Henry D. Inglis (1795–1835)
Travel writer and editor. Born in Edinburgh, Inglis formed part of the Scottish literary circle in London, a circle with which the Ruskin family enjoyed contact in the 1830s, when John was first entering the publishing scene. Inglis was related on both his fatherʼs and motherʼs sides to writers and artists, including a connection by marriage to the important Scottish portrait painter, Sir Henry Raeburn (1756–1823) (Baigent, “Inglis, Henry David [1795–1835]”).
Inglis is identified as the editor of Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV in Mandell, ed., Poetess Archive (accessed 15 June 2014). This volume of Friendshipʼs Offering contains the poems with which Ruskin made his debut as J. R., a poet of the literary and artistic annuals: “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, first composed for and fair‐copied in the 1833–34 Account of a Tour on the Continent, and revised and paired under the title, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal” for publication in the annual. This volume of Friendshipʼs Offering also contains an ekphrastic poem that Ruskin composed originally for the annual to accompany an engraved plate, “Saltzburg”.
It is unlikely that Inglis had much to do with the commissioning and revision of Ruskinʼs poems. For much of 1834, when this volume of Friendshipʼs Offering was in preparation, Inglis was abroad, preparing a travel book, Ireland in 1834—a tour, according to the bookʼs subtitle, that occupied the author during the “spring, summer, and autumn” of that year. Inglis dated the bookʼs dedication from London, November 1834 (p. vi), which would have been about the time that Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV was released for public sale. It is more likely that the editing of Ruskinʼs poems remained in the hands of Thomas Pringle (1789–1834), who was editor of the annual from 1828 until his death in December 1834.
With the onset of Pringleʼs tuberculosis in late June 1834, Inglis did step into the breach at some point in the second half of the year in order to help oversee the annual. As W. H. Harrison (ca. 1792–1878) explains in the preface to Friendshipʼs Offering for 1836, which he took over following Inglisʼs own death in March 1835, Inglis “assisted” Pringle “in the last year” of Pringleʼs editorship (Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXVI, v). It was apparently a longstanding friendship that enabled Pringle in his last days to rely on Inglis, who, according to Randolph Vigne, had formerly benefited from Pringleʼs support when making his way in London literary life. Their acquaintance extended back to university days in Edinburgh, Vigne reports—though, if so, Inglis would have been a youth who was Pringleʼs junior by six years (Vigne, Thomas Pringle, 16).
Much of Inglisʼs assistance must have been directed at the volume for 1836, since Pringle sent the volume for 1835 to press in August 1834 (see Vigne, Thomas Pringle, 244). Before being absolutely forced by declining health to give up work, Pringle could not have afforded to resign his editorial post. As he commented in a letter of October 1834, in which he pleaded for financial help in order to move to a warmer climate, he “was utterly . . . without income, except what depended on [his] pen” (Ritchie,“Memoirs of Thomas Pringle”, cxix; and see Vigne, Thomas Pringle, 246).
There is one possible connection between Inglis and Ruskinʼs composition of the poem, “Saltzburg”. Whereas the Ruskin family first visited the Austrian city during the Tour of 1835, too late to have served as the occasion for Ruskinʼs poem of 1834, Inglis had traveled to Salzburg and written about his experiences in The Tyrol; with a Glance at Bavaria (1833). Inglis, however, did not consider there to be “much in Salzburg to detain the traveller long”; and nothing in his published account suggests a possible source for details in Ruskinʼs poem (Inglis, The Tyrol, 270, and see 269–71). If there was a contact between Inglis and the Ruskins—or contact via Pringle—he might have communicated some ideas about Salzburg personally, including the dubious information that the patron saint of Salzburg, St. Rupert, “was by birth a Scotchman”, as Ruskin asserted in a note to his poem. This notion was available in the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Scotorum by Thomas Dempster (1579–1625), a treatise that had been republished in Edinburgh in 1829, as an expression of the enthusiasm for Scottish antiquarianism associated with Walter Scott (1771–1832) (Du Toit, “Dempster, Thomas (1579–1625)”; and see “Saltzburg”).