LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
John Herman Merivale to Francis Hodgson, [13 May 1838]

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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My dear Hodgson,—I should indeed be doing the greatest injustice to my feelings, both as they regard yourself and your fair bride, if I delayed a moment to acknowledge the very welcome epistle which I received too late for the post on Saturday,
dated from Hardwicke Hall. I had before (though under strict injunctions of secrecy) heard that place named as your destination during the first days of your happiness, and, from the many descriptions I had heard or read of it, was picturing to myself the enjoyment which you could not fail both to derive from a location (O spirits of
Harriet Martineau and James Jefferson Whitlee!) so full of picturesque, romantic, historical, and imaginative interest. . . . I only fear that in spite of the influence of local emotions, Queen Bess will have altogether supplanted Queen Mary,1 as the object of your devotions; and I beg you to assure her first-named majesty that I am myself far too good an Englishman not to give in my adhesion to her superior claim upon our affections and homage, at least in the person of her present representative.

The confession you have made of your love for ‘Whistlecraft2 transports me beyond all bounds of moderation, so completely justifying, as it does, my presentiment that you would ‘be all the better for something’ to laugh at on your journey. I told your friend, Poet Rogers, that same day, at the

1 Hodgson, in his youth, had been engaged on a poem, of which the heroine was Mary Queen of Scots, an occupation to which Byron alludes in a letter of invitation to Newstead. Vide supra, vol. i. p. 107. 2 By Hookham Frere.

breakfast, of the present I had made you, and of the indignation you expressed at my supposing it possible that you might want, or even admit of, diversion on such an occasion, at the same time that you gravely pocketed the affront I offered. His dry, bachelor-like remark was, not only that I had done quite right, but that he hoped you had taken care, each of you, to provide a travelling library, as he did not see how you were otherwise to get through it. There’s an epithalamium for you, worthy of ‘
Jaqueline’ or the ‘Pleasures of Memory.’

When you have time to read any other books than ‘Whistlecraft,’ and such others as the Duke’s judgment may have selected for your entertainment at Hardwicke, I think you will be much interested in the ‘Life of Wilberforce.’ I have felt great delight in observing, as I have gone on with it, in how many points, especially political and politico-religious, I in fact coincided with him, even while I fancied myself at the furthest distance from him. His was indeed a proud position when the leading men of both parties were beseeching his interference to extricate the country from the extreme embarrassment occasioned by the proceedings against the Queen; and his biographers well
remark upon it as ‘not a little curious’ that the strongest of these supplications came from a man (
Lord J. Russell) whose maxim it was that ‘to abandon party is to forfeit all political importance.’ Very much such a position as his was then, I hold to be my good friend Sir Thomas Acland’s now; and I am accordingly not a little curious to know the result of his motion this evening for rescinding the Resolutions of the House of Commons on “which the present Ministry came into office; not that I consider it as a party question, in which light I feel confident that Acland himself would not have entertained it, but that I am convinced of its having been the falsest and most pernicious move ever made by a party for the attainment of power, and the retractation of which is, in my apprehension, indispensable towards the settlement of the great Irish question on any reasonable basis. And now farewell for the present! I will write to you again when you are at Middleton.1 My wife joins me in every feeling that is most warm and affectionate towards both yourself and your sposa, and

I am, my dear H., ever yours,
J. H. M.