LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 17: Literary Characters

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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Come like shadows—so depart.

Faithful to my principle, ever as fresh candidates for literary fame arose, it was to me a source of great pleasure to do all that lay in my power to foster their aspirations, and, in many cases, to advise their course and guide their steps. According to circumstances, I thus became a sort of literary tutor, and the “Gazette” the expositor of my mind with respect to the talents and future prospects of the persons whose productions I exemplified, and whose hopes I cherished. In glancing through a portion of these endeavours I find the names of numbers who have since attained to eminence in the republic of letters; and it is a matter on which I feel something like pride, that my judgment in these cases has very rarely been falsified. As regards actors, artists, and authors, my predictions have been verified by the results with extraordinary fidelity; inasmuch as, among all my multitudinous adventures in the prophetic line, I can scarcely fix upon half-a-dozen which have not realised my opinions, and fulfilled my anticipation.


When Mr. Robert Montgomery commenced his career, he was roughly handled and greatly discouraged by the critical authorities. Well might he have poured out Churchill’s denunciation:—
Look through the world, in every other trade
The same employment’s cause of kindness made;
At least appearance of good-will creates,
And every fool puffs off the fool he hates;
Cobblers with cobblers smoke away the night,
And in the common cause e’en players unite:
Authors alone, with more than savage rage,
Unnatural war with brother authors wage.

I believe I stood almost alone in vindicating for Montgomery that poetic character which has since been ratified by the public voice, and even conceded by those who used to rail at his productions, and improve their critical censures by attacks of personal ridicule. He has, however, by strange good fortune, written down the former, and outlived the latter, by twenty-five or more editions of the “Omnipresence of the Deity,” twelve editions of “Satan, or Intellect without God,” ten editions of the “Messiah,” eight editions of “Oxford, or Alma Mater,” as many of “Woman,” six editions of “Luther,” and repeated editions of his minor publications! I persuade myself that this immense popularity proves more than I ever affirmed of the poet’s merits, and augured of his success. My warmth in favour of his youthful efforts was no doubt founded upon the sense I entertained of their intrinsic deserts, but it was probably increased by the ungenerous, unhandsome, and unjust manner in which they were assailed by a clique of writers of that superabundant class who seem to fancy that authors are made to be tortured, as wicked schoolboys torment cock-chaffers, transfix them with a painful instrument, and then laugh at their writhing gyrations and wretched groans. The argument, from Fun to Death, is nevertheless a very
wanton and cruel one, and slight reflection might teach even the would-be clever, and the certainly thoughtless, that the offence of publishing a book ought not to provoke so severe an infliction as heart-breaking mortification and crushed hopes, and, not seldom, deeply-injured fortunes in the grand struggle of life: Heaven knows, the sin too often brings its own punishment, and heavy enough, without the bitterness of accumulated griefs and added penalties.

The adverse press, however, prevailed so egregiously against the debut of Robert Montgomery (who was falsely accused of a wish to pass off his work as the performance of James, the beautiful and venerable bard of Sheffield), that, on his work being what is called “subscribed” by Maunder, then starting as a bookseller, the whole Trade took only six copies! But the “Literary Gazette” reviews soon turned the scale, and when the third edition was called, the publisher, in thanking me, stated that he had sold 2000 copies over the counter in ten days—a poetical sale unequalled since the days of “Childe Harold.” The “Times” newspaper distinguished itself by opposing the run made against the young author, and a laudatory criticism in that powerful organ most materially improved his poetic and prosaic condition, and augmented the demand for his productions. Fame and Fortune are lovely twins, and so rarely born in the marriage state of literature, that we may well congratulate the party on whom such a blessing is shed. Professor Wilson, in the potent “Blackwood” also put in a good word for “Satan” and his followers, in verse; and Wordsworth, Crabbe, Bowles, Southey, and other eminent authorities, bore their friendly testimony to the accession of a brother poet. His great consequent success has furnished a remarkable comment on the cavil and, literally, hooting with which his early appearance was encountered. I believe
that little short of eighty or ninety thousand of his volumes have been circulated in various forms throughout his native country, besides large sales in America and to a great extent on the continent. I think the last publication, “
The Christian Life,” is running an equally successful course. Two elder pieces, a satire called “The Age Reviewed,” and another “The Puffiad,” I have lost sight of, and therefore I suppose they have not been reprinted; and the former met with strong and decided disapprobation at my hands, notwithstanding their author had been introduced and welcomed to very intimate terms and social attentions in my house, where he had opportunities of meeting persons to whom it was not undesirable that a rising bard should be known. Referring to the above-mentioned satirical publication, as it is not given to many to be able to write “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,” its intemperate spirit and coarseness provoked my ire, and I visited it with the sharpest reproof I could pen; for fiat justitia was the motto, and I considered it an outrage upon public taste and justice. It was indeed altogether discreditable even to the boyhood of the author, and received that castigation from the “Literary Gazette” which was never applied except in cases of notorious delinquency. Next year, when the “Omnipresence of the Deity” was published, I hailed it with the applause it deserved, as belonging to the highest class of English sacred poetry; and the annexed letter will show how both censure and praise were received.

My dear Sir,

“I trouble you with this line merely to say that Montgomery has written to me from Bath, desiring me to give you his most grateful thanks, and expressing himself in terms which do honour to him, and which are well me-
rited by you. He says the libraries literally rung with your praise. How your noble conduct has galled that cur, * * * [a literary gent, presumed to be toady to
Richardson], he hardly knows how to be venomous enough. Poor devil! he puts me in mind of a yelping cur, with a tin-kettle (Richardson) tied to his tail. Lord! how the diamond poet* pays for his whistle. I am told their bonâ fide sale does not reach 250, but that they give away 500, many of which are stamped.

“I beg you will accept my sincere acknowledgments for all kindnesses, and believe me,

“My dear Sir, yours very sincerely,

“The book goes off well.”

When Mary Ann Browne, in her fifteenth year, produced her precocious poem of “Mont Blanc,” long before Albert Smith got enthusiastic about, and ascended that giant mountain, I hastened, as usual, to welcome the bud of promise, which I pronounced to be fair and fragrant, and asking but fostering care and judicious training to make it a graceful and a lasting shrub beside our English Helicon. Such sounds were music to the young girl’s ear, and a grateful letter from her father quickly acknowledged the kindness, and enclosed to me a sweet composition for the “Gazette,” entitled “The Native Land,” which received immediate insertion, and was the prelude to a number of charming poems from the same finely-gifted being. Among these was an attractive series called “Firsts and Lasts,” to which

* This was D. L. Richardson, a poet of sonnets, &c, in a very small way, but so egregiously vain and greedy of praise, that he published a diamond edition of his volume, and appended to it a hundred quotations from provincial and other newspapers, &c, in its praise; nearly every one of which had been sent from head-quarters as puff paragraphs, together with the bribe of advertisements (see p. 90). This was a way to do critical business!

the following letter alludes, and the two which follow it refer to a momentary tiff between Mr. Editor and his petted contributor, and are graphic samples of the irritable genus, even in fair young bosoms:—

My dear Sir,

“I send three more ‘Firsts and Lasts.’ I intend, if I can possibly squeeze as many out of my brain, to make this series consist of twelve. But if I cannot make so many, you’re not to be affronted. I shan’t make any apologies about these being longer than the first, because I’ve known you put pieces of Miss Landon’s in three times as long. By the by, I’ll get you to give her the enclosed note, if she is returned. If not, give or send it to her the first opportunity. Thank you for noticing * * * It’s very well you did, or you would have been minus any more ‘Firsts and Lasts,’ as my patience was beginning to get rather threadbare, and it must be a great deal, indeed, that wears out my angelic temper!!!

“Love to all as usual, from Martha and myself; Papa and Mamma send kind compliments. Tell Agnes Martha has found the knife she wrote to her about, so she need not make any further search for it.

“I remain, dear Sir, yours very truly,
M. A. B.”
Dear Sir,

“I am very much astonished you do not either send my ‘Farewell’ or the history of its fate. I had flattered myself it was not one of the very worst things I ever wrote, and its not having been in the ‘Gazette’ is a matter of marvel to me, my puzzlement not being lessened by your saying it was in print already. Where? that is what I have
asked you twice before, and I take it unfriendly and unkind that you do not write a few lines, which would not occupy you five minutes, to satisfy me as to what has become of it. Pray let me hear as soon as possible. Yours truly,

“Worton Lodge, Isleworth.”
My dear Sir,

“When I last wrote I had not received your letter, mine must have passed it on the road. I write to say I am very sorry there should have been any misunderstanding between us, which I now discover was all through your substituting the word print for type. You sent me word the ‘Farewell’ was in print, which I always understand to mean printed,* and which I think most people would take in that sense. It now seems you meant in type, ready for printing.* I did not tell you to destroy the ‘Farewell,’ I asked you to send it back, or said I would transmit it to the ‘Morning Post’ on receiving the MS. from you. The piece I said I had sent to that paper was the ‘Lines on New Year’s Day!!’ However, I should be very sorry, on account of former friendship, that there should be any ill-feeling between us, when it can be avoided. I thank you for your expressions of kindness towards me, which I believe to be sincere. Therefore, if you have no objection we will, though ten miles apart, mentally shake hands and give the matter bon repos. In future, therefore, let me subscribe myself,

“Your very sincere friend,

“By the by, you were in precious humour last time you

* Two neat blunders: for 1st, publishing, and 2nd, being really printed.—W. J.

wrote Dear Miss Browne, and every line as stiff as buckram—Good-bye.

(On back of letter.) “Pray read it, for it’s the clearing-up shower.”

There was much piquancy and charm in the conversation as well as the writings of poor Mary Ann Browne, whose early loss I sincerely lamented. She was a most unaffected and affectionate creature. I often had the pleasure of seeing her in Brompton, and her acquaintance with L. E. L. was all that was amiable and cordial.

For the sake of female union, I skip over a lapse of time (some ten years) in order to say a few words about another of my great poetical favourites, and her entrance upon the wild district of print (where types and troubles grow) which she has since so laudably cultivated and embellished; for I also had the satisfaction to welcome into the field the now justly popular Eliza Cook. Struck by some of her productions, which she paid me the compliment to submit to me in manuscript, I availed myself of the ice being broken to pay a visit to the unknown writer at her neat, quiet, humble cottage residence in the Old Kent Road; and found, what I expected from the specimens, a frank, feeling, and right-minded correspondent, not so juvenile as Mary Ann Browne, but yet so young and inexperienced as to increase my admiration of the talent she possessed, and its touching direction to the great end of ameliorating the condition of her fellow-creatures. As the needle points to the pole, so did her inherent philanthropy seem ever to point to the improvement of the lowly, and her sympathies to be awakened by the sufferings, only to be devoted to the promotion of the happiness of the oppressed. Her mind and heart were even then in the mission she has so zealously and beneficially pursued.
The interest I took in bringing her forward was rewarded by the presentation of a number of her most deservedly popular minor poems, and I may best explain the nature of the relative interchange of friendly good offices which ensued, by affording my readers a peep into the private correspondence of Eliza Cook.

The theme of her first letter was—

Few years ago I deem’d the tomb
A dreary place to think upon;
I shiver’d in the churchyard gloom,
And sicken’d at a bleaching bone.
Then all were round my warm young heart,
Each kindred tie, each cherish’d form;
I knew not what it was to part,
And give them to the grave and worm.
But soon I lost the gems of earth,
I saw the dearest cold in death;
And sorrow changed my laughing mirth
To searing drops and sobbing breath.
I stood by graves all dark and deep,
Pale, voiceless, wrapt in mute despair,
And left my sours adored to sleep
In stirless, dreamless, slumber there.
And now I steal at night to see
The soft, clear moonbeams playing o’er
Their hallow’d beds, and long to be
Where all most prized have gone before.
Now I can calmly gaze around
On tablet stones, with yearning eye,
And murmur o’er the grassy mound:
“’Tis a glorious privilege to die.”
The Grave hath lost its conquering might,
And Death its dreaded sting of pain,
Since they but ope the path of light
To lead me to the lov’d again.—Eliza Cook.

On these lines it seems I had offered some critical remarks, upon which I received the following:—

“5, St. George’s Street, Albany Road, Old Kent Road.
Dear Sir,—

“My ‘fastidious master’ has a pupil, who deems herself honoured by the trouble he bestows on her, and begs to tell him his kind and just criticism is well appreciated; my muse is wild, and my judgment very immature and crazy, but such bland correction as yours at once quickens my perceptions and awakens my gratitude. I have endeavoured to alter the first stanza, whether for the better you must decide—
Few years ago I shunn’d the tomb,
And turned me from a tablet stone,
I shivered, &c.
and the sixth stanza thus:—
Now I can calmly gaze around
On osiered heaps with yearning eye.
“The lines were written in tears, very hastily, and rather from the heart than head, but I am glad you think them passable. Many thanks for your decision as to my right of selling the songs. I can now set all doubting fearing mortals at rest.

“My reason for paying the postage was this—I thought unpaid letters might be refused at the office, but I now address in your name; if I do wrong, tell me so. You had better not pay postage to me, so this is fair warning, there is much pleasure in spending some twopences. If you can conveniently forward me a ‘Gazette,’ I shall be a happy recipient.

“Yours obliged and sincerely,
“To W. Jerdan, Esq.”

The next inquiry, I think, led to a satisfactory result.

Dear Sir,—

“I venture to trouble you with a question, which I trust your kindness will excuse, as I know of none so likely to solve it, nor to whom I would so confidently apply. The affair is this. The songs of mine which have appeared in the ‘Dispatch,’ have attracted the notice of musical composers, who give me a fair price for them, lately I have sold many to N. J. Sporle, but he has been told by some person that the words being already published may be appropriated by any one, and turned to profit, that they cease to be my property, and that I cannot sell them. Now this seems hardly probable, and I am certain not just. I take no remuneration from the ‘Dispatch’ proprietors, consequently the copyright is not theirs. No composer or publisher has yet thought proper to risk publication without applying to me, and those who have been long in the trade have told me the poetry is still my sole property, although printed in a weekly journal; but the declaration that I cannot secure them has so alarmed my friend Mr. Sporle, that if you would enable me to give him a decided answer, you would much oblige me. Your knowledge on literary matters induces me to address you, and I only hope you will not consider me too presuming if I beg the favour of a line at your leisure.

“Yours most sincerely,

To return to somewhat earlier dates, Dr. Bowring, only a few nights ago at a Lord Mayor’s fête, did me the favour to remember that when he was, as yet, a comparatively little known author, and I, a popular wight with an influential
weekly trumpet at my mouth, I had paid just tribute to his productions, and helped to swell the note of his literary reputation. With a graceful acknowledgment of this old service, he introduced me to his son, who has so fully inherited the abilities of his father, and distinguished himself in the performance of official public duties which required no small degree of intelligence and capacity. I mention incidents of this kind, because they are very grateful to feelings unblunted by age, and because I am sorry to say they are by no means common.’

Of Croly, Proctor, and others of yet earlier dates, I have already spoken so much that I need not include them in this list—though I have materials of much interest, tempting me to encroach even on my now prescribed limits—but I must run over a few other names, out of a great number, which I now at least am obliged to pass in silence, some of them endeared to me by strong ties of friendship, and others connected with agreeable recollections of mutual kindnesses and regard.

Mais encore places aux dames! Of three ladies as different from each other as the three Goddesses Venus, Juno, and Minerva, who contended for the golden apple on Mount Ida, I have therefore to speak; thankful that I am not the Paris, with the discordant task of awarding the prize to one, but simply the critic who has to pronounce a few sentences on the merits of all three. Lady Blessington, Mrs. Loudon, and Mrs. Carter Hall must therefore come into court. Of the first, having already spoken, I shall here merely repeat that having advised her with her first literary production “The Magic Lantern,” from that period I visited her constantly in St. James’s-square, Mayfair, and Gore House; and the more I saw and knew of her, the more I loved her kind and generous nature, her disposition
to be good to all, and her faithful energy to serve her friends. Full of fine taste, intelligence, and animation, she was indeed a loveable woman; and, by a wide circle, she was regarded as the centre of a highly intellectual and brilliant society. As an author and editor of “Heath’s Annuals,” for some years, Lady Blessington received considerable sums. I have known her enjoy from her pen, an amount somewhere midway between 2000l. and 3000l. per annum, and her title as well as talents had considerable influence in “ruling high prices,” as they say in Mark Lane and other markets. To this also, her well-arranged parties, with a publisher, now and then, to meet folks of a style unusual to men in business, contributed their attractions; and the same society was in reality of solid value towards the production of such publications as the annuals, the contents of which were provided by the editor almost entirely from the pens of private friends, instead of being dearly brought from the “balaam” refuse of celebrated writers.

In the earlier trials of Miss Jane Webb, now Mrs. Loudon, I took an earnest interest: in fact, I saved her from sinking, when first exposed to the struggle which a female venturing upon the rugged path of literature is sure to experience. “The Mummy” is a production of great talent and imaginative power. After its publication, and ways and means were needed to “carry on the war,” the amiable Miss Spence and Miss Webb concerted a periodical between them, which was to be called “The Tabby’s Magazine;” and a gracious proposal was made that L. E. L. and myself should join the projectors, in which case Mr. Ollier thought it would do exceedingly well, and Miss Webb was convinced that Colburn would publish it, and it would have a prodigious run! The promise was that our true allies would trespass as little on my time as possible, undertake
any share of the drudgery; and Miss Webb could pledge herself to do a great deal if she had a master hand to direct her—as for dear Miss Spence, she would be perfectly tractable, as she almost worshipped me and thought my opinion infallible! What flattering creatures the sex are; especially when they wish to carry any object. But alas,
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Gang oft ajee;
and of women too; and the Tabby design fell to the ground, without the experiment of a single scratch upon the public. Miss Spence, fortunately had a law-suit decided in her favour, but Miss Webb, thrown upon her own resources for several years after the death of her father and natural protector, fought a stirring fight with literary exertion, as her “
Hungarian Tales,” “Conversations on History and Chronology,” “Stories of a Bride,” and other clever works amply testify; but she fell into severe sickness, and it was under the concomitant circumstance that I had it in my power to perform the essential duties of a friend. Indeed if I had failed, the consequences would have been dreadful; but I lived to see my esteemed client united to my also much-esteemed friend and coadjutor Mr. Loudon, with whom she led a comfortable and happy life to the end of his days. Of herself, Miss Webb, in the time of her difficulty, truly said, “I have naturally an independent spirit and wish to maintain myself; but I am not fitted to struggle with the world. I cannot put myself forward, and I cannot make bargains [i.e. with publishers]. I am soon depressed, and when any one finds fault with any of my productions, instead of defending them, I throw them in the fire. I try to overcome this feeling, but I cannot. The phrenologists say that conscientiousness and
love of approbation are my two strongest qualities, and that I have no self-esteem. I believe they are right. Forgive this loquacity.”

This is a lively sketch of author-feeling, and when one reflects on the sensitive traits it exhibits, it ought still more forcibly to impress the humane conviction, how base and cruel it is to lacerate and crush emotions so innocent and aspirations so laudable. In Miss Webb’sStories of a Bride,” was exemplified the benefit to be derived from attention to common-sense criticism. Whilst it was printing, a review appeared in the “Gazette,” in which I censured the foolish fashion of interlarding English books with phrases and scraps of French on which Miss Webb (now in good heart with prospects of farther success) sportively writes to me, “I am sorry to say that my ‘Bride’ is rather Frenchified, and makes use of more foreign phrases than I should have permitted her to do, if I had read your very able and very witty quiz upon Frenchified English in last week’s ‘Gazette,’ As it is, I have translated all the phrases that I dared, without running the risk of sending Mr. Bentley and all his devils to Bedlam.” On the eve of her marriage, the last time before changing the name I had at any rate done my best to elevate on the roll of literary merit, my too grateful friend writes to announce the coming event, and to assure me that “Mrs. Loudon will never forget the kindness shown to the friendless and unprotected Jane Webb.” And here it is fit to draw the curtain.

With Mrs. Hall I had not the pleasure of a maiden acquaintance; but I enjoyed that gratification with regard to her works, and, from the first to the last of them, have been their undeviating admirer and her steadfast friend. It is after so long an interval, a sort of literary and
human triumph, to confess that more than the panegyric hestowed was warranted, and more than the esteem deserved. The fancy of her mind and the purity of her taste seemed to my judgment to animate and refine her “
Irish Tales,” without the slightest injury to their natural or comic effects, or the portraiture of the lowest characters among the dramatis personæ. Her “Juvenile Forget-me-not,” and all her writings intended for the moral instruction of tender years, also always won my warmest approbation. There are very few writers in this line of literature who do not grossly fail in their aim, and, instead of teaching the young idea how to shoot straight forward, push the shooters into so false a position, that if they shoot at all, they can only shoot round corners. Consistency in addressing unformed intellect and paring down thoughts and style to childish comprehension, so as to produce beneficial fruits, is a rare quality. The main lesson for good is often marred by bad lessons unintentionally woven into the details. A parent will tell a lie to induce a child to do something or other; and the child perhaps seeing through the transparency and laughing it to scorn, will be terribly punished for its crime of disobedience. I could point out many examples of the same kind of errors; but I never detected Mrs. Hall in the slightest mistake of such a nature, and therefore I ever prized her compositions for juvenile readers, even as much as the most popular of those she has produced for mature age. I cannot say I like too much of the schoolmistress, whose tiresome task often begets a spirit of prudish superiority and dogmatism (as male pedagogues are apt to become pharisaical and tyrannical); and it is one of Mrs. Hall’s great merits to steer so clear of this rather repulsive habitude. On the contrary, there is a winning quietude and feminine persuasiveness in her teaching which
has always pleased me, and her purpose has always been of a beneficent order; just as in her “Barbara,” intended for female children of a larger growth, she inculcated the useful truth that woman is never loved for her talents, but for her domestic and gentle virtues.

I suppose there never was a literary brain that did not, at some time or other, contemplate new projects, and indulge in episodiac escapades, which were either left unfinished, or finished only to be laid upon the shelf. Perhaps Mrs. Hall herself has forgotten the schemes respecting which she did me the honour to consult me, but I have met with her memoranda for writing a History of Music, with biographical sketches of celebrated musicians, and an account of the rise and progress of national music from the earliest syllables of recorded time. I think such a work would be likely to be well received, and that her pen would have done, and might still, if she has preserved the materials, do justice to it. Another note refers to a History of Birds, suggested by her fondness for natural history from girlhood; and which I have no doubt she would have written, as she thought she would, con amore; but there are so many and such various publications on ornithology, that it would not be easy for a fresh attempt to make itself heard among the scientific noises, fierce screams, charming melodies, and endless chirpings of such a number of clamorous candidates for notice. Then Mrs. Hall did actually write a play, in three acts, the fate of which is hidden from my sight: and I can but vouch for the fact.

Her contributions to the “Literary Gazette” were a grateful reward; but I may, I am sure, dip, without offence, into less public litera scripta to show how much the office of kindly, yet impartial, criticism is valued by the most deserving. In one instance I had pointed out
blemishes in one of her productions, and she, playfully in earnest, informs me of a domestic sick-room, which had occupied her time and feelings to the exclusion of everything else. “This,” she tells, “prevented my looking over the proof-sheets as carefully as I ought. Must you indeed notice these blunders? I will never do so any more, I never did so before, and as it is my first offence! There is truly no valid excuse for presenting a faulty work to the public; but the theory of perfection and perfectibility ought, I think, and must, I fear, yield a little to the accidents and necessities of humanity.” In another letter from Mrs. Hall, at Christmas time, in reply to one of mine, years after we had suffered deeply deplored losses, the sentiment is so touchingly, though familiarly, expressed, that I am tempted to transcribe it. “I quite think with you about this ‘merrie season,’ thank God there are blessings left to us! but the memory of the friends long linked together—gone for ever from our circle—of those whose voice was the music our hearts loved best, and whose place can never be filled up—comes to us all, and makes the small anxieties—the small and evil nothings upon which we are too apt to throw away both time and mind—seem mean and worthless. It makes us also regard those left still to labour through this world, with feelings of kinder regard. I think I discover new beauties in every face, and fancy the wrinkles of my dear old friends far more beautiful than the dimples of the new ones.” . . . At the same season, in the following year, I am greeted with yet warmer expressions of regard, which I quote, not only on grounds of personal gratification, but as an example of the alliance which, in well-regulated minds, is almost sure to arise out of the collision of liberal criticism and meritorious literature. Integrity in the one, and superiority in the
other, lead to such proofs as the annexed, dated on Christmas Day:—

“The Rosery, Old Brompton.
“Dear Mr. Jerdan,

“Thank you a thousand times for your kind notice of my book. It would he impossible for any review to touch me as that has done: it brought back the last twelve years—it brought back the hour of intense anxiety, when the ‘Gazette’ lay for an hour upon my table, and yet I had not courage to cut the page—and when I read, I well remember the tears of pure joy that burst from my eyes; those feelings do not often return, but I hope they are never forgotten.

“To me, your name has ever borne the consciousness of wise friendship. You encouraged and cheered me; and I do not think I ever finished a chapter or a tale without wondering, ‘What the “Literary Gazette” would say of that!’

“I think you must enjoy, even at this season, when we all look back upon what we have lost, much real happiness from the knowledge that you have always fostered young talent, given circulation to opinions calculated to promote the influence of religion and morality, and never inflicted a careless wound on any living thing.

“Yours, faithfully and sincerely,

As the Cockneys sing, “(H)all’s well”; but other images crowd upon me, and the phantasmagoria is overwhelming. My endeavour to recal and revive them all is hopeless. A cyclopaedia is wanted.

In short, the auto-biographic form will not admit of the weaving in so miscellaneous a pattern, and at this period of
my work I am only the more convinced of the fact that I had saddled myself with a most intractable machinery. By means of diary and correspondence, I should have been more orderly and lucid, and the draughts upon memory for the concoction together of connected parts, less imperative and less frequently dishonoured.

Upon this said Memory I have a word to observe to my contemporaries, who, like myself, are often complaining of its slips and deficiencies. Now, it appears to me that we have not quite so much reason for this murmur as we imagine. It is not, in fact, that our memory serves us so badly, as that, having so much more to do, so many more things to remember, in Age than in Youth, it is not surprising that it should be oblivious to a portion of the load! It gives more scope, too, for those curious phenomena of the mind, which, by the windings of a chain or its links, over which the Will has neither power nor control, works the strange work of Re-collecting, which, evolved by this process and in this manner, is a faculty widely different from that of mere direct Re-membrance.

Hoping that I may live and have the opportunity to fashion some of my multitudinous materials (embracing many busy years) into the more practicable shape I have indicated; I must now run very briefly and hastily over a summary of personal and literary relations, which sweetened and variegated the time to which my later chapters have been devoted, and trust to a few letters casually rescued from my heaps, to afford a little farther illustration of my imperfect roll-call.*

Again I give the first place to the sex, and mention with pleasurable feelings the immediate cheering I offered to the earliest publications of Mrs. Bray, Mrs. Gore, Miss

* See Appendix.

Costello, Miss Agnes Strickland, Miss Sheridan, Miss Emma Roberts, Miss Jewsbury, Lady Charlotte Bury, Miss Sinclair, Mrs. Shelley, Mrs. Jameson, and other female ornaments of our literature; not to mention my passing tributes to the works of the Misses Porter, Miss Benger, Hannah More, Lucy Aikin, Miss Mitford, Mrs. Hofland, and other established public favourites. With the majority of them I ever after maintained a cordial intimacy, and with nearly all the rest a very friendly acquaintance. Of the friendship with which Mrs. Bray and Miss Roberts, especially, rewarded my impartial testimony to their great merits, the former as one of our most eminent novelists, and the latter as a very successful cultivator of the belles lettres, was a source of much gratification to me. Mrs. Bray still lives to adorn her station, and listen to the applause of her country; the excellent Emma Roberts has fallen a victim to the climate of India, in the midst of the useful labours on which she was engaged for the beneficial development of our mighty, but yet very partially understood, Asiatic Empire.

But when I come to glance at the list of male friends, with whom my vocation and active enterprise in every matter that concerned the Arts and Literature connected me, I find myself overwhelmed even within the limited circle of three or four short years. I cannot enumerate them, far less describe the various kinds and degrees of future intercourse to which they led. Shall I try an approximate but very partial classification?

Pennie, the author of “The Royal Minstrel,” a heroic poem of much poetic power, in twelve books, and afterwards of “Rogvald,” both written in his humble cot at Lulworth, in the midst of mental distraction and (literally) physical starvation, was speedily brought under my notice, and had no cause to regret the circumstance. Haydon and his
miseries came closer home, and excited far stronger sympathies.
Gerald Griffin has already been alluded to; and Miller, the basket-maker, when he began his chequered career, in an especial manner attracted my admiration, and won my esteem and services. A specimen of his handicraft is much cherished in my study, and when I look upon its neat construction, twistings, involutions, and pretty bordure (now somewhat the worse for wear), I cannot help breathing the heartfelt wish that the author who sprung from its lowly manufacture may, after all his twists and turns of fortune, be enjoying a like repose, and be viewed with as much regard both for his useful and ornamental merits. But, beyond this, I also sincerely hope that the various and remarkable talents he has displayed may have, at length, ensured that consideration to which they are so eminently entitled, and that the old school-book apologue of the travelled courtier and the basket-maker, who were cast upon the shore of a barbarous people, has been reversed in his case, among a people proud or boastful of civilisation. That such a man should have to struggle to the end, would be a shame to his country; but if such do fall on evil days, what can their country, as represented by its rulers, do for them? The resplendent government of England, which collects and dispenses above fifty millions of golden sovereigns every twelvemonths, has, at its disposal, just the amount of an upper clerk’s or minor commissioner’s salary, for the encouragement of the nation’s genius and learning, and the succour of those who are reduced to distress or perishing in the cause. The parsimonious dole, indeed, is a national stigma: a beggar once solicited charity from an opulent passer-by, who seemed to regard him with looks of pity and compassion, and lamented his want of small money to bestow upon him. As it happened, there lay a halfpenny
before them on the road, which the miser hastened to pick up, and the poor man again put up his voice for the boon. But charity which begins at home, seldom goes out; and the answer he got to his prayer was, “No, no, find a halfpenny for yourself, poor fellow!”

My countrymen who came to push their literary fortunes in London, were always welcome to my hospitalities and help in their pursuits; and those whom I only knew through correspondence, failed not to find my pen prompt to espouse their interests. Thomas Pringle, A. Picken, Wilson the Scottish ballad minstrel, recommended by Blackwood, Mackay the famous Baillie Nicol Jarvie, recommended by Scott, and almost all the classes who had public objects in view, either came or were consigned to me as to a friend; and such honours to my native land as Professor Wilson, Moir, Pollok, Motherwell, Galt, Burnes (of eastern fame), J. B. Frazer and Baillie, Tytler and the two brothers Chambers—my compatriots, who have accomplished so much for the instruction and elevation of the humbler orders wherever the English language is read—all, received the earnest homage of the “Literary Gazette,” and the use of its utmost exertions to promote the success of their delightful productions and augment the influence of their philanthropic labours. I was well kept up to the knowledge of what was doing in the Edinburgh school, which had raised itself from provincial dependency into so noble and flourishing a head of literary enterprise, by incessant missives from Constable, Blackwood, James Ballantine, Cadell, and others, writers and publishers, whose industry and kindness in supplying me with information, crammed me with the news, and were very valuable in filling up my weekly measures of intelligence.

Nor was I less fortunate in my relations with Ireland
and Irishmen. With
Lover, from the first day he saw London to that which now shines over us, in spite of a November fog, and I listen, with new delight to the new lyrics he is adding to my ample “repertoire,” of those which have charmed me for five-and-twenty years, I have been united in the bonds of uninterrupted friendship. Song he never sang that was not previously submitted to my judgment, and I think I may assert that my predictions with regard to their lesser or greater popularity were invariably realised. When they elicited tears of emotion, as in the “Baby was Sleeping,” the “Fairy Boy,” in which the climax of ultimate lines is so exquisite, the “Letter,” the “Four-leaved Shamrock,” and others of pathos, or when they provoked bursts of laughter, as “Molly Carew,” “Widow Mac Cree,” “The Shadow on the Wall,” &c. &c, there was no fear of their not ringing through the length and breadth of the land; and when there was great approbation, but not quite so much enthusiasm, the compositions were generally obliged to range in the second rank. Poet, painter, musician, and Irish genre-novelist, and dramatic author—accomplished in all, the earning of such association is a requital for any number of literary good offices, done for any number of deserving candidates. In this way editors may balance accounts to their own manifest advantage.

Mr. Crofton Croker was for many years a great ally of mine in the “Gazette,” and his very numerous contributions, derived not only from his own literary and antiquarian tastes, but from his access to information as a clerk in the Admiralty, were generally very acceptable. Our intimacy was consequently as close as our intercourse was frequent; and many a humorous ebullition and piece of practical joke attended it. For devising and executing these, his
better-half displayed a masterly invention, and I look back at their frolic and fun with a renewed sensation of mirth, which, as the sickly Yorkshire wench said when her sweetheart proposed—“maks be laugh, tho’ I be scarcely yable.” But the lady’s talents for pleasantry were often exhibited in a most entertaining manner. She wrote in as original and clever a style as I ever met with, and I may venture to illustrate the good fortune of my ancient confrère in having so congenial a partner, by relieving this categorical list with three specimens of her amusing correspondence. The first relates to a part of Fisher’s portrait gallery, in which there was a portrait of Earl Howe,

My dear Sir,—

“Pray accept my best thanks for the beautiful number of the ‘Portrait Gallery’ you were good enough to send me yesterday. The two first engravings, I think perfect, but the third has (to my eye) a kind of Howe-came-you-so? expression about it, as if he had just taken what Captain Hall calls a north-wester—videlicet, a half tumbler of rum filled up with rum and water.

“I do not know whether your experience leads you far enough to know that favours conferred on the female sex emboldens them to ask for more. If, acquainted with this fact, you will not be surprised that I should make direct application for the boon of a stray cookery-book, should such a thing be lying useless on your floor after undergoing the ceremony of reviewal. I have frequently asked Crofton to beg for me, but he is not yet quite epicure enough to remember the commission—which I assure you, to a very ignorant housekeeper, would be a most desirable possession.

“I was very sorry to hear your interior has been
disorderly, but hope Wardrop has set you to rights, and have no doubt he would say to you, as he once said to me, ‘I’ll tell ye whot yell doo Mess Nicholson—ye’ll just tak a little doss.’

“When I see you again, I have still more to say to you, but this is ‘all at present’ from,

“Dear sir,
“Yours much obliged,
“Rosery, August 2.

“P.S. It might appear impertinent in me to hint at the very talented manner in which the memoirs of the present number are ‘got up.’”

The drollery of the following I presume to be unique.

“The Rosery, Friday, 26th August, 1831.
My dear Mr. Jerdan,—

“I have the pleasure to inform you I was this evening safely delivered as per margin, and that I am doing as well as can be expected.

Son. Daughter.

“I am, my dear Mr. Jerdan,
“Yours very truly,

The last is not unworthy of its precursors.

“October 26.
My dear Sir,—

“If you have heard how ill your godson has
been the last fortnight, you would excuse my not having sooner thanked you in his name for the exquisite little fork you sent the dandy. If you would not think the remark too sharp, I should say that in sending him a fork, you have proved yourself to be no spoon, and if you had not cut our acquaintance you might be diverted to see how scientifically he wields it. He cannot yet master the letter F, but he calls fork his god-ka-ka’s kork on the appearance of every meal.

“As he is now tolerably well acquainted with his alphabet, I should be glad to know when you purpose commencing his instructions in the Catechism. I have taught him some pretty little tricks myself, but I leave the moral and religious part of his education in the hands of his worthy sponsors.

“I am daily more and more convinced that the Rosery must have been a sweet, attractive spot, so many of our friends used to come to see it. ‘With which I am.’

“My dear Sir,
“Ever yours truly obliged,
“I mean.)”

The Irish humours of a facetious husband were surely well played up to by a spirit like this, and it was the case in many instances when I begged “Mirth admit me of thy crew,” and reaped lots of recreation from my prayer being granted. I have only to add in explanation that the birth announced was that of a young gentleman to whom I stood (with Mr. J. Wilson Croker) as one of the godfathers, and who I believe, in spite of my neglect, has grown up reverentially to follow in the footsteps of his sainted sire.