LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Francis Hodgson to Thomas Moore, 20 February 1830

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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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.