WILSON, John [pseud. Christopher North] (1785-1854). Archive of letters, notebooks and other papers, c.1795-1854, casting light on his early life, in particular his sometimes rather dissolute years at Magdalen College, Oxford, on his relations with his family, and on his activities as a poet and literary critic (a leading contributor to Blackwood's Magazine from 1817), and professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh (from 1820). Provenance: by descent from the author.
The archive comprises:
John Wilson. Approximately 68 autograph letters signed to his mother and sister Jane (a few to other family members), Paisley, Glasgow, Oxford, Elleray, Edinburgh and elsewhere, many undated [c.1795 - August 1852] (mostly before 1825); 23 autograph letters signed to his uncle, James Sym (who acted as steward of his inheritance), Glasgow, Oxford, and elsewhere, 4 September 1802 - 16 October 1806, chiefly on financial matters; and approximately 17 autograph letters signed to various other recipients, mostly n.d.; with a few related letters, manuscripts and printed items, including three inventories of Wilson's house after his death;
John Wilson. Autograph pocket diary and account book, Edinburgh, Glasgow and elsewhere, 1 January - 26 October 1801, the last c.40 leaves comprised of literary drafts and quotations, including neat copies of ten poems (three signed, mostly light or romantic verse), a library list, observations on a ball, on hare-hunting, on suicide, the authorship of Ossian's poems, and other matters, approximately 70 leaves, 8vo, original sheep (binding worn, lower cover detached);
Letters addressed to John Wilson by William Blackwood (discussing a forthcoming number of the magazine, n.d.), Thomas Tod Stoddart (n.d. 'You will receive a tiny libellum upon angling'), John Gibson Lockhart (to Wilson's brother Robert), Sir John McNeill, James Fillans, and four others; with two receipts signed by James Hogg, for subscriptions 'for the Queen's Wake', 1 June 1819;
Thomas GRAY (1716-1771). Autograph notes on Scottish place-names ('Moss is a Peat-bog, in Earse Mona ...'), one page, 8vo, on the inside lower cover of a pocket journal for 1765 (The Gentleman's New Memorandum Book), annotated on the inside upper cover 'This Pocket Book belonged to the Poet Gray and contained some very interesting Memoranda made by him during a tour in Scotland. All these were feloniously torn out at Elleray while the book was in the possession of John Wilson Esq ...' (leaves corresponding to 5 August - 20 October extracted), original sheep (covers detached).