Letter from Josiah Gilbert Holland to Sampson Low, Son & Executors


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Page 1

line 1: Rome, February 5, 1869
line 2: Sampson Low, Son & Marston
line 3: Gentlemen: - The
line 4: presentation of my books to the Brit-
line 5: ish public is to me a matter of
line 6: more than ordinary moment. I have
line 7: never written a book intended
line 8: for that public, though to have al-
line 9: ways been aware that a book which
line 10: is characteristically American should
line 11: be interesting to it, by its revelation
line 12: of American life and thinking. I
line 13: know that many books, character-
line 14: istically English, go to America
line 15: to find their warmest admirers,
line 16: and I know there is no reason
line 17: why an American book, provided
line 18: it be good, should not find
line 19: an appreciation in England,
line 20: even beyond that which it re-
line 21: ceives in the country of its
line 22: birth. You are probably aware

Page 2

line 1: that my books have had an
line 2: almost unparalleled sale in
line 3: the United States. I know of no
line 4: reason why they should not sell
line 5: just as well in Great Britain.
line 6: Indeed, I am quite sure they would
line 7: do so were they presented properly.
line 8: I have watched with a good deal
line 9: of interest their effect upon Eng-
line 10: lish people whom I have met upon
line 11: the continent, and I am sure they
line 12: have been sincere in the expression
line 13: of an admiration and a high appro-
line 14: bation which had something new
line 15: in it, even for an accustomed ear.
line 16: Now, my question in regard
line 17: to your proposition to publish "Kath-
line 18: rina" does not touch, in the smallest
line 19: degree, the penny royalty which
line 20: you offer. It is a great deal
line 21: more important to me that you
line 22: present the book to your public
line 23: in the right way than that you
line 24: pay me anything. What I mean

Page 3

line 1: by the "right way," is, that wisdom
line 2: be exercised as to the time of its ap-
line 3: pearance, the garb in which it
line 4: shall appear, the price at which
line 5: it shall be sold & c & c. Then there
line 6: is, in all publishing houses where a
line 7: large business is done, (or is apt to be).
line 8: Such division of attention among
line 9: numbers of issues that a one-
line 10: -and-six-penny book would be left
line 11: to take care of itself. Pains are not
line 12: apt to be taken to bring it before
line 13: the people, and insist that the ??
line 14: and the public shall look at it.
line 15: In short, you see, that I do not
line 16: wish to appear before the British
line 17: people and fail there for lack
line 18: of business management. That is
line 19: the long and short of the matter. A thing
line 20: of the greatest importance to me
line 21: may seem to be of so small im-
line 22: portance to publishers with large
line 23: affairs on their hands, that my
line 24: books would fail of a fair chance.

Page 4

line 1: I say this with such respect for
line 2: your service that I have no wish
line 3: to [?? page glued down] upon
line 4: you to do it but I wish you to
line 5: know how much of an affair
line 6: it is to me and to consider me
line 7: and my future. If you succeed you
line 8: shall have my future books by copy-
line 9: right. If you do not succeed, it will
line 10: kill me for England. I am willing
line 11: you should try. Do not say any-
line 12: thing about royalty on this book,
line 13: or on the first book, (for I am
line 14: not sure that you should not
line 15: publish "Bitter-Sweet" first. Per-
line 16: haps Mr Melford can judge) If
line 17: you make money on it, you may
line 18: send me such a share of your
line 19: profits as you feel to be right.
line 20: If not, you need not send
line 21: me anything. In regards to subse-
line 22: quent books – if they are ever
line 23: demanded – we will have an
line 24: arrangement. I hope to issue

Page 5

line 1: a new volume of poems before
line 2: returning to America and this
line 3: I shall bring to you, if we get
line 4: a long well together, and my books
line 5: are favorably received.
line 6: I have never written a preface
line 7: to a poem, and I have put the one
line 8: you ask of me in the form of a
line 9: letter, which will follow on the
line 10: latter half of this sheet.
line 11: You can reach me at any
line 12: time by directing your letters
line 13: to the care of John Mourae & Co
line 14: Bankers, 7 Rue Scribe, Paris.
line 15: I keep them constantly informed
line 16: of my whereabouts.
line 17: I am
line 18: Yours very truly
line 19: J. G. Holland
line 20:
line 21: If you print Kathrina please to correct
line 22: it by the text of the illustrated edition
line 23: or by one of the latest plain editions.

Page 6

line 1: Mar 3/1869 write asking permission to
line 2: omit 20 line paragraph - Poet permits
line 3: page 144