LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life of William Roscoe
William Roscoe to John Johnson, [1802?]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“My very sincere acknowledgments are due for your obliging letter of the 1st of October, which should have been sooner answered, had I not been confined to my room by an attack of nervous fever, from which I am only just recovered. The interest which you are so good as to take in my researches respecting the Life of Leo X. encourages me to state to you, that, with respect to such information as the archives of Florence can supply, I am already, by the assistance of Lord Holland, possessed of copies of letters, &c. which compose two folio volumes, of upwards of 300 pages each. These, with such assistance as I occasionally derive from the respectable Canonico Bandini, will furnish me the necessary information. Yet, if any thing should occur to me, I shall take the liberty of addressing myself to the learned Abbate Fontani, to whose kindness I have before been indebted, and from whose very able assistance and advice I know I should derive great advantages.

“With respect to Rome, I have not yet had
an opportunity of obtaining any materials from that quarter, although the Vatican certainly contains an immense fund of information respecting the subject of my work. Your assistance in this respect will, therefore, be considered by me as a great obligation. As my work will contain a pretty full account of the pontificates of
Alexander VI. and Julius II., whatever relates to or elucidates either of their public characters will be of great use. With respect to the pontificate of Leo X., every thing that refers to it will be of importance to me,—whether it concerns his political transactions and negotiations, his encouragement of literature and art, his conduct, both in public and private life; in short, whatever has any connection with his history, or with that of any branch of his family. I find, that anecdotes and circumstances, trivial and unimportant in themselves, often acquire value from comparison with other parts of a person’s character and conduct; and I wish to collect all I can respecting this pontiff, in order to enable me to appreciate, so far as is in my power, his very extraordinary and equivocal character.

* * * * * * *

“I would not, if it had been in my power, have lost a single day in replying to your letter, as I shall send the first volume of my work to the press in the course of this winter. Whatever, therefore, relates to the times of Alexander VI. and Julius II. will be immediately wanted; but
any memorials of Leo X. will be in time, if they arrive during the course of the next summer.

“The freedom which I have taken will convince you that I place an implicit confidence in your obliging offers, which are indeed made with such frankness, that I cannot hesitate in availing myself of them.”