Publisher: Strawberry-Hill: Printed by T. Kirgate, 1779.
Edition: First edition, one of 200 copies printed, for private distribution. Misprint in the word "elegance" on page 22 corrected in Walpole's hand, as are many copies.
Bibliographical References: Warren, Chatterton Bibliography, page 92; Hazen, Strawberry Hill, 27; Bibliotheca Fictiva 428.
Condition: Wrappers worn; some light foxing; overall a fine copy in original state, enclosed in a clamshell box.
Book ID: 27335
Description8vo, original blue wrappers, stitched, untrimmed.
CommentsHorace Walpole’s famous response to John Broughton and other devotees of the famous "Marvellous Boy" English poet and forger-author, Thomas Chatterton. They claimed that Walpole had been cruel towards the young poet, thereby hastening his misery and wretched circumstances. In 1769, Chatterton had sent a few of his Rowley forgeries to Walpole, seeking the endorsement of the influential antiquary. Walpole was at first curious, but in subsequent correspondence with Chatterton he realized that something was amiss. He wrote to Chatterton, questioning the authenticity of the poems, and eventually returned them. Within a year Chatterton was dead from apparent suicide. John Broughton and George Catcott, among others, accused Walpole of cruelty towards the innocent Chatterton, a charge Walpole forcefully and eloquently refutes. He was not duped by the forgeries, Walpole writes, and now he was “perhaps the first instance of a person consigned to judgment for not having been made a fool of.” The "Rowley Controversy" ignited a pamphlet war, of which this one by Walpole is the rarest.