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The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
‣ Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
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Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero was buried,
* * * *
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory:!
We carved not a line—we raised not a stone—
But left him alone in his glory.—Charles Wolfe.

Miserable was the failure of this mighty host; and, to compare ludicrously small things with nationally great, unfortunate was my condition when left alone on the desolate strand! On returning to the inn where I had left my luggage, I discovered that, in the hurry of embarking, not only had my convenient large cloak been taken away, but also, that by the same accident, all my wearing apparel had disappeared. As the fleet was, by this time, nearly out of sight, it was of no use trying to signalise it for the restoration of the lost clothing, and so I was obliged, will-i-nill-i, to take a sailor’s advice on the occasion (which I have found very applicable on many a turn of fortune since), videlicet, to “grin and bear it.” But still there were inconveniences attached to the circumstance, which cast the grinning towards the wrong side of the mouth, and
made the bearing about as annoying as it was ludicrous. In a pair of nankeen trousers, which did not look the cleaner from contact with boats and ships, and a shirt to match, I perambulated the coast to Edmonds’s hotel, then the prime resort of Margate, into which, in spite of Silvester Daggerwood looks, I was admitted, as I had been once before, on my walking tour, into the hotel at Newark-on-Trent, on account of my “gentlemanly appearance,” which struck the waiter and the landlady, when they found there was no chaise at the gateway, and that I was only a pedestrian. In the latter case I could and did transform myself from dust and travel, by means of soap and clean linen out of my knapsack; but at Margate I had no resource—not any. I had not money enough left to purchase slops, if such things were, and what to do I knew not. Yet why should man despair when there is woman in the world;
Oh woman, in our hours of ease
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please:
* * * *
But when misfortune wrings the brow
A ministering angel thou!
And a ministering angel did Miss Edmonds become to me when I communicated to her the secret of my distressed situation. She consigned me to a private chamber and a cosy bed, and so arranged that, trousers and shirt being left on the outside of the door, I could take a nap of a couple of hours till a gentle tapping apprized me that I might poke out my naked arm, and re-invest myself in the spotless habiliments of civilized society.

How trivial, I hear a brother critic exclaim. Siste, Viator—stop, my friend. For years I “patronised” Edmonds’s hotel, and introduced many excellent customers to its comfortable accommodations. Among the rest was
one who laughed at my washing adventure, and somehow took a fancy to the blooming and kind-hearted creature who was so apt at getting a man out of difficulties—and so he married her; and, as the old tales have it, they lived happy together all the days of their life. Thus we may conclude, as the moral of the lesson, that—
“Good deeds are never ill bestowed!”

Another of the episodes of the year, was a visit to Windsor to participate in the Jubilee rejoicings, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the reign of King George the Third. I was accompanied by Turnerelli, the sculptor, to whom his Majesty sat for his bust; touching which I may relate an anecdote, characteristic enough of the manner and astuteness of the sovereign. Sitting one morning, he abruptly asked, “What’s your name?” “Turnerelli, Sir!” replied the artist, with a proper inclination of his head. “Oh, aye, aye, so it is,” rejoined the monarch; “Turnerelli, Turnerelli—elli, elli, that is Turner, and the elli, elli, elli, to make the geese follow you!” Such was George the Third’s accurate opinion of adding foreign terminations to native names.

We were, however, well received and well treated at Windsor. I had written and published a Complimentary Poem (forgive the phrase) on the occasion. It was as loyal and patriotic as if John Reeves himself, who was the Magnus Apollo in this line, had composed it; and being presented to the Queen through the ever kind, considerate, and pre-eminently accomplished Princess Elizabeth, had the good fortune to be favourably viewed by her Majesty. The compliment was agreeable to royalty, and the return very agreeable to the subjects concerned. In short, we were noticed, and handsomely provided for at all the fêtes—
might, I dare say, have ate as much as we liked of the finest steaks cut from the ox roasted whole (a revolting spectacle, and almost enough to make the spectator renounce roast beef for ever); and, in short, were laden with condescending attentions, and an ample share of all the good things and pleasures of the festive time.

I have not been a careful preserver of my productions, and have not (I now wish I had) a copy of my “Eclogue,” which, if I remember rightly, appeared as the writing of W. J. André, an anagram of my name, which, like the signature of “Teutha” (the ancient name of Tweed), used by me from the period of my earliest to my latest contributions to the press, may guide the curious (if such there may be) to many of the anonymous essays, in prose and verse, of William Jerdan.

Having, in the preceding chapter, alluded to the famed and unfortunate Walcheren expedition, and subsequent Spanish campaign, under Sir John Moore, which terminated in the disastrous masterly retreat and fatal glorious victory of Corunna, I will take the opportunity of adding two or three military reminiscences connected with the friends I have spoken of, and two or three later years of Wellington’s splendid career in the Peninsula, which, alas! still more reduced their number, and augmented my unavailing regrets.

My first anecdote relates to another dog story, but affords a remarkable instance of animal preference and attachment, for which no cause can be assigned by human reason or the closest observation of natural history.

From the very commencement of the retreat to its termination at Corunna, a splendid Spanish pointer devoted himself to one of my friends, an officer in the 95th, and never quitted him by night or day, on march, in bivouac,
or in action. This extraordinary fidelity attracted much attention, and often amused and interested the sorely harassed companions of the invulnerable and invincible Carlo. The rations were not always so plentiful as to yield a glut of provisions to account for this predilection, nor was the actual service of the corps to which he belonged of a nature to keep him from desertion; for the Rifle Brigade covered the retreat, and was hardly out of fire from the first to the last. In the heat of this incessant skirmishing did the faithful creature appear absolutely to take delight; and, as my friend remarked, if one could imagine the soul of
Hannibal, in a state of transmigration, to occupy the physical fabric of a spaniel, it was assuredly present here as the latest metamorphosis. But Carlo was not left in Spain; not even the confusion of the embarkation of the army at Corunna could separate him from his chosen master; he was given to me, and I respected and loved him, till he died of old age; and, if it were so, released the immortal soul of the immortal Carthaginian hero, to inhabit another tenement.

A singular adventure befel Captain, afterwards Colonel Miller, distinguished for his improvements in the important arm of artillery (now so earnestly sought, but in his time only beginning to be fully estimated), who was taken prisoner in the unsuccessful descent of an English force, by way of diversion, near Cadiz. Here the dark jacket and unobtrusive facings of the rifle uniform stood him in good stead; for while his red-coated companions in captivity were safely escorted to prisons, he availed himself of the advantage of his invisible green, and seizing a propitious moment of the night, escaped from the French guards, and sought freedom by flight. How he fared across the whole southern width of Spain need not be told; but one day the commander of an English picket
on the frontiers of Portugal caught sight, with his glass, of a very ragged, suspicious-looking, and apparently disguised individual, uncertainly dodging about, as if desirous, yet afraid to approach nearer the British lines. A file of men were immediately dispatched to bring the stranger in—to be shot if a spy, and dismissed if he could render a credible account of himself. But neither happened. The tattered and torn man, who had paused to ascertain whether he was in the neighbourhood of friend or foe, turned out to be the worthy Captain Miller; and the lieutenant who apprehended him, in the midst of his gladness, might be a leetle disappointed, when he found that he was not within a step so near a company as fleeting fancies had suggested for the last two months, during which there had been no tidings of his wandering superior officer.

These are the jests, and sports, and singular incidents of war, which may, to a certain extent, lighten its horrors. But it is a grim-visaged and ugly monster, and cannot endure one moment’s humane or Christian examination. Too hideous to look upon, and too horrible to comprehend, in its massive features, with thousands of men lying dead or dying on the battle-field; it is no less atrocious and detestable when considered in its details, and the vast amount of suffering and mourning which it inflicts upon every class of society, is added to the fearful hecatombs of absolute destruction and slaughter. As Sterne took a single captive bird to illustrate his touching text against the deprivation of liberty by man of his fellow-man, so will I copy a simple individual letter of the date belonging to this episodiacal period, to show how the calamities of war pervade the whole community, and afflict thousands upon thousands whose injuries and griefs are never whispered to the public, or known to the country. It is, to be sure, a
private letter, but it touches feelingly on the evils of war, and may have an effect where more general arguments would fail:—

“Bath, Feb. 27th, 1814.”
My dear Jerdan,

“I have this moment been presented with your letter, written on the 5th of January. It has been to Gascony, and returned to me here. Be assured that I never for a moment considered that any neglect or want of cordiality on your part had been the cause of your silence. I knew that you were constantly engaged in some literary pursuits of difficulty in a public capacity, and to that score placed the discontinuance of your valuable and friendly correspondence. On my part I really did believe that the unmeaning tittle-tattle which I might be able to transmit to you, though received with indulgence and welcome, would too much occupy your time.

“It is rather extraordinary that neither Wade nor Travers informed you of my arrival in England, as I sailed long before either of them. You know that I was wounded on the 2nd of August [he was shot from one of the last muskets that were fired, and a fine, handsome specimen of man made a suffering cripple for life], the last of those nine days of carnage which took place in defending the blockade of Pamplona, and in forcing the enemy to relinquish the territory of Navarre. Although I had good advice, my wound, which was through the knee, and my bodily health and strength, daily became worse and more alarming. I therefore embarked at Passages on the 2nd, and arrived at Plymouth on the 13th of September, at which place I was confined to my bed for four months, in the most deplorable state. The joint was much shattered, and most excruciating agony was endured the whole period.
Constant fever, and the expenditure of nearly half a pint daily of matter and lynoria so much reduced me, that I scarcely appeared to my friends to have a chance of surviving. With the greatest care, attention, and patience, my bodily health has been restored; but though anxious to get to London, I have as yet been able only to reach this place, where I arrived ten days ago.

“I have become so much stronger, that I have determined to recommence my journey on Wednesday next; and spending a few days with a Mr. Methuen, near Devizes, hope to reach my old billet at Ibbotson’s by about the 10th of March. I will not fail to give you notice of my arrival, and hope to have an early opportunity of shaking my good friend by the hand.

“Much is said about pensions and pensioners by the Burdett party; but I have the hope of becoming a fat pensioner on account of the loss of my limb, which, though not in fact cut off, yet has been so much cut to pieces, that I fear I shall never regain the use of it.

“So—another recruit! By my soul, you are a plodding fellow! And this is the difference between us—you, my good friend, while you have been moving inhabitants into the world, to endure the calamities and vexations incident to nature, I have been as piously moving them out, and adding to the population of the New Jerusalem, and the strength of the holy army of martyrs. As I hope so soon to have parole intercourse with you, I shall defer making any observations on our late campaigns, till we get together over a bottle of old port, whose genial influence will open the magazines of my memory, and display its motley stores to your contemplation and use.

“MacGregor I have not seen since we left Madrid: he was then just recovering of a wound he had received in the
action of Salamanca.
Miller arrived at Passages a few days before I sailed. He purchased three or four horses of me, which I hope turned out well to his satisfaction—one of them was a wicked rascal, though an excellent one, and I hope he has not broke poor Geordie’s neck. Oh God, that I had the use of my limbs, and made one of that glorious band of heroes who are now aiming at the destruction of the odious dynasty of France! But I must still have recourse to that snivelling virtue—patience. “Rest assured of the unfailing esteem and regard of

“Your sincere friend,