George Dyer, Overbury, near Tewkesbury, to [Messrs Vernor and Hood], undated .1
Overbury near Tewkesbury.
In consequence of what you said to me ^in a^ former letter of the difficulty of reconciling my engagements with the office of Editor ^of ye Museum,^ I wrote to you some time since, reminding you, that when you proposed the undertaking to me, I informed you, I wd have ^certain^ engagements, and that you gave me to understand they need not stand in the way of the undertaking. My compliance was grounded on this concession of yours. I think proper to remind you again of this circumstance, and to inform you ^still further,^ that in consequence of what you laid down as requisites for your editor in that letter, it will be incompatible with my pursuits to continue the office, and that it will not be for the interest of either of us, that I should.
The fact is, that neither will my health, nor my inquiries, permit me to be always fixed to town, and if these would, my friends would not; these ^friends^ are dispersed about the country: and in paying these visits I am complying with their requests and wishes, as well as consulting my own gratification.
To speak, however, my whole mind relative to your Museum, I shall be extremely sorry, if any inconvenience or detriment should arise from the little share wch I have taken in it, and hope that will not be the case. But, indeed, I think that you require an editor, who can devote much of his time to it, more than I fear I can; and if you afford to give an editor what you promised me, he may reasonably be expected to do it.
I speak the more unequivocally to you on this subject, because in some newspaper a few weeks ago, ^I read^ an advertisement, announcing an intended publication on a plan similar to yours; I know nothing further of the work; but you should consider it as a hint, that you ought to ensure an editor, who can devote much of his time to your Museum.
I am far from being indifferent about it myself. It is probable you may easily obtain an editor whose principles may be better adapted to ^your Museum^ than mine; or if you think it likely, that I wd be able to procure you ^such^ an editor (and it is very likely I may) you may command me. You may assure yourself, that I will do what I shall apprehend to be most for your interest. Your offer to me was frank; and I hope there will never exist between us any thing but good will.
When I last wrote to you I wrote to the lady, who signs herself E. L., whom I introduced to you, desiring her, as before, to forward her papers to me and ^telling her^ that I woud forward them to you: but I received no answer, nor any papers: if she left them with you, Mr J Sharp and you have followed your own judgement in the disposal of them: If they are kept till you see me, I will give my opinion when I come to town. With respect to this Lady, I have not been acquainted with her or her literary pursuits for some years: but when I formerly was more acquainted with her, I thought very favourably of her genius, from some early specimens, and I knew her to be seriously employed in literary pursuits, and from what her brother said, I from what her brother said, I concluded that she had been much so employed since I had the pleasure of more acquaintance with her. How her papers may have been received I know not: – I think she and I should differ now in our sentiments in many subjects; but still I think well of her intentions and her abilities: tho’ I think it very probable, that she is engaged so much in her school, (the principal labour of wch lies on her) as well as by her attention to an afflicted sister who perhaps may now be dead,) that she may not be able to answer either her own expectations, or yours; – She expressed some fears of this kind by letter before I left London – Be these matters as they may, I was influenced by the kindest motives in introducing her to you, supposing it would be the means of engaging her in some agreeable exercises in her own way, and that some time or other literary engagements might be formed between you and her, which might prove mutually agreeable and beneficial.
With respect to the other correspondents, as you seemed by yr letter not satisfied with some of them all I can say is that with the exception of a few pieces in the first number, and some extracts from respectable and useful writers in the following numbers, most, if not all the pieces, I suppose, were from your old correspondents, whom you were desirous that I should oblige. I suppressed a few, because I did not think so favorably of them, as of some that I did insert; and of ^some^ that I did insert I did not ^think^ very highly. But in periodical publications something must be sacrificed to a desire of conciliating correspondents. But a purblind, solitary man, (as I much am when in London) engaged in many speculations of my own, possessing sentiments somewhat different from some leading sentiments in your museum, and not desirous of pleasing every every body, liable to follow my own ^make^ rural excursions in pursuit of health, business, and health, may not be the most proper person, that could be fetched upon for your Editor. We will talk over these matters in two or three weeks, I hope as friends, and should it fall in my way ^at any time^ to render your work any service tho not as the editor it will afford you me pleasure.
With respect to one piece, which I have kept back, containing both a satirical title and some satirical strokes against the quakers, it may be proper enough for some person ^to insert it^ but it would not for me who approve many of the peculiarities of the quakers & who think it improper (tho I am not a quaker < > much as the writer. I will return it Besides I did not think it for the interest of your work to hold up any < > in ^a^ such disrespectful manner in a publication designed for general circulation – You will please to excuse this long letter, but I wished to put you in possession of my whole mind. The little piece I send you, you will please to act with as you think proper. I send it, for your Museum, if you think it worth inserting.
With good wishes I remain
Yrs truly G. Dyer
1 Bodleian Library, MS. Montagu d. 4, f. 190. The letter is about Dyer’s being the editor of the Lady’s Monthly Museum, a magazine that began publication in 1798 and continued to 1828. In its early years it was published by the dissenting publisher Vernor and Hood, with Dyer serving as editor of the magazine c. 1806. Walter Wilson was the printer at one point and Isaac Taylor one of the engravers. These letters are when the magazine began its New Series in July 1806. That may have been when Dyer took over briefly as editor.