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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When Horace Smith published “Brambletye House” I went down to Brighton to see him, and among other things, remarked that one of the newspapers had said pic-nic parties were continually made up to visit the remains of that old place. The paragraph had the simplicity and air of truth to characterise it. When I came back to town I told Colburn I had seen Mr. Smith, who was equally pleased with myself at the intelligence. The paragraph, I found, had been concocted in town, and sent to the country papers by the publisher. I allowed I was taken in by an unworthy practice.

In proportion as a work is enlarged in spirit, or profound, it is disregarded by the masses. The writings of all our greater men, the Shakspeares, Miltons, Bacons, and Lockes of the past, if brought out now for the first time would not repay the cost of the paper they consumed. The discerning are few, and it must be so to the end of the chapter. The wise once gave the tone to the many. The standard metal is now continually alloyed, and will become more and more
debased. It is the imprimatur of the past, not the modern relish, except with the few, that causes reprints of our sterling writers. The next result in the system, is to make such works inaccurate through haste, and to force down those of authority upon the public, printed without care. I have known a boy beaten for giving the true reply to a query of the master, which he had taken from the erroneous book put into his hand as a learner. The same thing happens in works of historical interest. They become falsified from the want of time to examine and weigh authorities.

Apropos of history, Captain Oldrey of the navy came to me with a communication from Captain Usher of the ‘Undaunted,’ which ship took Napoleon Bonaparte to Elba. Some years afterwards, I think about 1840, Usher published a narrative of the incident himself. Oldrey had served with Usher in the Mediterranean. Scott’s history, written in haste, had just appeared—appeared under the pressure of his misfortunes, hurried and careless in consequence. The errors exceedingly gross in vol. viii. c. vi., I pointed out and sent to the “Globe” newspaper. His statements were mere fictions. How Napoleon secluded himself at Frejus; all about the Russian envoy, and three hundred sail of the line; “outwitting” the allies; the suspicion of the “Undaunted’s” men; the fiction of Hinton the boatswain; the desire to see a fishing boat fired upon; the tale of observing Elba in confusion on sighting Porto Ferrajo; Napoleon’s fears; the story of his wanting a guard at his door; his fear of the batteries, and his landing in disguise. The public, the supreme arbiter, treated these things as facts, and will instruct its children
to believe them. It is true Scott was a better writer of fiction than of history, and to depreciate Napoleon was the rule of his political party. Still he would hardly have thus committed himself within the limits of a single chapter, had he had time to examine and weigh authorities.

Washington Irving, now, I think, seventy-four or seventy-five years old, was in England. An acquaintance with the author of “Knickerbocker” and “Salmagundi,” could not but be agreeable. I forget to whom I was indebted for the introduction, but I used to meet him frequently as well as the American minister Dr. McLane. There was a pleasant breakfast given at Campbell’s one Sunday, when I acted a part in a comedy of errors. Among the company was Dr. Strachan, afterwards Bishop of Toronto, whom I had always taken for a Scotch clergyman. Generals Guillaume Pépé, and Lallemand, with a number of literary men were of the party. The conversation turned upon the English church, the immorality of one or two English clergymen forming at that time a subject of public conversation. I lauded the Scotch clergy, inferring that they were more exemplary than many of our own church, because they were more closely watched by the people. Campbell helped me out, pleased at the mischief of running me into error as to Dr. Strachan, who was very high English church. At last I gave it so severely to the inattention of our bishops to all but themselves, and their not keeping characters of the cloth, known to be irregular, in proper order, or getting them unfrocked, that the doctor eloped to the drawing-room. The poet then
opened his fire upon me for my censure of the church, “Dr. Strachan was hurt no doubt, being an archdeacon.” “Then why did you continue to deceive me, I should not have been so rude as to express my opinion before a clergyman?” There was a general laugh at my mistake, and the poet owned his own contribution to the mischief. Irving looked in his peculiarly quiet way, as if he enjoyed the joke. The stately priest was not offended so much as I thought. The best part of the matter was, that having met the doctor a day or two before, he had a strange desire that I should enter the church, while Campbell who knew my sentiments as well as I did myself, joined in his views so far as to persuade him nothing was more probable than my entertaining the subject, a mystification of a nature in which he was sometimes given to indulge. I always declared my lack of orthodoxy, and that I could not put a double face upon the matter of religion.
Parr, many years before, had a fancy that I should make a tolerably decent recruit for what Colton called the “church militant,” but it was a mistake. Why, or for what sin it could be supposed I was capable of supporting the clerical character with effect I cannot tell, unless it was that great sinners sometimes make the more exemplary saints.

Irving, more than commonly serious and sedate, gentlemanly and mild in manner, gave no idea either in person or conversation of a writer of works of humour. I mean not the humour that is at present in fashion, consisting of a bad pun or some light sentence with a point sometimes blunt enough, or perhaps some ridiculous image, but that real wit in which Sidney Smith
excelled, and which runs through a whole work, pervading every line. He was somewhat taciturn. At evening parties, or after dinner when the wine circulated freely, I never heard a jest from his lips. He was made a lion of at times by some who looked at a republican as a creature that had come into the world among the superfluities of mortality. His sketches of scenes remarkable in English history, his pictures of the manners of the old country, and not a single censure cast on the mad monarch who separated the English family for ever, made him tolerated by the exclusively loyal, with a “who would think it.” When my friend
Andrews was in Tucuman, where an Englishman had never been before, the people thought the English had tails, a notion once inculcated by the Spanish padres, to make the Protestants disliked. So a fiery son of exclusive loyalty once looked upon a republican. He did not give him a tail indeed, but thought him a Jacobin, a being much worse than a lusus naturæ with such an appendage.

Irving told me that he was much pleased with Spain, where he wrote his “Tales of the Alhambra.” He had found the common people and peasantry a well disposed, single-minded race. He had lived, he said, some months in the Alhambra, with only an old woman for an attendant, and could bear witness to many virtues in the humbler classes which could not be said to belong to their superiors. I have an idea that he composed his literary works with exceeding care and great slowness. He has since retired to a villa on the shores of the Hudson, to that state “where peace and quiet love to dwell,” so desirable in age, that
kind of “retreat from care” which
Goldsmith lamented never could be his—may he continue long to enjoy it. The last time I saw Irving, if I recollect rightly, was remarkable for the presence in the party of Mrs. Siddons; Campbell and Lockhart, too, were of the number. What havoc death has made since while. Irving soothing the descent of existence with the best of comforters, his books, leads the life of a philosopher. He has seen enough of the world to know its value, a thing seldom known until we learn, too late, the dear price of the time we have wasted in pursuing its frivolities, and over estimating its worthlessness. Irving cannot but be happy to have escaped from the intrigues of state affairs, and the class of those whose polished manners only add a grace to the unseemliness of convenience. There was nothing striking in the physiognomy of Irving, it was reflective in expression. His stature was about the middle height; he was sallow of complexion, with dark eyes, while his countenance impressed the observer rather with amiability than intellectual power. America may well be proud of him as she justly is of her Bryant and Channing, amidst the crowd of upstarts whom cupidity stamps with a surreptitious renown on both sides the Atlantic.

General Miller, who distinguished himself so much in the cause of American independence, used to be one of my friendly circle. He is now consul-general for the South Sea Islands. His life, in two volumes, is familiar to most English readers. He possesses a considerable estate in Tucuman, voted him for his services; but it exists only in a state of nature, being too remote for cultivation to any profitable extent, except by a
continued resident. I have some of the patriotic songs of the Gauchos, which he gave me. They are full of the fire, and enthusiasm that conquers in war. Miller, in person, was a fine man, intelligent, remarkable for the numerous escapes he had in battle, and for surviving his severe wounds.

The lot to comment on the play licenser’s ridiculous alteration in Sir M. A. Shee’s tragedy of “Alasco,” fell to my share. The harmless drama was indebted to it for a notoriety, acting might not have obtained in its behalf. George Colman, so well known to the world before for his pruriences of all kinds, was seized with a fit of courtly holiness, and a notorious writer of double entendre for the stage, trembled lest high treason should be concealed in the work of an artist, who was best distinguished in society as a moral gentlemanly man. Colman was supported by the Duke of Montrose who played, it was suspected, the real “gander” in the tragi-comedy. The noble licenser and his deputy laid the public under the obligation of a laugh at their expense, and it is probable the play of the President of the Royal Academy has not been so much read since.

There is a curious book entitled “The Life of the celebrated Oculist the Chevalier Taylor,” published by his son in two volumes about 1762. The son of this Chevalier was the father of John Taylor of the “Sun” newspaper, well known to literary men in London. He was a great play-goer, and published a poem called “The Stage,” in 1795, an imitation of Churchill’sRosciad.” He had seen all the actors mentioned in it except three. Quin, Prichard, and Mrs. Cibber. He had seen Garrick, Barry, King, Henderson, and others, who
had all strutted out their hour before him. He was connected with the “Morning Herald,” established by the
Rev. Bate Dudley, already mentioned, known in his day as the “bruising parson.” Dudley was one of the contributors to the “Rosciad,” and in place of devotional works, added to his political writings various pieces for the stage. He got into several quarrels, and one very equivocal with Mr. Bowes. A divine so qualified, could not but be honoured in and out of the church. He obtained a prebend and a baronetcy, became a magistrate for seven counties in England, and four in Ireland, and died between 1820 and 1830, on the same day as Mrs. Hartly, the actress, about whom one of his most notorious quarrels took place. From the “Herald,” I believe Taylor went to the “Sun,” a paper established originally by Pitt, through George Rose, and continued there many years. Though not remarkable as a writer, except as to the quantity of his productions, principally prologues and epilogues, he translated Anacreon. He was an excellent, upright man, kind, amiable in temper, but a manufacturer of bad puns to an incorrigible degree. With him it was what divines call “original sin.” His acquaintance was more considerable in number, perhaps, than that of any of his contemporaries. A year or two before his death he sent me two volumes of his works, boasting that he had written more prologues and epilogues than Dryden or Garrick.

Mrs. Campbell had been ill for some time, and I did not call as frequently as I used to do. The poet was unhinged, could attend to no business, and his restlessness became distressing. I had just sat down to
breakfast one morning when a messenger came with a note.

“My dear Sir,

Mrs. Campbell expired yesterday at 5 p.m. Unable as I am to stir out, I should be greatly obliged to you if you would favour me with a call now.”

The last time I saw Mrs. Campbell, which was the day before she ceased to rise from her bed, she appeared to me in a rapid decline, or rather atrophy. She had no cough, and her fine dark eyes had lost none of their clearness. Her usual smile and equanimity of temper no more appeared, but were replaced by a care-worn expression, and her manner became exceedingly languid. I did not anticipate so rapid a termination to her life, and felt much at her loss. Always good humoured and agreeable, she had no pretension to intellectual acquirements, to which I scarcely ever heard her refer in the most distant manner in the way of expressing an opinion. Her features were regular, their expression agreeable and soft. She was under the middle stature of woman, and well proportioned as to figure. For years I had been accustomed to visit the poet’s fireside without ceremony. There was a void there never again to be filled up. To the poet the loss was irreparable. Indeed, had Mrs. Campbell survived her husband it would have been greatly to his advantage in his later life.

I found him in the drawing-room in Upper Seymour Street West, pacing rapidly up and down. He had
evidently not been in bed, was pale, agitated, and spoke inarticulately.

“Ah, my friend, poor Mrs. Campbell is gone—there is something decisive at last. I am not as wretched as I was—the worst is past, both with her and myself. These are strange dispensations, and to what demonstrated end!”

It appeared to me as if he had had some mental conflict on the general question of mortality, some doubts about the mystery of man’s existence and its end, foreign to received doctrines; for he was very sceptical, but kept his opinions close. He added, as if from the result of some prior thought: “There must be a God, that is evident: there must be an all-powerful inscrutable God.”

He was silent a few minutes, then continuing to walk up and down the room, he told me that Mrs. Campbell had died gently, apparently without pain, as if she were going to sleep. In a short time he seemed to recover his composure, speaking of the magnitude of his loss.

I had undertaken to be editor of the first collected edition of his poems. The copyright of all had returned to him, and he was on the point of doing it himself when Mrs. Campbell’s illness commenced, and unhinged him altogether. He could not tell me whether lines ascribed to him were really his own or not; and but for Pringle, who had collected all his works in early life, and comparing the list I had with his, I could not have got through it. He would not permit me to insert the “Dirge of Wallace,” one of his most beautiful productions.


“Why not?”

“It is defective—it is not the thing.”

Scott could never get him to admit its merit, nor that of “Hohenlinden,” which he called “damned drum and trumpet verses,” though the latter was so praised by the public, he could not but adopt it. This first collected edition is in two volumes, with Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait, originally painted by Lawrence for Mr. Thompson of Clithero, and now the property of the Duke of Buccleugh. To return—I asked him if I could do anything for him, as I was going to the city. He said I could by seeing the proper officer at the church of St. Mary Axe, in order that the vault of her family might be opened to receive his wife’s remains.

I begged he would send to me if he wished to see me. I kept away purposely, for such scenes are painful where no good can be done. Here all was full of painful recollections. I am a coward in these things. The loss of friends by death is painful enough, but the paraphernalia of funerals so senseless, pompous, and vain, always makes me shun them if I can. When all was over, and I returned, as usual, to the same fireside, I had rather it had been to another domicile. The cheerfulness of the mistress of the house to the stranger had departed for ever. The table showed her vacant place, all gave token of that melancholy which it is idle to cherish, yet to which the sternest philosophy must yield. Such sensations are only qualified by keeping aloof from the scenes which recal them.

When I had brought out his volume, the poet sent me a copy with the following written in on the blank leaves:—

“My dear Sir,

“I have sent copies of this edition to several persons whose friendship or friendly attention has touched me during my latest calamity. I send this copy to you as a memorial of my sense of your kindness, and of my high esteem for you, not founded merely on the experience of your friendship during my last trial, but with a full remembrance of its value on former occasions. It is now getting on to eight years since we have been co-editors, and I believe no man has ever had occasion to congratulate himself on being more fortunate in a literary partnership than your very sincere friend,

T. Campbell.”
“To C. Redding, Esq.”

It is singular that from the time just mentioned, and once after her funeral, he never again mentioned Mrs. Campbell in my hearing. It seemed as if he wished to avoid recalling what would only revive the memory of the past to no purpose. Soon afterwards he went to Scotland, and left his son in my care as a special request, for he did not know to whom to apply but to myself, who alone knew all the circumstances of the case.

“My dear Friend,

“Being obliged to depart suddenly for Scotland, and to leave behind my son with some apprehensions, on my part, as to the state of his mind, I request of you to have the kindness to act for the best in my absence, and to consider yourself empowered to do whatever you think meet for his advantage.

“ I remain yours very truly,
T. Campbell.”
“To C. Redding, Esq.”

In such a state had his mind been during Mrs. Campbell’s illness that he could not decide on the merit of the prize poems of the Glasgow University. He called in a mutual friend to join me in deciding for him. I wrote the decision to the proper officers of the University. I never knew a man the powers of whose mind were so quickly prostrated, that for the moment he seemed to lose even his memory.

It was impossible for me to fulfil my duties without some awkwardnesses arising from the real editor committing so much to my hands, and being absent as well. I inserted an article which had an allusion to Lord Minto. I could not know that his lordship had been Campbell’s friend in early life; not that the remark was of much moment; but Lord Minto wondered it should appear in a work edited by Campbell, and wrote to him upon the subject. Campbell put it to me what he should say. I replied: “State the truth that you were absent, and the party, your locum tenens, knew nothing of the former intimacy between yourself and his lordship, relying on the author of the article for its correctness.” The poet wrote to that effect I believe, for I heard no more of the matter.

Knowing how sensitive Campbell was about Byron, I sent him, when absent, an article I had received from the publisher, declining the responsibility of inserting it myself. He wrote me, “I am on such terms with Lady Byron that I could as soon offer her a direct personal indignity as suffer the extracts to appear. Besides the passage about Lady B. has again and again been given to the world.” When Moore’sLife of Byron” appeared, Campbell consented to my notion of a review
of it. A day or two after, for he was then absent, but as Byron was a nice point, I again consulted him. He wrote me:

“My dear Sir,

“I have altered my mind with respect to a larger and fuller review of Lord Byron’s Life, not from caprice; but for reasons which I will personally explain to you, and which I think your judgment, waving some utilitarian arguments in compliance with certain delicate relations which I hold both with respect to Lady Byron and Moore, you will on the whole approve of.

“Yours very truly,
T. Campbell.”
Feb. 22.

I received an invitation to dine with the poet some time after his wife’s death. I was in his drawing-room at the hour named. He came in:

“What you here? I invited you for to-morrow—Calve’s-head day.”

“You are mistaken—I have your note.”

“It was for to-morrow.”

“Then I shall be off again.”

“No, but you won’t; you are here and shall dine here; but I did not invite you for to-day; it is my error—you will get two dinners in place of one. I have friends on all sides in politics, as you know, and you know some of ali parties too. Tories are coming today—liberals to-morrow—Calve’s-head day. They are high-flyers to-day—don’t broach Catholic emancipation nor similar subjects—all will be well. You know,
Sir Francis Freeling and Courtenay—they are two of my guests.”

“You mean by that I must avoid an outbreak.”

“I might be fearful of one with you Whigs—I am a Tory to-day—not a word of censure at table of the noble Duke of Cumberland and his Brunswickers.”

This was a hit at my verses in the “Times,” called, I think, the “Cumberland Revel,” or something similar, of which he knew.

“Don’t offend my Cavalier friends.”

“There is no fear of that now; I am set on my guard. Don’t fear my taking the Cumberland Brunswickers to task. We will not talk of Protestant ascendency, and the duke.”

“Good; but if they toast them, and down with the Papists, I must drink it you know, and then you will not help retaliating by proposing the Scarlet Lady as a reprisal.”

“Not so, Sir,” I replied, “I shall be in your house. It shall be the glorious and immortal memory, King William, Orange boven; and that mighty curse of the Pope, which all Protestants, of the right stamp, drink in Dublin after dinner.”

I stayed accordingly, and in a few minutes the Adjutant-General Macdonald and Mr. Norman Macdonald, his son, were announced. The other guests followed, and the evening passed away pleasantly.

On the following day, the true Cromwellian and Calve’s-head day, I was at my legitimate post. There were Colonel Jones, and another officer of the Guards, Lord Denman, Place, and I forget who besides. After
dinner Campbell said something “about military punishments, which made Jones observe:

“They accuse me of having flogged wounded men at Brussels. I did, and would do it again under similar circumstances.”

Campbell was all awake, being an enemy to corporal punishments used as the means of emendation.

“If I did wrong,” said Jones, “the Duke of Wellington would not have passed over the offence. It was an offence none but English soldiers would commit. There is no brotherhood among them, as there is in foreign armies. Had there been, the crime would not have occurred. Many men had slight flesh wounds, and no more, yet they came to the hospital to have their wounds dressed. Some were there in a state of great suffering, helpless, severely wounded, many were dying. The hospital beds were full. These scoundrels, who came merely to have their scratches looked into, had the heartlessness to steal the blankets from under their dying comrades, and pawn them for liquor. I made them feel in body, that had no feeling in their hearts.”

“It was an extreme case,” I said; “the men richly deserved it.”

“The army had men that disgraced it, and no regiments more than the Guards; half of them were bad characters, and the worst of all was that many of them were attorneys’ clerks, hackneyed in all kind of villainy.”

“Not the worst of all,” Campbell observed, “you might have had their masters.”


“True;” replied Jones, “our non-commissioned officers were excellent; but it required their vigilance, and that of the officers as well, to repress what was bad among the common men. Soldiers in such a place of dissipation as London, can’t but be irregular.”

They used, in the Guards, to call Colonel Jones, Buffer Jones. He was certainly anything but a dandy. When his men were on guard at Cotton Garden, over the witnesses against Queen Caroline, her legal advisers wished to know if a particular witness was among them, for the proceedings were anything but open; Jones, whose uniform was his passport, went in and obtained the information. Lord Sidmouth, it speaks the character of that weak minister, wanted to have Jones broken for his conduct, to which he added the offence of going up with an address to the queen in full uniform. The Duke of Wellington would not hear of it.

“Had he sneaked up in plain clothes, Sidmouth, it would have been different. I do not see why a soldier has not as good a right to express his political opinions as any other man. He has committed no military offence.”

I remember hearing from Jones that when a regiment fell vacant, George IV. said to Wellington:

Arthur, there is a regiment vacant—gazette Lord C—— to the vacancy.”

“It is impossible and please your majesty. There are generals who have seen much service advanced in life, whose turn should be first served.”

“Never mind, Arthur, gazette Lord C——.”

The duke bowed, came up to town, and gazetted Sir Ronald Ferguson, whose services entitled him to the
vacancy. The king was obliged to pocket the disobedience.

Lord Denman I used to meet often in society. I do not know why, but there was something I liked about him, serious, impassive, of inflexible integrity, agreeable in company, he seemed to repel all that was frivolous. What he was as a lawyer, I am no judge; but as a man, I believe he was most estimable. His scholastic acquirements were considerable. No quality about him could be called brilliant, all was safe, rational, and perspicuous. Intrepid in moral feeling, nothing seemed capable of making his mind swerve from the dictates of an honest conviction. Straightforward, simple, and clear in conversation, massive rather than elegant, he won attention by the solidity of his judgment. He did not waste words, but used those which were proper in proper places. When the subjects of conversation were trivial, he was silent. I never saw him but once after his retirement from the bench, when I met him in the street, greatly changed.

Campbell and myself set off one morning to walk to Dulwich College to see the pictures and dine. We were passing along the Quadrant in Regent Street, when we met Sir James Mackintosh, looking serious.

“What a melancholy affair this is,” was his remark, without a good morning.

“What affair?”

“The death of Sir Thomas Lawrence.”

Campbell who had been with Sir Thomas the evening but one before, was thunderstricken.

When Sir James had passed on, I could not help remarking I thought he would be the next to depart,
he looked so ill. My surmise was confirmed. It was not long before I visited his resting place with his daughter in Hampstead churchyard.
Campbell became too disturbed in his mind to proceed to Dulwich, and a walk we had often talked about was never taken.

I have observed that I was only absent from London once for nine or ten days in ten years. My object was to see a friend at Amiens, during which I ran on to Paris for a couple of days, after an absence of eleven years. I called on my old friends the Galignani, who were publishing compact editions of English works. I wrote several notices of the lives of the poets for them on my return. Among those required was Shelley, with an engraving of the poet, of which none was extant. I applied to Mrs. Shelley, and she lent me all the assistance in her power. There were few more able or agreeable of her sex than this lady. I believe I was indebted to Horace Smith for my first introduction to one whose talents and memory I shall never cease to esteem. She possessed a very superior mind, and those candid well regulated manners which are founded on truth and sincerity. She was as incapable of double dealing in her words, as she would be of masking her person to deceive strangers. In conversation she bore no resemblance to her father, making allowance for the difference of sex, and that softness of manner in which descriptions are clothed when they fall from woman. She conversed with correctness and elegance, without reserve or affectation. An original thinker, she had also considerable imaginative power. To Shelley she was a most attached wife. I got Mr. R. P. Davis to paint a portrait of Shelley from a picture in
his widow’s possession, and under her instructions, in order to prevent Galignani from commencing to engrave a miserable representation very unlike the poet. Mrs. Shelley had the best and only resemblance of her husband, but it was unfinished. I applied to her and she wrote me.

“Dear Sir,

“I am sorry to have it only in my power to reply that the portrait of Mr. Shelley, to which you allude, is by no means a good one:—it is the size of life in oil, but unfortunately very unfinished. There are, however, several very striking points of resemblance, and I indulge a hope that when I can afford it, a first-rate engraver might succeed in making a good print of it. I do not know anything so disagreeable or unjust, as the too frequent custom of prefixing prints unworthy of the persons represented, and in this case there would be great danger that even Mr. Heath would not succeed. I should therefore be averse to having it done, unless by him, and unless it were in my power to cancel it altogether if I did not approve of it.

“If it had been otherwise—if the picture had been one which would only have needed fidelity and care, I should have been happy to have furnished you with an opportunity of making an engraving, and be assured it is not necessary to apologise to me for an application on this subject.

“I believe Mr. Leigh Hunt is our common acquaintance.

“I am, yours faithfully,
Mary Shelley.”

We had then a conference upon the subject, and I prevailed upon Mrs. Shelley to let Mr. Davis copy the poet’s head under her own superintendence. In Shelley’sPrometheus,” as printed, there were some errata. Those she sent me.

“Dear Sir,

“I send you the errata in the “Prometheus,” some changes Mr. Shelley wished made in the “Adonais,” and a suppressed stanza of “Hellas.” I am tempted to offer to write a brief outline of Mr. Shelley’s life, if Galignani chooses; but then my secret must be kept religiously, and no alterations made. It would be very short; and its chief merit, the absence of incorrectness.

“I have now some hopes of the portrait. The lady who painted it is in town, and will meet Mr. Davis, and offer her suggestions to-morrow; but I would give the world to have it engraved here, where any defect in the drawing might be corrected, and we could superintend the whole. At any rate it will be better than a likeness after the imagination of a Frenchman—that is the drollest, stupidest idea, ever man intent on selling an edition hit upon.

“I am, dear Sir,
“Yours truly,
Mary Shelley.”

“P.S. The drawing is getting better and better. Pray keep them to their promise of letting me have it. I shall feel highly gratified. As it is now finished, and at my house, perhaps you will call as soon after twelve as you can.”


I called and was gratified at the result of my efforts to obtain the only worthy resemblance of Shelley that is extant. Singular enough, too, Galignani’s edition contains the errata of the author as given me by Mrs. Shelley, and not found, I presume, in the English editions of his works, but I have not collated them.

We were joined by John Galt in the last year of my labours. He used to come to me. I believe he was shy of Campbell, though a countryman, for he had stated that the “Pleasures of Hope” was originally published by subscription, which was not true. He had also got into a dispute with Mr. Hobhouse, about Byron.

Mr. Carne, author of “Letters from the East,” who took some adventurous journeys in Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia, was a clever writer; but in bodily frame not looking like one who could combat the difficulties of the deserts of Sinai and Petra. He was from the West country, where his relatives were eminent merchants and bankers. We used to meet frequently. He was a right hospitable kind man, intended for the church. Poole, the dramatist, full of quiet humour. Mr. Emerson, since Sir Emerson Tennant, with his travels and lore—who had just written an excellent history of modern Greece; Mr. Wise, British envoy at Athens; Sir Gore and Sir William Ousely; M. Bozzelli a Neapolitan counsellor; Mr. Praed, Mrs. Shelley, Sir H. Ellis, Lord Essex, Dr. Conolly, E. E. Crowe, Messrs. Sullivan and Gillies, Lord Nugent, Mr. Agar Ellis; Mr. Fitzgerald, of the Foreign Office; Sir. E. L. Bulwer, then Mr. Lytton, the novelist; Lord Normanby, &c.,
were names among our contributors.
Mr. A. V. Kirwan, of the Temple, contributed valuable articles, a writer well acquainted with the world, and whom I yet fancy I recognize in some of our better periodicals at the present time, an excellent scholar, somewhat too good for the law which he makes his study. Names were then rarely affixed to the articles, except to those of Campbell, at the publisher’s desire, and to those of Mrs. Hemans, at her own wish. The bill-stickers did not then degrade literary men by dabbing up their names, as well as those of clergymen, quack doctors, and showmen, at the corners of the streets for all who run to read.

The political articles were by myself. I contributed a hundred and sixty prose articles in the large print in the first nine years of my labour, besides my stated allotment and correction of the proofs. Many of the prose articles were upon subjects relative to passing topics. Of which there was a paper on the New Literary Society, one of the most extraordinary proposals of which was to fix our language, and another our loyalty. I have lived to see the erroneous grounds upon which it was established verified, and my own forebodings regarding its fate fulfilled. The press to be useful, must, in every sense, be the chartered libertine. Of my prose articles, there are many I could hardly identity at present. My contributions in verse were also numerous.* I rarely attached my name to

* While connected with the “New Monthly,” I wrote in that and I other publications, besides prose, and editing different works for others, the following pieces in verse, viz.:

Sonnet from Filicaja; Cain on the sea-shore; Sonnet to Echo;

anything I wrote, and often a nom de guerre to the bookseller. Perhaps it was bad policy not to acknowledge myself. I see my lines at present in school books, and selections got up by the “ungentle craft” to

Vol. ii. Lines on Cressy, Vol. iv. The miser’s will; Second sight; The miraculous candle, Vol. v. Plain preaching; David, Vol. vii. Sonnet, from Quevedo, Vol. iv. The destroying angel; Babylon; The Three Mighty; The first born of Egypt; The Lord of Valladolid; The last leaf of autumn; Lines on Lieut. Hood; Vol. viii. Ballad; The Alhambra; Lines on the death of Riego; The lover’s quarrel; Alfaima’s Lament; Queen Isabel’s wish; Lines supposed to be written in Egypt; The surprize of Alhama; The grave; To ——; The choice; The pirate’s song; Newton’s study; Vol. x. The Swedish miner; The bachelor outwitted; The moor’s prophecy; Beauty’s victory; Mahomet; To the yacht of a great civic character; Valentine, Canto I.; Cities of the plain; Valentine, Canto II.; The capture of the Esmeralda; Broken vows, Vol. xi. Lines written on Montmartre; To Ianthe; To 1824; The horseman’s song, Korner; The Mourner; Giulio and Zulma; The prescription; Hyde Abbey; The patriot before his execution; Valentine, Canto III.; The triumph of science, Vol. xiii. The past eternity; Lines to my cigar; The birth of Genius; King Harold; Agrigentum; The Greek Woman; The Rubicon; Stanzas; The Preponderating motives; The Maiden’s Dream; Caractacus; The Untombed Mariner; King Arthur’s Sword; The Trench Skeleton; The Wreck of the Comet; Vol. xiv. To 1825; Spes Rediviva; The Captive’s Friend; Epigram from Martial; Mazurier; Pharsalia; The Unknown City; To a ship; To Ida; The City of the Dead; On seeing Chillon; The warning, Vol. xvi. The Soldier’s Will; The Victory of Tours; A Sailor’s funeral at Sea; Sonnet; On a scene of youth; Devotion; Fair Ida; The Past; Brutus after Philippi; Tarshish; The King and the Lady; To december; Vol. xvii. The Ultramarine Club; On hearing the Roar of the Sea; Youth; Brutus before Phillippi, To the first of May; Love’s victim; Myrtle garlands for the brave; Epigram, Martial; The parted year; The wine of Blood; To Martin on his picture of the Deluge, Vol. xxii. The Alcazar, Vol. xxiv. Inez de Castro; Epigram from Martial; The Past Year 1829, Vol. xxviii. The Eagle; On leaving England, Vol. xxix.

In other works:—Korner’s sword song; “He hath made every thing beautiful;” Sampson’s Lamentation; Summer’s absence; Spanish ballad; Le vieux Drapeau, from Beranger; To Myrza; Lines written at Woodstock; The fate of Saul; Drink to the Brave; To Lydia; Sonnet to

save copyright. Sometimes they are attributed to more worthy writers. What does it matter? where will the author, his verses, and even the reader too, soon be! Authorship cannot escape being in the category of the “vanity of vanities.” The best writers must be content if they can keep a little sunshine upon their tub, for a brief minute near their neighbours.

By the end of the last year of the connection of Campbell and myself with the “New Monthly,” we had lost by death several valuable friends, and the abstraction of others was continued by the publisher. We had endeavoured to give variety to the work, but the writers or rather new hands, from the length of their stories, destroyed that essential of a magazine. The pleasure I had felt before in our success no longer existed. The numbers soon showed a radical change. I was aware that the publisher was impatient to alter that which had been so successful, fancying to make what had been good still more profitable, though it was clearly to his disadvantage. I quitted my duties about two months before Campbell, who left in December 1830. Sheil, Sir Charles and Lady Morgan, Wyse, Talfourd, the two Smiths, almost all the old contributors except Poole quitted about the same time, scarcely a trace

Autumn; To Athens; Song; Warwick Castle; Cain; Sonnet, from Korner; Jephtha; To the sea; To 1823; Sonnet to the Land’s End; To ——; Fairlight Glen; The Oaks, Korner; The Prussian Eagle; Summons to the field; The pursuit of Lutzow; Comfort; Song of confederacy; “Constancy” and “The Hills.” To Mr. A. A. Watts, pieces for his “Literary Souvenir,” and his beautiful “Cabinet of Art”. To Mrs. Watts for her “Juvenile Souvenir,” and to my old friends, Mr. Thomas Roscoe, and Mr. Pringle for their “Annuals;” also “Hannibal on the Alps.”

of the old work in contents or appearance remaining. The publisher and myself separated civilly enough. As usual, no labour, no good will, no spirit connected with a literary work in similar cases tells. The bare letter of the task is to be achieved in proportion to the mercenary contract, the mind thrown into it or not, it is precisely the same. This is one of those things of which traders have no appreciation, while it is a damper to advantageous literary exertion. Shillings and pence men cannot comprehend it. The day you cease to act there is no recollection of an obligation, even a cold civility is all, let your supernumerary labour have been what it may, and a most ardent respect be shown you before. I handed over all the articles except those I had sent to the printer. One of them had been given me by the publisher, urging me as usual to use it, because “it was about
Byron.” It was the narrative of Mr. Sheldrake, and related to Byron’s club foot. Going to see Campbell the same day, as it related to Byron, I put it into my pocket. I told the poet I had not read it, and taking it out, I read it with him. The article had nothing objectionable except that it reflected in some degree on a Dr. Glennie, a Dulwich schoolmaster, whom Campbell happened once to know, but paid no attention to that fact. When the article appeared, this Glennie wrote to Campbell, and as the poet thundered against Hazlitt without reflection in Northcote’s affair, so he attacked Sheldrake. The latter threatened an action for libel. Campbell then inserted a species of apology, making the matter “a mistake.” I did not see the apology until the poet had left the magazine. I thought I had had enough of the work,
and did not look into it for some time afterwards.
Moore’s Life of Byron, vol. I. p. 44, chanced to cross me the other day, and I found that Sheldrake had only stated the truth, and that Glennie had really committed the error of taking one man for another.

Campbell’s apology was written in the same thoughtless haste as his attack. He had only to blame himself for his forgetfulness, because he said in it that he never allowed a paper to be printed without his sanction, and it was true of this paper, for he did happen to see it. I was not answerable at all as I had been before, when he was in Berlin, Paris, or Edinburgh, as he continually was during his ten years’ engagement. When he got into a scrape, he was equally thoughtless in his mode of getting out of it. Put it upon me he did not, because he could not. He must have heard Glennie’s name when I spoke of the paper, but the Dulwich friend of years gone by never crossed his mind—that was the truth.

To my surprise, after Campbell quitted the editorship, an advertisement alluding to this affair was inserted in the papers, to the effect that the party then assisting in the “New Monthly” editorship, was in no way responsible for that article. I have stated all I had to do with it. Who the illustrious obscure was to whom it related I cannot tell. It was certainly no mark of good taste to attack me without the slightest ground, after having for ten years borne the brunt of the battle. It was a superfluous injustice. I felt contempt for a wrong so unjustifiably exhibited, and should have strongly resented it, but I did not hear of it until three months afterwards. But this was not all—when
Campbell determined to leave the concern, after a vain attempt made to draw him back, two months afterwards he was served the same. He was grossly insulted in the magazine—that magazine, indebted to his name for its extensive notoriety and unparallelled success. “A Few Words with the Public,” was the title of the article. Just at the time
Mr. Bulwer was about to become the editor. I shall do best to quote the “Athenaeum” on this point, then so ably edited by Mr. C. W. Dilke.

“Every literary man is a gentleman, until he has done something to forfeit the name, and the rank and respect which attach to it. That something, indeed, is a fine and subtle thing—subtle and fine according to the delicacy of men’s minds; for ourselves, we should have feared to accept the editorship of the “New Monthly Magazine,” after the “Few words with the Public,” on the retirement of Mr. Campbell; when the proprietors, in a familiar mood, gossipped upon the subject—observing ‘whether we take a new bookbinder or porter on our establishment or reject one for retaining too redolent of Meux or Barclay, is we apprehend, a matter of infinitely small importance. Should we ship off a lazy official, or other person paid for doing nothing, we take it for granted that no comet with a fiery tail would set fire to the Thames or our establishment!’”

Mr. Bulwer, perhaps, had not seen this insidious hit. Then it was that after having solicited in vain, finding they had done wrong and could not retrace their steps, they vituperated others in their spleen, and then they treated
with Mr. Bulwer.
Campbell would not return, because he could not have me for a coadjutor. I had told him nothing should induce me to return. In one of his letters to me when I was absent from town, and still in my possession, he wrote “When Colburn and Bentley repented their difference, and sent D. Williams, author of the “Letters of Publicola” in the “Weekly Dispatch,” to offer me my own terms to return to them, I refused the editorship principally because I should not have you for my coadjutor.” How Mr. Bulwer (since Sir E. B. Lytton) managed for a few months I do not know. Hook then tried and failed, and then Hood. Lastly came Mr. Ainsworth, who took the only mode of securing his own free action by purchasing the property. For thirteen years, till I gave Hood an article, I never sent a line to the work. I could not forget such treatment. I was absent seven years from town, and I believe during that seven years I never saw a number. I first met the publisher again, after that long interval, at a conversazione. He was uncommonly civil, and shuffled off the charge of the attacks on Campbell and myself thirteen years before, asking me for a contribution. I sent Hood an article, and it duly appeared. I then sent him a specimen of another that would occupy a double space. I found that manuscripts of novels were still used to secure a double purpose, and were yet more the bane of the work. Hood wrote me:

“My dear Sir,

“I beg you to think I have no disinclination to the MS. itself, from the glance I have taken at it, but from a cause you alluded to in your former note—I mean the
continuations running now through periodicals, I cannot see an opening for any series, however short. I am dependant on the movements of
Colburn, who sometimes takes in a mass at once like Barnaby, P. P. Priggins, &c., and consequently cramps me every way.

“My dear Sir, yours very truly,”
Thomas Hood.”

The system of the magazine that had paid so well, was thus wholly abandoned. The editor being neutralized except for the benefit of his name, the whole became a trading instrument. The real merit of an article was a thing of no moment, the object being to secure the copyright value two ways, to which the periodical was made the medium, as well as that of passing off the criticisms on the books of the proprietor the sentiments of the editor.

A word of poor Hood, if a little out of place in date, one of the most worthy suffering men I ever knew. Amid the calamities of authorship to have them enhanced by bodily suffering is fearful. I have been astonished how he could write such facetious things in a state of pain. It was a real triumph of mind over matter. His last note to me was characteristic.

“My dear Sir,

“I was sorry you had to send, but you can imagine what it is to be unwell and that at the end of the month.

“I was, indeed, so much of an invalid that my walks were ‘few and far between.’ There never was such an
‘in-keeper.’ Wherefore if you will favour me with a call any day, 364 to I I shall be at home.

“I am my dear Sir, yours very truly,
Thomas Hood.”
17, Elm Tree Road, Tuesday.

Thus, after ten years’ toil, sufficiently weary of a position which I should not have continued to occupy but from feelings of attachment to Campbell, whose impulses would have been injurious to all interests, and to a strong friendship for an immortal name in our literature, one whose abstractions continually subjected him to misinterpretation, and to positions which a little forecast would have prevented, I left the undertaking.

It took time to know Campbell in his better days. He had most estimable qualities with some peculiarities, these made many mistake his real character. He was often thoughtless, disliked labour, and was forgetful. He required a hint to make him do what to people in general was the most obvious thing in the world. He was wayward at times, now particular, and then careless. By fits and starts he was grave, and then frolicksome, both upon slight excitements, and sometimes ready to push things to excess, at others to evade them. He was accused of being wanting in his friendships, I never saw it, but if he were judged by his omissions, his conduct often bore that appearance. No man possessed a more kindly temper or wished more to do good to others, but he was not forward to do so because of his abstractions. He was perpetually occupied by some subject from which nothing came. Political economy, Hebrew, Eastern
history employed his thoughts in turn, and were dropped. I never found him wanting towards myself; if I had, I should have openly told him of it, as I once did when I thought he was guilty of an omission on an indifferent matter. Though he was conscious that without me he should not be able to remain long as editor, from feeling his want of forecast and little consideration of the effects that would follow acting on the impulse of the moment, yet he did not hesitate to offer me the professorship of English at the University of Warsaw, which Prince Czartorisky, then ruler of Poland under
Alexander of Russia, placed at his disposal to fill up by an Englishman. I declined it, fortunately for myself, on account of the difficulty of the language, and this not long before the revolution that was provoked by the Grand Duke Constantine. His countrymen accused him of not laying himself out to procure profitable places for them from the Whigs. They esteem it a duty in any of the natives of the north, who become possessed of influence of any kind, to work for them in this way, but Campbell was too independent to job for anybody. He would scarcely solicit the most trivial thing for himself, which almost anyone might ask and have.

Some one related a story before him of a countryman who had asked of Lord Melbourne a place for his son.

“Pray,” said his lordship, “did not my predecessor in office give your son a place?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Did not his predecessor give another son of yours a place?”

“Yes, my lord.”


“Then I think two out of a family provided for in that way by the public, are as many as you could well expect—good morning.”

I speak here of the poet at the time we quitted our mutual labours, for, in after years, he became greatly changed.

“I have quickly followed you,” said he; “I found I could not go on as comfortably as we did formerly,” calling to tell me of what he had done, when he left.

“But the finances were the point?” I remarked.

“The deuce take them—it is pleasant to be free if one has but a shirt.”

In this way, he jested. No man of the world, author, above all, losing six hundred a year, would have shown so light a heart, while no one ever got it with more ease to himself. We dined together the same day he told me of it, and talked of what we should do, of turning lecturers to Lord Brougham’s institutions, and of exhibiting magic-lanthorns. “The Sieur Campbell,” said I, “conjuring for his bread.”

“Yes, and I could make ballads, but could not sing them, like Moore.”

In the midst of this, I made him look grave, by expressing my opinion that, after all, the classical writers had assisted in contributing to the existing state of civil freedom. He was of the contrary opinion. I said they did not prevent the ecclesiastics from enslaving us for fifteen hundred years, that Luther did much more in a year or two. He said Luther was the radical of his day; it was only monk against monk, after all, and that my remarks about the classics were sheer blasphemy.

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