LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Literary Reminiscences and Memoirs of Thomas Campbell
Chapter 6

Vol. I. Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
‣ Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Vol. II. Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
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Bias of the Poet’s studies.—Hebrew researches.—Visit to Mr. Murray of Albemarle Street.—Intended Magazine.—The Poet’s jest.—Politics of the “New Monthly.”—Epitaph sent by Canning.—Blunder about Canning’s letter.—Belzoni’s introduction to the Poet.—Early contributions.—Blanco White.—Henry Matthews.—Ugo Foscolo’s breakfast.

THE novelty of the first start of the new work being over, Campbell returned to his German books, until it was difficult to take his attention off when it was demanded. This no longer wanted, he would turn the conversation to some historical or metaphysical point, in relation to which his mind had been occupied. A good deal of this turn for what is generally considered antithetic to the poetical character and the liveliness of its disposition, arose perhaps from his partiality for one or two of his old Glasgow instructors, of whom and their lectures on the driest
subjects, he seemed ever to carry in his mind an affectionate recollection. He reverted to them as a subject of more than ordinary pleasure when he recurred to his earlier years. Roman lore and Kantian philosophy are not very poetical topics. However this may have been, Campbell was deep in German—not in the poetry—but the metaphysics and Biblical literature of that theorising country. He ordered volume upon volume of German criticism from the booksellers, and redoubled his labours upon topics, regarding which the investigations of the critics of that country seemed to have conveyed to him new and interesting views. He declared that in England there was no idea of the amount of labour they had expended, and the consequent extent of information upon critical subjects of which the Germans were in possession.

Reading the book of Job one day, to which among all the books of the Old Testament the poet seemed most partial, declaring it to be beautiful poetry of perhaps an older date than any other portion of the sacred volume, he became puzzled about the English meaning of a word which might intend “a giant,” or be rendered “hell.” He was anxious to decide upon the true translation. Upon remarking the important difference, he observed that the word occurred but twice in Job, and the understood meaning was a
place shut up, the grave, the situation of the dead. “Deeper than hell,” in Job, meant deeper than the grave, and such appeared to be the meaning of the word among the Jews. In the New Testament it was applied to designate a place of punishment. How could the word ever mean a giant? He was unsettled in mind, and vexed that he did not understand the Hebrew language critically. He was determined, he said, to work hard at a complete acquirement of that noble tongue. His intention he never carried into effect.
Buxtorf in a few months remained perfectly quiet upon its shelf. There were new things to attract his attention. He went more into company than had been his previous custom, and the effort to perfect himself in Hebrew quickly relaxed, as was usual in relation to all his determinations in a degree proportionate to the intensity of the first resolution.

While busy upon this favourite subject, he had determined to hunt out a rabbi, to consult upon the matter in doubt. Did I know of such a person? I recommended a Mr. Hart, a most excellent man of the Jewish persuasion, and father of the eminent artist of that name, in the Royal Academy, who taught Hebrew; and observed that I also knew Bellamy, who was translating the Bible from the Hebrew direct, which I had heard
had never before been done.
Professor Lee of Cambridge had held a discussion with Bellamy, in which, as far “as argument went—for of the dispute in relation to the Hebrew tongue I could be no judge—Bellamy had the best of it. Bellamy insisted on the use of vowels in translation, which Professor Lee opposed in no very urbane style, too often begging the question, and giving bold assertion for proof, defending the authorized version with all its admitted errors, as much as to say that the knowledge of eastern tongues, dialects, and customs elucidatory of the scriptures generally was equal to what it is at present in the witch-burning age of James I. Thousands of errors, notorious enough, are known to exist in the present version, but it is time-consecrated. It would be troublesome to correct it, people are used to the present translation if it be a little erroneous, and then James was such a “pious” prince. It was not enquired how it came to pass that previous translations had been set aside. Like witch-burning, the translation had been settled by act of Parliament, and the clergy were averse to farther trouble on the matter; yet they would ground a rite, or some serious point of doctrine, upon a disputed passage. So said Bellamy, with some appearance of justice, while the professor admitted that in some cases the translators had
mistaken the original. Not a moment’s rest was mine until I introduced Bellamy. I brought the hebraists together soon afterwards; but as I knew nothing of the language, the merits of the discussion I cannot correctly relate. I imagine the learned hebraist could not satisfactorily elucidate the mystery.
Campbell afterwards remarked that he thought Bellamy had not read a tithe of the modern German researches in Biblical literature. Some of these, from the freedom of their investigation, were the results false or true, would not be matter of English discussion even when errors of translation were admitted. The Germans, right or wrong in inference, endeavoured to get at the truth, the rule in England it was to keep things as they were. It was rather the aim here to prop up what was fallacious out of prejudice, or even grounds that could not stand the test of reason. Little was known here in comparison with what was understood in Germany of the Hebrew language and its relations. If more were known, a new influence might be produced upon the general mind. Upon the mind of the poet there was an influence most unquestionably produced by what had been thus promulgated. His lectures show how closely he had read on the subject.

Having began to recompose for the magazine what he had himself written and delivered on the
subject of Hebrew poetry, in the midst of which he broke away suddenly, and turned to political economy. The dispute between
Malthus and Godwin led him, when in appropriate company, to consider the merits of the difference between these two writers. He leaned to the side of Malthus, and annexed to a paper in the second number of the magazine, which he had himself procured, being full of the subject, a note expressive of a wish for its further discussion. The paper here alluded to was written by Place. Political economy, it must be admitted, is no very poetical subject; yet Campbell made up his mind what side of the question to adopt, and was able to argue well in its defence. This, at least, exhibits a versatility of talent, and it is certain that in his better days he was capable, but for the vis inertiæ that ever hung upon him, of achieving much greater things, out of poetry, than he ever performed; but they would have been appreciated only by the well-educated and thinking part of the world. He might have written profoundly after his Biblical studies upon these, and produced a most interesting work. From these, he made no secret, originated the views he entertained upon our deficient knowledge of the old language and writings of Palestine. In a theological sense he thought the study well worthy of being carried
out. But amidst all, even if he had believed them and had been inclined to labour, he was not the man to promulgate bold novelties, beyond the reach of his voice. He respected multitudinous ignorance so far as to fear the reaction upon his own fame, if he wounded its obtuseness. In this there was something characteristic of his Scotch nationality.

About Campbell, if there were caution and sensitiveness, there was nothing like craft. He was simple in mind, and pure of intention. No one was less suspicious till suspicion was engendered by some pretty strong reason, and then it was not to be put to sleep easily. He was sometimes imposed upon by individuals who pretended to be literary characters, and solicited an introduction on the score of their necessities. Both the poet and Dubois were outwitted by a factitious paper, describing an author that never existed, in the first number of the work, entitled “On the Writings of Richard Clitherow.” Afterwards others sent articles to him, furtively abstracted from obscure writers of the hour, a little verbally changed, which, from his habit of reading very little indeed of the current literature of the day, it was not in his power to detect.

Murray had an idea of a magazine at this time, perhaps to rival Colburn. Wanting the address
of a friend one day, which the bookseller alone could give,
Campbell proposed to walk to Albemarle Street. He always spoke of Murray in high terms, as he was but just in doing. With faults obvious enough, Mr. Murray possessed merit amply sufficient to throw them into the shade, when, too, it is recollected that many of his faults affected himself alone. Of gentlemanly feeling in business, which could not be said of all his calling, he was generous and considerate. No one was ever regarded higher by men of all parties, whose regard was worth having. He drew around him the literary talent of the country of every rank, and commanded its esteem. Of those who survive their and his contemporaries in his more palmy days, there is not one who does not hold his memory in respect. It was unfortunate for him that he lived too fast for his health to continue—peace be to his memory! We entered the well-known, well-remembered drawing-room, on the walls of which hung the portraits of some of the principal literary characters of the time. Among the rest, I remember Foscolo, who was afterwards ejected to the staircase, so it was said, in one of the bookseller’s moments of angry feeling against the Italian, for which, perhaps, he had tolerable cause, and so took this harmless mode of showing his resentment.


“There he is,” said Campbell, noting Foscolo’s picture, “there is Ugo, by whom I dare say Murray has never gained a farthing—it is no bad resemblance of our friend’s visage.”

At this moment Murray entered, looking exceedingly well in health, and almost free from that nervousness which came upon him in subsequent years. After the usual salutation, he said, “I was just thinking, Mr. Campbell, why you did not come to me. I would have started a magazine under your editorship—now you are editor of an old one.”

“Why did not the girl marry the sweetheart the world gave her,” said Campbell, “but because he never asked her?”

“If I had thought of asking, then, it would have been done, Mr. Campbell? I was quite prepared for such a work.”

“It is too late now,” observed Campbell, “the agreement has been signed.—I want the address of my friend, Mr.——, which you can give me.”

Murray went to procure it, returned, and following him, came in a lunch. There was no escaping Murray’s hospitality in those times.

“You should feast your friends out of skulls, as Peter Pindar told you,” said Campbell; “it would be emblematic.”

Murray cited some work that he had suggested
himself, to prove that booksellers sometimes put ideas into authors’ skulls.

“You get out double what you put into them; you would not take it back as naked as you gave it.”

Murray does business well, leave him his own way,” Campbell remarked; “in that respect he is the first man of his day. I have met more noted men of talent under his roof than under any other, except that of Lord Holland and of Rogers.”

Capricious at times, and of a quick temper, this renowned bibliopolist possessed qualities suited to his profession, as already said, and of a high order too; and, more than all, he had the art of giving a refusal with a good grace. He was also punctual in his replies, as indeed in all his dealings with the genus irritabile, whose sins condemn them to “dip themselves in ink.”

Murray would have established a magazine even then, under other auspices; the matter was talked over in Albemarle Street. It was proposed that the leading writers on the Tory side should be its principal contributors, for it was agreed, of course, by some, that the publication ought to bear a high political tone—in other words, be a high-flying State and Church publication. This was objected to, it was whispered, in more than
one quarter. The differences on this point continued until the affair died away, and nothing came of it. Had
Campbell undertaken a new magazine for Murray, and not edited one for Colburn, he would not have consented to connect his name with a publication that would admit of a construction injurious to his known Whig sentiments, by permitting the insertion of articles opposed to them. Murray’s house, though visited by men of all opinions, was considered more immediately the head-quarters of the class of politicians immediately connected with the “Quarterly Review.” With most of those who visited at Albemarle Street, the poet was acquainted, and sometimes found himself the only man of his party present. On one occasion, when he had just left, finding none of his friends there, it was remarked to him that he had remained but a short time.

“I felt myself a sojourner in a strange land,” was his remark; “I did not like to be the only one of my party.”

Campbell’s Scripture quotation here recalls a laughable allusion he once made from the same imagery. He was often bored by copies of verses being sent to his house, or given to him in society, written by young ladies, and overflowing with all sorts of sentimentality. Sometimes “mamma”
or “papa” would request the favour of the poet’s giving his opinion of the stanzas of “miss.” Girls of the present day begin to “do” poetry much earlier than boys; and five to one of the former in number to one of the latter commit their girlishness this way, always imagining rhyme to be poetry.

“Don’t you think, Mr. Campbell, my cousin’s or my daughter’s are charming verses?”

“Yes, their genius will shine by and by—that is my opinion,” said some of the company, in the way of flattery.

“Don’t you think them good, Mr. Campbell?” was in such cases particularly annoying to him, put as a query.

“Don’t you think my daughters’ verses”—there were two who rhymed in this instance—“show promise, Mr. Campbell—you must be a judge? They may be a little obscure yet—more practice, and then they may shine.”

“No doubt, ma’am,” said Campbell. He then turned and observed to a friend, in a low tone: “We are not to see the brightness of these lady Gideonites until their pitchers are broken!”

The poet, I have already said, had never inquired nor thought about the politics of the work of which he had undertaken to be editor, nor even directed what might be its tone. He did not
mention the subject. I had all the double-column matter to my own share, and of the political article I made a mere register, free of party spirit. From the first number to the last the tendency of those articles, in consequence, never became an affair of conversation. This shows how negligent the poet was upon points of moment.

Among his intimate friends at this time was the Honourable Thomas Peregrine Courtenay. Scarcely was a portion of the first number in the printer’s hands, before that gentleman brought from Mr. Canning an epitaph on his son, George Charles Canning, a proof of the kindly feeling of that distinguished statesman towards the new undertaking. It is probable that more might have been contributed by Canning, the only individual who had held so high an office in the government of this country, during the present century, who was in the true sense of the word a literary man, though not on that account the more esteemed by the class that in those days possessed overwhelming power. An incident, arising from Campbell’s forgetfulness, put an end to such an expectation. Courtenay brought a second communication from Canning, in the copy of a letter which that distinguished statesman had written to Mr. Bolton, of Liverpool, explanatory of the circumstances of a resignation so honourable to his
memory. He had come to the resolution of resigning, because he would be no party to the proceedings carrying on against the queen; and that, too, though the king, he stated, had commanded him to remain in office, “abstaining as completely as he might think fit from any share in the proceedings respecting the royal consort.” He renewed the tender of his resignation even after this, and it was at last accepted. Now, as the letter was confidential, and had originated in a paragraph published in the
Courier, Courtenay had only, as he imagined, to leave the copy, explaining to Campbell that it was merely to be used as a guide in putting together the political article, not, of course, to be given verbatim, for various urgent reasons. Campbell received the letter, and, in his careless way, said, giving it into my hand,

“This belongs to your part of the magazine; Mr. Canning has sent it by Courtenay.”

“To be inserted entire?”

“Yes, I suppose he means that.”

The difference between making use of the substance of such a letter, and avoiding the publication of the verbatim copy, essential as it was, did not occur to the poet. I saw Courtenay, by accident, before he had seen Campbell, and he stated the purpose of his giving the letter.
Such was the poet’s forgetfulness and want of habitude in editing.

About this time, while reading upon Eastern literature, he found I knew Belzoni. He said if I would introduce him, he should be highly gratified. I met Belzoni in Piccadilly soon afterwards, and mentioned the poet’s desire; Belzoni was equally desirous of knowing Campbell. We started immediately for the poet’s lodgings, proceeding up Bond Street, and had not got much further than the end of Conduit Street, when we observed several persons close at our heels, and others staring at us, which, indeed, Belzoni’s herculean limbs and gigantic stature of nearly seven feet might well occasion; but as we proceeded, a voice here and there was heard exclaiming, “That is Bergami!” “That is Bergami!” The unseemly affair between George the Fourth and his queen was then the town talk. Poor Belzoni quietly said, “We had better get out of this crowded street.” We turned into Hanover Square, followed by a number of impertinents for some distance, then crossed Oxford Street into Cavendish Square, avoiding the main thoroughfares, and quickly got clear. I introduced Belzoni as Bergami, to Campbell, who laughed heartily at the joke.

Much conversation about the East followed.
Many of the poet’s questions were curious, sometimes too erudite for the modest and good Italian, who avowed the extent of his acquirements with great candour, and said that he had devoted himself most to mechanics all his life. That he had applied his knowledge that way in Egypt, before he used it in disclosing the remains of Egyptian antiquity. He spoke of his extraordinary strength, and of all he had achieved, but with great modesty.
Campbell was curious to learn from him something about the Copts and their language; but Belzoni knew little of the race compared to the Arabs, of whom his knowledge was extensive. The Copts, it appeared, were superior persons as accountants, and generally thought to be of the genuine Egyptian race. The poet continued some time after this interview to talk frequently of the Coptic, which, he stated, was borrowed from the Greek. I ventured to remark that in such a case it could not have been the language of Thebes, for Homer evidently shows by his allusion that in his day Egypt was an old country and Thebes a mighty city, that the Greek must be presumed to be the younger language; but the poet dissented.

The Rev. Blanco White at this time lodged at Chelsea, in Hæmus Terrace, and began his well-known “Letters of Don Leucadio Doblado.”
He was a sombre, pale-visaged man, with much of the Spanish character in his features, and approaching fifty years of age;* an agreeable companion, and full of information upon a great variety of subjects. No two individuals could have been more dissimilar in mind and appearance than White and the poet. There seemed to be something continually pressing upon the mind of White, and giving it a sickly cast. The unfixedness of his religious tenets would hardly have been deemed a part of his character, which rather impressed upon his bearing a serious determination of purpose in all things—an unchangeableness of principle and action, while he was in reality for ever changing. He arrived in England in 1810, having formed an acquaintance previously in Spain, with
Lord Holland. In his letters he pictured many of his doubts about religion, and the struggles he endured to free himself from the shackles the Catholic faith had imposed upon him. He went to Oxford in 1814, and attached himself to the Church of England. He was, in fact, an unhappy, doubting man, incapable of finding repose in any creed, from his conscientious scruples.

Besides the “Letters of Doblado,” White wrote a number of very interesting sketches from

* He died in May, 1841.

Spanish history, some polemical works, and edited a “
Review” for a short time. Poor White! His bland manner and quiet delivery formed a strong contrast to Campbell’s impulsiveness, and, at times, even impetuosity of manner. White would talk of Seville and Andalusia with much interest, speaking with great deliberation, and describing the people and country with all the feeling of an ardent attachment, in a mode that showed as well he was a man of nice discrimination. “White,” said Campbell, “is wasting his life about theological differences; he had better hand them over to arbitration, and settle them for ever.”

White at last became the devotee almost wholly to his theological reveries, furnishing the melancholy picture of a man clever and good absorbed in unessential scruples, which it was wonderful should beset a mind so well stored, and with such talents as he undoubtedly possessed.

Matthews—Henry Matthews, author of the “Diary of an Invalid,” who died at Ceylon in 1829, a puisne judge in that colony, was the fifth son of Mr. Matthews, of Belmont, near Hereford, who preceded him to the grave two years. He was brother to Matthews, the intimate friend of the present Lord Boughton; the same, too, who is spoken of as so extraordinary a young man by Byron in his correspondence with Mr. Murray,
as one of the monks of Newstead Abbey: he was unfortunately drowned. Henry Matthews possessed talents of the highest order, a sound judgment and polished manners; he was an elegant scholar, and generous in disposition. In the private relations of life he was affectionate and exemplary, with manly sentiments and a lively, playful imagination; he loved literature for its own sake, nor were there any of the anticipations indulged in his regard before he reached the judicial bench at all contradicted. His decease was deemed a public loss in Ceylon. Called away by his duties to a distant colony, England was deprived of the benefit of his labours too early. He wrote the “
Journal of Jonathan Kentucky,” and in one of his papers commented with merited severity on the system of flogging boys from nine to nineteen years of age in the orthodox seminaries in this country. On the system of fagging he was not so severe as on that of flogging. He thought the practical effect of fagging was good. Campbell declared against the latter doctrine altogether. Campbell, as was often the case at the outset, could not get rid of the idea that the public would think the contributors’ sentiments were his own. Upon suggesting the incompleteness of the article if mutilated, he requested the insertion of a note, “That the editor protested against the
opinions.” Matthews laughed at the poet’s sensitiveness on the matter, and observed, truly enough, that if Campbell thought to reconcile the opinions of every contributor to his own views upon all subjects, the work would be a magazine only in the titles of the articles. Matthews wrote some verses from
Horace, and a paper on the character of Socrates. The last contained truths peculiarly applicable to the present time, which sees the vices of contemporaries treated with ineffable indulgence, while doubts regarding great men of the past, are raised upon every possible occasion. “Horace Walpole,” said Matthews, “introduced the fashion of historical doubting by his amusing speculations on Richard III. Dalrymple followed him in an attempt of an opposite kind, by endeavouring to degrade the honoured names of Sidney and Russell from the consecrated place they occupy in the recollection of their countrymen; and we should not be much surprised at some future appeal to our sympathy in behalf of the hapless Jonathan Wild, who will, we make no doubt, turn out at least to have been a much-injured personage, and most unfeelingly misrepresented by the partial compiler of the ‘Newgate Calendar.’” Campbell remarked on the truth of this passage, and since his death
more than once I have verified its soundness in calumnies regarding himself.

Henry Roscoe, the youngest son of the “Historian of the Medici,” was in person tall like his father. Exceedingly well read, with much fancy, and commanding a variety of subject, great in range for one of his years, he was condemned to the study of the law. He was a great and deserved friend of the poet. He died under the most flattering prospects in his professional career, not long after he had married, when the toil of years seemed about to bring him a cheering recompense in merited success.

Foscolo has been already named. A very singular man, uniting opposite qualities, and generally very pleasing in the early part of an acquaintance. Lord Holland wrote to a friend soon after his arrival in England, in 1816, “we are all engoués with him;” so was everybody, even out of Lord Holland’s circle. Campbell was a sincere admirer of his talents, but was not much in the habit of courting his company, on account of his fiery temper, which shocked the poet’s nerves. It was impossible to hold an argument with Foscolo, unless prepared to encounter his outbreaks; and yet there was no one from whom more information upon subjects particularly interesting to literary men could be obtained. In
Greek literature Foscolo was profound, and Campbell always deferred to him; nor was he less learned than his friend
Parini in that of Italy. Campbell would often begin a conversation upon the lyric poets of Greece, and give Foscolo full swing, until the last got away to Homer, the certain termination of the Italian to any discussion upon Greek poetry.

“Ah! Mr. Camp-bell, you do not believe ‘veritablement,’ how do you say that Homer was a pedlar, no, no, I mean a beggar?”

Here was ground to begin a dispute. Campbell would reply that he believed Homer was neither the one nor the other—if he were inclined to believe the great epic was either, he should incline to the opinion of his having been a pedlar, because then he should have some reason to infer he was a Scotchman, so many Campbells being of that trade, and that he should thus get honour for the land of cakes.

“Now, Mr. Campbell, you know it was a lapsus linguæ.”

By no chance could Foscolo get Campbell into a dispute; all his efforts to that end were dexterously parried, after the poet’s ingenious way of raising a dispute and backing out of it. Foscolo understood and spoke English well; but when he grew warm in discussion, he intermingled it
with French and Italian in the most extraordinary manner.

The venerable Roscoe, of Liverpool, being in London, Foscolo invited him to breakfast in Wigmore Street. There he was once found, shut up and working by candle-light at noon, on a fine summer’s-day, upon an article for the “Quarterly Review.” Campbell going down George Street met Foscolo; I was with him. He asked us both to meet Roscoe. The party was small; all came at the appointed hour but Rogers. It was near twelve o’clock, and some one present said Rogers had forgotten his old theme, “memory,” or there would have been a chance of breakfast being over before that time.

“Ah,” said Foscolo, “Mr. Rogers does not get up until eleven o’clock, so we will give him the full hour to come.”

Campbell grumbled, and said that as things went, there was no hope of breakfast for anybody; he would have the inscription over hell-gate put up at the door—
“Lasciate ogni speranza voi che’itrate.”

“No, no, Mister Camp-bell,” rejoined Foscolo, “that cannot be true unless you go away—where you are, there must be the ‘Pleasures of Hope.’”

He rang the bell for breakfast, want of atten-
tion to his guests being no failing of
Foscolo. The breakfast brought up, including tea, the last, by accident, led to some remarks on the nature and cultivation of the tea-plant in the leaf; from thence to a mention of the Georgics, and then to Virgil generally, with a good deal of laudation of the Roman poet on the part of Roscoe. This was more than Foscolo could bear. He thought nothing of the Mantuan bard compared to the great epic of Greece. He accused Virgil of stealing all he was ever worth from the poet of “Scio’s rocky isle;” he paralleled different passages with a wonderful knowledge of the subject upon which he argued, and on which, indeed, he was well worth hearing. The rest of the company was silent. Roscoe looking the Roman whose cause he championed, was all deliberation and coolness, while Foscolo, so warm in his temperament, and so impetuous in argument, poured forth words in a torrent, half English, half foreign, as he always did when excited. The scene was highly amusing. Roscoe was unruffled, while Foscolo, who could scarcely rein in his temper, made, in consequence, the most extravagant assertions, according to his habit under such circumstances. The calmness of that fine, noble-looking old man of seventy, rather excited Foscolo; his imperturbability appearing a species of
provocation to the Italian, who reverenced Homer as an ancient did Jupiter. How long the contest would have continued it was difficult to tell. It was put an end to by
Campbell archly asking Foscolo whether the identity of Homer could be relied upon, because some had asserted that he was no other than Solomon, King of the Jews. The consequent laugh when the poet added, with apparent seriousness, that as it was believed among the literati in the city-corporation, that Sir William Curtis had written the Letters of Junius, he thought the question of the epic authorship should be first decided. There was something about Campbell’s jests, from his manner, which told with great effect, when there was really little humour in them. When the laugh had evaporated, the last hot breath of the discussion disappeared with it.

This sort of jesting was often the resource of the poet to put an end to an argument that he did not wish should proceed further, by which he feared unpleasant warmth would be produced, or that he felt too indolent to protract. Numerous topics were in this way subsequently touched upon and dismissed. It was about the dinner hour when the party quitted its host, and before a conversation terminated between men
whose characters could not but impart to it a deep interest.

Sir Charles Morgan was one the of poet’s circle. His talents were solid rather than showy. Campbell said, he never sat down with Sir Charles that he did not gain some new view of an argument. Whenever Sir Charles came to town from Dublin, he was certain to be one at the poet’s symposia.

Talfourd, connected with Colburn as a dramatic critic, contributed many excellent papers upon other topics. Among them was one which early exhibited Campbell’s sensitiveness. It was entitled “Modern Improvements,” and conveyed a tacit censure upon the innovations time was causing on every hand. Campbell oddly enough annexed to it a species of postscript, which was no more than an effort to show, in an indirect way, that the doctrine in the article was not the editor’s own. In this postscript he pretended, with an attempt at humour, not very successful, that the article was written by a member of the opposition, whose sentiments were Tory, one George Pertinax Growler, Esq., of Kennel Howlbury Hall, Berkshire, who called Waterloo Bridge a “splendid nuisance,” and was nigh disinheriting a son for writing a sonnet to the Steam-engine, and addressing it “Hail! wonder-working power!” “We have given a place to
the foregoing article, which, though it came anonymously, leaves a full conviction on our mind that it is the work of no other pen than that of our late lamented and worthy friend, George Pertinax Growler, Esq., of Kennel Howlbury Hall, Berks, who represented that county during many successive parliaments, and, though a Tory, was a zealous member of the Opposition. Respect for the memory of our beloved Growler, overcomes all the reluctance of our personal opinion as to the inadmissibility of the paper. Poor George, the last time we saw him in London, he refused to dine with us, merely because we had taken an eighteen-penny row by water, one beautiful summer morning, in order to look at that ‘splendid nuisance,’ Waterloo Bridge, shortly after its completion. He may be wrong as to the blessings which society derives from mendicants, or as to the advantages that would have accrued to legal eloquence from the inebriety of lawyers; and he strikes us as heretical on the subject of the Bible Society. But let none imagine that George Growler was himself addicted to the bottle, or an encourager of vicious mendicity, or an enemy to the education of the poor. On the contrary, he had no failing even in principle, except alarm at innovation—to that he was indeed an enemy. The orphan nephew, of whom he speaks, was the
subject of his tender but very troublesome thoughts. The youth was detected by his uncle, at the age of nineteen, in having become a member of the new philosophical club, a very genteel one, that met for literary and liquid recreation at the Cat and Bagpipes. This circumstance required our intervention to propitiate the old gentleman’s wrath. The word new, as his nephew said, would have offended him even in the mention of the ‘New Jerusalem.’ The same poor nephew being afterwards smit at Birmingham with the love of sacred song, a second time offended him, almost to the danger of disinheritance, by writing a Sonnet on the Steam-engine, which began, ‘Hail, wonder-working power!’ but we happily made up the breach. Bred a Tory by his father, who hated the Hanoverian rats, George Growler at first opposed the late
Mr. Pitt, as a presumptuous young minister, and latterly because he flagged in Tory zeal behind Mr. Burke. What side he would have taken now in politics, can only be conjectured; to us it seems, he would have still opposed ministers as the most Radical of innovators. Be that as it may, he departed this life in 1818. His death was occasioned by a fever, on which the opinions of his physician and apothecary were divided. The former pronounced it nervous, and occasioned by the conversation of
his neighbour, Sir Francis Fluent, on the subject of ‘New Improvements’ the latter attributed it to a typhus infection, caught during one of his walks, in stopping to speak with a Cumberland beggar.”

About an article on “French and English Tragedy,” a month or two afterwards, containing a literary position which he could not sanction, he felt again the sensitiveness thus exhibited. He dreaded lest the world should attribute the opinions the article held to himself, and therefore requested I would insert a note attached to the manuscript—for it had been sent direct to his house by Mr. William Wallace—stating that he did not consider himself pledged to support the opinions expressed by his contributors. It was vain to argue with him on the matter at first. When a number or two of the work had been published, he became convinced that his scruples were wrong, the public being little given to judge erringly on such a matter.

Talfourd wrote some of the reviews. All these were eminently adapted to the character of the publication, whether grave or descriptive of existing life, whether critical or argumentative; but enough has been shown to exhibit of what class of individuals the contributors to this celebrated periodical was composed under the poet’s earlier editorship.