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Ilaving stated that Bacon was frequently incorrect in his citations from history, I have thought it necessary in what regards so great a name (however trifling), to support the assertion by such facts as more immediately occur to me. They are but trifles, and yet for such trifles a schoolboy would be whipped (if still in the fourth form); and Voltaire for half a dozen similar errors has been treated as a superficial writer, notwithstanding the testimony of the learned Warton:-"Voltaire, a writer of much deeper research than is imagined, and the first who has displayed the literature and customs of the dark ages with any degree of penetration and comprehension." For another distinguished testimony to Voltaire's merits in literary research, see also Lord Holland's excellent Account of the Life and Writings of Lope de Vega, vol. i. p. 215. edition of 1817.2
Voltaire has even been termed "a shallow fellow," by some of the same school who called Dryden's Ode " drunken song;"—a school (as it is called, I presume, from their education being still incomplete) the whole of whose filthy trash of Epics, Excursions, &c. &c. &c. is not worth the two words in Zaire," l'ous pleurez3," or a single speech of Tancred: a school, the apostate lives of whose renegadoes, with their tea-drinking neutrality of morals, and their convenient treachery in politics-in the record of their accumulated pretences to virtue can produce no actions (were all their good deeds drawn up in array) to equal or approach the sole defence of the family of Calas, by that great and unequalled genius-the universal Voltaire.
I have ventured to remark on these little inaccuracies of "the greatest genius that England, or perhaps any other country, ever produced," merely to show our national injustice in condemning generally the greatest genius of France for such inadvertencies as these, of which the highest of England has been no less guilty. Query, was Bacon a greater intellect than Newton?
Being in the humour of criticism, I shall proceed, after having ventured upon the slips of Bacon, to touch upon one or two as trifling in their edition of the British Poets, by the justly celebrated Campbell. But I do this in good will, and trust it will be so taken. If any thing could add to my opinion of the talents and true feeling of that gentleman, it would be his classical, honest, and triumphant defence of Pope, against the vulgar cant of the day, and its existing
The inadvertencies to which I allude are,
Firstly, in speaking of Anstey, whom he accuses of having taken "his leading characters from Smollett." Anstey's Bath Guide was published in 1766. Smollett's Humphry Clinker (the only work of Smollett's from which Tabitha, &c. &c. could have been taken) was written during Smollett's last residence at Leghorn in 1770-" Argal," if there has been any borrowing, Anstey must be the creditor, and not the debtor. I refer Mr. Campbell to his own data in his lives of Smollett and Anstey.
Secondly, Mr. Campbell says in the life of Cowper (note to page 358. vol. vii.) that he knows not to whom Cowper alludes in these lines:
"Nor he who, for the bane of thousands born,
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn."
The Calvinist meant Voltaire, and the church of Ferney, with its inscription "Deo erexit Voltaire."
Thirdly, in the life of Burns, Mr. Campbell quotes Shakspeare thus:
1 Dissertation I.
2 (Till Voltaire appeared, there was no nation more ignorant of its neighbours' literature than the French. He first exposed, and then corrected, this neglect in his countrymen. There is no writer to whom the authors of other nations, especially of England, are so indebted for the extension of their fame in France, and, through France, in Europe. There is no critic who has employed more time, wit, ingenuity, and diligence in promoting the literary intercourse between country and country, and in celebrating in one language the triumphs of another. Yet, by a strange fatality, he is constantly represented as the enemy of all literature but his own; and Spaniards, Englishmen, and Italians vie with each other in inveighing against his occasional exaggeration of faulty passages; the authors of which, till he pointel out their beauties, were hardly known beyond the country in which their language was spoken. Those who feel such indignation at his misrepresentations and oversights, would find it difficult to produce a critic in any modern language, who, in speaking of foren liter. ature, is better informed or inore candid than Voltaire; and they certainly
"To gild refined gold, to paint the rose, Or add fresh perfume to the violet."
This version by no means improves the original, which is as follows:
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet," &c.-King John.
A great poet quoting another should be correct: he should also be accurate, when he accuses a Parnassian brother of that dangerous charge "borrowing:" a poet had better borrow any thing (excepting money) than the thoughts of another they are always sure to be reclaimed; but it is very hard, having been the lender, to be denounced as the debtor, as is the case of Anstey versus Smollett.
As there is" honour amongst thieves," let there be some amongst poets, and give each his due,-none can afford to give it more than Mr. Campbell himself, who, with a high reputation for originality, and a fame which cannot be shaken, is the only poet of the times (except Rogers) who can be reproached (aud in him it is indeed a reproach) with having
written too little.
Ravenna, Jan. 5. 1821.
CONVERSATIONS OF LORD BYRON, AS RELATED THOMAS MEDWIN, ESQ., COMPARED WITH A PORTION OF HIS LORDSHIP'S CORRESPONDENCE.
THE volume of "Lord Byron's Conversations" with Mr. Medwin contain several statements relative to Mr. Murray, his lordship's publisher, against which, however exceptionable they might be, he was willing to trust his defence to the private testimony of persons acquainted with the real particulars, and to his general character, rather than resort to any kind of public appeal, to which he has ever been exceedingly averse. But friends, to whose judgment Mr. Murray is bound to defer, having decided that such an appeal upon the occasion is become a positive duty on his part, he hopes that he shall not be thought too obtrusive in opposing to those personal allegations extracts from Lord Byron's own letters, with the addition of a few brief notes of necessary explanation.
hand, because, in case of any reckoning between you and me, these two are only to go for ONE, as this was the original form and in fact the two together are not longer than one of the first; so remember, that I have not made this division to DOUBLE upon YOU, but merely to suppress some tediousness in the aspect of the thing. I should have served you a pretty trick if I had sent you, for example, cantos of fifty stanzas each."
CAPT. MEDWIN, p. 169.
"I don't wish to quarrel with Murray, but it seems inevitable. I had no reason to be pleased with him the other day. Galignani wrote to me, offering to purchase the copyright of my works, in order to obtain an exclusive privilege of printing them in France. I might have made my own terms, and put the money in my own pocket; instead of which, I enclosed Galignani's letter to Murray, in order that he might conclude the matter as he pleased. He did so, very advantageously for his own interest; but never had the complaisance, the common politeness, to thank me, or acknowledge my letter."
LORD BYRON'S LETTER.
"I have received from Mr. Galignani the enclosed letters, duplicates, and receipts, which will explain themselves. As the poems are your property by purchase, right, and justice, ALL MATTERS OF PUBLICATION, &c. &c. ARE FOR YOU TO DECIDE I know not how far my compliance with Mr. G.'s request might be legal, and I doubt that it would not be honest. In case you choose to arrange with him, I enclose the permits to you, and in so doing I wash my hands of the business altogether. I sign them merely to enable you to exert the power you justly possess more properly. I will have nothing to do with it further, except in my answer to Mr. Galignani, to state that the letters, &c. &c. are sent to you, and the causes thereof. If you can check these foreign pirates do; if not, put the permissive papers in the fire. I can have no view nor object whatever but to secure to you your property."
NOTE. Mr. Murray derived no advantage from the proposed agreement, which was by no means of the importance here ascribed to it, and therefore was never attempted to be carried into effect: the documents alluded to are still in his possession.
CAPT. MEDWIN, pp. 169-171.
"Murray has long prevented the Quarterly' from abusing Some of their bullies have had their fingers itching to be at me; but they would get the worst of it in a set-to.
"Murray and I have dissolved all connection: he had the choice of giving up me or the Navy List. There was no hesitation which way he should decide: the Admiralty carried the day. Now for the Quarterly: their batteries will be opened; but I can fire broadsides too. They have been letting off lots of squibs and crackers against me, but they only make a noise and ***."
"Werner' was the last book Murray published for me, and three months after came out the Quarterly's article on in Plays, when Marino Faliero' was noticed for the first time."
LORD BYRON'S LETTER. "Genoa, 10bre 25. 1822. "I had sent you back the Quarterly without perusa!, having resolved to read no more reviews, good, bad, or indifferent; but who can control his fate? Galignani,' to whom my English studies are confined, has forwarded a copy of at least one half of it in his indefatigable weekly compilation, and as, like honour, it came unlooked for,' I have looked through it. I must say that upon the WHOLE- that is, the whole of the HALF which I have read (for the other half is to be the segment of Gal.'s
next week's circular) — it is certainly handsome, and any thing but unkind or unfair."
NOTE. The passage about the Admiralty is unfounded in fact, and no otherwise deserving of notice than to mark its absurdity; and with regard to the " Quarterly Review," his lordship well knew that it was established, and constantly conducted, on principles which absolutely excluded Mr. Mur. ray from all such interference and influence as is implied in the Conversations."
CAPT. MEDWIN, p. 168.
"Because I gave Mr. Murray one of my poems, he wanted to make me believe that I had made him a present of two others, and hinted at some lines in English Bards' that were certainly to the point. But I have altered my mind considerably upon that subject: as I once hinted to him, I see no reason why a man should not profit by the sweat of his brain as well as that of his brow, &c.; besides, I was poor at that time, and have no idea of aggrandizing booksellers."
CAPT. MEDWIN, p. 166.
"Murray pretends to have lost money by my writings, and pleads poverty; but if he is poor, which is somewhat problematical to me, pray who is to blame?
"Mr. Murray is tender of my fame. How kind in him! He is afraid of my writing too fast. Why? because he has a tender regard for his own pocket, and does not like the look of any new acquaintance in the shape of a book of mine, till he has seen his old friends in a variety of new faces; ID EST, disposed of a vast many editions of the former works. I don't know what would become of me without Douglas Kinnaird, who has always been my best and kindest friend. It is not easy to deal with Mr. Murray."
NOTE. In the numerous letters received by Mr. Murray yearly from Lord Byron (who, in writing them, was not accustomed to restrain the expression of his feelings), not one has any tendency towards the imputations here thrown out: the incongruity of which will be evident from the fact of Mr. Murray having paid at various times, for the copyright of his lordship's poems, sums amounting to upwards of 15,000/., viz.
"Believe me, very truly,
But I shall take no notice of it."
NOTE. Mr. Murray of course cannot answer a statement which he does not see; but pledges himself to disprove any inculpation the suppressed passage may contain, whenever disclosed. He has written twice to Captain Medwin's publisher, desiring, as an act of justice, to have the passage printed entire in any new edition of the book, and in the mean time to be favoured with a copy of it. As this has not yet been obtained, and as the context seems to imply that it accuses him of endeavouring to take some pecuniary advantage of Lord Byron, he thinks he shall be forgiven for stating the following circumstances.
Mr. Murray having accidentally heard that Lord Byron was in pecuniary difficulties, immediately forwarded 1,500. to him, with an assurance that another such sum should be at his service in a few months; and that, if such assistance should not be sufficient, Mr. Murray would be ready to sell the copyright of all his lordship's works for his use.
The following is Lord Byron's acknowledgment of this
"November 14th, 1815.
"I return you your bills not accepted, but certainly not UNHONOURED. Your present offer is a favour which would accept from you if I accepted such from any man. Had such been my intention, I can assure you I would have asked you fairly and as freely as you would give; and I cannot say more of my confidence or your conduct. The circumstances which induce me to part with my books, though sufficiently are not IMMEDIATELY pressing. I have made up my mind to them, and there is an end. Had I been disposed to trespass on your kindness in this way, it would have been before now; but I am not sorry to have an opportunity of declining it, as it sets my opinion of you, and indeed of human nature, in a different light from that in which I have been accustomed to consider it.
"Your obliged and faithful servant, "BYRON.
joined, the second of them written by Lord Byron a few weeks before his death, and the last addressed by his lordship's valet to Mr. Murray as one of his deceased master's most confidential friends.
"To John Murray, Esq."
NOTE. That nothing had occurred to subvert these friendly sentiments will appear from the three letters sub
LORD BYRON'S LETTERS.
"May 8th, 1819.
"I have a great respect for your good and gentlemanly qualities, and return your personal friendship towards me. ******. You deserve and possess the esteem of those whose esteem is worth having, and of none more (however useless it may be) than "Yours, very truly, "BYRON."
* )lissolonghi, Feb. 05, 1924.
"I have heard from Mr. Douglas Kinnaird that you stale a report of a satire on Mr. Gifford having arrived from Italy, said to be written by ME, but that you do not believe it ; I dare say you do not, nor any body else, I should think. Whoever asserts that I am the author or abettor of any thing of the kind on Gifford, lies in his throat: I always regarded him as my literary father, and myself as his prodigal son. If any such composition exists, it is none of mine. You know, as well as any body, upon wнOм I have or have not written, and YOU also know whether they do or did not deserve the same — and so much for such matters.
"You will, perhaps, be anxious to hear some news from this part of Greece (which is most liable to invasion), but you will hear enough through public and private channels, on that head. I will, however, give you the events of a week, mingling my own private peculiar with the public, for we are here jumbled a little together at present.
"On Sunday (the 15th, I believe), I had a strong and sudden convulsive attack which left me speechless, though not motionless, for some strong men could not hold me; but whether it was epilepsy, catalepsy, cachery, apoplexy, or what other exy or epsy, the doctors have not decided, or whether it was spasmodic or nervous, &c., but it was very unpleasant, and nearly carried me off, and all that. On Monday they put leeches to my temples, no difficult matter, but the blood could not be stopped till eleven at night (they had gone too near the temporal artery for my temporal safety), and neither styptic nor caustic would cauterize the orifice till after a hundred attempts.
"On Tuesday, a Turkish brig of war ran on shore. On Wednesday, great preparations being made to attack her, though protected by her consorts, the Turks burned her, and retired to Patras. On Thursday, a quarrel ensued between the Suliotes and the Frank guard at the arsenal; a Swedish officer was killed, and a Suliote severely wounded, and a general fight expected, and with some difficulty prevented. On Priday, the officer buried, and Captain Parry's English ar. tificers mutinied, under pretence that their lives were in danger, and are for quitting the country-they may. On Saturday, we had the smartest shock of an earthquake which I remember (and I have felt thirty, slight or smart, at different periods; they are common in the Mediterranean), and the whole army discharged their arms, upon the same principle that savages beat drums or howl, during an eclipse of the moon: it was a rare scene altogether. If you had but seen the English Johnnies, who had never been out of a Cockney workshop before, nor will again if they can help it! And on Sunday we heard that the Vizier is come down to Larissa with one hundred and odd thousand men.
In coming here I had two escapes, from the Turks (one of my vessels was taken, but afterwards released), and the other from shipwreck; we drove twice on the rocks near the Scrophes (islands near the coast).
"I have obtained from the Greeks the release of eight and twenty Turkish prisoners, men, women, and children, and sent them to Patras and Prevesa at my own charges. One little girl of nine years old, who proposes remaining with me, I shall (if I live) send with her mother, probably, to Italy, or to England, and adopt her. Her name is Hato Hatagce; she
is a very pretty lively child. All her brothers were killed by the Greeks, and she herself and her mother were spared by special favour, and owing to her extreme youth, she being then but five or six years old.
"My health is rather better, and I can ride about again. My office here is no sinecure—so many parties and difficulties of every kind; but I will do what I can. Prince Mavrocordati is an excellent person, and does all in his power; but his situation is perplexing in the xtreme: still we have great hopes of the success of the contest. You will hear, however, more of public news from plenty of quarters, for I have little time to write. Believe me,
"To John Murray, Esq."
LETTER OF LORD BYRON'S VALET.
"Yours, &c. &c. "N. B.
Missolonghi, April 21, 1524.
"Forgive me for this intrusion which I now am under the painful necessity of writing to you, to inform you of the melancholy news of my Lord Byron, who is no more. He departed this miserable life on the 19th of April, after an illness of only ten days. His lordship began by a nervous fever, and terminated with an inflammation on the brain, for want of being bled in time, which his lordship refused till it was too late. I have sent the Hon. Mrs. Leigh's letter inclosed in yours, which I think would be better for you to open and explain to Mrs. Leigh, for I fear the contents of the letter will be too much for her. And you will please to inform Lady Byron and the Honourable Miss Byron, whom I am wished to see when I return with my lord's effects, and his dear and noble remains: Sir, you will please manage in the mildest way possible, or I am much afraid of the consequences. Sir, you will please give my duty to Lady Byron; hoping she will allow me to see her, by my lord's particular wish, and Miss Byron likewise. Please to excuse all defects, for I scarcely know what I either say or do, for after twenty years' service with my lord, he was more to me than a father, and I am too much distressed to now give a correct account of every particular, which I hope to do at my arrival in England. - Sir, you will likewise have the goodness to forward the letter to the Honourable Captain George Byron, who, as the representative of the family and title, I thought it my duty to send him a line. But you, Sir, will please to explain to him all particulars, as I have not time, as the express is now ready to make his voyage
NOTE. The words in italic are those which were suppressed in the two first editions of Captain Medwin's book, and which Mr. Murray has received from the publisher after the foregoing statement was printed. He has only to observe upon the subject, that on referring to the deed in question, no such clause is to be found; that this instrument was signed in London by the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird, as Lord Byron's procurator, and witnessed by Richard Williams, Esq., one of the partners in Mr. Kinnaird's banking-house; and that the signature of Captain Medwin is not affixed. J. M.
Aglietti, Dr., 42. 230.
Ajax, 16. Sepulchre of, 83. 648.
Alaric, 18. 454.
Alban Hill, description of the, GO. 785.
Albano, Francesco, 732.
Alfieri, Vittorio, his life quoted, 42. His
Alfonso III., 45, 46. 107. 479, 480. His
Algiers, 604. 776.
Ali Pacha of Yanina, portrait of, 21. 23.
Anacreon, his ‘Θελω λέγων Ατρίδας'
Anastasius, Hope's, 438.
And wilt thou weep when I am low,'
And thou art dead, as young and fair,'
And thou wert sad!' 472.
Alps, the, 35. 50.
Amber, susceptible of a perfume, 82.
'Amitié est l'Amour sans Ailes,' 412.
Andrews, Bishop, a punster, 440.
Angelo, Michael, his tomb in the church
Angling, the cruelest and stupidest of
Anne, Lines to, 535.
Annesley, hill near, 475.
Annuitants, alleged longevity of, 616.
Anthony, St., his recipe for hot blood,
Anti Jacobin, 514.
Antilochus, tomb of, 82. 648.
His person described, 303.
Apennines, 50. 499.
Allegra (Lord Byron's natural daugh- Apicius, 519.
Alliance, the Holy, 530. 668.
Apollo Belvidere, 59.
Alphæus, river, 22.
Alpinula, Julia, her death, 35. Her af-
fecting epitaph, 35. n.
Appearances, the joint on which good
society hinges,' 733.
Argus, Ulysses' dog, 631.