William Hone to [Unknown], 19 October, 1827

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

William Hone to [Unknown Bookseller], 19 October, 1827.1-TEI-

Dear Sir2

You conjecture rightly, that I am not aware of "all that is done under the sun" — in truth I know so little, that all you acquaint me with is perfectly new to me.

From your account of the parties I am persuaded they are worthless and unprincipled, and with persons of that sort I have ever shunned all contact, & I hope I ever shall, whether for good or evil.

I think it not unlikely that the announcement you lay before me may refer to something adverse, but I shall hold my course, even if it be so — and it is most likely shall not even see a sheet of it, for your representation of the quarter whence it issues prevents me from entertaining even common curiosity on the subject.

I desire to thank you for the obvious kindness of your intention by the communication— I wish I could express as much satisfaction in respect to the conduct of a very great number of retail-vendors— I have had many intimations that the weekly placard of the Table Book is very little seen at their doors — the consequence of this absence of a striking notification is mortifying and unaccountable. Considering how much the shopkeepers must have benefitted by my publications, and how liberal my allowances to them were and are, such a neglect is exceedingly injurious & vexatious to me. I cannot myself conjecture why this should be. The bills are ready with every No., and copiously delivered with it by the publishers. I should have supposed that the individual interest of every vendor would have aided mine — Of some I can only think and speak praisingly, but there are too many of whom I deem otherwise, and so many, that finding myself unequal to personal remonstrances or entreaty, or, rather, I should say, disinclined to either, from great distaste to anything like conflict, I am, at this moment, in serious doubt whether to continue the Table Book; and certainly if I abandon it I shall never undertake another work of similar nature. For there is great labour in such a publication, and it is "labour in vain," if those who are between me and the public, instead of becoming a just medium of communication, erect themselves into obstacles. I am grateful for kindness, & though I do not resent injuries I cannot forget them — the extent of my revenge is to avoid their authors.

I am
Dear Sir,
Yours truly
W Hone
British Library, Add. MS 41071, ff. 22-23. [return]
The intended recipient of this letter is unknown, though apparently it is a person involved in the book trade, perhaps a vendor of Hone's publications. Likewise, the context of the opening paragraphs is unknown. Despite this missing information, Hone's final paragraph offers a bleak view of the economics of print at least insofar as Hone's fortunes are concerned. [return]
William Hone. Date: 2014-04-11