LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Chapter XX. 1830-36.

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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In several of her letters written about the time of the publication of Moore’sLife and Letters,’ Mrs. Leigh expresses great concern at the manifold misrepresentations of her brother’s character to which that work gave rise, and declares her unfeigned disgust at the various attacks which were made from different quarters upon one who was no longer able to defend himself. More especially was she displeased with the treachery and cupidity which noted all his idle words.

Some years after his death, all communication between Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh came to an end, in consequence of some inexplicable caprice of the
former, who would not even answer the letters of her husband’s sister. Mrs. Leigh was at first most anxious to maintain a sisterly friendship; but when Lady Byron’s statement in answer to
Moore’s account of the separation appeared, this anxiety was considerably lessened, and eventually disappeared altogether.

Hodgson was always particularly desirous that a reconciliation should be effected, if only for the purpose of bringing his friend’s child into closer communion with that sweet sister who had been the better angel of his hapless lifetime; and on one occasion had been informed by Mrs. Robert Arkwright of some kind words uttered by Lady Byron with reference to her husband’s family. On hearing these, Mrs. Leigh, in one of her letters to Hodgson, expresses her gratitude for the feeling which dictated them, and adds a remark once made by Lord Byron, when writing of his wife:—

She had need be kind to some of us, and I am glad she has had the heart or the discernment to be kind to you.

Mrs. Leigh goes on to entreat Hodgson ‘never to let an opportunity go by of seeing Ada,’ and more especially from any feeling for her.

I would not for worlds (she continues) stand in the
way of that dear child seeing one so devotedly attached to her father. The very atmosphere she breathed would be the better and purer for your presence. It seems hard that I never see her or hear of her but by chance, but like all other hardships must be borne.

At the exclusion of her beloved brother’s monument from Westminster Abbey, a most natural indignation prompted some very pathetic observations.

After all, dear Mr. H., look at the works of those who have monuments there!—and I do think there is bien de quoi of sublime and beautiful in his works on religious subjects to redeem, what is objectionable; but I am a partial judge. Still I do feel that the more one loves a person, the more alive one is to their failings. I long to hear from you on this subject, as well as many others.

On the appearance of the second volume of Moore’s work, similar thoughts arise.

Surely, dear Mr. H., the bright brilliancy breaks through, and, at last, dashes away the darkness which at times enveloped his better feelings. Poor fellow! I only wish those who read it would be a
quarter as lenient as those who knew and loved him must be. I long to hear what you think of this book. I have been dreadfully annoyed at certain passages, and the worst is to come, I suppose. What will
Lady B. do or say? What can she? And yet if she is quiet she must writhe under the torture! But she may thank herself either for her own sufferings, or the contumely which will rest on his memory! A few gentle words, instead of that despicable tirade on the last volume, would have secured her the esteem and pity of all the world, and prevented what has and may follow. It is worse than useless to reason on the probable conduct of such a person, so I will not lose my time in the attempt. I know nothing of her or dear Ada, except second hand. I hear the latter is still on crutches, and the health of the former seems as usual fluctuating. I must, however, tell you a little anecdote.

On the 10th Dec. (Ada’s birthday) I could not resist sending her some little token of my remembrance. I selected a Prayer-book (the Book of Common Prayer, in two volumes, with the Lessons bound up with it). I had them nicely bound, and Ada, in Old English characters, engraved on the back, and wrote her name and the date inside, put
them up directed ‘To the Hon. Miss Byron, with every kind and affectionate wish,’ and wrote over this, ‘With
Lady Byron’s permission.’ In another outside envelope directed them to Lady B; sent them booked by coach; . . . and . . . have never heard one word since.

Again on Lady B.’s statement, with reference to the separation, an outburst of sisterly feeling finds utterance in another letter:—

I am always afraid of the impetuosity of my feelings on such occasions (of which I am fully aware) making me uncharitable. God forgive her if she has made me what I never was before, or believed I could be; but I will not dwell on my own feelings; you can guess them. If it was not my own dear brother whom it concerned, I do think I should still feel disgusted at such unfeeling conduct. I agree in every word you write on the subject. I have always thought that there was nothing in the whole world but the welfare of one’s children which could induce one, or justify one, in abandoning one’s husband! She may have considered this point, but she ought to have behaved differently. At any rate, now that he is defenceless in the tomb. . . . What has she to gain now that he is powerless
to injure or oppress her in any way? I do think nothing, were it ever so bad, could possibly justify any one in defaming the dead.

Peace be with their ashes, for by them,
If merited, the penalty is paid.
It is not ours to judge, far less condemn;
The hour must come when such things shall be made
Known unto all, or hope or dread allay’d
By slumber in one pillow, in the dust,
Which, thus much we are sure, must lie decay’d,
And, when it shall revive, as is our trust,
’T will be to be forgiven, or suffer what is just.

On this subject Drury writes:—

What a mess has Tom Moore by his inadvertency stirred up about Lord Byron! One would have thought he had more tact, but in fact his conduct to you, and even to me, was enough to prove his want of it. The character of Byron will be condemned for ever among his haters, and among his lovers strange suspicions must hover about, unless Lady B. or Lushington break silence.

To this Hodgson answers:—

I have indeed too fully seen the late wretched matters about poor dear Byron and his ruined memory! My God! how cruel, how utterly revengeful, is
the letter of his
widow! Do you for a moment give her credit for being actuated by regard to her parent’s memory? If so, that would have been the prominent part of the letter, and dwelt upon most, but it occupies a most inadequate space; and the rest shows the real reason for her breaking silence: pique at being described as so ill-suited a wife for Byron. Doubtless this was provoking enough; and one could hardly have wondered at her resenting it on the spur of the moment. But when this is so evidently the real cause of her speaking out, her laying it on filial feelings is as shallow as it is hypocritical. But, alas! I fear the evil has only commenced.

Before the appearance of Moore’s second volume, Hodgson sent several suggestions, by way of amendment, for Moore’s consideration.

The Vicarage, Bakewell: February 20, 1830.

My dear Moore,—I have much to say, and my preface must be short; only let it be satisfactory, and induce you to receive the following remarks in the same spirit in which they are offered. I am far from presuming that they are all of importance, but I earnestly wish that if any may be so, they
may assist you in preventing or removing any future regrets on your own part, or in precluding any mischief that might arise from unfounded or unexplained opinions, sent into the world with the double authority of
Byron and his biographer. I will refer you rather to subjects thrown together, than to pages in regular order. At the risque of repetition I will suggest again that what is recorded of Captain Byron,1 while unattended at least with any mitigating circumstances, could never have been, to say the least of it, welcome to our friend. To amend this, I refer you to the letter in the ‘Representative,’ of which I only spoke from hearsay; and also to the report I have heard2 of Captain B.’s proper and affectionate attentions to his first wife in her last illness. Thus much for our friend’s father. As to his unhappy mother, if an additional word could be thrown in, to show his struggle to be more attached to her than she would generally let him be (testified by his repeatedly saying in his lifetime, as I have heard, ‘my poor mother!’ and other expressions of the same kind), it might help to soften the unfilial way of mentioning her, which appears in some of the letters.

1 The poet’s father. 2 Probably from Mrs. Leigh.


With regard to his attainments, it is utterly impossible that B., with the life he led, should, at the age of nineteen, have read Livy and Tacitus through in the Latin, and Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch in the Greek. As to Thucydides, I feel convinced that while I knew him he never could have thoroughly understood the speeches in the original without the greatest difficulty, and more pains than he was likely to take. He must mean that he read these authors in translations. He talks, indeed, of different languages, but the statement should have been more distinct; otherwise it is calculated to convey a false impression, and lend a weight to his reputation for scholarship, which may be very injuriously transferred to his opinions on the most important subjects.

With reference to Byron’s desire of fame as an orator, Hodgson writes:—

There is no doubt of this. This desire was warmly cherished, and for a considerable time maintained. Previously to his first speech, he repeatedly mentioned to me at Newstead his decided resolution of distinguishing himself, if possible, in Parliament, and was taking some pains for that purpose! Would to God that he had persevered in so noble
a determination, but he was shipwrecked on the shore of the Island of Pleasure. As to his ill-fated attachment, it did not follow but preceded his going to Cambridge; and if you will attentively re-examine your interpretation of those lines,
For by the death-blow of my hope
My memory immortal grew;
(which, by the bye, haunt my mind as if they were a plagiarism) I think you will find reason to agree with your unknown correspondent, that (ingenious as your own interpretation is) they have reference to love alone.
Forgiveness to the injured doth belong.
Is not this
Dryden’s enlarged from Tacitus?

I come now to very different points. In page 129, you speak from B. himself of ‘desponding, not sneering scepticism,’ being the character of some lines in ‘Childe Harold,’ and very properly point out the important distinction between these two evils. But, alas! it was not only in after life that he lost sight of that distinction.

What you say about self-libelling, though very clever and well founded, will not counteract that love for bad belief which too many in the world rejoice to indulge on any, the slightest, grounds,
and is, indeed, calculated to give colour, however faint, to those dark surmises and imputations which people are but too ready to found upon some (purposely, I believe, but most unnecessarily) mysterious parts of
Byron’s story.

Early in the following year Hodgson had the deep sorrow of losing his only sister, to whom he was devotedly attached. She was married to her first cousin, the Rev. Geo. Coke, and was possessed of considerable talents and a remarkable sweetness of disposition, to which her sister-in-law, Miss Coke, thus refers: ‘We often talk of her music for hours, for with her it was not an acquirement, it was as a part of herself, who was all harmony and joy.’

The next letter, from Dr. Butler, affords an illustration of the fact that rapid travelling was not altogether unknown even before the days of locomotion by steam, and proves the former influence of the Crown over public school destinies.

Shrewsbury: May 10, 1831.

My dear friend,—. . . I am sorry to hear of your serious family affliction. . . . By dint of having bespoken post-horses, I left Shrewsbury at five in the morning on Wednesday, and reached Cam-
bridge by ten that night, having accomplished 154 miles in 17 hours. Voted the next day—I will not say to no purpose, because I am glad to have my vote recorded, as exempting me from the disgrace that has fallen on the University—and returned hither (having gone to town from Cambridge, and stayed there a whole day) on Saturday night. Last week I received
His Majesty’s commands for a week’s holidays to be prefixed to the summer vacation, accompanied with a letter, written to the boys by the Lord Chancellor 1 in very good Latin, and admonishing them not to let this indulgence make them idle. Lord Bacon could have done as much, but was too cold-hearted. Sir Thomas More might have done it, but we were not founded till near twenty years after his death. Who else on the woolsack would?

Yours truly,
S. Butler.

Of nearly the same date is an anecdote, by Drury, of another Head-master, of still greater official celebrity:—

I suppose you heard of the King insisting to take up Keate in his carriage to the boats (on the 4th of

1 Brougham.

June), and the Don declining, as he did not know there was such a thing.

Butler made the most of his royally extended holiday, and sends a joyous and picturesque description of his surroundings at Beaumaris.

I got home on Saturday night, and set off for this place, where I found all well on Monday. To-day brings an account of the festivities at Shrewsbury, in the shape of bell-ringing, cannon-firing, and public dinnering, in honour of Tom’s wedding, and a short note from himself at Bristol, saying, ‘at last I am really married.’ Now, his engagement having been about seven months standing, the at last rather amused us. . . .

We are now in the finest spot under the blessed heaven. The house is one of ten now building, of actual marble, of a very good colour, a kind of dove colour, but with a slight reddish tint, which looks extremely well in its unpolished state, and polishes into a very handsome marble for interior uses. Within a stone’s throw is the sea, just at the opening of the Menai Straits, and expanding on the left into the open Irish Channel. It is here about 2½ miles or 3 miles wide, just opposite our
windows, and is bounded on the other side by the whole range of Snowdonia and the highest Welsh mountains. It is always gay with fishing or pleasure-boats, varied occasionally by larger vessels passing down the Straits to Bangor or Carnarvon, or up from thence. The Menai Bridge hangs like a thread on air at about 4 miles distant. Exactly in front of our windows, across the water, is the pretty village of Aber, with its white church and houses peeping through a thick foliage of oaks, a little to the left Pen maen maur and the tremendous cliffs of the Ormeshead; and from the back of the house we see Beaumaris Castle, about 100 yards from us, and the magnificent woods of Baron Hill. In front, between our windows and the sea, is, not a heap of sand-hills, but a lawn of turf, as green and as smooth as the best bowling-green, to the water’s edge. The house we are in is large and commodious, fit for any family; and in order to receive these advantages I have been guilty of an infidelity to Barmouth, and have just bought one of these marble palaces, considerably larger than that which we inhabit, but which will not be quite ready for our reception till next year. I bought so large a house that we might all be at the sea and enjoy ourselves together. Whenever you and Mrs.
Hodgson can come to us, we shall rejoice to see you.

In December of this year, 1831, Hodgson published a little book entitled ‘Sacred Lyrics,’ in acknowledging which the Bishop of Gloucester expressed himself much pleased with this ‘contribution to the cause of sound learning and religious education,’ adding:—

As indeed I have been with everything which proceeded from your pen. A long time ago you told me that you meant to revise and republish what I have always considered the most poetical and most powerful translation of ‘Juvenal.’

The Bishop of Lincoln 1 writes:—

I am much gratified by this proof of your recollection of me. Many years have elapsed since we met. If I am not mistaken, our last meeting was at Scrope Davies’s room; Lord Byron and Dr. Clarke were present; and in the evening, Spencer Perceval came to be introduced to Lord Byron. I particularly remember that you argued with Lord Byron the question, determined by Locke in the

1 Kaye.

negative, whether there is an innate notion of the Deity. Of the party two are gone to their account; Davies is an exile; you are engaged, as you ought not to be engaged, in teaching pupils; Spencer Perceval in a harder task than any imposed on Hercules, that of endeavouring to bring the House of Commons to a sense of Religion; and I am placed in a situation, which, though at other times greatly coveted, is not at present either enviable or safe. But what situation is safe?

In the summer of the next year (1832), June 19, Harry Drury writes in his usual easy style:—

You seem to have exhausted all the stores of literature in reading with your pupil. . . . Lord Darnley and I talked you over very cheerfully the other day. I have been entertaining the Bishop of Exeter, and Lockhart; otherwise all has been most monotonous, except a dinner last Saturday at the sweetest villa in England, at Highwood Hill, with Knight, M.P., the Chancery barrister, to meet all the celebrated antiquaries. . . .

When do you return? I cannot make and break another promise, but when do you return?—emphatically or promiscuously, as Ben Sheppard
would say. I have not seen Eton since I dined there with
Keate at Easter. Butler, of Shrewsbury, dines with me, tête-à-tête, at six this evening, on his way from Shrewsbury to Beaumaris. Harry,1 who is with us, wants me to take him to Rome by the steam-boat. I should not hesitate, but I dread the expense of posting once more to the south of France. The steamer sails every other day from Toulon, touches at Genoa, Leghorn, Civita Vecchia, and enters, plenis subit Ostia velis, anchoring at the Ponte Milvio and Pons Sublicius. The whole, from Harrow, might be easily done in nine days, without hurrying; but it must not be, at least this summer. Besides, the absurd abbreviation of travelling now takes away from the prestige. Byron3 is in Achaia, and, literally (I am not joking), made standard-bearer in the Peloponnesus, where he is going through a campaign by land with 150 troops against 800 Romeliots and Souliots.

The club triumphant! and Denman Lord Chief Justice. I am happier at the event than can be described. He is a man who has never truckled to any party, but, in singleness of soul, kept the even tenor of his way. Recepto dulce mihi furere est

1 Afterwards Archdeacon Drury.

2 His son, now Admiral Byron Drury.

All the Merivales are staying with us, and Denman is the toast from morning till night.

On the same day Butler writes:—

I had an invitation to dine with Drury at Harrow to-day. Next Tuesday I hope we shall meet; and the next day, as soon as ever I have shown my face at the levée, I shall be off for Beaumaris, where all my family are, and where I long to be catching mermaids and bobbing for whale.

It is thought that the country at large will be disappointed in the effect of the Reform Bill. They who have no right to expect anything always expect the most, and must always be disappointed.

All the world concur in abhorrence of the attack on the Duke of Wellington yesterday.1 I was in Holborn and Lincoln’s Inn Fields about half-an-hour after, but saw nothing of it. His windows are barricaded with iron, musket proof. What a horrible sign of the times in England!

The Church, I think, is more than in danger. Some more sanguine than myself are not so desponding. But I see no hope. For when any rational plan of reform is brought forward, Lord

1 June 18, the anniversary of Waterloo.

King and Dan O’Connell will start up in their respective Houses and knock it on the head. It is their interest to stop all rational and moderate plans, in order to effect a total overthrow. Therefore happy they who, like me, have been pluralists without ever receiving a clear £150 a year from the Church, in any year save one, when a lucky fine nearly doubled the average clear income.

December 4, 1832.

I think I sent you a paper with an account of the royal visit. It was all couleur de rose, as was that of the Duke of Sussex six weeks before, but His Royal Highness has been long a kind and gracious friend to me. I am getting up a local committee for Abbotsford, which brings me to talk of books. Have you read the ‘String of Pearls?’ pray do. The ‘Highland Smugglers,’—also worthy of perusal, and ‘Zohrab, the Hostage’—very. Next to books, elections. We shall send probably eleven, very possibly twelve, ultra Tories from this county, which sends in all twelve members. At Cambridge I am in hopes we shall turn out one ultra, and I hope we shall not try for more, for if we do we shall lose both. As to mater ecclcsia—quæstio vexatissima, brother
Lord Henley is clearly the tool of the saints to which party he belongs, and they, having purchased up almost all the small livings that can be sold, would be very glad to have them enlarged out of the spoils of cathedrals.

In the autumn of 1833, Hodgson had the great affliction of losing his wife, who died after a short illness at the house of her husband’s relatives, the Cokes, in Herefordshire. This bereavement induced him to seek an exchange for the living of Bakewell, where the associations and memories would henceforth be of so depressing a nature. The Duke of Rutland, on hearing of his determination, wrote a most kind and sympathetic letter.

Stanton Woodhouse: December 23, 1833.

My dear sir,—I am exceedingly sorry that I was absent from home when you were so kind as to call here, and that my departure this morning will prevent me from the pleasure of seeing you during my stay in this county. I hope you do not believe that because I did not write to you some time since, I did not most sincerely sympathise with and feel for you. I made inquiries concerning you from our mutual friend Coke, and he gave me intelligence of you from time to time. He showed me your
letter to him a few days since, and I beg you to be assured that the only feeling I have on the subject of your Incumbency at Bakewell, is that of pride, at having been instrumental in placing so distinguished an ornament of the clerical profession there. I am very certain that your cession of that living, whenever it takes place, will occasion but one sensation of regret and concern.

Believe me, dear sir,
Your very faithful servant,

A letter from Merivale, in January of the next year (1834), on religious subjects, contains some interesting remarks on human notions of the Deity.

Tell me in your next (he writes) if my opinions be consistent with sound orthodoxy. In a long discourse, and in many respects a very admirable one, which I have just been reading, by Sedgwick, on the course of study at Cambridge, after combating the system of utility, which ‘brings down virtue from a heavenly throne, and places her on an earthly tribunal, where her decisions, no longer supported by any holy sanction, are distorted by judicial ignorance, and tainted by base passion’ (a
sentiment in which I fully concur), he goes, as it seems to me, a little too far in representing our utter incapacity of forming any just notion of the attributes of the Deity, as if, in speaking of the Benevolence, or the Mercy, or the Justice of God, we were using terms the meaning of which we are wholly unable to comprehend, when applied to a Being the very mode of whose existence is to us an inexplicable mystery. Now this is a sort of doctrine to which I cannot possibly yield my assent. On the contrary, when we assume, as capable of strict proof, those Divine attributes, it seems to me that we must know what it is that we consider the fit subject of demonstration, and that, however incapable we may be of exalting our conceptions to the degree of perfection, or of reconciling by our reason the co-existence of such as are seemingly at variance with each other in the scheme of God’s moral government, still, in speaking of God’s Justice and Benevolence and Mercy, we are speaking of the very same qualities, however different in degree, as those of which we are practically sensible in our intercourse with mankind, and therefore that it is sound logic, as well as good orthodoxy, to say that such and such result cannot be true because it is irreconcilable with
the Divine Perfection to suppose the contrary. But where I merely intended to furnish you with a text I must not myself begin by preaching you a sermon. . . .

A month later Merivale writes:—

How earnestly do I wish, my very dear friend, and yet how little can I expect, to hear of you as restored to all your usual habits of mental employment and activity! Time only can work so great a blessing, and to Time we must confidently look for it, Reason and Religion having so well prepared their parts. Walford told me of your late correspondence, and I wish most sincerely that the exchange he had in view would have suited you, much as I still wish that your dream of solitude and retirement were dissipated, and your mind disposed to look, rather with desire, towards the more cheerful and active duties of life: I do not mean the cares of such a parish as Bakewell, which may, on many accounts, be oppressive to you. Those, on the contrary, of a London incumbency—especially in the City, where there are comparatively few residents—I cannot believe you would find either so onerous or irksome as you at present fancy them; and they would leave you ample
leisure for the society of those friends who know best how to value you.

A few characteristic lines from Rogers were received by Hodgson, just after a visit to London, in June of this year:—

My dear sir,—Many, many thanks! I can assure you that kindness such as yours is not thrown away upon me, and is some consolation for the loss I experienced, while you were in London, and I was out of it—a loss I felt severely, for I like nothing half so much as to talk over old matters with an old friend.

Moore has not appeared among us this Spring—his first omission for many years. I suppose he is very anxious to proceed with his ‘History of Ireland.’

You are now in your beautiful country, and must always be very unwilling to leave it; but when you come this way again, I shall hope to be more fortunate, if I am still in this world.

Yours ever,
Saml. Rogers.

Rogers lived twenty-one years after the date of
this letter, although he was then more than seventy years of age.

To understand the political allusions in the next letter from Merivale, written on November 18, 1834, it is necessary to recall the facts that in the previous week Lord Spencer had died, the Melbourne Ministry had been dissolved, and the Keys of Office had been entrusted to the Duke of Wellington, pending Sir Robert Peel’s return from Italy.

And was I not a prophet when I whispered through the hole in the rock to our good friend,1 ‘Beware of Brougham’? He has, to be sure, and I thank Heaven for it, escaped the wreck; but what a goodly and gallant vessel has foundered under the guidance of this its most splendidly gifted, but incautious and (may I not add) reckless and unprincipled steersman! I hope I shall not be accused—certainly not by you—of cant. But really, in the full confidence of friendship, I cannot but say that I see, in all that is now passing around us, the fullest confirmation of the persuasion of the utter insufficiency of man’s corrupt and degraded nature, unaided by the Divine grace, and by a deep inward conviction of its own weakness. A very

1 Denman.

strong moral principle, founded on a broad philosophical basis, may to a certain, but a very imperfect, extent, supply this grand deficiency,—but even this was wanting in the quarter to which I allude—and the fall, as it is (I am persuaded), irrevocable, so it will prove most momentous, in the shape of example, to such as are in a condition to profit by it. You, I am sure, will bear with remarks such as these, in all their sober seriousness. Very few are there, besides yourself, to whom I would breathe them.

As for the event itself, whatever may be the immediate causes—in whatever manner brought about—I have been too long impressed with the daily increasing conviction of the absolute necessity of making a firm and determined stand against popular encroachments, now to hesitate about the duty of every honest citizen, unfettered by party engagements, to rally round the throne and its chosen ministers, so long at least as they possess the essential principles of Reform in Church and State which I presume no minister at the present day can do otherwise than adopt for the colours of his administration. The only solid ground of difference between the outgoing and incoming occupiers, that I can discover, is the inviolability of
Church property; and upon this ground I am inclined to believe, though not without occasional misgivings, that the moderate Tories may, at the present period, securely take their stand. So far as the state of public feeling through the country at large may be judged of by that of the metropolis, they are in no danger whatever. Not the smallest excitement in the populace, the failure of every attempt (so far, at least) to get up the semblance of a strong public meeting, the non-depression of the Funds, the general satisfaction upon ‘Change, the unequivocal ebullitions of loyalty at the City dinner, and even such lesser indications as are afforded by the hissing of
Brougham and cheering of Lyndhurst (!!!) as they respectively left the audience chamber, besides other similar demonstrations—all these are, I think, amply sufficient to warrant the belief that a great and extensive reaction has taken place, and that the mountebank tricks and grimaces which have so long been exhibited in high quarters have produced the effect of irretrievably disgusting even the lowest of that mob which so recently threw up their caps in applause of the actor.

O but man—proud man—
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before High Heaven
As make the angels weep.

Among divers anecdotes, more or less vrais or vraisemblables, the following, which I have just heard, will amuse you—that the greeting of Majesty to Lord Melbourne, when he stated the difficulties of their position, was conveyed in the following nautical terms:—‘My Lord, you need say nothing. Lord Spencer is gone to Heaven; and my mind has long been made up that, whenever that event happened, it would be high time to send you all to the ——.’ By way of appendix I must state that one of the romances of the day is that it is all a device to get rid of Brougham, and that the new Lord Spencer is to return as Premier.

In his next remaining letter, dated May 1836, Merivale writes:—

To-day I dine with Hallam, much renowned for Greek, for the purpose of meeting Wordsworth the poet (not the master), and Benson of the Temple. I wish you were a fifth. To-morrow I ordain (as
we say in the West) to go and see
Ion, 1 though I cannot by any possibility fancy Macready as the youthful devotee and enthusiast. Surely none but a woman can both act and look the character. Madame Malibran should have it.

As to public affairs, it requires no great share of political sapience to pronounce that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The action is, it seems, proceeding and expected to proceed, and even Lord John thinks discretion the better part of valour, and refuses to march through Coventry with the Irish beggars in their way to rebellion. Degraded indeed we are if suck a domination as we have lived under (at least nominally) for the last twelvemonth can endure for another similar period.

The bon-mot ascribed to Lord M. in last Sunday’s ‘John Bull’ strikes me as irresistibly funny—that, being asked how he liked his present Chancellor, as compared with Brougham, he answered, ‘Much like a man who has discarded a capricious mistress, to marry his housekeeper.’

I had a batch of my neighbour Barnwell’s music last evening, and longed for you to enjoy it with me.

1 By Serjeant Talfourd.


In July of this year Dr. Butler, who for thirty-eight years had been head-master of Shrewsbury, was promoted to the see of Lichfield, a promotion which caused a vacancy in the archdeaconry of Derby, which had been held by Dr. Butler, conjointly with the head-mastership, for several years. The vacant archdeaconry was immediately offered to the Vicar of Bakewell by the Premier, Lord Melbourne, who expressed his concern that in point of emolument it was not better worth the Vicar’s acceptance. At the same time Dr. Butler wrote to assure his old friend of his sense of the benefit which the appointment would confer upon the clergy of the archdeaconry.

You have too much good sense (he adds) to attack, or provoke hostility from, a party with whom neither you nor I agree. You have learning and character, and, whatever may be your own diffidence on the subject, are qualified for the office in every way. We shall have frequent communication, and shall proceed most harmoniously and cordially together for the good of the archdeaconry; so write your thanks to Lord Melbourne, without more ado.

My first act this year will be to inhibit you from visiting.

This friendly inhibition was soon either withdrawn
or disregarded, for a very short interval elapsed before
Hodgson entered with accustomed energy into the duties of his new office, and there was hardly a church or parish in the district entrusted to his supervision which did not experience some advantage from the combined zeal and tact of his ministrations. Indefatigable in his visitations, forcible but temperate in his charges, he conferred a lasting benefit upon all the ecclesiastical institutions of the neighbourhood with which his name had so long been associated. There are those, even in the present day, who speak with warm interest and fond regret of the beneficial influence exercised throughout this portion of the Diocese of Lichfield by the kindly sympathies and judicious earnestness of Archdeacon Hodgson.