Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb, an English writer best known for his essays, writes his letter to Charles and James Ollier, two brothers who were publishers, booksellers, and the owners of a library. The Ollier brothers published Lamb's Works. In this letter, Lamb asks Ollier ("which ever opens [the letter]") to send Lamb's books to a select group of friends while Lamb, himself, travels to Birmingham. Lamb references several members of his literary circle, including William Wordsworth and Robert Southey. 

The attack mentioned on cobler Giffard is most likely regarding Lamb's poem "St. Crispin to Mr. Giffard".

Letter from Charles Lamb to Messrs. Ollier (Page 1)

Page 1 of letter from Charles Lamb to Messrs. Ollier, June 18, 1818
Accession #2012MS602

Dear Sir (which ever opens it)

I am going off to Birminghm. I find my books, whatever faculty of selling they may have (I wish they had more for {your/my} sake, are admirably adapted for giving away. You have been bounteous. Six more & I shall have satisfied all just claims. Am I taking too great a liberty in begging you to send 4 as follows, & reserve 2 for me when I come home? That will make 31. Thirty one times 12 is 372 shillings, Eighteen pounds, twelve shillings!!! - but here are my friends, to whom if you could transmit them as I shall be away a month, you will greatly oblige the obliged

C Lamb

  • Mr. Ayrton, James Street, Buckingham gate
  • Mr. Alsager, Suffolk Street East, Southwark, by Horsemonger Lane
  • and in one parcel
  • directed to R. Southey Esq. Keswick, Cumberland
  • one for R.S.
  • & one for Wm. Wordsworth Esqr.

if you will be

Letter from Charles Lamb to Messrs. Ollier (Page 2)

Page 2 of letter from Charles Lamb to Messrs. Ollier, June 18, 1818

kind enough simply to write.."from the author" in all 4 - you will still further etc. -

Either Longman or Murray is in the frequent habit of sending books to Southey & will take charge of the parcel

It will be as well to write in it at the beginning thus

R. Southey Esq. from the author

W. Wordsworth Esq. from the author

Then, if I can find the remaining 2, left for me, at Rupell St. when I return, rather than encroach any more on the heap, I will engage to make no more new friends ad infinitum, yourselves being the last.

Yours truly, CL

I think Southey will give us a list in that damn'd quarterly. I meditate an attack upon that cobler Giffard, which shall appear immediately after any favorable mention

Letter from Charles Lamb to Messrs. Ollier (Page 3)

Page 3 of letter from Charles Lamb to Messrs. Ollier, June 18, 1818

which S. may make in the Quarterly. It can't in decent gratitude appear before.

18th June, 1818


Lamb, C., and Lamb, M. (1913). Letters 1796-1820. Available from https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=AvNaAAAAMAAJ&rdid=book-AvNaAAAAMAAJ&rdot=1