LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Lady Morgan’s Memoirs
Chapter XVII

Vol. I Contents.
Prefatory Address
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Vol. I Index
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter IV
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
‣ Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Chapter XXXIX
Chapter XL
Vol. II Index
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Early in 1827 the novel of the O’Briens and the O’Flaherties was complete. There was a long negotiation about the price. Lady Morgan had a perfect conviction of her own value, and she stood out for terms. Colburn wrote pathetically that no other publisher ever would or could feel the interest he did in her works, or make so many sacrifices to insure their success, and as those things did not move Lady Morgan, he wrote on May 7, 1827, and made an offer of one thousand two hundred and fifty pounds, to be paid by instalments. This, Lady Morgan refused, and after some further correspondence, Colburn, sooner than see a rival in possession, agreed to her terms, which were one thousand three hundred pounds down for the copyright, one hundred pounds on the second edition, and another hundred on the third edition, with the stipulation that no edition was to exceed three thousand copies.

The work was more popular than any of her former
tales. The pictures of Irish society immediately before and after the Union, and the characters of the vice-regal Court under the
Duke of Rutland, had a peculiar interest at the time the book came out, which has now evaporated; but there is still the perennial interest of human nature, dashes of Irish humour and Irish pathos, and traits of manners not now to be found,—for the Irish peasant of the present day is quite a different creature. As a repertory of the manners, customs, grievances, and society as it existed both in Dublin and the provinces in the time when Ireland was the seat of misgovernment and mistake, the O’Brien’s and the O’Flaherties will always be a standard work of reference. As a tale, the plot is too confused, and the interest too much diffused; the whole story is rambling, but detached portions of it are inimitable; for instance, the account of the Miss Mc Taafs and their “Jug Day,” which we have quoted elsewhere, and which was drawn from the life. It is a portraiture perfect in its kind, and like a picture by Hogarth in words. The Lord Aronmore is not so interesting a personage as O’Donnel, but any one wishing for a book full of scenes of racy Irish fun and delicate satire would find these in the pages of the O’Brien’s and the O’Flaherties. The first volume which is occupied with an account of an Irish feud, might be omitted, as it damps the reader’s interest by too long a prelude.

A certain rebel, General Aylmer, offers the type for her hero. The real General, driven from his own country after the troubles of ’98, entered the Austrian
service; distinguished himself; became a general; was selected to accompany the Emperor of Austria when he visited England, and, at the special request of the
Prince Regent, he was left behind to teach the sword-exercise to the British Army. His special pupils were the 10th Dragoons, and he performed his task so well that he received a free pardon and a handsome sword from the Prince Regent himself. He tried to settle in his native land; but, all patriotic as he was, he could not be happy in peace and retirement. He headed a band of Irish sympathizers, and joined the South American patriots, then in the beginning of their struggle under Bolivar. He fought hard, of course, and received a wound in one of their battles, from the effects of which he soon after died. Some idea of a real Irish hero may be formed from the incident that once having got into a squabble with the Duke of Leinster’s gamekeepers, he called on His Grace to complain, attired in his full Austrian uniform, with sabre and helmet complete!

February.—Death of Lydia White; I received the account this morning. Poor Lydia had asked a party to dine with her on Friday,—on Wednesday she was dead! From economy of eyes and lights, she used to sit when alone to a late hour without lights. Her servant having placed candles on the table in the front drawing-room waited for his mistress to ring to light them. He thought he heard something fall, but as the bell did not ring he did not go up, till surprised at her remaining so long in the dark, he entered, and
found her lying on the floor.
Dr. Holland was sent for, but medical aid was too late. When some of her party arrived to dine on the Friday she was lying dead. Poor Lydia! before she was buried she was forgotten!

The Lydia White so often referred to was a personage of much social celebrity in her day. She was an Irish lady of large fortune and considerable talent, noted for her hospitalities and dinners in all the capitals of Europe, particularly London and Paris. She had remarkable quickness at repartee. At one of her small and agreeable dinners in Park Street (all the company except herself being Whigs), the desperate prospects of the Whig party were discussed. “Yes,” said Sidney Smith, who was present, “we are in a most deplorable condition, we must do something to help ourselves; I think,” said he, looking at Lydia White, “we had better sacrifice a Tory virgin.” “Ah!” replied she, “I believe there is nothing the Whigs would not do to raise the wind.”

There are several incidental mentions of her in the diaries of Lord Byron and Moore. Byron seems to have been inclined to shy at what he calls her “purple parties” but he does not speak ill-naturedly, though he rather makes fun of her. He tells Moore in one of his letters that Lydia White was in Venice, and had just borrowed his copy of Lalla Rookh.

For some time before her death she was in a languishing state of health, but it provoked witticism rather than compassion. Moore says in his diary, May 7, 1826:—“Called upon Rogers; found him in
high good humour. In talking of
Miss White, he said, ‘how wonderfully she does hold out; they may say what they will, but Miss White and Missolongi are the most remarkable things going.’”

In consequence of disease she became of a great size during the latter part of her life; and the best her friends could find to say of her was, that she would “leave a great gap in society.” For a woman who was so well known in the world, she has passed singularly out of remembrance.

March 8.—Last night, Laporte, the celebrated French actor from the Vaudeville, delighted a very chosen society at our petite soirée by his reading of Les Precieuses.

In the dawn of refinement there is always a tendency to the Précieuse-ism of the Hotel Rambouillet. Louis XIV., that most illiterate of men, was bored alike with the real and affected superiority of some of his courtiers; he was protector of Moliere, and even the Jesuits could not hunt down Tartuffe.

May 9.—Received in Kildare Street the Duke de Dalmatia, son of Marshal Soult, and his friend de Visconti. They were sent to me by the Duc de Montebello.

The diary is resumed in London.

July 27.—Lady Charleville was pre-eminently agreeable to-day,—we talked over Lady Cork; she is eighty-one, and gave a dinner to twenty special guests
the other day. Her last intrigue “aux choux et aux raves” was driving a hard bargain with the Tyrolese to sing at her party. She picked them up in the Regent’s Park, and brought them down to thirty shillings, which she was heard wishing to beat down to eight, when she stood with them where she thought there was no one to listen, but they held out for the thirty shillings.

At the Duke of St. Alban’s, where there were all the opera people, she said, “Duke, now, couldn’t you send me the pack for my evening?” “Certainly,” said he, and they were sent with a grand piano forte. When they came to her, Lady Cork got frightened, and said “Je suis une pauvre veuve, je ne saurais payer de tels talents, mais vous verrez la meilleure société, la Duchesse de St. Albans, &c., &c.” The Primo Amoroso bowed, and acknowledged the honour, but intimated that the Duchess always paid them.

Lady Cork went to the Duke and accused him of taking a word at random, tout de bon.

The Duchess overhearing, came forward in a rage, and scolded the little Duke like a naughty schoolboy. The angry Duchess took all upon herself. Lady Cork was very angry at “the show up.”

Talking this morning with Lady Charleville on the report of my having found assistance in Brownlow’s conversations. “Not you, child,” she said, “you have a splendid imagination, but you have no powers of argument.” She was right as to the fact, but wrong as to inference. Men are always more easily convinced by images presented to their senses, than by arguments
offered to their reason. Images are facts, arguments are but words, and impressions are more rapidly conveyed than ideas. I have often failed to excite an interest by argument,—I have always succeeded by a scene.

There is nothing less amusing than writing for the amusement of the public.

Lady Cork said to me this morning, when I called Miss —— a nice person. “Don’t say nice, child, ’tis a bad word. Once I said to Dr. Johnson, ‘Sir, that is a very nice person.’ ‘A nice person,’ he replied, ‘what does that mean? Elegant is now the fashionable word, but will go out, and I see this stupid nice is to succeed to it; what does nice mean? look in my dictionary, you will see it means correct, precise.’”

Lady Cork also told me that on one occasion when Croker was dining with the King, the Duke of Clarence was present, who was always indignant at the insolence of office displayed by Croker in the Admiralty. “When I am king,” said he, “I will be my own secretary of the Admiralty.” The King overheard them and said, “What nonsense is that you are talking, Croko?” “His Royal Highness is mentioning what he will do in case he should become king.” The next morning the King sent for Croker to his bedroom, and reproached him for exposing his brother, and he was never invited to dinner again.

The following note from Lady Caroline Lamb contains the announcement of the unexpected death of Canning.

Lady Caroline Lamb to Lady Morgan.
Brockett Hall,
My dear Lady Morgan,

In consequence of a carrier coming this way, I have heard to my excessive horror that Mr. Canning is either dying or dead. I am coming to town in consequence to know the truth, and if I can, to see the Duke of Devonshire; in the mean time, will you call upon me to-morrow (Thursday) the moment you are up, and pray let it be early; you never said good bye, you never said thank you for my sweet scent. You never brought me the portrait. I take this note to town to-night, scarcely hoping to see you. I have two or three notes from William, evidently not knowing this disastrous news.

Yours most truly,
C. Lamb.

To return to the diary again—

Canning’s death makes less sensation than might have been expected; he had no hold on the convictions of society. His one absorbing idea was to be the political Atlas of England, to raise her on his shoulders. His vituperative eloquence, his wit, his àplomb, his humour were exquisite. When I wrote my first France, and attacked the Bourbons in my tiny way, Canning was at the feet of the restored
despots, and called Bourdeaux Le Temple de
Madame D’Angoulême.

Lady Cork once took me to visit him, but he was out.

Dublin again.—We have busied ourselves very much upon the occasion of Talbot’s election, and wrote all sorts of squibs, some of which were sung in the street the next day.

October 19.—We dined at our new Secretary’s to-day (W. Lamb). We had Curran and Grattan, names new to the salons of our Irish Secretary.

I was telling Henry Grattan and Mrs. Blachford that I had introduced their father in my O’Briens and O’Flaherties at the head of his volunteer corps in the park. Mrs. Blachford said that her father one day marched his company into the middle of the sea. On another occasion he was reviewing them with his glass to his eye, and Mrs. Blachford was near him; he asked her, “Mary Ann, are their backs or their fronts towards me?” He was very blind and very absent, and his mind full of anything but military evolutions.

Crampton told me that a man repeating to him an observation of a clever person who had said “such a one’s mind is still in full force, but he must die, his physique is quite worn out,” he said “Dr. B—— says, ‘Mr. —— must die for his physic is out!” * * * The Hon. George Keppel, aid-de-camp to Lord Wellesley, became an habitué of our house in Kildare Street. Il rien bougait plus—at last it came out that he had a manuscript by him of his journey through Persia—in a word, he wished me to blanchir son linge sale, or rather to
sell his book for him. I always like to encourage the young rising aristocracy to work, for a thousand reasons, so I took his MS., read it, and sold it for three hundred pounds to
Colburn, who, but for me, would not have given him three hundred pence. After it was out, his vanity got alarmed lest I should arrogate to myself the “best passages in it!”

November 12, Sunday.—At my once-a-fortnight’s Sunday dinners yesterday, I had a strange olla podrida sort of gathering. Bunn, the lessee of the theatre; Calcraft, the manager; Sir Charles Malcolm, just appointed to his first place at Bombay; Mr. Cuthbert, and one or two others. In the evening, Sheil, Curran, Crampton (Surgeon-General), Mrs. Corregan, the prima donna (who sang charmingly); some of the old Court, an American Corinne, Miss Edgeworth, and the Lakes of Killarney.

Bunn’s anecdotes were some of them very amusing. Talking of Theodore Hook, Bunn said (though Bunn is by way of being his friend and disciple) “No friendship can bind him, he will show up a friend in his writings all the same as his foe. He is said to make three thousand a-year by the John Bull and his other writings. He lies on a sofa and drinks claret all day, and has a face like a grenadier’s cap. He was the confidential friend of Lord Bathurst.”

Here he was interrupted by the frank indignation of Sir Charles Malcolm.—“He is one of the greatest rogues that lives unhanged! When Lord Bathurst engaged him to write the account of Bonaparte’s detention at St. Helena, there were among many gross
falsehoods, a calumnious attack upon my uncle,
Sir Pultney Malcolm. He heard this, and said to Lord Bathurst, ‘I hear that there is such a work coming out; the moment it appears I will publish a counter statement, in which I will tell the whole truth—I will spare none!’ The work, on the day it was to appear, was suppressed; Lord Bathurst bought it up from Colburn.”

The John Bull, The Age, The Beacon, The Satirist, and such works may be called into life, and men may endorse their opinions. They may have partisans, readers, and patrons. Despotism in politics, corruption in morals, calumny in conversation, degeneracy in taste, bigotry in religion was “the badge of all their tribe.”

[Note, 1847.—In looking over this book I find all my opinions justified by time. Where now are the John Bull, The Age, The Satirist? The Quarterly is so reformed, its name alone remains unchanged.]

The O’Briens and the O’Flaherties. In the dialogue and tone of manners given to my fair oligarchs in the second and third volumes, I was dreadfully afraid there was de quoi choquer les Prudes, and I suppressed many droll things that had been related to me. I was murmuring my fears to Lady Cloncurry—severe upon mœurs and a model of propriety. Lady Cloncurry set my mind at rest by answering me that I had kept clear of extremes and dwelt more in the decencies than was at all characteristic of the time I described. Her mother, the beautiful Mrs. Douglas, had lived in the thick of the world in the times I had mentioned; she
had taken the governess of the
Duchess of Rutland, Madame Delval, to educate Lady Cloncurry. They had many curious anecdotes from her, more curious than edifying. The Duke had in his route brought over with him a certain handsome Mr. Bathurst, who, to the amazement of the Irish ladies, used to enter the drawing-room in a succession of somersaults, which he performed with singular agility. Under the lieutenancy of Lord Hardwicke and the commencement of the Duke of Richmond’s, there were in the Castle circle a posse of titled women of bold reputation, who had the uncontrolled sway in everything. These ladies introduced a kind of savage dance, or rather romp, called “Cutchakutchoo;” this was performed by the parties squatting themselves on the floor, both their arms underneath their legs, and changing places with their partners as well as they could in such a posture. In short, the Dublin court of that period was like the manners described in Grammont’s Memoirs.

Morgan has just been in to show me this letter from O’Connell.

Daniel O’Connell to Sir Charles Morgan.
My dear Sir,

The Freeman is a slave, that is plain; he is a mean and paltry dog, also—but that is of course.

I have got your manuscript, but do not leave it because I hope you will allow me to transfer it to com-
mittee, which, on the late occasion, has shown some symptoms of reviving honesty.

Faithfully yours,
Daniel O’Connell.

Poor Lady Caroline is worse; here is a note just come.

Mrs. Hawtre to Lady Morgan.
Brockett Hall,
November 22.

I am much grieved that I cannot give you a better account of dear Lady Caroline’s health. Since the operation, her symptoms have assumed such varied appearances that at this moment we have no confidence of an ultimate recovery; the natural strength of her constitution is very great, and we have all ardent hopes much good may result from that favourable circumstance. The situation is most distressing to the many kind friends that are interested for her recovery, and we must derive consolation from witnessing her perfect calm resignation. Lady Caroline expressed much pleasure at receiving a very feeling letter from you this morning. Mr. Lamb is cruelly situated to be separated so far at this moment. Trusting I have given you a correct account of my kind friend, though a very unhappy one,

Believe me,
Yours truly,
Georgina M. M. Hawtre.

November 23.—Yesterday I went to see Lord and Lady Howth. Howth Castle stands as it did in the time of General Wade, and seems a mansion of Queen Elizabeth’s day—not, I should think, older, except one high square tower, within an enclosure—a method common in old Irish castles. This tower appears of great antiquity. The general mansion is a long, low building of many gables, ascended by broad, sheltered, stone steps; the offices spacious, low-roofed—they stand on the ground-floor. The huge metal bells that have stood there from time immemorial, till the date of their being placed there, has escaped all memory. At either extremity of the hall are a few black oak and balustraded stairs—that to the right leads to the state bedroom, a curious and charming old apartment, breaking out into little turret-closets and recesses that are now alcoves and dressing-rooms for the lords and ladies of the day; that to the left is called the haunted chamber, a formal room said once to have been King William’s bed-chamber. Opposite the door of entrance in the hall is a little ante-room leading to the grand stairs and to the drawing-room, a long, low-roofed, narrow room, with a fine, carved ceiling, carefully white-washed, a superb mantel-piece of grey marble, rising in a succession of stories to the roof, each storey set off by a profusion of old china. Then there are coffers, cabinets, japan-screens, and other old relics of old houses and old families that one is ready to fall down and worship. Above are corridors, with dear old bedrooms, odd nooks, and niches for nothing at all; then narrow and winding passages and stairs,
popping upon one at every turn; the whole is a perfect picture of the dreary, unconnected style of domestic dwellings,—the comfortless, unaccommodating reality of those times which paint and write so well, but which one would not wish to have lived in. There is a curious picture which represents the great front of the old castle and part of the rock on which it stands. The famous female pirate,
Gran O’Neile, is mounted on horse-back, holds a faulchion, with her long, silk mantle drawn decently round her stout limbs, her head well formed, her shoulders and arms are bare, her yellow drapery seems to have fallen off; she has a sort of white veil or bandeau on her head; she is issuing orders to several men, all employed in carrying off plunder from Howth Castle; some are rolling up casks, others throwing about domestic utensils, others are loading asses with difficult piles of luggage which they are conveying towards the shore; but the most remarkable person is the young heir of Howth, an infant child, which one of Gran O’Neile’s female followers is holding up to the fair pirate, who is about to place it on horseback before her, at the moment she is issuing her last commands, and leaving the castle for her ship, which was at anchor near. Over all, emerging through a cloud, appears the head and bust, beautifully painted, of some saint. While I stood gazing on this curious picture, I held the present heir of Howth, Lord St. Lawrence, in my arms; beside me stood his young and smiling mother, not yet of age; on the other side, his French nurse, herself a descendant of Gran O’Neile.

In Howth Castle, as elsewhere in secluded places,
there were two state bedrooms, rich, cumbrous, and spacious; all the rest were hovels.

November 27.—Yesterday, we had a dinner-party, the Honourable William Lamb, Lord Cloncurry, Mr. Blake, Chief Remembrancer Curran, Mr. Evans, of Portran, &c., &c. Mr. Lamb was in the lowest spirits from the bad accounts that had come of poor Lady Caroline.

Poor Lady Caroline, her life was fast ebbing; but she had kind friends round her. Here is a letter from her husband, more than a fortnight later.

W. Lamb to Lady Morgan.
Dublin Castle,
December 12.
Dear Lady Morgan,

I have been very neglectful lately in not sending you the accounts which I received. It is with great pain that I now send you the enclosed. It is some consolation that she is relieved from pain; but illness is a terrible thing. Send them me back, that I may forward them to Lord Duncannon.

Yours faithfully,
William Lamb.

The following is the letter alluded to; it is endorsed, “Dr. Goddard’s letter, sent me by Mr. Lamb.”

December 13, 1827.
My dear Sir,

I regret very much that I have but a melancholy account to give you to-day of Lady Caroline’s health. Saturday she seemed in good spirits; but on that night she began to complain of pain in her side, accompanied with cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms are, I think, partly accidental, and may not continue; but should they, they will certainly give us great cause of alarm. There is another change, also; she is inattentive to what is going on. She speaks with difficulty, and seems unwilling to see many people. You may gather too plainly from all these symptoms the unwelcome news that her ladyship is getting worse; her sufferings she still bears with fortitude, and complains but little.

I remain, dear Sir,
Your obedient and humble Servant,
G. Goddard.
Lady Charleville to Lady Morgan.
December 30.

You are so kind in the expression of an interest for my recovery, that I must thank you, au risque, to take up valuable time with reading a very dull letter. I have suffered from an attack of the chest; a blood-vessel I broke thirty years ago seemed inclined to go over its old train of pain and disease; but it has
stopped; and I think if I had air and absence of coal sulphur, I should be well.

Now you know as much as I do myself of “mon physique et mm moral;” and I rejoice that you are content with the success of your novel and of the profits. People have more time to read away from this town, I believe, and think more about books of amusement; but I am quite sure the reviews prevent three parts of society from going through any book in London. I fear it will make enemies amongst the survivors of the cabinet of 1786. You have written powerfully, and many of great judgment say so when they dare; but the ladies are vociferous in condemnation of what they call blasphemy and indecency, and conceive me very atrocious for not having discovered either the one or the other defect in the book. The king, I find, was interested in the lighter parts; but some of the charges against the Irish government, he said, were too bad, while God knows they were not half bad enough to my mind. Now, what I like best in the whole was Shane; he beats Eddie Ochiltree off the ground. I wish he had not killed anybody, nor been killed; but all the poetical fancies will fix upon him, if he had murdered all the excisemen in Europe. In short, I love him so that I think he is the hero of the tale, and the Miss Mac Taafs the heroines. I must, however, tell you that I am so miserably convinced, by all I have ever read or seen, of the tendency of Roman Catholic tenets to put down human intellect, to control and guide all human interests to their own profit, and to create control even in the heart of every
private family, that even independent of Jesuitism, I cannot like any amiable abbess, or allow of any stratagem, that holds forth one of those traps for us to put ourselves and our spirits into the hands’of their church.

Our own church has preserved too many Catholic trappings, which common sense must reject. I regret, so far as Ireland is concerned, that at the time we had our volunteers, our patriot hands were not strengthened to make a division of church lands, which would have afforded proper provision both for Protestant and Roman Catholic pastors of all ranks; neither of them could then have stripped the peasant of his mite,—the first by impoverishing him, and the other by superstitious rites.

I think my dear Mr. Grattan was short-sighted in not getting us over this step when we had arms in our hands.

My Lord (who when he was sixteen was generalissimo of volunteers for the King’s County) says, “you have underrated the whole force by two-thirds;” and also, he says, “there was not one Roman Catholic received into the original institution.” He was also deputy to the Convention from the King’s County.

We had been so enslaved and so impoverished, that even men like Grattan thought wonders were accomplished in 1782, by hearing us called free, and having a ship or two allowed us, and being permitted to decide finally upon our own cause and in our own parliament.

They ought to have foreseen that with revived energies Ireland should naturally become a still greater
object of distrust and jealousy to her marâtre,—that a union would be her best policy. Our private securities and our people’s comfort should have been looked to when government dared not have refused us the proper and liberal position which the church lands would have afforded for the priests, while enough would have been left for the ascendancy of the religion of the State.

Whatever objections philosophical inquiry may incline to make, the Church of England is pure in its precepts, and does not, by oral confession, put us into the hands of creatures as fallible as ourselves; whose interest it is to subdue our energies and destroy our judgment, in order to direct into one channel the exercise of intellect and property. But this opportunity is past; we can do nothing now but look on; I hope times will mend, as the old phrase says.

I hear from authority, Sir William Knighton now settles all things here. It is certain the king said he loved Lord Holland as his brother, but it is a new question for a British king to ask what the Emperor of Austria and King of France would say to a Whig ministry! Objecting to Lord Holland is objecting to one of the best friends of Old England. I am, and always was, for liberty, for law, and for full exercise of religious opinion; but I would have no man a legislator who was bound to follow the direction of his priest; consequently, no Roman Catholic in either house of parliament.

Many people fancy your enlightened Catholics do not confess or would allow of political control; if they
do not, why not conform at once? Their opinion on the metaphysics of religion could not be an objection to their sitting in parliament to legislate for us; but a majority, governed by the Jesuits, would soon put out the sun of England.

Lady Anglesey, I think, will never be able to go. I hope Mr. Lamb will stay. You are right, Lady Caroline was scarcely accountable, and is to be pitied; but better her poor heart ceased to beat than stand in the way of the good he may do.

I am, ever yours affectionately,
M. C.

My little grandson is Jean Jacques!! Viva! compliments to your sposo.

Hon. W. Ponsonby to Lady Morgan.
St. James’s Square,
January 26.
My dear Madam,

The interest which you have felt for my dear sister, makes me anxious that you should not hear from common report the termination of her long and severe sufferings. From the beginning of her illness, she had no expectation of recovery, and only felt anxious to live long enough to see Mr. Lamb once again. In this she was gratified, and was still able to converse with him and enjoy his society; but for the past three days, it was apparent that her strength was rapidly
declining, and on Sunday night at about nine o’clock, she expired without a struggle. A kinder or a better heart has never ceased to beat; and it was to her a great consolation, and is now to us, that her mind was fully prepared and reconciled to this awful change. She viewed the near approach of death with the greatest calmness; and during the whole of her severe sufferings, the patience with which she endured them, or her kind and affectionate feelings for those about her, never failed for one moment. Mr. Lamb has felt and acted as I knew he would, upon this sad occasion.

Believe me, dear madam,
Very faithfully yours,
W. Ponsonby.

Diary resumed:—

January 30.—Received this morning a letter from the Honourable William Ponsonby, announcing the death of his sister, my poor dear friend, Lady Caroline Lamb. She expired on the evening of the 26th. She was tall and slight in her figure, her countenance was grave, her eyes dark, large, bright; her complexion fair; her voice soft, low, caressing, that was at once a beauty and a charm, and worked much of that fascination that was peculiarly hers; it softened down her enemies the moment they listened to her. She was eloquent, most eloquent, full of ideas, and of graceful gracious expression; but her subject was always herself. She confounded her dearest friends and direst foes, for her feelings were all impulses, worked on by
a powerful imagination; all elements of great eloquence, but not good for guidance; one of her great charms was the rapid transition of manner which changed to its theme. The chief cause of the odd things which she used to say and do, was, that never having lived out of the habits of her own class, yet sometimes mixing with people of inferior rank, notable only by their genius, she constantly applied her own sumptuous habits to them. Here is a specimen:—she called on me one day in London, and struck by my servant, who announced her, being in livery, she said, in her odd manner, as she was going down stairs, “My dear creature, have you really not a groom of the chambers with you? nothing but your footman? You must let me send you something, you must indeed. You will never get on here, you know, with only one servant—you must let me send you one of my pages. I am going to Brocket, to watch the sweet trees that are coming out so beautifully, and you shall have a page while I am away!”

I am sick of the jargon about the idleness of genius. All the greatest geniuses have worked hard at everything—energetic, persevering, and laborious. Who has worked so much and so well as Bacon, Kepler, Milton, Newton? it is the energy that gives what we call “genius;” that leaves its impression on all it touches. Nothing but mediocrity is slothful and idle.

Dr. Goddard to Lady Morgan.
February 10, 1828.

It was the wish of Lady Caroline that the portrait of Lord Byron in the morocco case should be given to your ladyship after her death. The picture at present is in my keeping; and if your Ladyship would let me know where you are, and how to send it you, I would take care it is properly packed up and forwarded according to your directions.

I beg to be,
Your Ladyship’s obedient,
B. Goddard.

At this, time, the Beef Steak Club—a high Tory political gathering in Dublin—invited Lord Anglesey to dinner, and there was a rumour that he was inclined to accept it.

Lady Morgan wrote the following letter to Lord Aylmer, to induce him to use his influence with the Marquis to keep him from attending.

April 18, 1828.
Dear Lord Aylmer,

The esteem and admiration I have heard you express for Lord Anglesey, and the generous sympathy I know you have always felt towards Ireland, induces me to state to you, sans préambule, the following facts. A rumour prevails at present in Dublin, that Lord
Anglesey means to accept the invitation to be given to him by the Beef Steak Club. The circumstance is apparently so insignificant, so utterly unconsequential that it is necessary to be utterly Irish, and to know thoroughly the state of this unhappy country to attach the smallest consequence to it, or for a moment to suppose that the well merited and universal popularity of Lord Anglesey could for a moment be shaken by such an event. The fact, however, is so much the contrary, that should Lord Anglesey take his place in a Society which has so long offended the nation, and so utterly insulted the King in the person of his representative, the
Marquis of Wellesley, not all the efforts of the Catholic leaders now disposed to support and uphold the popularity of Lord Anglesey’s government, would suffice to keep quiet that nest of hornets the Catholic Association, who, emblematic of the rest of this susceptible but injudicious nation, are more willing to submit to injuries than to insult. I need not tell you, my dear Lord, the effect of the unlucky faculty of Lord Wellesley in yielding to the request of the Beef Steak Club, impeded his subsequent efforts at tranquillising Ireland, nor into what annoyances it betrayed him. For the party to whom his unguarded concession was so flagrant a triumph, has acted more like a froward child, that pouts the more it is petted. With respect to the liberty I have taken, and the mode I have chosen to communicate this to your Lordship in preference to any person in an official position about Lord Anglesey, my selection has arisen from your holding no place, and from knowing that you are
equally the friend of Ireland and of its gallant and excellent chief governor. I leave it entirely to your Lordship’s judgment and kindly feelings to act as your excellent judgment may dictate, and

I am,
Your Lordship’s very truly,
Sydney Morgan.

The letter effected its purpose, and Lord Anglesey did not go to the dinner.

The diary returns to the subject of Byron and Lady C. Lamb:—

I was showing my picture of Byron, this morning, to Mr. Lovett, of Lismore, of literary notoriety, and the conversation naturally turned on the extraordinary liaison of Lady Caroline and Lord Byron a propos to which, Mr. Lovett told me the following anecdote.

“One morning I sauntered into Scroope Davis’ lodgings, and threw myself on a sofa; but finding both ends full of heaps of books, I said, ‘Why the devil don’t you put up shelves, and leave your friends a place to sit on?’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘those were books left me by Byron, when he was going away, and I have not yet disposed them.’ I took up some of the volumes with interest, and lighting on Vathek, I said, ‘Oh, you must lend me this, I have never had it;’ and turning over the leaves, I found a poem in MS. addressed to Lady Caroline Lamb, with some allusion to her conduct to her husband. I read it aloud, and Scroope Davis, snatching the book from me, said, ‘No, you
must excuse me, I cannot let you have that.’ He would not even permit me to read the poem a second time. It was atrociously bitter and cruel. A woman was never so treated in poetry or prose.
Thou false to him, thou fiend to me.

This is the only line I can recollect.”

By-the-bye, Lady Caroline assured me, last August, that Byron’s last letter to her was sealed with Lady Oxford’s coronet and crest. That she had a presentiment, on receiving it, of its contents, and that having read it she fell into a swoon, and took to her bed in a wretched hotel in Dublin; and that her head and heart never recovered the shock, and never would.

August 10th.—Olivia and her three girls still at Jenkinstown, Kilkenny—well for them! whilst I am perched up in my two-pair-of-stairs dressing-room, breathing dust, and seeing nothing but neighbour Sweeney’s old house, and the carpets up and the curtains down, all ready for the workmen and our departure. What a pickle to receive Prince Pickle Mustard in, and on dreary Sunday evening, too, that direful day in Dublin!

We had just returned from a long, dreary drive, tired, cold, covered with dust, when a thundering knock came to the door—J. Thomas flew to open it; enter a creature, fine and foppish—a sort of a tartar turned dandy—who asked, in a foreign accent, for Lady Morgan.

Thomas, sulky as a pig, because he hates “my lady having them furriners,” cried, “I don’t think my lady is at home; but I’ll thry, sir. Who shall I say, sir?”


“The Prince Pucklau Muskau”!!!

Away went Thomas, tumbling down the kitchen stairs—
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill (Morgan, with a bottle in his hand)
—came tumbling after.

I, like Miss Polly, tumbled up stairs to the drawing-room and stood in all my dust and dowdiness to receive l’Altezza, whom le cher J., announced as “Prince Pickling Mustard,” (just as last summer he persisted in calling Prince Cimatelli, “Vermacelli;”) Well, I put on the best face (a dirty one) I could on it, and endeavoured to excuse things. The Prince put me at once at my ease. He is a most finished fop. Hélas! I shall have to unpaper and unpack my room and ask him to dinner when he returns from Wicklow.

Thomas Campbell, who had recently lost his wife, wrote to Lady Morgan:—

Thomas Campbell to Lady Morgan.
10, Upper Seymour Street West,
August 15, 1828.
Dear Lady Morgan,

Will you and Sir Charles do me a kindness, though I am sensible that in spite of the best feelings towards you, I have no great claims upon your favour? It is to receive my young friend Mr. Macdonald, with the usual attention which you are known to show to re-
spectable strangers. Mr. Macdonald is the son of a gallant and distinguished General, who has more of the aspect and character of the true Highland chief than any man I know. Young Macdonald is, of course, a Tory, from his Jacobite family, deadly enemies of the Campbells, by the way; but he is liberal and sensible, and, therefore, I wish him to see the true-blue liberals of Dublin under your kind auspices.

I long to see you and Sir Charles once more in London. Of my dreadful domestic calamity, you must have heard some time ago. The decline of my Matilda’s health was very rapid, and the afflicting blow, as you may suppose, was agonisingly stunning. It is impossible to divest the dissolution of a beloved being of pain and horror to those who watch it; yet thank God, I had no conception that death could be apparently so little painful to a sufferer. At first her illness threatened to be exactly like that of four of her sisters, who died before her, after lingering for four or five years in pangs of body, not unmixed with mental alienation. But thanks to heaven, my poor Matilda had a shorter and gentler fate.

My son continues better, and is so companionable that I feel his society a great blessing to me in my lonely house. I have fitted up, since I saw you, a small and beautiful adjoining cottage into a library, which opens from my parlour. You must come over from Ireland for the purpose of seeing me in this retreat, reading your works, and enjoying the self-complacency of an old and comfortable author.

I have long intended to send you a copy of my last
edition; but I have always a latent distrust that if I gave the commission to
Colburn, he would neglect it, like everything else. Mr. Macdonald has promised to charge himself with delivering it. Deign to accept, and with best regards to Sir Charles,

Believe me,
Dear Lady Morgan,
Your obliged and sincere friend,
T. Campbell.

The diary continues—

August 19.—What a pleasant evening I have spent with my dear friends the Hamilton Rowans. Captain H——, the gallant commander of the Cambria, was there; he is just returned from Greece, and told me many curious facts. What added to the interest was, that there lay on the sofa his dog Caroline, which had been present at the Battle of Navarino. He brought over with him a little boy who had been saved out of the Capitan Pacha’s ship when he burnt it.

I heard a great deal of Mavrocordato, my old travelling acquaintance in Italy.

August 21.—We were engaged to go, last evening, to Maritimo, to Lord Cloncurry’s, but Morgan had to dine previously at the Mechanics’. I requested permission to bring Prince Pucklau Muskau with us, which was granted. Whilst I was dressing, I dispatched Thomas and the carriage for his master to the Mechanics’, with directions to proceed thence to fetch the Prince. Poor Thomas was kept an age waiting
for his master, and he wrote him a note in the hall, which Morgan gave me. It is à mourir de rire.

Sir Charless! Me lady will be very unhapy and sariously blame me, for ye not forthcoming.

“Ye most obedient and very humble servant,

Thos. Grant.”

When they went for the Prince, after waiting an hour, word came out that His Highness had disappeared—where, nobody knew; and it was near twelve o’clock before we arrived at Maritimo. I made the Prince my excuse, and as there were a number of Englishmen by, there was a general laugh; and they said, “What! is poor Prince Pickle come here? Oh, he will have you down in his ‘morgen blatt’—he will pounce on you.” In short, I saw there was a ridicule about him, or a something, but it shall not deter me from being civil to him. He is a stranger and a foreigner, and recommended to me by Mrs. Beauclerk—sufficient causes. He comes to visit “remote Ireland,” and if I shut my door, what house will receive him? He has the eye of a cat—a sort of mild roguish look, like his master of Austria.

There is nothing so extraordinary as that the nobility of England should have produced so few geniuses. Who but Lord Byron? I know not one. Lord Peterborough, perhaps, comes nearest; but he was too wild and extravagant. The Dukes of Buckingham and Rochester were wits, not geniuses; and their talent, developed by the civil wars, gave them the advantage of middle life, necessary for exertion. The sharp-
ening of the faculties, by exercise and exertion, are advantages denied to the great. The Lord Keepers, and Lord Chancellors, and other law lords, were clever men, but they were many of them la lie du peuple, and none of them of noble blood. What a sad show up of pretension and mediocrity is
Walpole’s work of royal and noble authors!

August 22.—What a splendid head of Arthur O’Connor, painted by Hamilton, I have just been looking at! This noble and unfinished picture represents him at full length, with very scanty drapery, and as Demosthenes. He looks like a noble Irish savage of the sixteenth century, with his blanket, mantle, and skewer. There were four of those O’Connors, all fine men as to the physique. They were Arthur, and Roger, and Roderick, and—I forget the other name. The two elder full of talent, and champions of Irish independence. They never crouched to power. Lord Longueville, their uncle, put Arthur into the Irish parliament to uphold the Government of the day, and to speak against the Catholics. He took the direct contrary line, and he was disowned and disinherited by Lord Longueville. When the Press, an Irish newspaper of 1797, was burnt by the common hangman, and Peter Finerty, the printer, was pilloried for seditious libel, published in that paper, Arthur O’Connor stood beside him upon the scaffold, and held an umbrella over his head.

I have so little confidence in the certainty of this life, that I always live as if I were going to die. I never
stir from home for more than a month without settling my little affairs and altering or adding to my Will, as circumstances direct.

I never am in debt one shilling. Poor people ought always to pay ready money, by which means they live as if they were rich. By not doing so, the rich often live as if they were poor and die insolvent.

August 23.—I received a letter, signed James Devlin, which has made me laugh; a blessing, any how! He says he is come up from the country to settle in Dublin; “but being unable to get into any but a beggarly employ,” he has, “as his only alternative, and with a boldness, under such circumstances, he hopes pardonable,” written a poem; and “snatching fortitude from despair,” he sends it to me to get published. I read the poem—Recollections of a Patriot—not worth recollecting, and I have written at once to tell him so.

August 25.—Here is a letter from my poet showing a degree of sense that is wonderful in a poet who is also an Irishman. Here it is. What a contrast between the humble confidence that he can make good boots and shoes for gentlemen and the “fortitude from despair” with which he wrote his bad poetry! Oh! why will not every one find out his “last” and stick to it. How much more pleasantly the world would jog on!

James Devlin to Lady Morgan.

Finding that I may expect no benefit from my poetry, and feeling that I must use some exertion to get myself out of the difficulties my want of employ has involved me in, I again take the liberty of troubling your Ladyship, requesting, should Sir C. Morgan want any articles in the way of my business (a gentleman’s boot and shoe-maker) that he would do me the kindness of favouring me with a trial, confident, should he do so, of my ability to give satisfaction.

I remain, your Ladyship’s
Obliged and most obedient servant,
James Devlin.

Thursday, November 19.—To-day, is the Public Dinner given by the friends of civil and religious liberty, and got up at our house on Wednesday.

November 20.—I must get an account of the Dinner. It went off splendidly, but there was some démélé about Prince Pucklau Muskau: first, he was not wanted there; and next, he desired Morgan to find out, if he went, whether the health of the king his master would be drunk (at a dinner given to celebrate freedom!); and next, if he would have the precedence of an Altezza granted to himself. There was a burst of “noes” when Morgan read the proposition.
Morgan had the indiscretion to advise the Prince not to go. He seemed to be struck and mortified. I tremble for the consequences. It is just as well not to be married, for marriage is but another name for suffering.

The conjugal anxiety of Lady Morgan on the subject of the Prince’s wounded susceptibilities, was a source of great fun to “the darlings in Great George Street,” who wickedly amused themselves with writing challenges to their uncle, with caricatures of “the event on the turf,” coming off at “Goose Green,” the favourite locality in Dublin for “affairs of honour,” as Chalk farm used to be for London. But Lady Morgan’s anxiety was tout de bon—Sir Charles was the most peaceable man in the world; but she was in continual dread lest “Morgan should be called out;” à propos to his strong politics. On this occasion, however, the Prince was quite innocent of any intention to challenge any body.

The next entry in the diary is, “The Prince is gone, thank God!!!

November 22.—Sheil this day from England, after his triumphal dinner and noble speech. At night he was at my tea table, full of fire, fun, spirits, and energy—what a physique!

Cobbett, he says, overpowered him with praise in the waggon at Penenden Heath. It was not until he saw five columns of his speech in the papers that his honey turned to gall. It was like Majesty against the Register. He cannot bear to be out-printed. Sheil’s manner
of speaking startled his sober auditors at the London Tavern; he is extremely theatrical in his delivery, and as he says himself, it is too like the stage.

This meeting on Penenden Heath had an immense political importance at the time.

A meeting of the landed proprietors, clergy, and freeholders of the county of Kent, was summoned for the 24th of October, 1828, to petition against Catholic Emancipation. The place appointed for the meeting was Penenden Heath, in Kent, and from the rank and influence of its promoters great importance was attached to it. Mr. Sheil conceived the bold idea of attending the meeting, and making a few statements on the opposite side. He qualified to become a freeholder in the county, that no legal objection might be taken against his right to address the assemblage. He kept his intention a secret, except from a few intimate friends, and presented himself to address the meeting. His appearance caused the greatest excitement and uproar. No one could hear a word of his speech; but he delivered it steadily to the end, and then sent an accurate copy of it to one of the evening papers; and every part of the kingdom thus heard his arguments and was penetrated by his eloquence. It was an admirable speech, marked by the soundest judgment in the selection of its topics, and it was as eloquent as the man’s whole heart could make it. It produced a great impression in all quarters. A public dinner was given to him, at the City of London Tavern, by four hundred friends of civil and political liberty. Jeremy
Bentham, who was prevented attending, expressed in his letter of apology his admiration of the speech as “a most masterly union of logic and rhetoric”

November 30.—Sir Walter Scott’s sermons. What twaddle! what logic! what common places given in the commonest pitiful platitudes! Oh, genius! these are the things that bring you into disrespect.

December 4.—Dinners in old times! The joyous, brilliant tables of the Powers, the Grattans, the Bryans, &c., &c., compared with the sumptuous dulness, and expensive menu of the present style of dinner, what a difference? I am led to this reflection from the accident of meeting Harry Bushe, this morning, in the street, just arrived from the south; and having persuaded him to come and take la fortune du pot, at five o’clock, in Kildare Street, and go with us to the play. We sat down to a little round table, barely within the rule, of not more than the Graces. Coffee was served, and the carriage at the door before seven, so that there was not time for much more than a causerie de dessert, but I was struck by the humour, memory, reading, and knowledge of past Irish life and Irish manners displayed; yet Harry Bushe was merely a man of fashion in that brilliant circle in which we moved twenty years back; well-educated, and well-bred, full of life and spirit, fun and frolic, as were all the gentlemen of that day. His brother, Parker Bushe, the last of the pleasant gentlemen of Ireland, had more wit, tact, and keen relish of humour than any man I ever knew.
The account of his death recently reached me in London. I exclaimed in the selfishness of my own social loss, and in the words of
Madame de Villette, on the death of Chamfort, “J’ai perdu en lui mon meilleur causeur.” I might have added, mon meilleur lecteur, for he was one of the men of Ireland at whom I wrote my Irish novels; there were hits, and touches, and traits in O’Donnel and Florence Macarthy which none but such as he could appreciate and feel. These two gentlemen are the nephews of the late Mr. Grattan, and brothers-in-law to that most perfect of Irish gentlemen, Richard Power, of Kilfane, a class of men now become extinct in Ireland, they are replaced by a dull and dogged set.

I was in all the prémices of my passion for an antique lamp, which Hamilton, the painter, had got in the tomb of the Cæsars, and I from his daughter, when Mr. Wyse dropped in. I turned his attention to my lamp, which I held in my hand. He observed it was a true antique—a heathen and not a Christian lamp. The heathen lamps, he said, are all of a finer and lighter earth than those made after the Christian era, when all the arts degenerated. They generally bear the impress of a dove, or cross, or olive branch, whilst those of the antique bore the head of a Jupiter or Mercury.

Poor Wyse! with a woman of taste and intelligence and domestic habits, how happy he might live; but I doubt if a woman of feeling would be happy with him; he married one without either, and whose whole existence was une sotte vanité.