Letter from JAMES BARRY to LORD BUCHAN, written 21 February 1805, at Castle Street, London

Source: MS Autograph Letters Collection, National Library of Ireland. Printed: Fryer, Works of Barry, i. 294-95.

Cover: To the
Earl of Buchan
Edinburgh

Buchan has written on the cover, down the side by the address, 'James Barry Esq
to the Earl of B.
How great does
Barry appear in
the midst of dis-
tress & unjustifiable
neglect and per-
secution. how
mean those who
expelled such
a Man from his
situation in the
Royal Academy
how Unfortunate
the King who was
induced to erase
the names of a
Barry & a Fox? 1

Fryer makes a number of minor editorial changes to punctuation and phrasing and changes some paragraph breaks.

The Scottish antiquarian and art collector David Steuart Erskine (1742-1829), earl of Buchan, [img] had been in correspondence with the Society of Arts to set up a fund to assist Barry in his old age.

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My dear Lord,

My long esteemed & ingenious freind friend M.r Cooper 2 kindly assured me two days since that he would immediately write to let your Lordship know the happy effects which were likely to result from your Letters to the Society of Arts in my behalf;3 which letters really appear to have been providentially instrumental in arresting in great part, the outrageous progress of my persecutors4 & their instruments & perhaps may further enable me to give a termination to that interesting Miltonic matter5 which (to the no small comparative honour of the Country) associates so congenially with the sublime, beautiful, exquisitely graceful sensibility of the Homeric characters which enrich Hesiods Hesiod's composition of my Pandora.6 I much envy your Lordship the glory of rescueeing from the Claws, fangs & pestilential breath of such a Hydra,7 a very laborious series of efforts, the united object of which (as well in that part which is executed at the Adelphi8, as in that which remains) was to furnish useful entertainment to the publick & perhaps to achieve some little reputation for the Nation, in the only matter which had unfortunately been hitherto neglected - wch which countenanced foreigners in the habit of indulging their sarcastic reflections9 upon the Climate & the capacity of our people.

I have great satisfaction in knowing from one of the Committee (consisting of the subscribers, which has been formed for carrying into execution your Lordship's Plan)10 that, that Plan is to be communicated to the Presidency & the Society at large, & I have too many obligations to the condescension of many of the Noble Characters who form the Presidency, not to wish most earnestly for the continuance of their countenance & good opinion on this occasion.

I am at present, to use a Sea phrase, resting upon my oars, with too much distraction of mind for any actual occupation, except reading. The condition of the house11 & the season of the year, will not allow me even to venture to take off any impressions from the plates12 of the large groups of the work at the Adelphi, some of wch which have been lately called for; & the plate of the Pandora is too large13 to take off any good proof from it in my own Press, so that I cannot even know, that it is finished, until I goego out to see it done at some other press: but for that there will be time enough after, with God's blessing, I shall be enabled to remove from this house14 & to print the written account15 of the picture - which is intended to goego along with the print.

With the most heartfelt recognition
of your Lordships Lordship's great Kindness & most
obliging delicacy I remain your devoted
humble servant

James Barry

Feb. 21. 1805 -