LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Vol. IV. Appendix

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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A. p. 24.

The following correspondence and extracts will, I trust, possess some interest for literary readers.

“London, Nov. 10, 1824.

“My dear William,—Since my last I have visited Mr. J—— several times. The last time he wished me to dine with him, which I happened not to be able to do, and was very sorry for it, for his acquaintance is to me a matter of great importance, not only from the engine he wields—and a formidable one it is, being the most widely circulated journal in Europe—but also because he is acquainted with all the principal literary characters of the day, and a very pleasant kind of man. He was talking of Maginn, who writes a good deal for Blackwood, and spoke in high terms of his talents; nevertheless, though he is his friend, he confessed he did not think him a very considerate critic, and thought there was something unfeeling in his persecution of Barry Cornwall, who by the way is an acquaintance of my Spanish friend’s. You may have seen those letters to Bryan Proctor in “Blackwood’s Magazine.” Barry Cornwall is, he says, one of the mildest, modestest young fellows he ever saw, and does anything but assume. Maginn, however, imagines that those he attacks, think as little of the affair as himself, which is by no means the case. The other day he attacked Campbell’s
Ritter Bann*’ most happily, and at the same time cuttingly, and afterwards wanted J—— to get up a dinner and bring Campbell and him together. J—— begged leave to decline. He is a singular-looking being, Dr. Maginn. A young man about twenty-six years of age, with grey hair, and one of the most talented eyes, when he lets it speak out, I ever beheld. Banim, who is his bosom crony, says he considers him one of the most extraordinary men he ever knew. He attacked Banim too before they were acquainted, but that’s all forgot long since. Hazlitt praised Banim in the ‘London Magazine’ and of course rendered it imperative on Blackwood to abuse him. Have you seen Campbell’s late poems, any of them? I have been told that the volume of his, which is coming out shortly, ‘Theodric,’ &c, is very poor indeed—lamentably so. Campbell is the most finical exact kind of fellow in the whole world. As an instance, I have heard that he was asked to write a little poem some time since for the occasion of Burns’s monument, which was then in agitation, and in which my informant took great interest. Campbell consented, but directed that proofs should be sent to him to the country, and before the poem appeared, had actually sent five or six messengers back and forward to and from town with revisions of commas and semicolons!!! There is a young writer here, Miss Landon, the author of the ‘Improvisatrice,’ a poem which has made some noise lately, who has been brought out by J——, and to be sure he does praise her. She sent some pieces to the ‘Literary Gazette’ a few years since, and through that journal (without intending any insinuations as to desert) has made herself popular enough to run through a few editions. J—— has asked me to meet Alaric Watts† at his house, when the latter comes to town, which he intends shortly. Watts is a very sweet writer in his own way, and rather a favourite. I have got a few days since a note from my friend Banim to know what has become of me? and he adds as a spur that Dr. Maginn has just been with him, and said that Mr. J—— expressed himself highly pleased with the series I am at present furnishing him. I dined the other day—at least about a month since—with him

* “The Writer Tam” was the name of this burlesque.—W. J.

Watts was also so offended with some of Maginn’s devilries, that in one of his letters to me he denounces him, in his wrath, as a blackguard.—W. J.

and a friend of his, an artist of the name of
Foster (to whom, if you recollect, Madame de Genlis dedicated one of her works, and expresses her gratitude for his assistance in some of her literary labours). He is one of the most delightful facetious fellows I ever saw.

“My dear William, ever affectionately yours,

* * * * *

In this instance he (Foster) was the chief cause of Gerald’s deliverance from his embarrassments, though the latter did not know at the time the full extent to which he was indebted to him. Immediately after the visit alluded to, he went straight to Dr. Maginn and described what he saw. Dr. Maginn with extreme good nature immediately communicated with the editor of the “Literary Gazette,” and this led to the engagement which Gerald alludes to above, and to the series of papers he there speaks of * * * * *. I brought him a number of the “Literary Gazette” one day, which contained a review of the work (Holland-tide), in which it is said, some of the shorter tales were contributed by a friend, some of the offered contributions were rejected by Griffin on the ground that they would be thought to resemble in their manner the writings of Mr. Crofton Croker, that I thought would give him very high satisfaction, as its praise was almost unbounded. I was surprised, however, to find that it produced quite the contrary effect, and threw him into a state of agitation that I little anticipated, one expression in it appearing to neutralise all its approbation. Indeed I had no conception before of the degree to which an author could be affected by so simple a thing, as a review of his work in a periodical, and that review a favourable one. He seemed to read it with much gratification, until he came to a part where the reviewer spoke of the shorter tales, and giving them also a considerable degree of praise said, that “Little Jack Edywas almost Crofton Crokerish! The moment Gerald came to this passage, I never saw anything like the state it put him into. It was not rage so much his countenance expressed, as an appearance of the most violent agony. He crumpled the paper in his hand, raised it high above his head, stamped violently, and almost dashed it to the earth in the excess of his feeling. “Oh!” he said, “Oh!” with a
prolonged, and deep, and painful emphasis on the word, “This is just what I feared. I told —— these tales were like Crofton Croker’s.” I was perfectly astonished and said, Why what signifies it?” “Oh?” said he again, “you don’t know the effect of these things.” “Only think” he repeated with the utmost vehemence, “Only think of being compared with Crofton Croker.”*

B. p. 25.

Among incipient authors whom (to use a common phrase) it was in my power to “take by the hand” and pull up the steep, few had a heartier help than Mr. William Harrison Ainsworth, whose literary propensities were strong in youth, and who has since made so wide a noise in the world of fictitious and periodical literature. From some cause or another, which I cannot comprehend, he has given a notice to my publishers, to forbid the use of any of his correspondence in these Memoirs, though on looking over a number of his letters I can discover nothing discreditable to him, or aught of which he has reason to be ashamed. If the reluctance to have them, referred to was founded on a dislike to have my early regard and its consequent amicable acts recorded, I think he need hardly have entertained an apprehension of my boasting too much; and especially, as the circumstances were always his own common and continual boast, and but too flatteringly proclaimed on every apposite occasion to be agreeable even to my selfestimation. He was only one of many to whose first essays I paid similar attention; and that I maintained the same line of conduct in his case for years, as he pursued his popular career, only proved that my first impression of his talents was confirmed by his sequent productions. From “Sir John Chiverton,” so full of promise, to “Jack Shepherd” (the evils to be caused by which I did not foresee, and then spoke favourably of the graphic power it displayed), and from “Jack Shepherd” to the writer’s latest performance, it has ever been a pleasure to me to set him in the fairest colours before the world; and he

* See “Life of Gerald Griffin, Esq., by his Brother,” prefixed to the collected edition of his works, 1842.

need have been under no alarm for the betrayal of private confidences in my illustration of our literary, or even social relations. As far as gratitude was concerned, I must on the contrary say that he evinced it for my services, “such as they were,” by all such returns as good feeling could prompt; and that I was, by these friendly requitals, more than compensated for the prominent part I took in promoting the interests of the Opera-house when
Mr. Ebers, his father-in-law, was the lessee; or his own views when, for a short season, engaged in the publishing trade. In his latter capacity, it afforded me high satisfaction to second his zealous exertions towards bringing the first delightful poetic volume of Mrs. Norton, in its best but true light, into public notice; the success of which must have been heartily grateful to him as it was highly satisfactory to me. Then with respect to his publication of the illustrious “Ude’s Culinary Book,” it was the source of a hundred entertaining mental and corporeal treats which all the puffs in the English tongue could not over-pay. Laughter at Ude’s quaintness and drolleries, and dinners of Ude’s own cooking, after superintending which he dined with the convives, were unique in their way as his ideas and conversations were original. His lamentation for the loss of his cher Prince (the Duke of York), who “shall miss me wherever he has gone to” was ludicrously pathetic; and his theory that the art of cooking in England should be studied and practised in subserviency to the British Constitution, was superb, for he held that there ought to be the first, highest, and most recherché preparations for His Majesty; a second and hardly inferior course for the peerage, with an addition of painstaking for the bench of bishops; a third still excellent for the legislators in the House of Commons, and the orders on a level with these favoured members; and lastly, for he would descend no lower, a suitable provision, richly sauced, piquantly seasoned, and handsomely served for the gentry and upper commercial classes! Such a system he contended, politically, must put an end to all discontent throughout the country, and render Great Britain as peaceful and happy in reality as it was in the hypotheses of foolish reformers and brawling patriots. Such was his notion of a Udine Constitution, founded on the stomach, and upheld by the gustativeness of the lieges. As for his literature, I subjoin a specimen submitted to my taste as one of the additions to the second
edition of his work, to which our joint efforts very speedily conducted it.

Potato Soufflé.—This dish as the good adventage to be good and cheep. Take as must large potato as you have gest for dinner, as this dish don’t looke well to be cut, whash them well, and select for that dish the better in shap, put them in the owen to be donne as well as to eat them with butter, then cut one opperture at the top, take out the in side with a spoone and put this in a stewpane, with two or three spoone of double cream, a small bit of butter, little salt, some sugar, litle lemon peel rasp in sugar, too yelk of eggs, and add to it the white well frosted, and put the appareil to the potato, and put this to the owen pretty hot, and warie the taste, some time lemon, same time orange flower water, &c. This dish is very prety and not vulgaire.”

But to return for a moment to the author of “Rookwood,” “Crichton,” and other deservedly popular productions—an author who is rarely surpassed in spirit when his characters are in action, and some of whose ballads and songs partake of the same sparkling vivacity—I shall only mention that after the Review of Crichton in the “Literary Gazette,” Mr. Bentley waited upon the writer the next morning, and offered him. 500l. for a new novel. As Froth (whose disciple I, on some occasions, feel myself rather disposed to be) says in the play, “I hope here be facts.”

I do not remember what became of a project for a “Lyceum Club,” built upon the pleasures of the Ude gourmet symposia, but the mighty minister of amphytrionic luxuries has retired to his mould, and Soyer, the magnificent, reigns, cooks, writes, and publishes in his stead.

In speaking of Mr. W. Harrison Ainsworth, I may take the opportunity of setting many readers, particularly in the right, in respect to another author of nearly the same name, viz., Mr. William Francis Ainsworth, whom I have frequently seen confounded with his cousin, though nothing can be more opposite than their literary pursuits and works. Whilst Mr. W. Harrison Ainsworth has revelled in the fanciful field of invention and lighter composition, Mr. W. Francis Ainsworth has delved deeply into the mines of learning and science, and classic antiquity. In geology I am not aware that he has any superior, and his description of the marvellous caves of Bally-
bunion, lashed by the stupendous Atlantic wave on the southern coast of Ireland (which I have visited in consequence with intense enjoyment) is an interesting proof of the truth of my opinion. His toils and their results on
Colonel Chesney’s memorable exploratory voyage down the Euphrates, have contributed a very important share to the geographical and other scientific values of that expedition; and his admirably instructive papers and communications to the Syro-Egyptian Society (of which he was a president), and to the Ethnological Society (of which he is one of the most distinguished members), not to allude to his innumerable contributions to general literature, mark him out conspicuously among the foremost of our living teachers of useful knowledge. His noble enterprise in following the route of Xenophon and his ten thousand Greeks, and describing it halt by halt, and step by step, is alone a monument of scholarship and ability enough to perpetuate his fame to a late posterity. With modesty equal to his attainments, he seems to me to have shrunk too much from the public reputation which is his due; and I am well aware that if a man, however pre-eminent, does that, the noise and clamour of the host of pretenders will bar him from being heard, and that this is not now the country in which such qualities are sought out to be acknowledged and rewarded with the distinctions they deserve.

C. page 25.

The straightforward and coolly intrepid character of Weddell, stamped him the perfect successor to the bravest nautical heroes of the elder times, who, in their small frail barks explored the wildest seas and most desolate regions of the earth. On his return from his Antarctic voyage, he was greeted with great applause by all who were interested in Polar discoveries, and received many deserved compliments and marks of honour. It was my good fortune to hail his book (1825) in a style which procured the annexed acknowledgment, and led to a lasting friendship.

“Your very able review has given my book a stamp of
respectability, and conferred a most flattering compliment on the author.

“With respectful remembrance,
“Yours very faithfully,


I am sorry to confess that a (what shall I call it?) of four dozen pints of the finest Malmsey Madeira, brought from the Island, attended this seaman’s thank-ye, and I could only requite the “what shall I call it,” by hospitalities and attentions to the bestower when in town, and a continued tribute to his persevering conduct, as opportunities arose for its public notice. Among the aspirations of my warm friend was his candidature for the post of superintendent of Leith docks, for success in which he was, notwithstanding my efforts, too late in the field, and the office was carried by my jovial steam-vessel intimate Captain Dall. Weddell’s narrative of his Antarctic voyage, on which he penetrated to a higher latitude than had ever been previously reached, even by Cook or any other navigator in expeditions fitted out for discovery by Government, made a great sensation; and until the last splendid achievements of Sir James Clark Ross, he stood at the head of the gallant explorers of the southern hemisphere—as it still does among the foremost of enthusiastic private enterprise, in any age or perilous sea. I am proud of my name being given in his map to an Island, though at Cape Horn, and so desolate and unproductive, that even in my worst days, I have never thought of proceeding to that stormy region to take possession of my undoubted property, with its icebergs and pen-guins (such natural subjects for a pen-man), and, it might be, a native Patagonian or two, only I should have been afraid to attempt the rule over the females of so gigantic a people, however loyal and attached!

Poor Weddell did not long survive to enjoy the triumph of his brave exploits. He was more wrapped up in the ambition to follow up his brilliant naval adventures than to look out for and realise the fruits of commercial industry in the ships entrusted to his command—and ship-owners do not enter, with eagerness, into such feelings. The result was that the strong-built and strong-hearted sailor fell into embarrassments, and sank under their pressure. He had, however, from his own
resources, and the co-operation of confiding connections, who had experienced the benefit of his integrity and ability as the skipper of a merchantman, succeeded in equipping a handsome new vessel, of about 400 tons, and taking one trip more, though only a short one. I allude to this, as it produced a scene of such unequalled merriment, that it is yet vividly present to my mind and eye. There was a fête on board to christen the bark, as she lay in the West India Docks; and I was one of the guests. The dinner was excellent, though not à la
Ude or Soyer (vide preceding note); for the cook, as was afterwards ascertained, was of another complexion; and it went off with adequate satisfaction. The cloth was removed, bumpers filled, and the company “upstanding,” with “three times three” in the vista, having been suitably addressed, were lifting the wine to their lips to toast the health of Captain Weddell and prosperity to the (I forget the name, it was a pretty feminine one in accordance with a pretty figure-head) when lo, a crash was heard, the broad cabin light above us was dashed into fragments, the shivered glass and frame-work descended in showers, and in the midst the cause of all this confusion, a huge black pig, which they had been trying to stow away on deck, and which, objecting to the process, came tumbling through the sky-light, not at all like Mercury alighting on a heaven-kissing hill. Some of us were knocked under the table, the upheld bumper-glasses accompanying the fall of man, and we had no time to recover from our amazement, when a half naked, and much over-heated, huge negro rushed down the ladder into the cabin, and springing on the pig, the cause of all our woes, and clasping the also black monster in his arms, hugged it up to its destination in spite of struggles and shrieks the most swinishly desperate and deafening. The denouement was followed, as we gathered ourselves up, with roars of uncontrollable laughter, and, as none of us were seriously damaged, the jollity was renewed in a humour which did not tend to diminish the succeeding revels of the day.

Hogarth, Cruikshank, or Leech might have envied the spectacle of this baptism, and their pencils have immortalised this story of a pig without a poke.

To poor Weddell, even in this vein of merry recollection, I must, however, bid adieu. He was a worthy of the right sort for sea or land,
An honest man, the noblest work of God.

D. page 26.

Death’s Doings,” with twenty-four plates, designed and etched by Mr. Dagley, as dedicated to his friend Mr. Douce, and composed of several original productions of his own, and contributions from various writers. The etching I endeavoured to illustrate, represented, the Skeleton, as a butler, or waiter, drawing a magnum for four convivial fellows boozing at a table, whose appearances are alluded to in the text—as follows:—

“An’ if it be the last bottle, Death is quite welcome; for then Life hath run to very dregs and lees, and there is nothing more in it which can be called enjoyment. Ah, whither have ye sped, ye jovial Hours, which on bright-winged glasses, far different from yon sandy remembrancer, floated away so blissfully; as the bird poised high in air, the trouble of the ascent over, glides without effort or motion, through the brilliant pleasures of yielding space. How ye sparkled and ran on, like gay creatures of the element gifted with more than magic powers. Beautiful and slight ephemera, fragile as you seemed, what mighty loads of cares did you easily bear off in your aerial flight! Ponderous debts which might weigh nations down; the griefs of many loves, enow to drown a world; the falsehoods of friends, the malice of enemies; anxieties, fears, troubles, sorrows—all vanished as drinking ye proceeded in your mystic dance! I picture ye in my fancy, now, ye Hours, as sparkling, joyous, and exquisite insects, flitting past with each a burden of man’s miseries on his shoulders sufficient to break the back of a camel, and borne from the lightened hearts of your true worshippers. But, alas! alas! for all things mortal—we must come to the last at last.

“Yet let the grim tyrant approach at any time, sith it must be so, and at what time can he approach when we should less regard his frown. Like the unconscious lamb, which ‘licks the hand just raised to shed its blood,’ we play with his bony fingers as he presents the latest draught; and let his dart be dipped in the rosy flood, we die feeling that wine gives to Death
itself a pang of joy.
Herodotus must have been wrong when he told us that the Maneros of the Egyptians was a mournful and wailing song; and Plutarch’s is the best authority, for he says it was a joyous chant. So believed the merry party assembled in our faithful picture: their round of song, of toast, of cheer, of laughter, and of shout, was such as Plutarch paints of the wisdom of antiquity, when the figure of a dead man was shown to the convivial souls, and they melodiously joined the chorus—

Behold that breathless corpse;
You’ll be like it when you die:
Therefore drink without remorse,
And be merry, merrily.
Ai-lun, Ai-lun, Ai-lun,* quo’ he!
Our only night, no sky light, drink about, quo’ we.

“Time they tell us, waits for no man;—
Time and Tide,
For no man bide;
but here we can make Death himself a waiter, while the cup is drained and the jocund catch goes round. Hark, whose voice among the happy set is that which sings—
While here we meet, a jovial band,
No Son of Discord’s impious hand
Dare fling the apple, fire the brand,
To mar our social joy:
Free, as our glorious country free,
Prospering in her prosperity,
With wine, and jest, and harmony,
We Pleasure’s hours employ.

But lo, he whose face is half concealed by that arm uplifted with the sparkling glass, he has drunk till the tender mood of philosophy steals over his melting soul. His maudlin eye would moisten with a tear at a tale of sorrow or a plaintive

* Literally in the Greek, “Behold that corpse; you will resemble it after your death: drink now, therefore, and be merry.”—(See Herodotus and Plutarch, on the Egyption Maneros, passim). The fine chorus of Ai-lun, “He is dwelling with the night,” is, we trust, pathetically rendered.

air; and it is thus he gives vent to his soothing melancholy sensations—
Death comes but once, the philosophers say,
And ’tis true, my brave boys, but that once is a clencher:
It takes us from drinking and loving away,
And spoils at a blow the best tippler and wencher.
Sine Ai-lun, though to me very odd it is,
Yet, I sing it, too, as my friend quotes Herodotus.
And Death comes to all, so they tell us again,
Which also I fear, my brave boys, is no fable;
Yet the moral it teaches, to me is quite plain:
’Tis to love all we can and to drink all we’re able.
Sing, again, Ai-lun, though to me odd it is;
But ’tis Greek, very good I hope, and comes from Herodotus.
The old Trojan himself tucks his napkin under his arm, the whetting of his scythe is forgotten, and he wishes (miserable sinner), that, instead of sand, his double glass were wetted full with burgundy. How it would refresh and revivify his dry ribs! how it would re-create and beautify his filthy skeleton form! but he must do his thankless office, while he listens to that third glee which he with the plumed bonnet trolls forth:—
Let the sparkling glass go round,
The sparkling glass where care is drowned;
For while we drink, we live, we live!
Let the joyous roof ring with the measure,
The sweetest of the muses’ treasure
That Music’s voice can give.
Thus crowned, the present beams with pleasure,
The memory of the past is lighter,
The prospect of the future brighter—
And while we drink, we live, we live.
Chorus.—We live, we live, we live, we live,
For while we drink, we live, we live.

“Another cork is drawn. At the smacking sound cares, fears, pains, fly from the unruffled soul of man, as wild fowl fly from the placid lake at the report of the fowler’s gun. The undulating agitation of the instant,—the centric, concentric, elliptic, parabolic, and every imaginary shape into which its glancing bosom is broken, ripples and sparkles with light, and all then gently subsides into smoothness and serenity.—The calm is delicious, and the bowl becomes more and more brimmed with
inspiration as the flood within it ebbs. Whose turn is it now to entertain us? What, Square-cap! thou hast stood or rather sat the brunt of many a deep-drenched table; the words of discretion must flow from thy lips so often steeped in the fountains of truth and wisdom. Oracle of the holy well—the ‘Trinc, trinc, trinc,’ of
Rabelais drops from them as emphatically as upon the ear of the weary Panurge:—

Alexander and Cæsar have vanished away;
And Plato and Cicero now are but clay;—
The brave, and the learned, and the good, and the wise,
All come to the same simple close of “Here lies.”
Then let us employ
Our moments in joy—
And before the sure end make the best use of Time.
’Twere folly to pine
O’er generous wine,
Since sadness is madness, and gloom is life’s crime,
‘Trinc, trinc, trinc,’*—I speak,
French words and French wines are far better than Greek.
Look, along the bright board, like a river it flows
With a liquid whose sparkling no water e’er knows;
While’the banks are with friends in good fellowship crowned,
Who bathe deep in the stream and ne’er fear being drowned,
’Tis Bacchus’ hour,
So let him out-pour
All his treasures, while we make the best use of Time;
Friendship and wine
Are union divine,
And when drunk, mortal drunk, mortal man is sublime!
‘Trinc, trinc, trinc,’—I speak,
French words and French wines are far better than Greek.

“Encore, encore—no more, no more: the last measure is full, the last verse is sung, the last cork has left the neck of the last bottle open. The gloomy assassin strikes—He who has been so often dead drunk, what is he now? At the next meeting there was one chair empty, one jolly dog absent—Ai-lun. And what

* When the oracle of the Holy Bottle was pronounced by the trinkling of the drops which fell from it, quoth Panurge, “Is this all that the Trismegistian Bottle’s words mean? In truth I like it extremely, it went down like mother’s milk.”—“Nothing more,” returned Bacbuc (the high priest), “for trinc is a Panomphean word, that is, a word understood, used, and celebrated by all nations, and signifies Drink.”—See Rabelais for this adventure of Pantagruel and Panurge.

said his disconsolate companions—they missed him, they mourned, they lamented, no doubt:—ay, and they joked too. One said he had never paid any debt till he paid the debt of Nature; another remarked that he was just wise enough to prefer a full to an empty bottle; and the third wrote his epitaph over the third bottle per man:—

Here lies William Wassail, cut down by the Mower;
None ever drank faster or paid their debts slower—
Now quiet he lies as he sleeps with the Just.
He has drank his Last Bottle, and fast, fast he sped it o’er,
And paid his great debt to his principal Creditor;
And compounded with all the rest, even with Dust.”
E. page 27.

Carrington died in 1830, and in 1849, his poems complete in the popular form of one small volume were published; and received from my pen the melancholy tribute justly due to them as natural purifying and beautiful; proceeding from an intense love of nature, and displaying descriptive powers of the finest order. I also expressed my gratification at being enabled to recal to memory, at the distance of time which had elapsed since my first friendly intercourse with him, the cordiality of my welcome to his “Dartmoor,” and his over estimate of my praise and services; and it is a congenial addition to the enjoyment of such feelings to insert here a letter on the occasion from a son worthy of his sire, in talent and every estimable social quality.

“Bath Chron. Office, Sept. 15, 1849.

Dear Sir,—

“Allow me to offer you my sincere thanks for your very kind notice of the little volume containing my late father’s poems. Your remarks are not only valuable to me as embodying a favourable opinion of my father’s writings, but peculiarly so on account of the friendly feeling which you manifested towards him personally. He always attached great importance to your
critical opinions, and when I was a boy, I have frequently heard him speak, with gratitude, of the notice which you had taken of him and his literary productions. Now that he can no longer thank you for himself, it is a great gratification to me to do so as his son.

“With every good wish, and begging you to accept my best respects,

“I am, dear sir,
“Faithfully yours,

W. Jerdan, Esq.”

F. page 44.

I had purposed, notwithstanding what I have elsewhere said about the Literary Fund, to have entered into some farther details of my connexion with it, and my strenuous exertions for a number of years to augment its resources and extend its benefits; but on arriving at this point of my undertaking, I find that it may not (at the present) be. I must content myself with the briefest possible notice of a few, as I think, curious or interesting particulars, which belong to byegone times. On my joining the supporters of the “Charity,” the late Mr. James Christie, was first my leader, and then my warmest coadjutor in every effort suggested for its benefit. We recruited stewards, we solicited and obtained subscriptions, and we suggested plans of improvements together. Two-and-thirty years ago we endeavoured to accomplish for the anniversary, a recitation by Macready of a poem by Hookham Frere (then in Malta); and about the same time I joined the club, so advantageously presided over by Sir B. House, with the soul of humanity incarnated in the massive frame of the Rev. Dr. Yates, the treasurer, and his constant V. P.* I was also elected on the general committee. Of Fitzgerald’s annual recitations, however well meant, Mr. Christie was no admirer; and I remember his endeavours

* My practice in transferring to the fund any monies mistakenly forwarded to the Gazette as a remuneration for supposed favours, helped somewhat to gratify the longings of the worthy treasurer.

occasionally to wedge in substitutes, but the force of custom prevailed, and Fitz., in spite of
Canning’sPoeta nascitur non,” held the laureateship, often to our great amusement, for a series of years. Some touching lines by Mr. Snow, were once admitted; and the amiable secretary showed that his feeling and eloquence were equal to his delicacy and diligence in the good cause.

On the election of a successor to the office, a very eligible candidate, in the person of Mr. T. K. Hervey, had thoughts of standing; but the previous canvas, on behalf of a gentleman who has since raised himself to merited public distinction, and whose pretensions I cordially supported, had confirmed the general opinion in favour of his fitting qualifications, and secured his being chosen; and consequently no contest ensued. He was elected accordingly, and filled, while he occupied it, the station much to his own honour and the advantage of the fund—need I name Mr. (now Sir) C. P. Roney. I fancy the greatest shock he received in the discharge of his duties was when I cut Soane’s portrait into ribbands, and carried the slip of canvas with the eyes on it to show him at the Opera, where I knew he was; and which drove him in dismay from a ballet that no young Irishman could dream of leaving except under very violent pressure indeed. I was menaced with heaven knows what vengeance for committing this atrocious (and I confess half-crazy) deed, but the impulse was defensible, and the annexed squib, at the time, set it in its true light.

“The feud between Sir John Soane and the Literary Fund has at length ‘in hollow murmurs died away;’ the talented but too zealous perpetrator of the mutilation has been gently rebuked, and there the matter ends—unless, indeed, the suggestion given below be acted upon, which we scarcely anticipate:—

(Dr. T. loquitur.)

Ochone! Ochone!
For the portrait of Soane!
Jerdan! you ought to have let it alone,
Don’t you see that instead of “removing the bone
Of contention,” the apple of discord you’ve thrown?
One general moan,
Like a tragedy groan,
Bursts forth when the picturecide deed became known.
When the story got blown,
From the Thames to the Rhone,
Folks were calling for ether and Eau de Cologne,
All shocked at the want of discretion you’ve shown.
If your heart’s not a stone,
You will forthwith atone,
The best way to do that is to ask Mr. Rone
y to sew up the slits; the Committee you’ll own,
When it’s once stitched together, must see that it’s Soane.*

Of other zealous co-adjutors I shall merely mention Mr. Gent, in conjunction with whom at one anniversary, we brought a larger sum of subscription into the treasury, than all the other members and stewards put together (1823). But my annual efforts were (as I have stated) incessant and very productive. Another name I ought to record with eulogy, is that of Mr. William Tooke, still an ardent friend to the Institution; and another, Mr. John Britton, who has retired from his active and beneficial labours—so effective for many years—in the cause. Sir Henry Ellis, and Mr. B. Cabbell, were also prominent and important contributors in the benevolent design; and one of my later acts in the concern was to form the third party with them, as a deputation to the Duke of Somerset to obtain his Grace’s assent to accept the Presidency of the Fund. Later still I performed a similar duty in the application to the Marquis of Lansdowne, now so auspiciously at its head.

I continue to take a sincere interest in its good management and faithful administration; and am therefore glad to learn that a proposition is on foot to give up its present unnecessarily expensive house establishment, and obtain more appropriate and less costly accommodations in a more convenient locality. Of old, economy at home, and liberality to the unfortunate, were the rigid principles upon which the Literary Fund was established and governed.

Qu. Sewn?—Print. Dev.

G. page 207.

A playful note of L.E.L. will farther show from what a height I have fallen.

“Thursday, December.
ad libitum.

“You see I have obeyed your orders and dated. I own the day of the month is wanting, but you must make allowance for a * * * beginner.

Dear Sir,

“I have not been out of the house till yesterday, when Mrs. Windham called, and would take no denial—so home I went and dined with them. She desired me to ask you if you thought you could procure a box at Drury-lane or the Adelphi. I did not like to refuse asking you—as at the worst it only costs you a civil excuse. She asked me to go and see Gustave on Tuesday, which I declined; and I suspect Mr. W. won’t stand two boxes in one week. Saturday is the night she wants it, but of course don’t bother yourself. I am very anxious to hear what you are doing—I think if you could manage it, a run down to Clifton would do you a world of good. I want so to know if you approved my review of the ‘B. of Beauty.’ I miss so very much not being able to talk to you about my judgments before they become quite definite. There was such handsome mention of my story and poem of the ‘New Monthly,’ in the ‘Morning Post’—and even the ‘Atlas’ praises my tale of ‘The Pleiad.’ I was so sorry to hear of your sore throat. I have seen nobody, heard nothing—begin to despair of Bentley publishing my novel. I do consider myself such an ill-used person.

“If you should send before I come in, this will be ready. I am going for some paper.

“Yours truly,

L. E. L.
H. page 212.

Considering that the original projectors of this important Society have hardly received the credit due to them for their exertions in bringing it to the point when it was publicly adopted and organised on their basis, I deem it an act of justice to print the following statement and data. The first suggestion was conveyed to me by the letter signed A. C. C—— (a clerk or librarian in the India House), and its substance noticed in the “Literary Gazette” of 24th May, 1828. The annexed is the letter, which I did think it requisite to publish entirely:—


Sir,—Few occurrences in the literary world are, I think, calculated to produce greater pleasure than the establishment of the Asiatic Translation Fund, which has just taken place. As a whole its regulations are excellent, but there is one to which I wish to call attention by the medium of your paper, which has, I know, been pretty generally disapproved of. This is the proposal to publish certain translations in the French language. Far be it from me to depreciate that language or to undervalue its excellences, which all must acknowledge to be great: but still at a time, when our own tongue is advancing into popularity on the continent, and when it is in fact commencing a struggle for supremacy with the French, it must be owned to be unwise to play into the enemy’s hands in this manner. Nothing more contributed to the universal spread of our antagonist’s arms than the universal spread of her language, and nothing has more contributed to the universal spread of her language than the custom prevalent amongst too many of our authors of taking for granted an acquaintance with that language, and thus, in a manner, enforcing the acquisition of it. Let us hope that this want of generalship will soon be amended, that our future fashionable novels will not like Almacks be written half in one
language and half in another, and our future Oriental scholars will not like ‘
Sir William Jones, translate into French or English as indifferently,’ to quote the deemster’s oath in the Isle of Man, ‘as the herring’s backbone doth lie in the body of the fish.’

“Having thus given vent to my patriotic feelings on this subject, you will allow me to inquire in what manner the Fund means to proceed with such translations from the Sanscrit, as are executed by foreign writers. It is to be hoped that the English translation of these will be superintended by some one acquainted with the original (the foreign translator if possible), or otherwise it is to be feared that much of the spirit of the Sanscrit will be suffered to evaporate in this complicated process. I am glad to observe that such numbers of learned foreigners have come forward on this occasion.

“This Society has certainly filled up one great hiatus in the list of the English literary associations; but there is another almost equally important to supply, which no steps appear to be taking. I allude to the want of a Geographical Society—a want which is the more singular, as our nation has always been, and still is, the very foremost in promoting geographical discoveries. The establishment of a society would of course do little if anything towards the augmentation of our spirit of enterprise, because it is already at the greatest height it can be supposed possible to attain to, but still it would furnish a point of union to travellers and scientific men, and a depository for geographical information, which it is shameful that we should want. I am convinced that if such an association were now to be formed it would in a few years become even more eminent and more eminently useful than the famous society of Paris. A library would soon be formed, for it cannot be conceived that the travellers who have shown themselves so eager to present their works to our continental rivals would be backward in paying the same compliment to us. Few things could be conceived more interesting than an evening party (what our neighbours would call a soirée) at the rooms of the Society, after the return of some distinguished traveller, his drawings, maps, curiosities, &c. lying on the tables, and himself in the centre of a circle of busy inquirers, anxious ever to catch a glance at the celebrated man.


“With the earnest wish that these hurried remarks and suggestions may, by their insertion in your journal, attract the attention of some one of influence in these matters,

“I remain, sir, yours, &c.

“A. C. C.
“May 19th, 1828.

“P.S. I am irresistibly induced to make this rambling letter yet more rambling by inquiring whether Sir Walter Scott is yet in town, and what is his residence. I would keep watch at his door for four and twenty hours, were it only to catch a momentary glimpse of the wizard of the North. Please to answer this in your next.”

On the 20th of September, Mr. Huttmann’s letter (in my text) kept the subject partially alive, but 1829 passed away without any very strenuous efforts in private, and the proposal seemed to be all but asleep.

On the 8th of May, 1830, however, appeared the observations also given in my text, and embodying the steps which had then recently been adopted to revive the scheme, which was acknowledged in a letter of the 18th, from Mr. Britton, and farther particulars of the progress made, promised; but I do not find any published trace of the communication, and presume it was superseded by the meeting under Mr. Barrow, on the 24th of the same month. But Mr. Britton had previously addressed the gist of what had been concerted in the following letter to Mr. Davies Gilbert, and the prospectus which I have specified was issued.

“It appears, from what has come to my knowledge, that several gentlemen, wholly unconnected, both in London and in various parts of the country, have meditated on the formation of a Geographical Society, some of whom have their favourite schemes, some have vague and crude theories, some have made collections on the subject, and others, a large majority, are ready to co-operate in any judicious plan that may be calculated to promote the science by means of a respectable and effective institution. Hence it is evident that the friends to the cause are numerous and ardent, and in my own estimation it is equally evident that, as soon as an efficient committee be formed, and ‘a local habitation and a name’ be obtained, that the accession of members will be rapid, and of the most
respectable class. I have been induced, and without the slightest feelings of arrogance or presumption, to take an active interest in the cause, and venture to place my name in the front ranks, from a conviction that unless one person volunteers his services and even makes a sacrifice of some private comforts to attain a public object, it never will be effected. Some years have passed away since a Geographical Society was first suggested, and wished-for; and we know more would be likely to expire, were not some individual to undertake the unenviable task of bearing at once the brunt and slavery of business. ‘I will gladly aid in the cause,’ say A.B.C., and nearly all the capital letters of the alphabet, ‘but do not expect me to work.’ Unless, therefore, some of the smaller letters either volunteer their services, or consent to labour, we shall find that the Geographical Society, like the perpetual theme of ‘reform in Parliament,’ will continue to be long talked of, without being effected at last.

“The following will convey some idea of the extent of the objects contemplated by geography, with the variety and interest of their tendencies.”

The printed prospectus, dated May 16, was, when the proof was corrected, as follows:—


“Among the numerous societies of this vast metropolis, there is not one devoted to geography, yet it is generally admitted that this is a science of paramount consequence to the interests of a nation. It is also a lamentable fact, that the geographical writings of this, and indeed of other countries, are still very imperfect and defective. The Society founded at Paris for geographical purposes, in 1821, almost immediately enrolled the names of 300 members. By the activity of those members, by the éclat attached to their proceedings, and by the numerous prizes they confer, it may be presumed that both new inquiries have been excited, and useful results obtained. England, however, requires for itself a Geographical Society, and the present epoch may be considered favourable to its establishment. Profiting by the constitution and laws of its foreign precursor, and also by those of other institutions in London, if may be founded
on a basis of durability and utility; and produce many advantages.

“In order to show, at a glance, the beneficial and various inquiries which it is proposed to encourage, the leading divisions of the science may be arranged under the following heads:—


ABSOLUTE. Of the mass and form of the Globe; motions and intrinsic properties of the Globe; of effects from celestial causes.

PHYSICAL. Natural divisions and geological features of the world; mountains, plains, deserts, mines, and minerals; particulars of the animal and vegetable kingdoms; seas, lakes, rivers, and springs; currents, tides, hydrographical data; climate, winds, weather, and seasons; volcanoes, earthquakes, and other phenomena.

SPECIAL. Ancient and modern history of the earth; the distribution of races and languages; names, derivation, and revolutions of states and cities; latitudes and longitudes, astronomical and geodesical; the variation, dip, and other magnetic phenomena; determination of heights and distances; relative magnitude of all countries and nations.

POLITICAL. Population, division of the people, general statistics; artificial division of lands, agriculture, produce; commerce, manufactures, fisheries; government, manners, customs, laws, policy; canals, roads, mills, bridges, markets; religion, education, forces, arts.

“The object of the proposed society is to collect, register, and digest all the useful facts comprehended under the above titles; and it is considered that, with moderate funds, the following objects may be readily accomplished, viz.:—

“I. A convenient house, or chambers, for the members to meet in at stated times; to preserve their books, papers, and other property; and to which strangers and foreigners may be admitted.

“II. A library to contain all the best books on geography, with maps, charts, and plans, old and new.

“III. A correspondence to be formed with similar societies in different parts of the world, or with natives of foreign countries
engaged in geographical pursuits, and also with the most able British residents, who are stationed in remote settlements.

“IV. The society may be a depository for all the geographical knowledge that exists: from its books, maps, &c., the most exact information may be obtained by persons who propose to visit foreign countries; and our own travellers, who often collect much useful information that is never published, might deposit the results of their observations or inquiries in the library of this society.

“V. Were prizes occasionally offered, as in the Parisian society, for the determination of particular questions, many of our countrymen, who visit remote regions, would doubtless be stimulated to those diligent observations and enquiries which would extend our knowledge of geographical facts.

“VI. In a short time the society would possess a mass of materials and information which they would wish to communicate to the public; for the society, to be extensively useful, must impart its acquired knowledge to the world.

“VII. Instead of printing occasionally an expensive volume of transactions, accessible but to few persons, except members, it is thought that it will be more advisable to publish periodically, in a small and cheap form, all the original communications of approved merit, as well as the useful results at which the society arrives. Such a geographical journal, it is presumed, will be likely to find a sufficient number of purchasers to defray all its expenses, and even add something to the funds of the society.

“The preceding plan and remarks are committed to the press, and submitted to the consideration of a few literary and scientific gentlemen, merely to direct their attention to the subject; to call forth their opinions and suggestions for the furtherance of the object; and to solicit the advice and aid of those who are at once qualified and disposed to co-operate in the establishment of a British Geographical Society.

“The secretary arrogates no merit on the occasion but that of volunteering his services as a medium of communication between parties, and undertaking to act as an official adviser and agent till the system be matured, and the society be organised. He will then readily resign his post to any person who may be chosen by the body of subscribers; and further pledges himself to present some useful books, maps, &c.,
towards the formation of the library. It may not be irrelevant or impertinent for him to remark, that he has devoted nearly thirty years of his life to topographical and antiquarian literature, and that he has had some experience in the formation and delineation of maps and description of places. Knowing that obstacles are often thrown in the way of the best and most sincere plans, he hopes to obviate some by this declaration. He has, lastly, to observe, that he will speedily summon a meeting of gentlemen to adopt resolutions, name honorary officers, and carry forward the proposed society.

JOHN BRITTON, Hon. Sec., pro tem.
“17, Burton Street, May 18, 1830.”
I. page 247.
“Death sends Truth hefore it as its messenger.”

Every reader of common sagacity will readily perceive at once how the following auto-biography was communicated; and therefore I will not, as is too much the fashion among authors by profession, trouble them with unnecessary explanation. Suffice it to say, that the authenticity of the narrative is unquestionable; for I had it out of the individual’s own mouth, and I have not altered one syllable. Sceptical persons might doubt the existence of those precocious talents which enabled Baby at the early age of twenty-four hours to deliver the painful relation of all its experience and sufferings in this world; but when it is recollected that the human mind often exhibits wonderful phenomena amid the bright glances which precede death, it will be acknowledged that the present memoir is the result of one of these half-mundane, half-celestial illuminations of the spirit.

“My first perception of life,” said Baby, “or at least the first particular which I consider it fitting to record—for I am
not like a German biographer, who would go farther back, to the very beginning of things—was my being handed from the rough grasp of man into the arms of a filthy old woman. I cannot describe to you the disgust I felt at the hag. Her countenance was most forbidding, her eyes inflamed, her nose reddened towards the tip, and her breath abominably infected with the odours of a transparent fluid called gin. I did not know on inhaling the scent of this offensive compound what it was; but the wretch was determined that I should not long remain in ignorance of its effects either in a gaseous or a liquid form. It was evident from my entrance into the world that this monster entertained a design against my life, and though I resisted with all the energy of a free-born and independent infant, the contest was too unequal, and I finally sunk beneath her machinations and those of my other cruel persecutors.

“The moment I perceived that her intentions were fatal, I set up a squall which you might have heard, in the stillness of the night, quite across the square; but it was utterly disregarded, or made the subject of mockery. ‘There’s a stout boy,’ cried the demon, ‘I’ll warrant ye, that will expand the bones of his head for him.’ My poor head indeed was the immediate object of her attack; for taking another gulp of gin from a glass, and spouting some of the fiery fluid into her hand, she instantly deluged my skull with it, and rubbed with all her might. Oh, the dreadful torture which I endured! The burning substance penetrated through the fontinelle, or mole of the head, to my very brain, and scorched it into agony. I writhed and screamed in vain; and, the paroxysm of madness over, uttered a low and piteous moaning which might have melted the heart of a fiend. But mercy was never meant for me. Conscious of my inherent rights and dignity as a British man-child, and resolved to support both at the expense of my fortune and existence, oppression and tyranny were soon leagued against me, and I was crushed by the foul combination.

“Not yet a quarter of an hour old, the barbarous usage I had undergone was but a prelude to the whole iniquitous course which was systematically pursued against me by all but one being, who, from her affection to me, was exposed to almost equally relentless persecution. My poor mamma, she alone showed any sympathy for Baby; but she was too powerless to afford me sufficient succour in aid of my own brave exertions.

BABY. 413

“Finding that the application of the gin, though it turned my brain, did not absolutely destroy me, the old woman, whom they called Nurse (Curse would have been a juster title) endeavoured to kill me in another way. There was a large brown pan in the middle of the appartment filled with tepid water, and into this the murderess plunged me headlong. She thought she could drown me, but again my activity and presence of mind prevailed, and I saved myself from a watery grave by the vigour with which I kicked, and the force with which I squalled. Astonished by my courageous conduct, and baffled in her vile scheme, the tigress was compelled to desist; but if she could not accomplish the murder she could gratify her hellish spite, which she did by taking an opportunity to scrape me from head to foot, more in the manner of a dead pig than a living boy. I was much hurt by this process; my excoriated skin smarted all over, and I could do nothing but cry and howl as if my lungs were bursting. To this natural appeal no attention whatever was paid by my unnatural enemies.

“The next attempt upon me was of a different, but hardly less infamous character. You are aware how they used to treat their mummies in Egypt in the olden time. From this I presume the hint was taken for the new torment practised upon me. Laying me in her lap, the malignant old woman took a long roll of linen and began to swathe me up as if indeed I were a defunct Egyptian, never intended to stir or breathe more on this earth. Round and round did she whirl me; and I never experienced such a sensation of giddiness before, as that which now overcame me. I could frame an idea what it was to be tumbled about, but to be tossed and gyred in this violent manner was too much to be borne. I was, however, reduced to passive endurance by being so tightly bound, and so worn out by the conflict I had inflexibly maintained, that I seemed almost reckless of what was done to me.

“I fancied at last they were going to execute me without the formality of judge or jury, for they put an ugly cap upon my head, and brought a band under my chin and across my throat to strangle me, drawing the ligature even to suffocation. I cannot tell how I escaped, but I did escape this, the third attempt upon my life, within the first thirty minutes of its duration.

“A very few moments’ repose being allowed me, I began to
reflect upon my hapless condition. Here was I without a friend in the world who could help me, with a bold and uncompromising spirit it is true, but comparatively weak and defenceless; here was I naked and exposed to the most diabolical malice of foes, who had obviously entered into a conspiracy to make away with me by some means or other. What could I do? to whom could I appeal? there was no one to take my part. But I will not anticipate events; they crowded facts enough into my miserable span, as you shall now hear without being troubled with any reflections upon them.

“Having walked into the world about midnight, I looked at the time-piece on the mantel-shelf, and found that I had been more than two hours in this busy life; but circumstances had crowded so rapidly into that space, and I had been made so utterly miserable by the stirring scenes in which I acted so important a part, that I felt no appetite whatever. On the contrary, I seemed to entertain a loathing for food; my indignation may therefore be conceived when I observed the odious female, to whom I have so often already had occasion to allude, preparing some diet, and evidently for me. I knew it by the scowl upon her countenance, as she took up a bottle and poured some of its contents into a silver teaspoon; my presentiment was almost instantly realised. Seizing me quickly unawares, I had barely a moment to extend my jaws in the act of bawling for assistance, when the gag or spoon was thrust into my mouth, and the whole of its nauseous freight forced down my throat. Scream I could not—a sort of gurgling noise was all that could be heard; I sank back, and thus tasted the first of bitterness my youthful stomach was doomed to receive.

“I have intimated that, like other geniuses, I was born with literary tastes, and a taste for the fine arts. I am sure, had my life been prolonged, I should have turned a celebrated author as well as painter. As it has been decreed, I can only claim the fame of being ‘The Little Unknown.’ But there was something curious in the coincidence that my earliest acquaintance with literature and painting should be so vastly disagreeable as to consist of my reading Ol. Ricini on the bottle whence I had been poisoned, and swallowing that oil which might have been the medium of a nobler production than it was now destined to produce. Mingled with the tints of a Titian, it
might have created an immortal Venus. But I will not pursue the contrast.

“A sense of sickness took possession of me. I asked myself Is this the food of human beings? Is it for the enjoyment of such delicacies as this that gourmandism and sensuality fill so prodigious an extent in the existence of men? If it be so, how I pity them! Ah! were their palates as pure as mine, how would they abhor and nauseate such indulgences! I am ashamed to own it, but as this is a biography of truth (and I believe the only one ever written), I must confess, à la Rousseau, that I internally exclaimed with an oath, ‘It is d——d bad.’ The recording angel, I trust, considering my provocation, would deal mercifully with this offence.

“Fatigue had now completely exhausted me, and sleep began to steal over my faculties. A yawn was the sign of this soporific condition; and will it be credited that the wretched Nurse would not even permit this natural symptom? She who had violently forced my mouth open for her own cruel purpose, would not suffer me to open it myself, but the moment she saw me seeking this relief, she clapped her finger and thumb under my lower jaw, which she pushed upwards till I thought it would have cracked again.

“Inured to suffering, sleep at length closed my weary eyelids, and I slumbered free from sorrows for awhile. But it was the mere insensibility of tired nature—not a sweet and refreshing repose. Ignorant people, and especially poets, talk of balmy sleep being like an infant’s. Bah! they must have forgotten their infancy—the swaddling which precludes free respiration—the other incumbrances of babyhood. For my share I had a horrid dream. I fancied I was put away from the world again, and I could, but I will not, a tale unfold.

“I woke but to fresh troubles, to new and unheard-of inflictions, of which it is almost impossible to state whether the utter nastiness or the barbarity were the most shameful. Like a criminal from the rack condemned to undergo further ordeals, no sooner did the Nurse notice that I was taking a survey of the chamber than she immediately darted upon her prey. From a small skillet or pan she spooned forth a thickish unpleasant substance, whether called pap or gruel I never could learn, for I heard both names applied indiscriminately: and first—oh, beast!—drawing the mess through an ordeal of mouth never to
be forgotten, she poked the revolting spoonful almost into my throat. Reject it I could not; down it went. In flavour certainly not so abominable as my breakfast of castor oil, this my second meal was rendered no less obnoxious by the process of its administration or service. Surely in this instance, whoever sent the meat, the devil inspired the cook.

“The consequence might easily have been foreseen, but it was very hard that, from no excess of my own, I was attacked with cholera—the fashionable name for what my grandmamma in ultra-refinement termed a stomach complaint. But whether called by a learned Greek, a fashionable, or a vulgar name, I was compelled to indure what I had been compelled to incur. I was no volunteer glutton or drunkard: superior to man I had not made the ill of which I had so much to complain.

“Had it not been for the continuance of my malady, I might have fancied that the world was not a perpetual hell. For several hours I was not meddled with. A great piece of flannel was wrapped round my head and shoulders, and I was smothered in the bed, which had something of warmth more consonant to my constituted habits than the cold of a winter night, to which I had been so much exposed.

“A weary period having elapsed, I was removed from my nest. The fire yet burned cheerfully, but the candle had grown to an immense wick with a top like the dome of St. Paul’s, and a light dim and flickering. Nurse sat by the fireside in a great arm-chair, smelling more than ever of the beverage which was as the breath of her nostrils; that breath, by-the-by, was ever and anon turned to a deep, but by no means musical diapason. Lying on her knee during one of these naps, I gazed around with that degree of curiosity which new situations commonly excite, for I naturally wished to become acquainted with the manners, habits, and customs of my fellow creatures. The view impressed me with no idea of comfort. Phials with labels about their necks, pipkins, napkins, basins, clothes, chairs, and tables at all sort of angles, &c., &c., seemed so untidy that I could well understand why it was called a sick-room; it was enough to make any body sick.

“As morning approached, two or three maids began to peep in. They giggled, walked on tiptoe, and appeared as highly elated as if each had borne a son of her own. They drank with the Nurse, and carried off some tea and sugar to make breakfast.
One or two of them looked at me, and observed that I was a nasty looking animal. After which they laughed and took a glass, whispering, as far as I could gather, a great deal of impertinent nonsense.

“Carrying me in her arms, the Nurse about this time went towards the window, and quietly withdrawing the curtain, lest my mamma should observe how malignantly she was treating me, exposed me to the full glare of morning. The flash of pain was excessive; instinct shut up my eyes, or I should have been blinded for life. But this was only one of the slightest of the miseries heaped upon me.

“Soon after, my first acquaintance on earth returned, under pretence of inquiring about my health. The villain, in my own hearing, approved of all that had been done to me, and spoke of repeating the same kind of usage, if I presumed to dispute their authority. While he was talking another man came in, who I soon gathered was another ruthless enemy of mine. Indeed I saw now that he was the origin of all my distress—the instigator of my persecution, and like a coward bribed others to commit the crime he had not courage to perpetrate with his own hands. I tried hard to divine what new plot was hatching against me, but could not make it out. I only observed this fellow slip the bribe into the open fingers of the other, who—though called doctor, which is derived from learning—looked smilingly like a murderer, evidently promised acquiescence, and walked away, grinning most diabolically as he conveyed the gold to his pocket.

“The noise, I presume, waked my poor mamma, for she uttered a low noise, and moved slightly on her pillow. Alas! it was but to provoke outrage; the second savage strode up to the bed, and putting his face close to hers gave her a smack, which, though partially concealed, was perfectly audible to my ear. How I longed for a giant’s strength to punish the miscreant! but I was condemned to a similar fate. The suffering saint was so accustomed to ill-treatment, that she only smiled faintly and waved her pale hand, when the assassin quitted his prey and advanced towards me. My rage and hatred were inconceivable: I think I could have repelled him had he assailed me alone, but one of his infamous associates was still left to help him; she held me towards him, and he served me exactly as he had served my martyr of a mother. Till then I
knew not the pang she had borne with such patient resignation: of all the pains I had yet encountered it was the most poignant and severe. His chin was armed all over with sharp spears, and short but cutting knives; and these, by a dexterous motion, such as only long practice could have taught the tormentor, he contrived to stab into every pore of his victim’s face. I screeched aloud, and I saw the tear come into mamma’s eyes; but the others, as before, only made a scoff of my agony. ‘He is a charming boy, and your very picture! He is indeed his papa’s own!’ said the Nurse (as confounded a lie as ever was ottered! and besides, my countenance was so distorted that I was like nothing human); and then Papa chuckled out a horse laugh, and taking out his purse, without the least affectation of secresy, bribed and rewarded his other vile companion.

“A few words passed between them; and again inflicting the torture upon his unhappy and unresisting wife, the flinty-hearted tyrant withdrew.

“I had hitherto preserved considerable resolution under the indignities and dangers of my situation; but the last occurrence depressed me exceedingly. I clearly perceived that the only living creature attached to me by sympathy was exposed to the worst of injuries on that account: I saw that she was broken-spirited and uncomplaining, though decidedly unable to undergo, as I had done, the continued attacks of our adversaries: as a proof of this, I may state, that she took a cup of the oil, which the nurse presented to her, without even kicking or squalling. My soul died within me, and the shock of my feelings, I have no doubt, hastened my own dissolution.

“Well, the day wore on: several women called in for a few minutes, and all seemed of a mind that I ought to be made away with. One advised a second spoonful of oil as the means; another something named Daffy’s Elixir; a third, a drop or two of gin—on which the Nurse swallowed a bumper aside, to show, as it were, how it might be taken without flinching. Among the rest, was a very old female, whom they styled grandmamma, because she was dressed in a stately guise: this hideous person disguised herself by putting two round glasses over her eyes, and then came close to me. Oh, the insufferable beldam! a powder, of the most pungent and acrid nature, which she had concealed about her nose till near enough to shake it over my innocent organs, was so cunningly applied that I was not even
aware of the insidious act, till in the midst of fondling the whole catastrophe overwhelmed me. I endeavoured to ease myself by sneezing; upon which the company burst into a titter:—my curse be upon them for their inhumanity.

“By degrees we were left again to night and solitude; but my nerves had been so lacerated, and my constitution so impaired, that it soon became too evident the machinations of the conspirators were likely to terminate to their contentment. Lest it should be too slow, one of them was again sent for—my first worthy friend—and he ordered more poisons to be forced down my throat. In nothing was I left to nature; my very limbs were encumbered as if they had dreaded that being born a sans culottes, a sans culottes I should die: the inconveniency of this I will not describe. I was born to ill-luck in everything—to good-luck in nothing.

“Flayed, drowned, insulted, incapacitated, smothered, abused, tortured, poisoned, is it to be wondered at that I resigned myself quietly to the prospect of a release? My poor mamma was unhappy, and cried; and the last of the conspirators appeared upon the stage. He was a ferocious looking fellow, with a red face and twinkling eyes; and I suppose he was brought at the late hour from a masquerade as he was dressed in a domino. I fancy he had taken off his mask, but I will not positively assert aught of which I am not sure. Be that as it may, he took a little book from his pocket, and mumbled a few sentences (it would have gratified the literary taste with which I was born had he uttered them distinctly); he then dipped his fingers into some water, and contemptuously threw it in my face. Previous to this, however, there was a dispute among the actors in my tragedy. Mamma said softly, ‘Let it be William Frederick Augustus Gustavus: I so love a beautiful name, and one of which he may be proud hereafter.’ But my ruthless Papa replied, ‘No, it must be Peter Nathaniel, or uncle Peter may be offended, and old Nat. Curmudgeon, who has promised to stand godfather, forget him in his will.’ ‘Peter Nathaniel,’ accordingly exclaimed the black ruffian, when he dashed the water over my piteous countenance.

“It was of less consequence, for the curtain was now about to fall; I felt too weak to resist this last contumely, and submitted to be placed on the bed of my sorrowing parent. She laid me gently on her bosom, and the sight was so affecting that
the bearded barbarian, Papa, seemed to be moved by it. He dropped some consolatory words, and said if anything could restore me that loved bosom would. I was sorry to be obliged to agree with the murderer in any one opinion, though I felt I was fast departing; but in truth this soft and yielding breast was delightful whereon to rest my fevered cheek; I raised my little hand towards it—I threw the latest glance of my closing eye upon it—I drew one draught of nature from its fountain—I uttered one short sigh—I had for one moment tasted an earthly heaven, and for an everlasting heaven I winged my flight.”

With this beautiful sentence Baby concluded his autobiography, to which I have only two particulars to add, which I did not introduce into the narration for fear they might interrupt its simple pathos and elegant connexion. When I heard Baby state in the course of it, oftener than once, that he was a genius and born with a natural taste for literature, I thought it right to ask him for a definition of a man—a definition which Plato, and a considerable number of philosophers since Plato, have failed to reach. To this he replied, with wonderful promptitude—
Man is a Writing Animal.
Astonished by this immortal answer, I could scarcely breathe out—“Oh, young but mighty sage! can I perform aught to perpetuate my veneration for the memory of so extraordinary a being?” To which Baby sweetly rejoined, with the humility of a child, “Engrave this distich upon my monument:—
Since I have been so quickly done for,
I marvel what I was begun for!!!

Palmam qui meruit ferat.—W. J.