LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
W. H. Ainsworth

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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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.