LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Conversations on Religion, with Lord Byron
Byron’s Character

First Conversation
Kennedy on Scripture
Second Conversation
Third Conversation
Fourth Conversation
Fifth Conversation
Memoir of Byron
‣ Byron’s Character
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Lord B. was rather above the middle size; his countenance was fine, and indicated intelligence, but especially benevolence. His forehead was large and ample, his eyes were of a grey colour, his nose well-proportioned, his mouth wide, and his chin projecting; his hair was light brown, inclining to grey, particularly about the temples: his appearance was full and robust*. He had high shirt collars, sometimes embroidered, but without frills; he wore often nankeen jacket

* Colonel D. told him that many persons had supposed he was quite en-bon-point. He said, “two years ago I was much stouter, and as fat as the captain of my brig.”

and trowsers, sometimes a plaid jacket; he generally wore a gold chain about his neck, on which a locket was suspended, and the end of the chain was placed in his waistcoat pocket, and a cameo, with the head of

His countenance generally exhibited a smile, or a look of softness, and thoughtfulness; and when animated in conversation, there was a keen and perçant expression of eye, with a slight colour in his face, which was usually pale and clear.

He spoke with energy, vivacity, and freedom; his utterance was rapid, and varied in its intonations; his language was select, forcible, and pure; and his ideas were expressed with unusual ease and propriety. His voice was soft and melodious, to a degree which at first appeared to be the result of affectation. His manners were dignified and well-bred; he was invariably polite.

The impression which he left on me, judging of his manner merely, was that of a perfectly polished man, with much affability, cheerfulness, vivacity, and benevolence. In the conversations which I had with him, he appeared to shew an acute and cultivated mind, rather than a profound understanding. There was no appearance of extensive science or erudition, nor that coolness and so-
briety of judgment, which a learned philosopher might be expected to exhibit: but his manner was lively, witty, and penetrating, shewing that he had a mind of strong powers, and capable of accomplishing great things, rather than affording a constant proof that he had already accomplished them. He was so easy, affable, and kind that you required at times to recall to mind his rank and fame, lest his manner should unconsciously betray you into undue familiarity,—an error into which one gentleman fell,—and was punished by
Lord B.’s avoiding him as much as politeness permitted. Although he must have looked into a variety of books, and was acquainted with a little on every subject, yet I was not impressed with an idea of the profoundness of his knowledge, nor should I have been disposed to rely on the solidity of his judgment. He often spoke for effect, and appeared to say fine and brilliant things, without having any other end in view; a practice which might display quickness of discernment, eloquence and wit, but which, of course, could not excite the decided admiration which the display of a richly-furnished mind, or a superior and solid understanding, would have elicited. Though not insensible to renown and distinction,
and though raised to the highest pitch of poetical eminence, he had no poetical enthusiasm, or fantastic frenzy in his manner and conversation. He felt that these were useful, and to be studied and valued only as they lead to something more substantial; and as he had a quick perception of the ridiculous, he seemed to have a feeling, that frequently crossed his mind, as if fame and poetry, and every thing else, which men so eagerly court, was, in reality, hollow and vain; and contempt for the whole human race—including himself—was often predominant.

His varied fortunes in life, his unhappiness amidst such means of happiness, his splendid fame, his personal defects, and his domestic calamities, his mortified pride, and vanity, might naturally lead him often to such a conclusion. It is true, that all I say is but my own opinion, and what I cannot affirm as certain, yet, as far as one can judge of another by looks, hints, or the train of associations, such seem often to have been the predominant feelings of his mind. I have been asked by some, if his appearance and manner did not convey the idea of a fiend incarnate. On the contrary, his appearance and manner gave the idea of a kind-hearted, benevolent, and feeling man,
with an amiable and pleasing countenance, but a man who was led by passions, by prejudice, and not by coolness of judgment, nor the steady self-denial, and heroical feelings of Christian principles. That his was a mind often agitated in private by gloomy meditations and melancholy feelings appeared at times, when he gave for a moment repose to the mind, from the exertion of acting his part in company, and allowed his countenance to assume those features which were habitual, for then the expression which I saw once or twice was that of melancholy and woeful forlornness; but it was surprising to see the quick and striking change, passing immediately from this, to a sprightly, animated, and amiable expression, whenever he saw that it was expected of him to resume his part; which was always the principal in conversation. Sometimes it struck me, that in reality, in his solitary hours, he was melancholy and unhappy, and that the very great hilarity and vivacity which he shewed in company was a proof of it, as if he were glad to escape, for the sake of variety, from his habitual frame of mind. I often looked at
Lord Byron with admiration, sympathy, and compassion: admiration for his great abilities, sympathy with his unfor-
tunate life, and compassion for one who, with all the wealth, rank, and fame which fell to the lot of few, and which, when founded on a proper basis, are calculated so much to promote happiness, appeared unhappy; not merely because he was not virtuous, but because he was not religious. Many talents he possessed, calculated to excite wonder and envy; yet the highest of all blessings, piety, he possessed not.

The vanity of all earthly things, if the favour of God attends them not, was strongly impressed on the mind in listening to him, and considering his character. He possessed many virtues, such as friendship and benevolence, yet he was not happy; and what could these avail, without that peace and tranquillity of mind here, under every situation and circumstance, and that strong and certain hope of a blessed immortality in heaven, which can alone be obtained through faith in the merits of our Redeemer? Yet Lord B. excited intense interest and sympathy in my mind. He felt and acknowledged that he was not happy in his unsettled notions of religion: he was desirous of learning the truth; yet, like too many others, paid not that attention to it, nor cultivated so deep and immediate an interest in learning it, as he
He vaguely hoped, no doubt, that if the Scriptures were true, he should ascertain the truth of them some time or other; and hence, surrounded as he was with such companions and so many public and private duties, it was a matter of apprehension, that even this desire might be suspended, or even extinguished. His patience, however, in listening to me, his candour in never putting captious objections, his acknowledgment of his own sinfulness, gave hope that the blessing of religious truth might be opened to his understanding; and though these were damped by an occasional levity, at least by the want of that seriousness which the subject required, yet, on the whole, the general result was favourable.

It may be useful to consider Lord B.’s character in the following points of view—as a man, as a poet, and, lastly, in reference to Christianity. Of the minute details of his early life I am ignorant, as no full and authentic account of it has yet been given*. He first appeared as a poet before he reached the age of majority, and his work was received with an overwhelming ridi-

* Mr. Moore’s work contains a full and interesting narration of Lord B.’s early years, and most strikingly exemplifies that paradox,

“The Child is father of the Man.”

cule and scorn by a critic in the
Edinburgh Review. There was no excuse for defects or failings—no candid indulgence—no kind encouragement to try again, and endeavour to do better, but a cruel and inhuman taunting and mockery. That Lord B.’s vanity was mortified by the blow, is certain. It struck to his very heart, and roused his bitterest feelings: and in every variety of scene, when wandering in the regions of Greece or on the smiling shores of Turkey, the effects were severely felt and powerfully expressed. This disappointment, joined to his personal deformity, and his scantiness of fortune when compared with others of his rank, affected him deeply, and he felt as if nature and man had treated him unkindly; instead of yielding to circumstances or to the dictates of reason, he only exerted his faculties to fight the battle into which he had been so unexpectedly dragged. Had he been educated in strictness of moral virtue, or in resignation to religion; and had those habits been strengthened by example, his fate and his feelings might have been different; but, left an orphan, placed in society where ambition and wealth were the only objects—where the passions had no particular restraint, he unfortunately chose not to
restrain his. He determined to engage in the fight with the Reviewers, and exhibited the same spirit of malevolent and angry feeling, unworthy of a virtuous and noble mind, but justifiable, or at least excusable in his case, as he was ungently attacked without having even given provocation. His opponents had no excuse, and his critic is not to be envied, if his judgment be now sobered, when he looks back on his wanton attack, and reflects how much his cruel criticism may have contributed to the chequered, unfortunate life of his victim. Lord B., in the execution of his vengeance against his critic, unfortunately attacked many others in terms of contempt and derision, and thus was guilty of the same fault which had been committed against himself. He assailed the most distinguished critics, poets, and writers; and the satirical powers of a young and noble author, who was thus daring and impetuous, were not likely to conciliate the forbearing hand and the kindly praise of others*. In the mean

* Colonel D. took up a book, which was “the English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.” “You need not look at this,” said D.; “it is your own”. “This book did me a great deal of harm,” replied his lordship; “I lost a great number of friends who have never forgiven me.”; “It is the best you ever wrote.” “Why,” said Lord B., “I published a few silly songs, written when I was young; and

time he went on rapidly, adding poem to poem; the subjects were strange and unusual, and his lordship seemed to care little about the sympathy of his readers or the rules of poetry. His progress was watched—his fame rose bright amidst all distrust and opposition: many, however, grudged his reputation, and praised him with reluctance.

It was his lot to be constantly before the public eye. His marriage, his sudden separation, to which he imprudently gave publicity;—his departure for Italy, his mode of living there; his poems, which became more and more descriptive, as it was deemed, of his character, and were equally deserving of censure and praise,—all were calculated to excite a host of enemies who

when the Reviewers treated me so severely, I wished to show them that I would not put up with their insolence so tamely as they expected. But one thing I regret very much in this book, is what I wrote of Lord Carlisle. I am sorry for it.” Colonel D. mentioned the Quarterly Review on his Cain. “Oh, you should read the Edinburgh Quarterly—this gives it much sharper; for though on my own side, it is always hardest against me.”

One day, when talking of one of his aunts whom the colonel knew, he said, “We have been an unfortunate family; none of us have come to any good.” The colonel said, “He hoped to see him a Methodist yet, though he regretted that in the interval much time was lost, as his lordship should now be writing some beautiful hymns.” “When I do become one,” he replied, “I shall not be a lukewarm Christian.”

had hitherto lain quiet. As censure and criticism reached him, and he was always sensible to them, instead of endeavouring to remove the cause, he seems to have been still further roused, by his passions, and by a consciousness that he was censured far more than he deserved,—by many whose conduct was worse than his own,—to continue the battle with unabating vigour. As religion had never much engaged his thoughts, and as unfortunately many religious people, from a preposterous fear of the injury he would do, inveighed against him from the pulpit, and spoke or wrote against him, his anger seems to have been excited towards them also, and he resolved to write in defiance of them all; and as he did so on the spur of the moment and under malignant passions, and not from an ambition of the praise of the present or future good men, his poems became increasingly defective in purity, and were even tainted with the appearance of infidelity.

There are circumstances which induce me to believe that Lord Byron never doubted the divine authenticity of the Scriptures, arising probably from the influence of early education, if no higher principle was in operation, and that those hints of
infidelity were thrown out by way of desperate or contemptuous bravado. His conduct, however, was not to be excused. Writing, as he did, under the influence of impetuous feelings, and stung by what he considered unnecessarily cruel and unmerited reproach and censure, he fell into greater mistakes than he did at first. He libelled and ridiculed his native country, from which he was a voluntary exile; he satirized his king; he satirized his political enemies, and his vengeance followed them even after they were laid in the grave. These things were highly culpable; but who does not perceive that his public life was a warfare, a combat excited by his critic, and continued by a host of others? and who could expect that a man so vain, so disappointed, so mortified, and who fought with such feelings,—with the added spirit of vengeance, would do so with soberness and moderation?

His character as a man, if separated from that of a poet, has no unusual feature, and is, indeed, a common one. Deprived early of his parents, he grew up without correction or control, and he displayed some of those extravagances and eccentricities which distinguish too many of our young noblemen. He married early; soon separated
from his wife; lived in Italy for some years, in comparative seclusion: then engaged in the cause of Greece, and died at an early age. His private life, like that of many others, was a mixture of virtues and vices; and his vices, there is reason to believe, were those which are most indulgently looked upon by the world, nor were they more numerous than most of those of his own rank; while his charities and benevolence were, perhaps, more than can usually be found.

His writings, however, have given a tinge of his private character; and hence it is impossible to form an estimate of the latter, without taking into view the former. Had he not written, it is obvious that there was nothing unusual in his character, nothing that is not paralleled in the lives of many private gentlemen. From the choice of his subjects, he has had the peculiar fate of its having been supposed that his imaginary characters were, in almost all instances, the representation of his own; and hence many have judged of his private character by those which he has drawn in his writings. That there is some foundation for this cannot be denied; but that the conclusion has been carried too far, a slight consideration will readily convince any one. His first work against
Edinburgh Reviewers exhibited a fearless and undaunted mind, equally prepared for attack and defence, and not very scrupulous in the means. That it had the misfortune to keep his mind in this state, ready for warfare with all his passions awakened, has already been hinted at; and this consideration seems to account, sometimes, for the choice of subjects in his future poems, and for those hints and remarks which he incidentally scatters through them. As his life was one of change and bustle—as his feelings and passions were never subjected to any steady control—as he wrote often under the sting and writhing of mortified pride and disappointment—as he also wrote with a feeling that his sins were too severely punished by many whose conduct did not justify them in doing so, it may be supposed that he was not always happy in his subjects and delineation, nor prudent and guarded in his remarks. Though some of these circumstances led him into errors, they contributed, there is room to conjecture, to that free, unshackled style of writing, which, leaving his genius uncramped by rules or criticisms, which he both feared and despised, enabled him to reach some of those excellencies which place him on a
level with the very first poets of this or any country. The subject of
Childe Harold, the finest, and, upon the whole, the most unexceptionable of his poems, was that of a man sated with all the sins of his youth, and experiencing, like Solomon, the vanity of all human things,—wandering from his native country, and giving vent to his feelings and sentiments, as the places he wandered over, and the persons he met with, excited. As there were some points of resemblance between this imaginary character and his own, the mind naturally connects them together, and dwells with some sort of mysterious curiosity on the innumerable vices which the young wanderer must have committed, when, tired with all and stung with remorse, he leaves his country to seek ease in variety, to his troubled conscience. The impression that such must have been Lord Byron’s character in his youth is made by this poem; though sober reflection might teach us, that it could have been conceived and written by one whose youth was spent in the exercise of every virtue, and whose conduct was unstained by vice or crime. The character of the Giaour, Lara, the Corsair, Manfred, and, finally, that of Don Juan, confirm these impressions. The poet
seemed to delight in imagining and delineating all that was bad in human nature. Impetuous, stormy, and violent passions; insatiable revenge, unconquered pride, ferocity, and the ungovernable and unlawful omnipotence of love, seem subjects which engaged his thoughts and his pen: in them were mixed expressions of discontent with all earthly enjoyments; with the established order of things; with feelings of contempt for all that man takes pride in; the vanity of ambition, of rank, of warlike or scientific glory. He pourtrays the misery which man brings on man, from the exercise of unruly passions; the evils of tyranny and war; the disorders in the physical, as well as in the moral world: he, tries in vain to penetrate the inscrutable mysteries of Providence; and, failing in his attempt to account for what he sees, he throws out doubts against the Divinity of the Scriptures. He is not the poet of virtue. No character ennobled by virtue, or by piety, is sung by him. Beauty is a plaything, an object of desire; and though his descriptions of female beauty of face and figure are in the highest degree poetical, yet they are drawn without any other virtue than that which education, or the opinion of society, gives them;
and they are drawn in order to display that devotedness of love,—whether lawful or unlawful, it matters not with the poet,—that sacrifice of every worldly interest, that encountering of every misery and woe, and death itself, in pursuit of its gratification, or in its devotedness to the object beloved. With him, love must reign paramount to all laws and principles, moral and divine; and death and damnation must be encountered, rather than restrain its impetuous and uncontrollable force. In short, it is a species of insanity, that takes possession of the mind, which absorbs every other feeling and interest.

Such is the general character of his poetry. I speak not of his style, of his invention, of his versification, of the grandeur of his delineations, of his frequent sublime descriptions, both of moral and physical portraits, and the various excellencies and defects of his compositions. These I leave to others, as my object is simply to endeavour to ascertain his character as a man. On these points I shall only remark that, considering Lord B. merely in the light of a poet, he has not only surpassed all his contemporaries, but, passing over a long list of great names, he places himself on a level with Shakspeare and Milton.


The question however recurs, how far his poetry illustrates his moral and intellectual character, and how far it is a faithful impression of it.

It can be conceived, that a moral man might form conceptions such as he has done, and publish them, merely as best suiting his genius, and as being more likely to produce effect than others which have presented themselves to his imagination. The mind of man is delighted at that which is wonderful, astonishing, and striking, whether the impressions are favourable to virtue or not; and a poet, conversant with human nature, will find that such pictures of new, splendid, grand, and horrid views of human nature will produce a greater impression than those that are soft, pleasing, and virtuous. But though these subjects may be permitted to a poet, as within the province of his art, yet he is amenable to censure and condemnation if his descriptions are calculated to destroy or diminish virtue, piety, loyalty, and all those feelings which contribute to private or social happiness. Every man is under obligations to maintain these; and whoever violates them, whatever may be the object, whether to display the power of his talents, or to efface those principles, the existence of which he disbelieves or
hates, is justly condemned.
Lord B., therefore, is amenable to the same tribunal, in as far as he has violated those obligations which are due to the peace and welfare of society. That he has violated them to a great extent, few will venture to deny; but what were his motives for doing so, it is more difficult to ascertain. The events of his life encourage the idea, that he drew such portraits as were most congenial to his own mind, and that the sentiments he ascribes to others are entirely his own; but, to carry this belief to the length which some have, carried it, would violate every principle of candour and charity, and would award to him a more severe and uncharitable judgment than has been pronounced on any other poet. The poet having a choice of characters, can draw them as he considers most likely to produce effect, and for that purpose he has a wide range allowed him; but it does not therefore follow, that these are characters which he himself loves, and admires, and wishes to be held up for imitation, or that the sentiments which he ascribes to them are his own.—It is true that such conceptions of character have passed through his mind, but they are no more to be considered his fixed and habitual sentiments, than are the evil thoughts and ima-
ginations which often pass through the minds of men, to their great regret. With respect, therefore, to
Lord B., no positive judgment can be drawn, but that the same charity and candour should be exercised towards him, which has been exercised towards every other poet. From what I saw of him, I am induced to conclude, that most of his characters were drawn, because he considered them to have a more striking poetical effect than others of a different kind, and that the sentiments they utter are for the purpose of filling up his conception of the consistency and individuality of the character; that he had no specific object either to recommend vice or promote virtue, and that he neither considered the moral nor immoral effect of his writings. This remark I would not, however, apply to his writings without exception, because there are many expressions in his works, and especially in that of Don Juan, the effects of which he must have known were likely to be positively prejudicial, and in writing which, he violated all that indulgence which is properly allowed to a poet. I am inclined to believe that occasionally the sentiments which he ascribes to his characters were, at the time he wrote them, really his own: thus his discontent with the state of society, his
hatred of tyranny and oppression, might be judged in general to be the habitual sentiments of his own mind, arising from that melancholy view of human nature which his early misfortunes and disappointments might impress upon him. His abuse of individuals, his forgetfulness of what was due to loyalty, and his ridicule of the
king, were the result of the prejudice and passion of the moment, and the subjects of after regret. His abuse of Lord Castlereagh I conceive to have been the effect of his really believing him to have been an enemy to the true interests of his country; and this feeling being carried to excess, he considered it was just to hold him up to the execration of posterity. His doubts of the inspiration of the Scriptures were not the actual convictions of his mind, but transient,—uttered in the feeling of the moment, and springing from a mixture of doubt and of bravado, that people might stare and wonder at his boldness.

I would acquit him, therefore, of a preference to vice, instead of virtue, merely because he has painted vicious characters; most of the sentiments which he has attributed to them are, it appears to me, imaginings of the brain, and not the convictions of the heart; and many others, which are
more directly applicable to himself, were the result of passing impressions, and not expressive of his fixed and habitual belief. I would also acquit him of any determinate view of destroying virtue, encouraging vice, and promoting infidelity; and candour requires that we should believe that his characters and subjects were chosen for their poetical and striking effect, and not with any other secret and insidious view.

But, acquitting him of all this, we are still to ascertain that degree of praise and blame which the nature of his writings lead us to bestow upon him. In the first place he is not entitled to the praise of noble, enlightened, virtuous, and pious sentiments and descriptions. In the second place he is not entitled to praise for his writings having left any favourable and pleasing impressions of human nature, or of pure and unmixed delight in the contemplation of his characters. In the third place he is blamable for the unfavourable impressions which are produced by strong, exalted delineations of vicious, though great passions, of unlawful loves, of wild ambition, discontent, and turbulence; by doubts of virtue and of piety, and in his descriptions of moral profligacy, particularly in Don Juan. Every good man must
regret that his extraordinary talents were not better applied. His poems produce a mixed feeling of wonder and astonishment, of horror and regret. It is not more unpleasing to see the horrid sublime of vice, than to contemplate that of nature; and had the mind something, however little, in his poems, in the praise of virtue and piety, on which it might rest, giving a hint as it were of the misery and woe which ever attends violent passions, describing the remorse for crime and the agony of guilt, he would have saved his character from reproach, and would have left an impression that his descriptions were selected and drawn for practical effect. Had this been done, and had Don Juan never been written, his poems would have been read with pleasure and instruction, as adding new views, finely drawn, of the vanities of human character. It is perhaps well, however, that they have been written, though many might wish that
Byron had not been the man. They are such as none but a genius of the highest order could have written: they shew a desperate disregard of virtuous fame, which marks strongly the impetuous, energetic, and daring character of the man, and the singular circumstances of life which drew it forth, and in
which no other man has been, or will perhaps be placed. As they were written under irritation and agitation of feeling, when judgment and reflection were asleep, they were the wild throes of passion, rather than the result of long and studied deliberation. As he wrote not for fame, nor for posterity, but from the impulse of the moment, so we need not be surprised that we find so much to censure and regret. But this very consideration will form his excuse with posterity, when time has mellowed the asperities of his character, when his failings are excued in consideration of the temptations to which he was exposed; and it will acquit him of all attempts and settled plans of undermining virtue and promoting the cause of infidelity and vice,—an idea which never would have been entertained, had not circumstances prevented a cool reflection and a calm decision.

In short, the name of Byron will go down to posterity with those of the first poets of the country. His grossness will find an example in some of those whom England most admires. His slight tincture of infidelity will be attributed to the circumstances of his life, and he will be reckoned of a peculiar order, as having given the best paintings of vice and crime; a class which, though not
edifying in a moral way, may not be uninstructive in an intellectual point of view, as exhibiting examples of the strength and conceptions of the mind. Though Byron, therefore, cannot enter into the class of the good, the moral, and the virtuous poets,—the number of which is unfortunately too small,—he will rank among the highest in that of poets in general: nor will he have much to suffer in point of mere morality if compared with
Shakspear, the first of that class, as there is far more grossness and indelicacy in the works of Shakspear than in those of Byron; the manners of the age, it is true, present some excuse for the former. They are both the poets of nature, that is, of nature exhibiting, as it really does, a mixture of goodness and vice,—of crime, and guilt, and passion,—of virtue and iniquity. They are equally powerful in delineating the varied features of individual character; though, as Shakspear has represented it under a greater variety of forms, he may be thought to have excelled Byron in richness of invention, and in eloquence of poetry; yet, while this is admitted, it may be contended that many of the delineations of Byron shew the same strength and vigour of intellect so strikingly peculiar to Shakspear. Of
neither of them can it be said, that they never wrote a line, which, dying, they would wish to blot: though both of them excel
Cowper in strength of poetical genius, they are far his inferiors in virtue and moral poetry. His fame will extend as widely as theirs; and while they excite the admiration, he will preserve the love and gratitude of every good man, who can recur to his pages with the assurance that his feelings of reverence for virtue and religion will not only receive no shock, but be improved and invigorated by the charms of his poetry and the truth and justness of his remarks.

It appears, therefore, from a review of Byron’s private character, that it was a common one, being mixed with many virtues and stained with some fashionable vices. We meet nothing in it to command our veneration: we find many things to pity and excuse, from the peculiarity of his situation; but we are not entitled to call him a virtuous, pious man. In his poetical character, we find much reason to admire his wonderful talents. We may regret that his poems were not finished with a greater end in view than he seems to have had; that is, that he did not propose to himself more distinctly the promotion of virtue. We may blame him for his indelicacy
and licentiousness of description in some of his works, and also for many of his sentiments, and especially for the levity, and appearance of infidelity, with which he sometimes alludes to sacred subjects. We observe in them, however, no proof of fixed opinions, or reason to believe that in general he pourtrayed the features of his own character; and we may readily believe, without any breach of candour, that his most reprehensible descriptions and sentiments, written under the influence of passion and prejudice, or the result of ignorance, would have been an object of regret to himself had he lived, and perhaps often were so. With respect to religion, we find nothing like a bitter enmity to it, or a settled conviction that it was an imposture. Some passages display a levity and an appearance of incredulity, but nothing like a deliberate denial, or a rejection of its truth. We find, in fact, that he was like all those nominal Christians who are unregenerate:—he knew not its spirit. His conduct was not regulated by it, and he differed simply from many of those who hold in the world a very respectable character, in his having treated it with seeming ridicule in his writings, while they, perhaps, have done the same in conversation.


He was, in fact, what he represented himself to be when I saw him,—unsettled in his religious opinions. He rejected the appellation of infidel; he said it was a cold and chilling word. He confessed he was not happy; he said, he wished to be convinced of the truth of religion.—We have now to consider if his conduct confirmed this statement.

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Dr. Kennedy did not live to fill up the design which he had sketched out. There are many notes and memoranda, and extracts from Lord Byron’s works; but these are so short, intricate, and abrupt, that I cannot define their meaning. It is a source of regret to me, that I never entered into any particular conversation with respect to this intended publication. All remarks and criticisms were to be reserved till the work was finally matured: this period never arrived, and it is impossible for me to illustrate, even in an inferior manner, the design and end which Dr. Kennedy had in view.