LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

In Whig Society 1775-1818
Annabella Milbanke to Lady Melbourne, 12 October 1812

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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“I do not give my answer without that serious deliberation which is due to the honourable and disinterested nature of Lord Byron’s sentiments. I am convinced that he considers my happiness not less than his own, in the wishes which he has expressed to you, and I think of them with the sincerest gratitude.

“I endeavour not to yield to any decided preference till my judgment has been strengthened by longer observation, but I will not assign this as my only motive for declining the estimable and very uncommon advantages now offered. I should be totally unworthy of Lord Byron’s esteem if I were not to speak the truth without equivocation. Believing that he never will be the object of that strong affection which would make me happy in domestic life, I should wrong him by any measure that might, even indirectly, confirm his present impressions. From my limited observations of his conduct, I was predisposed to believe your strong testimony in his favour, and I willingly attribute it more to the defect
of my own feelings than of his character that I am not inclined to return his attachment. After this statement which I make with real sorrow from the idea of its giving pain, I must leave our future intercourse to his judgment. I can have no reason for withdrawing from an acquaintance that does me honor and is capable of imparting so much rational pleasure, except the fear of involuntarily deceiving him. I cannot appear insensible to kindness, and its influence on my manner might lead him erroneously to suppose that I had a stronger interest. Whatever may be his determination from a full consideration of these circumstances, I shall acquiesce in it with an anxious wish that it may prove for his happiness.

“Perhaps the most satisfactory method of acquainting him with the contents of this letter would be to let him have it. I have too much confidence in his liberality, to think reserve or caution necessary in communicating my feelings. The generous delicacy of his whole conduct towards me, particularly when he acted from the false information of my engagement to another person, is one of many proofs that his principles of Honor deserve my entire reliance. I assure him of my perfect silence on this subject.

Oct. 12.”