MS Mr. H. C. Dickens).
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