LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Louisa Mary Barwell to Sophia De Morgan, 10 January [1870]

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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[Monday] Jany 10th [1870]
Dear Mrs de M

You must pardon all abruptness—as I have a feeble hand and write with difficulty—

You ask my “views” on this most painful subject—Mrs Stowe has committed the grave error (whatever her motive) of going to the Public with insufficient evidence—arrogantly expecting her name to command universal belief—She has committed a flagrant breach of confidence, and without even the justification of producing a history, upon such evidence that no doubt could be fastened upon it—Now because Mrs S— has done this, I see no reason why Lady B’s friends should follow her example—they can produce no evidence stronger than their own convictions of her truthfulness—all that they know they heard from her or her dearest & most trusted friends—I do not feel that because Mrs S— has betrayed a confidence I am thereby released from the trust reposed in me—and I think this applies to all her friends—the family alone excepted—Should they now, or at any future time, hold in their hands, a complete chain of evidence, furnished from other sources than Lady B’s own authority or testimony, then they would be justified in giving it to [the world] nothing short of a case so perfect, that the lawyer can see no flaw will now be of any avail to stay the flood of calumny & obloquy wh Mrs Stowe has been the means of letting loose upon the character of one of the noblest of human beings——

She kept silence though goaded and calumniated—& that is the example, we, her friends must follow—Why did not Mrs Stowe consult the Grandchildren? What must be the vanity which supposed Mrs Stowe could settle a question for the present world and for future history—which the life of Lady B had not been able to

afin de n’être pas dupe d’une philanthropic si ardente et pourtant venue si tard: la philanthropic est la fausse monnaie de la charité.”

1 Sophia Frend, wife of Professor Augustus De Morgan.

set to rest—And the friends who still remain must not assume to themselves any power to convince, simply by their own declarations of their convictions of her truth—every tittle of evidence rests upon her statements only—how can it be otherwise?——

The links are missing—whatever they may be—wh would explain those letters—but depend upon it they will not be found amongst any but the associates of earlier days, or amongst Written records—out of reach—Every line, short of unimpeachable evidence that has been, or will be written, has damaged & will damage—still further her reputation——

I see no generosity in Mrs Stowe—I only see great defects of judgment & a great desire for a place in public estimation as the proclaimer of a Secret—& the power to boast of the confidence placed in her by such a woman as Lady B—How else could she blind herself upon the subject—; she has drawn upon herself universal condemnation—not a single pen has attempted to justify her—She alone could not or would not estimate the Evil she has done——

The Article in the Saturday Review of the 25th Decr is powerful, and fair if considered from the Writers point of view—& he admits the truth of the Story.—Although reluctantly——

You will quite feel that in holding the opinions I have expressed, I can not supply any information—I hope I may have succeeded in leading you to adopt my views——

The Articles in the Temple Bar was the only reply needed to Guiccioli’s Book & the best justification of Lady Bunless direct evidence other than her own had been forthcoming——

I hope you will not be too much troubled to decypher this—Rheumatism has enfeebled my right hand—but except this, my health is as good as I can expect at my age——

I hope you & Mr de Morgan are well——
believe me,
yours very truly,
Louisa M. Barwell.