LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
William Augustus Conway to William Jerdan, 18 October 1822

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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Produced by CATH
“Oct. 18th, 1822.
Dear Sir,

“I gladly avail myself of your kind permission to renew, through this medium, the subject of our last conversation, and though experience forbids me to entertain any sanguine hope from your promised interference, my most sincere acknowledgments will be yours for your friendly endeavours to serve me. In that conversation I spoke of Lord William Conway as my father, and I must now inform you that, owing to peculiar circumstances, he has never supported or assisted me, and though not formally disowned I am not acknowledged by him. My various letters soliciting that act of justice, or an interview to enable me to demonstrate my claims to it, remain unanswered. On one occasion I traced him to an inn at Ringwood, and in a note, which I prevailed upon the landlord to place in his hands, implored an audience, if only for a few minutes; instead of granting it, however, he referred me in general terms to his family. I then wrote to the late Marquis, and to give weight to my application, procured it to be conveyed by persons of rank—the Hon. Mr. Tollemache and his lady, the Duchess of Roxburgh, who had frequently distinguished me by their kindness and hospitality. The Marquis acknowledged that he had always understood me to belong to his family, but added, that unless Lord William became himself my advocate he did not feel called upon to render me assistance. I next sought Lord Robert, by whom I was very courteously received, and afterwards Lord George, but owing to their alleged disunion from their brother I could not obtain from
them any promotion of my object. My last effort was through the assistance of a particular friend, a gentleman eminent in the literary world, whose knowledge of my straitened circumstances and natural claims upon the Hertford family, induced him to seek an interview with the late Marquis for the purpose of pleading my pretensions. On account of ill health the Marquis declined seeing him, but intimated his readiness to receive a written communication. Such communication was accordingly made, but did not obtain an acknowledgment. I send you a copy of it, and of the request which preceded it, that you may be able to appreciate the strength of that application, which was not honoured even with a reply. I fear these details will have been sufficiently tedious, hut in justice to myself I could not be less circumstantial. My hopes now rest with
Lord Henry and the present Marquis, to neither of whom I have the honour of being personally known. By your strong representations, perhaps, these noblemen may bestow a closer consideration upon my very hard lot, than it has hitherto been deemed worthy of. Their lordships may be humane enough to feel, and candid enough to allow, that though Lord William chooses to estrange himself from his connections, it is most unjust that I should be the sole victim of his peculiarity. For though his legitimate children may not have a large share of his personal attention, they are at least supported by his purse, and enjoy the full benefit of that rank in society to which their birth entitles them; while I am not only without any mark of personal notice which might give me a decent respect with the world, but am also without the slightest pecuniary aid that would enable me to live without it. Little sanguine as repeated reverses have taught me to be, I cannot forbear to entertain some hope that their lordships will commiserate
my situation when reminded that while every member of their numerous family, legitimate or otherwise, enjoys some provision from the wealth or influence of their connections, I alone of all their blood am doomed to neglect and penury—am abandoned to struggle as I may with adversity, without assistance or encouragement—and left to battle or beg my way through the world unregarded and unrelieved! I hope, Sir, that what has fallen from my pen cannot justly subject me to a charge of vanity or presumption: it is far from my wish to urge a syllable that can be construed disrespectful to any member of their lordships’ family; but I find myself struggling with an undeservedly hard fate, and in a communication like the present it becomes me to dispense with reservation or disguise. Through your kind interference, therefore, I most respectfully solicit either that their lordships will be good enough to cause some annual provision to be allotted me, sufficient to remove the importunities of want, and which I may endeavour to increase by the exercise of any little talent it has pleased Heaven to give me—or that through their powerful interest such a situation in one of the public offices may be obtained as with my own industry will yield the means of a decent livelihood. But if this assistance is considered as beyond my claims, I do then most earnestly call upon their lordships to exert that influence which their seniority may naturally be supposed to afford them with their family, and prevail upon Lord William to grant me an audience. To this favour I am entitled upon every principle of natural justice. Lord William may then hear how much I need assistance, and I shall have the long desired opportunity of learning from himself his reasons for withholding it.

“Such, Sir, are my opinions and feelings upon this
disagreeable subject, and such the expectations I have ventured to build upon them. How far they are rash or reasonable experience must determine; but I request you will be good enough to expunge or alter any expression of my letter your judgment disapproves, before applying it to the intended purpose.

“I know it cannot quicken your zeal, though it may hasten your endeavours, to be informed that now the theatre is closed I am without any prospect of provision for the passing day. Of course I shall attend your answer with some solicitude, and hope that it will convey a permission for me to see Lord Henry.

“I am,
“Yours truly,