John Childs to William Hone, 1 February, 1819

[1780-1818] - [1818-1824] - [1825-1832] - [1832-1842] - Hone Correspondence

John Childs to William Hone, 1 February, 1819.1-TEI-


Feby 1 1819
My Dr Sir,

Many thanks to you for your prompt reply to my letter of Thursday last. I am quite pleased to find you are forward enough to publish the Prospectus of your Book for I find even Patriots that is many who have given an occasional lift to the Wheel, need a constant and successive train to lead them on, and (I am fond of Proverbs, they save one the trouble of thinking) there is no plan so good as striking the Iron while it is hot--

I almost expect to see the Battle of the Books realized, when your Prospectus appears on the Covers of the Quarterly.

"Curse your buts" too say I, for you might know there was something selfish in my invitation, for I anticipated a week's bracing conversation, as I live here in the midst of a phalanx of priestcraft alias "excellent Church" and have seldom the opportunity of catching the gentle and soothing sounds of Liberty.

The Note2 will play the very Devil. I send you two "notes easily imitated" in order that you may forward me forty of them by the Norwich Mail tomorrow night from Swan Lad Lane. Send me plenty of Prospectuses in the parcel in order that I may procure subscribers at my leisure. If you have not already done it, send a few of the Notes to Alexander of Yarmouth and say it is by my request. Let Mr Donkin of Bermondsey have some prospectuses also, in order that he may further the sale of the Book.

I know not what the Bank or the Government or their myrmidons will do with this note. The effect will be tremendous. The Shield is truly awful. Don't you think if the suspended bodies were a little darker they would harmonize with the shield and the grating and would (I fancy) produce a more terrific effect at first sight; there is nothing like first impressions. The plan is worth the Copy right of fifty folio volumes and will I trust raise such a cry against the Bugbear, that some real good may arise from it--future ages will say of it as Daniel Defoe said of legitimacy--

Posterity when Histories relate
This passive Sham, will ask, what Monsters that.3

You have seen his Jure Divino? 'tis a famous old Book.

Pray give my Kind respects to Mrs. Hone. Tell her I feel her Com____4 and believe she intends all you exp____ I suspect however there is some ______ prejudice which prompted the idea. Mrs. Childs desires her Kind respects to her also, may they both live many years and see their Husbands and Sons helping to crush and finally extirpating oppression in all its forms.

What is this abt laying injunctions[?]5 on our Community. Does it mean any thing? or is it a rattle, to catch the public attention?

My Dear Sir Most Sincerely,
John Childs

Mr. W. Hone
45 Ludgate Hill

British Library, Add. MS 40120, ff. 116-17. For a detailed, contextual reading of this letter, see the "Conversation" on the early friendship of Hone and Childs. [return]
This is the Hone/Cruikshank Bank Note, Not to be Imitated!, a graphic parody of the one pound notes issued by the Bank of England. [return]
Slightly misquoted from Daniel Defoe's Jure Divino, Book 4, p. 72 (1706). Coincidentally, Childs's casual mention of Defoe's long poem of 1706 touches on a long-standing interest that Hone had in Defoe's career as a writer and publisher. For more on this connection, see the Hone/Childs "Conversation" and the Editor's introduction to Hone's Right Divine of King's to Govern Wrong (1821). [return]
The seal obscures three words in this sentence. [return]
Word barely legible. [return]
John Childs. Date: 2014-03-15