Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Griswold-Headley Controversy...Day Four.

The following trifle from Mr. Headley appeared in the New York Courier & Enquirer for November 5th, 1847, in response to my eloquent letter of the previous day:

                In giving place to the letter of Mr. HEADLEY a few days since, we desired simply to give him an opportunity of exculpating himself from the charge brought against him by Messrs. Carey & Hart of Philadelphia, of having availed himself of their suggestions in regard to his work entitled “Washington and his Generals.”  They supported their charge by publishing a portion of Mr. Headley’s letter.  And Mr. HEADLEY replied to it by publishing another portion of the same letter.
                We have now received a long rejoinder from Messrs. Carey & Hart, containing still another extract from the same letter, accompanied by copious quotations from correspondence that was had upon the subject between themselves and another publishing house in this city, together with the opinions of various persons and papers as to the merits of the rival works.  We would cheerfully publish this letter, long as it is, if it would end the controversy or our connection with it:--but it would simply involve new issues and new parties, and probably render necessary the publication of five times as much more.  We must, therefore, decline publishing it, though we will very cheerfully give place to any reply from Messrs. Carey & Hart which may be confined to the matter in controversy, viz—the contents of Mr. Headley’s letter of Sept. 21, 1846.  Each party has sought to make out his case by quoting extracts from that letter:--clearly the only course by which the public can form any intelligent and impartial judgment in the premises, is by the publication of the whole letter, precisely as it stands in the original.  It certainly is not fair to ask the use of our columns for subsequent correspondence between other parties.
                We have already published the replies of Mr. HOFFMAN and Mr. GRISWOLD to the first letter of Mr. HEADLEY.  The insertion of the following rejoinder to them both, is clearly due to Mr. Headley; and here, we trust, we shall be allowed to end the controversy, so far as this paper is concerned, with the exception specified above:--Eds. Cour. & Enq.

                                                                                                                NEW YORK, Nov. 4th.
To the Editors of the Courier and Enquirer:--
                GENTLEMEN:--In a letter recently addressed to you, designed to expose the false statements of Messrs. Carey & Hart, I alluded at the close to the part Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Griswold had taken in the work in question.  I believed at the time that these gentlemen had written a portion of that work, and hence, in their laudations of it and condemnation of me, regarded them as acting as unjustly towards the public as towards myself.  Under the same belief, I should make the same statement over again,--come what would of it.  I said in the first place that Mr. Griswold was an interested person, and as such, had not only written articles for the Literary World, but been paid for doing so.  I supposed I was justified in making the statement, for Mr. Griswold was my authority.
                After two articles had appeared in the Literary World, one purporting to be a review of my book, but the whole scope of which was to throw discredit on its facts, and the other an extract from the forthcoming work of Carey & Hart, written by Mr. Griswold, accompanied with a heading, stating that the latter ‘could be relied upon,’—I met Mr. Griswold, and told him that I knew him to be author of those articles, and was astonished at some of his statements, and knew his motives.  He expressed some surprise that I knew him to be the author of the first article, and then said that he had not written them to injure me, but that he was under many obligations to Carey & Hart, that he was connected with the house, &c. &c., and added, as another reason for what he had done, that for the first mentioned article he was paid by the paper as a literary contribution.
                This he stated to me himself; and if he did not tell me the truth, I am sorry for it.  I need not add, that I never make such a statement as this, without being ready to repeat it in a court of justice.  If Mr. Griswold dare deny it, I will give him ample occasion to defend his veracity before I have finally done with him.
                I also said that “I had been credibly informed” that Mr. HOFFMAN wrote a portion of that work, and a portion too which had been praised in the Literary World.  Mr. HOFFMAN in his passion could not have weighed well my statement or he would not have used the language he did.  In it I did not assert the fact—I did not even express my belief in it.  I simply said “I had been credibly informed” that it was so.  Whether “I had been credibly informed” or not, the following declaration will determine:--

                                                                                                NEW YORK, 174 Nassau st., Nov. 8.
                MR. HEADLEY:--
                Dear Sir—I informed you that I heard Mr. HART himself say explicitly, that Mr. HOFFMAN wrote the sketch of Schuyler in his work entitled “Washington and the Generals of the Revolution.”
                                                                                ISAAC D. BAKER, of House
                                                                                                                Baker & Scrivner.

                The article on Schuyler, was one of those to which the expressions, “elegance, grace,” &c., were applied in the Literary World.  With the same facts before me I should make the same declaration over again.  I will not retract one whit of my statement, that “I was credibly informed,” and yet I most cheerfully acknowledge that I fully believe Mr. Hoffman’s denial;--nay, more, I would believe him though both Griswold and Hart asserted directly the contrary.  I cannot blame myself in the premises; and yet I sincerely regret that the recklessness of others should have caused me to give currency to an error and thereby do Mr. H. a wrong.  I can assure Mr. Hoffman that such has always been my high opinion of his character that I would not have believed even the strong testimony I possessed, had it not been backed by circumstantial evidence—but believing it I could not but despise the act.  I am glad to believe the statement false, though it grieves me to know I have injured his feelings unjustly.  With regard to the harsh epithet he applies to me, I must hand it back to him, and hold it there until he retracts it.  The whole matter is of very little consequence to me except as it involves the question of veracity, for my business was with Carey & Hart, but I can assure Mr. H. that I am not the only one who thinks he as allowed Mr. Griswold to ride the Literary World too much, for Carey & Hart.
                                                                                                Respectfully, yours,
                                                                                                                J. T. HEADLEY


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