LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Lady Byron to Francis Hodgson, 15 February 1816

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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Dear Sir,—I feel most sensibly the kindness of a remonstrance which equally proves your friendship for Lord Byron and consideration for me. I have declined all discussion of this subject with others, but my knowledge of your principles induces me to justify my own; and yet I would forbear to accuse as much as possible.

I married Lord B. determined to endure everything whilst there was any chance of my contributing to his welfare. I remained with him under trials of the severest nature. In leaving him, which, however, I can scarcely call a voluntary measure, I probably saved him from the bitterest remorse. I may give you a general idea of what I have experienced by saying that he married me with the deepest determination of Revenge, avowed on the day of my marriage, and executed ever since with systematic and increasing cruelty, which no affection could change. . . . . My security depended on the total abandonment of every moral and religious principle, against which (though I trust they were never obtruded) his hatred and endeavours were uniformly directed. . . . . The circumstances, which are of too convincing a nature, shall not be generally known whilst Lord
B. allows me to spare him. It is not unkindness that can always change affection.

With you I may consider this subject in a less worldly point of view. Is the present injury to his reputation to be put in competition with the danger of unchecked success to this wicked pride? and may not his actual sufferings (in which, be assured, that affection for me has very little share) expiate a future account? I know him too well to dread the fatal event which he so often mysteriously threatens. I have acquired my knowledge of him bitterly indeed, and it was long before I learned to mistrust the apparent candour by which he deceives all but himself. He does know—too well—what he affects to inquire.

You reason with me as I have reasoned with myself, and I therefore derive from your letter an additional and melancholy confidence in the rectitude of this determination, which has been deliberated on the grounds that you would approve. It was not suggested, and has not been enforced, by others; though it is sanctioned by my parents.

You will continue Lord Byron’s friend, and the time may yet come when he will receive from that friendship such benefits as he now rejects. I will even indulge the consolatory thought that the
remembrance of me, when time has softened the irritation created by my presence, may contribute to the same end. May I hope that you will still retain any value for the regard with which

I am,
Your most obliged and faithful servant,
A. I. Byron.
Kirkby: Feb. 15, 1806.

I must add that Lord Byron had been fully, earnestly, and affectionately warned of the unhappy consequences of his conduct.