Elderfield, Otterbourne, Winchester.
Febry 10th 1865

MS British Library Add MSS 54920: 65-68

Dear Mr Macmillan,
Otterbourn was turned upside down yesterday by a grand wedding, so that I could accomplish nothing but sending off the book without writing.

I am much obliged by your proposal about the Clever Woman, and shall be well satisfied with the terms you propose, – and very glad not to have the stereotyping taken out of the £200. It strikes me that there ought to be another sheet in the first volume; as there are three chapters to come beyond what Messrs Clay already have, but I suppose they know best.

Many thanks for Duncan’s Shipwrecks, which look full of interest, and like a storehouse of nobleness. The other books too came yesterday, and I am much obliged for them, though I have, of course, not had time to make acquaintance with them yet; but I knew Wright’s David, and Maclear’s Missions by reputation before and wished much to see them. The Class book I had already read nearly through, and beautifully clear it is, I have been greatly recommending it to the many who need a book of reference on Scriptural matters, but who would find Smith’s dictionary either too expensive, or not good to put into very young hands. I think however that probably from the exigencies of a school book that the book is rather wanting in life and soul, or what the French call onction – but very likely, where there was less need of compression, Mr Maclear would write more freely.

I think such a Sunday Library1 would be extremely valuable, the SPCK have attempted the like but their way of taking slices bodily from traveller’s descriptions does not answer at all in exciting children’s interest, especially those for whom the SPCK design them. I think Miss Keary would do the adjoining nations beautifully, and what I myself could best do, would I think be the intermediate space between the Old and New Testaments. But in the matter of Editorships, which you kindly propose to me, I should like quite to understand the sort of management and control it would involve – whether such as I have been used to give to the Monthly Packet, where I have been used to admit nothing that I do not quite go along with.

I imagine that this is not what you mean; and in that case, I am in doubt whether I could exactly be the ostensible editor in thorough fairness to those who take my name as a pledge for the strict line of distinctly Anglican orthodoxy.

On the other hand, if I were to take/have\ the power of judging and framing, literary standing and experience do indeed enable me to drive my magazine team, they, chiefly consisting of novices and ladies; and not often a clergyman, except of the same way of thinking as myself. But I have had a little experience of getting into that said web of mine a fly that I did not quite trust, and yet was too big for me easily to deal with, and I think it might be the same with some of the contributors who would arise in a series like this. The doubtful matters and controversies most perilous just now lie in such shades of tone that it would require a real divine to judge of the safety of other people’s writings, on such critical/delicate\ subjects as early Scripture history has become.

I doubt if I could safely undertake it. Writing a book or two for a series is so different from being in any way responsible for the whole. One book I should like to do if it would come into your series would be a history of the Prayer book, in a way I have never yet seen it attempted.

I am glad you are thinking of Miss Murray’s paper, but I am afraid she is out of reach of an interview, being in the far end of Cornwall at this moment2 I will not commit myself to her present direction which is all Cornish words, but her home one, which will find her is

Mellands Vale

It would be a good moment to write to her, as she is staying with a good and wise adviser of hers. The mothers of families lament over the cessation of her Events so much that I think they would gladly hail a new one. A correspondant [sic] who would give good cricketing and sports article for boys is an ingredient wanting to success.

Yours very truly
C. M. Yonge

1This begins the long troubled negotiation over the editorship of the proposed Sunday Library. See Ellen Jordan, ‘“I am too high church and too narrow”; Charlotte Yonge, Macmillan and the Sunday Library.’ Charlotte M Yonge Fellowship Journal. 6 (2003): 12-25.
2Events of the Month edited by Henrietta Murray, was a children's newspaper published by Mozley which had ceased publication in January 1865.
Cite this letter

The Letters of Charlotte Mary Yonge(1823-1901) edited by Charlotte Mitchell, Ellen Jordan and Helen Schinske.

URL to this Letter is: https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/yonge/2008/to-alexander-macmillan-35

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