LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of John Murray
John Cam Hobhouse to John Murray, November 1820

Vol. 1 Contents
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.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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2, Hanover Square, November, 1820.

I have received your letter, and return to you Lord Byron’s. I shall tell you very frankly, because I think it

* The rest of the song is printed in Murray’s Magazine, No. 3.

much better to speak a little of a man to his face than to say a great deal about him behind his back, that I think you have not treated me as I deserved, nor as might have been expected from that friendly intercourse which has subsisted between us for so many years. Had Lord Byron transmitted to me a lampoon on you, I should, if I know myself at all, either have put it into the fire without delivery, or should have sent it at once to you. I should not have given it a circulation for the gratification of all the small wits at the great and little houses, where no treat is so agreeable as to find a man laughing at his friend. In this case, the whole coterie of the very shabbiest party that ever disgraced and divided a nation—I mean the Whigs—are, I know, chuckling over that silly charge made by
Mr. Lamb on the hustings, and now confirmed by Lord Byron, of my having belonged to a Whig club at Cambridge. Such a Whig as I then was, I am now. I had no notion that the name implied selfishness and subserviency, and desertion of the most important principles for the sake of the least important interest. I had no notion that it implied anything more than an attachment to the principles the ascendency of which expelled the Stuarts from the Throne. Lord Byron belonged to this Cambridge club, and desired me to scratch out his name, on account of the criticism in the Edinburgh Review on his early poems; but, exercising my discretion on the subject, I did not erase his name, but reconciled him to the said Whigs. The members of the club were but few, and with those who have any marked politics amongst them, I continue to agree at this day. They were but ten, and you must know most of them—Mr. W. Ponsonby, Mr. George O’Callaghan, the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. Dominick Browne, Mr. Henry Pearce, Mr. Kinnaird, Lord Tavistock, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Byron, and myself. I was not, as Lord Byron says in the song, the founder of this club;* on the contrary, thinking myself of mighty importance in those days, I recollect very well that some difficulty attended my consenting to belong to the club, and I have by me a letter from Lord Tavistock, in which the
* “But when we at Cambridge were
My boy Hobbie O!
If my memory do not err,
You founded a Whig Clubbie O!”
distinction between being a Whig party man and a Revolution Whig is strongly insisted upon.

I have troubled you with this detail in consequence of Lord Byron’s charge, which he, who despises and defies, and has lampooned the Whigs all round, only invented out of wantonness, and for the sake of annoying me—and he has certainly succeeded, thanks to your circulating this filthy ballad. As for his Lordship’s vulgar notions about the mob, they are very fit for the Poet of the Morning Post, and for nobody else. Nothing in the ballad annoyed me but the charge about the Cambridge club, because nothing else had the semblance of truth; and I own it has hurt me very much to find Lord Byron playing into the hands of the Holland House sycophants, for whom he has himself the most sovereign contempt, and whom in other days I myself have tried to induce him to tolerate.

I shall say no more on this unpleasant subject except that, by a letter which I have just received from Lord Byron, I think he is ashamed of his song. I shall certainly speak as plainly to him as I have taken the liberty to do to you on this matter. He was very wanton and you very indiscreet; but I trust neither one nor the other meant mischief, and there’s an end of it. Do not aggravate matters by telling how much I have been annoyed. Lord Byron has sent me a list of his new poems and some prose, all of which he requests me to prepare for the press for him. The monied arrangement is to be made by Mr. Kinnaird. When you are ready for me, the materials may be s’ent to me at this place, where I have taken up my abode for the season.

I remain, very truly yours,
John Cam Hobhouse.