LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette

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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I’ve often wish’d that I could write a book,
Such as all English people might peruse;
I never should regret the pains it took;—
That’s just the sort of fame that I should choose.

Arrived, at length, upon my own green ground, I feel more at home with my readers, and more safe in addressing them in that familiar style which I was soon encouraged to adopt by the favour shown to my writings, and which generated the friendly intercourse between me and the public which lasted more than thirty years. In fact, the dignity and stilts of authorship never suited me. If I tried to write grand or fine I was sure to fail; and therefore I was obliged to rely on the colloquial and unstudied, as much from heart as head, and I have reason to think generally acknowledged as a natural consequence, to possess the useful qualities of clearness and obvious intelligibility. On the rumour of this arrangement I received the following note from my ever kind friend Mr. Freeling:—

“General Post Office, Friday.
My Dear Sir,—

“I only received your note late yesterday afternoon. I am sorry to say that a plate engraved on a
separate page would make the ‘
Literary Gazette’ liable to postage. If the page were stamped it would go free, or if the etchings were embodied in the stamped sheet.

“I was vexed that I missed you when you called, as I should have been very glad to have shaken you by the hand, and to have heard (what I sincerely hope is the case) that you have found some pursuit congenial to your wishes, and advantageous to yourself, unaccompanied with those spots which dimmed the ‘Sun.’

“Yours very truly,”
W. Jerdan, Esq.

The “Literary Gazette” was commenced on the 25th of January, 1817, by Mr. Colburn, and to his enterprise and example in this instance, the country and its literature are indebted not only for the entire class of direct imitations which have sprung out of this experiment, but for the introduction, more or less, into all other journals, of the topics now for the first time brought forward and discussed by the periodical press. It was printed in two columns, sixteen pages, by A. J. Valpy, published by Colburn, 159, Strand, and the price one shilling. The plan embraced Original Correspondence, foreign and domestic; Critical Analyses of New Publications; Varieties on all subjects connected with Polite Literature, such as Discoveries and Improvements, Philosophical Researches, Scientific Inventions, Sketches of Society, Proceedings of Public Bodies; Biographical Memoirs of distinguished persons; Original Letters and Anecdotes of remarkable personages; Essays and Critiques on the Fine Arts; and Miscellaneous Articles on the Drama, Music, and Literary Intelligence: so as to form, at the end of the year, a clear and instructive picture
of the moral and literary improvement of the times, and a complete and authentic Chronological Literary Record for general reference.

The design was novel and unquestionably meritorious; the Prince Regent was the first subscriber,* and success seemed to depend upon the execution. The early numbers, to which William Carey was the chief contributor, contained the plan of the Abbé Gregoire, ex-Bishop of Blois, for the general association of learned and scientific men and artists of all nations for accelerating the enlightenment of mankind—a consummation a thousand times desired and proposed, but never yet systematised or effected. There were also some original letters of David Hume, followed, a number of years later, with some interesting correspondence of that eminent historian. At this period the dramatic world was illuminated by the Kembles, Siddons, Young, O’Neil, Kean, Braham, Pasta, Fodor, Camporese, Naldi, Ambrogetti, and other brilliant stars. Haydon produced his grand picture of Christ riding into Jerusalem, and other artists as well as he were copying the cartoons. Brockedon made his favourable débût with the “Judgment of Daniel,” and inter alia, Mr. Pettigrew published his Life of Dr. I. Lettsom, of whom it was written as a prescription,—
If any patient comes to I,
I physics, bleeds, and sweats ’em;
If, after that, they chance to die,
What’s that to I?—I. Lettsom.

At this period the satirical novel called “Six Weeks at Long’s,” in the doing of which, as formerly stated, I had a hand with Michael Nugent, (a few years before a fellow-

* A complete set, in beautiful condition, and with a few complimentary annotations, was sold among the library of the late Princess Sophia.

reporter with me, and a clever fellow to boot, though he never could emerge from that drudgery,) was published. The materiel was furnished by a military officer, I think, who paid us for our literary assistance, which, as far as I can remember, was not of the foremost character.
Lady Caroline Lamb’sGlenarvon” ran away with the notorious popularity of that date; but our production was bepraised in the “Literary Gazette,” No. 5, as a caustic portraiture of “noble profligates and honourable dupes,” from which I now infer that it was a personal satire of an order never tolerated by me as a critic, in which Byron, Beau Brummell, Lord Yarmouth (afterwards Hertford), and other living notorieties, were pilloried. I am afraid I had little excuse at the time, except such as the starved apothecary offered to Romeo when he sold him the poison—“My poverty but not my will consents.”

On the appearance of its tenth number, the “Literary Gazette” changed its form into three columns on the page, which it continued till the close of my editing. It also gave brief notices of parliamentary proceedings and remarks on politics. At the twenty-fifth number appeared my first contribution, a critique on “Zuma, ou la Découverte de Quinquina,” by Madame de Genlis; and on the following week I became the editor. It was a stirring time, and in literature, as in many other relations, exhibited a very marked difference from the aspects of the present day; the Crystal Palace excitement excepted. Within a few preceding weeks, Moore’sLalla Rookh,” Byron’sManfred,” Croly’sParis in 1815,” Lewis’sAdelgitha,” Miss Edgworth’sPatronage,” and Jane Porter’sPastor’s Fireside,” were published; Shiel’sApostate,” and Maturin’sManuel,” to succeed his “Bertram,” performed; Talfourd began his literary career with a law book; Waterloo Bridge was finished and opened
with a grand ceremony;
Spurzheim introduced Gall’s system of phrenology to London; the first pretensions of mesmerism were advanced, so that Mentz, with its Doctor Renard, might contest the palm of priority as it has done with regard to a nobler art; lithography was imported and made public, though “Sennefelder, the wretched singer of Munich,” had invented it above a dozen years before;* my esteemed contemporary, “Blackwood’s Magazine,” started; in short, it was a busy world, my masters, and I was glad enough to be also up and among the “stirring.”

The publication had not made great way, though, besides its original features, most of them well-chosen or treated, there were some exceedingly clever criticisms on Scott, Byron, Campbell, Southey, Coleridge, and other living poets, by a correspondent of no mean discrimination and talent; but, without boast, my accession seemed to put a little heart into it, and if it were up-hill work for a long while, still it was Up, and but for a few incidental or accidental crosses, would have been Up-per. I found the laborious Lloyd, of the Foreign Post Office, a diligent collector and translator of continental intelligence, Professor Boettiger, and (soon after) other German scholars, valuable correspondents; Miss Ross (a daughter of William Ross, an early newspaper reporter, a tremendous democrat in the Corresponding Society, and withal a very worthy man,) another ready and excellent translator; and the machinery altogether, for so young a concern, in very fair order.

I consulted my friend Mr. Canning, who thought well of the project and said, “Avoid politics and polemics,” an

* It was first exemplified in England about the beginning of the century, by a Mr. Andrée of Offenbach, in its rude state; but had slept till now, when Mr. Ackermann took it up, and showed of what it was capable.

advice which I not only observed throughout my career, but also derived another signal benefit from having had the temerity to consult such a counsellor, and which arose from this—that whenever I was disposed or likely to write anything doubtful, I thought, what would Mr. Canning’s opinion be? and in short, as
Kemble had acted Coriolanus to me, I edited the “Literary Gazette” to him.

In my capacity I was omnivorous—at all in the ring—and produced hebdomadally, Reviews, Criticisms on the Arts and Drama, jeux d’esprit in prose and in verse; and in truth, played every part, as Bottom, the weaver, wished to do; and it might be only from the good luck of having, in reality, several able coadjutors (though I announced publicly I had them), that the paper did not sink under my manning, in addition to my pilotage.

With my taking this leading part, the publication was removed to No. 267, in the Strand, now a cook-shop, affronting the vestibule of St. Clement’s Church, the monotonous chimes of which made me so often so dull and melancholy that I could almost have put the rope about my neck to suspend the want of animation. This had been my own house, bought, together with the copyright of the Satirist, published there, and as queer a bargain as any which literary folks are in the habit of making. Mr. Manners, a gentleman of truth and honour, sold me the concern, as the saying is, “in a lump,” I was apprised of the state of the publication, and assured of the “sponsible” character of the sub-tenants, videlicet an agent for a newly-discovered rich metallic mine in Cornwall (neither companies nor metals so rife then), having beautiful specimens of the ore to display in the window below; and on the first floor a most respectable and honest-looking mantua-maker of the middle (or it might literally be first floor), age, with five or six
smart young Mantuas or sempstresses in her employment. Neither party, however, turned up trumps; and apropos to crown the business, I had the rascally old publisher, Williams, who betrayed the office in the
Mary Ann Clarke affair, and swindled me afterwards, located in the apartments nearest heaven. No farce could surpass the drollery of my going in person to collect my rents. The man of ore was always expecting a rich remittance of “the precious,” from the mine; and up stairs, Madame and the lasses laughed at me to my face. Times was hard, and they wished I might get it. They would do anything to oblige me, but they could not pay. Corsets were down, and flounces were up; and the trade so bad that really they could hardly live, and sure they were that so kind a gentleman would not press upon them! They liked their landlord—were so delighted with his writings—thought him one of the best and cleverest creatures in London—and hoped, of course, he would not trouble their quarters on quarter-day. And so the occupancy went on for a year or more, till all at once my “first floor” and all her tender chickens flew and disappeared; and shortly after, having thereupon spoken angrily to my man of metal, he proved to me that he was so; for one morning I received a very heavy letter, which I poised and puzzled about for several minutes before I opened it, imagining all possible impossibilities as to what it could contain, when lo, on breaking the seals, I found the street-door-key of No. 267, with a very polite letter hoping that I would consider the writer had behaved handsomely in taking care not to give me any trouble before quitting my premises.

The future history of my house-owning was not much out of keeping. I sold it for what I gave, to Mr. Pinnock, taking bills for the purchase money, of and on the Newbury
Bank. Before they were due, the bank was robbed and failed, and a considerable time elapsed before Mr. Pinnock, with great integrity, could repay my loss. This he honourably did, and I conveyed the “
Literary Gazette,” for their publications, to the famed catechism-bookselling-shop of Pinnock and Maunder. Pinnock, at that period, was a sound, good man, with certain indications of that restless and speculative mania, which ultimately made a wreck of him. Maunder was always steady, able, and most estimable; and kept his brother-in-law somewhat in check; but the spirit was too powerful to be quite put down, and at last it got the upper hand and destroyed an individual who had conferred not only useful but incalculable benefits upon the rising generation, and all who have to follow them. Pinnock’s catechisms and abridged histories were immense improvements upon preceding educational elements of a similar kind, and their success might have satisfied any ordinary or even very sanguine mind. But Pinnock’s mind was not formed to be satisfied. The more his publications profited him (and they realised several thousand pounds a year), the more he yearned to try something else. And so, for example, in one fit for making a fortune by a single stroke, he went into the docks and markets, and purchased all the veneer wood which he could obtain, and set out in the piano-forte manufacturing, “seeing as how no other” musical instrument maker in London could produce “the article” without paying “the price” to the person who had nearly all the veneering under his thumb. This is not an embellishment; it is a sad literal truth, and went far to the ruin of the ingenious contriver of so ludicrous a monopoly. The passion grew upon him, till he was lost. There was no end of schemes; no end of failures; and not even the honest and worthy and excellent Maunder could avert the catastrophe.


But at the time of which I am speaking, matters were all in order; and Pinnock’s and Maunder’s connection with Education, and travelling throughout the country, rendered them very eligible allies for the new paper. Either at first, or immediately after, they were admitted as co-partners with Mr. Colburn and myself, and the circulation reaped a benefit from their provincial agencies and general co-operation. One evil infected the arrangement; the accounts were irregular, partly from the nature of the pushing steps which were taken, and partly from the character of Pinnock, who had no idea of details. This led to a dissolution in about three years. But I will not anticipate.

In No. 28 of the “Literary Gazette,” my third number, I wrote a review of Beloe’sSexagenarian, or, Recollections of a Literary Life,” on which looking back I feel strangely admonished and affected. Beloe framed his autobiography in the third person, in order to avoid egotism; and made the supposition that after his death, the imagined friend had found and put the materials together. He died in the midst of his task; and what he had invented as an imagination was realised. His plan was prophetic, and his deathbed its fulfilment. A friend completed his memoirs; and his life, chequered by various prosperous and unfortunate events, was finished by another hand. The postscript says: “He was suddenly called from an existence of much pain and suffering. In the paths of literature his exertions had been attended with the most gratifying success. He had moved in the first circles of life; he had been fostered by the great, and rewarded by the good. As a friend he was respected and beloved; among his acquaintance, indeed, his good humour was proverbial. His open and generous nature was too often a dupe to the treacherous, and a prey to the designing. His latter days were spent in retirement
from those busy scenes in which he had formerly borne a conspicuous part. In the last two years of his life he amused himself with the composition of these Memoirs, which display an extensive knowledge of the events and characters of a former day. Many of the personages there described, like the hand which records them, are now in the dust, and have left only their names and their memories behind.” In remarking upon this text, I wrote—“Such was the plan and such the fate of poor Beloe, the Sexagenarian! Should the writer of this article ever have to record similar occurrences, at a similar period of life, it would be one of his earliest recollections that he had more than once met in society where the conversational talents to which so just a tribute is here paid, were exerted to the delight and information of the social circle!”

My friend William Mudford’sHistorical Account of the Battle of Waterloo,” with splendid illustrations by Mr. James Rouse, was published at this time; but its cost, six guineas, operated against its popularity. The Duke declined furnishing any information, but in a note, I think, stated that he had never met Blucher at La Belle Alliance, though some wiseacres, presuming on the truth of that report, had gone so far as to impose the name on the battle, instead of Waterloo, where it was fought. On a later occasion, indeed, many years after, I had an opportunity of learning some more of his Grace’s remarks connected with this glorious day. It was mooted whether the action to be imparted to his statue should not represent the moment when his cry “Up boys! and at ’em!” roused his troops to their last irresistible and victorious charge. “‘Up boys! and at em!’ replied the Duke, “I never could have said any such thing. I remember very well that I caused them to lie down for shelter behind a rising ground, and by that means saved
many of their lives; but ‘up boys! and at ’em!’ is all nonsense.”

At the same interview he mentioned that he was aware of the Prussian advance, and of their foremost light troops having got into communication with the farthest outposts of his left wing, long before he announced the fact to his staff. This was in answer to a reminiscence of Lord Hill, that the illustrious commander had alighted from his horse, and was reconnoitering through his glass laid across its shoulder, the distant quarter where the Prussians were expected to appear when the clock of the Hougemont struck twelve. The Duke seemed to fancy the statement a little at variance with what he had expressed, and replied, as above, that he was quite aware of the fact long before he mentioned it.

His Grace’s off-handedness, and blunt as well as quaint modes of expressing himself, are very characteristic; and many an anecdote might be told of them. Entering a gallery where the visitors were requested to sign their names, in a book prepared for the purpose, on being asked by the doorkeeper, “Would your Grace have the goodness to put your name in the book?” he took the pen and wrote “Dr. Wellesley.” He does not seem to be prone to furnish autographs, nor to be seen disturbed or in dishabille, if the following be true, as I had from a likely authority. One of his brother marshals called at Apsley House on a day when he was confined to his room by a cold, and had given orders to be denied. The visitor, however, told the servant that he came on some particular business, and he was sure the Duke would see him! The groom could not gainsay so important a personage, but went upstairs to deliver the message, closely followed by the gallant officer. On opening the chamber door the Duke was seen with his back to it, and
leaning towards the fire. Without turning round, he inquired what was wanted, and the servant answered that Marshal ——— had called and wished to see him. “What does the —— old fool want?” exclaimed his Grace; and the “old fool” being quite close behind him, slunk quietly off, and delivered no message that day!

One of my extra little literary matters near this period was to take notes of Mr. Canning’s famous Lisbon speech, from which that splendid oration was published. Although his corrections were manifold, and curiously fastidious, I nevertheless received the following kindly acknowledgment of my slight service:—

“India Board, 15th July, 1817.
Dear Sir,

“One of the first subjects that occurred to Mr. Canning’s recollection upon the cessation of the laborious and unintermitting business of the session, was his omission to acknowledge the report of his Lisbon speech, for which he is indebted to you. Can you make it convenient to call at Gloucester Lodge some morning (not Thursday next) before or about eleven o’clock, upon that subject?

“In the mean time I send to you by his direction a few copies of the publication which owes so much to your valuable notes.

“Yours, my dear sir,
“Very truly,