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Edmund Saul Dixon

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Published : 144 Articles
Pen Names : None
Date of Birth : N/A
Death : N/A
Views : 5931

Dixon, Edmund Saul l The Revd. J. Dixon, Dixon, E. S. Dixon l, 1809-1893, divine, misc. writer. Born in Norwich. B.A. Cambridge, 1831; M.A. 1834. Ordained deacon, 1832; priest, 1833 (Alumni Cantab.). Rector of Intwood with Keswick, Norfolk, 1842 to his death; resided some time at Guînes, Pas-de-Calais, where he died. Contributed to Gardeners' Chronicle, Bell's Weekly Messenger, Quart. Rev., Titan, Cornhill, and other periodicals. Author of Ornamental and Domestic Poultry, 1848; The Dovecote and the Aviary, 1851; Pigeons and Rabbits, 1854; Flax and Hemp, 1854; The Kitchen Garden, 1855; The Flower Garden, 1856; the first two books under his own name, the others under pseudonym "E. Sebastian Delamer" or "Eugene Sebastian Delamer", joint author, with his wife, of Wholesome Fare, or The Doctor and the Cook "By Edmund S. and EIlen J. Delamere," 1868.

      In 1836 Dickens wrote a letter to the publisher John Macrone introducing "my friend the Reverend Mr. Dixon, who after contributing to the New Monthly, and Metropolitan, has just come up to town with a Novel which he wishes to publish" (Pilgrim Letters, I, 186). In the volumes of the New Monthly and Metropolitan of the early 1830s, many items are un¬signed (or signed by a pseudonym); of the signed items, none is signed Dixon; thus, it is not possible to establish "the Reverend Mr. Dixon" of Dickens's letter as Edmund Saul Dixon, but the identification seems probable. At all events, Edmund Saul Dixon and Dickens seem to have been acquainted. In June 1849, Dixon presented to Dickens a copy of Ornamental and Domestic Poultry inscribed to him with the author's "sincere and kind respect" (Stonehouse, Catalogue).
      Of the 145 items listed below, only three are assigned in the Office Book to a "Dixon" with the name accompanied by initial or initials: "The Great Convocation of Poultry" [IV, 382-84. Jan. 10, 1852] to "The Revd. J. Dixon"; "Cognac" [(lead) XI, 361-67. May 19, 1855] and "Ozone" [(lead) XVIII, 169-73. Aug. 7, 1858] to "E. S. Dixon." All the items are by Edmund Saul Dixon.
      B. W. Matz, supplying for the 1906 Chapman & Hall edition of the H.W. Christmas numbers the names of the contributors to the numbers, identified the H.W. "Dixon" as William Hepworth Dixon (advt., Dickensian, Dec. 1906). R. C. Lehmann, in Charles Dickens As Editor made the same identification, stating (p. 101n) that Hepworth Dixon was "a fairly regular contributor" to H.W. Since later commentators have followed Matz and Lehmann in this mis-identification, it is necessary to state here the facts that establish Edmund Saul Dixon as the H.W. contributor. They are as follows:
      (1) Boase states that Edmund Saul Dixon wrote "many articles" for H.W. (Alumni Cantab. makes the same statement, obviously obtaining the information from Boase). Biblio Cornub. lists the three H.W. "Dixon" articles on Cornwall and the search for Cornish choughs ("If This Should Meet His Eye" [IV, 598-600.. March 13, 1852], "Not Found Yet!" [V, 186-88. May 8, 1852], "Still on the Wing" [V, 204-207. May 15, 1852]) as by Edmund Saul Dixon,
      (2) Edmund Saul Dixon was one of the poultry judges at the Birmingham and Midland Counties Cattle and Poultry Exhibition, Dec. 1851 (Birmingham Journal, Dec. 13, 1851). The H.W. "Dixon" article "Great Convocation of Poultry" [IV, 382-84. Jan. 10, 1852] is an account of the poultry judging by one of the judges.
      (3) Under his pseudonym "E. Sebastian Delamer," Edmund Saul Dixon contributed to the Titan, in 1857, "The Hare and Her Hunters" and "The Fox and His Analogies," both "From the French of Toussenel." Five H.W. "Dixon" articles are from the French of Toussenel.
      (4) The Office Book ascription to E. S. Dixon of "Cognac" affords reasonable proof that Edmund Saul Dixon was author of all the "Dixon" articles on the related subject of wines and vineyards; the ascription to E. S. Dixon of "Ozone" affords reasonable proof that Edmund Saul Dixon was author of all the "Dixon" items based (as is "Ozone") on contemporary scientific treatises.
      (5) Though not so indicated by title, various of the "Dixon" items actually constitute a series, as, for instance, the five from Toussenel, the four from Turgenev, the three from Richard's Algérie, the three on comets, etc. Each individual series is clearly by one writer. Further the various series articles, as also the non-series articles, are by one writer, as indicated by the relationships that exist between an article dealing with one subject and an article dealing with quite another. Among the numerous instances that might be cited of such interrelationship, the following serve as illustration: Richard's Algérie is not only the source of three articles, but also a subject of conversation in the story "My Folly" [IX, 106-114. March 18, 1854]. The admonition against killing harmless moths appears not only in "The World of Insects" [XIII, 511-16. June 14, 1856], but also in "To My Young Friends" [XV, 411-14. May 2, 1857]. An article on under-water exploration suggests that the diving bell be called a "Payerne"; in a later article the diving bell is so called. An article on bottle manufacture refers to "Prince Rupert's drops," very like "the painted tears which you saw on the gravestones in the cemetery"; the painted tears that the reader saw "on the gravestones in the cemetery" were described to him in a preceding article, "Last Homes" [V, 258-60. May 29, 1852].
      6) What seem clearly to be autobiographical comments in the "Dixon" articles accord with Edmund Saul Dixon's interest in ornithology and horticulture: "When a boy, I was a great pigeon-keeper" ("The Cat" [Morley & Dixon XV, 369-73. April 18, 1857]); "I happened, many years ago, to be making an ornithological trip in East-Anglia" ("When the Mill Goes" [VI, 317-24. Dec. 18, 1852]); "... sketch any sort of caricature you please, put 'Very fond of gardening' under it, and I'll not deny that it may apply to me" ("My Garden Walks" [(lead) XI, 601-605. July 28, 1855]). More significant are the numerous comments that concern Norfolk, where Edmund Saul Dixon was born and where he was rector, and Guînes, where he lived for some time. "What Is to Become of Us?" [V, 352-56. June 26, 1852] refers to the Norfolk cliffs as the scene of "my boyhood" walks. Three articles ("Our Specialities" [XV, 128-33. Feb. 7, 1857], "Our Ducasse" [XV, 340-44. April 11, 1857], "Our Boys and Girls" [XV, 475-80. May 16, 1857]) describe the life of the French town in which the writer lives, identified in the last of the articles as Guînes. Another article ("The Rights of French Women" [V, 218-21. May 22, 1852]) pictures faggot-laden peasant women "wending their way to Guînes, perhaps to cook my very own dinner."
      Certain payment notations in the Office Book could be cited as indicating various of the "Dixon" / "E. S. Dixon" items to be by the same writer; but the above data suffice to establish the identity of the H.W. contributor.
      The A.Y.R. Letter-Book indicates that Edmund Saul Dixon contributed also to A.Y.R.
      Two of Dixon's H.W. papers Dickens thought very poor: "Hermit Island" [VII, 88-94. March 26, 1853] seemed to him "a wretched translation from a wretched original"; of "Literal Claims" [XII, 420-22. Dec. 1, 1855] he wrote from Paris: "It is as weak as the Paris flies are in this post" (to Wills, March 10, 1853; Nov. 15, 1855). "Brother Bruin" [(lead) VII, 577-82. Aug. 20, 1853], based on Toussenel's L'Esprit des bêtes, Dickens asked Wills to revise so as to make clear throughout "that it is M. Toussenel who is speaking, and not H.W. conducted by CD." (Aug. 5, 1853). The opening paragraph of the article Dickens wrote himself – or adapted from what Dixon had written. In "Equine Analogies" [VII, 611-15. Aug. 27, 1853], Wills was likewise to make clear that the ideas expounded were Toussenel's.
      In a letter to Wills, July 25, 1853, Dickens wrote of one of Dixon's contributions: "Dixon's paper admirably told, though nothing new in it"; in a letter of Sept. 23, 1855, he stated that Dixon's "Sportsmanship in Earnest" [(lead) XII, 217-23. Oct. 6, 1855] should "most decidedly" stand as lead item. The fact that twenty of Dixon's items appeared in lead position indicates that the contributions as a whole met with Dickens's approval.
      In a letter to Wills, Jan. 10, 1856, Dickens suggested a comparison of foreign and British railways as the subject for a H.W. article. "I suppose Dixon could do it directly," he wrote. No article by Dixon on that subject appeared in H.W.
      Dixon's articles on Cornwall and his search for choughs brought to the editorial office responses from three readers, published as "chips": "A Great Catch," April 17, 1852, recorded a Cornish reader's correction of a statement about pilchard fishing made in Dixon's "If This Should Meet His Eye." "An Equestrian Miracle," Aug. 14, 1852, gave Sir Robert Arbuthnot's account of his feat of horsemanship at Land's End, an episode recounted in "If This Should Meet His Eye." "Cornish Choughs Found at Last," Sept. 4, 1852, printed a Cornish coastguardsman's letter giving information on the whereabouts of choughs. In addition, Wills, in "The 'Logging' Stone," Nov. 20, 1852, attempted to set right the matter of Lieut. Hugh C. Goldsmith's capsizing of the celebrated Logan Rock, which capsizing Dixon, in "Still on the Wing" [V, 204-207. May 15, 1852], had asserted was a deliberate act of vandalism. Dixon's article, wrote Wills, had "been thought" to leave an undeserved "slur on the character of a meritorious naval officer." In his "chip" "Millionnaires and Measures" [XII, 487-89. Dec. 22, 1855] Dixon himself answered the queries raised by "a learned and valued correspondent" concerning certain comments in "Decimal Money" and "Decimal Measures," and corrected, also, a mis-reading that had appeared in the latter article.
      For a variant version of Dixon/s "To Hang or Not to Hang" [XII, 22-24. Aug. 4, 1855] in the article "Truth in Irons" see Miss Robertson.
      The H.W. article "A Flight with the Birds" was based on Dixon's The Dovecote and the Aviary.
      In the Office Book, Oxenford is recorded as author of "A Last Emotion" [VII, 498-99. July 23, 1853]; his name is marked out and substituted by that of Dixon. Dixon is recorded as author of "The Golden Mean"; his name is marked out and substituted by that of Marston.
      Harper's reprinted, in whole or part, four of Dixon's H.W. contributions, with-out acknowledgement to H.W.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971. 

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