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in Captain Stanhope's “ Greece," Lord Byron. Well; you shall see : p. 96, and is highly characteristic of judge me by my acts. When he wished the impetuous, overbearing, variable, me good night, I took up the light to conyet noble disposition of Byron.
duct him to the passage, but he said, Lord Byron conducted the business in
What! hold up a light to a Turk ! behalf of the Captain. In the evening he The letters also display much naconversed with me on the subject. I said tive vigour of mind and magnanimity the affair was conducted in a bullying of temper, which a whole life of dismanner, and not according to the princi- sipation could not permanently unples of equity and the law of nations. His
nerve or break down: Lordship started into a passion. He contended, that law, justice, and equity, had
Genoa, May 29, 1823. nothing to do with politics. That may be ; Sir, but I will never lend myself to injustice.
At present, that I know to His Lordship then began, according to whom I am indebted for a very flattering custom, to attack Mr. Bentham. I said, mention in the “ Rome, Naples, and Flothat it was highly illiberal to make perso. rence in 1817, by Mons. Stendhal,” it is nal attacks on Mr. Bentham before a fit that I should return my thanks (however friend who held him in high estimation. undesired or undesirable) to Mons. Beyle, He said, that he only attacked his public with whom I had the honour of being acprinciples, which were mere theories, but quainted at Milan in 1816. You only did dangerous ;-injurious to Spain, and cal me too much honour in what you were culated to do great mischief in Greece. I pleased to say in that work ; but it has did not object to his Lordship's attacking hardly given me less pleasure than the Mr. B.'s principles; what I objected to praise itself, to become at length aware were his personalities. His Lordship never (which I have done by mere accident) that reasoned on any of Mr. B.'s writings, but I am indebted for it to one of whose good merely made sport of them. I would, opinion I was really ambitious. therefore, ask him what it was that he ob- changes have taken place since that period jected to. Lord Byron mentioned his in the Milan circle, that I hardly dare rePanopticon as visionary. I said that ex cur to it;- some dead, some banished, and perience in Pennsylvania, at Millbank, &c. some in the Austrian dungeons.- Poor had proved it otherwise. I said that Ben- Pellico ! I trust that, in his iron solitude, tham had a truly British heart ; but that his Muse is consoling him in part—one Lord Byron, after professing liberal prin- day to delight us again, when both she and ciples from his bogħood, had, when called her Poet are restored to freedom. upon to act, proved himself a Turk. Of your works I have only seen Lord Byron asked, what proofs have you Rome ” &c., the Lives of Haydn and of this ?-Your conduct in endeavouring Mozart, and the brochure on Racine and to crush the press, by declaiming against Shakspeare. The“ Histoire de la Peinture" it to Mavrocordato, and your general abuse I have not yet the good fortune to possess. of liberal principles.- Lord Byron said, There is one part of your observations in that if he had held up his finger he could the pamphlet which I shall venture to rehave crushed the press.- I replied, with mark upon ;-it regards Walter Scott. all this power, which, by the way, you You say that “ his character is little wor. never possessed, you went to the Prince thy of enthusiasm," at the same time that and poisoned his ear.–Lord Byron de- you mention his productions in the manner claimed against the liberals whom he they deserve. I have known Walter knew. But what liberals ? I asked ; did Scott long and well, and in occasional sihe borrow his notions of free-men from the tuations which call forth the real character Italians ?
-Lord Byron. No; from the Land I can assure you that his character Hunts, Cartwrights, &c.--And still, said is worthy of admiration—that of all men I, you presented Cartwright's Reform he is the most open, the most honourable, Bill, and aided Hunt by praising his the most amiable. With his politics I poetry and giving him the sale of your have nothing to do: they differ from mine, works.-Lord Byron exclaimed, you are which renders it difficult for me to speak vorse than Wilson, and should quit the of them. But he is perfectly sincere in army.-I replied, I am a mere soldier, them; and Sincerity may be humble, but but never will I abandon my principles. she cannot be servile. I pray you, thereOur principles are diametrically opposite, fore, to correct or soften that passage. You so let us avoid the subject. If Lord Byron may, perhaps, attribute this officiousness of acts up to his professions, he will be the mine to a false affectation of candour, as I greatest ;—if not, the meanest of mankind. happen to be a writer also. Attribute it -He said he hoped his character did not to what motive you please, but believe the depend on my assertions.—No, said I, truth. I say that Walter Scott is as nearly your genius has immortalized you. The a thorough good man as can be, because I worst could not deprive you of fame.- know it by experience to be the case.
If you do me the honour of an answer, From Lord Byron to Colonel Stanhope. may I request a speedy one ?-because it
Serofer, or some such name, on board a is possible (though not yet decided) that circumstances may conduct me once more
Cephaloniote Mistice, Dec. 31st, 1823. to Greece. My present address is Genoa,
My dear Stanhope, where an answer will reach me in a short We are just arrived here, that is, part of time, or be forwarded to me wherever I my people and I, with some things, &c.
and which it may be as well not to specify I beg you to believe me, with a lively in a letter, (which has a risk of being in. recollection of our brief acquaintance, and tercepted, perhaps,) but Gamba and my the hope of one day renewing it,
horses, negro, steward, and the press, and Your ever obliged
all the Committee things, also some eight And obedient humble servant, thousand dollars of mine, (but never mind, (Signed)
NOEL BYRON. we have more left :- do you understand ?)
are taken by the Turkish frigates, and my
party and myself, in another boat, have had Translation,
a narrow escape last night, (being close
under her stern, and hailed, but we would Cephalonia, 20 December, 1823.
not answer and bore away,) as well as this Prince,
morning. Here we are, with sun and The present will be put into your hands clearing weather, within a pretty little port by Colonel Stanhope, son of Major-Gene- enough; but whether our Turkish friends ral the Earl of Harrington, &c. &c. He may not send in their boats and take us has arrived from London for fifty days, out, (for we have no arms, except two carafter having visited all the Committees of bines and some pistols, and. I suspect, not Germany. He is charged by our Com- more than four fighting people on board,) mittee to act in concert with me for the li- is another question, especially if we remain beration of Greece. I conceive that his long here, since we are blocked out of name and his mission will be a sufficient Missolonghi by the direct entrance. You recommendation, without the necessity of had better send my friend George Drake, any other from a foreigner, although one, and a body of Suliots, to escort us by land who, in common with all Europe, respects or by the canals, with all convenient speed. and admires the courage, the talents, and, Gamba and our Bombard are taken into above all, the probity of Prince Mavrocor- Patras, I suppose, and we must take a dato.
turn at the Turks to get them out: but · I am very uneasy at hearing that the where the devil is the fleet gone? the Greek dissensions of Greece still continue, and at I mean, leaving us to get in without the a moment when she might triumph over least intimation to take heed that the Mos. every thing in general, as she has already lems were out again. Make my respects triumphed in part
. Greece is, at present, to Mavrocordato, and say, that I am here placed between three measures ; either to at his disposal. I am uneasy at being re-conquer her liberty, or to become a
here; not so much on our account as on dependence of the sovereigns of Europe, or that of a Greek boy with me, for you know to return to a Turkish province: she has what his fate would be ; and I would sooner the choice only of these three alternatives.
cut him in pieces and myself too, than have Civil war is but a road which leads to the him taken out by those barbarians. We two latter. If she is desirous of the fate of
Yours, &c. Wallachia and the Crimea, she may obtain
N. B. it to-morrow; if that of Italy, the day
P.S. The Bombard was twelve miles after; but if she wishes to become truly Greece, free and independent, she must
out when taken, at least so it appeared to resolve to-day, or she will never again have certain,)
and we had to escape from an
us, (if taken she actually be, for it is not the opportunity. I am, with due respect,
other vessel that stood right in between us
and the port. Your highness's obedient servant,
As might be expected, the ConverP. S. Your highness will already have sations of Lord Byron, however liknown, that I have sought to fulfil the mited in their present scope, give the wishes of the Greek government, as much lie to many slanderous reports which as it lay in my power to do; but I should have long been afloat in society; and wish that the feet, so long and so vainly expected, were arrived, or at least, that it we know no reason why Lord Byron's were on the way, and especially that your word should not be held as good as highness should approach these parts either that of his enemies. Until we find on board the fleet, with a public mission, or more cause to doubt his veracity than in some other manner.
theirs, we shall, therefore, from
henceforward persist in disbelieving passages which had already appearevery thing that he has peremptorily ed; which is no more valid than if disavowed: that he introduced Mrs. Clarence were to say that he was Mardyn to his wife's dinner-table, as guiltless of stabbing Prince Edward that he patronised the Manichæan because Gloucester had stabbed him heresy ; that he told Lady Byron he before. It amounts exactly to this, married her for spite, as that he wrote that he knew he was doing wrong, the “ Verses to Thyrza” on his bear. and nevertheless did it. After such
Combining our previous knowledge an unreserved exposure of private of Lord Byron with the information conversation, what security has any afforded by this volume of his Con- man that he, his family, or his friends versations, we have little difficulty in may not be dragged in the same coming to what we believe is a fair manner before the eye of a censorious estimate of his character. As to public, and the secrets of his fireside mind, our opinion is,-that he was proclaimed in every quarter of the either the last of the first class, or kingdom? Or must he annex a perthe first of the second class of poets. mission or injunction to the end of As to morals, that he would have every sentence he utters, such as,been a very bad man but for some “ that may be repeated,” “ that may great redeeming virtues, a very good not?” Every great man henceforman but for some predominant vices. ward will suspect his friend for a That his genius was glorious to his Note-taker; confidence will be decountry is beyond doubt; that it stroyed, the freedom of social conwas injurious is equally certain. He verse will be annihilated. We can who balances the profit accruing from conceive a man's idolatry for his its influence on our literature against Magnus Apollo leading him to “take the loss proceeding from its effect on notes of the God's table-talk and our morals, will find it hard to deter- parlour chit-chat, however insipid it mine whether Byron should have may be, though it is a species of lived another age, or not have lived at piety for which we have no very exall.
alted respect; but we cannot conIt remains to speak of the man ceive how any one could publish such ner in which the Conversations of a compilation, without first suppressLord Byron have been got up for ing every thing of a scandalous or dispublication. No terms of repre- graceful nature. If such injudicious hension are strong enough to ex- and indecent disclosures are not propress our sense of the impropriety, hibited by a general condemnation of the indelicacy, and the injudicious- the practice, that great bond of soness, of the work in its present form. ciety,—mutual confidence, will be The very Publisher apologizes for it. rent asunder, and suspiciousness beHe attempts an excuse by saying come, instead of a mean vice, a nethat he only reprints objectionable cessary virtue.
ORIGINAL LETTER OF JAMES THOMSON.
The following very interesting letter has been recovered from oblivion, or at least from neglect, hy our friend Elia, and the public will no doubt thank him for the deed. It is without date or superscription in the manuscript, which (as our contributor declares) was in so “ fragmentitious" a state as to perplex his transcribing faculties in the extreme. The poet's love of nature is quite evident from one part of it; and the “poetical posture of his affairs ” from another. Whether regarded as elucidating the former or the latter, it is a document not a little calculated to excite the attention of the curious as well as the critical. We could ourselves write an essay-full of conjectures from the grounds it affords both with respect to the author's poems and his pride. But we must take another opportunity, or leave it to his next biographer.
DEAR SIR, I would chide you for the slackness of your correspondence; but having blamed you wrongeously * last time, I shall say nothing till I hear from you, which I hope will be soon.
There's a little business I would communicate to you before I come to the more entertaining part of our correspondence.
I'm going (hard task) to complain, and beg your assistance. When I came up here I brought very little money along with me; expecting some more upon the selling of Widehope, which was to have been sold that day my mother was buried. Now it is unsold yet, but will be disposed of as soon as it can be conveniently done; though indeed it is perplexed with some difficulties. I was a long time living here at my own charges, and you know how expensive that is: this, together with the furnishing of myself with clothes, linen, one thing and another, to fit me for any business of this nature here, necessarily obliged me to contract some debts. Being a stranger, it is a wonder how I got any credit; but I cannot expect it will be long sustained, unless I immediately clear it. Even now, I believe it is at a crisis—my friends have no money to send me, till the land is sold ; and my creditors will not wait till then. You know what the consequence would be. Now the assistance I would beg of you, and which I know, if in your power, you will not refuse me, is a letter of credit on some merchant, banker, or such like person in London, for the matter of twelve pounds; till I get money upon the selling of the land, which I am at last certain of, if you could either give it me yourself, or procure it: though you owe it not to my merit, yet you owe it to your own nature, which I know so well as to say no more upon the subject : only allow me to add, that when I first fell upon such a project, (the only thing I have for it in my present circumstances,) knowing the selfish inhumane temper of the generality of the world, you were the first person that offered to my thoughts, as one to whom I had the confidence to make such an address.
Now I imagine you are seized with a fine romantic kind of melancholy on the fading of the year-now I figure you wandering, philosophical and pensive, amidst brown withered groves; whiles the leaves rustle under your feet, the sun gives a farewell parting gleam, and the birds
Stir the faint note, and but attempt to sing. Then again, when the heavens wear a more gloomy aspect, the winds whistle and the waters spout, I see you in the well-known cleugh, beneath the solemn arch of tall, thick, embowering trees, listening to the amusing lull of the many steep, moss-grown cascades; while deep, divine contemplation, the genius of the place, prompts each swelling, awful thought.
Sic in MS.
I am sure you would not resign your place in that scene at an easy rate :
I sing of winter, and his gelid reign;
Drear awful wintry horrors, welcome all! &c.
Nor can I, O departing Summer! choose
That cheer the spirits and serene the soul.
I, Joe Pope,
And died by a rope.
Mr. Muir has ample fund for politics in the present posture of affairs, as you will find by the public news. I should be glad to know that great minister's frame just now. Keep it to yourself-you may whisper it too in Mis John's ear. Far otherwise is his lately mysterious brother, Mr. Tait, employed. Started a superannuated fortune, and just now upon the full scent. It is comical enough to see him amongst the rubbish of his controversial divinity and politics, furbishing up his antient rusty gallantry. ,
J. T. Remember me to all friends, Mr. Rickle, Mis John, Br. John, &c.