LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Sir Francis Hastings Doyle to Robert John Wilmot Horton, 18 May 1825

I. Byron Characteristics
II. Three Stages of Lord Byron’s Life
III. Manfred
IV. Correspondence of Augusta Byron
V. Anne Isabella Byron
VI. Lady Byron’s Policy of Silence
VII. Informers and Defamers
VIII. “When We Dead Awake”
IX. Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh (I)
X. Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh (II)
XI. Byron and Augusta
Notes by the Editor
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Montague Square, May 18th, 1825.

I CERTAINLY did consider myself as, in some degree, representing Lady Byron at the meeting which took place at Murray’s. Lady Byron told me at Beckenham, I think the day before, that she had received some communication from Mr Hobhouse on the subject of this manuscript—to the effect, as well as I recollect, that Mr Moore was disposed to deliver it up to Lord Byron’s family, and that it was very desirable to obtain it from him—and Lady Byron then requested me to act for her, in the event of its being necessary for her to do anything in the matter. I came to town immediately afterwards but certainly without any expectation that I should be called upon to take any steps in the business till I had heard further from her—I found, however, to my surprise that Mr Moore was waiting at my house with a view of speaking to me on the subject. . . .

The only thing in his conversation material to the present point, was that he ended by saying to me, that altho in his opinion many parts of the memoirs might be published without impropriety, yet if Lord Byron’s family thought otherwise he was ready to deliver up the whole—he begged me, however, distinctly to bear in mind that by the words “Lord Byron’s family” he must be understood not to mean Lady Byron or to include her, as he seemed to think it might not be considered honorable on his part under the circumstances to deliver up papers to her which had been confided to him by Lord Byron, but he appeared to apply the term more particularly to Mrs Leigh. This conversation I communicated to you almost immediately afterwards, and I believe it corresponded with what Mr Moore had previously said to you. My going afterwards to Murray’s was quite accidental—you called upon me and requested me to accompany you there, which I did. What passed there it is unnecessary for me to repeat as you were present. I will only observe, however, that Mr Moore having expressly stated to me that he would not deliver up the manuscript to Lady Byron, but that he would place it entirely at
Mrs Leigh’s disposal, I did not consider myself as having any power on the part of Lady Byron to oppose or sanction any particular disposition of it which Mrs Leigh might think proper to make, and when you signified her wish that it should be destroyed—I regarded myself only as a witness and not as a party to the proceeding. Lady Byron certainly gave no consent to the destruction of the manuscript either directly or indirectly—she never could have known that it was intended to destroy it because I believe that intention was communicated for the first time at the meeting in question: The point at issue before us was not whether the Manuscript should be destroyed but whether it should be suppressed—or partially published.