LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Lord Ashburnham to Samuel Rogers, 20 September 1830

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
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‘Ashburnham Place: 20th Sept., 1830.

My dear Rogers,—Very many thanks for the welcome testimony of your kind remembrance are all that I can offer you in return, unless it be a remark or two on the subjects noticed by you; for since I came here, nearly three months ago, I have seen none but my own family; never once been at the distance of a mile from my hall-door, nor exchanged letters, but once with Lady Spencer and the same with Lord Camden, since I last wrote to you. Though I know not how in conscience I could have asked you to make us a visit, I should not have been restrained by that consideration alone. But in truth we have been, are still, and shall be for some time to come, in a state of so much confusion and uncertainty as to put all forming of plans out of our power. Lady Ashburnham will be again obliged to go to town next week on account of her wrist; the use of which she is still far from having recovered, though it is now almost six months since the injury was sustained. And when there, she
will be detained in consequence of our house in Dover Street being restored at Michaelmas, and to examine into the state of it, and as to its furniture, so minutely as she will think necessary, and to make suitable arrangements for so numerous a family will require some time. If you should chance to pass through London, she would be delighted if you would call on her at her much cleaner and pleasanter residence in South Audley Street.

‘You bid me to prepare for a review of my book. I had rather look forward to a view of yours; and this I will have by hook or by crook, long before the next number of “The Edinburgh Review” can make its appearance.1 I think that I might hazard a guess as to who is the anonymous acquaintance of ours, to whom you allude. If I am right, I know him to be in the habit of speaking favorably of me: and therefore trust that he will treat my work with indulgence. Hitherto it has escaped even the hebdomadal critique, or rather notice, of the “Literary Gazette.” When I left London, my publishers, Messrs. Payne and Foss, informed me that I was not much in request. So that, till I received yesterday your notice to brace my nerves to the encounter of a review, I was fortifying myself to endure a similar mortification to that of the late Poet Pybus, who got rid of none but his presentation copies. This was evident from the glut of waste-paper which the market experienced soon after his

1 The review appeared as the second article in the October number of the Edinburgh. Lord Ashburnham’s book consisted of a vindication of his ancestor, John Ashburnham, groom of the bedchamber to Charles the First, from the misrepresentations and aspersions of Lord Clarendon, and of John Ashburnham’s own narrative of his attendance on the King.

death. Alas, poor Pybus! Yet neither you nor your poem—

‘si quid mea earmina possunt,
Nulla dies unquam memori vos eximet ævo.
‘As Qui through all its various cases
The young Grammarian slowly traces,
Declining down to Quibus;
By a like scale our poets try,
And if the first be Laureate Pye,
The last of course is Pybus.

‘I beg you to pardon me, or, rather, to make in my favour the law’s humane distinction between murder and manslaughter. It is not of malice prepense that, like “the sage Montaigne,” I have deviated from my purpose. It is not in imitation, or from affectation, but because it is as natural to me, as ever it was to him, to write very differently from what I had previously intended. Even more than this—I seldom read with so much perseverance as when I have seated myself at my writing desk: and am most disposed to talk when I have taken up a book.

‘Contrary, therefore, to my declared intention to comment on the topics of your letter, I shall let you off with observing only that, of all the changes and chances which you enumerate as having been crowded together within the narrow compass of a few weeks, the only fact that I contemplate with pleasure is simply the expulsion of that incorrigible Charles the Tenth, of whom I verily think that there is less to say in excuse than of the execrated Charles the Ninth; justification being in either case equally out of the question. But I have no intention at
present, however unengaged, to favour you and the world with a vindication of the character and conduct of
Charles of Valois.

‘I hope that we shall meet ere long. Whenever I can hold out any temptation to you, besides my pictures, which, though as deaf as I am, will not trouble you to repeat the compliments addressed to them, I shall try to tempt you hither. My Lady would not forgive me were I to propose it to you in her absence.

‘Adieu. I can hardly see what I am now writing, but I know what I feel, that

‘I am truly and sincerely yours,