LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Robert Bland to John Herman Merivale, [1810?]

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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Here (he writes) we have a famous garden, shady lanes and walks in all their intricacies, and abounding in little surprises of views, a very fair (it is even reckoned capital) neighbourhood, i.e. in a circle whose radius is five miles. Castles entire and in ruins, good modern dwellings, fertility, Dr. Parr, Denman’s fame in all its odour at the Warwick Assizes, Leamington the salubrious, Coventry the manufacturing, disgusting, dishonest, Warwick the gallant, etc., etc., etc. All which being the case, I will come and settle myself in Baker Street, Portman Square, with the first puff of wind that blows me £15,000. And yet, for country, this is really very good. Its only harm, or rather vice, is that it is country.

1 Longmans, 1808.


I have seldom left a house with such regret as I did yours. At the mercy of respectable country society whenever I sally from my own home (which is rarely, and against my wish), I leave it to you to judge how new, how surprising, how entertaining, improving, nay, how impossible the resources seem to me of a London party; the anecdote, wit, good taste, right feeling, politeness, good faith, confidence, that form the elements of London societies, and, to complete the panegyric, the total absence of all respectability, are really my astonishment. I touched, and only touched, on your coming to see me. I have no prospect of any other mode of meeting. Stay. Kenilworth, and indeed the tract from Coventry to the Vale of Evesham, is so pretty that it just touches on the beautiful without attaining it. My house—would it were mine!—is, with its present improvements, a very comfortable and convenient sort of mansion. Add to this, I have been gradually amassing from five to six hundred volumes, my only, and my absolutely necessary expense. I have much delight in contemplating my shelves, and the utility of them I daily feel. The walks around are good enough, the people exorbitantly rich and poor to the most degrading excess. Among the former, several good-doing
busy-bodies, the heroes of vestries, givers of Bibles, occasionally of soup, and tolerable be-praisers of their own munificence. Among the latter, that complete adscriptio glebæ, that utter dependence and want of all pride and possession, which are totally incompatible with moral feeling. The great say: ‘Give them Bibles, and more Bibles.’ I say: ‘Give each man the absolute proprietorship of his home, and a couple of acres of land, and his pride and its concomitant virtues will return.’ In short, will you come and see me at Easter?

Ever and sincerely yours,
R. Bland.