LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Fifty Years’ Recollections, Literary and Personal

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
‣ Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Vol. III Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
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Henry Matthews was another friend. He became a puisne judge in Ceylon, and died there after seven years’ residence, beloved and respected. He was one of the sons of Colonel Matthews, of the county of Hereford, and brother of Charles Matthews, the early companion of Byron, one of the Monks of Newstead, whom he much resembled. Henry was like his brother Charles in voice and feature. The latter was drowned. Henry was an Eton boy. After leaving college, he made a tour on the continent for the benefit of his health, and published the “Diary of an Invalid.” His manners were exceedingly agreeable, and his stock of acquirements large.

About this time Miss Baillie joined us, or as she always claimed to be styled “Miss Joanna Baillie;” with Campbell she had long been on terms of intimacy. She was a lady of rare genius. I had once a laugh at her repudiation of old maidenship in title. Henry Roscoe, who resembled his father more than any of his brothers, tall and slender, with a countenance indicative of genius in its fragility, belonged to our circle, as did his brother Thomas. He was cut off by death prematurely, just when he was beginning to reap the reward of his
exertions in the study of the law.
Mr. Munden, a son of the well-known actor of that name, versed in Spanish literature, joined us, and Mr. Proctor (Barry Cornwall) widely known and honourably esteemed by his writings, and still more as a man; the two Smiths, Horace and James, and the present Sir John Bowring. The last gave us some translations from the German.

Horace Smith was acquainted with a medical gentleman who had in his possession the head of Oliver Cromwell, and to gratify my curiosity, gave me a note to him. There accompanied the head a memoir relating to its history. It had been torn from the tomb with the heads of Ireton and Bradshaw, after the accession of Charles II., under a feeling of impotent vengeance. All three were fixed over the entrance of Westminster Hall. The other bones of those three distinguished men being interred at Tyburn under the gibbet, an act well fitting the Stuart character. During a stormy night the centre head, which was that of Cromwell, fell to the ground. The sentry on guard beneath, having a natural respect for an heroic soldier, no matter of what party, took up the head and placed it under his cloak until he went off duty. He then carried it to the Russells, who were the nearest relations of Cromwell’s family, and disposed of it to them. It belonged to a lady, a descendant of the Cromwell’s, who did not like to keep it in her house. There was a written minute extant with it. The disappearance of the head is mentioned in some of the publications of the time. It had been carefully embalmed, as Cromwell’s body is known to have been two years before its disinterment. The nostrils were filled with a substance like cotton. The
brain had been extracted by dividing the scalp. The membranes within were perfect, but dried up and looked like parchment. The decapitation had evidently taken place after death, as the state of the flesh over the vertebra of the neck plainly showed. It was hacked, and had evidently been done by a hand not used to the work, for there were several cuts besides that which separated the bone. The beard, of a chesnut colour, seemed to have grown after death. An ashen pole, pointed with iron, had received the head clumsily impaled on its point, which came out an inch above the crown, rusty and time-worn. The wood of the staff, and the skin itself, had been perforated by the common wood worm. I wrote to
Smith that I had seen it, and deemed it genuine. He replied:

“I am gratified you were pleased with the head, as I was when I saw it, being fully persuaded of its identity. It is indeed a pregnant source of reflections, very humiliating to human nature, and I am afraid we are not much advanced since the days of Cromwell. To bury a man alive, is worse than disinterring him after death.* But, perhaps, the process may be reversed in the case of Napoleon, and his bones be as much honoured as he is now degraded. Next week I take my departure for Italy, &c.”

What a singular coincidence! The bones of Napoleon have been honoured, and lie in France after all. I have preserved but few of the letters of Horace Smith. He took up his quarters at Versailles after he quitted business in London, residing at 15, Rue des Reservoirs.

* Alluding to the treatment of Napoleon by Lord Castlereagh and Sir Hudson Lowe.

“Dear Sir,

“I have been a good deal occupied in changing and furnishing my lodgings, and have had but little time for writing, and I have no access to books, as mine have not yet been returned from Italy, but they are on the route, and I hope to keep you supplied with admissible matter. Your account of the sale is gratifying, and I should think must be satisfactory to Mr. Colburn, even should it not advance further, though his heavy expenses must demand a wide circulation.

“That you should not receive much novelty is natural enough, for who the deuce can hit upon anything new, when half the world are racking their brains to do the same. The magazine certainly improves, and as far as I can judge from those who see it here, and at Galignani’s, gives great satisfaction.

“I had heard of poor Leigh Hunt’s adventure, I hope to heaven he will get out to Italy somehow, for this is the very crisis of his fate, not only as it may remove him from all the devilry with which he has been so long beleaguered, but that it may place him within the powerful influence of Lord Byron. His non-arrival has occasioned a whole chapter of embarrassments at Pisa, where his lordship has appropriated a part of his palace for his reception, and has matured the other plans for which he was wanted. What these are I do not exactly know, but Shelley is only interested as an occasional contributor, and none of the party will dream of heretical, still less of atheistical theories, in a periodical publication which would be inevitably sup-
pressed.* Though Shelley is my most particular friend, I regret the imprudence of his early publications on more points than one, but as I know him to possess the most exalted virtues, and find in others who promulgate the most startling theories, most amiable traits, I learn to be liberal towards abstract speculations, which not exercising any baneful influence on their author’s lives, are still less likely to corrupt others. Truth is great, and will prevail—that is my motto, and I would, therefore, leave everything unshackled—what is true will stand, and what is false ought to fall, whatever be the consequences. Ought we not to feel ashamed that
Lucretius could publish his book in the teeth of an established religion, while martyrs are groaning in perpetual imprisonment, for expressing a conscientious dissent from Christianity.

“Human punishments and rewards will generally be found sufficient for human control, so far as it can really be controlled. Jack Ketch is the most effectual devil, and the gallows the most practical hell, the theoretical ones, which could not deter from crime, are seldom much thought of by the rogue until these most tangible ones are about to punish him.

John Hunt is a fine spirited fellow, and I beg to be kindly remembered to him.

“I am delighted with France, particularly Versailles, and do not think of an immediate return. There is very good English society here.

* Such were the charitable reports of those at the time, who professing outrageous orthodoxy, and exclusive piety, lived practical heretics and atheists. We have seen better times, and more charity.


“I never look at the magazine without wondering how you get through the labour, which I fear is too heavy to allow you any trip to this side, where I should be most happy to see you. I have taken apartments and furnished them myself, which I find a much cheaper plan.

“I am always, Dear Sir,
“Yours very faithfully,
Horatio Smith.”

I cannot, out of his letters left undestroyed, omit the following. Of the authors of the “Rejected Addresses,” he was the superior. His brother was given to jest and epigram only, and was more confined in his views of men and things, being little of the philosopher.

Versailles, 15, Rue des Reservoirs.

“Many thanks, my dear Sir, for your acceptable letter of the 21st July, handed to me by Mr. Crowe, who passed a day with me, very agreeably on my part, and to whom I should have been happy to shew further civilities, but that the shortness of his stay prevented it. He seems a very intelligent unassuming man, and I should much like to join him in his excursion, as I still hope to visit the classic regions if I can get my wife’s health re-established.

“I understand the paragraph to which you allude in “Blackwood,” is an ill-natured one towards me, and it does not contain an atom of truth, as I knew nothing, whatever, of the projected work at Pisa, and certainly shall not contribute a line, even were I requested, which I have never been, so that if you have an opportunity
of contradicting the assertion, I will thank you to do so. Even
Shelley, the only one of the party with whom I am in communication, has no share in the domiciliation of Hunt, nor has he pledged himself to any literary participation in the plans, whatever they may be. From him I have lately heard of Hunt’s arrival at Genoa on his way to Leghorn, Lord Byron’s present residence, where he is amusing himself with a beautiful yacht, which he has just had built at Genoa. Two more cantos of Don Juan are finished, at which I for one feel little pleasure, for I hate all productions, whatever be their talent, which present disheartening and degrading views of human nature. This is, in my opinion, worse than impiety, though it is the latter imputation which will destroy its popularity in England, almost the only country existing in Europe where bigotry retains its omnipotence. You did well, however, to strike out anything in any contribution calculated to give offence, even to particular professions, for what Johnson said of the drama is applicable to magazines:
‘Those who live to please, must please to live.’

“I suppose a similar feeling suppressed my final journal of a tourist, where my summary of the French national character is probably deemed too favourable, though I do think the English might be benefited by hearing something about the virtues of their neighbours, instead of having their blind hostility aggravated by lying diatribes. A man of four or five hundred a year keeps a cabriolet and horse which would be hooted and pelted in England, but they answer his purpose, convey him to his friends, and give him air, pleasure, and
variety. All these an Englishman forgoes if he cannot do it in style, and mount a lackey behind in a blue jacket with gold lace. Pride, filthy pride!—pride is the besetting sin of England, and like most other sins brings its own punishment, by converting existence into a struggle, and environing it with gloom and heartburning.

“I am exactly of your feeling—I can live comfortably under an arbitrary foreign government, while I was perpetually annoyed at home by the tyranny and mismanagement of men whose talents were despicable. I felt as if I was constantly kicked by jackasses—here I do not trouble my head about the French, and only endeavour to forget the English ministers.

“Your information about a paper will be most valuable if we get permission to establish one, of which I have no expectation. We have a Paris English magazine, to which Galignani has started an opposition. I occasionally give it a lift with my pen, but neither of the works answer, nor do I much expect they will. Adieu,

“My dear Sir,
“Yours very faithfully,
Horatio Smith.”

I subjoin another note or two of this most excellent man and esteemed friend. It is likely that I over-rate his abilities, but to over-rate the virtues of his heart is scarcely possible.

“My dear Sir,

“I have been waiting for a conveyance to London
to thank you for ‘
Andrews’ Travels,’ which have at length come safely to hand, spite of your apprehensions that they might have been mislaid, and I find them to contain a good deal of curious matter and information which to me was new.*

“You came down last month to take a shower-bath or two, if you want ‘warm’ baths now is your time; and you will have nothing to pay, as the air will confer them gratuitously.

“Should any of the articles I gave you for the magazine prove objectionable you can return them when any parcel is coming from Burlington Street. They are mere hors-d’æuvres as the French cartes say, and do not deserve to be treated with any ceremony.

“Yours very truly,
Horatio Smith.”

“P.S. Will you tell Colburn, when you see him, that ‘Zillah’ is the most appropriate name he could choose for my novel. I find that lady was the mother of Tubal Cain, the first of the Smiths, and of course the founder of my family; perhaps the circumstance was in Mr. ——’s eye when he pitched upon Zillah!”

I had been requested to write for the editions of “The English Poets,” published in Paris by Gallignani, sketches of the lives of most of them, among the rest of Shelley. He wrote me as follows, Mrs. Shelley subsequently supplying me with what I wanted.

* These travels were put together by me for Mr. Murray, of Albemarle Street, from Captain Andrews’ papers.

Brighton, 10, Hanover Crescent, 6th April.
“My dear Redding,

“It does, indeed, seem an age since we encountered, but we live in the hope that when the summer swallows visit us, you will also take wing from the great mart of drudgery, intellectual, manual and financial, and pay us a visit. You will find us still in Hanover Crescent, but in improved quarters at No. 10, where I need not say that you may always depend upon a hearty welcome from me and mine. Two of my daughters are on a visit to H——, and if I go to fetch them back, I will assuredly beat up your quarters in the chance of half an hour’s chat.

“Upon looking over the letters of Shelley that I have preserved, I find that I cannot, however anxious to oblige you, comply with your request, for they are of too confidential and hazardous a nature to be copper-plated. Several are requests for loans to himself or Godwin; some make private mention of Byron, Moore, and Hunt, that it might not be right to promulgate, and almost all are full of such heterodox notions as might horrify many good folks who might happen to see them. You shall read these letters when you next visit me, and I am sure you will yourself concur in the prudence of my withholding them. A mere fac-simile you might easily get, I should imagine, by applying to Godwin, Mrs. Shelley, or Mr. Peacock.

“Hoping to have a ride with you soon over the downs, and to share a bottle with you afterwards,

“I am, my dear Redding,
“Yours very truly,
Horatio Smith.”

I soon afterwards left London for the midland counties, and nearly ten years separated us from visits or correspondence. In 1840 I returned to town, and wrote to him to ask a contribution for a work of which I was the editor. There was evidently a change in the hand-writing. It varied considerably from the very neat text it had before displayed. His reply was as follows, the last but one I ever received from him.

Brighton, 12, Cavendish Place,
29th December, 1840.
“My dear Sir,

“I was very sorry to have missed seeing you in London; but there was no address on the card which you left a day or two before my departure, and I had no means of finding you, or I should certainly have called.

“I had intended not to have troubled the world with any more of my scribblings, feeling that I have done enough, and was getting old; but circumstances induced me to change this resolution, and I am again about to venture into the literary arena. In periodical literature I have done nothing for a long time—so long that I fear that my hand has lost its cunning, if it ever had any.

Captain Marryat lately told me that he had agreed to write for a new paper called the “Era,” edited by Frank Mills, but that he objected vehemently to see the walls plaistered with his name, feeling it to be infra dig. In this I agree with him, but if it will oblige you, I will endeavour to send you up a paper, though I do not exactly know what sort of contribution you require.


“Poor Hill is gone at last, and it seems to have surprised every body, the world seeming to think he could not die. The papers state him to have been eighty-one.

“Did I not feel myself to be growing old in various ways I should be reminded of it by my three girls, who are now, at least two of them, almost as tall as myself. Thank heaven we are all in good health and spirits—disposed to make the best of every thing, and to enjoy the world as well and as long as we can.

“I am, my dear Sir,
“Yours very faithfully,
Horatio Smith.”

One of the pleasantest days I ever passed was in a visit to Penshurst. Smith was staying at Tunbridge, and we agreed to employ the day on themes of the past in place of the present. We made the pilgrimage in an excellent tone of mind for entering into the spirit of the old romance. We discoursed all the way between four and five miles, of the “Arcadia,” and of “Sydney’s sister Pembroke’s mother,” until we entered the sweet valley where the edifice stands. We wondered how in the sixteen hundred years from the time of Roman luxury, England had got no further in comfort than a fireplace in the midst of a hall with smoky beams, a hole above, and brick floors below. But if there was not comfort, there was the imaginary grandeur of the animal man—the superiority of feudal ignorance and feudal assumption on the dais, over the vassal, the elevated site of the lordly trencher and cup, that told the tale of human pride in the olden time from whence
the human intellect was emerging, under
Elizabeth and her band of gifted courtiers, the Bacons, Raleighs, and Sidneys of the maiden reign. We found all in decay. One picture there was of the Countess of Pembroke, and another, I remember, said to be Algernon Sidney; but this was hardly probable. We returned as we went exchanging conjectures as to the first, filling up the lack of historical records from the imagination, and perhaps reconciling the destiny of man and his labour by that sense of the necessity of our resignation to a superior power, the purposes of which are to us so great a mystery.

I believe this ramble induced Smith to try his hand at novel writing. “Brambletye House,” his best effort, followed soon afterwards.

I remember dining with him, and a set of wits, among whom I felt like a fish out of water. Theodore Hook, James Smith, Charles Matthews, Horace Twiss, John Wilson Croker, and myself were invited. Croker was prevented, by some accident, from making his appearance. I never passed a duller evening among men of distinguished wit. Horace Twiss seemed as little inclined to be forced to laugh as myself. Even Hook was dull. James Smith, whose after-dinner sayings were generally effective, cut the best figure of the party. When men sit down to force wit, “knock as you may there is often nobody at home,” and by intending to look like something, we look like nothing. Even Matthews, so entertaining in general, seemed under an incubus, and Hook strained himself so much to exhibit that he fairly dislocated his wit. There are times when humour gets rusty, do what its owner will. It is the
spontaneity of the thing that gives it the real value.

I remember hearing the cause of Croker’s absence a day or two afterwards, as stated by himself. Being down at the Pavilion, at Brighton, the Sunday before, the company in the drawing-room after dinner, there was a group at the end of the room in conversation, including the Duke of Clarence and others. The duke was having a sly blow at the Admiralty, as well as at Croker, whom some of the naval men used to call, “The whole board of Admiralty.” The duke in reply to some remark of the secretary, said:

“When I am king, I’ll be my own First Lord of the Admiralty.”

“Does your royal highness recollect what English king was his own First Lord, the last time?”

The duke replied in the negative.

“It was James II.”

There was a general laugh among the party. The king walking up and down the room at the time, hearing the laugh, approached the group—

“What—one of your good things, Croker, I suppose—what was it?”

“Nothing and please your majesty, but your royal brother is saying what he will do in the navy, when he is king.”

George IV. turned on his heel and walked off to the other end of the room. The next morning Croker, on the point of going up to town, received the king’s command to attend him in his bed-room.

“I was annoyed at your exposing my brother’s nonsense, under my roof, last evening; and in the next
place, in stating what should happen when I am no longer king. Let me request there may be no repetition of similar remarks. Do not believe I am offended, but it is distasteful to my feelings.” He then gave the honourable secretary his hand to kiss, and he departed to ruminate on the hint he thus received of the sensitiveness of royalty.

Thomas Hill, mentioned in one of Smith’s letters to myself, was a character long known wherever a quorum of literary men chanced to meet, that is if he could get admission into it. He had no literary tastes or acquirements. His manners were those of his business, a city drysalter. But what mattered all this if he himself thought it was otherwise, and in consequence of that idea, and having been once the proprietor of a little theatrical periodical, he took a fancy to those in the “literary line,” as he would have phrased it. He imagined himself a Thames Street Mecænas. To assume this character he invited a number of literary men to his villa at Sydenham. Of the number were the two brothers Smith, Barnes, afterwards of the “Times,” George Colman, Matthews, Campbell, Hook and others, who did not object to a jaunt of eight miles for a merry meeting.

He gave plain dinners and good wine, in exchange for which his guests used to play upon his idea of being a literary patron, to his infinite gratification. They often sat late, and got back to town at the dawn of morning, on their way giving improvisations, and reciting, literally, “rhymes on the road.” Campbell, who lived at Sydenham, nearer the summit of the hill than the drysalter, used to accompany those townward
bound, and take leave of them at a particular spot, flinging up his hat and wig in the air, when they parted, he to his two o’clock bed, and the rest of the party, or a portion of them, to business, rather than the blankets when they arrived home.

These merry meetings occurred before I knew Hill, or visited at Sydenham, where I never go now without remembrances of times past away, when I have seen the early summer dawn from that hill, and traversed London afterwards that seemed a vast sepulchre, or a hive at night, in which the busy buzzing tenants of the day shut up in repose, made one think of towns ravaged by the plague, when life had all been wasted and man was dumb and dead. Where are those whose names will live with their land’s language, who were erst so full of life and mirth? Despite all reason can do to reconcile us with the reality, the heart must confess its melancholy associations with those that have only taken precedence of ourselves in the realm of forgetfulness.

Hill knew something of every body. “If, Redding, he stood at Charing Cross,” said James Smith, “he would tell the names of all the passengers.” At one time he haunted the newspaper offices, particularly that of Perry, where he was intimate with Black, the editor. He would often come to me, and ask for a proof of some bit of poetry which was to appear in the forthcoming number of the magazine. Upon receiving it, he would bustle off with it to the “Chronicle,” get them to insert it, and then carrying a copy to Colburn, show him how zealous he was in promoting the interest of his publication.


Poole, the author of “Paul Pry,” is said to have drawn that character from Hill. He would sometimes in his descriptions swell a gnat into an elephant in his story telling, all which he uttered with extraordinary asseverations of its truth. Falstaff would have been no match for him, except in corporeality. Hill was a short, round, fresh-faced personage, who at eighty had the appearance of being only sixty. I never knew any one who managed to make “eleven buckram men out of two,” in such an insidious mode. He could swell a herring to a whale, and put a Jonas within it before you were aware what he was about. It was a species of monomania with him to argue himself into a belief that the unfounded thing with which he began, should terminate in a solemn averment of its reality, in other words, to metamorphose the pure fiction with which he commenced, into an honest fact in winding up. Never was there such a busy body. He had the virtue amidst all of being a harmless, undesigning man against his neighbour. No one ever heard of his doing another an injury. In 1840 I had been absent from London, as a resident, seven years, and met him on the south side of St. Paul’s.

“God bless me! how are you—come back here? You have been long absent.”

“Nearly seven years.”

“Yes, I know that. I know where you have been. I happen to know that, and what you were doing too. You did wonders for the government.”

“I don’t know that, Mr. Hill.”

“Yes, yes. I know what you are about now, too—you are assisting Mr. Fonblanque.”


He fairly puzzled me how he came by his knowledge. I had only been in town two or three days. Hill died in the Adelphi, and left Du Bois, already mentioned, fifteen thousand pounds, he had no near relative, because he and Du Bois had gone to the “Spaniards,” or “Jack Straw’s Castle” to dine together every fine Sunday. He had no other motive for the legacy.

Horace Smith could exhibit Hill exactly, and play upon him in a mode Hill was too dull to discover. Hook could not, because Hill was thoroughly master of Hook’s character—a character notorious to all his acquaintance. Several of us tried an epitaph upon him.* Horace Smith would not, for he said he could not believe that Hill was dead, and he could not insult a man he had known so long—Hill would reappear.

Heseltine, of the Stock Exchange, was one of Horace Smith’s friends. He resided in the Turret House,

* Mine was: Thomas Hill, Obiit 1840.

Here at last, taciturn and still,
Lies babbling, prying Thomas Hill,
Marvellous his power in explanations
Of others’ business or vocations;
Retailing all he ever knew,
Or knew not—whether false or true,
Happy to give it an addition
That beat Munchausen competition.
With ruddy cheek, and spring-tide eye,
Few thought that he could ever die;
But news grew scant, what should he do,
But die for want of something new?—
Who’d lived to eighty-one the chorus,
Of others businesses and stories!
Yet truth to tell they’re many worse,
Whose histories I might rehearse—
The worst of him I can recite,
I’ve told—so Thomas Hill, good night!
Lambeth, once occupied by
Sir Elias Ashmole. He was a kind, unostentatious man, and wrote a tale of merit, “The last of the Plantagenets.” I used to go down to see Smith, when at Tunbridge Wells, on the Saturday, and he would post down on the Sunday early in the morning, and give me a place in his carriage back on the Monday, for he was punctually at his post of business at a fixed hour. He has not long paid the debt of nature.

James Smith, whose forte was taking off the citizens of Cockaigne, and who touched their foibles exceedingly well in “Grimm’s Ghost” and the “London Lyrics,” was an ingenious humourist and little more. He was an accurate observer of social peculiarities, those of London almost exclusively. His pictures were most faithful of the foibles of the cockneys in his time—they would not be faithful now. He sung his own verses at evening parties, but wanted both the extent of observation, the reading acquirements, and the cordial spirit of his brother Horace. I suspect he had not much heart. He was solicitor to the Board of Ordnance. A little chagrined one day at the printer’s having put “London Lyrics,” his own peculiar title, to a piece of poetry by some one else, an accident which I at once explained and rectified, he sent me the following letter which, of course, was suppressed after my explanation.

“I beg to inform you that you have been hoaxed. A correspondent has in name addressed M. La Porte in what he calls “The Lament of the Orchestra.” In my humble opinion he has made a lamentable affair of it. If the harmony of the present band of the King’s
Theatre is to be judged by your contributor’s verses, the sooner Messrs.
Linley, Mackintosh, and Nicholson, resume their stations in front of the footlights, the better it will be for the establishment. I have no sort of objection to being answered by any of your correspondents. Your contributor* (the Alpha of your poetical assistants) has had his Araminta answered after a fashion. But I am not aware that any virtuous son of the Muses has hitherto assumed his signature. Not to be too hard on your pseudo-correspondent, I beg only to quote—
Great Tweedledum la Porte we pray,
Consider our dire necessity.

“I will put it to the ‘candid and enlightened public,’ whether your Argus eyes must not have been closed when you allowed such an effusion to pass, as that of the subscriber to this epistle. The old college verses which I will not repeat, tell us an epigram should be like a jelly bag ‘pointed at the end.’ So, in my opinion, should a London Lyric. When I was in the habit of writing epilogues, Mr. Edwin used to say—‘My dear Sir, whatever you do, give me a good exit.’ The rule holds good with all comic effusions. What then shall we say to your correspondent, whose lament concludes:—
“As vain Duke Newcastle may try
To swear this isle to bigotry,
The prayer dispersed in smoke.”

“I formerly tried my hand at imitating the modern

* The late Mr. Praed of Cambridge.

poets, and I must confess, that all this appears as much a resemblance to me as Pedrillo bore to his master in the doublet of Don Ferdinand.

“Re-assuring you, Sir, as Partridge has it, ‘that this Mr. Jones is not that Mr. Jones.’ I subscribe myself, your accustomed contributor and well-wisher,

The Author of The London Lyrics.”

Moore never wrote in the “New Monthly Magazine.” He had a fear that from the publication having been once anti-whig, he might displease some of his government friends. He was most sensitive upon that score, just as if Campbell would have supported the old principles of the work. Montgomery was shy; both joined us in the “Metropolitan,” but would not in “New Monthly.” In truth, although the name was continued, the work was completely new modelled, not in politics alone, but in regard to appearance and typography. It commenced a new era in that kind of literature, and on that account, as well as my own humble labour in it for ten years, I have gone more fully into its conduct. Moore came frequently to town, but always fought shy of the work, while he was on good terms with the managers. Sidney Smith was asked by Campbell, and pleaded too much to do, and, as if in a sincere desire to do our souls good, he demanded: “Then as to your orthodoxy, how is that to be?” I used to meet Moore in company at that time. He was the most sensitive of mortals. The mislaying a knee buckle, when dressing to go out to dinner, would annoy him so much that he would remain at home. For nearly twenty years before his decease, I saw
nothing of him, but once, and then he was with
Lord Lansdowne in an open carriage driving through Bath, and passed beneath the window where I was sitting. I thought him much changed in look. The last time I was in his company, was at a London rout on a July evening, when we both went out of the rooms upon the stairs, to avoid the suffocating heat.*

Blanco White wrote the letters of Don Leonardo Doblado, into which I drew him, affording much novel information of the people of Spain, and the education of the clergy there. I visited him at Chelsea, where, at that time, he resided. He afterwards entered the English Church, and there he was regarded as a brand plucked from the burning—“a sinner saved,” as Huntingdon used to phrase it. He became a lion among proselytes. But while thus anchored in the only haven of true faith, he fell into backsliding beyond all hope, repudiating trinitarianism, as bequeathed by the scarlet lady. He now belonged to those who believed in one God only. He was a doubter, just a fit inhabitant of Bunyan’s castle. I am inclined to think constitutionally so, for

* I indited the following lines to him on some young ladies disputing about him, one of them declaring he belonged solely to Ireland—the other that he was as much English as Irish—like the first Bishop of Bath and Wells, who got both cities under his mitreship by saying—“Bauth.” The Irish dame was worsted, it was decreed he should belong to both.

“So Moore, the girls say, that your verse all belongs
To your own native Erin as well as your songs—
Is it true? For if true they declare pretty thieves,
They’ll invade the green isle for your laurel and leaves,
And you know with what dangers full fraught the dispute is,
On questions that kindle a conflict with beauties—
Then divide your pretensions, Tom Moore I desire,
Lest the rape of your verse set two kingdoms on fire!”
he was of a gloomy, saturnine temperament, a melancholy man at best. He wrote and spoke English with; great purity. I remember he told me that he thought in English for three years, and by perseverance this way, he became perfect in the language. He was amiable and conscientious. He could not reconcile the inconsistencies of creeds, not being content to believe upon the credit of doctors and fathers, but to judge for himself. I believe he left some memoirs, but I have never seen them.

I heard a good story about White, and no less a prelate than the Bishop of London at that time. White when he became anti-papal, was wonderfully extolled for his conversion, while so many of the church which received the penitent were hankering after the love he had quitted. The Bishop had a collection of right orthodox saints, the portraits of favoured cotemporary divines. Shewing them one day to a friend, he remarked that there was a vacancy wanting, another portrait was required to fill it up.

“Yes,” said his lordship, “who would you recommend me to have there?”

“Why, my lord, I think you cannot have a better subject than the Rev. Blanco White.”

“To tell you the truth,” replied his lordship, “Blanco White was there, but I have had him removed!”

I believe poor White was something like Lord Eldon, with this difference, that the latter profited largely by doubting, but White was rendered miserable under the system.

“Morocco” Jackson, as he was called, from Africa,
engaging much attention at the moment, was a contributor. He appeared a man of sound judgment and right principles in literature.

“I am,” said he, “of no party, political, religious, or literary. When I publish my observations, the first object is to be beneficial to my country, either by science or literature. My second is remuneration. I flatter myself that the public, that is, I mean the small reflecting part of it, so wrongfully put for all, will perceive that truth is my compass and guide. I want neither place nor pension. I have so much of the amor patriæ, that I would willingly serve my country without fee or remuneration. It is under the influence of this spirit, and that of truth, that I have written the review you speak of upon McQueen. Other writers upon African matters, whether for the sake of preferment, office, or promotion, I declare not, abuse their fellow-labourers in the same vineyard, as if their promotion depended on general abuse, they spare none but themselves.”

Jackson’s book upon Morocco, is one of the best works we yet have upon that country—as I remember it was expensive.

Miss Mitford was introduced to me by Talfourd. She wrote the most graphic and minute descriptions of country life and manners. She was in prose what Clare was in the poetry of the country, since the time Pastorellas and Damons have departed. Both these writers described nature with a fidelity and minuteness, that could only have been derived from very attentive observation. Clare seemed unwilling that a weed should escape his notice, and he cast over his subjects,
however simple, that charm which belongs only to a truly poetic spirit. In large towns and cities he cannot be appreciated, especially since the manners of the lower classes have been introduced, with their correspondent ideas into the current works of the day and there predominating. Miss Mitford dwelt rather on rural life, than on inanimate nature. She was faithful, ingenious, and pretty in her works. Her ideas of their value were rather extravagant.

The payment to authors for original articles had been at the rate of twelve guineas per sheet of sixteen pages. She wanted to be paid by the article, short or long, six guineas. This was rather extortionate. When Valpy obtained the “Metropolitan,” after the proprietor’s bankruptcy, she was written to with the offer of twelve guineas, the sum she had been paid in the “New Monthly.” There was some demur, and she wrote to me.

“Dear Sir,

“I am quite astonished that there can be the slightest misunderstanding respecting the price of my articles. I stated that I had no objection to contribute to so respectable a publication, but that I considered it right to state, that I never received less than six guineas an article, prose or verse, short or long. A respectable magazine is continually craving for my papers at that price, and the remuneration I receive from the annuals is much higher. I received a letter to say that the price of six guineas is not objectionable, and that the copyright (for which I had also stipulated) was with the author. This letter I have kept, and you shall see it
when my
father goes to London, as I expect he will, in about a fortnight, and then the matter will be cleared up. In the meanwhile, the scene you have (unless you decide on continuing the price at six guineas) had better remain unprinted. My own feeling is that on speaking to Mr. C——, he will immediately remember the letter, and set the matter right at once. In any event, you can retain the article until my father goes to town, when he will certainly see you or Mr. Valpy, who will, undoubtedly remember my letter to him.

“I have the honour to be, dear Sir,
“Your obedient servant,
M. R. Mitford.”

P.S.—To imagine for a moment that I should write at six guineas per sheet (or twelve?) is ridiculous. I left off writing for the magazines generally because sixteen was not enough, and in my letter to Mr. V——, was as clear as possible on the point, I especially said six guineas an article, long or short.

C. Redding, Esq.”

The lady knew how to bargain—the magazines generally paid no such price, nor did she receive pay from the “New Monthly,” but in the usual mode. Some of her works were very popular among young people, but they were not of a lasting character to justify demands that could only be conceded to writers of a class superior to herself.

It was prior to this time that certain personalities in “Blackwood’s Magazine” made a considerable noise. This magazine was established by an excellent friend of
Thomas Pringle, a worthy man in every sense of the word. Hogg claimed this honour, but it was not his due. After a few months of publication, Pringle and Blackwood could not agree, and they separated. The magazine management then fell into the hands of a knot of individuals in Edinburgh, fond of a little mischief. Professor Wilson, J. G. Lockhart, Sym, Hamilton, and others. Just as matters were commencing, Hogg sent Blackwood an article called the “Chaldee M.S.,” which Wilson and Lockhart altered and filled with drollery and mischief. Every class and kind of person in Edinburgh, and its vicinity were quizzed or handled in it. The noise it made in the ‘Modern Athens,’ no doubt gave the cue to many subsequent personalities. One of the latter had stung John Scott, who edited a newspaper in London called ‘The Champion.’ Scott had before that been editor of Drakard’s radical paper at Stamford, called the ‘News.’ From thence he came to town, and for a short time edited the ‘London Magazine,’ to which I myself contributed articles. In place of being contented with answering and reprehending certain anonymous attacks in Blackwood as he should have done, for it was impossible he could fix the editorship on any one of the party who wrote in it, he accused Lockhart, charging him by guess only, as being the author of the offensive articles, and being besides the editor of Blackwood of which he had no proof. In fact, Lockhart never was the editor. Horace Smith was named by Scott as an umpire in the affair, but he withdrew from it when he found that the quarrel tended to a personal rencontre of which he disapproved. The dispute with Lockhart then merged into one
Mr. Christie, Lockhart’s friend in the former dispute.

Horace Smith not long before his death, wrote some recollections, entitled “A Graybeard’s gossip about his literary acquaintance.” He there touched on this unhappy affair, and spoke of his disapproval of Scott’s conduct, but as a man of judgment, reason, and humanity; in fact, Smith prevented a meeting with Lockhart. Scott, however, seemed determined to show he was a man of that courage which no one doubted. He sent the challenge.

Smith thought and said, that I must be under a mistake when I stated some years afterwards, that “Campbell declared to me that Hazlitt had been a means of irritating John Scott to such a degree, that he was one cause of his going out in the duel in which he fell.” The remark of Smith is, “Campbell was too prone to believe whatever he might hear in disparagement of Hazlitt, and in this instance I have reason to think he was misinformed.”

I believe I also stated the manner in which I was informed Hazlitt spoke. Not with the intention of provoking Scott directly, but in a mode which had the same effect, for it would appear that it was a point upon which Scott was sensitive—a sort of taunting. “I don’t pretend to hold the principles called those of honour which you (Scott) hold. I would neither give nor accept a challenge—you hold the opinions of the world—with you it is different—as for me it would be nothing. I do not think as you and the world think.”

Such was Campbell’s statement, and Scott did not go
out in the first, nor follow the advice of
Smith in the second case. I speak without prejudice. I knew Scott as a mere acquaintance. He was not one with whom I felt I could ever be cordial, I can hardly tell why. We continually meet such individuals in society—the je ne sais quoi that determines this kind of feeling is sometimes unaccountable. Scott was unquestionably a man of ability, but he was not to be depended upon. I know that John Hunt had the same feeling towards him, and I never knew a man of sounder judgment or higher honour. The truth was that Scott’s principles were not firmly fixed; he was short-sighted. He had for a long period supported ultra-liberal doctrines. When the ruler of Europe was hurled from his seat by the snows of Russia, and then worsted by the Allies, Scott disregarded their mutual treaties against freedom, praised Bourbon restoration, and the Holy Alliance, and turned completely round upon his old principles, startling his former friends. He visited France for six weeks, and returning wrote a volume about what he had seen. Good taste in the composition appeared throughout, but little besides, save a few descriptive scenes which at that time were a novelty. The change of a long cherished political or religious opinion, when unattended by any worldly motive, and through sincere conviction is to be respected, although it is an ill compliment to one’s own understanding. On the other hand, the sweeping away of a sudden, opinions long in favour, in support of which every defensive argument had been used, verbally and in writing, that reading, reflection, and reason, could contribute to support for the half of a man’s life time, is the mark of a painful lack of perspi-
cacity, if not of something less worthy in constitution.

Pringle, after he was at Edinburgh, with “Blackwood,” sent me communications from the Cape of Good Hope. Thence he was expelled by the Verres of that day, Lord E. Somerset. He went out as a settler, but was lame, and not equal to the labours of a farm, in an uncertain climate, to which were added combats with the lion and the rhinoceros. He, therefore, repaired to Cape Town, and endeavoured to establish a paper. It was suspected that he was not as servile to the ruler as the latter, in his brief authority, expected his vassals should be, and would have the colonists his vassals even in opinion. The paper was put down by order. Pringle then commenced a Magazine, treating principally of natural history. This, too, “without rhyme or reason,” was at once annihilated. He then came to England, and laid the conduct of the colonial despot before Earl Bathurst, who behaved in the kindest way, and wished to send him out again at the government expense, but he declined going, having drank too deeply of the oppression inflicted by the governor to put himself once more within his grasp. Many were the pleasant stories he used to relate of the frolics of the Edinburgh literati. Some did not square well with Southern ideas of strait-lacedness and the reverent would-be conduct of the sons of the kirk.

The frolics of Wilson, the Professor of Moral Philosophy. The mischief-making of Lockhart, the toryism of Sym, and the whiggism of O’Doherty, or rather Hamilton, show precept and practice were occasionally at war there.


In the meanwhile, if “Blackwood” shone in Edinburgh, the “New Monthly” expanded its broad sheet to a favouring gale in the metropolis. It was a point of honour for Campbell to see the poetry of the Magazine. He was attached to the old and only lasting school of our verse, and never felt inclined to bend the knee to the dictates of fashion, under almost annual changes. Happening to remark that I would rather have written the “Deserted Village,” than all that Southey and Lamb had ever put into verse—he was pleased. I determined to see how far this feeling would go. Among the translated poems of Körner, was the far-famed “Sword Song.” Going to call on the poet, I put it in my pocket, producing it as a novelty which perhaps would attract attention; but keeping the translator concealed, and producing it with some pieces by different hands. He remarked that it was full of spirit, but the measure was out of the way. I replied not more than “Hohenlinden,” that the times seemed to favour similar outpourings, and a greater latitude might be extended to them now than of old.

“Well, there is some reason in that, you may be right.”

This remark convinced me that I knew the bias of Campbell’s mind. I had no intention, after all, of inserting it in the “New Monthly,” for I determined in like manner to hear Wilson’s opinion. I sent it to “Blackwood,” keeping it out of the “New Monthly” for that purpose, and subscribing an anonymous name. In due time I received a number of “Blackwood,” and a note.

Edinburgh, 22nd March.

“By the number which I have the pleasure of sending you herewith, you will see that your beautiful translation is inserted. This is not, however, from Christopher’s preferring elegant verse to good prose, but that he wanted to show you he was not insensible of the favour you have done him. He is quite overwhelmed with poetical contributions, and it is on no slight grounds that he ever admits a line of verse.

“I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
W. Blackwood.”

“O the rogue,” thought I, “this letter and the tale about verse and prose is the language of all the bibliopolic tribe to correspondents—they all hate verse. The dull dogs from the times of “left legg’d Jacob” and Pope, to this hour, they have used the same language.

I told Wilson the story afterwards, and we had a laugh about it. The verses had a run through most of the newspapers. I then saw how much casual causes and whims stand between impartial criticism, and even competent judges. In other words, I was convinced that the variety of criticism is as great a variety as any of our other varieties.

The “New Monthly,” successful as it was, wanted identification with a strong mind, as its prime feature. Campbell’s name attracted writers enough, and new periodicals were started in imitation. The bibliopolists hate originality. “Write us something like so and so, it is very popular.” They are too obtuse to see that it is originality which attracts. Campbell was not the man
to lead in any novelty, nor indeed in any great undertaking of a similar character. He did not love work, and down to within a certain term of his decease he was as sensitive to criticism, as he afterwards became regardless of it. In the “New Monthly” editorship, his was a negative realization of the duty. He had no idea of following out any great object in such a work. He feared more, at first, lest he should damage his own fame, than any thing else. The great engine he might have wielded for guiding opinion or enforcing great truths, he abandoned, I may truly say to my care. He was even so imprudent to state as much in Glasgow, when asked how he could remain away so long from his duties. He told
Schlegel, at Bonn, that he was a sinecurist.

Redding is the editor, I am not wanted.” Yet at another time, he would affect to be borne down by his labours, and complain he could not leave home for a day. He avoided discussion because it would have been troublesome. If he had begun something of that nature he would have relaxed, wanting the continuous energy which I have doubts whether he ever possessed, except for exceedingly short periods, after he was thirty years of age. He had no endurance in that spirit with which for an hour sometimes he would delight his friends in conversation, and it was the same with literature. The work, therefore, was better adapted to the cursory reader than to the student, or to the order of mind which desires to see superior spirits aim at corresponding ends.

The political portion of the work was confided to myself. A few phrases were too liberal for some of the
friends of the publisher, who caused them to be remarked. There are persons who disapprove all under the invention of printing, which can be construed into matter not pleasing to everybody, fearful about money-making. Thus if liberal principles were to be strongly advocated, those opposed to them would not take in the work. This is the trade principle that stifles literature in such cases.
Campbell did not seem disposed at first to yield to such an argument, while he really did yield. As I should not be borne out against the proprietor from the poet’s indifference on the matter, and fear of trouble, the reflection reacted upon myself, cui bono? I only wished it had been otherwise. To be a half speaking advocate is of little service. But it is as easy to find a knot in a bull-rush, as to convince the money-maker that the friendship of all sides is that of none, and that a straightforward honest avowment is best calculated to profit in the end with all parties.

Walter Scott and A. W. Schlegel, were both in town soon after the magazine commenced. Scott was too much engaged, and too anti-whig to be enrolled at any price in our pages. Schlegel was too learned for the Bull family. One day Scott called in Margaret Street, he was going away as I went in. When he was gone Campbell tried at an impromptu. “Don’t speak for a moment,” said the poet, “I have it:”

Quoth the South to the North—“In your comfortless sky
Not a nightingale sings.” “True,” the North made reply—
“But your nightingale’s warblings, I envy them not,
When I think of the strains of my Burns and my Scott!”

I took it down on a letter-cover, and have it to this day—the only copy of it made.

While Schlegel was in England, I dined one day at the publishers with Campbell, Schlegel, Felix Bodin, and Edward Blaquiere. Poor Blaquiere is supposed to have gone down in a vessel on board which he sailed for the Western Islands. After dinner, something led to the mention of the interjections and exclamations used in the different nations of Europe. Schlegel observed how much the English language had received in the way of accession since the days of Queen Elizabeth, and what a continual practice we made of importing new words, much as we imported our merchandize from every known land. Where would this end? The English was already one of the most copious of modern languages, and there was reason to fear it would soon be corrupted, because journalism, too often in the hands of men destitute of education for such duties, and also destitute of literary feeling, would increase the mischief. I have often thought if Schlegel had lived to the present time, and marked the low standard of some of our existing literature, he would see the realization of his fears.

“England will give its language in the end to a third of mankind,” said Schlegel. “It is for the interest of mankind that it should be used as pure as possible. Even the Cossack hourra has been naturalized in England.”

“No, no,” said Campbell, “that is an old English exclamation.”

“Not so old,” replied Schlegel.

“Yes,” said several voices at once.


“It is not as old as Shakspeare,” rejoined the professor of Bonn. “It is not as old as Elizabeth.”

Blaquiere said in his thoughtless way, “he was certain it was used before the maiden reign.”

Campbell declared on the same side. Bodin said nothing. Colburn smirked as if he felt some interest in the matter. I was in doubt when Schlegel was so positive—I thought with my countrymen, but had said nothing.

“Might it not be borrowed from the French hourragan? meaning a noise or a storm,” I remarked.

“We never borrowed the word from those cutthroat Cossacks,” said Campbell, “we have only just heard of the existence of those savages. It is a word of long usage in this country.”

“Borrowed or not of the Cossacks,” said Schlegel, “you will not find it in your old writers, neither in Shakspeare, nor in Shakspeare’s time. It must have been introduced since. I am better qualified than any one present to judge of every minutia of that poet. I know every word he used. My translation cost me many years of hard labour.”

Some one remarked that the word huzza was in Shakspeare, and that “hourra “was perhaps a provincial corruption of the word as old as Elizabeth.

“Huzza is not in Shakspeare either,” said Schlegel.

Campbell rather stimulated by Schlegel’s positiveness, and without a wary consideration of the subject, acting as usual under momentary bias of mind, said to Schlegel:

“My friend you are wrong—I am quite clear the word is in Shakspeare. We never borrowed it of the
Russians. We were never enough in their good company to steal it from them. Besides, I recollect the words in a number of old songs.”

“That may be,” said Schlegel, with confidence, “I do not believe the word was ever in use as early as Shakspeare’s time, because he has never used it, and he had every call for the familiar words of his native language.”

The majority of the company were incredulous.

“You are all wrong. Being a foreigner, employed as I have been in translating Shakspeare, I am much more likely to have remarked such niceties of language than you are, whose native language is that of the poet.”

The matter ended by Schlegel offering to bet a breakfast at Brunet’s Hotel, where he was sojourning, that he was correct. I went to work to ascertain the truth, but before I had examined Shakspeare through, the great German critic had gone away. I parted with him, the last evening he was in town, at the door of his hotel, and never saw him more, though I had messages from him by Campbell, who ran over occasionally to Germany during our mutual labours. Schlegel came over to England in the hope of getting some support from the East India Company, for the publication of valuable Sanscrit translations. John Company put him off with a subscription for a dozen copies. I comforted him by the information that all the literary treasures of the east that had been explored by Englishmen, were the result of the labour and at the expense of individuals, generally writers or officers in the company’s service, or by missionaries, now and then condescendingly
irradiated by a half smile from a governor-general, who remembered something of the universities at home, or had some love for literature himself. I related how
Hastings, among his plunder, had sent home to the court at the India House, two hundred golden Darii, an inestimable treasure of antiquity, and how the rulers of a hundred millions of people had consigned them to the melting pot for the value of the gold. Schlegel laughed heartily, and said he should return with a different idea of the court of directors from that with which he set out. Campbell remarked that the company were wiser now, for they would most probably sell them, from the value of the coins being so very far greater than that of the gold alone.

In regard to the hurrah and huzza, I have since found it stated that“huzza”in cheering, was taught to the Russian seamen by the English, who entered into the service of Peter the Great.

Schlegel, now with the dead, was a delightful literary companion over a glass of wine, which he sipped sparingly. He had been co-editor with Tieck of the Almanack of the Muses, and professor at Jena. His knowledge of languages was surprising, his aptitude for their acquirement was born with him, his accuracy no less wonderful. He had nothing of the pedant, and for a German scholar much of a man of the world. To think there was no good opinion of himself in Madam de Stael’s idol would not be correct, but he never exhibited it in any remarkable degree. He went to Coppet to educate her children. He ruined antiquated authority in literature. He was given to talk too much, at times, about German satraps and grandees, regarding
whom nobody cared a straw. The
Duke of Saxe Weimar’s name was often upon his lips, who merited high praise, and was an exception to the other Lilliputian sovereigns, for his dominions covered nearly seventy square miles, and had above two hundred thousand people. This is an empire of consideration, where some only reckon five square miles and twenty thousand subjects, round which a strong man may run in a day. On those lords of the land he was sometimes too apt to dilate, having really no more to recommend them, however amiable and sleek, than the “Lords of Lincoln Fen,” and, therefore, not fit subjects for philosophic adulation. Schlegel’s acquirement of the oriental tongues was made chiefly, I believe, in the later years of his life, while professor at Bonn. He was indefatigable in his labours. I never knew anything of his brother Frederick, who became the servile tool of Austria. Campbell told me he had met him in Vienna, and did not much like him. For my own part, I do not relish his notions on gothic architecture, but he was fanciful enough in everything. The Germans, unable to develope their political ideas—tied up much in the same way Figaro developes in his description of censorships—turn to what is left them to expatiate upon, and attenuate their subjects until they become bodyless. All the whims of the age come from Germany, because the rulers there have forbidden to the people an interchange of the inferences from right reason, that they may themselves continue to rule in more irresponsible security.