University of Virginia Library


Existing correspondence between the Rev. James Hervey and Richardson and other references in their letters give fairly full information about Richardson's printing of Hervey's Meditations among the Tombs, Reflections on a Flower-Garden, and later the collected Meditations and Contemplations. The evidence is gathered by Sale, pp. 174-175, and the present note includes only additional details gathered from a few other letters. The earliest surviving reference to the project seems to be in a letter of May 25, 1745, dated from Thomas Hervey's, Basinghall Street, from James Hervey to an unnamed correspondent, possibly a printer associated with Richardson:

Your last two favours I received together. I thank you for the specimen of types. I hope better paper is intended to be used, than that whereon the types were printed; which I think coarse and slovenly. I am most inclined to send abroad the pieces in a matrimonial state: I mean, not in separate pamphlets, but united in a volume. They seem to be a contrast to each other, and may, perhaps, mutually recommend one another. Probably the 'Meditations among the Tombs' may carry too doleful an aspect; and, if not enlivened a little with the brighter scenes of 'The Garden,' may terrify the reader, and create disgust. I shall take an opportunity of talking with Mr. Richardson on this affair; and shall, if he take the trouble of perusing it, put one of the letters into his hands: though it must be the mourning piece, because I have no copy of the gayer essay, but what is in shorthand. What you hint at, with regard to the largeness of the character, that old and enfeebled eyes may be able to read it, is perfectly right. I shall desire that this suggestion may be observed.[2]

On June 28, 1746, Hervey wrote to the Rev. Mr. Thompson of St. Ginnys: "My little piece, entitled 'Meditations among the Tombs' and 'Reflections on a Flower Garden,' has been published a considerable time. . . . Mr. Richardson, the author of 'Pamela,' is my printer. Seven hundred and fifty copies are struck off; the printer and writer are joint adventurers with regard to pecuniary advantages, if any such should accrue from the sale."[3] Though the Meditations and the Reflections have separate titlepages,


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collation, and pagination, they were simultaneously published as a single piece; the Dedication and the Preface, printed as pp. i-viii of the Meditations, are designed for and refer to both parts.

Richardson also brought out the second edition, and took so long about it that Hervey had time to add contemplations on night and on the "Starry Heavens." On August 22, 1747, he wrote to Dr. Stonhouse asking to borrow a copy of Andrew Baxter's Matho for use in completing the latter piece: "If your Matho is not lent out of Town, I wish you woud be so good as to send for it, & favour me with a Sight of it by the Bearer. The Reason of my requesting this, is, that Mr. Richardson informs me by my Brother, if He has not this last Piece by the middle of next Week, his Press must stand still. And, methinks, I wd gladly peruse Matho, before I suffer my last Essay to depart."[4]