LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 6: Periodical Press

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
‣ Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
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Leave to low buffoons, by custom bred,
And formed by nature to be kicked and fed,
The vulgar and unenvied task, to bit
All persons, right or wrong, with random wit.—
Law does not put the least restraint
Upon our freedom, but maintain’t,
Or, if it does, ’tis for our good
To give us freer latitude.—Butler.

My last chapter indicates what strange changes may occur in five-and-twenty years, yet it is only the salient alterations which strike the common observer as extraordinary, whereas the almost total revolution in every sublunary condition, up and down, is by far the most marvellous phenomenon. The imperceptibly slow and gradual turn of the wheel affords no idea of motion, and, individually, men perceive no alteration in themselves, whilst they are astonished at the alterations they see in all around them.
’Tis thus from hour to hour we ripe and ripe;
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale,
which is never understood till too late to be of any use.
Confident Youth fancies nothing can withstand it; whilst convicted Age knows how enormously it has been befooled. At all periods of life, it is wisdom to make the best of a bad bargain.

Truce, however, to moralizing, and to revert to more literary matters; which, drawn from my own experience, bear upon the internal constitution, and the public consideration due to the critical literature of the periodical press. In vindicating the “Gazette” from the aspersions with which it was so insidiously assailed and misrepresented, till a pretty general belief was obtained for the falsehoods, I do not mean to say that it, or any journal of its class, can be carried on with perfect freedom, and uninfluenced by any circumstances. On the contrary, personal regards and attachments, literary connections, and friendly interferences must have an effect in enhancing praise, and moderating blame; and, in a baser manner, rivalry, envy, and malignity will, in some instances, have the opposite effect in producing damning faint praise, or undue commendation, and abusive censure. To the former, I plead very partially guilty—the latter, I utterly repudiate and deny. I never penned a malevolent article during the whole of my long career; and, to the best of my knowledge, I never concealed or perverted a truth, even when noticing the performances of those I knew to be my unscrupulous enemies.

With regard to the soft impeachment of a little favouritism, it appears to me, on the retrospect, to be unavoidable; but then, it can hardly be considered an injurious deception practised upon the public. For the error is very venial and the illusion generally as transparent as it is slight. If believed to the very letter, it could do very small wrong: only raising for the moment some colleagues or allies a degree above their legitimate station, to sink into their
natural oblivion nearly as soon as their less lucky compatriots. The press has more power to de-press merit, than to exalt mediocrity, or force inferiority into transitory popularity. It can often crush the flower, but never give the weed a permanent acceptation.

Well, then, on looking back, I have to acknowledge having occasionally lent myself to the flattering unction of emitting not altogether or quite deserved eulogy; and if, by this means, I have contributed to exalt indifferent poetry (as I doubtlessly sometimes did) into temporary notice—poor wit and slow humour (as in annual imitations of Hood) into recreation for social hours—small-ware archæology (of Ireland, for example) into national acceptance—and literature or the arts in any of their branches, into more esteem than they justly merited, even for a brief season, I now cry peccavi,* and beg pardon of the momentarily misled world.† In sober sense, when carried to excess, I am ready to allow that undue panegyric may be as deteriorating to sound principles and correct opinions as vile injustice; but a mere leaning to kindness, rather than severity, cannot materially delude the public taste; and when we reflect on the cruel sacrifice of individual interests and hopes by the immolation of inoffensive efforts, there can be no question in the generous heart to which side the balance of the sternest criticism ought to incline.

I shall add but one other point to this digression, which

* An eminent publisher, and specially of school-books, was wont to say, “I made them cry Pessavy;” was the same who admired the Cantharides supporters of the vestibule of St. Pancras’ Church.

† Besides the all-but universal acknowledgment of the fairness and truth of the Literary Gazette, I, on one occasion, received a farewell letter from a distinguished foreign ambassador, ordering the paper to be addressed to him, abroad, and assuring the editor that during all the time he had been in England he had been guided in the purchase of books by his opinion, and had to thank him for having never once been deceived by it.

is, that I always found two parties who differed from any general suspicion that the “
Gazette” had coloured a trifle too highly, and these were the publishers of the works and their authors. The only exception I can remember to the former rule, was that of John Murray ridiculing me for the intense admiration I expressed for “Anastasius” (but my judgment was fully borne out by the sequel); to the latter, I cannot recollect a single objection being offered, but rather intimations that better place, longer extracts, and more extravagant eulogy, might fairly have been awarded.

The same feeling accounts for what all editors must have experienced, viz.: not quite the ingratitude of many of those who have sought and received their useful aid, but when helped forward by it, their proneness to ignore the assistance, admit a cool absence of gratitude, and ascribe all their success to their own surpassing merits.

Perhaps the “Gazette” was never a more efficacious organ of literature or more flourishing than at this period, though it maintained the proud station for a length of years. Its regular and occasional contributors were numerous and of the foremost rank, and it continued to originate and take the lead in important designs, some of which were immediately carried into effect, and others only realised at the present day, or left in a state of progress for consummation hereafter. Among the lesser instances of this sort, I may again refer to the foundation of the Melodists’ Club, for the promotion of English melody and ballad composition, which at once struck deep root, and has ever since pursued with éclat the harmonious tenor of its way. (See vol. iii., page 281.)

The idea, as I slightly stated, was first started at a dinner-party at my friend’s, Mr. William Mudford, at that time editor of the “Courier,” and author of the “Contem-
platist,” a series of essays; the “
Account of the Battle of Waterloo;” the “Five Nights of St. Albans;” “Mary of Buttermere,” and other works of various character and popular worth. Mr. Mudford, in 1818, brought a curious literary charge against Scott, which, as far as I know, was never contradicted. “The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland,” 2 vols. 4to, “by Walter Scott,” being advertised, Mudford reclaimed against this assumption of the entire authorship, and affirmed that very nearly half the work was written by himself, that he relinquished the task, and Scott afterwards completed it; and when it came out in an entire form (for it was originally published without a name, in quarterly parts) allowed his name to be placed on the title-page as the writer of the whole. Connected with this fact, Mr. Mudford mentioned two amusing circumstances drolly illustrative of critical sagacity. During the publication in detached portions, in one of the most respectable monthly journals in which it was noticed, the reviewer, led or misled by the nature of the subject, ascribed it on the strength of the internal evidence of the style to the pen of Walter Scott, and when it appeared with that name, exulted with no small self-glorification on the preceding proof of his accuracy of judgment; but, alas, at the time he made the happy discovery Scott had not written one line of the work! The second instance was afforded by a critic on the two volumes, who quoted largely the felicitous specimens of Scott’s style, every one of which happened to have been written by Mudford!

“Nature,” observed an acute philosophical writer, “has so framed the human mind that the particulars of transactions which are intended only for a particular purpose, make a very slight and transient impression on a memory, the vigour of which is, in every successive hour, devoted to a succession of new matters.” To this, as well as to
advanced years, I fear I must ascribe many imperfections in my Memoirs; but the establishment of the Melodists has left an “impression” equally strong and agreeable.
Braham and Sinclair entered at once warmly into the proposition: with such leaders it could not fail. Sinclair was then in all his freshness of voice and fame; Braham (still wonderful in 1853) was in the full and vigorous possession of those extraordinary powers with which, as a mere boy, he had electrified the town on his début under Mr. Palmer at the Royalty Theatre, forty years before, viz. 1787. And I am now speaking of twenty-six years ago! having only lately listened to my old friend and matchless tenor with the utmost delight, enabled to vouch for powers of song which seem to be immortal. John Parry soon became an active member of the Club, and ultimately secretary; and to show its early force, I may specify Weber, Curioni, de Begnis, Duruset, Sedletzek, Horne, T. Cooke, T. Welsh, Broadhurst, Bland, and other eminent musicians, foreign and native, as setting the example of displaying all their accomplishments at the first meetings; an example which has been so richly and advantageously followed ever since, rendering the entertainments attractive for the novelties introduced and the charms of the music, both in selected and original compositions.

But discords will arise, even alongside of harmonies, and I had the mortification at this time to be convicted of and amerced for, the only libel for which I was ever prosecuted during my procrastinated wielding of that perilous weapon, the pen. There was a poor, vain, puffing creature, called Wright, who dealt in wines and Opera-tickets in the Opera Colonnade, and who was just fool enough to throw people off their guard in not fancying him a rogue; the character is not uncommon in London trade, where the absurdity of
the ass is often closely linked with the cunning of the fox. Well, in one of the light gossiping letters from Paris, which were inserted to diversify the graver scientific and literary topics of the “
Gazette,” my correspondent happened to say that “Wright’s champagne was justly so called, because he makes it all himself, without the aid of the grower in France.” Having heard a report that Wright vowed vengeance for this calumny, and swore he would prosecute the paper for 20,000l. damages, I was so amused with the threat, that in noticing it I jestingly explained that all the libel meant was, that “the wine was so good that it must be, as he advertised, his own, and not nasty French stuff.” For this accumulated offence, the dealer did really bring his action, and the Lord Chief Justice, not taking the joke (as Lord Campbell would have done), directed, “Had not the libel been repeated a second time, he thought the smallest damages would have been sufficient; but as the defendants had chosen, after a representation from Mr. Wright, to persist in setting themselves up against the law, it would, perhaps, be right to make them larger than they otherwise would have been; “and so the jury found a verdict of damages, Fifty pounds! The facts, however, were, that Wright never made any representation at all, and that “We” never entertained a thought of setting ourselves against the Law, any more than against the Gospel. We had laughed, with others, at the arrant folly of the rumoured prosecution—or as a trick to bring the composite wines into notice—and our second libel was, in verity, but an indifferent pleasantry upon the ridiculous subject. But everything prosecuted was a libel in those times; and the greatest hardship I felt on the occasion, was the having my excellent taste in champagne impugned by a judge and jury, as if I could not tell the sparkling genuine from the execrable sham.


Rhubarb champagne was not then invented, but, besides creditable gooseberry, there was abundance of the manufacture from cider, perry, lemon acid, tartaric acid, turnip juice, &c., &c, with the dangerous disguises of cherry-laurel-water, and various preparations of lead, not to mention carbonic acid gas, impregnated with the more harmless bouquet from sweet-briar, and flavours from orris-root, clary, elder-flowers, and other innoxious adjuncts, to excite my wrath. The truth is, that so little did I credit the rumour that Wright would ever have the impudence to come into court, that I received the first announcement of my misfortune on dropping into Messrs. Longmans, Paternoster-row, about dinner-time, when I was saluted with, “You are a very pretty fellow to show your face here, just after being found guilty of an atrocious offence, and fined fifty pounds.” As the sailors say, one could only grin and bear it, and so I sought relief in epigrams, of which the following are samples:—

To call a rogue a rogue is a piece of defamation,
Since it hurts him in his own and his neighbours’ estimation;
So the rogue may bring his action, and get plaster for his sore, sir,
For a false cut, a broad lump: more for truth, for truth hurts more, sir.
(The name of Wright’s man was Harnett.)

Of all men on the earth to be accurst,
A pettifogging lawyer is the worst;
His path through life is stinging like a Hornet,
And his best deed! the devil himself would scorn it.
Who say libel-law’s uncertain? Their wits are surely lost!
Let them try it, and they’ll find it is certain to their cost.
Take judges’ dicta, gentlemen of sense.
And give an unwhipt rascal recompense:
Punish for truth, to make it known to fame,
Jurors and con-jurors are not the same.

Master Wright, however, had attained his object, and could afford to laugh at my epigrams, without instituting new actions for new libels, and outfacing the laws. The “Gazette” was mulcted, with law expenses, of between a hundred and a hundred and fifty pounds; and the Plaintiff furnished more champagne for masquerades and flash parties than ever. Lord Chesterfield built an amusing hoax upon the occasion. Desiring to boil a glorious boar’s head and ham, from Germany, in champagne, he sent to Wright for his “own” cheap vintage, and the fellow, rejoicing to let in a customer of such rank, sent in some of the finest champagne he could purchase in London at less than half the price he gave for it. It was excellent fooling; but the end was melancholy. Wright went wrong in trade and mind, and the last I heard of him was in an asylum under Dr. ——, whom he was always tempting to buy his imaginary wines, such as he supplied the Majesty of Heaven and the Trinity with (blasphemy in insanity), and finally wrecking himself upon the delusion that he could not walk, because he had only two left legs (not [W] rights), which pertained to the tender bodies of Miss Love and Madame Vestris! How they managed without them did not occur to the maniac.

As between melody and libel, life went on, presenting similar alternations between sunshine and rain; the black and white squares of its chess-board, whereon I continued to move and mix with its pawns, knights, bishops, and rooks, and have a sidelong glance even at royalty. Upon the whole it was a busy and very exciting time with me;
not only nulla dies sine lineá, but no day without manifold engagements, and pre-occupation for weeks in advance. There could not be a more rapid or variable course. It was now mourning, now merry-making; now grave business, now gaiety; now labour, now sport; now suffering, now enjoyment; now the shafts of offence, now the caresses of obligation; now a pinch, now a plethora. I am told that among the offended, a small poet,
Mr. D. L. Richardson, has cherished his resentment even so far off as the East Indies, and so lately as to the present date, reviewing and girding at my biography with as much malice, though with less slashing talent, as Sam Phillips himself. There happened to be another Dromio, or Richardson, whose initials were T. F., and who, naturally enough, reclaimed against being mistaken for T. D., for stating which fact, in no complimentary manner, to the wholesale and retail puff system of T. D. aforesaid, (who sent paid paragraphs in praise of his book to a hundred newspapers, and then quoted a centenary of eulogiums as the opinions of the press), this same T. D. has, I am told from India, visited my transgression in some journal he adorns in Calcutta. It is always unsafe to wound one of the irritabile genus, and dangerous to sting even a gnat poet. But there are better and more pleasant things to reflect upon; and
Where are the visions that round me once hovered,
Forms that had grace in their shadows alone;
Looks fresh as light from a star just discovered,
And voices that music might take for her own?

Oh yes, dear Moore, and you were one of the lively and intellectual circle, of the pleasant and the profound, of the social and the learned, of the sound-sensed, practical, and the genius-fraught imaginative who filled this crowded, stirring scene. What a list I could furnish, what reminis-
cences I could bring up; but there can only be glimpses of some few of the figures, and snatches at some few of the circumstances, as they vanish into the past.

The reader need not be told that Moore was a delightful companion; among men, ever full of anecdote and entertainment, and, when the dining-room surrendered its inmates to the better society of the drawing-room, a perfect Orpheus to enchant the only portion of creation it is worth a wish to charm. Seated at the piano, and chanting his own Irish melodies, with all the sentiment and expression of the poet, though almost like recitative and without strong powers of voice, he was then in his glory, his small figure magnified into an Apollo, and his round countenance beaming, or perhaps the more accurately descriptive word would be sparkling with intelligence and pleasure, whilst Beauty crowded enamoured around him and hung with infectious enthusiasm upon his every tone. It is only by reference to the furore sometimes witnessed at a chef d’oeuvre in opera executed by a perfect artist, that an idea can be formed of the effect of Moore’s singing to a refined circle, whose silence of admiration was but casually and briefly broken by murmurs of delight. I have seen instances of extraordinary excitement produced by his musical fascinations,
Trembling, fainting,
Possessed beyond the muse’s painting,
young female feeling almost overcoming decorum; yet, sometimes, the playful predominating, so that it was not out of place to hear, as I once did, a witty old Scotch lady perpetrate a bad pun, and tell him that he made a paradise like the Greek Hesperides by his Peri-days!

I have read, with much regret, the Memoirs of Moore now issuing from the press, and giving so unfavourable, and, in my judgment, so unjust a colouring to his character.
The publication, without reserve of his private memoranda, has contributed to create a considerable prejudice against him; and his editor ought to have known that it is easier to defend an individual against grave charges than rashly to throw out every slight offence to bear its comment. Persons who have never been admitted to the higher circles of society—and such are the vast majority of the readers, not to mention the like preponderance of the critics of such works—are apt to mistake the laudable ambition to enjoy so inestimable a privilege to “tuft-hunting,” and a parasitical subserviency to the great. But
Moore had no occasion to fawn on and flatter wealth or station: he was too much courted to need to court, and his taste and discrimination speedily taught him, of plebeian birth, that perfect good breeding, refined manners, intuitive respect for the feelings of others, cultivated intellectual endowments, pure honour, and noble and generous sentiment were very generally to be found in the best aristocratic intercourse, and that he was indeed a fortunate man who could, on any grounds, aspire to and be admitted to so elevated and elevating a position. I make no boast of my intense gratification in having been allowed to share in similar distinctions, on which I look back not only with individual pride as having been earned by no self-abasement, but as the source of confirming every gentlemanly sense and habit, and informing and raising the mind to a superior standard of social intelligence and conduct. I speak from experience and observation in defending Moore from so erroneous a construction as has been put upon passages in his diary, and though the question affects the most exalted in the land, I would fain fortify my opinion by the homely proverb, “Show me your company, and I will tell you what you are.” In spite of little envious cavils, therefore, you may depend upon it that there is no free and
friendly communion more agreeable, more instructive, or more mutually beneficial in every way, than that between talent and rank. Where the parties are worthy of their respective conditions, it is therefore simply natural that they should seek and attach themselves to each other, for the sake of progress in improving time and giving an otherwise unattainable zest to life.

Moore was formed to shine in such society, and reap from it in return the advantages which it alone can bestow.

As one of the most interesting literary matters in the biography referred to, relates to the burning of Lord Byron’s manuscript confided by his lordship to Mr. Moore, and as it has led to a public statement by the present Mr. Murray, publisher, and other correspondence, I may here insert a few particulars connected with the subject which will throw a little further light upon it.

As was to be supposed the “Literary Gazette” would take some notice of so strange an event. I, from the best information I could gather, and from quarters most nearly concerned in the transaction, prepared a brief account, which, considering the terms of intimate friendship in which I lived with the late Mr. Murray, and my wish to be quite correct, I deemed it my duty to submit to him previous to publication. It was as follows:—


“The history and recent destruction of this MS. is so singular, that a brief account of it cannot fail to interest literary readers. It is generally known, that above three years ago Lord Byron put into the hands of his friend, Mr. Moore, at Paris, a sketch of his life up to that period, with the power of disposing of it for publication. On coming to England, Mr. Moore sold this MS. to Mr. Murray
for 2000 guineas. But it had been seen by a number of persons, and even copied, either entirely or partially by some, and its contents came to be much talked about and canvassed. We are confident we hazard no invasion of the truth when we say, that being written in gall and bitterness of spirit, soon after the author left his family and country in disgust, this narrative would not only have disgraced his memory, but would have compromised and blasted the characters of many persons who move in the highest circles of British society and fashion. It was natural, therefore, that these, as well as Lord Byron’s family connexions, should, as Time’s whispers betrayed the secrets of the
Memoirs bit by bit, become anxious for the suppression of this dreaded MS. By what spring moved it is needless to trace, but certain negotiations between Mr. Moore and Murray were the consequence. The MS. was Mr. Murray’s, paid for, and in his possession: and it was covenanted that Mr. Moore should have the revisal of it previous to publication, in order to remove the most offensive passages; and afterwards, that if not redeemed before Lord Byron’s decease, Mr. Murray was to have the right to publish it within three months of that event. Very lately, we understand, farther and not altogether friendly arrangements were spoken of between these parties; but the matter stood as we have stated when the account of Lord Byron’s death arrived. With this crisis came the tug of dispute. Mr. Murray, impressed with the obloquy which the Biography would cast upon the name of Byron, and with the infamy of its numerous libels, consulted with the friends of the family, and principally with Mr. Wilmot Horton, who is related to Lady Byron. Mr. Moore, actuated by a like sense of the impropriety of the publication, conferred with his friends, and, through Mr. Luttrell, wished to redeem the MS.
Mr. Cam Hobhouse also, one of the warmest (and, as it seems to us, one of the most disinterested) friends of the late Lord, interfered to save his posthumous fame from this stroke; and Col. Doyle appeared for Mrs. Lee, Lord Byron’s half sister, with a similar object.

“After some angry conferences, in which Mr. Moore and Mr. Murray differed essentially upon the construction of the agreement between them, the latter, in our opinion, very generously, surrendered his property in the MS. to the friends of Lord Byron (thus making the sacrifice of a property worth at the present time many thousand pounds), and it was committed, to the flames. Mr. Moore, on his part, returned the 2000 guineas which he had received for the copyright with interest; but we learn with satisfaction that this honourable act is not likely to be any permanent loss to him, as the sum has been again placed at the command of his friend Mr. Luttrell by Mr. Horton (if he chooses to accept of it), as the representative of the family of Lord Byron. With the passionate feelings of any of the individuals who have been concerned in these transactions we have nothing to do, either in our private or public capacity. We think the final determination fortunate for all parties; for the dead, for the living, and for the country generally; and we also think that such a MS. ought never to have been sold in contemplation of being published. What blame attaches to this, is we hope redeemed by the sacrifices finally offered and made; and our only fear is, that they may be rendered partially vain, by the existence of transcripts in other quarters.”

Notwithstanding recent assertions, including the remembrance of Lord John Russell from having partially read the manuscript, that there was little or nothing in it to warrant the description I have put in italics above, I am entirely
convinced that it contained a great deal of such objectionable and injurious matter. Indeed, I had numerous passages communicated to me, which would have set the coteries of London in flames, and compromised several parties in the most painful manner; and to plain, common understanding there could be no other valid or sufficient reason for the formal burning of the MS. before witnesses assembled to see the deed performed. Being well acquainted with
Mrs. Lee, on intimate terms with Mr. (Sir) Wilmot Horton (in whose palace, at Candy, I had afterwards a grandson born), and also familiar with nearly all the other individuals concerned, I do not reiterate my belief on guesswork, but on certain information received at the time from head-quarters on every side. But to return to my narrative. I had an immediate reply from Mr. Murray, which I insert in fairness to the argument:—

“Albemarle Street, Friday.
My dear Sir,

“I assure you, upon my honour, that the account you enclosed to me is so very erroneous in almost every particular, that I would beg, as a personal favour, that you would omit any mention of it, with particulars, until an account can be made more satisfactory to all parties.

“I send you something very general, but I would infinitely prefer your waiting until next Saturday; but I again assure you that the printed account is throughout erroneous, and I trust that it will therefore be totally omitted.

“J. M.
W. Jerdan, Esq.

The enclosure alluded to was as follows, and written in a different hand, but I have distinguished Mr. Murray’s corrections and additions by printing them in italics:—


“A general interest having been excited touching the fate of Lord Byron’s Memoirs, written by himself, and reports confused and incorrect having got into circulation upon the subject, it has been deemed requisite to signify the real particulars.

“The manuscript of these Memoirs was purchased by Mr. Murray, in the year 1821, for the sum of two thousand guineas, under certain stipulations, which gave him the right of publishing them three months after his Lordship’s demise. When that event was authenticated, the manuscript consequently remained at Mr. Murray’s absolute disposal, and a day or two after the melancholy intelligence reached London, Mr. Murray submitted to the near connections of the family that the manuscript should be destroyed. In consequence of this, five persons, variously concerned in the matter, were convened for discussion upon it.

“As these Memoirs were not calculated to augment the fame of the writer, and as some passages were penned in a spirit which his better feelings since had virtually retracted, Mr. Murray proposed that they should be destroyed, considering it a duty to sacrifice every view of profit to the reputation of the noble author, by whose confidence and friendship he had been so long honoured. This proposal of Mr. Murray’s was strongly opposed, and he again urged it with increased zealousness, renouncing even every claim to indemnification for what he had paid, in order to obviate objections as far as he possibly could.

“The result has been, that, notwithstanding some opposition first offered, he obtained the desired decision, and the manuscript was forthwith committed to the flames. Mr. Murray, notwithstanding his renunciation of every claim to repayment of the purchase-money, was immediately reimbursed in the purchase-money by Mr. Moore, although
he (Mr. Murray) had previously renounced every claim to reimbursement (struck out for ‘repayment’).”

I shall not offer any further remark on this curious affair, but as I happen to have brought so many popular characters upon the stage, I may as well take the opportunity to illuminate my readers with a few more particulars of their sayings and doings, which are connected with this period of our literature. The first is a letter from Mr. Murray on various topics, but the first passage remarkable as exhibiting where there might be a cross light upon the Byron MS. business.

“Albemarle Street, June 14.
My dear Sir,

“I thank you for your attentive hint respecting Mr. Barry, of Genoa. Mr. Hobhouse has, as usual, prevented their going to Mr. Moore!

“I think you have overlooked Captain Smith’sLife of Captain Beaver,’ which, if not so well put together as it might have been, contains many very curious facts regarding a remarkable man. In the course of the day I will send you the first copy of an interesting work, in its way and at this time, ‘Forest Scenes in the Wilds of North America.’

“With kind compliments,
“I remain,
“My dear Sir,
“Yours very truly,

Mr. Douglas Kinnaird writes me—“Lord Byron was such a humourist that it were dangerous to affirm from memory
what may or may not have fallen from him in his wayward moments. The truth is, he never ceased to play off his waggeries upon friends and acquaintances and the public at large, regardless of consequences. Recklessness was a striking ingredient in his eccentric spirit.” Another letter of
Mr. Murray’s exhibits a trait:—

“Albemarle Street, Tuesday.
My dear Sir,

“I send you the fair sheets of Count Gamba’s account of Lord Byron’s proceedings amongst the Greeks, and trust that you will find it a simple, unaffected statement of facts and actions that do credit both to the author and his subject. Lord Byron, like Lord Nelson and Lord Erskine, sinks into contempt in the common affairs of life, but his mind awakens, like theirs, in any great cause. He appears here as a man of good taste, sound judgment, and discretion—totally the opposite of his colleague, the Hon. L * * * S * *

“Most truly yours,

A letter I received from the late Earl of Carlisle, to whom the “Hours of Idleness” was dedicated in 1807-8,* after mentioning other matters, explains another epoch in Byron’s life, viz., his taking the oaths as a peer, and his unfounded resentment for a supposed slight on which occasion produced

* “In those days I first saw and knew a little of ‘Lord George Gordon, a minor,’ at any rate a young man indulgent in not a few youthful habits and frolics. His head-quarters were near mine in Brompton, for he lived in furnished lodgings in Queen-street, with a great dog that used to trample my garden, and a smaller page who, owing to some mistake of sex, was exactly the opposite to the lubberly boy disguised in girl’s clothes in the ‘Merry Wives of Windsor.’”—W. J.

his angry attacks upon his most estimable friend and relative, which were only apologised for when the fall of the
gallant Howard on the field of Waterloo awakened nobler feelings, and produced the affecting poetic burst which bewailed that family and national loss:—

“I beg leave to return my best thanks for the prints you were kind enough to send me, and also for the ‘Literary Gazette.’ The account of Mrs. Jordan’s memoirs appears to be done with considerable delicacy, and I have no doubt has given satisfaction where anxiety may have existed.

“In talking the other morning on the subject of Lord Byron, I may have misled you respecting his introduction to the House of Peers. A peer by descent, after receiving his writ, takes the oaths at the table of the House of Lords without any introduction. A peer newly created is introduced by two peers of his own rank.

Lord Byron was misinformed in conceiving that Lord Carlisle ought to have introduced him. He also, I believe, took some offence at being referred to the Heraldic College for the proof of his pedigree prior to the issuing of the writ; but there was, I am convinced, no intention whatever of treating him slightingly.

“Thinking that I was not quite accurate the other day, I have troubled you with this explanation.

“I have the honour to be, Sir,
“Your very obedient servant,
“Grosvenor Place.”

But Byron is almost diverting me from Moore, to whom I must return, after quoting two more letters from Mr.
Murray, to show the esteem in which he held the “Gazette” and its editor:—

Mr dear Sir,

“My father having discovered, that by making McQueen [the plate printer] work night and day and at meal times, he can have a sufficient number of plates struck off in time, has determined on printing the second volume of Byron on Wednesday next.

“He sends you the first copy which has gone forth.

“Very truly yours,
W. Jerdan, Esq.
“Albemarle Street, June 27, 1831.
My dear Jerdan,

“The inconvenience, not to say annoyance, of which your letter so naturally complains, has arisen, at least in the most particular instances, from the uncertainty with which the works were published; but this is not likely to occur again in any case, but even if it should, I will take particular care that your plans shall not be affected by it; and, in future, I will take care to secure the priority for you. With kind wishes,

“My dear Jerdan,
“Most sincerely yours,

I find I must break into another chapter with my Mooriana. I shall accordingly close this with three notes: 1st, one from Moore to Mr. Rees, on my review of the “Epicurean,” “Literary Gazette,” No. 545; 2nd, an appointment upon a subject I may yet have to notice;
and 3rd, a letter from
Mr. Lockhart, which inter alia says, “Mr. Moore, as you will perceive, is very indignant with Mr. F. M. Reynolds for publishing an extempore without his consent. The poet asserts in a letter to Murray, that they offered him 600 guineas for the benefit of his name in the ‘Keepsake,’ and that he declined the offer. Whether was Heath or Moore the most mad? Our tumbler-shying was nothing to this!”*

Our tumbler-shying belonged to a day of the highest jinks (of which by-and-by) spent with the F. M. Reynolds aforesaid, son of the dramatist, author of “Miserrimus,” and, nathless, a right good fellow, possessed of much talent, emulous of literature, and fond of associating with literary men. He died prematurely, abroad, not long ago.

“Saturday, June 30, 1827.
My dear Sir,

“I cannot resist—hurried as I am—writing you a line, to beg you will convey my best thanks to Jerdan for the service he has done me. His article is not only very friendly, but is also very skilfully executed; and he has put my book in so favourable a light, as to extort a little admiration of it, even from myself.

“Should you be called upon for a second edition, pray let me know in time, as there are two or three verbal errors I should like to correct.

“Just off to the Dandy Dinner!

“Ever yours,

* Southey asked 50l. for a contribution about a cock and a hen for “The Christmas Box,” in 1828. Miss Edgeworth got 30l. according to my advice for a tale in the same little annual.

My dear Sir,

Mr. Moore is very desirous of meeting you, and I have made an appointment with him to meet you at Power’s in the Strand, to-morrow (Monday), at two o’clock precisely.

“He leaves town on Tuesday morning early.

“Yours, very truly,

A letter of W. Gifford’s having reference to matters previously stated, may aptly fill up this page.

“Friday Morning.
My dear Friend,

“I am grieved and surprised at your note. I wrote, myself, civilly to your correspondent, and told him that I had prepared my answer to Bellamy before you had entrusted me with his remarks; but that if Bellamy gave me any occasion to reply further, I would then very readily avail myself of them. I thought I had returned them. This, it would seem, I have not. I will look over my papers this evening, and inclose them to you without delay.

“By the by, your old acquaintance, Taylor, seems out of his wits. He calls his paper the ‘Parson’s Paper,’ and yet he is daily printing the blasphemies of a poor ignorant wretch whom he calls Stockham!!

“Ever yours, in haste,