Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/322

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ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

novels of the "Miser's Daughter" and "The Tower of London. The republication of Seymour's "Humorous Sketches" in 1866, led to a very curious claim on the part of his friends, in which they sought to establish the fact that he was the originator and inventor of the incidents of "Pickwick." This claim happily was made while Dickens was yet alive, and was very promptly and satisfactorily disposed of by himself in a letter which he wrote to the Athenæum on the 20th of March, 1866. Author and artist have long since gone to their rest; and the plan which the author of this work proposed when he sat down to write the story of Robert Seymour, was to place that artist in the position which he believes him to occupy in the ranks of British graphic humourists, and not to rake up or revive the memory of a somewhat painful controversy. Of the claim itself we would simply remark, that not only was it made in all sincerity by those who loved and cherished the memory of Robert Seymour, but that to a certain extent the claim has a foundation of fact to rest upon; for who will deny that had not Seymour communicated his idea to Chapman, and Chapman introduced the artist to Dickens, the "Pickwick Papers" themselves would have remained unwritten. In this sense, but in this sense only, therefore, Robert Seymour was the undoubted originator of "Pickwick." He was an artist of great power, talent, and ability; and it seems to us that those only detract from his fame who, in a kind but mistaken spirit of zeal, would claim for him any other position than that which he so justly and honestly earned for himself, as one of the most talented of English graphic satirists.