January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO BASIL MONTAGU ; 19 May 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430519-TC-BM-01; CL 16: 173-174


Chelsea, 19 May, 1843—

Dear Mr Montague,

My knowledge of this embryo “Authors' Society” is all but altogether exactly on a par with your own. Several weeks ago, after much solicitation, I attended once, for ten minutes, in a room of the British Hôtel, a meeting of some twenty or thirty extremely ugly men, only some three of whom were even by face known to me; I admitted in a whisper, in answer to the Secretary's whisper, that [several words cut away] Sir Lytton Bulwer had been saying was of a reasonable nature; and thereupon took my hat and walked away.1 Bulwer himself, I think, withdrew about the same time. This was the “motioning” and “seconding of the motion”; this, and on my part nothing more than this. I have since directed with all due distinctness that my name, if it were on their List, should be entirely obliterated.

Authors ought to unite, and will, I have no doubt; but not till they cease to be “animals of prey”: this, curiously enough, was precisely my remark to Secretary Robertson in regard to the Authors' Society.

With many kind regards from both of us to Mrs Montague,2

[signature cut away]