LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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My Friends and Acquaintance
R. Plumer Ward XII

Vol I Contents
Charles Lamb I
Charles Lamb II
Charles Lamb III
Charles Lamb IV
Charles Lamb V
Charles Lamb VI
Charles Lamb VII
Charles Lamb VIII
Charles Lamb IX
Charles Lamb X
Thomas Campbell I
Thomas Campbell II
Thomas Campbell III
Thomas Campbell IV
Thomas Campbell V
Thomas Campbell VI
Thomas Campbell VII
Lady Blessington I
Lady Blessington II
Lady Blessington III
Lady Blessington IV
Lady Blessington V
R. Plumer Ward I
R. Plumer Ward II
R. Plumer Ward III
R. Plumer Ward IV
R. Plumer Ward V
R. Plumer Ward VI
Appendix vol I
Vol II Contents
R. Plumer Ward VII
R. Plumer Ward VIII
R. Plumer Ward IX
R. Plumer Ward X
R. Plumer Ward XI
‣ R. Plumer Ward XII
R. Plumer Ward XIII
R. Plumer Ward XIV
R. Plumer Ward XV
R. Plumer Ward XVI
R. Plumer Ward XVII
R. Plumer Ward XVIII
R. Plumer Ward XIX
R. Plumer Ward XX
R. Plumer Ward XXI
R. Plumer Ward XXII
R. Plumer Ward XXIII
Horace & James Smith I
Horace & James Smith II
William Hazlitt I
William Hazlitt II
William Hazlitt III
William Hazlitt IV
William Hazlitt V
William Hazlitt VI
William Hazlitt VII
William Hazlitt VIII
Appendix vol II
Vol III Contents
William Hazlitt IX
William Hazlitt X
William Hazlitt XI
William Hazlitt XII
William Hazlitt XIII
William Hazlitt XIV
William Hazlitt XV
William Hazlitt XVI
William Hazlitt XVII
William Hazlitt XVIII
William Hazlitt XIX
William Hazlitt XX
William Hazlitt XXI
William Hazlitt XXII
William Hazlitt XXIII
William Hazlitt XXIV
William Hazlitt XXV
William Hazlitt XXVI
Laman Blanchard I
Laman Blanchard II
Laman Blanchard III
Laman Blanchard IV
Laman Blanchard V
Laman Blanchard VI
Laman Blanchard VII
Laman Blanchard VIII
R & T Sheridan I
R & T Sheridan II
R & T Sheridan III
R & T Sheridan IV
R & T Sheridan V
R & T Sheridan VI
R & T Sheridan VII
R & T Sheridan VIII
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In 1832, the dangerous illness of Mr. Ward’s youngest and only remaining daughter caused their temporary removal to Brighton, where Mr. Ward became acquainted with the lady whom he afterwards married.* A lengthened residence abroad ensued, and my intercourse with Mr. Ward was interrupted first, by this absence, and afterwards by the prostration of mind which followed the death of the daughter just alluded to. This last domestic calamity—the crowning one of a series of almost unexampled severity (first» the loss of two beautiful, gifted, and accomplished daughters, within two days of each other; then of a dear wife; and, lastly, of this only remaining daughter)—so deeply

* Mrs. Okeover, the widowed daughter of General Sir George Anson, Bart.

affected both the bodily and mental health of Mr. Ward, that he was induced by his physicians again to leave England.

This expedient, his fortunate union with the lady above alluded to, and his subsequent resort to literary composition, at length restored him to that equable and happy condition of mind which was constitutional with him; and the speedy result of his recovery was a new work, entitled “Illustrations of Human Life,” published in 1837.

Mr. Ward, while still abroad (at Lausanne) had instructed his publisher not to allow his new work (then in the press) to appear till it had been submitted to my perusal. This brought on an immediate renewal of our intercourse; and thenceforth our correspondence and personal intimacy were uninterrupted up to the period of his death, in 1846. From this date, therefore (the latter end of 1836), my materials for these Memorials of the latter years of Mr. Plumer Ward’s life become so rich in matter from his own pen, that I gladly withdraw from all further share in them, beyond those few and brief elucidatory notes and memoranda which may, from time
to time, seem necessary to clear or to connect the selections I shall make from his letters.

I will merely premise, with reference to Mr. Ward’s desire that I should see his new work, that, with a diffidence in regard to his literary powers and pretensions, which I have never seen approached in any other man holding anything like the rank and position he had now attained, Mr. Ward thought proper to consult me on points (so to speak) of the common law and practice of the literature of the day, on the same principle that the most consummate statesman, the profoundest philosopher, or the most learned divine consults his humble solicitor or his ordinary medical adviser—simply because he knows that they have made their respective professions the study and business of their lives, and that he has not. And as the clients in the cases I have instanced take good care (at least, if they are wise) to judge for themselves as to the adoption of the advice offered or the opinion expressed, so did Mr. Ward—never adopting any changes that might be proposed to him, unless his taste was satisfied or his reason convinced.


I hope I may be excused for adding, on my own behalf, that I never approached the author of “Tremaine” and “De Vere,” as an adviser or a critic, without feelings of mingled admiration and deference that would have prevented me from so approaching him at all, but for that almost affectionate personal regard which his treatment of me, from the very commencement of our intercourse, had by this time so strengthened and confirmed, as to level (to all outward results, I mean) the great distinctions between us, both as to social and intellectual rank and position.

The following is the first letter I received from Mr. Ward after his domestic calamities and his consequent residence abroad:—

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Lausanne, Dec. 9, 1836.

My dear Mr. Patmore,—I have had the truest pleasure in seeing your handwriting again, not merely from the gratifying things you are pleased to say of me, for which, thinking them sincere, I sincerely thank you; but because what I most wished is accomplished, and you are again in com-
munication with ——, whom I have often assured him could never get a more able ally. Long before I left England, and since too, I applied to him for your address, wishing much to consult you on my embryo work. But he knew it not, and I have been forced to act without your valuable assistance. However, having recovered my health and spirits in a great measure, I was glad to employ my leisure as you say, and shall continue to do so if I continue well.

“I have been delighted with Germany and the Germans, high and low. Not so with the Swiss, though much with their country. In this I am like Rousseau.

“I have a little treatise on Enthusiasm, which I wish I could show you, but this distance is untoward.

“We shall be home in June, which I am sorry for, but my little step-son (I don’t know whether you saw him at Gilston) has been left heir to his uncle Okeover, and succeeds to a landed property and Okeover Hall, full 6000l. a year, his mother being guardian; so we must return.

“Do you mark the coincidence of his name
with that in ‘
De Vere,’ when I wrote which I did not know it was in existence.

“Pray let me know where I can address you. We stay here till spring, and then for Paris.

“Sincerely yours,
“R. P. W.”

The Essay on Enthusiasm, alluded to in the foregoing letter, was afterwards published in the “Pictures of the World.” Plumer Ward never wrote anything more thoroughly characteristic of himself than this Essay—anything, I mean, more strikingly illustrative of his own personal character, which blended those seeming opposites, the Enthusiast and the Man of the World, in a degree and to a result that have rarely been equalled in any other case—each so moulding and tempering the other, that they formed together a working amalgam more happily fitted to the purposes and ends of actual life than anything but such a union could have produced.

The coincidence to which Mr. Ward alludes in this letter respecting Okeover Hall is one of those really remarkable ones, of which
several seem to have occurred to him in his remarkable life. It is thus alluded to in
Mr. Phipps’s Memoir:—

“Among the most pleasing passages in ‘De Vere’ is the description of the Man of Content, the ‘Master of Okeover Hall.’ By one of the strange coincidences that are stranger than fiction, Mr. Ward, while searching a road-book for an appropriate name for the abode of this, one of his favourite characters, had fixed on Okeover Hall. Years after this, and by events subsequent to his marriage, he saw himself, in right of his wife, as the guardian of her only son, the ‘Master of Okeover Hall;’ and most assuredly, in the peaceful life and social circle there established, he realised, in the best sense of the word, the ‘Man of Content.’”—Phipps, ii. 187.

But the most interesting point in this coincidence Mr. Phipps has not noticed. I allude to the fact (distinctly avowed by Mr. Ward in a previous letter), that many of the incidents in the life of Flowerdale, the “Master of Okeover Hall,” are founded on passages in Mr. Ward’s own career.

R. Plumer Ward to P. G. Patmore.
“Lausanne, March 1, 1837.

My dear Sir,—Your letter, though dated the 19th, is only just arrived, and I lose not a moment in telling you what pleasure it gives me. It would be the grossest affectation not to say that it pleased me in every way I could wish; for I know your sincerity, as well as your ability and powers of judging, and this, set off with its most friendly tone, left me nothing to desire. I shall be too happy if the world agree with you in half of what you are pleased to say. * * * *

“As I am serious in all this,* I will thank you much if in confidence you will advise me as to a publisher,—Murray, Saunders and Otley, Bentley, or any other. I will keep your secret. I am particularly annoyed that you have not seen ‘Rheindorf,’† which I think is of a higher cast than my others; and if an author can judge of himself, I think ‘Sterling’ (the miseries of ambition beyond your place) a very impressive moral

* The matters here alluded to have been omitted.

† Then in MS.

tale. On both these I long for your opinion. * * * * I have been so selfish as to notice these comparative trifles before adverting to much the most serious part of your letter, which gave me great and sincere concern. Your account of yourself is alarming, and scarcely allayed by the little consolatory improvement with which you end.

“ * * * * I wish you had consulted me about them,* at least if I could have

* I suppose this allusion refers to something I may have said in the letter to which this is a reply, relative to certain unlucky differences between a well-known publisher and myself, arising out of legal proceedings that I had been compelled to take against him, and which, in causing a separation between us, had for the moment greatly reduced my income. In allowing these and other similar expressions of feeling on the part of Mr. Ward, as to the worldly as well as literary position of the person addressed, to remain uncancelled, I do so simply because they are characteristic of their writer—in whom there was an apparent (for it was only an apparent) inconsistency on points of this nature. With the simplest natural tastes, and the sincerest love for those pleasures and pursuits which money cannot purchase, or place and position promote, he had nevertheless acquired, by a life-long association with the great and wealthy, and with scarcely any others, the most magnificent notions and habits as to income and expenditure—notions and habits which, until quite late in life, when he came into possession of the large Gilston

spared you any part of the unpleasantness of them. My friendship for men I liked much

property, had caused his own pecuniary resources, considerable as they always were, to fall very far short of those wants which his lavish tastes and generous temper called into play. The position which his friendly interest and partiality describe (somewhat strongly) in a subsequent letter as “a downright disgrace to the world,” and which he elsewhere speaks of in similar terms that have been allowed to stand for the reason above assigned, was and is one with which its holder is and ever has been perfectly content, because he has felt and feels it to be fully and fairly proportioned to the amount of literary ability and exertion applied in acquiring and maintaining it. The truth is, that although the simple-hearted and innocent Jack Careless, leaning over his low garden wall in gossip with his rustic village neighbours; the clear-thoughted, heart-whole, happy Flowerdale, in his wise retirement from the world; and the earnest and philosophic enthusiast Manners, in his half-voluntary, half-reluctant solitude—although these, and particularly the latter, were the ideals of Mr. Ward’s likings among the numerous personal portraits scattered through his works, and those with which he was most pleased to find himself assimilated—there is no denying, nor is there now any reason to conceal, that the proud and fastidious Tremaine, the stately and magnificent Rochfort, and even the smooth, polished, courtly, accomplished, and somewhat worldly-minded Herbert, partake not a little of that self-painting which is one of the great secrets of the success of most modern works of fiction—by “modern” meaning those of our own immediate day—not to mention all modern poetry—beginning with Childe Harold and ending with In Memoriam.

less than you has cost me dear, which you will believe when I tell you that in the last two years it has drained me of full 6000l. which I shall never see. Your letter made me say to myself how hard that some of this had not been applied where it would not only have told so much better, but gratified me so much more.

“It is most material to your health, to your talents, and your exertions for your family, that this accursed dependence upon should —— be put an end to. Without it, you will never do yourself justice. You tell me you are indeed out of fear; but can you be so if not out of bonds?

“For ourselves we think of returning, after a few weeks at Paris, whither we have fixed to proceed on the 14th. But here again ——’s most annoying conduct interferes; for, as I cannot stir till I have news of the work, and indeed am waiting for some copies, and the gentleman treats me with somewhat less attention than one of his devils, I am left altogether without chart and compass till he pleases to allow them.

“About May, however, we hope to be in
England, though probably not at Gilston; for not only I established my son and his eight children there when I left it, but many things combine to make me think I shall not return. In the first place, it has been the tomb of three beings whom I loved better than myself, and every bed and chamber in it is the bed of sickness or chamber of death,—full, therefore, of most unhappy associations. This, added to the radicalism of many of my neighbours, would indispose me to live again at Gilston if I could avoid it; and with these thoughts it does so happen that my little step-son
Okeover, whom I believe you saw at Gilston, has just succeeded, by the death of his uncle, to Okeover Hall and Park, together with near 6000l. a-year, in Staffordshire, and his mother being guardian, the trustees offer us the Hall till he comes of age; and as this would be her family place, and mine would be only hers for the short space of life that remains to me, we think seriously of leaving my son at Gilston, and living at her son’s, which I am. told is a most beautiful spot. But all this is but
embryo, and cannot be matured till we are on the spot.

“Adieu. If you can write so as that I can receive it on or before the 13th, pray direct here. Meantime believe me, with great truth, your obliged,

“R. P. W.”