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CLASS OF 1919 


A Book of Memories 



By S. C. hall, F.S.A., Etc. 


" History may be formed from permanent monuments and records, but lives can only be 
written from personal knowledge, which is growing every day less and less, and in a short 
time is lost for ever." — Dr. Johnson. 

" We have undertaken to discourse here for a little on Great Men, their manner of 
appearance in our World's business, how they have shaped themselves in the World's history, 
what ideas men formed of them, what Work they did." — Carlyle : Hero Worship. 



1877. i I .• i\ - , i\ V 














]Y opportunities of personal intimacy with the distinguished men and 
women of my time have been frequent and pecuhar. There are few 
by whom the present century has been made famous with whom I 
have not been acquainted — either as the editor of works to which they 
were contributors,'^ as associates in general society, or in the more familiar inter- 
course of private life. 

It will be obvious that there are not many to whom the task I undertake is 
possible. To have been 2^erscm(dly acquainted with a large proportion of those who 
head the epoch, infers a youth long past, yet passed under circumstances such as 
could have been enjoyed by few. Some of whom I write had " put on immortality " 
before the greater number of my readers were born : one generation has passed 
away, and another has attained its prime, since the period to which I take them 
back ; for I write only of the Departed — only of those who, bequeathing to us the 
rich fruitage of their lives, — • 

' Leaving us heirs to amplest heritages 
Of all the best thoughts of the greatest sages,"- 

teach from their tombs, for ever and for ever. Peoples, Nations, and Ages — the 
hundreds of millions who speak the Anglo-Saxon tongue. 

My aim has been to do with the pen what the Artist does with the pencil — to 
supply a series of written poetkaits — a purpose that may be accomplished, 

" Whether the instruments of words we use. 
Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues ; " 

and thus to bring before my readers mighty "makers" of the past; empowering 
them to realise, or correct, the portraits they have drawn in their minds of the 

* The Amulet, from 1826 to 1836. The Nevi Monthly Magnzine, from 1830 to 1836. The Booh of Gems of Poets ond 
Artists (1838), to which nearly all the then. li\ing Poets contributed autobiographies. The Art- Journal, from 1839 
to 1876. 

Authors whose works have been sources of their solace, their instruction, their 
amusement, or their joy. With that view I have not only given my own recollec- 
tions of the persons pictured, but the descriptions of others. 

If in these "Memories" there be found any value, it will be m this — the 
leadhig feature of the Work. 

I do not forget that at the Feast of Poets my seat was below the salt ; but 

" They also serve who only stand and wait." 

As the on-looker at a banquet will observe much the guests may fail to see— so I 
hope I have noted, and can communicate, many incidents and facts that will interest 
those who, when they read the Works of immortal Authors, desire to know some- 
thing of " the outer man." 

I have generally abstained from reference to the Works of those of whom I give 
" Memories," assuming that the reader is sufficiently acquainted with them.'^' 

These " Memories " will derive much of their value from the aid I receive from 
my wife. We have worked together for more than fifty years : with very few 
exceptions my acquaintances were hers. I have had no hesitation in availing myself 
of her co-operation in this undertaking ; have freely quoted her views of the 
characters I depict; and occasionally called upon her for her "Memories" to add 
to mine. We have avoided reference to ourselves, except in cases where such 
reference was necessary to elucidate the text. It was impossible to describe our 
intercourse with the people we have known — with whom we have been, more or less, 
associated — and to ignore the circumstances by which such intercourse was induced 
and continued. 

We anticipate, however, full acquittal of egotism or presumption. 

It may be desirable to add that we have never kept notes, not having foreseen a 
time when our Ke collections of the " Great People " with whom it was our privilege 

* I have frequently given to Literary Institutions these " Memories " condensed as a "Lecture." Several of 
them have been published in the Art-Journal. Such I have carefully revised ; in several instances subjecting them 
to the corrections of persons often the nearest and dearest to those whose portraits I have given— by whom I have 
been materially assisted, and whose comments have greatly encoui-aged me in my interesting task ; taking due care 
—as far as it was possible— to secure accuracy for my statements, descriptions, and details. Thus, I submitted 
proofs— of Moore to Mrs. Moore and her nephew ; of Southey to his daughter and son-in-law ; of Coleridge to his 
son, the Eev. Derwent Coleridge ; of Wordsworth to his two sons ; of Campbell to his physician and executor, 
Dr. Beattie ; of Wilson to his daughter, Mrs. Gordon ; of Montgomery to his fiiend, John Holland ; of Allan 
Cunningham to his two sons ; of Thomas Hood to his son and daughter ; of Maria Edgeworth to her brother and 
her nephew ; of Horace Smith to his daughter ; of James Hogg to his biographer ; of Lady Morgan to her niece 
and her biographer, Geraldine Jewsbury ; of Mrs. Hemans to her son and the husband of her sister ; of Leigh Hunt 
to his son and biographer, &c. &c. &c. 


to be acquainted migM become interesting and instructive. Moreover, we have pre- 
served but few of tbe many letters we received. It was our rule to destroy such as 
we thought ought not to be retained ; we have given freely to collectors of Auto- 
graphs ; while, with a carelessness we deplore, we have destroyed manuscripts and 
communications we would now give much to have kept. 

The homage I offer is to the past ; the heroes I worship are the departed ; the 
friends I call to memory are those of whom all mankind are heirs, — Men and 
Women who for the World's behoof have " penned and uttered wisdom," and Avho, 
" by written records " which the Destroyer can never "raze out," have inculcated 
the great lesson so happily conveyed in four expressive lines by one on whom 
their mantle has descended, and who is the poet of England no less than of 
America : — 

" Lives of g:reat men all remind us 
We can make our lives sublime, 
And departing, leave behind us 
Footprints on the sands of Time." 

Be theirs the "Perpetual Benediction," of which the greatest of them all speaks — 
theirs, who have made mankind then- debtors to the end of Time. 

S. C. Hall. 


IINCE the first edition of tliis work was publisliecl — in 1871 — the names 
of many illustrious men and women are added to the list of ' ' the 
depai-ted." Among them are — the first Lord Lytton, "William Charles 
Macready, Bryan Waller Procter (" Barry Cornwall"), Livingstone, 
John Forster, Dr. Guthrie, Harriet Martineau, F. W. Fairholt, Captain Chamier, 
Colonel Meadows Taylor, Sir Charles Wheatstone, Edward William Lane, Sir 
William Wilde, Eobert Graves, M.P., Peter Cunningham, Robert Chambers, 
Hawthorne, Charles Knight, Charles Kingsley and Henry Kingsley ; and in Art, 
Foley, M 'Dow ell, Westmacott, Lough, and Noble among sculptors ; and the 
painters Sir Edwin Landseer, Sir George Harvey, and others. 

Most of those I name were my contemporaries, and all of them my own 
personal acquaintances or friends. I am forbidden, by the limited size of this 
book, to add to the Memories it contains. Memories of them. At no distant period 
I may, however, be permitted to do that which I cannot now do ; for, if life 
and power be continued to me, I shall publish before I die the ' ' Eecollections 
OF A Long Life." It is only just to say I was stimulated to undertake that 
work by Messrs. Appleton, the eminent publishers of New York ; and I hope 
I may do it. 

Here, it must suffice to state that I was a Parliamentary reporter in 1823 ; 
that I became a member of the Inner Temple in 1824; and that I knew, 
somewhat intimately, Ireland sixty years ago, having resided some years in 


that country in my early youth. : that between the publication of my first book — 
in 1-820 — and my latest, in 1 876, there are fifty-six years ; that I have been 
an editor upwards of half a century ; and that I have conducted the Art-Journal, 
which I originated in 1839, during thirty-seven years. 

My memory furnishes me with much — as to events and persons — that I 
humbly think cannot fail to have public interest sufficient to justify the under- 
taking that will mainly occupy the residue of my life. 

There are few now living who can go so far back in the personal history of 
their own time ; and though I may not lead my readers through the high- 
ways of the world, I have reason to believe — and to expect — that the bye-ways, 
(they may be such by comparison) through which I shall hope to conduct them, 
will be fertile of much that is interesting and useful during my lengthened and 
active career as "by profession a Man of Letters." 





Thomas Moore 


Bernard Barton . 

. 180 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge . . 27 

Joseph Wiffin 

. 182 

Edward Irving 

. 48 

James Fenimore Cooper 

. 182 

Charles Lamb 

'. 51 

Washington Irving 

. 184 

William Hone 


Nathaniel Hawthorne . 

. 184 

William Godwin . 

. 63 

N. P. Willis 

. 184 

Thomas Noon Talfourd 

. 64 

Lydia H. Sigourney 

. 184 

William Hazlitt . 

. 65 

Robert Southey . 

. 185 

Jeremy Bentham . 

. 66 

Caroline Bowles . 

. 198 

Hannah More 

. .67 

Walter Savage Landor 

. 208 

Robert Hall 

. 77 

Sydney, Lady Morgan . 

. 214 

Adam Clarke 

. 79 

John Banim . 

. 227 

James Montgomery 

. 81 

Gerald Griffin . 

. 229 

Robert Montgomery 

. 89 

Samuel Lover 

. 231 - 

John Holland 

. 93 

George Croly 

. 232 


. 95 

Charles Maturin . 

. 234 

Ebenezer Elliott , 

. 97 

Richard Lalor Shiel . 

. 234 

John Clare . 

. 107 

Thomas Colley Grattan 

. 235 

Maria Edgeworth 

. 109 

James Emerson Tennent 

. 235 

Barbara Hofland . 

. 122 

Sheridan Knowles 

. 236 

Grace Aguilar 

. 124 

William Carleton 

. 237 

Catherine Sinclair 

. 126 

Francis Mahony . 

. 237 

Jane and Anna Maria 

Porter . 128 

Eyre Evans Crowe 

. . 240 

Thomas Hood 

. 185 

Robert Walsh 

. 240 

Theodore Hook . 

. 147 

John Edward Walsh . 

. 240 

Richard Harris Barhas 

I . .156 

Leigh Hunt. 

. 243 

Tom Hill . 

. .157 

James and Horace Smith 

. 257 

William Maginn . 

. 158 

G. P. R. James . 

. 263 

John Poole . 

. 160 

L^TiTiA Elizabeth Landon 

. 265 

Thomas Haynes Bayly 

. 162 

Samuel Laman Blanchard 

. 282 

Amelia Opie . 

. 167 

Douglas Jerrold . 

. 285 

Elizabeth Fry 

. 171 

William Jerdan . 

. 285 






William Wordswobth . 

. 290 

James Hogg . 

. 383 

John Wilson 

. 320 

John Galt . 

. 396 

Thomas Pringle . 

. 331 

William Motherwell . 

. 397 

John Gibson Lockhaet 

. 332 

David Macbeth Moir . 

. 398 

Sir Walter Scott 

. 337 

William Edmonstone Aytoun . 398 

Francis Jeffrey . 

. 338 

Lady Blessington 

. 399 

George Crabbe 

. 340 

Sydney Smith 

. 408 

Joanna Baillie 

. 344 

Theobald Mathew 

. 412 

Thomas Campbell 

. 346 

Frederika Bremer 

. 415 1 

Henry Hart Milman . 

. 359 

Adelaide Anne Procter 

. 420 1 

Henry Hallam 

. 361 

Allan Cunningham 

• 422 1 

Lord Macaulay 

. 361 

T. K. Hervey 

. 431 

Felicia Hemans . 

. 363 

Samuel PtOGERS 

. 432 

Mary Jane Jewsbury . 

. 372 

Mary Russell Mitford 

. 438 

Anna Jameson 

. 374 

Ugo Foscolo 

. 450 

Julia Paedoe 

. 376 

Charles Dickens . 

. 454 

William Lisle Bowles 

. 377 






Daniel Maclise . 

. 241 

Clarkson Stanfield 

. 476 

Sir Thomas Lawrence . 

. 405 

William Muller . 

. 477 

Benjamin West . 

. 464 

John Constable . 

. 479 

Martin Archer Shee . 

. 464 

Sir David Wilkie 

. 480 

Charles Lock Eastlake 

. 465 

William Allan . 

. 481 

John Henry Fuseli 

. 466 

William Etty 

. 481 

John Flaxman 

. 466 

William Mulready 

. 482 

J. M. W. Turner 

. 467 

Francis Danby 

. 483 

Benjamin Puobert Haydon 

. 468 

J. D. Harding 

. 483 

Samuel Prout 

. 473 

C. R. Leslie 

. 484 

William Hilton . 

. 474 

Thomas Uwins 

. 485 

David Roberts 

. 474 

John Gibson 

. 486 

John Martin 

. 476 

James Ward 

. 486 

&c. &c. &c. 



'ANY years have gone — more than half a century, indeed — 
since I had first the honour to converse with the poet 
Thomas Moore. Afterwards it was my privilege to 
know him intimately. He seldom, of later years, visited 
London without spending an evening at our house ; and 
in 1845 we passed a week at his cottage, Sloperton — his 
happy home in Wiltshire. 

" In my kalendar, 
There are no wliiter days ! " 

The poet has himself noted the time in his Diary (Nov. 

1846), and the terms in which he refers to our visit 

cannot but have gratified us much. 
' In the year 1822 I made his acquaintance in Dublin^ 

while I was a casual resident there. Moore was in the full ripeness of middle age : 
then, as ever, " the poet of all circles, and the idol of his own." As his visits to his 
native city ware few and far between, the power to see him, and especially to hear 
him, were boons of magnitude. It was indeed, a treat when, seated at the piano, 
he gave voice to the glorious "Melodies" that are justly regarded as the most 

valuable of his legacies to mankind. I can recall that evening as vividly as if it were 
not a seven-night old ; the graceful man, small and slim in figure, his upturned eyes 
and eloquent features giving force to the music that accompanied the songs, or rather, 
to the songs that accompanied the music. 

Dublin was then the home of much of the native talent that afterwards found its 
way to England ; and there were some — Lady Morgan especially — whose " Evenings " 
drew together the wit and genius for which that city has been always famous. When 
I write a Memory of " Sydney, Lady Morgan," I may have something to say of the 
brilliancy of those evenings, although then (as now) there were two " societies " 
which rarely mingled the one with the other. In England public differences seldom 
interrupt private intercourse ; nay, cordial friendships often exist between persons of 
very opposite opinions in both religion and politics. It is not so in Ireland. But 
the poet Moore was an "influence" that rendered powerless for a time, the evil 
spirit of Party ; and it was not difficult, on such occasions as that I describe, to 
attract around him all that was most eminent and distinguished in the Irish capital. 
I was then very young — a hero-worshipper, as I have been from that day to this ; 
and though he was to me " a star apart," I remembered his cordial reception with 
an amount of gratitude that time has neither lessened nor weakened. It is a great 
privilege — the belief that I may now repay some portion of the debt, more than fifty 
years after it was contracted . 

Among the guests on the evening to which I make special reference were the 
poet's father, mother, and sister — the sister to whom he was so fervently attached. 
The father was a plain, homely man ;* nothing more, and assuming to be nothing 
more, than a Dublin tradesman. The mother evidently possessed a far higher mind. 
She, too, was retiring and unpretending ; like her great son in features ; with the 
same gentle yet sparkling eye, flexible and smiling mouth, and kindly and conciliating 
manners. It was to be learned, long afterwards, how deep was the afiection that 
existed in the poet's heart for these relatives — how fervid the love he bore them — 
how earnest the respect with which he invariably treated them — nay, how elevated 
was the pride with which he regarded them, from first to last. 

The sister, Ellen, was, I believe, slightly deformed ; at least, the memory to me 
is that of a small, delicate woman, with one shoulder " out," The expression of her 
countenance betokened suffering, having that peculiar "sharpness" which usually 
accompanies continuous bodily ailment. f I saw more of her some years afterwards, 
and knew that her mind and disposition were essentially lovable. She was the poet's 
friend as well as sister. 

To the mother- — Anastasia Moore, nee Codd, a humbly-descended, homely, and 
almost uneducated woman \ — Moore gave intense respect and devoted affection, from 

* Mrs. Moore — writing to me in May, 1864— told me I had a wrong impression as to Mock's father ; that he 
was " handsome, full of fun, and with good manners." Moore calls him " one of Nature's gentlemen." 

+ Mrs. Moore wrote to me that here also I had a wrong impression. " She was only a little grown out in one 
shoulder, but with good health : her expression was feeling, not suffering." "Dear EUen," she added, " was the 
delight of every one who knew her— sang sweetly— her voice very like her brother's. She died, suddenly, to the 
grief of my loving heart." , , „ , , ,, -.r n^ 

% She was born in Wexford, where her father kept a " general shop." Moore used to say playfully that he was 
called in order to dignify his occupation, " a provision merchant." When on his way to Bannow, in 1835, to spend 
a few days with his friend, Thomas Boyse— a genuine gentleman of the good old school— he records his visit to the 


the time that reason dawned upon him to the hour of her death. To her he wrote 
his first letter (in 1793), ending thus: — ■ 

" Your absence all but ill endui-e, 
And none so ill as— Thomas Mooke." 

And in the zenith of his fame, when society drew largely on his time, and the 
highest and best in the land coveted a portion of his leisure, with her he corresponded 
so regularly that at her death she possessed (so Mrs. Moore told me) four thousand 
of his letters. Never, according to the statement of Earl Eussell, did he pass a week 
without writing to her Unce, except while absent in Bermuda, when franks were not 
to be obtained, and postages were costly. When a world had tendered to him its 
homage, still the homely woman was his " darling mother," to whom he transmitted 
a record of his cares and triumphs, anxieties and hopes, as if he considered — as I 

^0 ■^^d^'■^ P^^-^^"^^^-^ /r^^if-M^ ^V 

A^ -^7' /^^^^ 

verily believe he did consider — that to give her pleasure was the chief enjoyment 
of his life. His sister — "excellent Nell" — occupied only a second place in his 
heart ; while his father received as much of his respect as if he had been the 
hereditary representative of a line of kings. All his life long " he continued," according 
to one of the most valued of his correspondents, " amidst the pleasures of the world, 
to preserve his home fireside affections true and genuine, as they were when a boy." 
To his mother he writes of all his facts and fancies ; to her he opens his heart in its 
natural and innocent fulness ; tells her of each thing, great or small, that, interesting 
him, must interest her— from his introduction to the Prince, and his visit to Niagara, 

house of his maternal grandfather. " Nothing," he says, " could be more humble and mean than the little low 
house that remains to teU of his whereabouts." 

It is still a small "general shop," situate in the old corn-market of Wexford. The rooms are more than 
usually "quaint." Here Mrs. Moore lived until within a few weeks of the bii-th of her illustrious son. At our 
suggestion a tablet of white marble was placed over the entrance door, stating in few words the fact that there the 
mother was bom and lived, and that to this house the poet came, on the 26th August, 1835, when in the zenith of 
his fame, to render homage to her memory. He thus writes of her and her birthplace in his "Notes" of that 
year :— " One of the noblest-mmded, as well as the most warm-hearted, of all God's creatures was bom under that 
lowly roof." (I have used the words "at our suggestion," but, in fact, it was at our sole cost that the tablet was 
so placed. We had thought it in better taste to erect it by subscription; but the attempt to raise money for the 
purpose was a failure.) 

B 2 



to the acquisition of a pencil-case, and the purchase of a pocket-handkerchief. " You, 
dear mother," he writes, " can see neither frivolity nor egotism in these details." 

Evidences of his deep love and veneration for his mother are sufficiently abundant. 
I add to them one more. The nephew of Mrs. Moore, Charles Murray, gave to me 
a small MS. volume of early poems, " written out " for his mother (it has no date) : 
it is thus prefaced : — 

" For her who was the critic of my first infant productions, I have transcribed the 
few little essays that follow. The smile of Iter approbation and the tear of lier 
affection were the earliest rewards of my lisping numbers ; and however the efforts 
of my maturer powers may aspire to the applause of a less partial judge, still will the 
praises which she bestows be dearer — far dearer — to my mind than any. The critic 
praises from the head — the mother praises from the heart. With one it is a tribute 
of the judgment ; with the other it is a gift from the Soul." * 

In 1806 Moore's father received, through the interest of Lord Moira, the post 
of Barrack-master in Dublin, and thus became independent. In 1815 " retrench- 
ment " deprived him of that office, and he was placed on half-pay. The family had 
to seek aid from the son, who entreated them not to despond, but rather to thank 
Providence for having permitted them to enjoy the fruits of office so long, till he (the 
son) was "in a situation to keep them in comfort without it." " Thank Heaven," 
he writes afterwards of his father, " I have been able to make his latter days tranquil 
and comfortable." When sitting beside that father's death-bed (in 1825) he was 
relieved by a burst of tears and prayers, and by " a sort of confidence that the Great 
and Pure Spirit above us could not be otherwise than pleased at what He saw 
passing in my mind." f 

When Lord Welles! ey (Lord Lieutenant), after the death of the father, proposed 
to continue the half-pay to the sister, Moore declined the offer, although he adds, 
" God knows how useful such aid would be to me, as God alone knows how I am to 
support all the burthens now heaped upon me," and his wife was planning how 
" they might be able to do with one servant," that they might be the better able to 
assist his mother. 

The poet was born at the corner of Aungier Street, Dublin, on the 28th of May, 
1779, and died at Sloperton, on the 25th February, J 1852, at the age of seventy-two. 
What a full life it was ! Industry a fellow-worker with Genius for nearly sixty 
years ! 

He was a sort of " show-child " almost from his birth, and could barely walk 
when it was jestingly said of him he passed all his nights with fairies on the hills. 
" He lisped in numbers, for the numbers came." Almost his earliest memory was 

* The book is -writteii in a somewhat iDoyish hand — that of Moore in his youth. On a fly-leaf, in the later hand 
of the poet, is this passage : " Very juvenile poems indeed." 

+ At a gi-and dinner given to him in Dublin (his father and mother being both present), on the henlth of Mr. 
Moore, sen., being given, Moore said— " If I deserve (which I cannot persuade myself I do) one-half of the honours 
you have this day heaped upon me, to Tiim, and to the education which he struggled hard to give me, I owe it all. 
Yes, gentlemen, to him and to an admirable mother — one of the warmest hearts even this land of warm hearts ever 
produced— whose highest ambition for her son has ever been that independent and unbought approbation of her 
countrymen, which, thank God. she lives this day to witness." 

X I find in Earl Russell's Memoir the date given as the 26th February ; but Mrs. Moore altered it (in a letter to 
me) to February 25. 


his having been crowned king of a castle by some of his play-fellows. At his first 
school he was the show-boy of the schoolmaster; at thirteen years old he had 
written poetry that attracted and justified admiration. In 1797 he was " a man of 
mark" at the University. In 1798, at the age of nineteen, he had made "con- 
siderable progress" in translating the Odes of Anacreon ; and in 1800 he was 
" patronised" and flattered by the Prince of Wales, who was "happy to know a 
man of his abilities," and " hoped they might have many opportunities of enjoying 
each other's society." * 

His earliest printed work, " Poems by Thomas Little," has been the subject of 
much, and, perhaps, merited, condemnation. Of Moore's own feeling in reference to 
these compositions of his thoughtless boyhood it may be right to quote three of the 
dearest of his friends. 

Thus writes Lisle Bowles of Thomas Moore, in allusion to these early poems — 

Like Israel's incense, laid 

Upon xmholy earthly shrines "- 

" Who, if in the unthinking gaiety of premature genius, he joined the syrens, has 
rriade ample amends by a life of the strictest virtuous propriety, equally exemplary 
as the husband, the father, and the man ; and as far as the muse is concerned, more 
ample amends, by melodies as sweet as scriptural and sacred, and by weaving a tale 
of the richest Oriental colours which faithful afi'ection and pity's tear have consecrated 
to all ages." This is the statement of his friend Rogers: — " So heartily has Moore 
repented of having published ' Little's Poems,' that I have seen him shed tears — tears 
of deep contrition — when we were talking of them." And thus writes Jefirey : — " He 
has long ago redeemed his error ; in all his later works he appears as the eloquent 
champion of purity, fidelity, and delicacy, not less than of justice, liberty, and honour.' 
I allude to his early triumphs only to show that while they would have " spoiled" 
nine men out of ten, they failed to taint the character of Moore. His modest estimate 
of himself Avas from first to last a leading feature in his character. Success never 
engendered egotism ; honours never seemed to him only the recompense of desert : 
he largely magnified the favours he received, and seemed to consider as mere 
" nothings " the services he rendered, and the benefits he conferred. That was his 
great characteristic — all his life. I have myself evidence to adduce on this head. 
In illustration, I print a letter I received from Moore, dated " Sloperton, November 
29, 1843 : "— 

"My dear Me. Hall, 

" I am really and truly ashamed of myself for having let so many acts of kindness 
on j'our part remain unnoticed and unacknowledged on mine. But the world seems determined to 
make me a man of letters in more senses than one, and almost every day brings me such an influx 

* On the 9th of April, 179S, at a meeting of Roman Catholics in Dublin, the youth Thomas Moore made a 
speech. On that day Moore headed a large body of students of the University, and presented an address to Hemy 
Grattan. Moore's address was energetic, eloquent, and impressive : it was a fervid demand for " emancipation," 
of which he was aU his life long the earnest advocate. The following is a passage from that speech :— In declaring 
their sensations on this day, at this important period, the youth of Ireland, the nation's nsmg sun, bursting from 
these clouds of bigotry, opacity, and darkness, with which they have been enveloped— give you— give Ireland— a 
solemn instance of uncorrupted honour and pure integrity ; an instance at which the Minister of Britain, m his 
plenitude of power, must stand appalled, and conclude that the ' rising, as well as the passing generation, unite in 
one voice— the voice of reason and justice— for your emancipation,— that basis of liberty, that pledge of reform. 

of epistles from mere strangers, that friends hardly ever get a line from me. My friend 
Washington Irving used to say, ' It is much easier to get a book from Moore than a letter.' 
But this has not been the case, I am sorry to say, of late ; for the penny-post has become the 
sole channel of my inspirations. How am I to thank you sufficiently for all your and Mrs. Hall's 
kindness to me ? She must come down here when the summer arrives, and be thanked a quattr 
ocelli — a far better way of thanking than at such a cold distance. Your letter to the mad 
Repealers was far too good and wise and gentle to have much effect upon such Eantipoles." * 

The house in Aungier Street I have pictured. I visited it in 1864, and again in 
1869. It was then, and still is, as it was in 1779, the dwelling of a grocer — altered 
only in so far as that a bust of the poet is placed over the door, and the fact that he 
was born there is recorded on a marble tablet.! May no modern "improvement" 
ever touch it ! 

" The great Emathian conqueror bid spare 
The house of Pindarus, whea temple and tower 
Went to the ground." 

This humble dwelling of the humble tradesman is the house of which the poet 
speaks in so many of his early letters and memoranda. Here, when a child in years, 
he arranged a debating society, consisting of himself and his father's two " clerks ; " 
here he picked up a little Italian from a kindly old priest who had passed some 
time in Italy, and obtained a "smattering of French;" here his tender mother 
watched over his boyhood, proud of his opening promise, and hopeful, yet appre- 
hensive, of his future ; here he and his sister, " excellent Nell," acquired music, first 
upon an old harpsichord, obtained by his father in discharge of a debt, and afterwards 
on a piano, to buy which his loving mother had saved up all superfluous pence. 
Hither he came — not less proudly, yet as fondly as ever — when college magnates 
gave him honours, and the Yiceroy had received him as a guest. 

In 1835 he records "a visit to No. 12, Aungier Street, where I was born;" 
"visited every part of the house; the small old yard and its appurtenances; the 
small dark kitchen, where I used to have my bread and milk ; the front and drawing- 
rooms ; the bed-rooms and garrets — murmuring, ' Only think, a grocer's still ! ' " 
" The many thoughts that came rushing upon me while thus visiting the house 
where the first twenty years of my life were passed may be more easily conceived 
than told." He records, with greater unction than he did his visit to the 
Prince of Wales, his sitting with the grocer and his wife at their table, and drinking 
in a glasa of their wine her and her husband's " good health." Thence he went 
with all his "recollections of the old shop" to a grand dinner at the Viceregal 
Lodge ! 

I spring with a single line from the year 1822, when I knew him first, to the 

* Alluding to a Letter I had printed concerning the Irish agitation for Eepeal of the Union. 

+ I regret to say it was so recorded. I procured a white marble slab, had the fact of his birth in that house 
engraved upon it (nothing more than the fact ; surely, not naming my own name), and obtained the sanction of the 
owner of the house to put it over the door. I paid the expense of so fixing it. In 1869, on visiting the house, I found, 
to my surprise and indignation, that it had been removed. On my inquiring of the thtn occupier the cause of this 
outrage, he cooUy informed me that when the house was repainted he took it down, and had not thought it worth 
while to restore it. I asked him if he would do so on my paying the cost ; but he declined to give me any promise to 
that effect. I endeavoured to induce him to give me back the slab (or sell it to me), but that also he refused to do. 

I trust this note will draw the attention of some more powerful " intercessor" to the discreditable fact, and that 
an Irishman will do what I, as an Englishman, failed to do. 

The slab had not been restored, in 1875— and probably is still in the cellar of the grocer. 



year 1845, when circumstances enabled us to enjoy the long-looked-for happiness of 
visiting Moore and his beloved wife in their home — Sloperton.* 

The poet was then in his sixty-fifth year, and had, in a great measure, retired 
from actual labour : indeed, it soon became evident to us that the faculty for 
continuous toil no longer existed. Happily it was not absolutely needed, for, with 
very limited wants, there was a sufficiency — a bare sufficiency, however, for there 



were no means to procure either the elegancies or the luxuries which so frequently 
become necessaries, and a longing for which might have been excused in one who 
had been the friend of peers and the associate of princes. 

The forests and fields that surround Bowood, the mansion of the Marquis of 
Lansdowne, neighbour the poet's humble dwelling ; the spire of the village church — 

* Our intercourse was a result of his ha-v-ing- quoted, in his " History of Ireland," some stanzas from a poem I 
had wiitten, entitled " Jeipoint Abbey "—privately printed in 1823 ; for which Mrs. Hall had thanked him. 

the church of Beomham — beside the portals of which he now " rests" — is seen above 
adjacent trees. Labourers' cottages are scattered all about. They are a heavy and 
unimaginative race those peasants of Wiltshire : and, knowing their neighbour had 
written books, they could by no means get rid of the idea that he was the writer of 
Moore's Almanack ! and perpetually greeted him with a salutation, in hopes to receive 
in return some prognostic of the weather that might guide them in arrangements for 
seed-time and harvest. Once, when he had lost his way — wandering till midnight — he 
roused up the inmates of a cottage in search of a guide to Sloperton, and found he was 
close to his own gate. "Ah ! sir," said the peasant, "that comes of yer sky-scraping ! " 
He was fond of telling of himself such simple anecdotes as this ; indeed, I 
remember his saying that no public applause had ever given him so much pleasure 
as a compliment from a half- wild countryman, who stood right in his path on a quay 
in Dublin, and exclaimed, slightly altering the words of Byron, " Three cheers for 
Tommy Moore, the 2^ote of all circles, and the darlint of his own." 

I recall him at this moment, — his small form and intellectual face, rich in 
expression, and that expression the sweetest, the most gentle, and the kindhest. 
He had still in age the same bright and clear eye, the same gracious smUe, the same 
suave and winning manner, I had noticed as the attributes of his comparative youth : 
a forehead not remarkably broad or high, but singularly impressive, firm, and full, 
with the organs of music and gaiety large, and those of benevolence and veneration 
greatly preponderating. Tenerani, when making his bust, praised the form of his 
ears. The nose, as observed in all his portraits, was somewhat upturned. Standing 
or sitting, his head was invariably upraised, owing, perhaps, mainly to his shortness 
of stature. He had so much bodily activity as to give him the character of restless- 
ness ; and no doubt that usual accompaniment of genius was eminently his. His 
hair was, at the time I speak of, thin and very grey, and he wore his hat with the 
"jaunty " air that has been often remarked as a peculiarity of the Irish. In dress, 
although far from slovenly, he was by no means particular. Leigh Hunt, writing of 
him in the prime of life, says, "His forehead is bony and full of character, with 
' bumps ' of wit large and radiant enough to transport a phrenologist. His eyes are 
as dark and fine as you would wish to see under a set of vine leaves ; his mouth 
generous and good-humoured, with dimples." Jeffrey, in one of his letters, says of 
him — " He is the sweetest-blooded, warmest-hearted, happiest, hopefulest creature 
that ever set fortune at defiance." He writes also of "the buoyancy of his spirits 
and the inward light of bis mind ; " and adds, " There is nothing gloomy or bitter in 
his ordinary talk, but rather a wild, rough, boyish pleasantry, more like nature than 
his poetry." This is the tribute of Scott : — " There is a manly frankness, with 
perfect ease and good-breeding, about him, which is delightful." In 1835 this 
portrait of the poet was drawn by the American, N. P. Willis : — "His eyes sparkle 
like a champagne bubble ; there is a kind of wintry red, of the tinge of an October 
leaf, that seems enamelled on his cheek ; his lips are delicately cut, slight, and 
changeable as an aspen ; the slightly-turned nose confirms the fun of the expression | 
and altogether it is a face that sparkles, beams, radiates." 

" The light that surrounds hira is all from within." .■ .■. 


He had but little voice ; yet he sung with a depth of sweetness that charmed 
all hearers : it was true melody, and told upon the heart as well as the ear. No 
doubt much of this charm v/as derived from association, for it was only his own 
melodies he sung. It would be difficult to describe the effect of his singing.* I 
remember some one saying to me, it conveyed an idea of what a mermaid's song 
might be. Thrice I heard him sing "As a beam o'er the face of the waters may 
glow "—once in 1822, once at Lady Blessington's, and once in my own house. 
Those who can recall the touching words of that song, and unite them with the 
deep yet tender pathos of the music, will be at no loss to conceive the intense 
delight of his auditors. 

I occasionally met Moore in public, and once or twice at public dinners. One 
of the most agreeable evenings I ever passed was in 1830, at a dinner given to him 
by the members of " The Literary Union." That " club " was founded in 1829 by 
the poet Campbell. I may have to speak of it when I write a Memory of him. 
Moore was then in strong health, and in the zenith of his fame. There were many 
men of mark about him., — leading wits, and men of letters. He was full of life, 
sparkling and brilhant in all he said, rising every now and then to say something 
that gave the hearers delight, and looking as if " dull care " had been ever powerless 
to check the overflowing of his soul. But although no bard of any age knew 
better how to 

" Wreathe the bowl with flowers of soul," 

he had acquired the power of self-restraint, and could "stop " when the glass was 
circulating too freely. 

At the memorable dinner of "the Literary Fund," at which the good Prince 
Albert presided (on the 11th May, 1842), the two poets, Campbell and Moore, had 
to make speeches. The author of the " Pleasures of Hope," heedless of the duty 
that devolved upon him, had " confused his brain." Moore came on the evening 
of that day to our house ; and I well remember the terms of deep sorrow and bitter 
reproach in which he spoke of the lamentable impression that one of the great 
authors of the age and country must have left on the mind of the royal chairman, 
then new among us. 

It is gratifying to record that the temptations to which the great lyric poet was 
so often and so peculiarly exposed were ever powerless for wrong. 

Moore sat for his portrait to Shee, Lawrence, Newton, Maclise, Mulvany, and 
Richmond, and to the sculptors Tenerani, Chantrey, Kirk, and Moore. On one 
occasion of his sitting he says, " Having nothing in my round potato face but 
what painters cannot catch — mobility of character — the consequence is, that a 
portrait of me can be only one or other of two disagreeable things — a caiyut 
mortuwn or a caricature." Richmond's portrait was taken in 1843. Moore says 
of it, " The artist has worked wonders with unmanageable faces such as mine." 

* In 1806, Lucy Aitken thus wrote of the young poet :— " He sung us some of his own sweet little songs, set to 
his own music, and rendered doubly touching by a voice the most sweet, an utterance the most articulate, and 
expression the most deep and varied that I had ever witnessed." .: ■ 

Of all his portraits this is the one that pleases me best, and most forcibly recalls 
him to my remembrance. It is the one I have engraved at the head of this 

I soon learned to love the man. It was impossible not to do so, for nature had 
endowed him with that rare but happy gift — to have pleasure in giving pleasure, and 
pain in giving pain ; while his life was, or at all events seemed to be, a practical 
comment on his own lines : — 

" They may rail at this life : from the hour I began it, 
I've found it a life full of kindness and bliss." 

I had daily walks with him at Sloperton — along his " terrace- walk " — during our 
brief visit ; I listening, he talking ; he now and then asking questions, but rarely 
speaking of himself or his books. Indeed, the only one of his poems to which 
he made any special reference was the "Lines on the Death of Sheridan," of 
which he said, " That is one of the few things I have written of which I am really 

The anecdotes he told me were all of the class of those I have related — simple, 
unostentatious. He has been frequently charged with the weakness of undue 
respect for the aristocracy ; I never heard him, during the whole of our intercourse, 
speak of great people with Avhom he had been intimate ; never a word of the 
honours accorded to him ; and certainly he never uttered a sentence of satire, or 
censure, or hax'shness, concerning any one of his contemporaries. I remember his 
describing with proud warmth his visit to his friend Boyse, at Bannow, in the 
county of Wexfoi'd ; the dehght he enjoyed at receiving the homage of bands of the 
peasantry gathered to greet him ; the arches of green leaves under which he passed ; 
and the dances with the pretty peasant girls — one in particular, with whom he led 
off a country dance. Would that those who fancied him a tuft-hunter could have 
heard him ! they would have seen how really humble was his heart.* Reference to 
his Journal will show that, of all his contemporaries — whenever he spoke of them — 
he had something kindly to say. There is no evidence of ill-nature in any case — 
not a shadow of envy or jealousy. The sturdiest Scottish grazier could not have 
been better pleased than he was to see the elegant home — evidence of prosperity — 

The house at Sloperton is a small cottage, for which Moore paid originally the 
sum of £40 a year, " furnished." Subsequently, however, he became its tenant, 
under a repairing lease at £18 annual rent. He took possession of it in November, 
1817. Bessy was "not only satisfied, but delighted with it, which shows the 
humility of her taste," writes Moore to his mother; "for it is a small thatch^ 
cottage, and we get it furnished for £40 a year."! "It has a small garden and 
lawn in front, and a kitchen garden behind ; along two of the sides of this kitchen- 

* I have seen the following passage from the Journal quoted as evidence of the mean subserviency of Moore : — 
" Called at Lansdowne House, a,nd was let in." The generous critic overlooked another passage in the Journal as 
follows :—" Lord Lansdowne called, and was let in." 

+ One of Mrs. Moore's dearest friends informs me that Moore " almost enlii'ely rebuilt the lower pirt of the 
cottage. The drawing-room remained as of old ; the library had a small ante-room added to it, the wall and door 
being removed, the whole raised, and the ceiling ai-ched." 


garden is a raised bank,"— the poet's " terrace-walk ; " so he loved to call it. Here 
a small deal table stood through all weathers ; for it was his custom to compose as 
he walked, and, at this table, to pause and write down his thoughts.'^ Hence he 
had always a view of the setting sun ; and I beheve few things on earth gave him 
more pleasure than practically to realise the line— 

- " How glorious the sun looked in sinking ! " 

for, as Mrs. Moore informed us, he very rarely missed that sight. 

In 1811, the year of his marriage, he lived at York Terrace, Queen's Elm, 


Brompton. Mi's. Moore told us it was then a pretty house : the Terrace was isolated 
and opposite nursery gardens.! Long afterwards (in 1824), he went to Brompton 
to "indulge himself with a sight of that house." In 1812 he was settled at 
Kegworth,]: and in 1813 at Mayfield Cottage, near Ashbourne, in Derbyshire. Of 
Mayfield, one of his friends, who, twenty years afterwards, accompanied him there 

* He was always in motion when he composed. If the weather prevented his walking on the terrace, he would 
pace up and down his small study : the length of his walk was indicated by the state of the carpet ; the places where 
his steps turned were, at both ends, worn into holes. The "smaU deal table" is now in my conservatory — honoured 
as it ought to be. 

+ It is now part and parcel of a populous suburb— a house in a row. I regret that I cannot indicate the number, 
but believe it to be No. 5. 

t His da,ughter, Anasta.sia Maiy, was born here on the 4th February, 1813. Of Kegwoith he writes : — " Bessy 
is quite pleased with our new house, and runs wild about the large garden, which is certainly a delightful eman- 
cipation for her, after our veiy limited domain at Brompton." 

to see it, remarks on the small, solitary, and now wretched-looking cottage, where 
all the fine "Orientalism" and " sentimentalism " had been engendered. Of this 
cottage he himself writes — " It was a poor place, little better than a barn ; but we 
at once took it and set about making it habitable." The rent Moore paid for it was 
£20 a year. It was then " within twenty-four hours' drive of town," i.e., London-, 
It is no better than a poor place now. I visited the house in the autumn of 1869, 
in company with my friend Llewellyn Jewitt, who furnishes me with the following 
description : — 

" Situate only a couple of miles from Ashbourne, within walking distance of 
Dove Dale, and in the midst of most charming scenery, Mayfield Cottage may have 
become a delicious, though it was a homely, retreat. The cottage is a plain square 
building, with a hipped roof. In front is a small flower-garden, slightly terraced, 
and a path leads up to the front door, which is in the centre of the building, and is 
covered with a simple, trellised porch. There are only four windows — two on the 
ground floor, one in the ' houseplace,' and the other in the ' parlour ; ' and two 
upstairs in the bed-rooms. The rooms are small, and have brick floors, and have 
nothing ' cosy ' or nice or inviting about them. There are also a kitchen and a 
dairy on the ground floor ; for the cottage is now a small farm-house. The bed- 
rooms are, like the lower apartments, small and uninviting. The poet's own room 
— that in which he slept — is the one on the left, and on a pane of the window the 
following lines are scratched on the glass, and are said — though without any 
evidence — to have been so scratched by Moore himself : — 

' I ask not always in your breast 

In solitude to be ; 
But whether mournful, whether blest, 
Sometimes remember me. 

— Old Moore' s AlmanacTc. 

' I ask not always for thy smile, 

Lot of some happier one ; 
But sometimes be with feelings fraught 
O'er joys now past and gone. 

'I ask not always for those sighs 
Which make thy bosom swell, 
But stUl in this fond heart of mine 
Those strong affections dwell.' 

I have placed a portrait of Moore over the chimney-piece in that room. The front 
of the cottage is partly overgrown with foliage, and is surrounded by trees ; there 
is a small ' arbour,' where the poet was wont to sit and write, but the room he is 
said to have usually ' written in ' is now used as a dairy : even when he resided 
there it must have been sadly unsuited to his mind." 

At Mayfield " Lalla Rookh" was written, and here it was " little Barbara and I 
rolled about in the hay-field before our door, till I was much more hot and tired 
than my little playfellow," The district has other memories. Not far ofi" resided 
for a time Jean Jacques Rousseau, and here he wrote his " Confessions ; " Ward, 
the author of " Tremaine," here lived and worked; the Dove is consecrated to the 
memories of Walton and Cotton — here they studied the gentle craft ; Congreve, not 



far off, penned his first drama ; Dr. Johnson visited here his friend Dr. Taylor ; 
Dr. Greaves, the author of " The Spiritual Quixote," had his home here ; and' here 
— or rather not far off — is laid the scene of one of the most remarkable novels of 
modern time, " Adam Bede." Moreover, the Dove is one of the very loveliest 
rivers of England. 

Moore had a public appointment. As Burns was made a ganger because he vpas 
partial to whisky, Moore was made " Eegistrar to the Admiralty" in Bermuda, 
where his principal duty was to "overhaul the accounts of skippers and their 
mates." Being called to England, his affairs were placed in charge of a superin- 
tendent, who betrayed him, and left him answerable for a heavy debt, which 
rendered necessary a temporary residence in Paris. The debt, however, was paid 
— not by the aid of friends, some of whom would have gladly relieved him of it, but 
— literally by " the sweat of his brow." Exactly so it was when the MS. " Life 
of Byron " was burned ; it was by Moore, and not by the relatives of Byron (nor 
by aid of friends), the money he had received was returned to the publisher who 
had advanced it.* " The glorious privilege of being independent " was indeed 
essentially his, — in his boyhood, throughout his manhood, and in advanced age 
— always ! 

In 1799 he came to London to enter at the Middle Temple. His first lodging 
was at 44, G-eorge Street, Portman Square. Very soon afterwards we find him 
declining a loan of money proffered by Lady Donegal. He thanked God for the 
many sweet things of this kind He had thrown in his way, yet at that moment he 
was " terribly puzzled how to pay his tailor." In 1811, his friend Douglas, who 
had just received a large legacy, handed him a blank cheque, that he might fill it up 
for any sum he needed. " I did not accept the offer," writes Moore to his mother, 
" but you may guess my feelings." Yet, just then, he had been compelled to draw 
on his publisher. Power, for a sum of £30, " to be repaid partly in songs," and was 
sending his mother a second-day paper, which he was enabled " to purchase at 
rather a cheap rate." Even in 1842 he was " haunted worryingly," not knowing 
how to meet his son Russell's draft for £100 ; and, a year afterwards, he utterly 
drained his banker to send £50 to his son Tom. Once, being anxious that Bessy 
should have some money for the poor at Bromham, he sent a friend £5, requesting 
him to forward it to Bessy, as from himself; and when urged by some thoughtless 
person to make a larger allowance to his son Tom, in order that he might " live like 
a gentleman," he writes, " If I had thought but of living like a gentleman, what 
would have become of my dear father and mother, of my sweet sister Nell, of my 
admirable Bessy's mother ? " He declined to represent Limerick in Parliament, on 
the ground that his "circumstances were not such as to justify coming into Parlia- 
ment at all, because to the labour of the day I am indebted for my daily support." 
He must have a miserable soul who could sneer at the poet studying how he might 
manage to recompense the doctor who would " take no fees ; " or at his " amuse- 
ment " when Bessy was " calculating whether they could afford the expense of a fly 

* The slatements of Mr. Murray are not of sucli a nature as to leave any doubt eonceming this assertion. It 
is not disputed that the money he had received was paid back by Moore. 

to Devizes ; " or when he writes of his wife's " democratic pride," that makes her 
" prefer the company of her equals to that of her superiors ; " or at his thinking she 
never looked so handsome as when (in 1830) sitting by his mother's side (in Abbey 
Street), and with his sister Nell, "just the same gentle spirit as ever" — " had a 
most happy family dinner ; " and next day receiving the homage of a score of noted 
and dignified admirers. It Avas with many as it was with the poet Bowles, who 
" delighted to visit the Moores : " they " had such pleasant faces." 

As with his mother, so with his wife : from the year 1811, the year of his 
marriage,* to that of his death in 1852, she received from him the continual homage 
of a lover; away from her, no matter what were his allurements, he was ever 
longing to be at home. Those who love as he did, wife, children, and friends, will 
appreciate — although the worldling cannot — such commonplace sentences as these : 
— " Pulled some heath on Konan's Island (Killarney) to send to my dear Bessy ; " 
when in Italy, " got letters from my sweet Bessy, more precious to me than all the 
wonders I can see;" while in Paris, "sending for Bessy and my little ones; 
wherever they are will be home, and a happy home, to me." When absent (which 
was rarely for more than a week), no matter where or in what company, seldom a 
day passed that he did not write a letter to Bessy. The home enjoyments, reading 
to her, making her the depositary of all his thoughts and hopes, — they were his 
deep delights, compensations for time spent amid scenes and with people who had 
no space in his heart.! Ever, when in " terrible request," his thoughts and his 
heart were there — in 

" That dear Home, that saving' Ai-k, 

Where love's true light at last I've found, 
Cheering within, when all grows dark 
And comfortless and stormy round.' ' 

This is the tribute of Earl Kussell to the wife of the poet Moore :— " The 
excellence of his wife's moral character, her energy and courage, her persevering 
economy, made her a better, and even a richer partner to Moore than an heiress of 
ten thousand a year would have been, with less devotion to her duty, and less 
steadiness of conduct." The "democratic pride" of which Moore speaks was 
the pride that is ever above a mean action, always sustaining him in proud 

In March, 1846, his Diary contains this sad passage : — " The last of my five 
children is gone, and we are left desolate and alone ; not a single relation have I in 
this world."! His sweet mother had died in 1832 ; " excellent Nell" in 1846 ; his 

* Moore was maxried to Miss Elizabeth Dyke, at St. Martin's Church, London, on the 25th March, 1811, and 
Mrs. Ellison writes to me—" She was given away by my father (Mr. Power) , her mother, Mrs. Dyke, and her youngest 
daughter, being present. That sister afterwards became the wife of Mr. Murray, of Edinburgh, and the mother of 
the nephew, Charles Murray, a most estimable and accomplished gentleman, Mrs. Moore's heir, who unhappily died 
in the prime of life, in 1872, leaving a widow and two daughters." 

+ In one of Moore's letters to me, dated Sloperton, August 23, 1S44, he writes :— "Ihave been once in town 
since I saw you, and your name was foremost in the List of those I meant to call upon. But a sudden illness of Mrs. 
Moore caused me to hurry down here and leave business, calls on friends, and all other such pleasures and duties 
unattended to." , . ,, , -^ _i.i. 

t The five children were,— Anne Jane Barbara, born in 1812 at Brompton ; Anastasia Mary, bom at Kegworth 
in 1813 ; Olivia Byron, born at Mayfield in 1814 ; Thomas Lansdowne Pan-, born at Sloperton in 1815 ; John Russell, 
born at Sloperton in 1823. 


father in 1825 ; and his children one after another, three of them in youth, and two 
grown up to manhood — his two boys, Tom and Russell, the first-named of whom 
died in Africa (in 1846), an officer in the French service, the other at Sloperton (in 
1842), soon after his return from India, having been compelled by ill-health to resign 
his commission as a lieutenant in the 25th Regiment. In 1835 the influence of 
Lord Lansdowne and Lord John Russell obtained for Moore a pension of £300 a 
year from Lord Melbourne's Government, — " as due from any Government, but 
much more from one, some of the members of which are proud to think themselves 
your friends." The " wolf, poverty," therefore, in his latter years, did not " prowl " 
so continually about his door. But there was no fund for luxuries — none for the 
extra comforts that old age requires. Mrs. Moore received, on the death of her 
husband, a pension of £100 a year, and she had also the interest of the sum of 
£3,000, — the sum paid by the ever-liberal friends of the poet, the Longmans, for 
the Memoirs and Journal edited by Lord John, now Earl, Russell — a " lord" whom 
the poet dearly loved. 

When his " Diary" was published — as from time to time volumes of it appeared — 
slander was busy with the fame of one of the best and most upright of all the men 
that God ennobled by the gift of genius. For my own part I seek in vain through 
the eight thick volumes of that Diary for any evidence that can lessen the poet in 
this high estimate. I find, perhaps, too many passages fitted only for the eye of 
love, or the ear of sympathy ; but I read none that show the poet other than the 
devoted and loving husband, the thoughtful and affectionate parent, the considerate 
and generous friend. 

That these volumes contain many pages that are valueless is certain, but that 
they contain anythmg to the poet's discredit or dishonour is utterly untrue. 

Those who read his Journal with generous sympathy cannot fail to have 
augmented esteem and aff'ection for " the man." His stern independence might have 
yielded to temptations such as few receive and very few resist : he preserved it to 
the last, under circumstances such as any of his many great and wealthy friends 
would have called " poverty." Of luxuries, from the commencement of his career 
to its close, he had literally none : his necessities were at times severe, but they 
were never published to the world — nay, were never obtruded even on those who 
could, and certainly would, have made them less. In all the relations of life he was 
faithful, affectionate, and considerate : " at home " he was ever loving and beloved ; 
there he was happiest by rendering his limited circle happy. 

The biographers of poets are almost proverbial for diminishing the giant to the 
dwarf. With a few grand exceptions, we find the loftiest precepts humihated by the 
meanest examples; social intercourse degraded by frequent inebriation; poverty 
callous to the " glorious privilege," condescending to notoriety instead of suffering 
in solitude ; so mingling the vices with the virtues, that worshippers eagerly di'aw 
the veil over genius in private life, willing to "make allowances," and content with 
the record — " they are not as other men are." 

How few great men are heroes in their daily communion ! 

The poet Moore is one of the very few of whom we may think and speak 

without a blusli. The cavils and sneers of those who do not or cannot understand 
him are Hmited to the " crimes" of his dining with lords and delighting in the 

courtesies of flatterers in rags. Had he been a sensualist like , a drunkard 

like , a pitiful borrower like , a truckler for place like , critics might 

have been less severe. Alas ! my own experience might readily fill up these blanks : 
so may any one who has a large " literary acquaintance." 

I honour the memory of Moore for the virtues he had and the vices he had not. 

When these Memoirs — his " Diary" — were first published, there were some critics 
who received them with a howl of derision : it was an Irish howl — unreasoning, bitter, 
malignant. It came almost exclusively from his own countrymen : a pamphlet was 
printed by Charles Phillips, sometime known as "the Irish orator," who, having 
obtained a sort of renown at the Bar in Ireland, left the country, and practised 
chiefly at the Old Bailey in London. He obtained one of the Commissionerships in 
Bankruptcy, and was far more prosperous as to worldly circumstances than was 
Moore at any period of his life.* 

The atrocious attack on the memory of Moore in the Quarterly Review was 
written by John Wilson Croker, who for many years held the lucrative post of 
Secretary to the Admiralty. There are many living who remember this busybody 
of the House of Commons. Small of person, active, energetic, and undoubtedly 
able, his party found in him a zealous and unscrupulous partisan. He is the 
"Crawley Junior" of the novel, "Florence Macarthy," by Lady Morgan, who 
detested him, and she was " a good hater." He was one of the originators of the 
John Bull newspaper, and from him it received its tone of private slander and public 
turpitude. It is, I believe. Madden who says of him, ^" His memory is buried 
beneath a pyramid of scalps." 

The article in the Quarterly was a shameful article. It was the old illustration 
of the dead lion and the living dog. Yet Croker could at that time be scarcely 
described as living ; it was from his death-bed he shot the poisoned arrow. And 
what brought out the venom ? Merely a few careless words of Moore's, in which 
he described Croker as " a scribbler of all work," — -words that Earl Russell would 
have erased if it had occurred to him to do so. No doubt, however, long-pent-up 
wrath thus found vent : they were political opponents from the first ; and although 
of Moore it may be safely said, " He lacked gall to make oppression bitter," it was 
the very opposite with John WUson Croker. 

* As I wrote and printed the following passages— in April 1853— shortly after Phillips published his pamphlet, 
and of course while he was living, I need not hesitate to reprint them here. PMllips threatened to prosecute me 
for libel : he did not carry out his threat, but withdrew the pamplilet from circulation : — 

"It has long been notorious that if it be desired to ruin an Irishman, you can easily find an Irishman to do it :^ 
nay, there is a sort of proveib- 'Put an Irishman upon a spit, and you'll always find another Irishman to turn it. 
Mr. Phillips has added force to this oijinion : an old man, in the self-reproach arising out of a career that has 
refiected, to say the least, no credit on his country, endeavours, as perhaps the latest act of Ms life, to prove the 
baseness and wretchedness, nay, the infidelity, of a man as superior to his calumniator, in all that men esteem and 
venerate, as the light-giving sun is to the unwholesome vapours that sicken earth. Supposing for a brief moment 
all the statements of Counsellor Phillips to be as true as they are untrue, to what possible motive, except the very 
worst that may dishonour a gentleman, can their publication be attributed 1 But few months have elapsed since 
the great poet and good man has been consigned to the grave — a humble grave in a remote churchyard of a country 
village ; his childless widow's days of mourning are but commenced, when this infamous attack is made upon his 
memory, in the wretched hope and expectation that the world wOl abhor the name that for more than half a centuiy 
has been respected and loved." 



Another of the calumniators of Moore, xvlien lie icas dead, was Thomas Crofton 
Croker (a namesake but no relative of John Wilson Croker). By some means or 
other, but certainly in no way creditable, was published a series of letters that 
had passed between the poet and his song publishers, the Powers ; with whom, 
no doubt, he had occasional misunderstandings, but who were his firm friends to the 
last, the daughter of Mr. Power being one of the executors to the will of the poet's 
widow, and, as I have stated, he it was who gave Mrs. Moore away at their marriage 
in 1811. The title-page of this foolish, needless, and useless book states that its 
publication "was suppressed in London." A publisher was, however, found for it 
in America ; and Crofton Croker prefaced it by an " Introductory Letter." It is 
not worth while now to confute the statements made in that preface — an example of 
" safe malignity ; " but they might be confuted easily. 

I knew Crofton Croker during many years of his life : he was a small man — small 
in mind as well as in body ; doing many little things, but none of them well : his 
literary fame rests on his " Irish Fairy Legends " — a book of which he was only the 
editor. Most of the stories — and those the best — were written by Dr. Maginn, 
Joseph Humphreys (a Quaker), Pigot (the late Irish Chief Baron), Keightly, and 
Charles Dodd — subsequently the compiler of the " Parliamentary Guide." I was 
the writer of two of them ; I am the only one of the writers now living. 

I might take note of other Irishmen who, when the poet Moore was dead, and 
therefore an adversary who could be insulted safely, did their best to dishonour his 
name and cast a slur upon his memory ; but the subject is not a pleasant one. Is it 
not Macaulay who speaks of " abject natures whose delight is in the agonies of 
powerful spirits, and in the abasement of immortal names ?" 

Of a truth it was well said, " A prophet is never without honour save in his own 
country." The proverb is especially true as regards Irish prophets. Assuredly 
Moore was, and is, more popular in every part of the world than he was, or is, 
in Ireland. The reason is plain : he was, so to speak, of two parties, yet of 
neither ; the one could not forgive his early aspirations for liberty, uttered in 
imperishable verse ; the other could not pardon what they called his desertion of 
their cause, when he saw that England was willing to do, and was doing, "justice to 

Let it be inscribed on his tomb, that ever, amid privations and temptations, the 
allurements of grandeur and the suggestions of poverty, he preserved his self-respect ; 
bequeathing no property, but leaving no debts; having had no "testimonial" of 
acknowledgment or reward ; seeking none, nay, avoiding any ; making millions his 
debtors for intense delight, and acknowledging himself paid by " the poet's meed, the 
tribute of a smile ;" never truckling to power ; labouring ardently and honestly for 
his political faith, but never lending to party that which was meant for mankind ; 
proud, and rightly proud, of his self-obtained position ; but neither scorning nor 
slighting the humble root from which he sprung. 

He was born and bred a Koman Catholic ; but his creed was entirely and purely 
Catholic. Charity was the outpouring of his heart : its pervading essence was that 
which he expressed in one of his Melodies, — 


jS memories. 

" Shall I ask the brave soldier who fights by my side. 
In the cause of mankind, if our creeds agree \ 
Shall I give up the friend I have valued and tried. 
If he kneel not before the same altar with me \ " 

His children were all baptized and educated members of the Church, of England. 
He attended the parish church, and according to the ritual of that church he was 
buried. It was not any public or outward change of religion, but homage to a purer 
and holier faith, that induced him to have his children brought up as members of the 
English Church. " For myself," he says, " my having married a Protestant wife 
gave me opportunity of choosing a religion at least for my children ; and if my 
marriage had no other advantage, I should think this quite sufficient to be grateful 

Moore was the eloquent advocate of his country when it was oppressed, goaded, 
and socially enthralled ; but when time and enlightened policy removed all distinc- 
tions between the Irishman and the Englishman— between the Protestant and the 
Roman Catholic — his muse was silent, because content ; nay, he protested in em- 
phatic verse against a continued agitation that retarded her progress, when her claims 
were admitted, her rights' acknowledged, and her wrongs redressed.* 

The poetry of Thomas Moore has been more extensively read than that of any 
poet of the epoch : those who might not have sought it otherwise, have become familiar 
with it through the medium of the delicious music to which it has been wedded ; and 
it would be difficult to find a single educated individual in Great Britain unable to 
repeat some of his verses. No writer has enjoyed a popularity so universal ; and if 
an author's position is to depend on the delight he produces, we must class the 
author of " Lalla Kookh " and of the " Irish Melodies " as " chiefest of the bards " of 
modern times. 

But reference to the genius of Moore is needless. My object in this Memory is 
to offer homage to his moral and social worth. The world that willingly acknow- 
ledges its debt to the poet has been less ready to estimate the high and estimable 
character — the loving and faithful nature — of the man. There are, however, many 
— may this humble tribute augment the number ! — by whom the memory of Thomas 
Moore is cherished in the heart of hearts ; to whom the cottage at Sloperton will be a 
shrine while they live ; the grave beside the village church of Bromham a monument 
better loved than that of any other of the men of genius by whom the world is 
delighted, enlightened, and refined. 

Two years and two months — mournful years and months — Moore may be said to 
have lain on his death-bed — dying all that weary time ; his mind almost obliterated ; 
restorations to reason being only occasional, and very partial. His disease was 
softening of the brain. Sometimes he knew and recognised his " Bessy ;" generally 
she was an utter stranger to his soul until it was released from its earth-fetters. 

* Moore's fiiend, Thomas Boyse of Bannow, thus wrote to me on the eve of Moore's death: — "I know not 
whether you are aware that he whose loss we ai'e soon to deplore would never join in the frantic movement of 
O'Connell for Eepeal, and that therefore (what a therefore !) the then omnipotent Tribune at once whispered down 
the name and fame of our friend ' from the Giant's Causeway to Cape Clear.' O'Connell denounced him as an 
enemy to freedom, and an apostate from the cause of Ireland ! You are aware of what effects must result from such 
a sentence, pronounced by such a tribunal." 



During the whole of that sad period she was never for an hour out of his room.* 
She told us that when intelligence was at all active, he would ask her to read the 
Bible, but his great delight was to hear her sing ; that his frequent desire was for a 
hymn, " Come to Jesus," in the refrain of which he always joined, and which he 
often asked her to sing for him a second time. Almost his last words — and they 
were frequently repeated — were, '* Lean upon God, Bessy ; lean upon God ! " 

It was, in truth, a mournful sight, but few saw it ; none, indeed, except the 
" dear wife," one attendant, and the clergyman of the parish and his daughter, the 


^^\ \ 

'.[iHiuapWii I 

Is ,! ml 


loved and trusted friend of both the poet and his wife. A great man, so clinging 
unwillingly to earth, so awaiting patiently, and yet eagerly, the call of his Master, — 
it is sad, but not altogether sad, to contemplate : it is better, nevertheless, to draw a 
veil over the " last scene of all." 

A statue, in bronze, of the poet was erected on a space of ground that faces 
Trinity College, and in October, 1857, it was inaugurated. It was the first statue 
ever raised to an Irishman in a public thoroughfare of the Irish metropolis ; and 

* The following passage I find in one of her letters to Mrs. Hall :— " I write in his room, but can hardly see : 
my eyes are very weak." 




although as a work of art it is but a poor affair, it is at least a record that Ireland 
was not altogether oblivious of the great man who will be for all time one of its 

On that occasion one of the most eloquent of Irishmen mourned over the melan- 
choly fact — that fame acquired by an Irishman creates no thrill of joy in the hearts 
of his countrymen ; that honours accorded to him by every part of the world are 
accepted in that country without response. These are the impressive words of Baron 
O'Hagan : — " It is the sorrow and the shame of Ireland — proverbially incuriom 
suoriim — that she has been heretofore too much in this respect an exception amongst 
the civilised kingdoms of the earth. And the sorrow and the shame have not been 
less because she has been the parent of many famous men — of thinkers, and poets, 
and patriots, and warriors, and statesmen — whose memory should be to her a 
precious heritage, and of many of whom she might speak in the language of the 
Florentine of old — 

' Tanto nomini nullum par eulogium.' " 

The orator hoped for a more auspicious future for Irishmen ; but as yet it has not 
come, although he is himself one of the most emphatic proofs that England has done 
"justice " to Ireland. When Baron O'Hagan was born — and he is not an old man — 
no Roman Catholic could have been even a Queen's Counsel. He, a Roman Catholic, 
was Lord High Chancellor of Ireland ; eight Roman Catholics have worn the ermine, 
at one time, in their own country ; and a Roman Catholic was, not long ago, a Judge 
in England. A hundred pages could not add weight to that single fact with a view 
to illustrate the changed condition of Ireland, and the altered sentiments of England 
as regards Ireland. 

I repeat my belief that Moore is now, and was during his lifetime, less worthily 
appreciated and truly honoured in Ireland than in any other country of the world. 

While a Scottish man is, so to speak, born to an annuity — for his countrymen 
ever lend him " a helping hand," and consider they share, though it may be but a 
tiny part, of the fame he achieves — it is mournful, yet very true, to say of Ireland, 
that with its people it is the opposite. Moore, at least in the latter part of his life, 
knew and bitterly felt that dismal truth. 

" That God is Love," writes his friend and biographer. Earl Russell, "was the 
summary of his belief ; that a man should love his neighbour as himself seems to 
have been the rule of his life." The good Earl of Carlisle, inaugurating the statue of 
the poet, bore testimony to his moral and social worth " in all the holy relations of 
life — as son, as brother, as husband, as father, as friend ;" and on the same occa- 
sion Baron O'Hagan thus expressed himself: — " He was faithful to all the sacred 
obligations and all the dear charities of domestic life — he was the idol of a 

Perhaps a better, though a briefer, summary of the character of Thomas Moore 
than any of these may be given in the words of Dr. Parr, who bequeathed to him a 
ring : — " To one who stands high in my estimation for original genius, for his 
exquisite sensibility, for his independent spirit, and incorruptible integrity." 



On the 4th of September, 1865, the estimable wife of the poet died. She rests 
beside her beloved husband and three of her children in the churchyard of Bromham. 
I have said enough to show how highly we estimated her worth — as wife, mother, 
friend, and benefactress ; for the small means at her disposal were ever ready for 
distribution among the neighbouring poor. I have quoted Earl Russell's testimony 
to her many virtues. 

Some Recollections of the excellent lady, by Mrs. Hall, will, I think, be accept- 
able to the reader ; and I print them. 

The first time I saw Mrs. Moore was at our own cottage, "The Rosery," Old 
Brompton. We had heard it was considered expedient that their second son, Russell, 
should visit London for medical advice. We were going to Ireland for two or three 
months, and it seemed a small thing to offer the poet the use of our cottage. It is 
the characteristic of all sensitive minds to exaggerate debts for services received. 
Mr. Moore wrote to me a letter expressing warm gratitude, but declined the offer, 
" because just then it was impossible to move Russell until he got better. He hoped 
soon to thank us." The son who, Mrs. Moore afterwards assured me, had never 
given them one hour's uneasiness, did not " get better" — until he died; but soon 
afterwards, some engagement calling Mr. Moore to town, Mrs. Moore accompanied 
him, and came to see us. 

" There!" he said, as I entered the room, "there is my Bessy; and I know 
you two ladies are prepared to love each other ! " 

And so we were. Though her early beauty had faded under the influence of 
time and anxiety, enough was left not only to tell of what she had been, but to 
excite love and admiration then. Her figure and carriage were perfect; every 
movement was graceful : her head and throat were exquisitely moulded ; and her 
voice, when she spoke, was soft and clear. Moore once said to me, "My Bessy's 
eyes were larger before she wept them away for her children." But when I knew 
her, the sockets were large, but the soft, brown eyes fell, as it were, back. All her 
other features were really beautiful ; the delicate nose ; the sweet and expressive 
mouth ; the dimples, now here, now there ; the chin so soft and rounded ; the face 
a perfect oval. Even at that time no one could have entered a room without mur- 
muring, " What a lovely woman ! " 

She spoke of Russell's illness — hopefully ; but the quivering lips, and eyes 
suffused with tears, did not sustain her words. While walking with me round our 
little garden, she laid bare her heart in a few words. " I do not suffer his father to 
believe how ill he is ; he will know it time enough. Lover painted a charming 
portrait of him. You will see it when you come to Sloperton, but you will never 
see him.'" 

Poor Russell ! he was, as his mother knew he would be, in Bromham Church- 
yard before our return from Ireland ; and more than a year elapsed ere we paid our 
first visit to Sloperton. We were there a week, and during that time Russell's 
name was never mentioned by either Mr. or Mrs. Moore ; but one morning she 
called me into her bed-room, pointed to a picture, and left me alone with Russell's 

portrait.* The boy must have been very like his mother. Their eldest son Tom 
was, if I may judge from a miniature of him, remarkably handsome. Poor lad ! he 
fell early into the ways of folly ; he had great temptations, and yielded to them. 
At his death there were debts owing by him : they were all paid out of the limited 
" means " of his parents ; and when his father had expended every farthing he could 
command for that purpose, his mother gathered together her most valuable trinkets, 
took them into Bath, and sold them, rather than that the taint of an unpaid debt 
should rest on their son's name.f Moore passed the mornings in his library, the 
largest room in the cottage, whose pleasant window commanded a view of the fields 
and the high road : it contained his books, his piano, | and two Irish harps, various 
chairs and tables, which, if not hallowed by long residence in the poet's room, would 
have been called "mean;" a few pictures which Mr. Moore did not care for — as 
pictures : they were valued from association. He was strangely indifferent to art. 
"His friends at Bowood," Mrs. Moore said, "would have made a connoisseur of 
him had it been possible, but it was not. Scenery he enjoys fully, but a painted one 
strikes no chord in his heart." 

Even then, though it was November, and we were seated enjoying his cheerful- 
ness round the drawing-room table, he seemed to have an instinctive perception that 
the sun was about to set. He left the room, and a story unfinished, and we saw 
him pass the window on his way to the terrace-walk. " Sunset," said Mrs. Moore, 
laughing, — " he will finish his story when he returns." That raised terrace-walk, 
enclosing two sides of his little domain — the exquisitely-kept garden — gave the poet 
never-ceasing enjoyment. There were seats in three or four places, but the favourite 
one was beneath a group of, I think, elm trees, and there stood the little green 
wooden table which dear Mrs. Moore bequeathed to me, and which is the most highly 
honoured of all my mementoes of departed friends. The poet would pace up and 
down that walk for hours, and pause to write whatever thoughts he considered 
worth recording. Between those trees we caught glimpses of Bromham Church. 
Mr. Moore was becoming very absent, and at times Mrs. Moore seemed pained by 
the efforts she made to recall, as it were, his mind to our conversation. Even at 
table she frequently exclaimed — "Tom, Tom, what are you thinking of?" His 
absence of mind was, indeed, so great, that it gave me uneasiness ; but Mrs. Moore 
took it as a matter of course. 

I never knew any one with such active and genial affections as Moore, except his 
wife. Her nature was quite as sympathetic as that of her husband ; and while her 

* In one of Lover's letters to me he writes concerning this portrait : — " You ask me to give you some descrip- 
tion of Russell Moore. You know how hard, or rather how impossible, it is for words to convey any notion of 
lineaments. All children's faces are, to a certain extent, round ; but Russell's might have been remarked for 
roundness even among children — nose, though retrmisse, nicely defined about the nostril; a pretty mouth, well- 
marked eyebrows, and dark brown eyes of remarkable beauty, with a cei-tain expression of arctmess that reminded 
one of his father (you remember what brilliant and vivacious eyes his were) ; in short, EusseU Moore's face would 
h ive been a good model for a painter who wanted a suggestion for a little Cupid." 

t Tom was undoubtedly possessed of abilities. He obtained a prize at the Chai'ter-House. On his death, a 
French general wrote to Mr. Moore to say he would have received the Cross of the Legion of Honour had he lived 
awlule longer ; and among the few remains sent to his parents were note-books and drawings concerning many of 
the countries of Europe. 

t That piano was a special legacy from Mrs. Moore to her grand-niece, with an injunction that it was always to 
be kept in the family : " never to be parted with." One of the harps is now in our drawing-room, the gift of our 
valued friend Mrs. Murray. 



reverence for that husband amounted to devotion, she watched over him as a mother 
watches over a tender and beloved child. It was the most wonderful blending of 
admiration, duty, and lovingness I ever witnessed or could fancy. At times, even 
then — though as her husband tenderly said, she had wept her eyes away crying for 
her children— she looked radiantly beautiful 

When silent, Mrs. Moore's mouth was charmingly expressive. It was not small, 
but it was beautifully formed ; the lips full yet delicate, and quivering like a child's 
with any sudden emotion, giving birth to little fleeting dimples, and at times the 
upper lip would upturn with such pretty disdain, that it seemed a pleasure to make 
her a little angry : — 

" The short passing anger but seemed to awaken 
New beauties, like flowers that axe sweetest When shaken," 

During many succeeding months I heard frequently from Mrs. Moore.* She 
sent me several little commissions for biscuits of some particular kind, " he was so 
fond of them." She seemed to me to watch the advertisements, and to obtain every- 
thmg nourishing or new to tempt him. As time passed, his time passed with it. 
She was slow to realise the agonising fact ; she had put it from her, hid it away, 
invented reasons: "his stomach was out of order;" "he wanted change;" "he 
had been working too hard ;" " the summer always tried him — he would be better in 
the winter ;" or " the winter was too cold, he always bloomed out with the flowers." f 
One reason was the right one ; like Scott and Southey, " he had worked too hard." 
Imagination, thought, memory, were worn out. At last— at last — she knew it ; the 
greatest trial of her sorely-tried life had come. Her idol, whom she worshipped 
with perfect enthusiasm — he of whose genius she was so proud, to become what he 
was — still tender and gentle, but mindless as an infant. She could not bear any one 
to see him in that state ; day and night, night and day, for months and months she 
alone ministered to him, at his desire singing him scraps of hymns. We can easily 
imagine how the perpetual watching and waiting preyed on a constitution already 
enfeebled by sorrows, which it had been her chief care to prevent hh feeling in their 
intensity. She was ever at her post. The sick room was the heart of the house ; 
the life-blood beat there, more and more feebly, but still it beat ; and then there was 
no longer need for watching : the end came — the end here ! 

After a time she collected his books, and gave them and his Irish harp to the 
Eoyal Irish Academy, on condition that a room should be appropriated to them — 
now and always. That has been done. About six months after his death she asked 
me to come and spend a few days with her. " The light of the house is gone," she 
said, " but you can recall it as it was." I found her changed, yet not more so than 
I expected, and I perceived that the only pleasure she seemed to have was talking 

* Her letters to me always contained flowers, and occasionally a sprig of bay. I have just opened one of them ; 
the leaves are dry and dead, but there are loving words to keep memory green in the soul. 

+ One of her touching notes is now at my side. " My dearest Mrs. Hall,— He is now sitting up with the window 
open, and the sun shining on him. I can hardly believe that I write the truth. His sleep is excellent, and in aU 
ways he improves daily. I am not at all well, and begin to feel I require rest, which I will take if I can. But he is 
yet too feeble to be left, and I do not like to biing a stranger about him. Your affectionate B. M.— He is sitting 
close by me, and is anxious to walk." 


about HIM. While the morning was yet grey, about half-past five, I heard her voice 
in the garden, directing her old gardener, and immediately after breakfast she took 
her seat at the dining-room window, which she opened, and waited there for the 
poor villagers, who never failed to present themselves for what they wanted — 
medicine, or soup, or articles of clothing, or books, to be lent or given, or often for 
a bit of advice, from "Madam Moore." This occupied from one to two hours, and 
then she would go upstairs, unlock and enter his library, where she would sit alone 
for another hour, never inviting or permitting any one to enter it. I was never 
once in it during either of my visits to her. She swept and dusted it herself, and 
then sat down with at least outward calmness at the window. If I had gone for a 
walk into the beautiful lanes, or through the fields to visit the tomb in Bromham 
Churchyard, and looked up at the bowery window as I entered the gate, she would 
nod and smile at me, and -in the course of a little time come down to the drawing- 
room, and take up her patchwork, or her knitting, or doll-dressing (for she had 
always some bazaar- work on hand), or cushions, or slippers to make for a friend; 
and it often seemed to me strange how the last great sorrow had tided over all 
others, — all except one. The eldest son, Tom, was known to have died in Africa ; 
they had received confirmatory letters and all his " things " long ago, but .-j/te 
retained fragments of broken hope that he would yet return. One particular 
evening we had been sitting still and silent a long time, when suddenly the garden 
gate was thrown open, her pale cheek flushed, she started up and looked out, then 
sank into her chair, "What was it, dear?" I inquired. "You will think it a 
weakness," she said, " or perhaps insanity, but I have never quite believed in our 
son's death, and I seldom hear the garden gate opened at an unusual hour without a 
hope that it is my boy." 

She was then beginning to suffer from an internal complaint, that persecuted her 
to the last, and which her medical advisers said had been brought on by stooping 
over and turning — lifting, in fact — her helpless husband. 

Suffering of her own had not exhausted her sympathy for others. She was 
warmly sympathetic to the last, retaining her taste for the beautiful, which most 
manifested itself in her care and love of flowers. Her cheeks would flush if you 
brought her a new or beautiful flower ; and whenever she obtained a rare plant, her 
first thought was how it could be divided. Her garden was like the widow's cruse 
— tiny place though it was ! — yet such clumps of lily of the valley — such roots of 
marvellous polyanthus — such fragrant violets — such " strikings " of the wonderful 
" Tara ivy," which was flourishing when I paid my first visit to Sloperton ! 

I had visited her four times between the death of her husband and her own, and 
promised her on my return from Germany, that I would spend some few autumn 
days with her ; but that was not to be ; and dearly as I loved her, I could not 
regret her release from the intense suffering she endured, and which had so much 
increased of late as to render her once beautiful person a complete wreck. But 
when hardly able to stand, she would creep into the garden to see that hh favourite 
terrace- walk was free from weed or pebble, and that his Tara ivy, and whatever he 
loved, was duly cared for. In our early friendship, Mr. Hall had sent Mrs. Moore 


some standard roses ; two or three of those were the poet's especial favourites. I 
was there when one of them showed symptoms of decay ; it was painful to witness 
her anxiety about that tree. Every species of " compo " was applied to its roots ; I 
might almost say she watered it with her tears. Thoughtlessly I told her Mr. Hall 
would send her another of the same sort. "No, no," she said impatiently; "he 
cannot send me a tree on which my darling looked, or from which he gathered a 

On the death of Mrs. Moore, she directed some relics connected with her 
illustrious husband to be sent to us ; she had, indeed, told us that she would do so. 
To Mrs. Hall she sent an inkstand, presented to Moore by the sons of George 
Crabbe, and the small deal table to which I have referred as standing in the terrace- 
walk, at which it was " his custom to pause and write down his thoughts." 

Among the MSS., all in his handwriting (the major part, however, being notes, 
chiefly for the " History of Ireland"), is one that contains this prefatory passage : — ■ 
" The first rudiments of the ' Loves of the Angels,' which it is clear I began and 
meant to continue in prose. T. M." 

Although interesting, they are mere fragments. One of them relates the story 
of St. Jerome, who, complaining of the slander of his enemies, wrote that " if the 
gratification of sense had been his pursuit, he would naturally have selected some of 
those fair wantons of Rome whose persons charmed the eye by every embellishment 
of beauty and of art; but that, on the contrary, the objects of his attachments were 
women who, by fasting and humiliation, had not alone ruined the attractions of 
their forms, but sufi'ered neglect to obscure even its decencies." 

This apology suggested the following lines : — 


" She sleeps among the pure and blest ; 
But oh ! believe me when I swear 
That while a spirit thrills my breast, 
Her woi'th shall be remembered there. 

" My tongue shall never hope to charm, 
Unless it breathes BlesUla's name ; 
My fancy ne'er shall beam so warm 
As when it lights Blesilla's fame. 

"On her, where'er my pages fly. 
My pages still shall life confer, 
And every wise or beauteous eye 
That studies me, shall weep for her. 

" For her the widow's tear shall fall 
In sympathy of single love, 
And holy maids shall learn to call 
On her who blooms a saint above. 

" And many a learned and lonely sage. 
And many a monk, recluse and hoary, 
Shall love the lines and bless the page 
That wafts Blesilla's name to glory." 

That Moore had many generous friends, with the power as well as the will to 
serve him is quite certain. 

I found among the papers given to me by Mrs. Moore this letter from the 
historian, Sir William Napier : — 

"My dear Moore, 

" Knowing your feelings about pecuniarj' affiairs, I feel almost afraid to tell you tliat 
T have several hundred pounds at my bankers ; that there is not the slightest chance of my wanting 
them, for a year at least; and until your affairs are arranged with Murray, I do hope that you will 
not be ottended if I say they are at your service. 

" Wm. Napier." 

I find also in one of his loose memorandum-books this passage : — 

" On looking through these pages, I have lighted on some remarks respecting Lord Lands- 
downe, in which he is represented as having been wanting in those pecuniary services towards me 
which his great wealth enabled him to bestow on me. Without entering into particulars on 
this subject, I will only say that, when my embarrassment wore its worst aspect, Lord L. 
came forward to take the whole weight of my loss, whatever it might be, on himself." 

When Mrs. Moore died she bequeathed all the little she had to leave to her 
nephew, Charles Murray ; and he has since been called from earth, leaving a 
widow (a most estimable lady) and two lovely daughters. Mr. Murray was a most 
excellent and accomplished gentleman, respected, regarded, indeed beloved by all 
who knew him. He had much of the ready dramatic talent inherited from his father, 
one of the lights of the early Scottish stage. He was a brilliant companion, sang 
sweetly, and occasionally gave marvellous effect to comic songs. His widow presented 
to us many relics of the Poet, among others, the pencil-case he always used, a small 
harp that occasionally accompanied him to friendly parties, a small Bible, in which 
were recorded the names and birthdays of the five children, some autograph letters 
of deep interest, and several manuscripts. 

And now there remain, I believe, excepting these two fair girls, none of the race 
on either side. 

Like Byron, and Scott, and Southey, and Campbell, and a score others of the 
greatest men of the past age, the name is represented by " no son of his descending ; " 
yet of each the name will live for ever, inseparable from the land's language.* 

* It is not long since we had as guests in oui drawing-room Maria Edgeworth and Felicia Hemans, the grand- 
daughters of oiu' old and honom'ed frieiids of half a century ago. 


OETEY has been to me its own ' exceeding great reward ; ' 
it has soothed my afflictions, it has multiplied and refined 
my enjoyments, it has endeared solitude, it has given me 
the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beau- 
tiful in all that meets and surrounds me." These elo- 
quent and impressive words prefaced a book of poems 
bearing date "May, 1797," and up to a summer morning 
in 1834, when, " under the pressure of long and painful 
disease," he yielded to the universal conqueror, and 
joined the beatified spirits who praise God without let 
or hindrance from earth, the comfort and consolation 
thence derived had brought continual happiness to 
Yet was the joy of his heart and mind drawn from a far 
higher source. He lived and died a Christian, seeking salvation " through faith in 
Jesus, the Mediator," and earnestly and devoutly teaching "thanksgiving and adoring 
love," ending his last will and testament with these memorable words — " His staff 
AND His eod alike comfoet me." 

It is a rare privilege to have known such a man. The influence of one so truly 
good as well as great cannot have been transitory. It is a joy to me now — nearly 
fifty years after his departure. I seem to hear the melodious voice, and look upon 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 

the gentle, gracious, and loving countenance of "the old man eloquent," as I write 
this Memory, a memory of him who, — 

" in bewitching words, with happy heart, 
Didst chaunt the vision of that Ancient Man, 
The bright-eyed Mariner, and rueful woes 
Didst utter of the Lady Christabel." 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born at St. Mary Ottery, on the 21st October, 1772, 
and was thus a native of my own beautiful county — the county of Devon. 

" Sweet shire, that bounteous Nature richly dowers ; 
Sweet shire, whose glens and dells are faiiy bowers ; 
Sweet shii'e, whose very weeds are fragi-ant flowers." 

His father, the Eev. John Coleridge, Vicar of Ottery, and head master of Henry YIII.'s 
Free Grammar School — "the King's School" — was a man of considerable learning, 
and also of much eccentricity. Many singular stories are told of him : among others, 
that he occasionally addressed his peasant congregation in Hebrew. 

Coleridge was a solitary child, the youngest of a large family. Of weakly health, 
" huffed away from the enjoyments of muscular activity ; driven from life in motion 
to life in thought and sensation," he had " the simplicity and docility of a child, but 
not the child's habits," and early sought solace and companionship in books. In 
The Friend he informs us he had read a volume of " The Arabian Nights" before his 
fifth birthday. Through the interest of Judge Buher, one of his father's pupils, he 
obtained a presentation to Christ's Hospital, and was placed there on the 18th July, 
1782. Christ's Hospital — the Bluecoat School- — was in 1782 very different from 
what it is in 1876. The hideous dress is now the only relic of the old management 
that made " such boys as were friendless, depressed, moping, half-starved, objects 
of reluctant and degrading charity." There is little doubt that the treatment he 
received induced a weakness of stomach that was the parent of much after-misery. 
The head master was the Rev. James Bowyer. Coleridge writes of him : — He was 
" a sensible, though a severe master," to whom "lute, harp, and lyre, muses and 
inspirations, Pegasus, Parnassus, and Hippocrene, were abominations." De Quincey 
considers his great idea was to "flog; " "the man knouted his way through life 
from bloody youth up to truculent old age." And Gillman relates that to such a 
pitch did he carry this habit, that once when a lady called upon him on " a visit 
of intercession," and was told to go away, but lingered at the door, the master 
exclaimed, " Bring that woman here, and I'll flog her'.'' Leigh Hunt thus describes 
the tyrant of the school : — " His eye was close and cruel ; " "his hands hung out of 
the sleeves of his coat as if ready for execution." He states that Coleridge, when 
he heard of the man's death, said " it was lucky the cherubim who took him to 
heaven were nothing but faces and wings, or he would infallibly have flogged them 
by the way." 

Among his schoolfellows were Charles Lamb and, later, Leigh Hunt. The friend- 
ship with Lamb, then commenced, endured unchangingly through life. In one of 
the pleasantest of his essays he recalls to memory "the evenings when we used to 
sit and speculate at our old Salutation Tavern upon pantisocracy and golden days to 



come on earth." Wordsworth told Judge Coleridge that many of his uncle's sonnets 
were written from the " Cat and Salutation,'"'' ., 

where Coleridge had " imprisoned himself for 
some time;" and Talfourd tells us it was 
there Lamb and Coleridge used to meet, talk- 
ing of poets and poetry, or, as Lamb says, 
" beguiling the cares of life with poetry, — 

' Our lonely path to cheer, as travellers use, 
With merry tale, quaint song, or roundelay.' " 



Yet full draughts of knowledge Coleridge 
certainly took in at Christ's Hospital. Before 
his fifteenth year he " had translated the eight 
hymns of Synesius from the Greek into 
English anacreontics ; " he became captain 
of the school ; and in learning soon out- 
stripped all competitors. " From eight to 
eighteen," he writes," I was a playless day- 
dreamer, clumsy, slovenly, heedless of dress, 
and careless as to personal appearance, 
treated with severity by an unthinking master, 
yet ever luxuriating in books, wooing the 
muse, and wedded to verse." Ij 

At the age of eighteen, on the 7th of 
February, 1790, after much discomfort and 
misery, he left Christ's Hospital for Jesus 
College, Cambridge. His fellow- scholars even 
then anticipated for him the fame which ^ 

many of them lived to see. " The friendly (^^ 
cloisters and happy groves of quiet, ever- 
honoured Jesus College " he quitted without 
a degree, although he obtained honours — - 
poetical honours, that is to say. His reading 
was too desultory ; in mathematics he made 
no way ; there was, consequently, little chance 
of the University providing him with an in- 
come, and he had to take his chance in the 
world. During his residence at Cambridge 
occurred that romantic episode with which 
all readers are familiar. Having come up 
to London greatly dispirited, on the 3rd of 
December, 1793, he enlisted in the 15th 

* In the several memoirs of Coleridge and of Lamb, the inn is described as being in Smithfield ; I believe, 
however, it is in Newgate Street, No. 17. Peter Cunningham so states. Cunningham adds that " here Southey found 
out Coleridge, and sought to move him from the torpor of inaction." Lamb, in his femous letter to Southey, 
lemiads him of their meetings at the old tavern. 


Light Dragoons, under the name of Silas Tomkin Cumberhatch. The story is told 
in various ways. Joseph Cottle, who professes to gather the facts from several 
" scraps " supplied by Coleridge at various times, infers that he enlisted because he 
was crossed in love. He made, of course, a bad soldier, and a worse rider. He 
did not long remain in the army. According to Cottle, he was standing sentry 
when two officers passed who were discussing one of the plays of Euripides, 
Coleridge, touching his cap, " corrected their Grreek."* Another, and more 
probable, statement is that one of the officers of the troop discovered some Latin 
lines which Coleridge had pinned up to the door of a stable. The discovery of his 
scholarship was made, however ; his discharge was soon arranged ; and he was 
restored to the University. Miss Mitford, in her " Recollections," states that the 
arrangements for his discharge took place at her father's house at Reading, where 
the 15th was then quartered, and adds that it was much facilitated by one of the 
servants who " waited at the table " agreeing to enlist in his stead. 

What motive swayed the judgment, or what stormy "impulse drove the 
passionate despair of Coleridge into quitting Jesus College, Cambridge, was never 
clearly or certainly made known to the very nearest of his friends." De Quincey, 
who writes this, adds that he enlisted " in a frenzy of unhappy feeling at the 
rejection he met with from the lady of his choice." In 1836 I published in the 
'New MontJihj Magazine an article entitled " A letter from Wales by the late S. T. 
Coleridge." It was addressed to Mr. Marten, a clergyman in Dorsetshire. Coleridge 
being at Wrexham, standing at the window of the inn, there passed by, to his utter 
astonishment, a young lady, " Mary Evans, quam afflict am et ]jerdite amaham — yea, 
even to anguish." "I sickened," he adds, " and well-nigh fainted, but instantly 
retired. God bless her ! Her image is in the sanctuary of my bosom, and never 
can it be torn thence but with the strings that grapple my heart to life." May not 
this incident, which seems to have been unknown to his biographers, supply a key 
to the motive of his enlistment, as surmised by both Cottle and De Quincey ? 

After his return to Cambridge he formed, with Southey, the scheme of emigrating 
to America. Southey, in a letter to Montgomery long afterwards, thus briefly 
explains it : — " We planned an Utopia of our own, to be founded in the wilds of 
America, upon the basis of common property, each labouring for all — a Pantisockacy 
— a republic of reason and virtue." And Joseph Cottle writes : — " In 1794 Robert 
Lovell, a clever young Quaker, who had married a Miss Fricker, informed me that 
a few friends of his from Oxford and Cambridge, with himself, were about to sail to 
America, and on the banks of the Susquehana to form a ' social colony,' in which 
there was to be a community of property, and where all that was selfish was to be 

* In 1837, after the death of Coleridge, a volume of " Early EecoUections " of the poet was published by Joseph 
Cottle, the bookseller of Bristol, by whom the poems of Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge were originally 
published in 1794. The book is not "to be entirely depended upon." So, at least, Southey says. Yet it is full of 
curious and most interesting matter, and, beyond doubt, the publisher was the attached, and generous, and sympa- 
thising friend of the three immortal men whom he may be said to have introduced to the world. James Montgomery's 
view of this work seems to me a just one : " that the reminiscent had not printed a single remark that was either 
dishonourable to himself or derogatory to the friendship that had existed between him and the highly-gifted 
individuals." Cottle's bookshop stood at the N.E. comer of High Street ; the house was burnt down long ago, and 
has been rebuilt. His residence was firfield House, Knowle, near Bristol, where he died in 1853, in his eighty- 
foui-th year. 


proscribed." Two of the " patriots " were introduced to the more prudent book- 
seller : one of them was Coleridge, the other Southey. It was speedily ascertained 
that their combined funds, instead of sufficing to "freight a ship," would not have 
purchased changes of clothing ; and very soon the Pantisocratic trio were necessi- 
tated to borrow a little money from the bookseller to pay their lodgings, which were 
then at 48, College Street, Bristol (the house is still standing, and remains in nearly 
its original condition). The scheme was, of course, abandoned, and Coleridge and 
Southey married the two sisters of Mr. Lovell's wife, resolved to settle down, for the 
present at least, at Bristol, with the intention of devoting themselves to literature.* 

The shades of Chatterton, Southey, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Lamb, Davy, Cottle, 
Lloyd, and of many others who are " famous for all time," consecrate the streets of 
Bristol. A dark cloud has for ever settled over the proud church of the Canynges, 
although a monument recalls the memory of the " marvellous boy" whose birthplace 
is but a stone's throw off — whose grave is past finding out among the accumulated 
rubbish of a graveyard in London. In Bristol great Southey was born, and there 
(in the city jail) Savage died, his grave, in one of the churchyards, yet unmarked by 
a memorial stone. f Here immortal Wordsworth first saw himself in print; here 
Humphry Davy had a vision of a lamp of greater worth than that of the fabled 
Aladdin ; here dwelt the profound essayist, John Foster ; here Eobert Hall glorified 
a Nonconformist pulpit ; here Hannah More taught to the young imperishable lessons 
of virtue, order, piety, and truth; here the sisters, Jane and Anna Maria Porter, 
dwelt in early youth and in venerated age ; and here the artists Lawrence, Bird, 
Danby, Pyne, and MuUer earned their first loaves of dry bread. But Bristol was 
never the nourishing mother of genius ; the birds from her nest, as soon as full- 
fledged, went forth — thenceforward uncared for ; they obtained no affection, and 
manifested no attachment. Here and there a few lines of tributary verse, and a 
gracious memory, bear misty records of friendships formed and services accorded in 
the great city of commercial prosperities ; but Bristol has assuredly not honoured, 
neither has she been honoured by, the worthies who in a sense belong to her, and of 
whom all the rest of the world is rightly and justly proud. 

While at college Coleridge imbibed Socinian opinions, and his mind became 
" terribly unsettled." In his Monody on the Death of Chatterton (" sweet harper 
of time-shrouded minstrelsy") he thus indicated his sad and perilous forebodings : — 

" I dare no longer on the sad theme muse, 
Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom." 

He tells us that before his fifteenth year he had bewildered himself in meta- 
physics and theological controversy, " and found no end, in wandering mazes lost." 
One of the experiments, as to his future, was to become a preacher. He was looked 
upon by the Bristolians as the rising star of Unitarianism, and he did actually, on a 
few occasions, preach. He preached indeed, but in so odd a dress and so out of 

* The miserable sneer of Byron will be remembered ; but the "three sisters" were of Bristol, and not of 
" Bath ; " in " Don Juan " they were transfeixed to Bath because the word suited better than Bristol for the rhyme 

t^ I suRpested to a respected merchant of Bristol the removal of this reproach from the city, and I rejoice to 
say it has been done. I see no reason why I should not mention the name— Mr. Wilham Henry Wills. 


the usual routine, that it was quite clear, as a minister, " he would not do."* Yet 
Hazlitt thus describes one of the sermons of the "half-inspired speaker:" — "I 
could not have been more delighted if I had heard the music of the spheres. Poetry 
and philosophy had met together ; truth and genius had embraced under the eye, 
and with the sanction, of Religion." 

It was not long, however, before he struggled through the slough of Socinianism, 
and was freed from the trammels of infidelity. Cottle records how "he professed 
the deepest conviction of the truths of Revelation, of the fall of man, of the 
divinity of Christ, and redemption alone through His blood," and had heard him 
say, in argument with a Socinian minister, " Sir, you give up so much, that the little 
you retain of Christianity is not worth keeping." He is also represented as saying 
of Socinians on another occasion, that "if they were to offer to construe the will of 
their neighbour as they did that of their Maker, they would be scouted out of 
society ; " and he eagerly protested against the theory that there was " «o sphitual 
world, and no spiritual life in a spiritual world.'' He had " skirted the howling 
deserts of infidelity," but he had found a haven — one that sheltered him in pain, in 
trouble, even in the agonies of self-reproach. He became a thorough Christian, and 
ever after, in all his speakings and writings, was the advocate of the Redeemer, 
proclaiming in a memorable letter to his godson, Adam Steinmetz Kinnaird, and on 
many other opportunities, that " the greatest of all blessings, and the most ennobling 
of all privileges, was to be indeed a Christian." This passage is from his last will 
and testament (dated September 17, 1829). A few of the small things of earth he 
had to leave he bequeathed to Ann Gillman, " the wife of my dear friend, my love 
for whom, and my sense of unremitting goodness and never-wearied kindness to me, 
I hope, and humbly trust, will follow me as a part of my abiding being in that state 
into which I hope to rise, through the merits and mediation, and by the efiicacious 
power, of the Son of Grod incarnate, in the blessed Jesus, whom I believe in my 
heart, and confess with my mouth, to have been from everlasting the way and the 
truth, and to have become man, that for fallen and sinful men He might be the 
resurrection and the life." 

In 1796 he started a publication which he called the Watchman, the motto of 
which was, " That all might know the truth, and that the truth might make us 
free." The first number was issued on the 5th of February, 1796, to be published 
every eighth day, at the price of fourpence. It soon died, involving its editor in a 
heavy debt, which, happily, a friend discharged. In the " Biographia Literaria " 
there is a lively account of his travels in search of subscribers, mingled with some 
painful reminiscences of "those days of shame and regret," the degrading anxieties 
of his canvass. He was reminded by one to whom he applied, that twelve shillings 
a year was a large sum to be bestowed on one person, when there were so many 
objects of charity ; a noble lord, vi^hose name had been given him as a subscriber, 

* Joseph Cottle says— "He preached twice at the Socinian chapel in Bath, in blue coat and white -waistcoat, 
once on the Corn Laws and once on the hair-powder tax ! " The answer of Charles Lamb will be called to mind. 
Coleridge asked him, " Charles, did you ever hear me preach 1" "I never heard you do anything else," was the 


reproved him for impudence in directing his pamphlets to him; a rich tallow- 
chandler was " as great a one as any man in Brummagem for liberty and them sort 
of thmgs," but begged to be excused ; while an opulent cotton-dealer in Manchester 
was " overrun with these articles," and another " had no time for reading, and no 
money to spare." At the ninth number he " dropped the work," and had the 
satisfaction^ of seeing his servant light his fires with the surplus stock, recording the 
event in this expressive line — 

" O Watchman, thou hast watched in vain ! " 

But, in truth, he soon disgusted all his Jacobin supporters by attacking "modern 
patriotism," and raising a warning voice against it. Like " Balaam, the son of Beor," 
he blessed where he was employed to curse. Instead of advocating infidelity and 
the freedom that France was then brewing in her infernal caldron, French morals, 
and French philosophy, he " avowed his conviction that national education, and a 
concurring spread of the Gospel, were the indispensable condition of any true 
political amelioration." Loyalty is now the easiest of all our duties— thank God ! 
It was not so when Coleridge, Southey, and Wordsworth were Kepublicans. While 
residing at Stowey, and having Wordsworth for his constant companion, Coleridge 
and his friend were suspected of being Jacobins ; they were actually placed under 
surveillance, and a spy was ordered to watch their movements. They were guilty of 
talking to each other "real Hebrew Greek," and of wandering about the hills with 
papers in their hands ; but nothing more formidable being urged, they remained at large. 

The help of Josiah and Thomas Wedgwood — worthy sons of a great father, 
honoured be the name ! — by settling on Coleridge an'annuity of £150, placed him at 
comparative ease. "Thenceforward," he writes, " instead of troubling others with 
my own crude notions, I was better employed in attempting to store my own head 
with the wisdom of others." By that help "I was enabled to finish my education 
in Germany." In September, 1798, he sailed with Wordsworth and his sister from 
Great Yarmouth to Hamburg. He was but fourteen months absent, and returned to 
London in November, 1799. The fruits of his journey were seen in his translation 
of " Wallenstein," which he wrote at a lodging in Buckingham Street, Strand. His 
travels in Germany, entitled "Fragments of a Journey over the Brocken," &c., 
he gave to me in 1828, for publication in the Amulet (one of the then popular 
" Annuals," of which I was editor from the year 1825 to the year 1836) ; they were 
subsequently reprinted by Mr. Gillman, in his Life of Coleridge.* They contained 
the well-known poem — 

" I stood on Brocken's sov'ran height." 

He was soon afterwards engaged in the literary department of the Morning Post. 
Subsequently he visited Malta, Rome, Naples, and other parts of Italy, from which, 

* Tn 1835 I printed, in the New Monthly Magazine, of which I was then the editor, three letters from Coleridge to 
his wife (his " dearest love," from her " faithful hustand "), dated May, 1799, which contain more details of his tour 
than are found ia the " Fragments." T cannot call to mind from whom I received them : a prefatory note states 
that they were given to the writer by Mr. Coleridge in ]8'28. It would appear that Wordsworth and Coleridge did 
not long travel together : Coleridge names his companions— Wordsworth is not among them. One of them. Dr. 
Clement Carlyon, F.R.S., published in 1836 a volume entitled "Early Years and Late Eecollections," a principal 
part of which is occupied with details of this tour ; it contains very little of any value. He states, however, that 
the beautiful poem, " I stood on Brocken's sov'ran height," was certainly wiitten at the inn at AVerningerode. 




however, he made a rapid exit, an order for his arrest having been sent, it is said, 
by Buonaparte, in consequence of his writings in the Morning Post. 

The Friend, another literary venture, was published weekly ; it reached its 
twenty-seventh number, and, like the Watchman, ceased from want of support. It 
was unfortunately printed at Penrith, and Coleridge was actually induced to set up 
a printer there, to buy and lay in a stock of type, paper, &c. The result was 
assured; the- printer failed, and Coleridge had to sustain a severe pecuniary loss. 

The circumstances that kept Coleridge apart from his wife during the greater 
portion of his life form one of those hidden mysteries into which it is not our 
business to inquire. Coleridge was married to Miss Sara Fricker on the 4th of 
October, 1795, at the church of St. Mary Redcliff, Bristol. There is abundant 
testimony to the amiable qualities and pure character of Mrs. Coleridge. De Quincey, 
perhaps, is the best authority on the subject: — "She was in all circumstances a 
virtuous wife and a conscientious mother." Moreover, she was by no means 
common-place: the affection borne for her by her sister's husband, Southey, and 
her long and close companionship with the high-souled Laureate, woiild suffice as 
evidence on that head. De Quincey records that, wishing her daughter to learn 
Italian, and in her retirement at Keswick finding it impossible to procure the aid of 
a master, she resolutely set herself to the task of acquiring the language, that she 
might teach it to her child ; and Cottle prints a poem written by her of more than 
ordinary merit. I received the following note concerning Mrs. Coleridge from one 
who knew her well and loved her dearly : — " She was a woman of rare qualities, 
very clever and accomplished,, witty, and possessed of taste. and judgment in no 
common measure ; extremely industrious, labouring for the mental and bodily needs 
of her children through a long life. Frugality in her reached to a great virtue. She 
was of transparent truthfulness, in thought, word, and deed. Her unusually clear 
statements were very striking both in writing and speaking. She probably withheld 
her ' candid admiration of her husband's intellectual powers,' which she undoubtedly 
was quite capable of appreciating, for she was impatient of what she conceived to be 
his impractical habits in matters of daily life, and that by which it must be clothed 
and fed. I have heard her speak sadly on that point ; and I have often heard her 
speak most emphatically of his purity, of his uncommon gifts, and of his unlikeness 
to ordinary men. They took a pride in each other to the last. The mystery of 
their long separation can better be solved by the very common -place facts of 
difficulties in matters of L. S. D. than in any of the guesses that meet one on every 
side. Had Samuel Taylor Coleiidge been a rich — or even moderately well-off — 
man, he and his wife would have undoubtedly ended their days under the same 
roof. An unromantic explanation, but nevertheless the true one. They now rest 
side by side in Highgate Churchyard." * 

* These lines are from a poem addressed by Coleridge to his "pensive Sara," not long after their marriage :— 

" Meek daughter in the fanuLy of Christ, 
WeU hast thou said, and holily dispraised 
These shapings of the unregenerate mind, 
Bubbles that glitter as they rise, and break 
On vain Philosophy's aye-bubbling spring," 




The three children of that marriage have all been, or are, distinguished in the 
world of letters. The eldest was Hartley Coleridge, who died young, but not until 
he had given to the world many poems that place his name among the poets of the 
century, giving him rank, indeed, beside his great father. He was tenderly beloved 
in life by the Laureate, Robert Southey, who alludes to him in " The Doctor," as 
his " wife's nephew ; " and by William Wordsworth, who had depicted him, when a 
child, as one "whose genius from afar was brought;" and who, when his mortal 
remains were to be laid in Grasmere Churchyard, selected the place for his burial 
close to his own allotted resting-place, saying, "Hartley, I know, would like to lie 
near me." Sara, the only daughter, married her cousin, H. N. Coleridge, and edited 
some of her great father's works, inheriting, indeed, much of his genius. Ample 
proof of this is given in her notes to the " Biographia Literaria," and the Introduc- 
tory Essay to the " Aids to Reflection." Those who knew her describe her as lovely 
in person and in mind. Derwent Coleridge, the youngest of his children, is happily 
still with us, in healthy vigour. He has written a memoir, and edited the works, of 
his friend Mackworth Praed. He has long been recognised as a ripe scholar, and 
was formerly the Principal of St. Mark's College, Fulham : he is now the rector of 
Hanwell. His name is associated with that of his brother as his biographer and 
editor of his writings ; with that of his father as the latest editor of his principal 
works. He has also published works on his own account, which evince his merit as 
a divine and critic, and, above all, as an educationist. Thus the name of Coleridge 
has been continued in honour and in usefulness, and no doubt it will be so to another 
generation ; for not long ago, a grandson, Herbert Coleridge, achieved eminence, and 
was called away ; and there are others who are bearing it with distinction. Genius 
is sometimes, though not often, hereditary. 

To the list is to be added the nephew of the poet, the late Judge Coleridge, and 
the even more highly-honoured name of his son, the present Chief Justice Coleridge, 
who represented in Parliament the city of Exeter, and who obtained high renown 
as one of the soundest lawyers and most eloquent of the men of the House of 

The cottage at Clevedon, near Bristol, in which the young couple went to reside, 
heedless of all the requirements of life, and with literally nothing " to begin life " * 
upon, is still standing, and is one of the " lions " of the place. The village was then 
essentially rural ; it is now. a fashionable watering-place. The cottage, whish the 
poet thus describes — 

" Low was our pretty cot— our tallest rose 
Peeped at the chamber window ; 
' ' .... In the open air 

Our myrtles blossomed, and across the porch 
Thick jasmines twined" — 

is now common-place enough. "The white-flowered jasmine" and the " broad- 

* He seems to have faced and dared matrimony on an offer made him by the Bristol bookseller. " I told him, 
says Cottle, " I would give him one guinea and a half for every hundred lines he would give to me, whether rhyme 
or blank verse." That, in the estimation of the sanguine poet, was a certain income ; for when a practical friend, 
with an eye i-ather to market prices than the Muses, asked him, " How was he to keep the pot boiling ? " he answered, 
"Mr. Qottte had made him such an offer that he felt no solicitude on that head." 

D 2 




leaved myrtle" (" meet emblems they of innocence and love") no longer blossom 
there ; but the place has a memory ; for there, out of " thick-coming fancies," were 
planned and penned some of the sweetest and grandest poems in our language — 
poems that have given joy to milHons, and will continue to delight as long as that 
language is spoken or read. It is now called "Coleridge Cottage," and is depicted in 
the accompanying woodcut. The Bristolians love the place for its fresh sea-breezes 
and airs redolent of health that come from heath-covered downs. Will no generous 
hand restore as well as preserve it, that thither the young and hopeful and trustful 
may make pilgrimage, that there the aged may think calmly over a troubled past, 

" And tranquil muse upon tranquillity ! " 


Subsequently he removed to a cottage at AUfoxden. The rent of the cottage was 
but seven pounds a year. William Howitt describes it as a poor place; but the 
nightingales sing there yet, and traces of past pleasantness may be noted; the 
orchard trees, and the " Kme-tree bower," in which the poet thought and wrote, 
flourish there still. 

In 1816 the wandering and unsettled ways of the poet were calmed and 
harmonised in the home of the Gillmans at Highgate, where the remainder of bis 
days— nearly twenty years — were passed in entire quiet and comparative happiness. 
Mr. Gillman was a surgeon, and it is understood that Coleridge went to reside with 



him chiefly to be under his surveillance, to break himself of the fearful habit he had 
contracted of eating opium ; a habit that grievously impaired his mind, engendered 
terrible self-reproach, and embittered the best years of his life.* He was the guest 
and the beloved friend, as well as the patient, of Mr. Gillman, whose devoted attach- 
ment, with that of his estimable wife, supplied the calm contentment and seraphic 
peace — such as might have been the dream of the poet and the hope of the man. 
Honoured be the name, and reverenced the memory, of this "general practitioner," 
this true friend ! It is recorded of Fulke Greville, the counsellor of kings, that he 
ordered it to be placed on his monument, as his proudest boast, that he was 

" The Mend of Sir Philip Sidney." 

. i — ■- - " - J ' ' 


It is a loftier title to the gratitude of posterity, that which James Gillman claims 
when his tombstone records the fact that he was 

" The Mend of S. T. Coleridge," 

carving also on the stone two of his dear friend's lines — 

" Mercv for praise, to be forgiven for fame, 
He asked, and hoped through Chi'ist— do thou the same. 

* De Quincey more than insinuates that instead of GiUman persuading Coleridge to relinquish opium, Coleridge 
seduced GiUman into taking it. 


Gillman died on the 1st of June, 1837, having arranged to publish a Life of 
Coleridge, of which he produced but the first volume.* 

Coleridge's habit of taking opium was no secret. In 1816 it had already reached 
a fearful pitch. It had produced " during many years an accumulation of bodily 
suffering that wasted the frame, poisoned the sources of enjoyment, and entailed an 
intolerable mental load that scarcely knew cessation ; " the poet himself called it 
" the accursed drug." In 1814 Cottle wrote him a strong protest against this 
terrible and ruinous habit, entreating him to renounce it. Coleridge said in reply, 
" You have poured oil into the raw and festering wound of an old friend, Cottle, 
but it is oil of vitriol." He accounts for the " accursed habit " by stating that he 
had taken it first to obtain relief from intense bodily suffering, and he seriously 
contemplated entering a private insane asylum as the surest means of its removal. 
His remorse was terrible and perpetual ; he was " rolling rudderless," " the wreck 
of what he once was," " helpless and hopeless." He revealed this " dominion " to 
De Quincey " with a deep expression of horror at the hideous bondage." It was 
this " conspiracy of himself against himself" that poisoned his life. He describes 
it with frantic pathos as "the scourge, the curse, the one almighty blight, that had 
desolated his life ; " the thief, 

"To steal 
From my own nature all the natural man." 

The habit was, it would seem, commenced in 1802 ; and if Mr. Cottle is to be 
credited, in 1814 he had been long accustomed to take "from two quarts of 
laudanum in a week to a pint a day." He did, it is said, ultimately conquer it: 
" there is more joy in heaven over one that repenteth, than over the ninety and 
nine who need no repentance." 

It was during his residence with the Gillmans that I knew Coleridge. He had 
arranged to write for the AmiiJet, and circumstances warranted my often seeing him 
— a privilege of which I gladly availed myself. In this home at Highgate, where all 
even of his whims were studied Avith affectionate and attentive care, he preferred the 
quiet of home influences to the excitements of society ; and although I more than 
once met there his friend, Charles Lamb, and other noteworthy men of whom I 
shall have to say something, I usually found him, to my delight, alone. There he 
cultivated flowers, fed his pensioners, the birds, and wooed the little children^who 
gamboled on the heath where he took his walks daily. f I have seen him often — as 
Thomas Carlyle (honoured and loved among his many friends) saw him often—" on 
the brow of Highgate Hill, looking down on London and its smoke-tumult like a 
sage escaped from the inanity of life's battle, attracting towards him the thoughts of 

* Gillman published but one volume of a life of Coleridge. The copy he gave me contains his con-ections for 
another edition. De Guincey says of it that " it is a thing deader than a door-nail, which is waiting vainly, and for 
thousands of years is doomed to wait, for its sister volume, namely, Volume Second." It must be ever regretted, 
that of the poet's later life, of which he knew so much, he wrote nothing; but the world was justified in expecting, 
even in the details of his earlier pilgrimage, sometning which it did not get. 

t " His room looked upon a delicious prospect of wood and meadow, with coloured gardens under the window, 
like an embroidery to the mantle. Here he cultivated his flowers, and had a set of birds for his pensioners, who came 
to breakfast with him. He might have been seen taking his daily stroU up and down, with his black coat and white 
locks, and a book in his hand, and was a great acquaintance of the little childi'en."— Leigh Huht. 




innumerable brave bearts still engaged there."* It is a beautiful view, such as can 
be rarely seen out of England, that w^hich the poet had from the -window of his 
bed-chamber. Underneath, a valley, rich in " patrician trees," divides the hill of 
Highgate from that of Hampstead. The tower of the old church at Hampstead 
rises above a thick wood — a dense forest it seems — although here and there a 


graceful villa stands out from among the dar^ green drapery that enfolds it. It is 
easy to imagine the poet often contrasting this home-scene with that of " Brocken's 

• " Toleride'e sat on the brow of Hie-hgate HiU, in those years, looking down on London and its smoke-tumult 
like a sage eSdfrZ the inanity of Ufe's battle, attracting towards him tLe thoughts of innumerable brave souls 
stiU enefLdKms express contributions to poetry, philosophy, or any specifio provmce of human hterature 
?;^exS|hTenment had^'blen'S Ind sadly interm^itte/tfbut he had -P-ially among Y^-ng mquirmg men, a 
his-her than literarv a kind of prophetic, character. He was thought to hold, he alone m Jingiana, tne J^<^y oi 

' God, freedom, immortality,' still his : a king of men! "— Caelyle. 


sov'ran height," where no " finei' influence of friend or child" had greeted him, and 
exclaiming — 

" O thou queen ! 
Thou delegated Deity of earth, 
O dear, dear England ! " 

And what a wonderful change there is in the scene when the pilgrim to the shrine 
at Highgate leaves the garden, and walks a few steps beyond the elm avenue that 
still fronts the house ! Here he looks over London, " the mighty heart " of a great 

free country 

' Earth hath not anything to show more fair ; 
Dull would he be of soul, who could pass by 
A sight so touching in its majesty." 

Fifty years have brought houses all about the place, and shut in the prospect ; 
yet from any ascent you may see regal Windsor on one side, and Gravesend on the 
other — twenty miles of view, look which way you will. But when the poet dwelt 
there, all London was within ken a few yards from his door. The house has 
undergone some changes ; still the garden is much as it was when I used to find 
the poet feeding his birds there. It has the same wall — moss-covered now — that 
overhangs the dell ; a shady tree-walk shelters it from sun and rain ; it was the 
poet's walk at mid-day. A venerable climber — the glycenas — was no doubt planted 
by the poet's hand ; it was new to England when he was old, and what more likely 
than that his friends, the Gillmans, would -have bidden him plant it where it has 
since flourished fifty years or more ? Many who visit it will say, in the words of 
Charles Lamb, his " fifty years old friend, without a dissension,"—" What was his 
house is consecrated to me a chapel." 

I was fortunate in sharing some of the regard of Mr. and Mrs. Grillman. After 
the poet's death, they gave me his inkstand (a plain inkstand of wood,* which is 
before me as I write, and a myrtle on which his eyes were fixed as he died : it is 
now an aged and gnarled tree, and was long honoured in our conservatory. As we 
have now no sufficiently large conservatory, a friend more fortunate has the charge 
of this treasure.! 

* Since this was written, I have had the privilege, the honour, and the happiness, to present this inkstand to the 
poet Longfellow. 

+ Mrs. Gillman gave me also the following sonnet. I believe it never to have been published ; but, although 
she requested I " would not have copies of it made to give away," I presume the prohibition cannot now be binding, 
after a lapse of forty years since I received it. The poet, he who wrote the sonnet, and the admirable woman to 
whom it was addressed, have long since met. 

" Sonnet on the late Samuel Taylor Coleeidgb. 

" And thou art gone, most loved, most honour'd friend ! 
No, never more thy gentle voice shall blend 
With air of earth, its pure, ideal tones, 
Binding in one, as with harmonious zones. 
The heart and intellect. And I no more 
Shall with thee gaze on that unfathom'd deep, ' 
The human soul, as when, push'd off the shore, 
Thy mystic bark would through the darkness sweep, 
Itself the while so bright ! For oft we seem'd 
As on some starless sea — all dark above. 
All dark below ; yet, onward as we drove, 
To plough up light that ever round us stream'd. 
But he who mourns is not as one bereft 
Of all he loved : thy living Truths are left." 

"Washington Allston. 
" Cambridge Port, Massachusetts, America, 

"For my still dear Mend, Mrs. Gillman, of the Grove, Highgate." 


One of the very few letters of Coleridge I have preserved I transcribe, as it 
illustrates his goodness of heart and willingness to put himself to inconvenience for 
others : — 

"Deak, Sir," it runs, "I received some five days ago a letter depicting the distress and 
urgent want of a widow and a sister, with whom, during the husband's lifetime, I was for two or 
three years a house-mate, and yesterday the poor lady came up herself, almost clamorously 
soliciting me, not indeed to assist her from my own purse — for she was previously assured that 
there was nothing therein— but to exert myself to collect the sum of £20, which would save her 
from God knows what. On this hopeless task — for perhaps never man whose name had been so 
often in print for praise or reprobation had so few intimates as myself — I recollected that before I 
left Highgate for the sea-side, you had been so kind as to intimate that you considered some trifle 
due to me. "Whatever it be, it will go some way to eke out the sum, vphich I have with a sick 
heart been all this day trotting about to make up, guinea by guinea. You will do me a real 
service (for my health perceptibly sinks under this unaccustomed flurry of my spirits) if you could 
make it convenient to enclose to me, however small the sum may be, if it amount to a bank note 
of any denomination, directed ' Grove, Highgate,' where I am, and expect to be any time for the 
next eight months. In the meantime, believe me, 

" Your obliged, 

" S. T. Coleridge. 

" \th December, 1828." 

I find also, at the back of one of his manuscripts, the following poem, which I 
believe to be unpublished. I cannot discover it in any edition of his works. 

"A Madeigal. 

" Lady. — If Love be dead — 

Pout. — And I aver it. 

iatZz/.— TeU me, Bard, where Love lies buried. 

Poei.— Love lies buried where 'twas born. 
O gentle dame, think it no scorn. 
If in my fancy I presume 
To call thy bosom poor Love's tomb, 
And on that tomb to read the Hue — 
' Here lies a Love that once seemed mine, 
But caught a chill, as I divine, 
And died at length of a decline ! '" 

I have engraved a copy of his autograph lines, as he wrote them in Mrs. Hall's 
Album ; they will be found too, as a note, in the " Biographia Literaria : " — 

" On the Portrait of the Butterfly, on the 2nd Leaf of this Album. 
" The Butterfly the ancient Grecians made 
The soul's fail- emblem, and its only name ; 
But of the soul escaped the slavish trade 
Of earthly life ! For in this mortal frame 
Ours is the reptile's lot, much toil, much blame. 
Manifold motions making little speed, 
And to deform and kill the thiags whereon we feed ! " 

" S. T. Coleridge. 

"30«A^pni, 1830." 

All who had the honour of the poet's friendship or acquaintance speak of the 
marvellous gift which gave to this illustrious man almost a character of inspiration. 
Montgomery describes the poetry of Coleridge as like electricity, "flashing at 
rapid intervals with the utmost intensity of effect," and contrasts it with that of 
Wordswdrth, like galvanism, " not less powerful, but rather continuous than sudden 
in its wonderful influences." Wilson, in the " Noctes," writes thus : "Wind him 
up, and away he goes, discoursing most eloquent music, without a discord, full, 
ample, inexhaustible, serious, and divine ; " and in another place, " He becomes 


inspired by his own silver voice, and pours out wisdom like a sea." Wordsworth 
speaks of him " as quite an epicure in sound." The liveliest and truest image he 
could give of Coleridge's talk was that of " a majestic river, the sound or sight of 
whose course you caught at intervals, which was sometimes concealed by forests, 
sometimes lost in sand, then came flashing out, broad and distinct, then again took 
a turn which your eye could not follow, yet you knew and felt that it was the 
same river." The painter Hay don makes note of his " lazy luxury of poetical 
outpouring; " and Rogers {" Table Talk ") is reported to have said, " One morning, 
breakfasting with me, he talked for three hours without intermission, so admirably, 
that I wished every word he uttered had been written down ; " but he does not quote 
a single sentence of all the poet said.* And a writer in the Quarterly Revieiv 
expresses his belief that " nothing is too high for the grasp of his conversation, 
nothing too low ; it glanced from earth to heaven, from heaven to earth, with a 
speed and a splendour, an ease and a power, that almost seemed inspired." De 
Quincey said that he had " the lai'gest and most spacious intellect, the subtlest and 
the most comprehensive, that has yet existed amongst men." Of Coleridge, Shelley 
writes : — 

" All things he seemed to understand, 
Of old or new, at sea or land, 
Save his own soul, which was a mist." 

The wonderful eloquence of his conversation can be comprehended only by 
those Avho have heard him speak — " linked sweetness long drawn out ; " it was 
sparkling at times, and at times profound ; but the melody of his voice, the impres- 
sive solemnity of his manner, the radiant glories of his intellectual countenance, 
bore off, as it were, the thoughts of the listener from his discourse, who rarely 
carried away any of the gems that fell from the poet's lips. 

I have listened to him more than once for above an hour, of course without 
putting in a single word ; I would as soon have attempted a song while a nightingale 
was singing. There was rarely much change of countenance ; his face, when I 
knew him, was overladen with flesh, and its expression impaired ; yet to me it was 
so tender, and gentle, and gracious, and loving, that I could have knelt at the old 
man's feet almost in adoration. My own hair is white now ; yet I have much the 
same feeling as I had then, whenever the form of the venerable man rises in memory 
before me. Yet I cannot recall — and I believe could not recall at the time, so as to 
preserve as a cherished thing in my remembrance — a single sentence of the many 
sentences I heard him utter. In his " Table Talk " there is a world of wisdom, but 
that is only a collection of scraps, chance-gathered. If any left his presence 
unsatisfied, it resulted rather from the superabundance than the paucity of the 
feast, f And probably there has never been an author who was less of an egotist: 

* Madame de Stael said that Coleridge was " rich in a monologue, but poor in a dialogue ; " and HazUtt said 
sneeringly, "Excellent talker, very— if you would let him start from no premises, and come to no conclusion." 

t It may not be forgotten that the Rev. Edward Irving, in dedicating to Coleridge one of his books, acknow- 
ledges his obligations to the venerable sage for many valuable teachings, " as a spiritual man and as a Christian 
pastor," lessons derived from his "conversations " concerning the revelations of the Christian faith— "helps in the 
way of truth "—from listening to his discources. Charles Lamb thus writes : " He would talk from morn to dewy 
eve, nor cease till fer midnight, yet who would interrupt him, who would obstruct that continuous flow of con- 
verse fetched from Hebron or Zion?" Coleridge has said, "he never found the smallest hitch or impediment 
in the fullest utterance of his most subtle fancies by word of mouth." 


it was never of himself he talked ; he was always under the influence of that divine 
precept, " It is more blessed to give than to receive." 

I can recall many evening rambles with him over the high lands that look down 
on London ; but the memory I cherish most is linked with a crowded street, where 
the clumsy and the coarse jostled the old man eloquent, as if he had been earthy, of 
the earth. It was in the Strand : he pointed out to me the window of a room in the 
office of the Morning Post where he had consumed much midnight oil ; and then for 
half an hour he talked of the sorrowful joy he had often felt when, leaving the office 
as day was dawning, he heard the song of a caged lark that sung his orisons from 
the lattice of an artisan who was rising to begin his labour as the poet was pacing 
homewards to rest after his work all night. Thirty years had passed, but that 
unforgotten melody — that dear bird's song — gave him then as much true pleasure as 
when, to his wearied head and heart, it was the matin hymn of nature. 

I remember once meeting him in Paternoster Row ; he was inquiring his way to 
Bread Street, Cheapside, and, of course, I endeavoured to explain to him that if he 
walked on for about two hundred yards, and took the fourth turning to the right, it 
would be the street he wanted. I noted his expression, so vague and unenlightened, 
that I could not help expressing my surprise as I looked earnestly at his forehead, 
and saw the organ of " locality" unusually prominent above the eyebroAvs. He took 
my meaning, laughed, and said, " I see what you are looking at : why, at school my 
head was beaten into a mass of bumps, because I could not point out Paris in a map 
of France." It has been said that Spurzheim pronounced him to be a mathematician, 
and affirmed that he could not be a poet. Such opinion the great phrenologist could 
not have expressed, for undoubtedly he had a large organ of ideality, although at 
first it was not perceptible, in consequence of the great breadth and height of his 
profound forehead. was my privilege to be admitted to the evening meetings at High- 
gate, I met some of the men who were then famous, and have since become parts of 
the literature of England, among whom sat Coleridge talking, and looking " all sweet 
and simple and divine things, the very personification of meekness and humihty," 
though fully aware that he was the centre of an intellectual circle. Indeed, to his 
utter unselfishness witness is tendered by all who have ever written concerning him : 
he seemed striving to think how much he could give to, and never what he might 
get from, those with whom he came in contact. Even his engrossing conversation is 
evidence of this ; and there is abundant proof that he ever sought to make the best 
of the works of others, though very rarely referring to his own. 

I attended one of his lectures at the Royal Institution, and I strive to recall him 
as he stood before his audience there. There was but little animation ; his theme 
did not seem to stir him into life ; the ordinary repose of his countenance was 
rarely broken up ; he used little or no action ; and his voice, though mellifluous, 
was monotonous. He lacked, indeed, that earnestness without which no man is 
truly eloquent. 

At the time I speak of he was growing corpulent and heavy ; being seldom free 
from pain, he moved apparently with difficulty, yet liked to walk, with shuffling gait, 

up and down and about the room as he talked, pausing now and then as if oppressed 
by suffering. 

I need not say that I was a silent listener during the evenings to which I refer, 
when there were present some of those who " teach us from their urns ; " but I was 
free to gaze on the venerable man — one of the humblest, and one of the most fervid, 
perhaps, of the worshippers by whom he was surrounded, and to treasure in memory 
the poet's gracious and loving looks^the "thick waving silver hair" — the still, clear 
blue eye ; and on such occasions I used to leave him as if I were in a waking dream,^ 
ti'ying to recall, here and there, a sentence of the many weighty and mellifluous 
sentences I had heard — seldom with success — and feeling at the moment as if I had 
been surfeited with honey. 

May I not now lament that I did not foresee a time when I might be called 
upon to write concerning this good and great and most lovable man ? How much 
I might have enriched these pages — now but weak records of the impressions I 
received ! 

Many famous men have described the personal appearance of the poet. The best 
portrait of him is, I think, from the pen of Wordsworth : — 

"A noticeable man, with large, grey eyes, 
And a pale face, that seemed, -undoubtedly, 
As if a blooming face it ought to be ; 
Heavy his low-hung lip did oft appear, 
Depress'd by weight of moving phantasy ; 
Profound his forehead was, though not severe." 

Wordsworth also speaks of him as " the brooding poet with the heavenly eyes," 
and as " often too much in love with his own dejection." That the one loved the 
other dearly is certain : they were more than mere words those that Wordsworth 
addressed to Coleridge : — 

" O friend ! O poet ! brother of my soul ! " 

But the earliest word-portrait we have of him was drawn by Wordsworth's sister 
in 1797 : — " At first I thought him very plain ; that is, for about three minutes. He 
is pale, thin, has a wide mouth, thick lips, longish, loose-growing, half-curling, rough 
black hair. His eye is large and full, and not dark, but grey, such an eye as would 
receive from a heavy soul the dullest expression ; but it speaks every emotion of his 
animated mind. He has fine dark eyebrows, and an overhanging forehead." This 
is De Quincey's sketch of him in 1807 : — " In height he seemed about five feet eight 
inches ; in reality he was an inch and a half taller.* His person was broad and full, 
and tended even to corpulence ; his complexion was fair, though not what painters 
technically call fair, because it was associated with black hair ; his eyes were soft 
and large in their expression, and it was by a peculiar appearance of haze or dimness 
which mixed with their light." "A lady of Bristol," writes De Quincey, " assured 
me she had not seen a young man so engaging in his exterior as Coleridge when 
young, in 1796. He had then a blooming and healthy complexion, beautiful and 

* De Q,uincey elsewhere states his height to be five feet ten inches— exactly the height of Wordsworth— both 
having been measured in the studio of the painter Haydon. 


luxuriant hair falling in natural curls over his shoulders." Lockhart says, "Cole- 
ridge has a grand head ; nothing can surpass the depth of meaning in his eyes, and 
the unutterable dreamy luxury of his lips." Hazlitt describes him in early manhood 
as " with a complexion clear, and even light, a forehead broad and high, as if built 
of ivory, with large projecting eyebrows, and his eyes rolling beneath them like a 
sea with darkened lustre. His mouth was rather open, his chin good-humoured and 
round, and his nose small. His hair, black and glossy as the raven's wing, fell in 
smooth masses over his forehead — long, liberal hair, peculiar to enthusiasts." 

" A certain tender bloom his face o'erspread." 

Sir Humphry Davy, writing of him in 1808, says, " His mind is a wilderness, in 
which the cedar and the oak, which might aspire to the skies, are stunted in their 
growth by underwood, thorns, briers, and parasitical plants : with the most exalted 
genius, enlarged views, sensitive heart, and enlightened mind, he will be the victim 
of want of order, precision, and regularity." And Leigh Hunt speaks of his open, 
indolent, good-natured mouth, and of his forehead as " prodigious — a great piece of 
placid marble," Wordsworth again — 

" Noisy lie was, and gamesome as a boy, 
Tossing his limbs about him in delight." 

In the autumn of 1833, Emerson, on his second visit to England, called on 
Colerilge. He found him, " to appearance, a short, thick old man, with bright blue 
eyes and fine clear complexion." The poet, however, did not impress the American 
favourably, and the hour's talk was of " no use, beyond the gratification of curiosity." 
They did" not assimilate : it was not given to the hard and cold thinker to compre- 
hend the nature of "the brooding poet with the heavenly eyes ; " and assuredly 
Coleridge could have had but small sympathy with his unsought-for, and perhaps 
unwelcome guest. A more minute, and certainly a more true picture is that which 
Carlyle formed of him, in words some years later, and probably not long before his 
removal from earth : — " Brow and head were round, and of massive weight, but the 
face was flabby and irresolute. The deep eyes, of a light hazel, were as full of 
sorrow as of inspiration ; confused pain looked mildly from them, as in a kind of 
mild astonishment. The whole figure and air, good and amiable otherwise, might 
be called flabby and irresolute, expressive of weakness under possibility of strength. 
He hung loosely on his limbs, with knees bent, and stooping attitude : in walking he 
rather shuflfled than decisively stepped ; and a lady once remarked, he never could 
fix which side of the garden-walk would suit him best, but continually shifted in 
corkscrew fashion, and kept trying both. A heavy-laden, high-aspiring, and surely 
much-sufi'ering man. His voice, naturally soft and good, had contracted itself into 
a plaintive snuffle and sing-song ; he spoke as if preaching— you would have said 
preaching earnestly, and also hopelessly, the weightiest things." About the same 
period a writer in the Qaavterhj Review ^\x^ pictures him :— " His clerical-looking 
dress, ihe thick waving silver hair, the youthful-coloured cheek, the indefinable 
mouth and lips, the quick, yet steady and penetrating greenish-grey eye, the slow 
and continuous enunciation, and the everlasting music of his tones." Procter, 


writing of him, says :— " In his mature age he had a full round face, a fine broad 
forehead, rather thick lips, and strange, dreamy eyes." In Lamb's words, "his 
white hair shrouded a capacious brain." 

There are several portraits of him. The best is that which was painted by his 
friend Alston, the American artist, at Rome, in 1806. Wordsworth speaks of it as 
" the only likeness of the great original that ever gave me the least pleasure."* The 
woodcut at the head of this notice is engraved from the portrait by Northcote : it 
strongly recalls him to my remembrance. 

Although in youth and earlier manhood Coleridge had perpetually been— 

" Chasing chance-starting friendships," 

not long before his death he is described as " thankful for the deep, calm peace of 
mind he then enjoyed— a peace such as he had never before experienced, nor scarcely 
hoped for." All things were then looked at by him through an atmosphere by which 
all were reconciled and harmonised. 

It is true that he failed to perform all he purposed to do : of what high soul can 
it be said otherwise ? But his friend. Justice Talfourd, who, while testifying to the 
benignity of his nature, describes his life as "one splendid and sad prospectus," does 
the poet and philosopher scant justice. What he might have done was, perhaps, 
hardly known to himself, and could but be guessed at by others. Whatever the 
"promise" may have been, the "performance" was prodigious. To quote the 
words of his nephew, H, N. Coleridge, " he did, in his vocation, the day's work of a 
giant." The American edition of his works, which is not quite complete, extends to 
seven closely-printed volumes, each of more than seven hundred pages ! If he had 
done nothing but " talk," his life would not have been spent idly or in vain, as the 
" Table-Talk " may testify ; but as a writer, who of the generation has done more ? 
If, as Hazlitt writes, in the later years of his life, " he may be said to have lived on 
the sound of his own voice ; " and if, according to Wordsworth, " his mental power 
was frozen at its marvellous source;"! yet what a world of wealth he has 
bequeathed to us, although the whole produce of his pen, in poetry, is compressed 
within one single small volume ! All must lament that this illustrious man whom 
De Quincey describes as " the largest and most spacious intellect, the subtlest and 
the most comprehensive, that has yet existed among men," should have given way 
to the evil habit which made life miserable to him. But while lamenting what we 
have thereby lost, we may be consoled by the excellence of what has been preserved. 

A few months ago I again drove to Highgate, and visited the house in which the 
poet passed so many happy years of calm contentment and seraphic peace ; again 
repeated these lines, which, next to his higher faith, expressed the faith by which 
his life was ruled and guided : — 

' ' He prayeth best who loveth best 
All things both great and small, 
For the dear God who loveth us, 
He made and loveth all! " t 

* This portrait is now in the National Portrait Gallery. ^^ 

+ Very early in his life Lord Egmont said of him, " He talks very much like an angel, and does nothing at all.' 
De Quincey speaks of his indolence as "inconceivable ; " and Joseph Cottle relates some amusing instances of his 
forgetfulness even of the hour at which he had arranged to deliver a lecture to an assembled audience. 

+ It was once said to me, by a common "navvy," "I wouldn't give much for a man's Christianity .if his dog was 
none the better for it." 



His mortal remains lie in a vault in the graveyard of the old church at Highgate. 
He was a " stranger " in the parish where he died, notwithstanding his long 
residence there, and was, therefore, interred alone. Not long afterwards, however, 
the vault was built to receive the body of his wife. There the two rest together. 
It is enclosed by a thick iron -grating, the interior lined with white marble, con- 
taining the letters marked in the woodcut. When I visited the tomb in 1864, one 


of the marble slabs had accidentally given way, and the coffin was partially exposed, 
I laid my hand upon it in solemn reverence, and gratefully recalled to memory him 
who, in bis own emphatic words, had 

" Here found life in death." 

The tablet that contains the epitaph is on one of the side-walls of the new 
church. It was consecrated two years before the poet's departure ; and although it 



shut out his view of mighty London, it was pleasant to know that in his later days 
he had often looked on that temple of God. The tablet that records the death of 
Mr. Gillman (and also that of his wife, who survived him many years) is of the 
same size and form as that of the friend they loved so dearly.* 

I would omit only the word " perchance " when I quote these lines from the 
poet, and to the poet apply them — to him who works untrammelled in another 
sphere, beloved by the Master he served in this : — 

" Meek at the throne of mercy and of God, 
Perchance thou raisest high th' enraptured hymn, 
Amid the blaze of Seraphim ! " 

More than once I met, with Coleridge, at the house of the Gillmans, and 
afterwards at other places, that most remarkable man — " martyr and saint," as 
Mrs. Oliphant styles him — Edward Irving. He and Coleridge were singular con- 
trasts — in appearance, that is to say, for their minds and souls were in harmony. 

* These are the inscriptions on the monument to both Coleridge and his fi-iend GiUman : — 

Sacred to the Memory 



Poet, Philosopher, Theologian. 

This truly great and good man resided for 

The last nineteen years of his life 

In this hamlet. 

He quitted the "body of this death " 

July 25th, 1834, 

In the sixty- second year of his age. 

Of his profound learning and discursive genius 

His literary works are an imperishable record. 

To his private worth, 

His social and Christian virtues, 

James and Ann Gillman, 

The friends with whom, he lived 

During the above period, dedicate this tablet. 

Under the pressure of a long 

And most painful disease, 

His disposition was unalterably sweet and angelic. 

He was an ever-enduring, ever-loving friend. 

The gentlest and kindest teacher. 

The most engaging home companion. 

" O framed for calmer times and nobler hearts ! 
O studious poet, eloquent for truth ! 
Philosopher, conlemning wealth and death, 
Yet docile, childlike, full of life and love, 
Here, on thy monumental stone, thy friends inscribe thy worth." 

Reader ! for the world mourn, 

A Light has passed away fi-om the earth ; 

But for this pious and exalted Christian 

Rejoice, and again I say unto you, Rejoice! 





S. T. C. 

Sacred to the Memory 

(The friend of 8. T. Coleridge,) 
For many years an eminent practitioner in this place. He died at Hamsgate, where his remains are interred, 
on the 1 st of June, 1839, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. 

Whilst on earth his integrity of heart and generosity of character gained the confidence and esl^eem of men. 
His Christian faith has, we humbly trust, through the merit of the Saviour, obtained the promise of a better 

" Mercy for praise — to be forgiven for Fame — 
He asked, and hoped through Christ ! Do thou the same," 
HiGHGATB, 13(7i Kov., 1842. 


The Scottish minister was very tall, powerful in frame, and of great physical vigour ; 
" a gaunt and gigantic figure," his long, black, *' wavy " hair hanging partially over 
his shoulders. His features were large and strongly marked ; but the expression 
was grievously marred, like that of Whitefield, by a squint that abstracted much 
from his " apostolic " character, and must have operated prejudicially as regarded 
his mission. His mouth was exquisitely " cut : " it might have been a model for a 
sculptor who desired to portray strong will combined with generous sympathy. Yet 
he looked what he was — a brave man ; a man whom no abuse could humble, no 
injuries subdue, no oppression crush. To me he realised the idea of John the 
Baptist — '• one crying in the wilderness, who had his loins girt about him, and 
whose food was locusts and wild honey." 

Gilfillan represents Irving in his " Gallery of Literary Portraits," — a work of 
rare worth, the value of which will increase more and more as time removes the 
" originals" farther off: — "His aspect wild, yet grave, as of one labouring under 
some mighty burden ; his voice deep, yet clear, and with crashes of power alter- 
natory with cadences of softest melody ; his action, now graceful as the wave of the 
rose-bush in the breeze, and now fierce and urgent as the midnight motion of the 
oak in the hurricane." 

Three great men have borne testimony to the high qualities of his heart and 
mind. Procter says of him : — " He was one of the best and truest men it has been 
my good fortune to meet in life." Lamb describes him as "firm, outspeaking, 
intrepid, and docile as a pupil of Pythagoras." And this is the testimony of Thomas 
Carlyle : — "But for Irving I had never known what the communion of man with 
man means : he was the freest, brotherliest, bravest human soul man ever came in 
contact with ; the best man I have ever (after trial enough) found in this world, or 
now hope to find." Those who would know more of him may consult the volumes 
of his biographer, Mrs. Oliphant. 

In the pulpit— where I lament to say I heard him but once, and then not under 
the peculiar influences that so often swayed and guided him — he was undoubtedly 
an orator, thoroughly earnest in his work, and beyond all question deeply and 
solemnly impressed with the duty to which he was devoted. I fancy I see him there 
now— as Hazlitt writes, " launching into his subject like an eagle dallying with the 
wind." At times, no doubt, his manner, action, and appearance bordered on the 
grotesque ; but it was impossible to listen without being carried away by the intense 
fervour and fiery zeal with which he dwelt on the promises, or annunciated the 
threats, of the prophets, his predecessors. His vehemence was often startling, 
sometimes appalling. Leigh Hunt called him " the Boanerges of the Temple." He 
was a soldier, as well as a servant, of the Cross. Few men of his age aroused 
more bitter or more unjust and unchristian hostility. He was in advance of his 
time ; perhaps, if he were living now, he would still be ' so, for the spirituality of 
his nature cannot yet be understood. There were not wanting those who decried 
him as a pretender, a hypocrite, and a cheat : those who knew him best depose to 
the honesty of his heart, the depth of his convictions, the fervour of his faith ; and 
many yet live who will indorse this eloquent tribute of his biographer :— " To him 


mean thoughts and unbeHeving hearts were the only things miraculous and out of 
nature ; " he " desired to know nothing in heaven or earth, neither comfort, nor 
peace, nor rest, nor any consolation, but the will and work of the Master he loved." 
To some he was but the " comet of a season ; " to others he was a burning and a 
shining light, that, issuing from the obscure Scottish town of Annan, heralded the 
way to life eternal. He died in 1834, comparatively young : there were but forty- 
two years between his birth and death. More than forty years have passed since he 
was called from earth, and to this generation the name of Edward Irving is httle 
more than a sound, " signifying nothing ; " yet it was a power in his day, and the 
seed he scattered cannot all have fallen among thorns. His love for Coleridge was 
devoted — a mingling of admiration, affection, and respect. "At the feet of that 
Gamaliel he sat weekly." Their friendship lasted for years, and was full of kindness 
on the part of the philosopher, and of reverential respect on that of Irving, who, 
following the natural instinct of his own ingenuous nature, changed in an instant, in 
such a presence, from the orator who, speaking in God's name, assumed a certain 
austere pomp of position, more like an authoritative priest than a mere presbyter, 
into the simple and candid listener, more ready to learn than he was to teach. 

They were made acquainted by a mutual friend, Basil Montagu, who himself 
occupied no humble station in intellectual society. His " evenings " were often rare 
mental treats : he presented the most refined picture of a gentleman — tall, slight, 
courteous, seemingly ever smiling, yet without an approach to insincerity : he had 
the esteem of his contemporaries, and the homage of the finer spirits of his time. 
They were earned and merited. "Gentle enthusiast in the cause of humanity" — 
that is what Talfourd calls Basil Montagu. Those who knew him knew also his wife 
— one of the most admirable women I have ever known. She was likened to 
Mrs. Siddons, and forcibly recalled the portraits of that eminently-gifted woman: 
tall and stately, and with evidence, which time had by no means obliterated, of great 
beauty in youth ; her expression somewhat severe, yet gracious in manner and 
generous in words. She had been the honoured associate of many of the finer 
spirits of her time, and not a few of them were her familiar friends.* She might 
have suggested these lines to Joanna Baillie : — 

" So queenly, so commanding, and so noble, 
I shrunk at first in awe ; but when she smiled, 
Methought I could have compassed sea and land, 
To do her bidding." 

* Procter, " Barry Cornwall" (now removed from earth), was the husband of the daughter of Mrs. Montagu 
by a former marriage, and their daughter, Adelaide Procter, dming her brief life, made a name that will he 
classed with those of the best poets of the century. Basil Montagu was the son of Lord Sandwich and Miss Bea, 
an actress, the s'ory of whose murder is one of the English causta cacebres. 


HARLES LAMB was born on the 18th February, 1775, in 

Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, his father being in the 

employ of one of the Benchers as his " clerk, servant, friend, 

flapper, guide, stopwatch, auditor, and treasurer." On the 

9th of October, 1782, the boy was placed in the school of 

Christ's Hospital, as the " son of John Lamb, scrivener, and 

Elizabeth, his wife." He is described as then of small 

stature, delicate frame, and constitutionally nervous and 

timid ; of mild countenance, complexion clear brown, eyes 

of different colours, with "a walk slow and pecuHar," and a "difficulty 

of utterance " that was something more than an impediment in his speech. 

At Christ's Hospital was formed his friendship with his schoolfellow, 

Coleridge — a friendship that continued without interruption until the 

(i poet-philosopher was laid in his grave at Highgate. They were, as Lamb 

writes, " fifty-year friends without interruption." A memory of this 

estimable man may, therefore, fitly follow that of Coleridge, although I knew less of 

him than I did of many others who have left their impress on the age. 

In 1789 he quitted Christ's Hospital, and obtained a situation at the India House, 
where he remained during thirty-six years, rarely taking a holiday. In 1825 he 

E 2 



" retired from the drudgery of the desk," with a pension sufficient for all the moderate 
needs and luxuries of life. 

No doubt such drudgery may have been, to some extent, irksome to a man of 
letters, who loved to use the pen for a higher purpose than that of dull entries in 
heavy ledgers ; but it had a " set off" in the safeguard from pecuniary perils that 
too frequently cage the spirit and cramp the energies of men of lofty intellect and 
aspiring souls. On many occasions Lamb expressed his thankfulness that he was 
not, as so many are — as so many of his friends were — compehed to learn, from 
terrible experience, — 

In 1822 he wrote to Bernard Barton, a banker's clerk, — " I am, like j'ou, a 
prisoner to the desk ; I have been chained to that galley thirty years ; I have almost 
grown to the wood." And again, — " What a weight of wearisome prison hours have 
I to look back and forward to, as quite cut out of life ! " Yet he tenders this counsel 
to the Quaker poet, who had contemplated resigning his post, " trusting to the book- 
sellers " for bread : — " Throw yourself from the steep Tarpeian rock, slap-dash, 
headlong upon iron spikes, rather than become the slave of the booksellers ;" and he 
blesses his star " that Providence, not seeing good to make him independent, had 
seen it next good to settle him down upon the stable foundation of Leadenhall Street;" 
while he sympathised with, and mourned over, the " corroding, torturing, tormenting 
thoughts that disturb the brain of the unlucky wight who must draw upon it for daily 
sustenance." " There is corn in Egypt," he wrote, "while there is cash in Leaden- 
hall." He was therefore content with his lot, although " every half-hour's absence 
from office duties was set down in a book ; " yet when ultimately released from 
the Qar, he " could scarcely comprehend the magnitude of his deliverance ; " and 
was grateful for it. 

But, in truth, it was no punishment to Charles Lamb to be " in populous city 
pent." In the streets and alleys of the metropolis he found themes as fertile as his 
contemporaries had sought and obtained among the hills and valleys of Westmore- 
land ; where great men had trodden was to him " hallowed ground ;" and many a 
dingy building of unseemly brick was to him holy, as the birth-place, the death-place, 
or the intellectual laboratory, of some mighty luminary of the past. He once paid a 
visit to Coleridge at Keswick, and though he conceded the grandeur and the glory 
of old Skiddaw, and admitted that he might live a year or so among such scenes, he 
should " mope and pine away if he had no prospect of again seeing Fleet Street." 
Writing to the high-priest of Nature, Wordsworth, he says, " I do not now care if I 
never see a mountain in my life ; I have passed all my days in London, until I have 
formed as many and intense local attachments as any of you mountaineers can have 
done with dead nature." And Talfourd had heard him declare that his " love for 
natural scenery would be abundantly satisfied by the patches of long waving grass 
and the stunted trees that blacken in the old churchyard nooks which you may yet 
find bordering on Thames Street." The Strand and Fleet Street were to him " better 
places to live in, for good and all, than underneath old Skiddaw;" and Covent 


Garden was " dearer to him than any garden of Alcinous." So late as 1829, when 
he had been some years free to wander at his own sweet will, he writes to Words- 
worth, — " let no Londoner imagine that health, and rest, and innocent occupation, 
interchange of converse sweet, and recreative study, can make the country anything 
better than altogether odious and detestable." But thus on the same subject wrote 
Robert Southey : — " To dwell in that foul city — to endure the common, hollow, 
cold, lip-intercourse of life — to walk abroad and never see green field, or running 
brook, or setting sun — will it not wither up my faculties like some poor myrtle that 
in the 

' Town air 
Pines in the parlour window V" 

Lamb is not the only Londoner to whom the huge city has been, or is, a 
refreshing luxury. James Smith used to say that " London was the best place in 

{y/7i//T/i-<^i^ , "Cc^A^ -^/T—zn^ €^y7.^A-cc^i/-e^(^jM^c^^^2^'^ 


^^^^ ^^^ ^f^k^ c^y/-^ ^^^^^^^^ 

^c^ -f-^^^, 

summer, and the only place in winter." It was Jekyll who proposed to make 
country lanes tolerable by having them paved. Dr. Johnson grew angry when 
people abused London, saying, " Sir, the man who is tired of London is tired of 
existence." While I had a residence among the healthful commons and thick woods 
of West Surrey, a distinguished author of this class was my guest,* and was located 
in a pretty Httle lodge sheltered among tall trees, where nightingales were smgmg. 
In the morning he complained they had kept him awake all night. " Well," I said, 
" surely it is not a misery to be kept awake by ' the bird most musical.' " " Nay," 
he replied, " if I am kept from sleep, I do not see much difference between nightm- 

* Frederick William Fairholt an artist an^ man oHett^^^^^^ ^^tSJ? t^wiaicft'waf a fe^Tar^SSX?!; 
and of great value : the best of them were first Panted "^^^^f^^ * "^""^^'C Mend-and acoomlanied me dui-ing 
during nearly a quarter of a century.^ T,^,^!!L'lZu" 'Uh"; " Boofe trTham^^^^^^^ of British BaUads,?' 

most of my excursions to write the "Baronial HaUs, ^^^.^°^^ did veiy much indeed. The notes to 

^^^^.'!^TlTi^Z:^X'^^-'^^ ^^^^^ZTl^^ii^^^^^r Iwelargelyto his pencil and 
his pen. 




gales and cats ! " The love of Lamb for London was, in fact, an absolute passion. 
Hazlitt says of him, " The streets of London are his faery land, teeming with wonder, 
with life and interest, to his retrospective glance, as it did to the eager eye of child- 
hood. He has contrived to weave its tritest traditions into a bright and endless 

Although Lamb had thus ample scope for continual enjoyment, and was saved 
from the necessities that so often beset the paths of men of genius, there was a 
skeleton in his house, and pleasure was ever associated with a terror more appalling 
than Death. His beloved sister — his dear companion and cherished friend — was 
subject to periodical fits of insanity, during one of which, with her own hand, she 
killed her beloved mother. There is nothing in human history more entirely sad 
than the records of the walks these two made together, when, thereafter, as the cloud 
came over her mind, and she saw the evil hour approaching, they paced along the 
road and across fields, weeping bitterly both — she to be left at the lunatic asylum until 
time and regimen restored reason and he to return to his mournful and lonely home. 
What a sad picture it is — harrowing, appalling ! Lamb carried v/ith him on such 
journeys the " strait waistcoat " that was ever near at hand, and brought it back with 
him when, sufficiently recovered, she returned with him to gladden his roof-tree ; for 
she brought with her the sunshine as well as the shadow. 

The fatal death of the mother took place on the 22nd September, 1796. There 
was, of course, a coroner's inquest, and a verdict — "Lunacy." * The daughter was 
confined in Bedlam. After a time she was given up to " her friends," and her brother 
thenceforward became her " guardian." The word is far too weak to convey an 
idea of the never-ceasing, never-ending care and thought for her consolation and 
comparative comfort. It is indeed a sad task to picture him, with a perpetual dread 
of insanity hauntiLg him •,\ loving one, whom he addresses as " the fair-haired maid" 
(of whom nothing further is known), but sacrificing that, and all else, to solemn and 
mournful Duty. It was, however, duty lightened by love ; for intense affection linked 
these two together from the earliest to the latest hours of their lives. " The two 
lived as one in double singleness together:" on her side afiectionate and earnest 
watching; on his a charming deference, "pleasant evasions," little touches of 
gratitude, perpetual care — anxious and troubled care. 

In one of her letters to her brother during her temporary confinement she writes : 
" The spirit of my mother seems to descend and smile upon me, and bid me live to 
enjoy the life and reason the Almighty has given me." And she did live to enjoy 
both, in calm and sorrowful content, to a very old age, surviving her brother many 
years — dying on the 20th of May, 1847. She was placed in the grave by his side: — 

"In death they were not divided." 

* The awful stoiy is told by himself in a letler to Coleridge : — " My poor dearest sister, in a fit of insanity, has 
been the death of her own mother. I was at hand time enough only to snatch the knife out of her grasp. My poor 
father was slightly wounded." That terrible circumstance must be regarded as the " influence " that ruled his life : 
it is the key that unlocks the closet, and exposes the skeleton within : his life would, indeed, be unintelligible 
unless this frightful incident is borne in mind. It explains and modifies all his errors, and they were yery tew — 
none that tarnished his character or hardened his heart. 

+ There was a tendency to insanity in the family ; and Charles himself was for a time " under restraint." In , 
one of his lettei's to Coleridge he refers to the "six months he was in a mad-house at Hoxton." 



His life is truly described as a " life of uncongenial toil, diversified with frequent 
sorrow." Talfourd gently refers to his only blot— his " one single frailty "— " the 
eagerness with which he would quaff exciting Hquors ; " that he attributes to " a 
physical peculiarity of constitution." * It was " a kind of corporeal need," augmented, 
if not induced, by the heavy, irksome labours of his dull office, and still more by 
"the sorrows that environed him, and which tempted him to snatch a fearful joy." 
Lamb himself refers to his excessive love of tobacco, and his vain attempts to subdue 
or to control it, and describes " how from illuminating it came to darken, from a quick 
solace it turned to a negative relief, thence to a restlessness and dissatisfaction, thence 
to a positive misery." 

Yet, although with many drawbacks, the life of Charles Lamb was by no means 
without enjoyment. He had many attached friends, the earhest and the latest being 
his school-mate Coleridge. This tribute is from his pen :— 

' My pentle-hearted Charles ! for thou hast pined 
And hungered alter nature many a year, 
In the great city pent ; winning thy way 
With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain 
And strange calamity! " 

And this is the tribute of Kobert Southey 

" Charles Lamb, to those who know thee justly dear 
For rarest genius and for sterling worth. 
Unchanging friendship, warmth of heart sincere, 
And wit that never gave an ill thought buih, 
Nor even in its sport infixed a sting." 

It was said of him that " he had the faculty of turning even casual acquaintances 
into friends," and he thus touchingly records their departure: — 

" All. all are gone, the old famiHax faces ; 
Sjme they have died, and some they have left me, ' 

And some are taken from me, all are departed, 
All, aU are gone, the old familiar faces." 

He was a most delightful companion, and a firm and true and never-changing 
friend. Of the latter there is evidence in his memorable letter to Southey, whom 
he considered to h;ive wrongfully assailed Leigh Hunt;t of the former we have the 
testimony of so many that it is needless to quote them. Among his more frequent 
companions and intimate friends were Hazlitt, Grodwin, Thelwall, Basil Montagu and 
his estimable lady, Procter, Barnes, Haydon, Carey, Knowles, Moxon, Hood, and 
Hone ; while, later in life, he was often cheered by the light that emanated from 
good and tender Talfourd. His loving and eloquent biographer describes, with 
singular felicity. Lamb's " suppers " in the Middle Temple. In 1800 he was living 
at No. 16, Mitre Court Buildings; in 1817 he had removed to lodgings in Kusseli 
Street, Covent Garden, the corner house, " delightfully situated between the two 

* Procter is by no means wilUng to admit that the charge of inebriety can be sustained : indeed, he denies that 
it can be substantiated by proof, intimating that a very small portion of alcohol " upset his head." 

+ Lamb's bitter letter to Southey— whose only offence was that in an altiole in the Qunrterly Beview he had 
spoken of Hunt as the author of a book " that wants only a sounder religious feeb'ng to be as delightful as it is 
original" — he repented of, and atoned for His guardian angel, he said (meaning his sitter), was absent when he 
wrote it. . They met, and were again friends ; and in a letter to Southey, written long afterwards, he thus wrote : — 
'■■ Look on me as a dog who went once temporarily insane and bit you." 



great theatres." Afterwards he was again a resident in the Temple. Later in life 
his residence was at Enfield, in an "odd-looking, gambogish-coloured house," from 
Avhich, in 1833, he removed to Church Street, Edmonton. In 1834, in the sixtieth 
year of his age, he died. 

" Bay Cottage," as it is now called — and I believe was called when Lamb 
inhabited it — is a poor building ; mournful-looking enough ; it could never have 
been calculated to dissipate the gloom that must have perpetually saddened the 
heart and mind of the poet. 

Lamb and his sister were but lodgers : the house was kept by a woman named Red- 
ford, who — I learned from a person still residing there (in 1870), and who well remem- 

lamb's residence at bnpield. 

bered both the afflicted inmates — lived by taking charge of insane patients, and was 
by no means worthy of such a trust, for she had habits that probably did not receive 
any check from the interesting patients of, whom she had the care. The person I. 
refer to recollected Miss Lamb cutting up her feather-bed, and scattering the feathers 
to the winds out of her window ; and told me, what I am loath to believe, that 
whenever Lamb or his sister " misbehaved " themselves, Bedford was in the habit of 
thrusting them into a miserable closet of the room, where they were confined some- 
times for hours together until it pleased the harpy to give them freedom.* 

Lamb did not die in that hurailiating house : his friends — according to the 

* My valued and venerable friend, Mr. Procter, not only questioned this statement, but protested against it. 
Notwithstanding, 1 believe it to be correct ; that it is the melancholy record of a sad fact. 


authority I have quoted — having discovered the manner in which he M^as treated, 
removed him from the woman's custody, a few weeks before his death, to Edmonton, 
and it was at Edmonton he died. 

Lamb has recently received ample justice at the hands of an estimable gentleman 
and delightful author — a kindred spirit, who was the friend of nearly all the great 
men and women of his age, and who could in no way better have closed a long 
career of honourable intellectual labour than by a biography of one he knew so well 
and loved so much. Procter was the last of that glorious galaxy of genius that, 
early in the present century, glorified the intellectual world : — 

" All, all are gone, the old familiar faces ! " 

He outlived all of them. He was still on earth when these pages were first printed. 
He has left earth now. I may have more to say of him before I close this volume. 

Lamb had many peculiarities ; all of them were, to say the least, harmless. He 
playfully alludes to some of them : "I never could seal a letter without dropping the 
wax on one side, besides scalding my fingers." " My letters are generally charged 
double at the post-office, from their clumsiness of foldure." 

The first time I saw and spoke with Charles Lamb was where he was most at 
home — in Fleet Street. He was of diminutive and even ungraceful appearance, thin 
and wiry, clumsily clad, and with a shuffling gait, more than awkward ; though 
covered, it was easy to perceive that the head was of no common order, for the hat 
fell back as if it fitted better there than over a large intellectual forehead, which 
overhung a countenance somewhat expressive of anxiety and even pain. His wit 
was in his eye — luminous, quick, and restless ; and the smile that played about 
his mouth was cordial and good-humoured. His person and his mind were happily 
characterised by his contemporary, Leigh Hunt: "As his frame, so his genius; 
as fit for thought as can be, and equally as unfit for action." In one of his playful 
moods he thus described himself: " Below the middle stature, cast of face slightly 
Jewish, stammers abominably." Leigh Hunt recollected him, when young, coming 
to see the boys at Christ's Hospital, " with a pensive, brown, handsome, and kindly 
face, and a gait advancing with a motion from side to side, between involuntary 
consciousness and attempted ease ;" and he says of him in after life, "He had a 
head worthy of Aristotle, with as pure a heart as ever beat in human bosom, and 
limbs very fragile to sustain it. His features are strongly yet delicately cut ; he has 
a fine eye as well as forehead, and no face carries in it greater marks of thought and 
feeling." But the most finished picture of the man is that which his friend Talfourd 
draws : " A light frame, so fragile that it seemed as if a breath would overthrow it, 
clad in clerk-like black, was surmounted by a head of form and expression the most 
noble and sweet. His black hair curled crisply about an expanded forehead ; his 
eyes, softly brown, twinkled with varying expression, though the prevalent feeling 
was sad ; and the nose slightly curved, and delicately carved at the nostril, with the 
lower outline of the face regularly oval, completed a head which was finely placed 
on the shoulders, and gave importance and even dignity to a diminutive and shadowy 
stem." Thus writes Hazlitt of Lamb : " There is a primitive simplicity and self- 

denial about his manners, and a Quakerism in his personal appearance, which is 
however, relieved by a fine Titian head, full of dumb eloquence." And this is the 
picture drawn of him by the American, N. P. Willis : — " Enter, a gentleman in black 
small-clothes and gaiters, short and very slight in his person, his head set on his 
shoulders with a thoughtful forward bend, his hair just sprinkled with grey, a 
beautiful deep-set eye, aquiline nose, and a very indescribable mouth." ' John 
Foster, writing of him in the Xew Monthly Magazirie (1835), says : — "His face was 
deeply marked, and full of noble lines — traces of sensibility, imagination, suffering, 
and much thought." Recently, Procter has thus described Lamb : — " A small spare 
man- — somewhat stiff in his manner, and almost clerical in his dress, which indicated 
much wear ; he had a long, melancholy face, with keen, penetrating eyes ; he had 
a dark complexion, dark curling hair, almost black ; and a grave look, lighting up 
occasionally, and capable of sudden merriment ; his lip tremulous with expression ; 
his brown eyes were quick, restless, and glittering." 

Some time in 1827 or 1828 I met Lamb twice or thrice at the house of Coleridge, 
and one evening in particular I recall with peculiar pleasure. There were not many 
present, none I can remember, except Mr. and Mrs. Gillman. The poet-philosopher 
engaged in a contest of words with his friend upon that topic concerning which 
Coleridge was ever eloquent — the power to reconcile Fate with Free-will. Alas ! I 
am unable to recall to memory a single sentence that was said. I only know the 
impression left upon me was that of envy of the one and pity for the other ; envy of 
the philosopher who reasoned so cheerfully and hopefully, and pity for the essayist 
whose despondency seemed rather of the heart than of the mind. Unhappily I did 
not turn to account the opportunities I had of seeing and knowing more of Lamb. 
I might surely have done so ; but little thought had I then, or for a long time 
afterwards, that it would ever be my task to write a memory of the man. It is by 
no means the only case in which I had opportunities of acquiring and communicating 
valuable knowledge. 

" His poems were admirable, and often contained as deep things as the wisdom 
of some who have greater names : " that is the statement of one who knew him 
intimately. "No one," writes Hazlitt, " ever stammered out such fine, piquant, 
deep, eloquent things in half-a-dozen half-sentences." 

His more enthusiastic admirers give him high rank as a poet : I confess I cannot 
see much in his poetry that justifies the world in so placing him, although there are 
two or three of his poems that warrant the high praise he received. As a gentle and 
genial critic he claims a foremost station.* But it is as an essayist that he has been, 
and ever will be, most valued. The "Essays of Elia " have a prominent position 
among the " classics" of England. They are full of wisdom, pregnant of genuine 

* Of Mr ready wit many anecdotes are told. That is well known which describes him as at a rubber of whist 
(a game of which he was excessively fond), saying to his partner, " Oh, if dirt wei'e trumps, what a hand you would 
have ! " Mrs. Mathews (the widow of the famous Charles), who describes him as tall, and lean, and little beholden 
to his tailor — " his face the gravest I have ever seen " — tells the somewhat weU-known story of Lamb taking sea- 
baths, giving directions to the man who was to dip him, stuttering them out—" I-I-l'm to be dip-p ped." "Yes, 
sir ; " and down he went. Rising and regaining liis breath, he repeated, " I-I'm to be dip-dip-ped." " Yes, sir ; 
and down he went again. A thii'd lime the dose was repeated, and then, when nearly suffocated, Lamb managed 
to stutter out, " 0-only once." 



wit, abound in true pathos, and have a rich vein of humour running throu^^h them 
all. The kindliness of his heart and the playfulness of his fancy are spread over 
every page. If his maturer taste and extensive reading compelled him to try all 
modern writers by a severe standard, he reproved with the mildly persuasive bearing 
of a sympathising judge : — 

" Of right and -wrong he taught 
Truths as refined as ever Athens heard." 

No writer more fully entered into the spirit of the older dramatists ; and few have 


so largely aided to render them popular in our age.* If his style reminds us forcibly 
of the " old inventive poets," he never appears an imitator of them. His mind was 
akin to theirs ; he lived his days and nights in their company. 

I copy these lines from Mrs. Hall's Album ; I believe they have not been hereto- 
fore in print : — 

* There is a story told that Godwin, having read a passage which he believed to be out of one of the old dramatic 
poe's, sought eagerly for it, in vain, through the pages of the early dramatists, and, in his perplexity, applied to 
Lamb to guide him. It was a passage from John Woodvill ! 


"I had sense in dreams of a Beauty rare, 
Whom fate had spell-bound and rooted there, 
Stooping, like some enchanted theme. 
Over the marge of that crystal stream 
Where the blooming Greek, to echo blind, 
With self-love fond, had to waters pined. 
Ages had waked, and ages slept, 
And that bending posture stiU she kept ; 
For her eyes she may not turn away 
Till a fairer object shall pass that way ; 
Till an image more beauteous this world can show 
Than her own which she sees in the mirror below. 
Pore on, fair creature, for ever pore. 
Nor dream to be disenchanted more ; 
For vain is expectance, and wish is vain. 
Till a new Narcissus can come again." — C. Lamb. 

It is said of Lamb that, being applied to for a memoir of himself, he made answer 
that " it would go into an epigram." His life was indeed of " mingled yarn," good 
and ill together, but the latter was in the larger proportion. " He had strange 
phases of calamity," living in continual terror. He described himself as once 
"writing a playful essay with tears trickling down his cheeks." Yet in none of his 
writings is there any taint of the gloom that brings discontent ; if he had unhappily 
too little trust in Providence, he did not murmur at a dispensation terribly calami- 
tous. If seldom cheerful, he was often merry : and in none of his writings is there 
evidence of ill-nature, jealousy, or envy. He wrote for periodicals of opposite 
opinions ; he was the friend of Southey, and he was the friend of Hazlitt ; he aroused 
no animosities, and enemies he had none. 

There must have been much in the genial and lovable nature of the man to 
attract to him — in a comparatively humble position, and with restricted, rather than 
liberal, means — so many attached friends who are renowned in the literary history of 
the epoch. 

He was not young, but not old, when called from earth. " He sank into death 
as placidly as into sleep," writes his loved and loving friend Talfourd ; he was laid in 
Edmonton Churchyard, " in a spot which, a short time before, he had pointed out to 
the sexton as the place of his choice for a final home." A venerable yew-tree stUl 
lives beside a tomb of remote date ; and several almshouses for aged men and women 
skirt one of the sides of the cemetery — pleasant objects for the poet to have thought 
over when selecting his last resting-place. A line from Wordsworth's Monody to his 
memory will fitly close a brief record of his life : — 

" Oh, he was good, if ever good man lived." 

On the tombstone is the following inscription : — 




DIED 27th DECEMBER, 1834, AGED 59. 

" Farewell, dear friend ; that smile, that harmless mii'th, 
No more shall gladden our domestic hearth ; 
That rising tear, with pain forbid to flow. 
Better than words no more assuage our woe ; 
That hand outstretched from small but well-earned store, 
Yields succour to the destitute no more. 

MOXON. 6[ 

Yet art thou not all lost ; through many an age, 
With stei'ling sense and humour, shall thy page 
Win many an English bosom, pleased to see 
That old and happier vein revived in thee. 
This for oiu- earth ; and if with friends we share 
Our joys in heaven, we hope to meet thee there." 



BORN 3rd DECEMBER, 1767. DIED 20™ MAY, 1847. 

The lines were written at the suggestion of the publisher, Moxon, by the Rev. F. 
H. Gary,* the translator of Dante. He was one of the essayist's dearest friends. 
Many will remember that estimable man and most accomplished scholar, when dis- 
charging his daily duty at the British Museum. I recall him to memory as very 
kindly, with a most gracious and sympathising expression ; slow in his movements, 
as if he were always in thought, living among the books of which he was the cus- 
todian, and sought only the companionship of the lofty spirits who had gone from 
earth — those who, though dead, yet speak. I remember Ugo Foscolo (and there 
could have been no better authority) telling me he considered Gary's translation of 
Dante not only the best translation in the English language, but the best translation 
in any language. There have since been several translations of the mighty Floren- 
tine, but they can be tolerated only by those who have not read that of the Rev. F. 
H. Gary. 

There were few men for whom Lamb entertained a warmer affection than he did 
for the publisher Moxon ; but Moxon was a poet also, and produced Sonnets of much 
beauty. He was essentially aided by Mr. Rogers in his business, and that business 
is now carried on by Mr. Moxon's son. Moxon died early in life ; his constitution 
was delicate always, and the somewhat sad and painful expression of his gentle coun- 
tenance was indicative of the disease to which he succumbed. He was the executor 
of Gharles Lamb, and maintained a close correspondence and an intimate relationship 

* His son, who gives me this information, transcribes for me " some other lines by the same pen, written on 
receiving back, through Mr. Moxon, Phillips's ' Theatorem Poetee AngUcanorum,' which Lamb had borrowed of 
my father. They give a beautiful picture of Lamb's character, alluding in happy vein even to his well-known 
weakness. The book had a leaf tui'ned down at the account of Sir PhQip Sidney. Its receipt was acknowledged to 
Moxon as follows . — 

' So should it be, my gentle friend, 

Thy leaf last closed at Sidney's end. 

Thou too, like Sidney, wouldst have given 

The water, thirsting, and neai' heaven ; 

Nay, were it wine, flll'd to the brim. 

Thou hadst look'd hard, but given, like him. 

And art thou mingled then among 

Those famous sons of ancient song ? 

And do they gather round and praise 

Thy relish of their nobler lays, 

Waxing'in mirth to hear thee tell 

With what strange mortals thou didst dwell. 

At thy quaint sallies more delighted 

Than any long among them lighted ? 

'Tis done ; and thou hast Joined a ciew, 

To whom thy soul was justly due ; 

And yet I think, where'er those be, 

They'll scarcely love thee more than we.' " 



with many other poets of his time, keeping their friendship to the last, and sustaining 
the high character that made them his friends.* 

Another remarkable person is somewhat mixed up with the history of Charles 
Lamb. William Hone was a bhort, stout, active man, with a keen eye, a well- 
developed forehead, having a tendency to baldness, a slightly upturned nose, and a 
general look of cleverness. He had been an unsuccessful man of projects, and an 
unlucky bookseller, when he published in a cheap form some political parodies that 
had considerable sale. This led to his famous prosecutions, as the Government had 
determined to stop the issue of all such works. At that time he had a small shop at 
No. 67, Old Bailey : here he was suddenly arrested on the charge of publishing 
"impious and profane libels," committed to the King's Bench, where he remained 
for two months, and was ultimately tried in Guildhall on three successive days of 
December, 1817. He was too poor to engage counsel, and defended himself. His 
defence was a marvel, from the great and peculiar knowledge he displayed of the 
history of parody from the days of Luther, and he proved to the satisfaction of a jury 
that no such work as he was tried for had ever been considered criminal in the sense 
the Attorney-General put upon it. Justice Abbott tried him the first day, but on the 
second Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough came expressly to — convict. He began by 
endeavouring to arrest his style of defence, but Hone out-mastered him, and was 
again acquitted. With unparalleled vindictiveness the third trial was proceeded 
with the next day, when Hone was almost too weak to speak. But the harshness of 
Ellenborough strung up his energies, and he again induced the jury to deliver a 
verdict in his favour. His boldness and learning, and the stout stand he had made 
against legal tyranny, led to a public subscription on his behalf, and he opened a 
shop (46, Ludgate Hill), whence emanated that famous series of political pamphlets, 
illustrated by George Cruikshauk — the severest stings the Government had to endure. 
They sold enormously : twenty-five or thirty editions of more than a thousand each, 
spread them far and wide. Queen Caroline's arrival, her popularity, and the unpopu- 
larity of the king and court, gave full scope for satire, of which he availed himself. 
In 1825, when pohtics had lulled, he projected and pubHshed the " Every- day 
Book," in which his peculiar and out-of-the-way knowledge found useful vent. That 
was succeeded by other works, continued for a series of years, when the public 
interest began to fail, and ultimately Hone established a dining-establishment in 
Gracechurch Street. After some time that failed also, and he died in obscure and 
needy circumstances. 

Although so many of Hone's parodies were printed, it is difficult now to procure 
a copy of any one of them. That some of them were " atrocities " there can be no 
doubt ; and it is certain that their issue ought to have been stopped, and their author 
punished. But the Government assumed the attitude of a bully and the character of 
an oppressor, and public sympathy was with the wrong-doer. I frequently talked 

* Moxon married Miss Emma Isola, a "very dear friend" of the Lambs, who was regarded, indeed, as their 
adopted daughter. 



with Hone in his shop on Ludgate Hill, and found him gentle in manners, obliging, 
and. full of information, which he was ever ready to communicate. 

William Godwin, the close associate, if not the friend, of Lamb, I met in the 
company of Elia more than once. But I remember him when he kept a bookseller's 
shop on Snow Hill. I was a schoolboy then, and purchased a book there — handed 
to me by himself. It was a poor shop, poorly furnished; its contents consisting 
chiefly of children's books, with the old coloured prints that would strangely contrast 
with the art-illustrations of to-day.* 

He was the husband of Mary Wolstoncroft. They had lived together in loose 
bonds, believing, or at least arguing, that wedlock was an unbecoming tie. They 
changed their minds, however, in course of time, yielding probably to the per- 
suasions of friends, and married. Their daughter was the wife of Percy Bysshe 
Shelley. She wrote several works of fiction, the only one of which that is not quite 
forgotten is " Frankenstein." f Although he continued to adore Reason all his life, 
his conduct was not so offensive as to forbid occasional association with good men 
like Coleridge, and genial men like Lamb. In person he was remarkably sedate and 
solemn, resembling in dress and manner a Dissenting minister rather than the 
advocate of "free-thought" in all things — religious, moral, social, and intellectual; 
he was short and stout ; his clothes loosely and carelessly put on, and usually old 
and worn ; his hands were generally in his pockets ; he had a remarkably large, 
bald head, and a weak voice ; seeming generally half asleep when he walked, and 
even when he talked. Few who saw this man of calm exterior, quiet manners, and 
inexpressive features, could have believed him to have originated three romances — 
"Falkland," "Caleb Williams," and "St. Leon" — not yet forgotten because of 
their terrible excitements — and the work, "Political Justice," which for a time 
created a sensation that was a fear in every state of Europe. :]: 

Eventually he obtained a sinecure in the Exchequer ; and on a comforting 
stipend of £200 a year he passed the later years of his life. He died in 1836, in the 
eighty-first year of his age, and was buried in Cripplegate Churchyard. 

Lamb called him "a good-natured heathen." Southey said of him, in 1797, 
" He has large noble eyes, and a nose — oh ! most abominable nose ; " and he is 
thus pictured by Talfourd : — " The disproportion of a frame, which, low of stature, 
was surmounted by a massive head which might befit a presentable giant, was 
rendered almost imperceptible, not by any vivacity of expression (for his coun- 
tenance was rarely lighted up by the deep-seated genius within), but by a gracious 
suavity of manner which many ' a fine old English gentleman ' might have envied." 
Hay don tells us that, in 1822, Godwin was " in distress," " turned out of his house 
and business, and threatened with the seizure of all he possessed in the way of stock 

* He kept his shop under the name of Edward Baldwin ; assuredly, if it had been kept in his own, he would 
have had few customeis, for his published opinions had excited general hostility, to say the least. 

+ " Godwin had Mary Wolstoncroft for his wife, Mi's. Shelley for his daughter, and the immortal SheUey as his 
son-in-law." — Talfoukd. 

t His " Polilical Justice " is now forgotten ; but " it carried one single shock into the bosom of English society, 
like that from the electric blow of the gymnotus."— De Q,uincey. 

and furniture." Lamb and others made a subscription for him ; and among the 
subscribers was Walter Scott, who subscribed anonymously, as "he dissented from 
Mr. Godwin's theories of poUtics and morality, although an admirer of his genius." 

How very different in all respects was that other companion — " the friend indeed " 
— of Charles Lamb — Thomas Noon Talfoued ! * Tender, suave, and eloquent ; a 
liberal and enlightened lawyer ; a graceful yet lofty poet ; with charity for all, 
sympathy for all, and help for all — wherever help was needed. 

He made his way by force of genius, aided by high integrity, to the Bench ; and 
died a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He was one of the few examples of a 
lawyer in full practice pursuing a successful career as an author ; one from whom no 
penalty was exacted, although, no doubt, he did often 

" Pen a sonnet when he should engross." 

His manners were peculiarly bland and gentle ; he had a calm but expressive coun- 
tenance ; and he was obviously a man whom those who knew must love. As a poet, 
his reputation rests on his tragedy of Ion. He was the friend of many literary 
persons, and often their counsellor. For some years he represented Reading in Par- 
liament, and died universally esteemed and respected. 

Miss Mitford, who knew him when a youth, prophesied his after fame. Writing 
to one of her friends, she said of him : — "You should know that he has the very 
great advantage of having nothing to depend upon but his own talents and industry ; 
and those talents are, I assure you, of the very highest order. I know nothing so 
eloquent as his conversation — so powerful, so full ; passing with equal ease from the 
plainest detail to the loftiest and most sustained flights of imagination ; heaping, with 
unrivalled fluency of words and ideas, image upon image, and illustration upon illus- 
tration. Never was conversation so dazzling, so glittering." 

Among the friends of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Lamb at the close of the last 
century was John Thelwall, who had been tried for high treason, in 1794, with 
Hardy and Home Tooke. I knew him in 1816, in Bristol, while I was spending 
my school holidays there. He was delivering lectures on Elocution in that city. I 
recall him as a man of small and delicate form, but of remarkable energy, though 
aged then ; in person small, compact, muscular, with a head denoting indomitable 
resolution, and features deeply furrowed by ardent workings of the mind. He had 
lost his teeth, which dental surgery at that day could not replace ; yet he spoke with 
much point and fervour, and was singularly graceful in movement — having the 
aspect and manner of a perfect gentleman, although brought up at "a tailor's 
board " — as he stood and addressed the audience, habited in pantaloons, the fashion 
of the period, and a short coat of a make then novel. Wordsworth, who knew and 
respected him, described him as " a man of extraordinary talent, an affectionate 

* Talfourd was one of the executors of Lamb. He fii-st published " Letters and a Sketch of his Life," and 
twelve yeirs afieiwards, " Final Memorials of Charles Lamb." The former he dedicated to Mary Anne Lamb; the 
latter to William Wordsworth. 


husband, and a good, father ; " and adds — "Though brought up in the city at a 
tailor's board, he was truly sensible of the beauty of natural objects." 

There was another man of mark whom I met occasionally when it was my 
privilege to sit among the great, whom it is now my higher privilege to portray — • 
William Hazlitt. His grandson, one of the Registrars in the Court of Bankruptcy, 
has published two large volumes of his biography and correspondence. He was of 
Irish descent — his father was a Unitarian minister^ — and he was born at Maidstone 
in 1778. He was designed for the ministry, but " took" early to art, and painted 
some portraits — learning enough, at least, to give value to his art- criticisms. His 
profession was purely that of a man of letters, " depending on his literary earnings 
for subsistence to the last." He died in London in 1830, at the age of fifty-two. 

He was a reformer of the old school ; more than that, indeed — he was a 
democrat, a hater of authorities, and anything but a lover of his native land, the 
very opposite of some of the friends who cheered and helped him on his way 
through life. His admiration of the first Napoleon amounted almost to insanity ; 
even generous Talfourd describes him as " staggering under the blow of Waterloo, 
and hardly able to forgive the valour of the conquerors." He styles him, however, 
"the great critic and thinker." His Lectures on the Poets and his Essays on Art 
are full of valuable knowledge, and may be studied to-day with profit and pleasure ; 
while his dramatic criticisms may still be read with delight, although the actors, 
without an exception, are all gone. 

I remember him as a little, mean-looking, unprepossessing man ; but I am very 
unwilling to accept Haydon's estimate of him — "A singular compound of malice, 
candour, cowardice, genius, purity, vice, democracy, and conceit." Such a man 
could not have obtained this testimony from Charles Lamb ; and no man knew him 
better than did the gentle and genial essayist : — " I should belie my own conscience 
if I said less than that I think W. H. to be, in his natural and healthy state, one of 
the wisest and finest spirits breathing. So far from being ashamed of that intimacy 
which was betwixt us, it is my boast that I was able for so many years to have pre- 
served it entire ; and I think I shall go to my grave without finding, or expecting to 
find, such another companion." Yet De Quincey says of him—" He was splenetic, 
and more than peevish ; " but "the soil in his brain was of a volcanic fertility;" 
"he smiled upon no man : " "his misanthropy was constitutional ; " " there was a 
dark sinister gloom for ever upon his countenance ; " "it seemed to me that 
he hated, even more than enemies, those whom custom obliged him to call his 

■ He was of slight make— thin, indeed ; but his frame was " wiry and compact." 
He is thus described by Gilfillan :— " His face was pale and earnest, almost to 
haggardness, yet finely formed ; his eye eager, like that of one seeking to see, rather 
than seeing into the strange mystery of being around him ; his brow elevated ; his 
hair dark and abundant." He had a lonely life : few to sustain, and none to cheer 


him; none of the sweet amenities of home.* As a professed critic he had the 
common lot — few friends, many foes. He had " restless and stormy passions " — so, 
at least, say those who knew him best — and these were neither subdued nor con- 
trolled by any Faith that nourishes and strengthens Hope and Charity. 

Only once I saw De Quincey — another of the band who occasionally made 
glorious the evenings of Charles Lamb in Mitre Court. That remarkable man, 
whose story has been often and fully told, is thus described by Gilfillan : — "A little, 
pale-faced, woe-begone, and attenuated man, with a small head, a peculiar but not 
large brow, and lustreless eyes ; yet one who would pour into your ear a stream of 
learning, and talk like one inspired — or mad." His death was somewhat sudden. 
He had a fall that induced dangerous symptoms, and on the 27th December, 1834, 
he died at Edmonton, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. 

I knew also in the year 1824 — 5, and more than once visited him in his Library 
in Queen Square, Westminster, that very venerable gentleman — Jeremy Bentham. 
He died in 1832, at the age of eighty, having been called to the Bar in 1772. His 
head was singularly fine — grand, indeed, with white flowing locks that hung grace- 
fully over his shoulders, with a pleasant yet strongly intellectual countenance, that 
conveyed the idea of habitual cheerfulness, and a smile that seemed perpetual, and 
indicated perfect benevolence — of mind and heart. His bust has been often mistaken 
for that of Franklin, whom, no doubt, he much resembled. Hazlitt has said of him, 
" He lived like an anchorite in his cell, reducing law to a system, and the mind of 
man to a machine ; " " overlaying his natural humour, sense, spirit, and style with 
the dust and cobwebs of an obscure solitude." It is a far higher estimate — that 
which his intimate friend Sir John Bowring gives of the powerful intellect and 
generous sympathies of one of the most remarkable men of the century — of the 
eighteenth rather than of the nineteenth century. 

And now to the long list must be added the name of John Bowring, so long 
known as Dr. Bowring, and subsequently by his knight-title, " Sir John." He was 
knighted for services in China, where he had a lucrative appointment, given to him 
by his friends the Whigs, to whom he had long been a very useful servant. I knew 
him so far back as 1828, and esteemed him highly. As a politician he was largely 
in advance of his time. He had great energy, industry, and ability, and amply earned 
the honours to which he attained. 

These are but slight sketches of some of the friends or associates of Charles 
Lamb, but they may not be regarded as out of place when "companioning" a 
portrait of gentle, genial " Elia." 

* Talfouid relates this anecdote of the honour of Jeffrey :— " V^en Hazlitt was on his death-bed, and ' appre^ 
hensive of the future,' he dictated a brief and peremptory letter to the Editor of the Edinburgh Review, requiring a 
considerable remittance to which he had no claim but that of former remunerated services, which the friend who 
obeyed his bidding feared might excite displeasure. But he mistook Francis Jeffrey. The sum demanded was 
received by return of post, with anxious wishes for Hazlitt's recovery, just too late for him to understand his error." 


N the year 1763 a lecturer on rhetoric visited the city of Bristol during 
a professional tour. He was accompanied by a youth, his son : that 
youth was Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Among his frequent auditors 
was a young girl — Hannah More. I feel as if I were writing a far-off 
history, for she conversed with me concerning the circumstance to which 
I am referring, and which occurred upwards of a century ago. Her 
name is, indeed, so linked with the past as to seem to belong to a remote 
generation ; for when I knew her, in 1825, she had reached the patri- 
archal age of fourscore, and her talk was of the historic men and women 
who had been her associates : Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, David 
Garrick ; Bishops Porteus, Percy, Newton, and Watson ; Mackenzie, Boswell, Sir 
William Jones, Southey, Chalmers, Wilberforce, Gibbon, De Lolme, John Locke, 
Magee, Mrs. Montague, and many others, — famous men and women of her time, who 
honoured and loved her, as " a pure and humble, yet zealous philanthropist." Her 
writings were admired by them all — by the religious and the sceptic, by the philo- 
sopher and the frivolous worldling; all found in them something to admire, and 
nothing to condemn ; for her charity was universal. They were comprehended alike 
by the sagacious and the simple ; were read and respected equally by the greatly 

p 2 

learned and the comparatively ignorant. Prodigious, therefore, was the influence 
they exercised on her age. She is emphatically foremost among those to whom the 
poet refers, who, 

" Departing', leave behind them 

Footprints on the sands of Time." 

Yes ! I seem indeed to be writing a far-off history when I recall to memory one who 
is of the eighteenth, and not of the nineteenth, century. She had sat for her portrait 
to Sir Joshua Keynolds when the artist was in his zenith, and she placed in my hands 
a playbill of her tragedy of Percy, in which David Garrick sustained the leading part. 
The painter and the actor were her dear friends. 

I can but faintly picture now that venerable lady who more than fifty years ago 
received and greeted us with cordial warmth in her graceful drawing-room at Barley 
Wood ; directed our attention to the records she had kept of glorious friendships 
with the truly great ; spoke with humble and holy pride of her labours through a 
very long life ; impressed upon our then fresh minds the wisdom of virtue, the incon- 
ceivable blessing of Christian training and Christian teaching, and hailed us with 
encouraging hope and affectionate sympathy, just as we were entering the path she 
had trodden to its close, — she who had been a burning and a shining light before we 
were born. 

Her form was small and slight : her features wrinkled with age ; but the burden 
of eighty years had not impaired her gracious smile, nor lessened the fire of her eyes, 
the clearest, the brightest, and the most searching I have ever seen. They were 
singularly dark — positively black they seemed as they looked forth among carefally- 
trained tresses of her own white hair ; and absolutely sparkled while she spoke of 
those of whom she was the venerated link between the present and the long past. 
Her manner on entering the room, while conversing, and at our departure, was posi- 
tively sprightly ; she tripped about from console to console, from window to window, 
to show us some gift that bore a name immortal, some cherished reminder of other 
days — almost of another world, certainly of another age ; for they were memories of 
those whose deaths were registered before the present century had birth. 

This is Mrs. Hall's portrait of her :— 

"Her brow was full and well sustained, rather than what would he called fine: from the 
manner in which her hair was dressed, its formation was distinctly visible ; and though her eyes 
were half closed, her countenance was more tranquil, more sweet, more holy — for it had a holy 
expression — than when those deep intense ej^es were looking: you through and through. Small, 
and shrunk, and aged as she was, she conveyed to us no idea of feebleness. She looked, even 
then, a woman whose character, combining sufficient thought and wisdom, as well as dignity and 
spirit, could analyse and exhibit, in language suited to the intellect of the people of England, the 
evils and dangers of revolutionary principles. Her voice had a pleasant tone, and her manner 
was quite devoid of affectation or dictation : she spoke as one expecting a reply, and by no means 
like an oracle. And those bright immortal eyes of hers — not wearied by looking at the world for 
more than eighty years, but clear and far-seeing then — laughing, too, when she spoke cheerfully, 
not as authors are believed to speak, — 

'In measured pompous tones,' — 

but like a dear matronly dame, who had especial care and tenderness towards young women. It 
is impossible to remember how it occurred, hut in reference to some observation I had made, she 


turned briskly round and exclaimed, ' Controversy hardens the heart and sours the temper : 
never dispute with your husband, young lady ; tell him what you think, and leave it to him to 
fructify.' "* 

She was clad, I well remember, in a dress of rich pea-green silk._ It was an odd 
whim, and contrasted somewhat oddly with her patriarchal age and venerable coun- 
tenance, yet was in harmony with the youth of her step, and her unceasing vivacity, 
as she laughed and chatted, chatted and laughed ; her voice strong and clear as that 
of a girl, and her animation as full of life and vigour as it might have been in her 

She flourished at a period when religion was little more than a sound in England ; 

when the clergy of the English Church were virtuous only in exceptional cases, and 
the flocks committed by the State to their charge were left in as utter ignorance of 
social and religious duties as if they had been really but sheep gone astray ; when 
France was rendering impiety sacred, and raising altars for the worship of Reason ; 
and when in England there were vile copyists — professional propagators of sedition 
and blasphemy under the names of Liberty and Fraternity. 

At that terrible time Hannah More came out in her strength. Her tracts, 

' Pilgi'images to English Shrines," by Mrs. S. C. Hall-. London : Virtue. 1853. 


pamphlets, poems, and books aided largely to stem the torrent which for awhile 
threatened to overwhelm all of good and just in these kingdoms. They inculcated 
as an imperative duty the education of the people, stimulated gospel teaching by 
persuasions and threats addressed to those who had been appointed, at least by man, 
to the office of the ministry, and stirred up to be her helpers men and women of 
every class, from the humblest to the highest, from the cottage to the throne. She did 
her work so wisely as seldom to excite either prejudice or hostility. Those who 
might have been the bitter opponents of men so occupied were tolerant of zeal in a 
woman, and it cannot be questioned that her sex sheltered her from assailants, while 
it empowered her to make her way where men would have failed of entrance. 

She was not bigoted. There was in her nothing of coarse sectarianism opposing 
scepticism in phraseology harsh and uncompromising. Her mind had ever a leaning, 
and her language always a tendency, to the Charity that suffereth long and is kind. 
What was meant for mankind she never gave up to party ; though a thorough 
member of the Church of England, she saw no evil motive in those who counselled 
withdrawal from it ; though, with her, Faith was the paramount blessing of life, and 
the first and great commandment Duty to God, she inculcated all the duties of that 
which is next to it, "Love thy neighbour as thyself" — that which has been well 
termed " the eleventh commandment ; " nor had she any value for the religion that 
consisted mainly of idle or listless observance — cold adherence to outward formalities 
— nor any trust in that dependence on Providence which is but a mere admission of 
belief. There was no taint of asceticism in her piety — no abnegation of enjoyment, 
under the idea that to be cheerful and happy is to displease Grod. Her religion was 
practical ; she relished many of the pleasures which the worldly consider chief, and 
the " rigidly righteous " ignore as sinful. She might, indeed — and it is probable 
often did — apply to herself that line in the epigram of Dr. Young : — 

"I live in pleasure while I live to thee." 

In all her thoughts, words, and works, she was in the service of One who 

' ' Must delight in virtue, 
And that which he delights in must be happy." 

She especially laboured to give religion to the young as a source of enjoyment that 
in no degree diminished happiness, and was constant in imploring youth not to post- 
pone the blessing until age had rendered pleasure distasteful. "It is," she wrote, 
"a wretched sacrifice to the God of heaven to present Him with the remnants of 
decayed appetites, and the leavings of extinguished passions." 

While she never sought to lead woman out of her sphere, and is at once an 
example and a warning to the " strong-minded," she sought by all right means to 
elevate, and succeeded in elevating, her sex. In a word, her mission was to augment 
the sum of human happiness by wholesome stimulants to virtue, order, industry, as 
their own rewards, but of infinitely higher value as the preliminaries to a state for 
which hfe is but a preparation. 

Her lessons were more especially impressive to those who learn that, in widening 
the sphere of their duties, they do not abridge those that essentially appertain to 


home. In her case- there was comparative release from household cares, but she 
perpetually taught that there can be no excuse for their neglect, by any labour of 
mmd or pen, by any occupation that is suggested by philanthropy or rehgion. 

It was from this cause chiefly that she excited no suspicion. If men often 
grudgingly and ungraciously admit female talent, it is seldom from any principle of 
jealousy ; it is rather a dread that it will abstract from the power of the domestic 
virtues, rendering woman less the deity of home, and dwarfing her as a mother, a 
daughter, a sister, or a wife. In the far-off time when Hannah More flourished, 
and to which our memory takes us back, that dread was very generally felt. There 
are now so many examples of genius in woman, with its ample exercise and full 

employment, — which in no way imply exemption from her leading business in life, 

that alarm on this head has much, if not entirely, subsided. To teach that lesson 
was one of the many good works of Hannah More.* She was, therefore, one of 
those to whom England owes much of its greatness ; and though she has been more 
than forty years in her grave, to utter a prayer of gratitude over it is a duty that 
any writer may covet. 

My readers will permit me to dwell somewhat on the privilege we have enjoyed 
in having personally known this good woman. It is indeed a happy memory — that 
which recalls the day we passed with her at Barley Wood. 

Hannah More was born in the hamlet of Fishponds, in the parish of Stapleton, 
about four miles from Bristol, on the 2nd of February, 1745, more than one hundred 
and thirty years ago ! Her father — a man, as she tells us, of " piety and learning " 
— inherited ''great expectations;" but, reduced to a comparatively humble position, 
he became master of the Free School at Fishponds, married, and had five daughters, 
all good and gifted women, of whom Hannah was the fourth. In 1757 they opened 
a boarding-school at Trinity Square, Bristol, where Hannah, though but twelve years 
old, assisted. Their school flourished. Hannah, at seventeen, produced a poem, — 
" The Search after Happiness," and continued to write — fugitive verses principally 
— until her fame was established by the production of that which is considered the 
loftiest efi'ort of genius — a tragedy. 

In 1777 her tragedy of Percy was performed at Covent Garden Theatre, Garrick 
Avriting both the prologue and the epilogue, and sustaining the principal part in the 
play. Afterwards she wrote other plays, but their success was, by comparison, 
limited. A friendship with the great actor then commenced, which endured till his 
death, and was continued to his widow, until in 1822 she also died at the patriarchal 
age of ninety-one. 

In this age, when female talent is so rife, — when, indeed, it is not too much to 
say of women that they are, in many ways, maintaining their right to equality with 
men in reference to the productions of mind, — it is difiicult to comprehend the 
popularity, almost amounting to adoration, with which a woman-writer was regarded 

* There have been, and are, many literary women who have illustrated this position — that genius is in no degree 
incompatible with the ordinary duties of life : foremost among them was Maria Edgeworth, of whom we shall have 
to write. Indeed, we believe the female authors who neglect the home occupations, out of which only can arise the 
happiness of home, are but exceptions to a general rule. 


little more than half a century ago. Mediocrity was magnified into genius, and to 
have printed a book, or to have written even a tolerable poem, was a passport into 
the very highest society. Nearly all the contemporaries of Hannah More are for- 
gotten ; their reputation was for a day ; hers has stood the test of time.* She 
receives honour and homage from the existing generation, and will " live for aye in 
Fame's eternal volume." 

But her renown has by no means arisen from her poems, lyrical or dramatic ; 
from her tales, social or moral ; from her tracts, abundant as they are in sound 
practical teachings ; from her collected writings in eight thick volumes : it is founded 
on a more solid basis. Many of her books were produced " for occasions," and are 
in oblivion with the causes that gave them birth. " Coelebs in Search of a Wife," 
her only novel, yet survives. It appeared in 1808, and enjoyed a popularity that 
would seem prodigious even now, for within one year it passed through twelve 
editions, and her share of the profit exceeded two thousand pounds. It was written 
during a period of intense bodily suffering. "Never," she says, "was more pain 
bound up in two volumes." Although she lived to be so very aged, she had ever 
"a peculiarly delicate constitution," "rarely experienced immunity from actual 
disease," having, as she states in one of her letters, " suff'ered under more than 
twenty mortal disorders." She might have been pardoned if her life had been 
passed in listless ease and profitless inaction ; but her active industry was absolutely 
wonderful ; her literary labour was done in retirement, apart from the trouble and 
turmoil of the busy world — retirement that was but the "bracing of herself" for 
work — such work as was true pleasure. 

The district in which Providence had placed her in her youth was as " benighted" 
as could have been a jungle in Cafire-land; the people not only knew not God — 
they were utterly ignorant of moral and social duties, and ignored all responsibility 
in thought, word, and deed. In that moral desert Hannah More and her sisters set 
to work. The inevitable opposition was encountered. Neighbouring farmers had 
no idea of encouraging education, or of tolerating religion among the outcasts who 
did their daily work. The one, they argued, made them discontented, the other 
idle ; while the clergy considered such teachers as mere poachers on the barren 
tract they called theirs. Not only thus did opposition come ; even the parents, in 
many cases, refused to send their children to school, unless they were paid for doing 
so ; f and hard indeed seemed the toil to which these good sisters were devoted ; 
but they persevered, God helping them. Very soon schools were established, and 
not schools only — the sick and needy found ministering angels in these women, and 
for all their physical wants they had comforters. It is only when religion goes hand 
in hand with charity that its teaching can be effectual and its efi^orts successful. The 
philanthropists who give only tracts to feed the hungry, and printed books to clothe 
the naked, work as idly as those who would reap the whirlwind. They have not the 

* Her works have been translated into every European language, and into some of the languages of Asia. 

+ In Ireland, very recently, much the same feeling existed. We were present once when a lady refused some 
favour her tenant asked of her. The woman made this comment : " I'm surprised at ye, my lady, that ye wouldn't 
give me a small thing like that — after me letting the children wear shoes, and sending them to school to plase ye." 


example of Hannah More. Under her system prejudices broke down ; her experi- 
ments led to undertakings ; large institutions followed her small establishments for 
the ailing, the ignorant, or the wicked. The rich were taught to care for the poor, 
and in that little corner of England that lies under the shadow of the Cheddar hills 
a beacon was lit that at once warned and stimulated the prosperous. The piety of 
Hannah More was " practical piety," and to her must be assigned much of the 
distinction this kingdom derives from that all- glorious sentence now so often read in 
so many parts of it — a sentence that, beyond all others in our language, makes, as it 
ought to make, an Englishman proud — 


I have been tempted to wander somewhat from the theme more immediately in 



hand. The sisters kept their school in Bristol for thirty-two years ; but Hannah, 
though nominally one of them, had other vocations, not the least of which was the 
society she loved, and in which she was received Avith honour, homage, and affection. 
After residing some years at Cowslip Green, she built (in 1800) her cottage at Barley 
Wood, near the village of Wrington, eight miles from Bristol. The site was happily 
chosen, commanding extensive views, in a healthy locality overlooking a luxuriant 
vale ; many cottages and hamlets within ken. During the thirty years of her occu- 
pancy the place attained high rank in rural beauty ; walks, terraces, lawns, and 
flower-beds soon were graces of the domain. She lived to see the saplings she had 
planted become trees in which the thrush and blackbird built, and where nightingales 
sung. In the grounds was an urn, on a pedestal, inscribed, "In grateful memory 
of long and faithful friendship," to Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London. There was 



another to John Locke, and there were others that I have forgotten. These 
mementoes were skilfully placed under the shadows of umbrageous trees, and beside 
them were openings through which were obtained charming views of adjacent scenery. 
Of these two monuments I give engravings. 

Time, however, at length did its work with her, as with all. Though Barley 
Wood was her own, it was also the home of her sisters. In 1802 they went to 
reside with her, — and remained there till death divided them, one having previously 
" gone hence." Mary was the first to go, dying in 1813 ; in 1817 Sarah followed, 
and in 1819 Martha left earth. Hannah writes, " I must finish my journey alone." 
As Bowles wrote of her, there she 

" Waits meekly at the gate of Paradise, 
Smiling at Time." ' 

Her last work was on a congenial theme,—'* The Spirit of Prayer." With that 
book her literary labours closed. She was then fourscore years old ; thenceforward 
she put aside the pen ; but her doors were opened to friends, and sometimes to 
strangers, who desired to accord her homage and honour, or to offer tributes of 

When she was left " alone "—the last of all her family— at Barley Wood, she had 
eight servants, some of whom had lived long with her and her sisters, and, naturally, 
had her confidence. That confidence they betrayed, not only wasting her substance, 
but degrading her peaceful and hallowed home by orgies that brought shame to the 
rural neighbourhood. The venerable lady was necessarily informed of these " goings 
on" in her household, and, very reluctantly, removed to Clifton to be near loving 



and watchful friends. It was a mournful day, that on which she quitted the cottage 
endeared to her by time and association. " I am driven lilie Eve out of Paradise, but 
not by angels," she murmured, as she left the threshold. 

She removed to 4, Windsor Terrace, Clifton, and there, on the 7th September 
1833, she died, — if we are to call that death which was simply a removal to a far 
better and more beautiful home than any she had had on earth — " where angels do 
always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." 

She left a large fortune behind her. There were few friends who needed, and she 
had no relatives ; her wealth, therefore, went to augment the funds of public charities 
— principally those of Bristol, and there are thousands who to-day enjoy the blessings 
thus bequeathed to them. 

In Wrington Churchyard repose the mortal remains of the five sisters. A large 
stone slab, enclosed by an iron railing, covers the grave, and contains their names, 
the dates of their births, and of their deaths. 

I copy one of a series of very beautiful sonnets commemorating many phases and 
incidents connected with the career of Hannah More, written by her esteemed friend 
and biographer, the Rev. Henry Thompson : — 

" When every vernal hope and joy decays. 

When Love is cold, and life is little worth, 

Age yields to Heaven the thankless lees of Earth, 
Offering their Lord the refuse of his days : 
O wiser she, who from the voice of Praise, 

Friendship, Intelligence, and guiltless Mirth, 

Fled timely hither., and this sylvan hearth 
Reared for an altar ! not with sterile blaze 
Of Vestal fire one mystic's cell to light — 

Selfish devotion ; but its warmth to pour 

Creative through the cold chaotic night 
Of rustic ignorance ; thence, bold, to soar 

Through hall and regal tower with radiant flight, 
Till peer and peasant bless the toils of More." 

Her friend. Sir Joshua Eeynolds, painted her portrait (it would be interesting to 
know where it now is). " It represents her small and slender figure gracefully 
attired ; the hands and arms delicately fine, the eyes large, dark, and lustrous ; the 
eyebrows well marked and softly arched ; the countenance beaming with benevolence 
and intelligence."* The portrait represented her in her prime : that of which I give 
an engraving at the head of this chapter was painted by Pickersgill somewhere about 
the year 1822, when she had reached her eightieth year. She sat, however, to other 
artists — among them Opie, whose portrait is that of a plain woman of middle age, 
the features illumined by the deep and sparkHng black eyes that had lost none of 
their briUiancy when I knew her. The autograph is copied from a passage she wrote 
in Mrs. Hall's Album. 

The whole career of Mrs. Hannah More is a striking example of what can be 
effected by one woman — a woman neither high-born, nor wealthy, nor beautiful, nor, 
in what is understood to constitute genius, as highly gifted as many others whose 
names are histories. Her dramas have had no sustaining power to keep the stage. 

* I quote this passage from a book—" The Literary Women of England," by Jane WiUiams (published in 1 861 ) , 
a book far too little known, for it is full of wisdom and knowledge, keenly, yet generously critical, abounding in 
sound sense thorough appreciation of excellence, and manifesting earnest advocacy of goodness and vii-tue. 



and her poems, as poems, are little more than pleasing trifles ; but her " Cheap 
Kepository," her book on " Female Education," her " Thoughts on the Manners of 
the Great," her " Christian Morals," her " Spirit of Prayer," " Hints on the Education 
of a Princess," "Character of St. Paul," and her "Practical Piety," despite some 
occasional " conventionalities," are the temples in which her memory is enshrined ; 
and when we recall the formation of those Poor Schools, — when we remember that 
neither the time bestowed upon them nor upon her literary pursuits prevented her 
fulfilling her duty to the 

" Great Father of all," 


in whom " she lived, and moved, and had her being," — when we learn how faithfully 
her domestic duties were discharged, while she was the benefactor of the poor, the 
instructor of the ignorant, — when we remember what she was to society, and recall 
the kind, playful, unostentatious womanliness of her nature, we do greatly rejoice in 
the triumph of usefulness. We gaze with reverence upon the clear beacon -fire she 
kindled, so different from the phantom lights that dazzle to betray ; and we recom- 
mend most earnestly to our countrywomen the study of such a life and its results — 
happiness obtained and conferred — as opposed to the malaria of those unhealthy 


influences which, born of a degraded woman of genius, have, of late years, crawled 
from France into the literature of England. 

It is, indeed, to be deplored that many of the most pernicious books of recent 
times are the productions of women, who have been the advocates and propagators 
of vice, by making it not alone excusable, but attractive ; teaching not only to 
" endure," but to "pity " and to " embrace." How many of the novels of modern 
writers are utterly shameless and shameful ! They may, and do, charm by exciting 
incident and story ; but in striving to render fascinating bad examples of the sex, 
they corrupt the very fountain-head of society, and taint the natures of those who 
are to be the wives and mothers of the future. 

Unhappily, such books are greedily read, and do not fail to find their way into 
the hands of the young. It is impossible to overrate the mischief they do : "just as 
the twig is bent ;" the subtle poison taints the constitution ; and though it may be 
suspended in the system, it is sure in time to show its effect in diseased morals and 
distempered brain. 

Every printed word is a planted seed that must spring up a weed or flower ; 
and the author who either ignores responsibility or is indifferent to it is like the 
child who 

" Flings about fire, 
And tells you 'tis all but ia sport." 

We have, it is true, the antidote as well as the bane ; and, thank God, there are 
women, not a few, who work with the pen, in fervent, earnest, and hopeful advocacy 
of the cause of God and man. Those who seek the good and pure in literature 
find an ample supply by which the best affections and the holiest aspirations are 
nurtured, strengthened, and augmented ; but it is none the less a duty to protest 
against the many evil publications — novels more especially — that have general and 
wide popularity, such as are calculated, if they be not intended, to spread moral and 
social pestilence, and destroy the foundations on which health, happiness, and faith 
can only be safely built. 

It was during a subsequent visit to Bristol that I made the acquaintance of the 
Rev. Robert Hall, the famous Baptist minister, who for many years " graced and 
glorified " a Nonconformist pulpit, and not only as an eloquent preacher, but as a 
powerful writer, aided the cause to which his life was devoted. He was born at 
Arnsby on the 2nd May, 1764, a village about eight miles from Leicester, where 
his father was the pastor of a Baptist congregation ; and he died at Bristol in 
February, 1831. 

He was the youngest of fourteen children. His infancy was more than commonly 
feeble and unpromising: "until he was two years old he could neither walk nor 
talk ;" and, it is said, learned his letters from the tombstones of an adjacent burial- 
ground. He made rapid progress, however, when his mind had accepted light. In 
1780, having been set apart to the sacred work by his father's congregation at 
Arnsby—" lifting up their right hands and joining in solemn prayer "—he entered 

upon it, and laboured in God's service to the close of a suffering life, worshipping 
in his chapel in the Broadmead, Bristol, until within a few days of his departure 
from earth. 

He was not only a learned man and an eloquent divine, but a man of much 
literary taste. He is said to have been constitutionally indolent ; but nearly all his 
life he suffered from a spinal desease that often incapacitated him for labour of any 
kind, and sometimes interrupted his discourses in the pulpit; generally, indeed, 
compelling him to keep to his easy-chair all day and smoke tobacco, which he did to 
excess ; but it was his only remedy to alleviate pain.* 

When young, he surpassed Dr. Johnson at drinking tea. " He has confessed to 
me," writes one of his friends, " to taking thirty cups of tea in an afternoon ; his 
method being to visit four families, and drink seven or eight cups with each." 

No doubt, to his bodily suffering must be attributed the occasional bitterness that 
found vent in words : often, however, when they rubbed a sore they gave the plaster. 
He cured one man of his propensity to brandy- and- water by bidding him call for a 
glass of liquid fire and distilled damnation ; and reproved a vain preacher who desired 
to know his opinion of a sermon, " I found one good passage, sir — the passage from 
the pulpit to the vestry." 

It is known, however, that he laboured to repress his tendency to satire and 
severity, as out of harmony with the character of a Christian teacher. His wit was 
not buoyant, boisterous, and exhilarating, like that of Sidney Smith, whom in 
person, and perhaps in mind, he somewhat resembled. But in no sense could he 
be described as morose, although suffering may have prevented his being often 
cheerful. He was essentially benevolent, and had the loving and active faith that 
never fails to keep aw^ay despondency from heart and mind. I have before me an 
impressive sentence: — "Keep away all gloom; for gloom insults God." That 
sentence was given to me under very peculiar circumstances — circumstances for 
which I am deeply thankful ! Yet he suffered under the combined influence of a dis- 
ordered body and a mind overstrained — "jaded brains," as a modern physician calls 
the ailment f — and was, though for a brief time, the inmate of a private insane asylum. 
I recall, with exceeding pleasure, a morning I passed with him at his residence 
in the Broadmead, Bristol, and the sermon I heard him preach on the subsequent 
Sabbath. I was about to write my remembrance of him ; but his portrait is drawn 
by his friend, Olinthus Gregory, LL.D., so much better than I can draw it, that I 
adopt it : — 

" When I first saw Mr. Hall, I was struck with his well-proportioned, athletic 
figure, the unassuming dignity of his deportment, the winning frankness which 
marked all that he uttered, and the peculiarities of the most speaking countenance 
I ever contemplated, animated by eyes radiating with the brilliancy imparted to 
them by benevolence, wit, and intellectual energy." 

* Some pages of his sermon, " Modern Infidelity," were written while he was lying in agony on the floor. 

+ Andrew Scott Myrlle, M.D., of Harrogate. His essay on this subject, which accompanies a small volume on 
the mineral waters of HaiTogate, might be read with great advantage by a)l who, engaged in mental pursuits, are 
often attacked by the insidious but very perilous disease— oveb- work. 


In the pulpit there was usually evidence of physical weakness ; his voice was 
never strong ; he usually commenced slowly, and almost inaudibly, but, as he pro- 
ceeded, he rose with his theme ; became fervid, eloquent, and powerful ; and the 
deep attention and rapt enthusiasm of his always large audience Avere ever amply 
recompensed. The Christian and the scholar were alike content ; for every 
sentence he uttered seemed rounded and pointed so as to defy criticism, while his 
earnestness carried conviction to " the saving of many souls : " it was the outpouring 
of his own. 

In 1799 he preached and published his famous sermon on " Modern Infidelity,'' 
concerning which Bishop Porteus recorded "his applause, veneration, and gratitude, 
due to the acute detector, perspicuous impugner, and victorious antagonist of the 
sceptical, infidel, and anti- Christian sophist." He believed, and therefore taught, 
that " of all fanaticism the fanaticism of infidelity was at once the most preposterous 
and the most destructive," and he no doubt aided largely in arresting the progress 
of the many detestable advocates of the Reign of Terror of France, who were then 
actively propagating " democracy and atheism conjointly." 

It will not be considered "out of place " if I introduce here a Memory of another 
remarkable man — the Rev. Adam Clarke. He also was a Dissenting minister — if the 
Methodists, of whom he was a distinguished member, are to be considered Dissenters 
from the Church of England, which is by no means certain. He was born at 
Magherafelt, near Londonderry, but was of English parentage on both sides, and 
died at Bayswater, London, in 1832, aged seventy-two. 

I knew the learned commentator in Cork, so far back as the year 1819, and, 
although I was little more than a boy, had much intercourse with him. He was but 
a visitor to that city, and not a resident there. I knew him also in London, not long 
before his death. He was then dwelling for a time with his two sons, who were 
printers near St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell. I knew also his daughter, a very estim- 
able and accomplished lady. All now have passed from earth.* 

He had been a fellow-labourer with John Wesley in the vineyard when it was 
choked with weeds, and yielded little fruit. The venerable founder of the Methodists 
had laid his hand on the youth, and dedicated him to the ministry : that was in 1782. 
In after life the Doctor loved much to speak of his early, though limited, knowledge 
of the great man ; and his mortal remains were interred in the burial-ground of the 
Methodists in the City Road Chapel, close beside those of the Gamaliel at whose feet 
he had sat. It was his lot to encounter prejudice and persecution, but he Hved to be 
honoured as a scholar and beloved as a Christian teacher. 

Adam Clarke was devotedly attached to the society of which he was so distin- 
guished a member. " I belong to them," lie once said, " body and soul, blood and 
sinews : this coat " (touching his sleeve) " is theirs." He was scarcely a youth 
when he commenced the work, and was known, indeed, as the boy-preacher. 

* Another daug-Mer was married to Mr. Hook, who had a colonial appointment at one of the South African 
settlements, and was the mother of James Clarke Hook, E.A., the distmgiiished artist. 



Eloquent he never was, but impressive he was always ; his learning was profound ; 
his knowledge of ancient and modern languages very extensive ; and no man had 
more deeply, or with better results, studied Scripture. It was a marvel how, living 
as he did a life of continual and active labour, he found time to acquire the mass of 
knowledge he gave to the world in his grand and famous Commentaries on the Old 
and New Testament. 

Yet the profound scholar was in manners, and, seemingly, in thought as simple as 
a child. He was deemed eccentric, and probably was so ; but he was mild, 
gentle, and conciliating — more especially to the young. "I had a prejudice against 
him," writes Montgomery, " because he was represented in a portrait in the Methodist 
Ma'iazine as wearing a cocked hat ; but he outlived that fashion, and I outlived my 
prejudice. I met, understood, and loved him." 

When I first knew Adam Clarke his cheeks were rosy with health ; they 
resembled those of a stout husbandman rather than a scholar who lived laborious 
days. He had a ponderous forehead, that seemed to weigh down the eyebrows and 
protrude the eyes, that were light and " dreamy ; " and the eyebrows were thick and 
bushy, but white ; the upper organs, those of benevolence and veneration, were very 
large ; he had high cheek-bones ; and his form was thick and sturdy, capable, one 
would have thought, of enduring much fatigue. I think I never saw a countenance 
(I am speaking of a later period) that indicated more a living out of this world ; that 
was of the earth only as a duty ; perpetually communing with spirits — the spirits 
of just men made perfect. To be of that company was the study of his life here. He 
was a good as well as a great man ; did the work of his Master thoroughly ; and is 
now of the hierarchy of heaven. 


ENTLE, suave, and tender, in look and manner, with very 
little outward development of power, but with an aspect 
that indicated a sensitive and generous soul, was the poet, 
James Montgomery, when I knew him — in 1830. His 
early associateship with the sect called the " Moravian 
Brethren " had probably given to his mind a tinge of 
melancholy ; for so he always seemed to me, and so, I 
believe, he seemed to others. 

It matters little whether he was or was not a descendant 
(^ynJ-'^ of that ancient family whose name is renowned in three Kingdoms, and 
rr(j^f who "came in with the Conqueror:" he had a higher boast, that he 

^i^^*—-'^ " The son of parents passed into the skies." 


' His father was the Rev. John Montgomery, who had been appointed to 

the pastoral charge of a small congregation of the " United (Moravian) Brethren," 
at Irvine, a seaport in Ayrshire : and on the 4th of November, 1771, the poet 
was there born. His father and mother were both Irish, and of Irish descent. 




He was himself, therefore, more than half Irish, — as he said to his friend, John 
Holland, having " barely escaped being born in Ireland " — entering the world a few- 
weeks after the arrival of his mother at Irvine, and returning with her to Ireland 
four years and a half after his birth. He received his earliest lessons at Grace Hill, 
in the county of Antrim, from a genuine Irish schoolmaster — " one Neddy McKaffery," 
— and was educated at the Moravian Settlement, Fulneck, about six miles from Leeds, 
his parents having been removed to the island of Barbadoes, as " missionaries among 
the negro slaves." His mother died at Tobago in 1790, and his father at Barbadoes 
in 1791. The mission was unfortunate. The good man, in his hopelessness, 
exclaimed, "Oh that I knew one soul in Tobago truly concerned for his salvation, 
how should I rejoice ! " They pursued their vocation, none the less; doing, as far 
as they could, the work of their Master, amid privations and sufferings, literally unto 
death. Thus wrote their poet-son : — 

" Beneath the lion star they sleep, 
Beyond the western deep ; 
And when the sun's noon glory crests the waves, 
He sliines without a shadow on their gi-aves." 

During his long life, James Montgomery paid but one visit to the land in which 
he was born. It is, therefore, absurd to describe him as a Scotchman ; to all intents 
and purposes he was, as he himself said he had nearly been, an Irishman ; for it is 
certain that the native country of a man is not determined by the accident of birth, 
otherwise some of the most renowned Englishmen must be treated as Frenchmen or 
Spaniards. A man loses no civil rights, as a British subject, by being born in a 
foreign state, nor does he, by such " mischance," acquire any of the privileges to 
which, as a native of such state, he would be entitled.* 

In 1830, when Mr. Everett, one of Montgomery's biographers, visited Grace 
Hill, a nephew and two aunts of the poet were " residents " there. Probably some 
of the family live there still. Montgomery himself visited Grace Hill in 1842. He 
had retained a vivid recollection of the place, and the several objects and incidents 
associated with it. 

When Montgomery visited Irvine, where he was formally welcomed by the 
authorities with the respect due to one whose genius and virtues had done honour 
to the burgh, the little chapel in which his father had preached was no longer used 
as a sanctuary. It then contained four or five looms ; yet he had a strong memory 
of the place, and was deeply touched by the visit—" its bridge, its river, its street- 


* Maria Edgeworth was horn in England. Her claim to be EngHsh is stronger than that of Montgomery to he 
Scottish ; for her mother was an Englishwoman, her father was English born, and she wis many years a resident 
in England before she visited Ireland. Cardinal Wiseman was cii'cumstanced as was James Monlgomerj': his 
parents were Irish, but he was born in Spain, and sent to England for education when five or six years old. 

Montgomery, in the course of a speech at a public meeting, made these remarks :— " If I did not love Irelana 
fervently, I should be a most unnatural and ungrateful wi'etch ; every drop of blood in my veins was drawn trom 
Irish foimtains ; both my pai-ents were Irish, and the first motion of my heart was commumcated by the pulse ot an 
Irish mother's." . , , „ -^ , j m • ■= 

I thought it weU to determine this point, and put a written case before an emment lawyer of England, ims is 
his opinion :— " If born of English parents, no matter w/iej-e— Scotland, Spain, or m any vessel, in any clime-he is 
English : there is an especial Act of the British Parhament putting the matter beyond question. Certainly, it 
born in Spain, he could claim no rights as a Spaniard, nor lose any as an Englishman, always supposing the parents 
had not been naturalised." As it was possible the Scottish law differed from the English, I consulted a Soottisi 
lawyer. This is his opinion ;— " The fact of being born in Scotland is of no account; A child so bom is no more a 
Scotchman, by virtue of that fact, than he would be a marine by being born at sea." 

aspect, and its rural landscape, with sea- glimpses between." His memory of Grace 
Hill was necessarily more clear and strong, but be bad evidently no special attach- 
ment to either. He was in effect, though not in fact, a native of Sheffield. 

Fulneck, a few miles from Leeds, was, and is, not only a settlement, but may be 
called a college, of the Moravians. Montgomery became a scholar there in 1777, 
the design of his parents being to educate him for the ministry. It must have been 
a dolorous place, according to the vivid description of William Hewitt, though others 



•have spoken of it differently. No doubt in 1777 it was far less dismal than it is in 
1870, when huge chimneys stretch up to the sky, clouds are intercepted by smoke, 
and a perpetual din of the hammer drowns the song of birds — if any remain to sing. 

But in its best time little of the more striking aspects of beautiful nature could 
have been without the walls ; while within, the Fathers and " Brethren " sought by 
precept and example to close the outer world to the eyes and hearts of the neophytes. 
Such a locality, and such a system, would have dried up the living fountain that 
issued from the heart even of great Wordsworth. True, something must be con- 
ceded to systematic education, but a worse home in which to educate a poet can 
hardly be conceived.* Neither was Montgomery much better off when, in after-life, 
his Parnassus was the close street called " Hartshead," or even " The Mount," at 
Sheffield — the world's factory of steel and iron. 

No doubt, in his poetry, his narrow sectarianism was a serious trammel. He 
could never give full vent to fancy ; imagination was not permitted to body forth 
the forms of things unknown ; inventions were stigmatised as falsehoods ; and fiction 
was unpardonable crime. The fine frenzy of the poet was, therefore, a sin against 
the brotherhood ; and themes in which happier " makers " revelled were excluded 
from entries in his book of life. Montgomery was not heard in protest against this 
untoward fate, although he does complain that he had been often compelled to 
sacrifice brilliant forms of expression, which, whatever admiration they may have 
won from many readers, were " incompatible with Christian verity." 

Montgomery's promise of the future was not such as to justify the hopes of the 
Directors at Fulneck ; the ministry was not to be his lot. Little did the good 
Fathers foresee that the rejected was to become a mightier teacher — more powerful 
to influence the hearts and minds of humankind — than the whole of the students put 
together whom Fulneck was rearing to become missionaries throughout the world ; 
that the silent, unsocial, and seemingly indolent lad whom, hopeless of better 
things, they consigned to the counter of a small shopkeeper at Wath, was destined 
to make their gentle faith reverenced to the uttermost parts of earth, among the 
millions upon millions who speak the Anglo-Saxon tongue. 

Neither was shop-thraldom for him ; he threw off the shackles they had placed 
on his soul. Considering himself free (as he was not under indentures) to act for 
himself, he set forth "to seek his fortune," but almost penniless, and without a 
guide ; nay, not without a guide, for the Master he was to serve as the " Christian 
poet " of a future was at his side. After a brief sojourn with the shopkeeper at 
Wath and a bookseller in London, he was conducted to the proverbially unpoetic 
and intellectually unfruitful town of Sheffield, where the whole of his after-life was 
passed from the age of twenty-one to that of eighty-three. To the " hard-handed 
men in that capital of " toil and traffic " he brought a shining light. Assuredly he 
was led where he was most needed ; and who shall say how far the gentle teachmgs 
and glad tidings of the Gospel, preached by him during so many years from the 

* One of the Moravian pastors asks Montgomery, in a letter from Fnlneck— "Do you yoiu-self ascribe your 
■ tendency to depression of spirits to yoirr mode of education here \ " There appears to have been no answer to tne 


printing-press, and in so many " speeches," inflaenced a people, many of them then 
and always conspicuous for passionate, not to say reckless, ardour ? and who shall 
gauge the influence of the Christian poet in counterbalancing the dangerous efforts 
of a fierce democratic power that soon obtained ascendancy in that stirring and ener- 
getic town ? — the one poet uttering curses loud and deep against a tax-fed aristo- 
cracy ; *' the other breathing gently in his prose and verse, and illustrating, by his 
example, the merciful teachings of the suffering yet ever-considerate Saviour. 

Yes, the pulpit of James Montgomery was the wide, wide world, and his con- 
gregation the whole of humankind. 

Moreover, he was unfitted for the ministry by " constitutional indolence," — he 
might have said, excessive sensibility. Of himself he writes, so early as 1794,."! 
was distinguished for nothing but indolence and melancholy." " I who am always 
asleep when I ought to be working." 

But Montgomery had, in reality, "no vocation for the pulpit," and it is not 
unlikely that the austerity of Fulneck School rendered a prospect of the ministry 
distasteful to him ; at any rate, the rebound of his spirit, when breaking away from 
his religious teachers, took a different direction. His destiny was to be, not a man 
of peace, but a man of war — with the pen, that is to say. Very early in life he 
launched his fragile, if not "frail"' bark on the stormy sea of politics. His youth 
and his earlier manhood Avere expended in the party-contests of a provincial town, 
although his large mind and high soul dealt occasionally with the loftier topics that 
concern humanity. No doubt, in the main and for a time, he 

" To party gave up wliat was meant for mankind." 

In 1794 Montgomery commenced to publish in Shefiield the Iris newspaper, pass- 
ing in a few short months from " a seclusion almost equal to that of the cloister," to 
what was then one of the most responsible and perilous stations in active life— that 
of " a newspaper publisher, politician, and patriot " — exhibiting, as if in proof of Dr. 
Johnson's notable averment, "something of that indistinct and headstrong ardour 
for liberty which a man of genius always catches when he enters the world, and 
always suffers to cool as he passes forward." 

On the 4th of July the first number appeared. He had soon to endure the pains 
and penalties consequent on his position. In October, 1794, he was prosecuted for 
printing " a patriotic song by a clergyman of Belfast." The passage that was pro- 
nounced "libellous " by the sapient justices who tried the case was this: — 

" Europe's fate on the contest's decision depends, 
Most important its issue will be ; 
For should France be subdued, Europe's liberty ends ; 
If she triumphs, the world wiU be free." 

The verses were written by a Mr. Scott, of Dromore, and were sung at a festival 
in Belfast, to commemorate the destruction of the Bastille ; and they had been 
printed in various newspapers (among others, the Horning Chronicle) a year before 

Ebenezer Elliott. 


Montgomery was prosecuted for reprinting them for a ballad-hawker ; for which he 
received, as a printer, the sum of eighteen-pence. It bore internal evidence that he 
was not the writer — indeed, that was not charged against him ; yet he was con- 
victed and sentenced to three months' imprisonment in York Castle, and to pay a 
fine of £20. 

Not long afterwards (in 1796) he was a second time tried, convicted, and 
imprisoned for libel. It was for printing in his newspaper what he considered a true 
statement of facts concerning a riot that had taken place at Sheffield, in which 
several lives were lost.* He was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, and a fine 
of £60. 

Again, therefore, to quote his own words, "he kept house in York Castle." 

In a letter I received from him in 1837 he thus alludes to himself: — " The dis- 
appointment of my premature poetical hopes brought a blight with it, which my mind 
has never recovered. For many years I was as mute as a moulting bird, and when 
the power of song returned, it was without the energy, self-confidence, and freedom 
which happier minstrels among my contemporaries have manifested, and have owed 
much of their success to such inspiration from their own conscious talents." t 

No doubt much of this state of mind resulted from the severity of criticism dealt 
out to him ; it acted on a naturally sensitive nature and a delicate constitution, and 
had the effect it was probably designed to produce. Take, for example, the following 
passages from the Edinburyh Review — January, 1807 — where Montgomery was cried 
down (!) as "intoxicated with weak tea, and the praises of sentimental ensigns, and 
other provincial literati ; " "a writer of middling verses," whose readers were " half- 
educated women, sickly tradesmen, and enamoured apprentices ; " a " most musical 
and melancholy gentleman," " very weakly, very finical, and very afi'ected ; " the 
review ending with a prophecy that " in less than three years no one will know the 
name of the ' Wanderer of Switzerland,' or any of the other poems " of James Mont- 
gomery ! Such was the judgment of Francis Jeffi-ey. How righteously true, how 
glorious in its fulfilment, was the prophecy put forth in 1807 — the fulfilment which 
Jeffrey, the writer, lived to witness, so long afterwards as 1856 ! 

In 1825 he retired from the Lu. On the 27th of September of that year 
appeared the last number of that journal with the imprint of James Montgomery.]: 
His fellow-townsmen received him at a public dinner, at which Earl Fitzwilliam pre- 
sided ; persons of all political opinions attended to do him honour, acknowledging 
his services to humanity, the gentleness with which he had done his " spiriting," the 
blameless tenor of his life, the suavity of his manners, and the firmness of his character 
— that as a public journalist he had honoured and dignified the Press of his country. 

* When, in 1796, Coleridge was canvassing for subscribers to the Watchman, he declined to make any efforts in 
Sheffield, " lest he should injure the sale of the Iris," "the Editor of which is a very amiable and ingenious young 
man of the name of James Montgomery." 

+ " The Wanderer of Switzerland " was published in 1806 ; " The West Indies," 1810 ; " The World before the 
Flood," 1813 ; " Greenland," 1819 ; " Prose by a Poet," 1824 ; " The Pelican Island, " 1827 ; " Lectures on 
Poetry," 1833. 

J The Iris was, at one time, " the only newspaper published at Sheffield ; " and in allusion to this fact, on 
Montgomery's relinquishing it, Wilson says, in the " Noctes," "A hundred firesides sent their representatives to 
bless the man whose genius had cheered their homes for thirty winters." He adds, " His poetry will live, for he 
has heart and imagination ; the religious spirit of his poetry is affecting and profound." 



And throughout the kingdom that opinion there was none to gainsay. Thence- 
forward he entirely abstained from pohtical writing ; and his biographer says that, in 
1837, " his opinions had become, in the main, very similar to those now indicated 
by the term Conservative." 

On retiring from business Montgomery left the premises in the Hartshead, where 
he had so long resided, and went to live at The Mount, a pleasant situation about a 
mile outside the town, and overlooking the valley of the Sheaf. The house occupied 
by the poet was one of eight (represented in the engraving), which together form a 
handsome and imposing pile of building. 


In 1830, Montgomery was in London to deliver lectures on English Literature at 
the Royal Institution. 

It was then he visited us— in Sloane Street. I had seen him once before, during 
a rapid run through Sheffield, when I had a brief interview Avith him, seated, ex 
cathedra, in the office of the Ins, in the dingy locality before menuoned. It was in 
that year, while he was contenting himself with the production of occasional verses 
—often commemorating the worth of the departed, soothing sorrow, and arousing 
hope in survivors— that another Montgomery— Robert Montgomery— claimed and 


obtained tlie suffrages of the world. The " Oranipresence of the Deity " rapidly 
passed through seven or eight editions, and Robert gave, in a year, more employment 
to the printers than James had found for them in half a century of work. Yet surely, 
while the one was pure gold — thrice tried in the furnace — the other was, by com- 
parison, "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal." 

Some notes concerning Robert Montgomery may not be unacceptable to my 

I remember James Montgomery calling upon me soon after the work of his name- 
sake appeared, and became at once " famous." His mind seemed much unsettled, 
and he spoke as if under the influence of some affliction, as he asked me for my 
sympathy, showing me a letter, and telling me it was not the only one of the kind 
he had received, in which the writer congratulated him on the success of his new 
poem, adding that " it was undoubtedly his best, and that as he grew in years he 
grew in vigour and in beauty." The new poem was " The Omnipresence of the 
Deity ! " by his namesake. 

No doubt the sudden, extreme, and irrational popularity of Robert gave pain to 
James, not from envy certainly, but on account of the mistakes arising, not always 
undesignedly, from the similarity of names. It is not in human nature to bear such 
mortifications without umbrage. Whether Robert was 2yarticeps crlminis or not, I 
cannot say, but certainly the advertisements issued by his publisher — Maunder — of 
" Montgomery's new poem," repeated perpetually without any prefix, if not intended 
to deceive, did deceive, not the public alone, but the booksellers, and in some 
instances critics and reviewers. One speaker at a public meeting, James being 
present, alluded in terms highly complimentary to Robert's poem of " Woman," as 
" rendering tardy honours to the sex," and in their name tendered thanks to James, 
whom he took to be its author. 

A note to an article in the Quarterly which contained this passage, " We mean 
the poet Montgomery, and not the Mr. Gomery who assumed the afiix of ' Mont,' " 
&c., naturally excited the ire of Robert, who wrote to James, indignantly denying 
the assumption of the name, which he affirmed was his natural right. To that letter 
James wrote a lengthened reply, in which he stated, " The worst that I wish to Mr. 
Robert Montgomery is, that some rich man would die ^nd leave him a handsome 
estate, on condition that he should take the name of his benefactor; " but he did not 
conceal his vexation at the annoyances to which he had been subjected.* 

I would not, however, seem to cast a slur upon the memory of the lesser, while 
lauding the greater, Montgomery ; the suffrages of thousands have given to him a 
niche in the Temple of Fame, and if rated above his value as a 'poet, he was at all 
events a kindly man, a zealous clergyman, and a fervent Christian, to whose rare 
powers as a preacher some of our best charities are indebted for much of their means 
to lessen and relieve human suffering. 

* Kobeit had the cure of a church in Glasgow when James visited that city, but he did not call upon his 
venerable namesake ; yet the poet went to hear him preach. On his retui-n to Sheffield, James, being questioned 
on the subject, merely said, " 1 cannot be one of his eulogists, and I will not say anything to his disparagement." 

I think the exact particulars of his parentage have never been given: it is, 
however, believed his father's name was Montgomery,- but that he had dropped the' 
aristocratic quarter of it, calling himself Gomery, and that Robert, in assuming it, 
did no more than he was entitled to do. ° 

It was in 1825 or 1826 that Robert Montgomery brought me an introduction; I 
cannot now say from whom. There came to spend an evening with me a somewhat 
handsome and rather "foppish" young man, tall, and slight, and gentlemanly, 
though assuming and exacting in manners. His object was to read to me a poem 
he had written, which he called " The Age Reviewed." It was full of sparlding 
" cleverness," but was a satire on the leading reviewers, poets, and authors of the 
day. The half-fledged sparrow was about to peck at the eagle's plumes. Names 
the most honoured and reverenced in letters — some who were even then almost of 
the future— were treated with contumely and scorn; heroes in a hundred fights 
were to go down "before the grey goose-quill" of the boy Goliath ! His great 
prototype, Byron, was bitterly lamenting a wicked folly of the kind, but the intel- 
lectual giant had strength for the encounter, which this thoughtless youth had not. 
I listened as he read, and when he had finished I gave him serious and earnest 
counsel at once to put his poem into the fire beside which we were sitting. My 
advice was angrily rejected. Robert Montgomery published " The Age Reviewed,"! 
and lamented the wanton act of aggression all the days of his life. Many years 
passed before I again saw him ; he had then been ordained, and was a favourite 
preacher — especially fond of preaching charity sermons. We were brought together 
in consequence of our mutual interest in the Hospital for the cure of Consumption 
at Brompton — a charity for which he exerted himself ardently and zealously. 

He was certainly the vainest man I have ever known. To him notoriety was 
fame ; a " few " was never a " fit " audience ; he would have far preferred a bellow 
of applause from a crowded gallery to a half-suppressed murmur of admiration from 
" the first row in the pit." 

The portrait I draw of him, however, cannot, and ought not to be, all shade. 
Beyond his vanity there was no harm in him ; nay, his nature was generous and 
kindly. He was eloquent and impressive in the pulpit, and discharged zealously 
and faithfully his manifold duties as a clergyman. The Consumption Hospital is by 
no means the only charity for which he heartily worked.} In all the minor relations 
of life — as husband, father, and friend — he was exemplary. 

Of his merits as a poet I do not take upon myself to speak. A writer who lived 

o see thirty-six editions of one poem, " The Omnipresence of the Deity," and many 

editions of several other poems, could not be without great merit, though it may be 

of " a certain kind ; " moreover, he was not prostrated, although for a time hurled 

to the ground by the memorable and terrific assault of Macaulay ; and though he 

* It is said, but I know not with what truth, that the father of Robert, usually called Gomery, had been a 
theatrical clown. 

+ "The Age Reviewed," by Robert Montgomery. Professor Wilson, in the " Nootes," speaks of the book 
thus: " I gave the thing a glance — wretched stuff." 

t For the Consumption Hospital alone he preached thii-ty times, at thirty different churches, extending over a 
period from January, 1843, to December, 1853, adding thus to its funds no less a sum than £1,194 lis. id. 

died comparatively young,* he had a position and achieved a triumph for which 
thousands labour in vain. 

It was, as I have said, in 1830, when he visited London to deliver, at the Royal 
Institution, a series of lectures on poetry, that we became personally acquainted 
with James Montgomery. As a lecturer he cannot be described as successful ; his 
matter was of course good, but his manner, as may be supposed, lacked the power, 
the earnestness, the conviction, in a word, that rarely fail to impress an audience, 
and which often stand serviceable in the stead of aids more important.! Previously 
I had barely seen Montgomery, yet I had been in frequent correspondence with him, 
for he had written year after year for the Aiiiulfit, which contained some of his best 
compositions in prose and verse. I was, however, prepared to see a gentleman of 
calm, sedate, and impressive exterior. 

In 1835 James Montgomery received one of the Crown pensions — a grant of 
£150 a year — the donor being Sir Robert Peel. It was one of the latest acts of the 
great statesman's Government, for the day after the grant was made he ceased to be 
minister — for a time. 

Montgomery was never married. His love verses have been variously inter- 
preted. In a letter written when he was aged, he somewhat mysteriously alludes to 
his celibacy : " The secret is within myself, and it is on the way to the grave, from 
which no secret will be betrayed till the day of judgment." 

The last time I saw Montgomery was during his one visit to the Exhibition in 
1851 ; the venerable man was moving slowly about from stall to stall, examining, 
apparently with a dull and listless look, the beauties of manufactured art by which 
he was surrounded. His form was shrunk, he stooped somewhat, his once bright 
eye seemed glazed ; he was, indeed, but the shadow of his former self; yet I was 
told he had brightened up into his old nature when, just before, he had been looking 
over the books in one hundred and sixty-five languages of parts of the Holy 
Scripture that England had printed as a benefaction to varied mankind. I had to 
recall myself to his memory, but when I did so I obtained a cordial greeting, that 
even to-day I remember, and record with gratitude and pleasure. As I left him I 
could not help repeating his lines — 

" There is a calm for those who weep, 
A rest for weary pilgrims fomid." 

I have said the personal appearance of Montgomery was not striking. The eye 
was the redeeming feature in an othei'wise plain face. It was (or seemed to be) a 
clear, bright blue, outlooking and uplooking.:^ 

* The Eev. Eobert Montgomery died in December, 1855, leaving a widow and one child. During the later 
years of his life he was the preacher in Percy Chapel, Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square. 

t These lectures, received not unfavourably at the Roj'al Institution as the opinions of a poet concerning the 
brethren and mysteries of the craft, were delivered in seveiul towns, and afterwards published in a volume, the 
reception of which would by no means be a fair or favourable criterion of the public appreciation of his merits as 
a poet. 

t One of the artists who painted his portrait said that his eyes were " in reality a bright hazel, within a narrow 
circle of clear blue, and so lustrous, that in some lights the latter seemed the prevailing tint." 


In 1805 the sculptor Chantrey, " a young artist whose modesty and zeal for 
improvement are equal to his talents," ijainted a portrait of Montgomery. He was 
often painted ; in 1827 by Jackson, R.A., whose portrait is perhaps the best. That 
by lUidge is good, Mr. Barber painted a full-length for the Sheffield Literary and 
Philosophical Institution, where it now is, and where I have gladly seen it. But 
Montgomery said that of all his portraits, there was not one he should like to see 
engraved. A faithful profile likeness of the "Christian Poet" appears on the 
bronze medal which is annually presented by the Sheffield School of. Art for 
the most successful drawing, by any pupil, of English wild flowers ; it was from 
a portrait carefully modelled from the life at fourscore. He considered, however, 
that his face was " rather improved than deteriorated by age." In one of his 
letters he speaks of himself as " the ugliest man in Sheffield." He was nothing 
of the kind. 

Mrs. Hemans, who received a visit from Montgomery in 1828, speaks of his 
"mass of tangled, streaming, meteoric-looking hair ; " and another writer says that, 
" when young, he had an abundant crop of carroty locks." 

In 1825, when the poet may be said to have been at the best period of his life, 
and certainly in the zenith of his fame, he was visited by a Mr. Carter, editor of a 
newspaper in New York ; and, as Mr. Holland has reprinted the article that thence 
arose, we are to assume that he endorses it. 

Of Montgomery he says, " In his manners the author manifests that mildness, 
simplicity, and kindness of heart so conspicuous in his writings. His flow ot conver- 
sation is copious, easy, and perfectly free from affectation ; his language polished, 
but without an approach to pedantry. ... In person he is slender and delicate, 
rather below the common size ; his complexion is Ught, with a Roman nose, high 
forehead, slightly bald, and a clear eye, not unfrequently downcast." 

Mrs. Hofland wrote for the 'New MontliUj during my editorship, in 1835, an 
article entitled " Sheffield and its Poets," in the course of which she thus describes 
Montgomery : — 

" He is the youngest man of his years I ever beheld ; and at sixty years old 
might pass for thirty— such is the slightness of his figure, the elasticity of his step, 
the smoothness of his fair brow, the mobility and playfulness of his features when 
in conversation." She adds, " The lighting up of his eye when he is warmed by 
his subject is absolutely electrical." 

In 1841, when he visited Scotland, he was thus described, in his sixty-fifth 
year: "His appearance speaks of antiquity, but not of decay; his locks 
have assumed a snowy whiteness, and the lofty and full-arched coronal region 
exhibits what a brother poet has well termed the 'clear, bald polish oi the 
honoured head;' the features are high, the complexion fresh, though not ruddy; 
the forehead rather compact than large, with amply-developed organs ot 
ideality and veneration." Another authority says that the organ of " firmness was 

deficient. ,, r i, j • v,;„ 

Searle in his Life of Elliott, describes Montgomery as - pohshed m his 

manners, exquisitely neat in his personal appearance, while his bland conversation 



rarely rose above a calm level. And Southey, in " The Doctor," thus refers to 
him — sending to the Christian poet the greeting of " one who admires thee as 
a poet, honours and respects thee as a man, and reaches out in spirit, at this 
moment, a long arm to shake hands with thee in cordial good-will." The two 
poets never met, the want of opportunity being often regretted by both. It is 
impossible to think of two men who would have enjoyed each other's company 
more heartily, frankly, and completely — frank, trustful, and conscientious as they 
both were. 

William Howitt, who knew him and loved him well, likens Montgomery to the 
poet Cowper — " the same benevolence of heart, the same modesty of deportment. 


the same purity of life, the same attachment to literary pursuits, the same fondness 
for solitude and retirement from the public haunts of men ; and, to complete the 
picture, the same ardent feeling in the cause of religion, and the same disposition 
to gloom and melancholy." And thus his brother poet pictures the man: — 
"His person, which is rather below the middle stature, is neatly formed; his 


features have tlie general expression of simplicity and benevolence, rendered 
more interesting by a hue of melancholy that pervades them : when animated by 
conversation, his eye is enormously brilliant, and his whole countenance is full of 

Montgomery had many acquaintances, and a few devoted friends. Foremost 
among them was John Holland, whom he more than once calls a " good man and 
true." He was the poet's loved and loving friend from a very early period, and to 
him (in conjunction with Mr. Everett) was assigned the duty of compiling the life of 
the poet. The task was discharged with sound judgment and nice discrimination, 
although with deep affection and abundant zeal. 

In 1854 the time of James Montgomery had come ; warnings that the hour of his 
removal was near at hand had been mercifully sent to him some time previously ; 
"the labour of composition made him ill;" yet his faculties were all sound, and 
though feeble, he was not bedridden. On the last evening of life he was out, and 
returned home " apparently as usual," but surprised his aged companion by handing 
her the Bible, and saying, " Sarah, you must read." She did so; he knelt down 
and prayed, retired to his room, and in the morning it was found that his spirit had 
gone home ; the tabernacle of his body was without inhabitant ; the soul was with 
the Master whose faithful servant he had been, and whose work he had so long and 
so well done. He entered into the joy of his Lord on the 30th April, 1854, in the 
eighty-third year of his age. 

Those who knew him loved him, and by all he was respected and esteemed. By 
the tenor of his life, as well as ever by his writings, he advanced the cause of religion ; 
in example, as well as in precept, he was a true Christian gentleman. 

A fitting monument was proposed for him at Sheffield, and John Bell made a 
worthy design. The estimated cost, however, was beyond the reach even of zealous 
friends, and after some time fruitlessly spent, the same artist made a new design, 
comprising a life-size statue of the poet in bronze, upon a granite pedestal, containing 
a prolix inscription. This monument, placed over Montgomery's grave in the Sheffield 
Cemetery, was inaugurated by a public demonstration, rarely equalled for the number 
and respectability of those who took part in it, except at the funeral of the great and 
good man whose name and virtues are so deservedly commemorated : — 

" YoTir monument shall be your gentle verse 
Which eyes not yel created shaU o'er read, 
And tongues to he, your being shall rehearse. 
When all the breathers of this world are dead." 

John Holland, of Sheffield, the biographer of James Montgomery, died at the 
ripe old age of seventy-nine. He too was, like his friend, an amiable Christian 
gentleman. Simple and quiet in his habits, lasting and warm in his friendships, 
amiable and gentle in his language and in his intercourse with men, benevolent and 
Christian-minded in every action of his long life, and diligent and laborious in his 
nterary occupations, he passed away " without spot or blemish," " beloved of all who 
knew him." 

He was born at Sheffield Park, in close proximity to the Manor in which 
Mary Queen of Scots was so long confined under the surveillance of the Earl 
of Shrewsbury. For his home and birth-place, though humble, and in which, 
throughout his life to near its close, he continued to reside, he retained a strong 
aifection, and in one of his poems, " Sheffield Park," he has thus apostrophised it :-— 

" House of my youth, and cradle of my joys, 
Though greatness scorn, and wealth or pride despise, 
Dearer to me this mansion of my birth 
Than all the prouder structures of the earth. 
When travelled wonder hath told all it can, 
And wearied Art exhausted all on man. 
Home stiU is sweet— is still, where'er we look, 
The loveliest picture in creation's book." 

His father was a working optician, and to this trade, at an early age, John 
Holland was brought up. Far in advance of the young men of Sheffield in those 
days, young Holland was very fond of reading, and became a great favourite with 
Mrs. Todd (the wife of a bookseller of that name), from his frequent visits to her 
circulating library — the same Mrs. Todd, in whose rooms Chantrey first put chisel to 
marble. When quite a youth, he began, as many other less gifted youths have done, 
to dabble in poetry ; and in 1814, when he was twenty years of age, his first printed 
effusions appeared in the Sheffield Iris, at that time edited by his staunch friend to 
the last, James Montgomery. In 1818 John Holland contributed, besides to the 
Iris, some verses to The Northern Star, or Yorkshire Magazine, projected and edited 
by the late Arthur Jewitt, another of Sheffield's literary worthies ; and to other 
publications. In 1825 Montgomery retired from the proprietorship and editorship 
of the Iris, and John Holland became its editor. In 1832 he for a short time 
removed to Newcastle as an editor of the Courant, but soon returned to Sheffield, 
and until 1848 was one of the editors of the Mercury. In that year the Mercury 
merged into the Times, and from that time to the day of his death, although not 
officially connected with any journal, he continued to contribute a vast number of 

Besides his innumerable contributions to the newspapers just named, and to the 
Reliquary — to which he contributed some valuable papers — Mr. Holland was the 
author of many works of sterling value and interest. Among the more prominent of 
which are, "Memorials of Sir Francis Chantrey," and the " Life of James Mont- 

John Holland never married. He lived a blameless, a happy, a contented and an 
eminently useful life — useful in more ways than the world will ever know or dream 
of—for he wrote hundreds of hymns which are sung in as many places of worship, 
and hundreds of sermons for ministers unable or too idle to write them for them- 
selves, which are still preached to various congregations. From the first estabUsh- 
ment of the Redhill Sunday Schools in 1814, he became identified with the move- 
ment, and was one of the most useful and energetic supporters of the Sunday School 
Union which followed. For fifty years he was a member of the Literary and Philo- 
sophical Society of Sheffield, being one of its first founders, and the last living 


remnant of that knot of men who were its promoters — indeed, he was not only the 
father of the Society at the time of his death, but almost all his life had been " every- 
thing " in connection with it. It was here I saw him more than once. 

Until about three weeks before his death, John Holland — with his spare, active, 
lithe frame, dressed with scrupulous neatness in clerical black with snow-white 
cravat, ribbon-tied shoes, long white hair, genial smile, and fervid manner — was 
active as ever, and no scientific meeting, no " Cutlers' Feast," and no literary or 
philosophical gathering, could be held without seeing him an honoured guest — him- 
self shedding honour and lustre on the assembly. About that time, while on his way 
to the residence of his beloved friend at " The Mount," he was thrown down by a 
dog ; the shake he then received increased an internal complaint under which he 
was suffering, and he gradually sank until the 28th of December, when he passed 

away as calmly as he had lived. 

Only a short time before his death, in speaking to his niece, he said, " I think no 

man has had a brighter life than mine," and certainly no man could have had a 

" brighter " death than was his. 

John Holland is certainly one of the exceptions to the rule — he was a prophet 

who did receive honour in his own country. 

He was buried at Handsworth, near Sheffield, on the day after New Year's 

day, in the grave where, years before, he had laid his father and mother ; and 

here, it is hoped, his townsmen and townswomen will erect a fitting tomb to his 


One of the most esteemed and valued of the friends of James Montgomery was 
JosiAH CoNDER, some time editor of the Eclectic Review, and in his latter years editor 
of the Patriot newspaper. Both were organs of the Evangelical (Independent) 
Dissenters. To the Eclectic, Montgomery was a large contributor; and among its 
other contributors were Kobert Hall, Dr. Adam Clarke, John Foster (the 
Essayist), &c. 

I cannot write the name of Conder without tendering grateful homage to his 
memory, for I owe him much. In 1824, when he edited the Modem Traveller (a 
series of popular volumes, compilations from heavy, inaccessible, and costly books), 
he engaged me to write the " History of Brazil ; " and it was he who introduced me 
to the publishers Baynes and Son, by whom I was engaged to edit an " Annual," 
which they had applied to Mr. Conder to do— a task he had declined, recommending 
me to the work. This I called " the Amulet, a Christian and Literary Remem- 
brancer," and that publication I edited during eleven years, until it was dis- 

I return to a Memory of Josiah Conder. His father was an engraver, and he was 
born in London on the 17th September, 1789. 

He was a Nonconformist by hereditary right : his ancestors had been Dissenters 
time out of mind, and had sufi"ered persecutions for going their own way to God. He 
had the "prayers, example, and instruction" of several generations in the faith, of 


■which he was an uncompromising, but gentle and charitable, advocate.* One of his 
best friends — Isaac Taylor — bears testimony to the " graceful vivacity and attractive- 
ness of his manners, his intellectual tastes, his literary proficiency and acquaintedness 
with books, the beauty and feeling of his poetical compositions, and the acknowledged 
correctness of his judgment." Many of his hymns have taken prominent places in 
our devotional literature.! 

His wife also was an accomplished lady — the daughter of the renowned sculptor, 
Eoubiliac ; and the sons have inherited much of the intelligence and integrity of the 

He had lost an eye by an attack of small-pox in childhood, and used a glass sub- 
stitute. He drew consolation from that apparent affliction, and considered it the 
fountain of after- blessing ; probably it determined his course of life, by disposing him 
to sedentary employment, and a love of learning and books. 

I recall to memory, with much pleasure, a few days spent with him and his then 
young family at his pretty cottage near Watford. It must have been so far back as 
1826 or 1827. I found him — and so report him — as so many of his friends said he 
was — a genial and kindly critic, a wise counsellor, sound of judgment, generous in 
his religious views, sympathetic with all who had anxieties and cares, with a mind 
holy, and a nature thoroughly upright, thoroughly Christian ; and I may well regret 
that it was not my destiny to see much of him in after-life. 

He died on the 27th December, 1856. I quote the concluding passage of a 
sermon delivered by Dr. Morison of Knightsbridge : — " We are thankful for every 
remembrance of him, as of one who had in him much of the mind of Christ — who 
not only trod the paths of literature with a dignified and intelligent step, but also 
walked humbly with his God ; adorned every relation of human life, as a son, a 
husband, a father, and a friend ; and whose last hours were sweetly irradiated by the 
bright shining of the Sun of Righteousness." \ 

The following verse from one of his poems I am tempted to quote : — 

" Let Mother Eome the barms forbid, 

When priests in wedlock join : 
Sure Paul might do as Peter did, 

And Luther's right is thine : 
And we will keep, in spite of Eome, 
Our wives, our Bibles, and our home." 

* "He counted it a great honour to be sprimg from a family in which piety, as well as Nonconformity, was 
hereditary." — (Memoir by Eustace R. Conder, M.A.) 

t I find his hymns in many of the collections ; but it is the culpable practice of those who arrange such collections 
for service in oiu' churches to ignore altogether tlie names of the writers of them. For example, I have now before 
me a volume of .510 Hymns, edited by the Eev. WiUiam Mercer, M.A. ; to not one of them is attached the name ot' 
the author. That is neither creditable nor wise — but it is ungrateful. 

t Two sons of Josiah Conder inherit the talents of the father : one is a distin guished Nonconformist clergyman ; 
the other, Erancis Eoubiliac Conder, is the author of several valuable books, and his son is the Lieutenant Conder, 
E.E., whose name is so honourably prominent in the excavations and consequent discoveries now carried on in the 
Holy Land.. 


HOUGH fellow -townsmen, there was little or no personal 
intercourse between James Montgomery and Ebenezer Elliott. 
It would be difficult to imagine any two persons more dis- 
similar : the one soft and pliable as virgin wax, the other hard 
and unbending as a slab of cast-iron ; the one ever laden with 
milk and honey for his kind, the other fierce as a fierce north- 
wester, that spares none — raging, sometimes, with indiscriminate 

In 1837 I received this letter from Ebenezer Elliott: — "I 
-was born at Masbrough, in the parish of Kimberworth, a village about five miles 
from this place (Sheffield), on the 17th March, 1781 ; but my birth was never 
registered except in a Bible, my father being a Dissenter and thorough hater of the 
Church as by law established ; " and not long afterwards he gave me some further 
particulars of his life. There can be no reason why I should not print them, 
although they were supplied to me as notes, out of which I was to write a memoir 
to accompa,ny some selections of his poems in the " Book of Gems." 




"Ebenezer Elliott— not ill-treated, but neglected in his boyhood, on account of his supposed 
inability to learn anything useful — suffered to go to school, or to stay away, just as he pleased, 
and employ, at his own sweet will, those years which often leave an impression on the future man 
that lasts till the grave covers him — listening to the plain or coarse, and sometimes brutal, but 
more often instructive and pathetic, conversation of workmen, or wandering in the woods and 
fields till he was thirteen years old — is altogether the poet of circumstances. The superiority, 
mental and bodily, of his elder brother— though Ebenezer never envied it— cast him into insig- 
nificance and comparative idiocy, and could hardly fail to throw a shade of sadness over a nature 
dull and slow, but thoughtful and affectionate. Sowetby's ' English Botany' made him a collector 
of plants, and Thomson's 'Seasons' a versifier, in the crisis of his fate, when it was doubtful 
whether he would become a man or a maltworm ; shortly afterwards, or about which time, the 
curate of Middlesmoor — a lonely hamlet in Craven — died, and left his father a library of many 
hundred valuable books, among which were Father Herepin's ' Travels of M. de la Salle in 
America,' the Royal llagazine, with coloured plates in natural history, Ray's '"Wisdom of God in 
the Creation,' Derham's ' Physico-Theology,' Hervey's 'Meditations,' and Barrow's 'Sermons,' 
which latter author was a great favourite with the future rhymer, he being then deeply shadowed 
over with a religion of horrors, and finding relief in Barrow's reasoning from the dreadful decla- 
mation which it was his misfortune hourly to hear. To these books, and to the conversation and 
amateiu' preaching of his father, an old Cameronian and born rebel, who preached by the hour 
that God could not damn him, and that hell was hung round with span-long children — to these 
circumstances, and to the pictures of Israel Putnam, George Washington, Oliver Cromwell, &c., 
with which the walls of the parlour were covered, followed by the events of the French Revo- 
lution and awful Reign of Terror, may be clearly traced the poet's character, literary and political, 
as it exists at this moment. Blessed or cursed with a hatred of wasted labour, he was never known 
to read a bad book through, but he has read again and again, and deeply studied, all the master- 
pieces of the mind, original and translated, and the masterpieces only — a circumstance to which, 
more than to any other, he attributes his success, such as it is. He does not now know, for he 
never could learn, grammar, but corrects errors in composition by reflection, and often tells the 
learned ' that the mouth is older than the alphabet.' There is not, he says, a good thought in his 
works that has not been suggested by some object actually before his eyes, or by some real 
occurrence, or by the thoughts of other men ; but he adds, ' I can make other men's thoughts 
breed.' He cannot, he says, like Byron, pour out thoughts from within, for his mind is exterior, 
' the mind of his own eyes.' That he is a very ordinary person (who, by the earnest study of the 
best models, has learned to write a good style in prose and verse) is proved by phrenology, his 
head being shaped like a turnip, and a boy's hat fitting it. ' My genius,' he says, ' if I have any, 
is a compound of earnest perseverance, restless observation, and instinctive or habitual hatred of 
oppression.' He is thought by many to be a coarse and careless writer : but that is a mistake. 
He never printed a careless line. ' Moore himself, with his instinct of elegant versification, could 
not,' he says, 'improve my roughest Corn-Law Rhymes.' Of his political poems, ' They met in 
Heaven ' is the best. The ' Recording Angel,' written on the final departure of Sultan George 
from the Harem, is his best lyric. Of his long poems, "'The Exile' is the most pathetic. 
'"Withered Wild Flowers ' is his favourite ; it is a perfect epic in three books, and the idea of 
telling a story in a funeral sermon is new. But his masterpiece, both as a poem and as a character, 
is the ' Village Patriarch,' the incarnation of a century of changes and misrule, on which he has 
stamped his individuality. The critics say he succeeds best in lyric poetry ; he thinks he ought 
to have written a national epic, and if he had time he would yet make the attempt. He thinks 
also there is merit in his dramatic sketch of ' Kehonah,' particularly in the character of Nidariui, 
and the dramatic introduction of the supposed executioner of King Charles." 

So far his personal history is given in his letter to me. 

The ancestors of Ebenezer ElHott were " canny Elhotts " of the Border, whose 
" derring deeds " were warning proverbs in the debatable land : border thieves they 
were, who " lived on the cattle they stole." His father — who, from his eccentricities 
and ultra " religious " views, was named " Devil Elliott " — had been apprenticed to an 
ironmonger at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, after which he became a clerk in the celebrated 
cannon foundry of Messrs. Walker, at Masbrough, near Rotherham. He soon left 
that situation, and went as a servant to the " New Foundry," in the same town ; 
and there the poet was born, and baptized either by his father or by " one Tommy 

Wright," a Barnsley tinker and brother Berean. Ebenezer was one of seven children 
three sons and four daughters, of a father bearing the same baptismal name. His 
first book lessons, after those of his mother, were with a Unitarian schoolmaster of 
the name of Ramsbottom, of whom he has made grateful mention in one of his 
poems. But he had the anxiety of a curious and ingenious child to see something of 
the world beyond the foundry and his teacher's garden. 

"My ninth year," says he, in a letter I copy, " was an era in my life. My falher had cast a 
great pan, we.ghmg some tons, for my uncle at Thurlstone, and I determined to go SitheVL it 
^ithout acquamting my parents wnh my intention. A truck with assistants having heen sen? fo^ 
It, I got into It, about sunset, nnperceived, hiding myself beneath some h.y which it contain ed 
'TfZ\flT^i T T i"^"7- ^ ^";f ?°' ^'^^S-otten how much I was exdted bv the solemnl'y 
of the night and its shooting stars, until I arrived at Thurlstone about four in the morninT I 
had not been there many days before I wished myself at home again, for my heart was S my 
mother. If I could haye found my way back I should certainly haye returned, and my rnabiSy 

cJ^C^MJ^^^^yOy/ 1^^ 

to do so shows, I think, that I really must have been a dull child. My uncle sent me to Penistone 
school,* where I made some little progress. When I got home from school I spent my evenino-a 
m looking from the back of my uncle's house to Hayland Swaine, for I had discovered that 
Masbrough lay beyond that village ; and ever when the sun went down I felt as if some great 
wrong had been done me. At length, in about a year and a half, my father came for me ; and so 
ended my first irruption into the great world. Is it not strange that a man who from his child- 
hood has dreamed of visiting foreign countries, and yet, at the age of sixty, believes that he shall 
see the Falls of Niagara, has never been twenty miles out of England, and has yet to see for the 
tirst time the beautiful scenery of Cumberland, Wales, and Scotland ?" 

His dream of visiting America was never realised. 

But school days with Elliott, as with his more or less hopeful companions, came 
to an end ; the iron-casting shop awaited him, and from his sixteenth to his twenty- 
third year he worked for his father, " hard as any day-labourer, and without wages." 

* The house is still standing at Thurlstone in ■which was bom, in 16S2, the celebrated blind mathematician. 
Dr. Nicholas Sanderson, who learned to read by feeling the letters on the gravestones in the churchyard of the 
adjacent town of Penistone. 

H 2 


According to his own account, lie had been a dull and idle boy, but poetry, 
instead of nourishing his faults, stimulated him to industry as well as thought. Thus, 
while his earlier days were spent amid the disheartening influences of an ascetic 
home and defective education, nature not only spoke to his senses, but worked within 
him, — 

" His books were rivers, woods, and skies, 
The meadow and the moor." 

In all his sentiments and sympathies, from first to last, he was emphatically 
one of the people, illustrating his whole life long, by precept and example, 

" The nobility of labour, the long pedigree of toil.'' 

How far, or whether at all, the tastes of the son were influenced in any way 
favourably by those of the father, who was spoken of under an ugly appellation, 
does not appear ; but it is worthy of remark that the elder Elliott himself was 
a rhymester. "In 1792," says Mr. Holland, in his "Poets of Yorkshire," "he 
published a ' Poetical Paraphrase of the Book of Job.' " 

Long afterwards, Ebenezer, in writing of his father, says, — "Under the room 
where I was born, in a little parlour like the cabin of a ship, which was yearly 
painted green, and blessed with a beautiful thoroughfare of light — for there was no 
window tax in those days — my father used to preach, every fourth Sunday, to 
persons who came from distances of twelve to fourteen miles to hear his tremendous 
doctrines of ultra- Calvinism. On other days, pointing to the aqua-tint pictures on 
the walls, he delighted to declaim on the virtues of slandered Cromwell and of 
Washington the rebel." 

It is not material, in this brief notice of the " Corn-Law Rhymer," to trace him 
from his father's foundry, at Masbrough, to his own shop, as a steel-seller, m 
Sheffield, nor to describe his earliest efforts in verse. His poem of " Love" attracted 
no attention from readers of any class; while his "Night" — the scene of which is 
the picturesque spot identified with the legend of "The Dragon of Wantley "— was 
declared by one reviewer to be "in the very worst style of ultra-German bombast 
and horror ! " But his taste rapidly improved, and that — strange as it may appear 
— under the stimulus of the intensest Radical politics. There was, in fact, a touch 
of the morbid in his temperament — a dramatic taste for the horrible in fiction — as 
witness his own " Bothwell " — with a special dislike of hereditary pride or grandeur. 
But though almost insane in his denunciation of the aristocracy, and absolutely rabid 
at times, both in his conversation and his writings, there was in his heart an innate 
love of the graceful and the beautiful in nature ; the fiercer passions evaporated m a 
green lane, and wrath was effectually subdued by the gentle breezes of the hill-side. 
His strongly-marked countenance bespoke deep and stern thought; his pale grey 
eyes, restless activity ; his every look and motion indicated an enthusiastic tem- 
perament ; his overhanging brow was stern, perhaps forbidding; but the lower 
portions of his face betokened mildness and benevolence ; and his smile, when not 
sarcastic, was a most sweet and redeeming grace. 


' The meanest thing, earth's feeblest worm, 

He feared to scorn or hate, 
But honouring in a peasant's form 
The equal of the great." 

William Howitt describes him as " one of the gentlest and most tender-hearted of 
men ; " yet his mind seemed incapable of reasoning when the higher orders of society- 
were praised : he could not tolerate even the dehcate hint of Mr. Howitt, that 
'-^ among them were some amiable men." He at once "blazed up," exclaiming 
furiously, "Amiable men ! — amiable robbers, thieves, murderers ! " 

Yes, on that subject he was absolutely insane. The stern, bitter, irrational, and 
unnatural hatred was the staple of his poetry— the greater part of it, that is to say ; 
for many of his poems are as tender, loving, and pure as are those of his fellow- 
townsman, gracious James Montgomery. 

I have quoted four lines from one of his poems: this passage is from another. 
He is describing some mountain scenery conspicuous for desolate sterility : — 

.... "I thank ye, bUlows of a granite sea, 

That the bribed plough, defeated, halts below ; 

And thanks, majestic barrenness, to thee 

For one grim region, in a land of woe, 

Where tax-sown wheat and paupers will not grow." 

Comparatively little was known of the vast poetical power of Ebenezer Elliott 
until 1831, when an article in the New Monthly Magazine (then under my editorship), 
from the pen of Lord Lytton, directed public attention to his genius. 

It was Dr. (Sir John) Bowring who showed to Lord Lytton a mean-looking and 
badly-printed pamphlet called " The Ranter." He was struck with it, and sent to me 
a review of the work in a letter addressed to the Poet-Laureate, — directing his atten- 
tion to the "mechanic" as one of the "uneducated poets" whom Southey had so 
often folded under his wings. Its publication gave the Sheffield poet a wider renown 
than he had previously obtained, but it did no more. Lord Lytton wrongly described 
him, as others had done, as a " mechanic :" he was not then aware that many years 
previously Elliott had been in correspondence with Southey, who fully appreciated 
the rough genius of the poet.* Neither did Lord- Lytton then know that Elliott had 
published several beautiful poems in certain periodical works — the Amulet among 
others, in which one of the most perfect of his compositions, "The Dying Boy to 
the Sloe-blossom," appeared in 1830. 

Afterwards Elliott became a regular contributor to the New Monthly Magazine, 
and for that work he wrote many of his best poems. 

His friend, Mr. Searle, describes him personally : — " Instead of being a true son 
of the forget — broad-set, sti-ong, and muscular as a Cyclops — he was the reverse. 

' Southey, in one of his letters, laughs over the idea of " Mr. Bulwer Lytton " thus recommending to his notice an 
uneducated poet whom he had long known and respec'"ed, and with whom" he had frequently corresponded. Elliott, 
indeed, said of Southey, "that it was Southey who taught him the art of poetry." They had con-esponded so far 
back as 1811. In 1819 Southey acknowledges the receipt of EUiott's poem " Night," "which contains abundant 
evidence of power, but with defects no less striking, in plan and execution." Southey, writing in 1836, says :— " I 
mean (in the Quarterly) to read the Corn-Law Ehymer a lectm-e, not without some hope (though faint) that, as I 
taught him the art of poetry, I may teach him something better." 

+ This mistake was common, and did the poet no harm. That he knew how to use a hammer was true enough ; 
but his townspeople were not a little amused to be told in print that the house of the " Corn-Law Ehymer " wa« 
" Bnrrounded by iron palisades which had been forged on the an\-il by his own brawny arm I " 

In stature he was not more than five feet six inches high, of a slender make, and a 
bilious, nervous temperament ; his hair was quite grey, and his eyes, which were of 
a greyish blue, were surmounted by thick brushy brows. , His forehead was not 
broad, but rather narrow ; and his head was small. There was great pugnacity in 
the mouth, especially when he was excited ; but in repose, it seemed to smile, more- 
in consciousness of strength, however, than in sunny unconscious beauty. His 
nostrils were full of scorn, and his eyes, which were the true indices of his soul — 
literally smote you with fire, or beamed with kindness and aff"ection, according to the 
mood he was in. In earnest debate his whole face was lighted up, and became 
terrible and tragic." 

He describes himself, however, as five feet seven inches in height; slimly rather 
than strongly made ; eyes dim and pale, mostly kind in their expression, but som©-; 
times wild; his features harsh, but not unpleasing : "on the whole," he says, "he 
is just the man who, if unknown, would pass unnoticed anywhere." 

He is thus graphically sketched by Southey : — " It was a remarkable face, with 
pale grey eyes, full of fire and meaning, and well suited to a frankness of manner 
and an apparent simplicity of character such as is rarely found in middle age, and 
more especially rare in persons engaged in what may be called the warfare of the 

The one great blemish of Elliott's poetry, in the estimation of general readers, is- 
the frequent introduction of that subject which, with him, was more than a senti- 
ment — an absorbing and over-mastering passion — the direct theme of some of his 
most spirited lyrics, the topic of his common conversation no less than the spell of 
his genius, and in pursuance of which he adopted the significant appellation of the 
" Corn-Law Rhymer." This subject, it need scarcely be added, while it was the 
mainspring of his popularity with one party of political economists, including all the 
working men of his day, was, at the same time, still more powerful in exciting the 
dislike of other classes of the community, and especially all those connected with the 
agricultural interest. This position of personal as well as poetical hostility towards 
a large, wealthy, influential, and respectable section of his countrymen was rendered 
less enviable by the genei'al bitterness of style and harshness of epithet by which his 
"rhymes" were but too commonly characterised. But "gentle arguments are not 
suited for stern work : " while, therefore, it is impossible to read many of his most 
powerful pieces without a mixture of admiration for the skill of the poet, and of 
regret for the violence of the partisan, it should not be forgotten that much of the 
interest of these compositions has passed away, by the signal triumphs of the doctrine 
which they originally illustrated and enforced. For, whatever may be the opinions 
entertained at this moment by any person or party in this country relative to the 
abolition of the Corn Laws, there can be no doubt that the popular and energetic 
struggle which preceded that event was effectually aided by the genius of Ebenezer 

On the other hand, let it not be imagined that Ebenezer Elliott was made a 
victim, or made himself a martyr, of the "bread tax," otherwise than in his 
rhymes : " he was, in fact, a shrewd, active, and successful man of business ; and 



notwithstanding he tells us, in terms which formed so long and so loudly the burden 
of his song, that 

" Dear sugar, dear tea, and dear com. 
Conspired with dear representation 
To laugh worth and honour to scorn. 
And beggar the whole British nation," 

he was fortunate enough to outmatch the " four dears," as he calls them— to give up 
business— to leave Sheffield for the enjoyment of a country retreat, in a good house 
of his own at Hargot Hill, in the vicinity of Barnsley. But an insidious complaint 
was slowly, yet surely, arresting his vital powers. He " departed this life " on the 
1st of December, 1849, and is buried in the churchyard of the beautiful little village 
of Darfield.* The church may be seen from the house in which he died. 

It was not by his own desire he was laid in consecrated ground. Not long 
before his death he pointed out to a friend a tree in one of the pleasant dells that 
environ black and busy Sheffield, and said, " Under this tree I mean to be buried. 
I shall sleep well enough here ; and who knows but I may feel the daisies growing 
over my grave, and hear the birds sing to me in my winding-sheet ? " He was 
dying, when his faculties were suddenly roused by a robin singing in the garden 
underneath his chamber window. He had strength enough to write these lines — 
they were his last : — 

" Thy notes, sweet robin, soft as dew. 
Heard soon or late, are dear to me ; 
To music I could bid adieu, 
' But not to thee. 

When from my eyes this lifefull throng 
Has pass'd away, no more to be, 
Then, autumn's primrose, robin's song. 
Return to me." 

His character is thus summed up by his friend, Mr. Searle : — "■ He was a far- 
seeing, much- enduring, hard-working, practical man ; he had a stern love of truth, 
and a high and holy comprehension of justice ; he appreciated the sufferings of the 
poor, and if he exaggerated, he thoroughly sympathised with, their wrongs." His 
life, indeed, seems to have been governed in conformity with one of his own lines : — • 

" So live that thou mayst smile and no one weep." 

He was a good citizen and a good member of societj^ ; " there was not a blot or 
flaw upon his character;" he was regular at his business; careful of all home 
duties ; a dutiful son, an attached husband, a fond, but considerate, father ;t and it 

• The village of Darfield is nearly a mile from its railway station, on the North Midland Une. The chui'ch, 
equally plain in its design and aicliitecture, looks pretty at a distance, from its elevated situation, and the group of 
fine trees with which it is flanked. The lower contains a peal of very musical bells, the ringing of which is duly 
appreciated by the inhabitants of the valley of the Deane. The grave of the " Corn-Law Rhymer" is unmarked, 
except by a plain stone, nearly level with the grass, and thus inscribed lengthwise :—" Ebenezer Elliott, died 
December 1, 1849, aged 68 years." On the other half of the stone, " Fanny Elliott, his wife, died December 4, 1856, 
aged 75 years." A plain gravestone adjoining bears "Sacred to the memory of John Watkius, late of Loudon, Son 
of Francis and Christiana Watkins, of Whitby, and Son-in-law of Ebenezer Elliott, who died Sept. 22, 1850, aged 
40 years." It may be mentioned that in this secluded churchyard there is a conspicuous obelisk, which, as we 
leai'n from an inscription on the pedestal, was " Erected to commemorate the Sundhill (Colliery) Explosion of 
Feb. 9, 1852, in which 192 men and boys lost their lives, of whose bodies 146 are buried near this place." 

.+ .He had six sons and two daughters : the younger of them married John Watkins, who published a very 
nteresting volume comprising " The Life, Poeti-y, and Letters of Elliott." Two of his sons became clergj-men oi 
the -Established Church : two conducted for a time the old business at Sheffield. 




is gratifying to record his own testimony to his faith, " Having studied the 
evidence on both sides of the question, 1 am a Christian from conviction." It will 
hardly be expected that the religious character of any person which is merely 
announced in terms similar to those just quoted would find its practical expression 
in conformity with the creed of any sect or section of the Christian Church. The 
truth is, the best friends or worst enemies of the poet were never able to reckon 
among his ostensible virtues or prejudices a regular Sunday attendance at any place 
of public worship, nor even to report him as a casual hearer of his own exemplary 
" Ranter " preacher, with his favourite text — 

" Woe be unto you, Scribes and Pharisees ! 
Who eat the widows' and the orphans' bread, 
And make long prayers to hide your villainies ; " 


The religious as well as the political opinions of the poet are fully and fairly 
presented in his two principal w^orks, " The Village Patriarch " and " The Ranter ;" 
the former a witness and victim of a progressive and culminating " monopoly," the 
latter an out-door " preacher of the plundered poor." Whatever may be thought of 
the special and direct sentiments and design of these compositions, they both contain 
incidental descriptions of local scenery Avhich may be said to be unsurpassed in truth 
and beauty of expression. 

Thus writes Montgomery of his " brother poet : "-^" I am willing to hazard my 
critical credit by avowing my persuasion that in originality, power, and even beauty 

when he chose to be beautiful— he might have measured heads beside Byron in 

tremendous energy, Crabbe in graphic description, and Coleridge in effusions of 



domestic tenderness ; while in intense sympathy with the poor, in whatever he 
deemed their wrongs or their sufferings, he excelled them all, and perhaps everybody 
else among his contemporaries in prose or verse." 

He was, " in a transcendental sense, the poet of the poor : " he (the lines are 
those of Walter Savage Landor) — 

" asked the rich 
To give laborious hunger daily bread." 

According to the testimony of one who knew him well, Elliott's attempts at 
oratory were failures. Sententious, rugged, sarcastic, and loud, his hearers were 
'more entertained with his excitement than either instructed by his statements or 
convinced by his reasoning. In a word, his oral declamations generally lacked that 
charm of orderly arrangement and those well-tuned, not to say exquisite, graces of 
style, which so largely characterise his poetical essays, even when wilfully dashed 
and marred by vile epithets or coarse personalities. In his private conversation, 
when crossed and excited by opposition, these faults would sometimes break out ; 
otherwise he was mild and amiable, always frank and unselfish, admitting his own 
faults, or those of his partisans, as freely as those of his opponents. 

I print the following as one of the few of his characteristic letters I have had 
the good fortune to preserve : — 

" Sheffield, %th December, 1836. 
" I have a great favour to ask of j'ou, a favour which, on my knees, I implore you to grant. 
If you do not grant it, you will miss an opportiinity of honouring the New Monthly, by taking an 
entirely new view of the most important subject that ever agitated the public mind. My request 
is, that you will publish in your forthcoming number the inclosed article, written and extracted 
by a friend of the author from the proof-sheets of his unpublished book, entitled 'Agricultural 
Distress, its Causes and Remedy.' dedicated to the labouring people of England, and published 
by Effingham Wilson, London. The author is William Ibbotson of Sheffield,* merchant, farmer, 
and Methodist — one of a sect which, he says, numbers or powerfully influences four millions of 
human beings in Great Britain. It is seldom that men of business like ' the Manchester manu- 
facturer ' can be induced to write books on any subject. When they do so, it is important that 
they be encouraged, because their experience and knowledge almost always enable them to write 
well. Mr. Ibbotson has demonstrated by facts that the Com Laws are the cause of agricultural 
distress, and that free trade would raise rents, and permanently keep up agricultural prices, and 
that nothing else can do so. It is desirable that the article appear in the forthcoming number, to 
give the well-timed book a shove, and prevent the discouraging of an author from whom great 
things may be expected. You will soon perceive that Mr. Ibbotson is not used to composition ; 
but his book, in my opinion, is the most important ever published on the subject, although the 
view he takes of it is opposed to mine. I shall be in most painful suspense until you inform me 
that you will publish the article, or write one from the documents inclosed. Unless you are false 
to yourself, and deficient for once in good strategy, you cannot, as a friend of the agricultural 
nterest, refuse the favour I request. 

"I am, dear Sir, yours very truly, 

" Ebenezer Elliott." 

John Holland, the friend of James Montgomery, who knew Elliott intimately, 
writes, "Than whom a truer poet did not breathe the air or enjoy the sunshine 
among the masses of fermenting intellect in England at this period ; but a tone of 

* Mr. Ibbotson, " the thirteen -chUded patriot," as Elliott onoe caUed him at a public meeting, was an active 
poUtician and a worthy man. He was a firm and zealous friend of James Silk Buckingham, \^ose return to i^ar- 
fiament, as one of the first representatives of the borough of Sheffield after the passmg of the Reform aiu in isdA 
was largely due to the personal energy and popular influence of the worthy merchant, farmer, and Metnooisx. 




political bitterness, in the occasional use of the coarsest terms of party vituperation, 
too often tended to mar the beauty of compositions otherwise rarely surpassed for 
their truth, for their power, or their tenderness, by the strains of his most richly- 
gifted contemporaries." 

His Corn-Law Rhymes are now probably forgotten, but they did much of the 
work which the reformers of 1830-35 achieved ; they prepared the ground for the 
harvest ; nay, they did more — they planted the seed. 
■ These poems were, indeed, what the trumpets were by the walls of Jericho. 

So far back as 1809, Southey (to whom Elliott had submitted a MS. poem) 
wrote to him thus : — " There are in this poem unquestionable marks both of genius 


and the power of expressing it." '' I have no doubt you will succeed in attaining 
the fame after which you aspire ; " adding, " Go on, and you will prosper." 

Notwithstanding their many faults— and they are many— we must class the poems 
of Ebenezer ElUott with those of the highest and most enduring of British poets. 
Among them there are many glorious and true transcripts of nature, full of pathos 
and beauty, vigorous and original in thought, and clear, eloquent, and impassioned in 
language. If his feelings, though at times kindly and gentle, are more often dark, 
menacing, and stern, they are never grovelling or low. He had keen and burning 
sympathies. Unhappily he forgot that the high-born and wealthy claim them and 
deserve them as well as the poor, and those who are more directly " bread-taxed 
that suffering is common to humanity. 



Although it was my lot to differ frcm him upon nearly every subject on which w© 
corresponded or conversed, I honour the name of Ebenezer Elliott as that of an 
earnest and honest man, and I have greeted with fervid homage the statue of the 
poet erected to his memory— on the site of the old Corn Market— in the town of 

John Claee was that which, I have shown, Ebenezer Elliott was not — an " un- 
educated " poet. I was not acquainted with Eobert Bloomfield, who, somewhat 
before my time, "made a name" and attracted "patronage." He is now almost 
forgotten : " The Farmer's Boy " is covered with dust on the book-shelves.* 

Poor John Clare ! His posthumous fame is not greater than that of Bloomfield, 
but his destiny in life was less auspicious. He was born "a Northamptonshire 
peasant." Happier would it have been for him if, from his birth to his death, his 
aim had been no higher than to win honours at a ploughing match.f 

A transitory renown was given him when, in 1820, his first book of poems was 
printed. He was much " talked about ; " the Quarterly Reideiv praised him ; Rossini 
set his verses to music ; and Vestris sung them. During a brief visit to the metropolis 
he was made a lion in certain small coteries ; his transitory glory was succeeded by 
utter and withering neglect ; he was consigned to a poverty he had been taught to 
abhor ; and in 1864 he died in the lunatic asylum of the town with which his name 
is inseparably associated. _ He was an aged man at his death, having been born at 
Helpstoce in 1793. 

I knew him — poor fellow ! — in 1826 or 1827, and printed in the Amulet some of 
the best of his poems — notably, " Mary Lee." But, unhappily, I was ignorant of the 
untoward circumstances in which he was placed. At a later period, introducing some 
of his poems, with a brief memoir of him, into the "Book of Gems" (1838), I 
detailed the sad story of his life. I described him as living in penury, if not want ; 
with no other prospect for old age but that which he gloomily forboded in one of his 
early poems, — 

" To claim, the early pittance once a week. 
Which justice forces from disdainful pride ; " 

and I appealed for some help that might diminish his desolation — writing, " It is not 
yet too late : although he has given indications of a brain breaking up, a very envied 
celebrity may be obtained by some wealthy and good Samaritan who would rescue 
him from the Cave of Despair ; " adding, " Strawberry Hill might be gladly sacrificed 
for the fame of having saved Chatterton ! " 

That appeal brought to me a letter from the Marquis of Northampton. His lord- 
ship intimated that though he did not think very highly of Clare, he considered it 
would be a disgrace to the county of Northampton " to leave him in the state in 

* There is a grandson of Eobert Bloomfleld living— moreover, he is an author — one who, I believe, Lives chiefly 
as an occasional writer for the pres?, and who is not in "prosperous " circumstances. 

t The story of his sad life has been lately told by Mr. Fi'ederick Martin, in a very interesting and ably written 
volume, published by Macmillan. Mr. Martin has done ample justice to his theme, wi'iting in a tender, lovinif, 
and thoroughly appreciative spirit. 

which I had represented him to be ; " and suggested the publication of a volume of 
his poems, of which he himself would take ten or twenty copies ! The plan was not 
carried out ; and if the Marquis gave any aid of any kind to the peasant-poet, the 
world, and I verily believe the poet himself, remained in ignorance of the amount. 

At the time of my acquaintance with him he was in the prime of life : short, 
thick, and stubbed of person, with a singularly large head, much out of proportion to 
his body. His manners were not coarse,' but certainly rough ; he had not been 
raised by the Muse he worshipped out of the position to which he was born ; indeed, 
he never left it, for although he changed from that of a day labourer for bread to that 
of the holder of a small farm, his own, he was during the whole of his career hardly 
a grade removed from the rude companions with whom he associated. He seemed, 
however, essentially amiable, and naturally good ; and none of the habits of low 
society were at any time his. He was a good husband and father ; for he wedded 
early a young girl of his own rank, and the theme of his earlier loves and aspirations. 

There was nothing at all assuming in his manners ; he did not appear expectant 
or desirous that his writings should raise him above the humble calling of a bread- 
winner of the soil. In short, he was a rustic, neither less nor more, to whom had 
been given a gift that seemed to excite his own wonder. 

Poor fellow ! his was a sad life — 

" Despondency and madness." 

He was not buried in a pauper's grave, although he died a pauper in a pubhc hospital. 
A small subscription obtained for him a fitter resting-place.* His last words were, 
" I want to go home." They carried his body home — to the graveyard of his native 
village ; and his soul was conveyed to that home where Lazarus has his good things, 
and likewise Dives his evil things. 

* Mr. Martin says, (I would fain hope he is in error) that '" when the poet's spirit had fled, the superintendent 
Tit the Northampton asylum wrote to the Earl Fitzwilliam, asking for a gi-ant of the smaU sum necessary to cairy 
the wish of the deceased into effect (i.e., not to lie in a pauper's grave). The nohle patron replied by a refusal, 
advising the burial of the poet as a pauper at Northampton ! " 


'HE eldest daughter and the second child of Richard Lovell 
Edgeworth was Makia Edgeworth. Before I proceed to the 
few and brief details I can give concerning the subject of this 
" Memory," the reader will not be displeased to receive some 
particulars relative to her father, to whom she, and consequently 
the world, owed so much ; for he directed her education and 
formed her mind ; and to him, therefore, must undoubtedly be 
attributed much of the value of her works. 
The Edgeworth family " came into Ireland " during the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, migrating from " Edge ware, in Middlesex." In 1732 the then 
representative of the family married Jane Lovell, the daughter of a Welsh judge, and 
their son, Eichard Lovell, was born in Pierxepoint Street, Bath, in 1744. In early 
boyhood he was taken to Ireland, and entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1761, being 
removed to Oxford the same year, and entered at Corpus Christi as gentleman com- 
moner. "While yet a youth at college" — in 1763 — he married " Miss Elers," the 
daughter of " his father's friend," a family that resided at Black-Bourton, not far 
from Oxford. She was a lady well descended, and of high connections : that is 
nearly all we know of her. It would appear that he respected more than he 
loved her : having engaged her affections, he conceived it a point of honour to 



become her husband. Being under age, they were "married in Scotland; " but bis 
father, although disapproving the match, had them subsequently re-married by 
license.* She was the mother of Maria, and many circumstances lead to the con- 
clusion that if she lacked some of the attractions the young and gay Irishman looked 
for, she was thoi'oughly amiable, prudent, and good. A son, he tells us, was born 
at Black-Bourton, in 1764, f and there also Maria was born in 1767. In 1768 
Mr. Edgeworth records that he visited Ireland, taking his son with him, leaving his 
wife and infant daughter in England. | 

At Black-Bourton, then, Maria Edgeworth was born, in 1767 ; § she was the 
daughter of an English lady, and the grand-daughter of an English lady ; moreover, 
her father was of English birth and English descent, and she was English born. 
Nevertheless she was, to all intents and purposes, Irish : so she must be considered, 
and so she considered herself. 

She was born on the 1st of January {as she tells Mrs. Hall in one of her letters), 
a God-given " New Year's gift "to her almost boy-father, and to the world for all 

Mr. Edgeworth has not recorded the date of his first wife's death, but on the 17th 
of July, 1773, he was again wedded, at Lichfield, to Miss Honora Sneyd. Soon 
afterwards they settled in Ireland, and Edgeworthstown became, with few brief 
intervals, thenceforward his permanent home. His second wife did not live long, but 
her husband bears testimony to her many virtues. Some time after her death he 
married her sister Elizabeth, who thus became his third wife, on Christmas Day, 
1780, at St. Andrew's Church, Holborn. In 1798, being again a widower, he again 
married — Miss Frances Anne Beaufort, the daughter of Dr. Beaufort, " an excellent 
clergyman, and a man of taste and of literature." That admirable woman survived him 
many years. She -was, Mr. Edgeworth writes, " a young lady of small fortune and 
large- accomplishments ; " and of "his marriage with her," Maria, writing twenty years 
afterwards, says, " Of all the blessings we owe to him, that has proved the greatest." || 

In 1814 time was tellinsf on the vigorous frame of Mr. Edgeworth. In one of 

* Of his father Mr. Edg-eworth says he was " upright, honourable, sincere, and sweet-tempered ; loved and 
respected by people of all ranks with whom he was connected." He was in the Irish Parliament for twenty-five 
vears. The Abb(5 Edgeworth was a relation, though not a near one ; he was descended from a branch of the 
Edgeworth family. Mr. Edgeworth, soon after the restoration of Louis XVI., addi-essed the minister of the king, 
claiming, " as the nearest relation of the Abb(5 Edgeworth, from the justice of France that his name should be 
inscribed on some public monument with those of the exalted personages who relied for consolation on his fidelity 
and courage, ... to show that monarrhs may have friends, and that princes can be grateful." 

■f Mr. Edgeworth records of his son, that " having acquii'ed a vague notion of the happiness of a seafaring Ufa," 
he became a sailor. In a note to her father's autobiography. Miss Edgeworth informs us that he some years after- 
wards went to America, married Elizabeth Wright, an American lady, and settled in South Carolina, near George 
Town. He died (August, 1796), leaving three sons, whose descendants are still resident in America. 

i It is stated by Miss Kavanagh (I know not on what authority) that Maria was born at Hare Hatch, near 
Beading, and " that her birth cost the mother her life.' ' Maria was bom at Black-Bomion, and her mother lived 
six years after her bii-th. 

?! It is situated midway between the towns of Earringdon (Berks) and Burford (Oxon). The proper name of 
Black-Bourton is Bourton- Abbots. I was informed by tJie inciimbent of the pai*ish that "the old manorial pew 
belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church College formerly belonged to the Ellers or Elers family ; at the 
back of it is the old family marble tomb and eiBgy ; that the family came originally from Germany, and settled at 
Bourton- Abbots, in a fine old mansion-house, a vestige of which is not now to be found, though relics of the old oak 
carvings are scattered among neighbouring cottages." The family became reduced in circumstances, the estate 
merged into other hands, and none of the name are now known at Black-Bourton. The present incumbent, the 
Rev. J. Lupton, one of the Canons of Westminster, is about to place a memorial window in the church, and solicits 
the aid of sympathising friends. 

II She was an aged woman when I had the happiness of knowing her. It was a beautiful sight to see the mingled 
homage and affection paid to her by every member of her family — by her step-children as well, as by those.who 


his conversations with his daughter he spoke of the later years of his life as by far 
the happiest, and pleasantly said that "if he were permitted to return to earth in 
whatever form he might choose, he should perhaps make the whimsical choice of 
re-entering the world as an old man." His latest letter — to Lady Romilly, in 1817, 
when he knew he was dying, in the midst of physical suffering, resigned and cheerful, 
— contains this passage : " I enjoy the charms of literature, the sympathy of friend- 
ship, and the unbounded gratitude of my children." His prayer had been that as 
long as he lived he might retain his intellectual faculties, and that blessing was 
mercifully granted to him. He thanked God that his mind did not die before his 
body.* On the 13th of June, 1817, he died, and his remains were deposited in the 
family vault in the churchyard of Edgeworthstown, to which, in accordance with his 
written directions, he was borne on the shoulders of his own labourers, his coffin 


being " without velvet, plate, or gilding." And the stone that covers his remains 
contains no inscription beyond his name and the dates of his birth and death. 

That his was " a useful and a well-spent life " there is abundant evidence. As a 
member of Parliament, as a county magistrate, as a landed proprietor (acknowledging 
the duties as well as the rights of property), he was entirely worthy; in all that 
appertained to his family and to society he was considerate, generous, just ; while of 
the influence he exercised over his own family we have the proofs not only in his 
own writings, but in those of his daughter. It was justly said of him,— 

" With words succinct, yet full, without a fault, 
He said no more than just the thing he ought." 

were more pecuHarly her own. Maria's hopes and anticipations, in ms. were m^^^^ Tu^fher falL^^ILd 

century afterwards, and during all the mtervenin| years, ^-l^e ^^-^^ to™ at or near J^avan^ m ia,y^ Beaufort, was 

To estimate rightly both father and daughter, some notes on the state of Ireland 
nearly a century ago are needful. When, in 1782, Maria may be said to have first 
visited Ireland, and her father became "a resident Irish Landlord," the country was 
in a condition very different indeed from that which it now presents, and presented 
at the period of her removal from earth. 

" If ever any country was governed by an oligarchy, Ireland was in that position 
before the Union : " thus Mr. Edgeworth wrote in 1817. Society was in a deeply- 
degraded state ; recklessness and extravagance were almost universal. *' As landlord 
and magistrate, the proprietor of an estate had to listen to perpetual complaints, 
petty wranglings and equivocations, in which no human sagacity could discover 
truth or award justice." A large proportion of the gentry dwelt in " superb 
mansions," so far as regarded size, but " lived in debt, danger, and subterfuge, 
nominally possessors of a palace, but really in dread of a jail." The dominant party 
regarded themselves as the masters of slaves ; " drivers " were the satellites of every 
landlord ; and middlemen farmed nearly all the land, taking it at a reasonable rent 
(paying usually in advance), and reletting it immediately to poor tenants at the 
highest price possible to be pressed out of their necessities. It was generally a 
hopeless task that which strove to make the tenant even moderately comfortable. 
Justice was a thing never looked for; it was always the landlord against the tenant, 
and the tenant against the landlord.* 

It is certain that Mr. Edgeworth was far in advance of his time. The poorer 
classes did not understand him ; they were not prepared for the advent of a magis- 
trate who required evidence only with a view to ascertain truth, nor for a gentleman 
who preferred rather to pay than to give, and whose established rule was to do right 
for right's sake ; while neighbouring gentry were utterly incapable of comprehending 
a man who was indiiOferent to field sports and never drank to excess ; who was 
faithful to his home, and happiest when his children were his playmates ; who was 
a politician, yet of no party ; whose religion was based on universal charity ; and 
who was the protector of the poor and the advocate of the oppressed. The records 
of Ireland towards the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth 
century are now happily gone-by histories ; but something should be known of them 
to comprehend the character of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. In the end he 
triumphed over pi-ejudice, disarmed hostihty, and set an example the sal;itary 
influence of which can scarcely be exaggerated by any historian of the perilous 
time in which he lived, f 

His life was especially valuable as forming the mind of his daughter Maria — the 
minds of all his children, indeed. She writes — "Few, I believe, have ever enjoyed 

* In 1783 (thus writes Maria Edgeworth in her memoirs of her father) " a statute of King William III., entitled 
' An Act to prevent the Growth of Popery,' ordained no less than a forfeiture of inheritance against those CathoUcs 
who had been educated abroad ; at the pleasure of any informer it confiscated their estates to the next Protestant 
heir. That statute farther deprived Papists of the power of obtaining any legal property by purchase ; and simply 
for officiating in the service of his religion, any Catholic priest was liable to be imprisoned for life. Some of these 
penalties had fallen into disuse, but, as Mr. Dunning stated in the English House of Commons, ' many respectable 
Catholics still lived in fear of them, and some actually paid contributions to persons who, on the strength of this 
Act, threatened them with prosecutions.' ' ' 

+ The Sir Condys and Sir Murtaghs .of " Castle Rackrent " had their origfinals in most Irish families at the" 
time Maria Edgeworth wrote that tale. 


sucli happiness or sucli advantages as I have had in the instruction, society, and 
unbounded confidence and affection of such a father and such a friend." 

At that period it absolutely required some such intelligence to usher such an 
intellect into the world of letters. Authorship was considered out of the province of 
woman ; and although Mr. Edgeworth records as an astonishing fact (on the 
authority of Burke) that there were then actually 80,000 (!) readers in Great Britain 
very few of them were of the gentler sex. He tells us that his own grandmother 
" was singularly averse to all learning in a lady beyond reading the Bible and being 
able to cast up a week's household account," and did her best to prevent her 
daughter from " wasting her time upon books ; " in vain, however, for she became a 
thoroughly-educated woman, and to "her instructions and authority" her son 
acknowledges himself indebted for the happiness of his life. 

The critic Jeffrey writes : — " A greater mass of trash and rubbish never disgraced 
the press of any country than the ordinary novels that filled and supported our circu- 
lating libraries down nearly to the time of Miss Edgeworth's first appearance." 
There were some exceptions, no doubt, and some works that have kept their places 
in the hearts of millions : but " the staple of the novel market was, beyond imagi- 
nation, despicable, and had consequently sunk and degraded the whole department of 
literature of which it had usurped the name." The "rabble rout" of the Minerva 
Press was scattered as by the wand of an enchanter when this admirable woman 
appeared; and to her we are perhaps indebted for the " Waverley Novels," for it is 
avowed by Scott that he was prompted by the example of Miss Edgeworth to a 
desire to do for Scotland what she had done for Ireland.* 

The growth of Maria's mind she traces wholly to her father, and very often she 
humbly and gratefully acknowledges how much her writings were improved by his 
critical taste and matured judgment. " In consequence of his earnest exhortations," 
she writes, "I began in 1791 or 1792, to note down anecdotes of the children he 
was then educating ; " writing also, for her own amusement and instruction, some of 
his conversation-lessons. In their system of educating these children " all the 
general ideas originated with him ; the illustrating and manufacturing them, if I 
may use the expression, was mine." The " Practical Education " was thus a joint 
work of father and daughter; it was published in 1798, " and so commenced that 
Kterary partnership which, for so many years, was the pride and joy of my life." 
The next book they published "in partnership " was the " Essay on Irish Bulls." 
The illustrative anecdotes there retailed owed little to invention, and nearly all of 
them were facts ; sometimes he told them, with racy humour and point, while she 
wrote them down. He was always at hand to advise, not often to write. In 
" Patronage " he did not pen a single passage, but the " plan " was his suggestion ; 
it originated in a story invented by him, and the leading characters were sketched as 

* " Without being so presumptuous as to hope to emulate the rich humour, pathetic tenderness, and admu-able 
tact which pervades the works of my accomplished friend, I felt that something might be attempted tor my own 
country of the same kind with that which Miss Edgeworth so fortunately achieved for Ireland- sometmng wmcn 
might "introduce her natives to those of the sister kingdom in a more favourable light than they haa oeen piacea 
hitherto, and tend to procure sympathy for their virtues and indulgence for their foibles. bcoTT. 



he imagined them. " All his literary ambition was for me." His skill was exercised 
in " cutting." " ' It is mine to cut and correct,' he once said, ' yours to write on ; ' 
and such, happily for me, was his power over my mind, that no one thing I ever 
began to write was ever left unfinished." In the few letters he addressed to her — 
lor they were rarely apart even for a day — he signs himself " Your critic, partner, 
father, friend." 

To write for children was then considered below the dignity of authorship. Dr. 
Watts and Mrs. Barbauld had, indeed, thus " condescended ; •" but, with these 
exceptions, there were few or none able or willing to make their way into the minds 
and hearts of " the little ones." 




There is abundant evidence that much of the true greatness of Maria Edgeworth's 
mind — and the inestimable value of her writings — resulted from the duty which 
nature imposed upon her when she was placed at the head of a family consisting of 
children of varied ages from infancy to youthhood. In 1814 she writes, "His eldest 
was above five-and-forty, the youngest being only one year old." It therefore became 
the duty of the eldest to train the younger branches — children who were learning to 
speak when she was sedate and aged. Hence that educated power by which she 
brought the elevated sensibilities and sound morahties of life to a level with the 
comprehension of childhood; rendering knowledge, and virtue, and consideration, 
and order, the companions — almost the playthings as well as the teachers— of the 

Mr. Edgeworth had sons and daughters by each of his four wives : he was then- 


parent, their preceptor, their friend, their companion, their playmate ; they hvedwith 
him on " terms of equality that diminished nothing from respect," giving to him grati- 
tude and affection. " Those who knew him longest loved him best." '< I have heard 
him say," writes Maria, " that he never in his whole life lost a friend but by death." 
And that which he wrote to Darwin, in 1796, of Edgeworthstown,— " I do not think 
one tear per month is shed in this house, nor the voice of reproof heard, nor the hand 
of restraint felt,"— continued to be as true in 1844, when we visited Edgeworthstown, 
as it had been half a century earlier ; so it was, through all changes, anxieties, and 
responsibilities, during fifty years. 

In 1842, not long after we had enjoyed the society of Miss Edgeworth at Edge- 
worthstown, and had described her and her happy home in our work — " Ireland, its 
Scenery and Character " — we received a letter from that honoured lady, in which, to 
our great gratification, she wrote — " You' are, I thmk, the only persons who have 
visited me, and have written concerning me, who have not printed a line I desire to 
erase." * The feeling that prompted us then will, in a degree, guide us now. It was 
her wish that no Life of her should be published ; as she once said to us — " My only 
remains shall be in the church at Edgeworthstown ; " and, as the result of a subse- 
quent correspondence with Mrs. Edgeworth, in which we pressed to know if the 
injunction extended to her voluminous, valuable, and deeply-interesting " correspond- 
ence," we have reason to believe the family desire (in accordance with a suggestion 
they deem as sacred as a command) rather the suppression than the publication of 
any documents that may illustrate either her private or her literary career. We may 
regret this, and do ; for if ever there was a life, from the commencement to the close, 
that would bear the strictest scrutiny, it was hers. It was not only blameless, but 
faultless ; ruled by the sternest sense of rectitude ; emphatically xisejid almost from 
the cradle to the grave. 

Edgeworthstown was, and is, a large country mansion, to which additions have 
been from time to time made, but made judiciously. An avenue of venerable trees 
leads to it from the public road. It is distant about seven miles from the town of 
Longford. The only room I need specially refer to is the library ; it belonged more 
pecuharly to Maria, although the general sitting-room of the family. It was the room 
in which she did nearly all her work — not only that which was to gratify and instruct 
the world, but that which, in a measure, regulated the household — the domestic 
duties that were subjects of her continual thought ; for the desk at which she usually 
sat was never without memoranda of matters from which she might have pleaded a 
right to be held exempt. Mrs. Hall described it in our work, " Ireland, its Scenery 
and Character," and I may borrow in substance that description here. It is by no 
means a stately, solitary room, but large, spacious, and lofty, well stored with books, 
and " furnished " with suggestive engravings. Seen through the window is the 
lawn, embellished by groups of trees. If you look at the oblong table in the centre, 

* About the same period we received from Mrs. Wilson, Miss Edgeworth' s sister, a letter in which occurs this 
passage:— "I, as one of the family, my dear Mrs. Hall, must give you my grateful thanks for the delicacy with 
which you have avoided saying anything that could hurt our feelings, or violate the privacy of the domestic life in 
which my sister delights." 




you will see the rallying-point of the family, who are usually around it, reading, 
writing, or working ; while Miss Edgeworth, only anxious that the inmates of the 
house shall each do exactly as he or she pleases — sits in her owm peculiar corner on 
the sofa : a pen, given her by Sir Walter Scott while a guest at Edgeworthstown in 
1825, is phxced before her on a httle, quaint, unassuming table, constructed, and 
added to, for convenience. She had a singular power of abstraction, apparently' 
hearing all that was said, and occasionally taking part in the conversation, while 
pursuing her own occupation, and seemingly attending only to it. In that corner, 
and on that table, she had written nearly all the works which have delighted and 
enlightened the world.* Now and then she would rise and leave the room, perhaps 
to procure a toy for one of the children, to mount the ladder and bring down a book 


that could explain or illustrate some topic on which some one was conversing : imme- 
diately she would resume her pen, and continue to write as if the thought had been 
unbroken for an instant. I expressed to Mrs. Edgeworth surprise at this faculty, so 
opposed to my own habit. " Maria," she said, " was always the same ; her mind 
was so rightly balanced, everything so honestly weighed, that she suffered no incon- 
venience from what would disturb and distract an ordinary writer." 

* She wrote always in the library, heedless of any noise, even of the romps of children, such as might have 
annoyed a less even temperament ; and on a small desk her father had with his own hands m.ade for her. On that 
desk, not long hefore his death, he placed the following inscription :— " On this humble desk were written aU. the 
numerous works of my daughter, Maria Edgeworth, in the common sitting-room of my family. In these works, 
which were chiefly written to please me, she has never attacked the personal character of any human being, or 
interfered with the opinions of any sect or party, religious or political : while endeavoiu-ing to inform and instruct 
others, she improved and amused her own mind and gratified her heart, which I do believe is better than her head.— 
E. L. E." 



She was an early riser, and had much work done before breakfast. Every moi'n- 
ing during our stay at Edgeworthstown she had gathered a bouquet of roses, which 
she placed beside my plate at the table, while she was always careful to refresh the 
vase that stood in our chamber ; and she invariably examined my feet after a walk, 
to see that damp had not induced danger; "popping" in and out of our room with 
some kind inquiry, some thoughtful suggestion, or to show some object that she knew 
would give pleasure. It is to such small courtesies as these that we owe much of the 
happiness of life. Maria Edgeworth seemed never weary of thought that could make 
those about her happy. The impression thus produced upon us is as vivid to-day as 
it was thirty years ago. 

A wet day was a " godsend" to us. She would enter our sitting-room and con- 
verse freely of persons whose names are histories ; and once she brought us a large 
box full of letters — her correspondence with many great men and women, extending 
over more than fifty years — authors, artists, men of science, social reformers, states- 
men of all the countries of Europe, and especially America — a country of which she 
spoke and wrote in terms of the highest respect and affection. 

Although we had known Miss Edgeworth in London — and, indeed, had often the 
honour of receiving her as a guest at our house — it will be readily understood how 
much more to advantage she was seen in her own home. She was the very gentlest 
of lions, the most unexacting — apparently the least conscious of her right to promi- 
nence. In London she did not reject, yet she seemed averse to, the homage accorded 
her ; at home she was emphatically at home. 

The last time we saw her was at the house of her sister, Mrs. Wilson, in North 
Audley Street. She was, of course, a centre of attraction ; the heated room and 
many "presentations " seemed to weary her. We, of course, were seldom near her 
in the crowd, and as we were bidding her good-bye she made us amends by whisper- 
ing, " We will make up for this at Edgeworthstown." Alas ! that was not to be ; 
not long afterwards she returned to Edgeworthstown, and was suddenly called from 

She had complained somewhat, felt languid and oppressed, and consented that 
her friend and physician, Sir Henry Marsh, should be sent for. Half an hour after 
the letter was written Mrs. Edgeworth entered her bed-room. Passing her hand 
under the patient's head, she gently raised it, and as it reclined on her breast the 
soul passed away. She died, without either physical or mental suffering, on the 
22nd May, 1849, in the eighty-third year of her useful and happy life, " full of years 
and honours " indeed. "•= Thus far her death was almost sudden ; in her case a boon 
of mercy from the God she had so long served. She had often expressed a hope 
that she might die " at home," at Edgeworthstown, and that her illness might not be 
long, tedious, and troublesome. 

* In one of her letters to Mrs. HaU (^vho wrote to her on her birthday every year during several years) she says 
« Tour cordial, warm-hearted note was the very pleasantest I received on my birthday, ,ef,f P^^^f^^^'j^j^/i'o^. 
family." That was the last birthday she passed on earth. She adds, " You must ^"t ^ela^ l°°^^;^^„XtvJeI^^^ 
way to Edgeworthstown if you mean to see me again. Remember you have just congi-atulated me on my eighty secona 


It is to be regretted that there exists no portrait of this admirable woman. A 
hint I gave that to obtain one would be a vast boon was not well received, and there 
was some hesitation in permitting Mr. Fairholt, who was our companion during our 
visit to Edgeworthstown, to introduce into his drawing of the library her portrait as 
she sat at her desk examining papers : that sketch I have engraved. Mr. Sneyd 
Edgeworth gave me, however, a photograph of a family picture, of which also I give 
an engraving. 

Her contemporaries have not said much concerning her ; indeed, of late years she 
was but little seen out of Edgeworthstown, her visits to London being rare and brief. 
It is known that Sir Walter Scott much loved and honoured her ; yet there is little 
concerning her in his journal, although he spent some days with her at Edgeworths- 
town.* " She writes," he says, " all the while she laughs, talks, eats, and drinks;" 
and, in another place, " I am particularly pleased with the naivete and good- 
humoured ardour of mind which she unites with such formidable powers of acute 
observation." She was well appreciated by Sydney Smith, who thus wrote of her: 
" She does not say witty things, but there is such a perfume of wit runs through all 
her conversation as makes it very bi'illiant." This passage, however, I find in 
Lockhart's Life of Scott : — 

"It maybe well imagined with what lively interest Sir Walter surveyed the scenery with 
which so many of the proudest recollections of Ireland must ever be associated, and how curio\isly 
he studied the rural manners it presented to him, in the hope (not disappointed) of being- able to 
trace some of his friend's bright creations to their jfirst hints and germs. On the delight wiih 
which he contemplated her position in the midst of her own large and happy domestic circle, I 
need say slill less. The reader is aware by this time how deeply he condemned and pitied the 
conduct and fate of those who, gifted with pre-eminent talents for the instruction and entertnin- 
irient of their species at large, fancy themselves entitled to no ,lect those every-day duties and 
charities of life, from the mere shadowing of which in imaginary pictures the genius of poetry 
and romance has always reaped its highest and purest, perhaps its only true immortal honours. 
In Maria he hailed a sister spirit ; one who, at the summit of literary fame, took the same modest, 
just, and, let me add, Christian view of the relative importance of the feelings, the obligations, 
and the hopes in which we are all equally the partakers, and those talents and accomplishments 
which may seem to vain and short-sighted eyes sufficient to constitute their possessors into hu 
order and species apart from the rest of their kind. Such fantastic conceits found no shelter with 
either of these powerful minds." 

This is Mrs. Hall's portrait of Maria Edgeworth in 1842 : — In person she was 
very small — she was " lost in a crowd; " her face was pale and thin, her features 
irregular — they may have been considered plain, even in youth ; but her expression 
was so benevolent, her manners were so perfectly well bred — partaking of English 
dignity and Irish frankness — that one never thought of her with reference either to 
beauty or plainness ; she ever occupied, without claiming, attention, charming con- 
tinually by her singularly pleasant voice, while the earnestness and truth that beamed 
from her bright blue — very blue — eyes increased the value of every word she uttered ; 

* During Miss Edgeworth's visit to Abbotsford, in 1823, previous to the return visit to Edgeworthstown, an 
incident occurred that has been stated of others, I believe. Miss Edgeworth herself told us that one moonlight 
night she proposed to Scott to visit Melrose, quoting his famous lines — 

" If you would see Melrose aright. 
Go visit it by the pale moonlight." 

Scott at once assented, adding, " By aU means let us go, for I myself have never seen Melrose by moonlight." 


she knew how to listen as well as to talk, and gathered information in a manner 
highly complimentary to those from whom she sought it; her attention seemed far 
more the effect of respect than of curiosity ; her sentences were frequently epigram- 
matic ; she more than once suggested to me the story of the good fairy from whose 
lips dropped diamonds and pearls whenever they were opened ; she was ever neat and 
particular in her dress, a duty to society which literary women sometimes culpably 
neglect ; her feet and hands were so delicate and small as to be almost childlike ; * 
in a word, Maria Edgeworth was one of those women who do not seem to requu'e 

Miss Edgeworth has been called "cold;" but those who have so deemed her 
have never seen, as I have (Mrs. Hall writes), the tears gather in her eyes at a tale 
of suffering or sorrow, nor heard the genuine hearty laugh that followed the relation 
of a pleasant story. Never, so long as I live, can I forget the evenings spent in her 
library in the midst of a family highly educated and self-thinking, in conversation 
unrestrained, yet pregnant with instructive thought. 

Of the tvcenty-tKO children born to Eichard Lovell Edgeworth there are but two 
now left ; there is, however, happily, another generation to reap the harvest of the 
seed that was planted at Edgeworthstown nearly a century ago. 

The long career of Maria Edgeworth illustrated her own and her father's system 
of education — practical education. She was, by her own example, that which she 
laboured to make others — active, energetic, cheerful, ever at hand, everywhere when 

It was — and possibly still is — made a charge against the Edgeworths, that they 
put aside "religion" from their plans of education. The subject is certainly not 
prominent in their writings, but Mr, Edgeworth emphatically affirms his conviction 
that " religious obligation is indispensably necessary in the education of all descrip- 
tions of people in every part of the world," and considered "religion, in the large 
sense of the word, to be the only certain bond of society." His daughter also 
strongly protests against the idea that he designed to lay down a system of education 
founded upon morality exclusive of religion, j 

It may be worth noting that during our residence at Edgeworthstown the family 
assembled at prayers every morning, that they were regular attendants at the parish 
church, and that other evidence was supplied of the strength of their religious faith. 

I may be permitted to make some extracts from the few of her letters we have 

preserved. The first is a passage from one dated January 2, 1848 ; it concerns her 

little book for the young, " Orlandino : " — 

" Chambers, as you alwnys told me, acts very liberally. As this was to earn a little money for 
our parish poor in the last year's distress, he most considerately gave prompt payment. Even 

* She once commissioned me to procure for her a pair of shoes from Melnotte's, in M ; and when I handed 
the mnrlpl tn thp RlioPTTinTi-pr T had diificultv in persuading him it was not the shoe o± a little gul. 

?^Eobeit Hall XrSitly prai^^^ witings, laments that they are without even allusion to Christianity : 
- '■ She does not atteckreSS or i^i^fgli against it, but makes it appear unnecessary, by exhibUmg perfect virtue 
without it." 



before publication, when the proof-sheets were under correction, came tbe ready order on the 
Bank of Ireland. Blessings on him \ and I hope he will not be the worse for me : I am surely 
tbe better for him, and so are numbers now working and eating ; for Mrs. E.'s principle and mine 
is to excite the people to work for good wages, and not by gratis feeding to make beggars of theui, 
and ungrateful beggars, as the case might be." 


" I do not deserve the very kind, warm-hearted letter I have just received from you, dear 
Mrs. Hall ; but I prize and like it all the better. So little standing upon ceremony, and so 
cordially off-hand and from the heart. Thank you for it with all my heart, and be assured it 
gave me heartfelt pleasure, and this I know will please you." 

I copy a passage from one of the criticisms on her contemporaries, in which she 
sometimes indulged in hev letters to Mi'S. Hall, all marked by sound observation and 
generous sympathj' : — 

" A book has much interested me ; it is unlike any other bo^^k I ever read in my life, and 
yet true to nature in new circumstances. To be sure, I cannot judge of the circumstances or the 
narrative, never having been in the country ; but the descriptions, full of life, and marked by that 
seal of genius which we recognise the instant we see it, obtains perfect credence from the reader, 
and hurries ua on through the most romantic adventures, still domestic, and confined to a few 
persons not in number beyond the power of symjjathy. One or two the most powerfully drawn 
may, perhaps, touch the bounds of impossibility. The book I mean has a title which does not do 
it justice, and which would rather lead one to expect a gossiping chronicle. It is called 'The 
Neighbours.' Its author, I understand, is a JMiss Bremer, of Stockholm, translated by Mary 
Howitt, and the best and most just praise I can give to her translation is, that one never, from 
beginning to end, recollects her existence ; never does it occur to our mind that it is a translation. 
Pray tell me if you know anything of this author, and how I should address her at Stockholm." 

'• How very much one is obliged to the genius which can snatch one from oneself away in 
times of great depression of spirits — at those times when we are not wise enough to be able to 
give a reason for particularhj liking ; but the invcluntary feeling is perhaps the most gratifying to 
a writer of benevolent heart, as well as superior genius." 

She was with Sir Walter Scott when he visited Killarney. There had been a 
rumour that the great author had been treated with slight during his \"isit to the Iiish 
Lakes, and that he had spoken of them with contumely : I thought it right to set 
that question at rest. The following letter is now before me. She writes : — 

" Edgewoethstowx, June 18, 1843. 
" My sister, Harriet Butler, and I were in the boat with Sir AValter Scott, the day, and the 
only day, when he was on the Killarney Lakes. We heard him declare that he thought the 
Upper Lake the most beautiful he h:td ever seen excepting Loch Lomond : more could not by 
mortal tonyue be expressed by a Scotsnaan. I did not hear him find fault, or say that he was 
disappointed, during the whole row. He appeared pleased and pleasing ; and why any people 
should have imagined he was not, I cannot imagine. ' Rude ' I am sure he was not ; he coiild 
not be. We were sorry that we could not stay another day ; but all experienced travellers know 
full well that they must give up their wishes to preWous arrangements and engagements, and that 
they must cut their plans and pleasures according to their time and promises. As to the affair of 
the stag-hunt, I can only say that / received no invitation to see one ; that u-e did not receive 
any ; that I heard at the time that a stag-hunt would not be offered to us, because the stag-hounds 
belonged to some near relation of a gentleman much respected in the country, who had just died 
suddenly, and was not buried. I recollect passing by the gates of his place, and seeing two men 
in deep mourning, with weepers, sitting on e;ich side of the gate. As I had never belore seen this 
custom, I made inqiury, and was told why they mourned, and who for ; and this confirmed and 
fixed in my memorj- what I have above mentioned."* 

' The matter- of- fact mind of Maria Edgeworth receives illustratioii from the following letter which she required 
her sister to write : — 

" Dear !Mrs. Hall, — !My re collection of the circumstances mentioned by my sister at KiUamey. in 1825, exactly 
coincides with hei-s. I rememher our "being told, as we drove into Killarney, that we should have no stag-hunt, as 
the master of the hounds had died that morning. 

" Yours truly, 

" Tfinr, 19(7i Junt, '43." " Habeiet Bdtlee, 



I have quoted from the last letter Mrs. Hall received from Miss Edgeworth ; it 
may be permitted me to make an extract from the first, dated July 30, 1829, in 
reference to Mrs. Hall's earliest literary production, •• Sketches of Irish Chai-acter : '" — 

'• It has been sometimes my fate to have srratitude and sinrerity struggling within me when 
I have begun a letter of ihanis to authors ; I have no such struggle now, but with pleasure 
unmixed, and perfect freedom of mind and ease of conscience, I write to you. The ' Sketches ot 
Irish Character ' are. in my opinion, admirable for truth, pathos, and humour ; uU. the sketches 
show complete knowledge of the persons and things represented, and some of the portraits are 
drawn with imcommon strength, and with more decided and Jine touches, which mark a 
masterly hand." 

I may quote this generous tribute to a writer concerning Ireland -svho Tvas then 
entering a career from -^hich Miss Edgeworth was about to retire. There are other 
parts of the letter I abstain from quoting ; but the reader of this Memory will readily 
appreciate the eftect on the then young author of ■• Sketches of Irish Character." 

Although it foiTas no part of our plan in this series of •• Memories "" to bring 
under review the works of the authors we commemorate, it is impossible to treat of 
Maria Edgeworth without some observations on the influence of her writings. She 
had one great advantage over almost aU others — she never itroie for bread; she was 
never compelled to furnish a pubhsher with so much matter at so much per sheet. In 
her home there was always independence — entii-e freedom from debt, and with few 
responsibilities beyond those that appertain to a household. At Edgeworthstown 
there was emphatically that of which the poet tells us — 

" Eeason's whole pleasnie. all the joys of seii«>, 
lie in three words— health, peace, and competence." 

It is to their honour that women were the first to use the pen in the service of 
Ireland. At the beginning of the century, a buffoon, a knave, and an Irishman were 
synonvmous terms In the novel or on the stage ; they were deemed exceptions who 
did honour to their country ; and although a gentUnian from Ii-eland, in contradis- 
tinction to an I,ish gentleman, was considered everywhere the perfection of grace, 
refinement, and chivalric courtesy, there were, unhappily, too many '-specimens ' 
who gave force to prejudice and confounded the aU Tsith the many. Chui-chill wrote, 
more than a century ago — 

" Lone from a cotmtrr ever hardlv used, 
At random censured, wantonlv abused, 
Have Britons drawn the shaft, with no kmd view, 
And jndged the many by the rascal few." 

When prejudice was at its height-about the time of '• the rnion' -two women 
with opposite views, and very opposite training, but moved by the same ennobling 
patriotism, "rose to the rescue "-Miss Owenson, afterwards Lady Morgan, by the 
vivid rornanee, and Miss Edgeworth by the stern reality of actual portraiture forcmg 
justice from an unwilHng jury, spreading abroad the knowledge of Irish character, 
and portraving, as tHl then they had never been portrayed, the chivah-y, generosity, 
and devotedn^ss of Iri.h nature. They succeeded largely in evaporating suspicion, 
in overcoming prejudice, by obtaining ready hearers of appeals. ^ either of these 
eminent and greatly-endowed ladies did by any means ignore the laults, senous or 



trivial, of their countrymen and countrywomen; but they made conspicuous their 
virtues, maintained their right to respect and their claim to consideration, and suc- 
ceeded in obtaining verdicts in their favour from adverse judges and reluctant juries. 
It is indeed a privilege to render homage to the memory of this admirable 
woman. Her works are " not for an age, but for all time." They were marvels 
in her day, two-thirds of a century ago, when either coarseness or frivolity was too 
generally the staple of the author. Her afi'ection for Ireland was fervent and earnest, 
yet she was of no party, even in that age and country. She had enlarged sympathies 
and views for its advancement ; neither prejudice nor bigotry touched her mind or 
heart. Her religious and political faith was Christian, in the most extended sense of 
that holy word ; a literary woman, without vanity, affectation, or jealousy ; a perfect 
woman — 

" Not too pure nor good 
For human nature's daily food." 

Studious of all home duties, careful for all home requirements, ever actively 
thoughtful of all the offices of love and kindness which sanctify domestic life, genius 
gave to her the rare power to be useful during seventy of her eighty- three years. 
Her life was, indeed, a practical illustration of Milton's lines — 

"To know 
That which about us lies in daily life 
Is the prime wisdom." 


I ASSOCIATE the name of this good and most useful woman with that of Maria 
Edgeworth, mainly because the one loved the other, and that both were actuated 
by the same holy thought — " to do good and to distribute." She was one of our 
earliest and latest friends ; we knew her in 1825, when with her husband, the artist, 
she lived in the then "Artists' Quarter," Newman Street ; when residing at Edwardes 
Square, Kensington ; and during her brief period of widowhood at Richmond. 

She was the daughter of Mr. Robert Weeks, a partner in an extensive manu- 
factory at Sheffield, and was born in 1770. Her father died when she was very 
young. Her mother soon afterwards married again, and Barbara was taken and 
brought up by an aunt. She married, at the age of twenty-six, Mr. T. Bradshaw 
Hoole, a very worthy young man, connected with a mercantile house at Sheffield. 
She always spoke of that portion of her life as her happiest. It lasted not long, 
however, for Mr. Hoole and their eldest child died in little more than two years after 
their marriage. She was left with an infant son four months old ; and the little 
property that belonged to her was lost by the bankruptcy of a trustee. These 
misfortunes determined her to publish, in 1805, a volume of poems ; it was eagerly 
subscribed for by the people of Sheffield, who were proud of her from first to last. 
With the proceeds she established a school at Harrogate, and continued to write and 
publish other small works from time to time. Eleven years after the death of her 



first husband she married Mr. T. C. Hofland, the landscape painter, and removed to 
London.^ In 1812 she wrote five works, among which was '' The Son of a Genius," 
and continued writing, more or less, every succeeding year. 

Her son by Mr. Hoole was educated for the Church, became curate of St 
Andrew, Holborn, and died in March, 1883. She loved him dearly, and he as 
dearly loved her. She never spoke of him without tears. Her second' married life 
was not happy. Hofland was a man who thought of himself only, and seemed 
indifferent to his wife's fame. Few, however, saw the skeleton in her house ; and 
although we knew well that her home was not one of comfort and hope, we Lever 
heard her utter a complauat or expose any " weakness " of her husband.* Her natm-e, 
though seldom joyous, was always cheerful ; moreover, it was toned by genuine piety 
and unlimited trust. In person she was plain ; but the soundness of her heart, the 
vigour of her mind, and her deeply-rooted religious faith gave to her face charms 
which her features lacked ; and, like the friend we have depicted, she did not seem 
to require beauty. 

One of her earliest friends was James Montgomery. He records, in 1803 he 
used to visit her, then an interesting young widow, in order to "read and talk over 
and correct the poems which I afterwards printed for her." How much the destiny 
of these two might have been changed, and how much happier both might have 
been, if this intimacy had led to marriage ! In 1810, when Montgomery was 
canvassing Eoscoe for aid in electing Hofland as an associate of the Liverpool 
Academy of Arts, he thus wrote of her: " She is a woman of singular genius, and I 
have known her through so many sorrows and sufferings acting a generous, and, in 
many cases, a glorious part." We indorse that opinion from intimate knowledge of 

her, long years afterwards. Miss Mitford, writing of her to Mrs. Hall, says " She 

is an inestimable woman ; good, kind, and true ; and of a sort of goodness that is 

becoming more and more rare every day." And in another letter she writes " She 

is womanly to her finger-ends, and as truth-telling and independent as a sky-lark." 

She wrote nearly a hundred books, chiefly for the young. They were very popular • 
some of them, indeed, are so to this day ; and they were translated into many of the 
languages of Europe. 

Her home duties were ever the first in her heart and mind. 

I do not know who wrote this, but it is an estimate fully and entirely true : — 

" As the inculcator of the vitnl importance of fixed principles of justice, honour, and inteorilv— 
of Christian virtues founded upon Chrislian failh — of all that is truly noble in man and lovely in 
woman — Mrs. Hofland, i'rom. the nature of her compositions and the extent of their circulation 
has perhaps done more than any other writer of the day. The religion which she makes the 
groundwork of all this, and which she has the art of making her readers teach themselves, is 
religion in its best form ; unohtrusive, and yet unfailing ; gentle, yet active ; modest, yet firm ■ 
moderate, kind, and consistent, without sourness, bigotry, or enthusiasm. This religion she has 
not only inculcated, but practised, under trials greater than any she has described." 

The work by which she is best known, and which has gone through, perhaps, 

* She was always ready with some excuse for Hofland's selfishness and outbreaks of temper, attributing them to 
the vexations incident to an artist's life, or to the suflferings he endui-ed from some hidden source of frequent illness. 
When he died, I remember her telling me, with somewhat of a tone of triumph, that he had died of cancer in the 
stomach, which accounted for his continued irritation and all his other faults. 



fifty editions, having been often translated, is " The Son of a Genius." It was 
published by Harris, once a famous bookseller at the corner of St. Paul's, a house 
which an excellent and liberal firm of publishers of children's books now inhabit. 
She received for it ten pounds. It was so rapidly and frequently reprinted, that the 
publisher made by it as many hundreds. I remember Mrs. Hofland telling me one 
day she had that morning called upon Harris concerning a nev/ edition — time 
(twenty-eight years) having exhausted his claim to the copyright, which conse- 
quently reverted to her. The worthy publisher refused to acknowledge any such 
right, protesting against it on the ground that such a thing had never happened to 
him before ! The discussion ended in his giving the author another ten pounds. 

She died at Richmond, Surrey, on the 9th November, 1844 ; and a monument to 
her memory was placed in the church there by a few admiring friends. 

Hofland was an excellent artist and an accomplished man. Miss Mitford said of 
him that "he talked pictures and painted poems." His works have failed to find 
popularity, or, to speak more correctly, "buyers," in this age of art - patronage ; 
yet few painted English scenery with more force and truth. He who has Hofland's 
picture of " Richmond Hill " has one of the treasures of British art. 


Although there is little " in common " between those of whom I have here written 

and this excellent Jewish lady, I know that neither of them would be displeased at • 

my associating her name with theirs ; they would have loved, esteemed, and honoured 

her if they had been of her friends in life. Though the earnest, fervent, and devoted 

advocate of the faith in which she was born — firmly believing it to be right, and 

acting always in accordance with such belief — she was Christian in all the loftiest 

and noblest essentials of that creed : charitable, merciful, upright, and true. She 

died young, and I am very sure has joined that hierarchy of heaven — the just made 

perfect — who worship and adore without let or hindrance from earth. The years of 

her pilgrimage were few, but they were employed in active and continual labour to 

promote the good of humankind ; she was from the beginning to the end a zealous 

worker in the service of her Grod, and in practically impressing the solemn truth of the 

" new commandment," that ye love one another. Her capacity for labour, although 

her frame was very slender and her constitution ever " delicate," was positively 

astounding. She has bequeathed a store of treasure in literature of great value, and 

of which it is scarcely too much to say — it might be bound up with the Bible ; the 

Bible of the Jews or the Bible of the Christians. 

We had the privilege to know her intimately during the later years of her career 

in letters. Here is Mrs. Hall's portrait and recollection of one of the best of " the 

women of Israel : " — 

" At oor first introduction we were slruck as much by the earnestness and eloquence of her 
conversation as by her delicate and lovely countenance. Ber person and addret'swere exceedingly 
prepossessing, her eyes of the deep blue that looks almost black in particular lights, and her hair 


dark and abundant. There was no attempt at display, no affectation of learning ; no desire to 
obtrude ' me and my books ' upon any one, or in any way ; in all things she was graceful and well 
bred. You felt at once that she was a carefully-educated gentlewoman, and if there was more 
warmth and cordiality of manner than a stranger generally evinces on a first introduction, we 
remembered her descent,* and that the tone of her studies, as well as her passionate love of music 
and high musical attainments, had increased her sensibility. Wlien we came to know her better, 
■we were charmed and surprised at her extensive reading, her knowledge of foreign literature, and 
actual learning, relieved by a refreshing pleasure in juvenile amusements. Each interview 
increased our friendship, and the quantity and quality of her acquirements commanded our 
admiration. She had made acquaintance with the beauties of English nature during a long 
residence in Devonsbire, loved the country with her whole heart, and enriched her mind by the 
leisure it afforded. She had collected and arranged conchological and mineralogical specimens ; 
loved flowers as only sensitive women can love them ; and with all this was deeply read in 
theology and history. Whatever she knew, she knew thoroughlj- ; rising at six in the morning, 
and giving to each hour its employment; cultivating and exercising her home affections, and 
keeping open heart for many friends. All these qualities were warmed by a fervid enthusiasm 
for whatever was high and holy. She spurned all envy and uncharitableness, and rendered loviny: 
homage to whatever was great and good. It was difficult to induce her to speak of herself and 
her own doings. After her death it was deeply interesting to hear from the one of all others who 
loved and knew her best, her mother, of the progress of her mind from infancy to womanhood ; 
it proved so convincingly how richly she deserved the affection she inspired." 

She was born at Hackney, in Jtme, 1816, and died at Frankfort, in July, 1847. 
Her many works exhibit rare industry; that entitled "The Women of Israel" is, 
perhaps, the best known ; it is in high favour with readers of all denominations in 
religion ; it interferes with no prejudice. Nearly as much may be said, indeed, of 
all her other books ; but that especially illustrates a History sacred alike to those 
who adore the Living God of Gentile and of Jew. 

When in Frankfort some years ago, we visited the grave of this admirable 
woman : in the ground allotted to the Jews as their burying-place in the Free City, 
we found it in a corner, near to that in which Protestants are interred. A head- 
stone marks the spot ; upon it are carved a butterfly and five stars, and this 
inscription : — 

" G-ive her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."— Prov. 
chap. xxxi. 31. 

It will be to say enough of Grace Aguilar if we quote part of an address 
presented to her by several Jewish ladies previous to her departure from England 
for Germany. 

"Dear Sistee,— Our admiration of your talents, our veneration of your character, our 
gratitude for the eminent services your writings render our sex, our people, our faith,— m which 
the sacred cause of true religion is embodied,— all these motives combme to induce us to intrude 
on your presence in order to give utterance to sentiments which we are happy to feel and 
delisted to express. Until you arose, it has, in modern times, never been the case that a 
woman in Israel should stand forth the public advocate of Israel ; thai with the depth and 
purity which is the treasure of woman, and the strength of mmd and extensive knowledge that 
form the pride of man, she should call on her own to cherish, on others to respect, the truth as it 

is in Israel. , , , , t j • i 

" You, sister, have done this, and more. You have taught us to know and appreciate our own 
dignity ; to feel and to prove that no female character can be more pure than that ol the Jewish 

* Grace Aguilar's family fled to England to escape Spanish and Portuguese persecutions, and some of them 
found homes and fortunes in the West. Her mother's name was Diaz h ernanaez . 

maiden— none more pious than that of the woman in Israel. You have vindicated our social and 
spiritual equality in the faith ; you have, by your excellent example, triumphantly refuted the 
aspersion that the Jewish religion leaves unmoved the heart of the Jewish woman ; while your 
writinj^s place within our reach those higher motives, those holier consolations, which flow from 
the spirituality of our religion, which urge the soul to commune with its Miiker, and direct it to 
J lis grace and His mercy, as the best guide and protector here and hereafter." 


In August, 1864, this admirable and most accomplished lady died at Kensington, in 
the Vicarage House of her brother, the venerable and good Archdeacon. It was our 
high and valued privilege to knovi^ her well, and to love her much. As a neighbour 
and a friend we obtained her regard, and that of her excellent sister. Lady Glasgow, 
who has since passed away, as also has our valued friend the Archdeacon. The 
sisters worked " hand in hand," all their lives long, to advance the interests of 
humanity by promoting the cause of God, and they have left a gracious memory — 
that of the one to a large circle, and that of the other to mankind, for whose welfare 
she laboured earnestly and long. 

Catherine Sinclair was the daughter of the Right Honourable Sir John Sinclair, 
Bart., the well-known agriculturist and financier of the days of George III.,'''- by the 
Honourable Diana, only daughter of the first Lord Macdonald, chieftain of the ancient 
clans, and the lineal representative of the Lords of the Isles. She was born in the 
year 1800, and began to write and publish early. She was high born and high bred, 
but practically carried out the injunction to " condescend to men of low estate ; " for 
her toil, apart from her books, was mainly to advance the temporal and eternal 
welfare of the poor and needy. 

Miss Sinclair wrote for Messrs. Chambers a Memoir of her father, who died in 
1835. I extract from that Memoir the following passage :- — • 

" * He was the most indefatigable man in Europe, and the man of the largest acquaintance : ' 
thus said the Abbe Gregoire of the late Sir John Sinclair. He was truly, in many respects, a 
very extraordinary person ; but the basis of all his distinction lay in his benevolent and disin- 
terested desire to be useful in his day and generation. A private gentleman, born in a remote 
part of the United Kingdom, he became, purely through his zeal for the good of the communitj', 
one of the most conspicuous and one of the most honoured men of his age. Besides receiving 
diplomas trom twenty-five learned and scientific societies on the Continent, he had a vote of 
thanks for his national services decreed separately to him by twenty-two counties in Great 
Britain, as well as by numerous towns, where he was gratefully acknowledged as a general bene- 
factor to his country." 

Sir John's mother was a sister of the seventeenth Earl of Sutherland ; and some 
idea of the early training he received may be obtained by the following extracts from 
a letter written by her to him on her death-bed : — 

" May religion and virtue be the rule of all your actions ; and suffer not the temptations or 
allurements of a vain world to make you swerve from your dut.y Adieu, my dearest son, 

* While I was recalling this Memory I chanced to find in my own library a pamphlet on "Waste Lands," 
" presented by Sir John Sinclair to Colonel Eobert HaU,"— my father,— in 1803. 


till we meet in another world, as I trust in the mercy of God, and through the merits of an all- 
suf&cient Saviour, that we shall meet in a state of hliss and endless happiness, where the 
wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest." 

Miss Sinclair's position in society, however, enabled her to picture the upper 
classes. In two of the earliest of her works, " Modern Accomplishments " and 
" Modem Society," " she exposes with a humour peculiarly her own the prevailing 
absurdities in female education, felicitously contrasting the actual state of things with 
what education ought to be, and depicting with admirable truth and freshness the 
characteristic sentiment and conversation of fashionable circles." 

Such a descent, with such training, produced their natural fruit ; and it is giving 
her by no means too high a position if we place her among the best and most useful 
of the authors of the age. 

She was not an author only. Yisitors to Edinburgh may perceive convenient 
seats or benches in some of its leading thoroughfares ; they were placed there by 
Catherine Sinclair. The first public fountain erected in the fair city was built at her 
cost. In the Scottish metropolis there are several " cooking depots," where working 
men and women may dine well for four pennies : the two earliest of them were 
introduced and "inaugurated" by Catherine Sinclair. She hired a large hall, and 
prevailed on many of her friends to give lectures therein. In one of its suburbs 
there is an industrial school, in which girls are prepared for domestic service : 
Catherine Sinclair founded it. Some very aged women had pensions while she 
lived — out of her very shallow purse they were supported ; nay, from the same 
source was provided a company of volunteers, with uniform, a band, and a drill- 
sergeant. All these things we know ; and perhaps there are a hundred others of 
which we know nothing. The cabmen of Edinburgh, when she died, held a meeting 
to record their gratitude for services received, directly and indirectly, by her help ; 
and if not her " chief mourners," there were none at her funeral who more deeply 
grieved for their loss than " her own company of volunteers." And her funeral (for 
she was buried in her native city), though attended by many high-born and courtly 
mourners, was "honoured" by the "following" of hundreds of the humbler and 
poorest classes of the Scottish metropolis. 

The Queen sent this message to her relatives :— " Her Majesty was well 
acquainted not only with Miss Sinclair's literary abilities, but also with her constant, 
active, and successful exertions for the benefit of her fellow- creatures." And there 
were few of the Queen's subjects who knew this greatly good woman, through either 
her charities or her writings, who did not mourn the loss of a true and loving friend 
when she was removed from earth to heaven. 

She was remarkably tall — so, indeed, were all the daughters and sons of Sir John 
Sinclair. The steps that. led to their hall door in Edinburgh were known as the 
Giant's Stairs, and it was said the baronet had more than sixty feet of children ! 
Her form was dignified ; her face would have been handsome, but that it was much 
"pitted" by the small-pox; a keenly-observant and yet gentle eye, a peculiarly 
pleasant and generous mouth, and an expansive forehead, gave to her countenance 



the expression that is always indicative of goodness. She, like Maria Edgeworth 
and Barbara Hofland, needed no other beauty than that which is communicated to 
the features by the soul. 

Eeligion assumed no ascetic character with Catherine Sinclair ; she could be 
merry and wise, and was always cheerful ; she was at times full of humour ; some 
of her sayings, indeed, though thoroughly womanly, might be circulated as examples 
of pure wit. 

The following sketch (which Lady Glasgow quotes in a Memoir of her sister, 
privately printed) was written by Mrs. Hall soon after her death : — 

" la composition she was as conscientious as in all other things, desiring simply to strengthen, 
impress, and fortify her object — caring comparatively little how to beautify it by extraneous orna- 
ment. In whatever she did she was faithfully in earnest, perfectly and entirely free from every 
idea of self. She sought truth with the diligence and simplicity of a child, whose first duty is 
obedience. In her it was obedience to the will of her Divine Master. 

"Miss Sinclair's actual home was in Edinburgh; she was only in London during 'the 
season,' where she was claimed by ail circles — the literary, the scientific, the fashionable, the 
artistic, the religious — her enlarged mind and quick sympathies finding and giving pleasure 
wherever she went : young and old greeted heri advent with delight. We have seen many a fair 
gill decline a quadrille for the greater pleasure of a quarter of an hour's ' talk ' with ' Miss 
Catherine.' Gifted with great quietness, simplicity, and refinement of manner, she had also a 
certain dignity and self-possession that put vulgarity out of countenance, and kept presumption 
in awe. She was gifted, as indeed are all her family, with a singularly sweet, soft, and rather 
low voice, with remarkable elegance and ease of diction, a perfect taste in manners and conver- 
sation without loquacity. She loved the world because it was God's world, and the people thereof 
because He had breathed into them the spirit of immortality. If Catherine Sinclair soughE~to 
establish woman's ' rights,' it was simply by obtaining a wider range for the exercise of woman's 
duties. Apart from the ' strong-minded ' clique on the one hand, and the ' fast ' indelicacies of 
younger woinen on the other, Miss Catherine Sinclair worked, and wearied not. Devoted, 
without affectation ; faithful to her Maker and her fellow-creatures ; without guile ; without an 
atom of literary jealousy ; a woman whom it was a privilege and an honour to call * friend.' " 


I KNEW the sisters Jane and Anna Maria Portee so long ago as the year 1816, when 
they resided with their brother, a physician, at Bristol. I was a lad at school; but 
I had read the " Scottish Chiefs," and the author of that most popular novel was to 
me all but an object of adoration. Jane Porter was then in the zenith of her beauty 
as well as fame : she had hosts of worshippers, and among them, it is no exaggera- 
tion to say, there were princes and kings ; for that novel had made its way, by 
translations, into nearly every court of Europe, and " Tbaddeus of Warsaw " had 
been proscribed by the Emperor Napoleon — he who was, in 1816, a chained eagle 
on the rock of St. Helena. I can even now — though more than sixty years have 
passed, and she has been thirty years in her grave^recall the fine form and 
intellectual grace of the author, then a woman in her prime. " Waverley " had not 
been issued when Jane Porter was a Power in Fiction ; and, although an almost 
total eclipse obscured her light, if it did not altogether destroy her renown, when a 
loftier genius absorbed public attention, the readers of her novels were, and ai 



enthusiastic admirers of her skill in devising a story, and her talent in portraying 

We may marvel at the enormous popularity her romances achieved. They would 
find few readers now; but, as I have elsewhere observed, fifty or sixty years ago, 
when a woman wrote a book she became an idol ; common-place was magnified into 
genius ; and all the novel readers in England — they were as tens then to thousands 
now — were ready to kneel in homage at her feet. Let the most easily satisfied try 
to get through " Thaddeus of Warsaw," and he will wonder how it was possible its 
author could have obtained such renown. 


Their mother was a native of Durham— a thorough lady in all respects. Their 
father was an Irish gentleman of good family, and had been an officer in the Ennis- 
killen Dragoons. The mother became a widow not long after her marriage, and 
resided in Edinburgh, chiefly to be within reach of education for her two sons, one of 
whom, afterwards becoming' Sir Robert Ker Porter, an officer of rank in our own 
army, held a distinguished post in the service of Eussia, and was a man of mark- 
Many can remember his panorama of the Storming of Seringapatam, one of the earliest, 
if not the first, of the pictures of that class. He was a remarkably handsome man, 
and had married a Russian princess. 

Jane was born in 1776, and Anna Maria in 1781. It was during the residence of 
the mother and sisters at Esher that we knew most of the eminent and truly estimable 



family. They lived there in comparative retirement in 1828, and during several 
subsequent years, resting mainly on the fame and means they had acquired; the one 
largely, the other to a limited extent, yet suf&cient for limited needs. 

It Avas a pretty cottage, and we hope is so still ; the neighbourhood is very charm- 
ing, full of interesting traditions of the long ago : their little garden was backed by 
the Park of Claremont : some relics are there associated with Cardinal Wolsey ; and 
Hampton Court is not far off. There the mother died, and in the adjacent churchyard 
she was buried. The last time we saw Jane we promised we would occasionally visit 
her grave, and we have done so. The tomb is here pictured. 



This is the inscription on the tomb 

" Here sleeps in Jesus a Cliristian ■widow, 

Jane Porter, 

Obit. June ISth, 1831 ; ^tat. 86, 

The beloved mother of W. Porter, M.D., of Sii- Robert Ker Porter, 

And of Jane and Anna Maria Porter, 

Who mourn in Hope, humblj"- trusting to be bom again 

With her unto the blessed kingdom of their 

Lord and Saviour. 

Respect the grave, for she ministered to the Poor." 

I borrow Mrs. Hall's portraits of the sisters : 

" No two sisters of the same parents could have been more opposite in appearance : Anna Maria 
was a delicate blonde, with a riant face and an animated manner ; I had almost written she was 
peculiarly Irish, rushing at conclusions where Jane would have paused lo consider and calculate. 
The beauty of Jane was statuesque, her deportment serious though cheerful, a seriousness quite as 
natural as her sister's gaiety. They both laboured diligently, but the labour of the one seemed 
sport when compared with the careful toil of the other. The mind of Jane was of a lofty order ; 
she was intense, ponderous perhaps, and obviously felt more than she said ; while Anna Maria said 
more than she felt. They were a pleasant contrast, yet the harmony between them was complete. 


Indeed, an artist might have selected them as apt subjects for portraits of L' Allegro and II Pen- 
seroso ; certainly of Thalia and Melpomene." * 

I insert a characteristic letter I received from Jane Porter : — 

" October 'loth, 1836. 
" Dear Mr. Hall, 

" I -wish to tell you a little story, byway of excuse for troubling you again on the 
subject of publishing those MSS. I sent to you in the New Monthhj. In shoit (though in matters 
of assisting our fellow-creatures, beyond themselves, the ' right hand should not know what the left 
hand does'), I am one whose never very extensive purse-strings often fail in meeting the stretch 
some hard necessity may require of them, and my object in wishing to publish those papers was to 
meet one of these exigencies. A poor lady, whom I knew in my own youth, — beautiful, admired, 
afiluent, — first made an unfortunate marriage, then was left in struggling circumstances ; and from 
one calamity to another overwhelming her, she has some time been reduced to so depressed and 
friendless a condition, that, as a last attempt to obtain a bare subsistence, she took a small house in 
Manchester to let its rooms, except one for herself and two daughters, and her parlour, into lodgings 
for humble occupants. She could not venture engaging a place suitable for persons of any higher 
degree, therefore their pay could not but be humble as their circumstances. To add to her means 
a little I recommended to her collecting a few books to let out in the way of a circulating library, 
and what amusing books of my own that I had, or others I promised from kind friends, I sent 
to her. But of course, from so narrow a channel, the collection could be but small ; the profits 
therefore short of any mentionable assistance. Hence, from time to time, as almost the only friend 
now left to the poor friend of my former days, she turns to me in any of her pecuniary distresses, 
and to the utmost of my own circumscribed limits of power I relieve them. Her times for paying 
rent and taxes are usually her trying seasons, for the fiuctuations of lodgers often leaves her quite 
a-strand. In apprehension of this, lately, and in short to save their daily expenses, Theodora, her 
youngest daughter (to whom she gives charge of their little money concerns), has denied herself all 

other aliment but tea and dry bread It is her letter in acknowledgment for this that I 

inclose to you, to show you, in her own artless language, a little of her story, and therefore to 
explain more forcibly than my own could do, my reasons for wishing to gather a few pounds by 
Christmas by the publication of the papers I sent to you, for indeed her succour in her great anti- 
cipated need. " Yours most true, 

"Jane Pokter." 

When we last saw Jane Porter (for Maria died many years before her sisterf — at 
MontpelUer, near Bristol, in 1832), it was at Bristol, in her brother's house ; she was 
then but the shadow of her former self, and could not rise from her couch without 
assistance : yet she had the grace and dignity that appertain to honoured old age, and 
was still beautiful— the beauty of age. She was still the same gentle, holy-minded 
woman she had ever been, bending with Christian faith to the will of the Almighty — 
biding her time. She died there on the 24th of May, 1850; and I presume she is 
buried in that city of neglected and forgotten worthies. As with the other admirable 
women of whom I have here given Memories, the sisters were never seduced by 
pubhc homage to neglect the duties of private life. They were hard and earnest 
workers with the pen, but they were zealous in all the thoughts, cares, and industries 
that render home tranquil and happy. They were prolific authors, nideed ; but 
never forgot that there are duties more paramount, more honourable— more pro- 
fitable, in truth, in the better sense of the term— than those they discharged for " the 
public." ■ 

the ( 

Duke of Wurtemburg, soon after she published ' 

't MarU^published a book, "Artless Tales," in 1793, when she was but thii'teen years old. Jane did not publish 
her first book, '• Thaddeus of Warsaw," until ISO;). 

K 2 



I have thus given "Memories " of seven remarkable women. Each was a bene- 
factor by her writings ; these writings were specially designed and calculated to 
uphold the position of women in the several relations of mother, wife, daughter, 
friend, teacher, and companion ; but neither Hannah More, nor Maria Edge worth, 
nor Barbara Hofland, nor Jane nor Anna Maria Porter, nor Grace Aguilar, nor, later, 
Catherine Sinclair, foresaw a period when a wrangle for what is wrongly called 
" Woman's Rights " would not only be forced on public attention, but be pressed, 
with unseemly compulsion, on the Legislature ; and I cannot better close this chapter 
than by printing the views of Mrs. S. C. Hall on this all-important and somewhat 
engrossing subject, believing that the truly great and essentially good women I have 
described would have " entered their protests" if they had lived to see the peril in 
which certain foolish brawlers are striving to place their sex. 

It is matter for deep regret, for intense sorrow indeed — " be it spoken, to their 
shame" — that women have recently inaugurated a "movement" for the creation of 
what they call " Woman's Rights," and that among its zealous, but unthinking advo- 
cates are a few — very few — Women of Letters. I do not find many, if any, whose 
views are entitled to much attention, or whose claims to be heard are indisputable ; 
but those who push and clamour will force aside the judicious and just : the foohsh 
are proverbially bolder than the wise; some will " rush in" where others "fear to 
tread :" and it may seem that those who are silent give consent. 

I believe this " movement" to be pregnant with incalculable danger to men, but 
especially to women ; and that, if the " claims" be conceded and women be displaced 
from their proper sphere, society, high and low, will receive such a shock as must not 
only convulse, but shatter, the fabric, which no after-conviction and repentance can 
restore to its natural form. 

I address this warning to my sex, and from the vantage-ground of the " Old 
Experience," that — 

" doth attain 
To something of prophetic strain ; " 

and I earnestly entreat women to beware of lures that in the name of " Electoral 
Rights" — the beginning of the end — would deprive them of their power and lower 
their position under a pretence to raise it. 

I warn women of all countries, all ages, all conditions, all classes : 

And I humbly urge upon the Legislature to resist demands that are opposed to 
Wisdom, Mercy, and Religion. 

When women cease to be women, as regards all that makes them most attractive 
— and that must inevitably be the result of concessions which are asked for as 
"rights," which are, indeed, daringly demanded on the principle that the Constitu- 
tion shall recognise no distinction between women and men ; that whatever men are 
required to do, women shall be, at the least, entitled to do — it is surely mental blind- 
ness which cannot foresee the misery that must follow the altered relations and 
changed conditions of both. 

I do not consider it a degradation ; but whether it be so or not, I am quite sure the 



leading, guiding, and controlling impulse of women is to render themselves agreeable 
and helpful to men- — whether by beauty, gentleness, forethought, energy, intelligence, 
domestic cares, home-virtues, toil-assistance, in "hours of ease," in sickness, or amid 
the perplexities, anxieties, disappointments, and labours that environ life : it is so, and 
ever will be so, in spite of the " strong-minded" who consider and describe as humi- 
liation that which is woman's glory, and should be her boast. 

That custom and law press heavily and unjustly on women cannot be doubted : 
they will be benefactors who succeed in guarding her against oppression, in obtaining 
for her protection, and in securing to her those "rights" which are based on policy 
and justice ; but the rights that are calculated to make women happier and better are 
very different from those that are designed to give to them equality with men as 
regards pursuits, avocations, and duties, from which the minds of all rightly thinking 
women will turn with instinctive dread. 

It is easy to fancy women doing men's work — with a smile and a sob : we have 
some sad examples of so revolting an evil ; a few such cases in England, many more 
in continental countries. I have seen, in Bavaria, a woman harnessed with a cow 
to the plough, the men and horses being away drilling for war; and in the "black 
country" there are women bending all day long under shameful burdens from the 
coal-pit to the barge. Not long ago there were cases even worse : legislation has 
lessened or abrogated many of them. 

Agitation to limit women's work to work for which they are designed by nature — 
work, physical and intellectual — would be, indeed, a duty. But that is not what the 
" strong-minded" want. 

The advocates of Women's Rights do not contemplate their employment as soldiers 
and sailors; that is all. The Senate, the Bar, the Church— all public offices, from 
that of the First Lord of the Treasury to the porter who stands at the door in Down- 
ing Street, are to be opened to them. The subject is too serious for ridicule : yet 
one is strongly tempted to use the weapon in dealing with it. It would be easy to 
picture a thousand absurdities that must arise from such a confusion as that contem- 
plated ; and easy would it be to show that evils, as yet scarcely conceivable, would 
issue from a successful attempt to place woman beside man as his competitor, instead 
of his helpmate. An unwomanly woman is always avoided ; a masculme woman is 
more repulsive than an effeminate man. How would it be if the Legislature decreed 
an " equaUty " that places the one in the position of the other— outraging the plainest 
principles of nature, and the obvious, as well as declared, will of God ? 

It is hard to believe that those who advocate this new version of "Woman's 
Rights" are really in earnest— that they actually desire the changes announced m 
their programme. No doubt some designing, or ambitious, or "unsexed" women, 
self-appointed leaders, have led weak women to follow them— sheep gone astray— and 
who have been deluded into sanction of this miserable scheme. The number is small ; 
but it may be augmented by ignorance and prejudice ; nay, by a false hope that good 
may come out of evil— that figs may grow on thistles, and grapes on thorns. 

I beUeve the originators, and a large majority of the sustainers, of this monstrous 
project are not members of any Christian church. I hope it is so ; for those who 


accept the New Testament as their guide can have no fellowship with those who put 
aside the first principles of its inspired teaching, and utterly ignore the precepts and 
example of our Lord and his Apostles. It is Christianity that places woman in her 
true position ; and those who would remove her from it repudiate the faith by which 
she is elevated, purified, and upheld. A woman without an Altar is even more 
degraded than a woman without a Hearth. 

Those who might be expected to make their way to high places in professions, or 
as merchants or bankers, or even manufacturers or traders, must, admittedly, be the 
best of the sex : with men it is so ; the intellectually weak seldom succeed in gaining 
the winning-post. But is it not the best who are most needed to rock the cradle, 
and, in the higher sense of the phrase, to sweep the hearth, ministering to the needs 
and comforts of man, and so promoting his interests and happiness as well as her 
own ? Are the feeblest and the worst to be put aside for the duties of wifehood and 
maternity? or are all "emancipated" women to ignore the sacred influences of 
Home ? 

Woman has immense power ; of a surety, it will be lessened, and not increased, 
by public manifestation of it — by a proclamation that "she rules" — by an inde- 
pendence that destroys all trust — by a spirit of rivalry and a struggle for pre- 
eminence which are, in fact, moral and social death ! 

Yes ; woman lua^ immense power. It is the mother who makes the man : lone 
before he can lisp her name, her task of education is commenced ; and, to be effective, 
it must be continuous. Alas for those who can teach but occasionally, by fits and 
starts — at wide intervals, between which there must be blanks or worse ! There are 
many to whom that destiny is inevitable ; but what woman so utterly sins against 
nature as to wish for it and seek for it '? 

It is no exaggeration to say that "those who rock the cradle rule the world." 
The future rests mainly with the mother ; foolish are all, and wicked are some, who 
strive for the enactment of laws that would deprive her of her first, her greatest, her 
holiest "rights," to try a Avild experiment by which, under the senseless cry of 
" equality," women would be displaced from the position in which God has placed 
them, since the beginning of the world, for all Time, and for Eternity. ••' 

* The opinions thus expressed by Mrs. Hall were referred to in the House of Commons by Mr. Smollett, the 
member for Dumbartonshire, during the debate on the iJGth of April, 1876, Mr. Forsyth ha\-ing moved the second 
reading of a bill to extend the electoral franchise to women ; which the House rejected by a large and decisive 
majority, the numbers being — for, 152 ; against, 239. 


?HEN I first knew Thomas Hood, his star was but rising ; 
when I saw him last, he was on his death-bed ; his 
forty -six years of life from the cradle to the grave having 
been passed in so weak a state of health, that day by day 
there was perpetual dread that at any moment might " the 
silver cord be loosed, and the golden bowl be broken." Con- 
tinual bodily suffering was not the only trial to which this 
fine spirit was subjected. The world heard no wail from 
his lips ; noappeal for sympathy ever came from his pen ; 
his high heart endured in silence ; and, without a murmur of com- 
plaint, he died. Yet it is no secret now that for many years he had a 
fierce struggle with poverty; enjoying no luxuries and few comforts; his 
" means " derived from " daily toil for daily bread." A skeleton stood ever 
beside his bed, mocking his " infinite jest and most excellent fancy: " con- 
verting into a succession of sobs those " flashes of merriment that were wont 
to set the table in a roar." At the time when nearly every drawing-room, attic 
and kitchen — when every class and order of society — was made merry and happy 
by the brilliant fancies and genuine humour of Thomas Hood, he was enduring 
pain of body and anguish of mind. Nearly all his quaint conceits, his playfu 
sallies, and his sparks from words were given to the printer from the bed on which 



he wrote, propped up by pillows ; continually, continually, it was the same, up to 
the day that gave him freedom from the flesh. 

Yet it was a genial and kindly spirit that dwelt in so frail a tenement of clay. 
Although his existence was a long disease rather than a life, he was singularly 
free from all cumbrance of bitterness and harshness. Feeling strongly for the 
sufferings of others, he was entirely unselfish, ever gracious, considerate, and 
kind. Though perpetually dealing with the burlesque, he never indulged in 
personal satire. We find no passage that could have injured a single living person. 
Never did his wit verge upon indelicacy ; never did his facetious muse treat a 
solemn or sacred theme with levity or indifference. 

In old Brandenburgh House there was once a bust of Comus ; the pedestal, 
according to Lysons, bore this inscription : it comes in so aptly when writing of 
Hood, that I quote it : — 

" Come, every muse, without restraint ; 
Let genius prompt and fancy paint ; 
Let wit and mirth, and ii'iendly strife, 
Chase the dull gloom, that saddens life 
True wit, that firm to virtue's cause, 
Eespects religion and the laws ; 
Trae mirth, that cheerfulness supplies 
To modest ears and decent eyes." 

The world has, however, done justice to Thomas Hood ; and he is not " deaf to 
the voice of the charmer." Reason, no less than Holy Writ, will tell us we plant 
that we may reap ; that the knowledge of good or evil, done is retained in a state 
after life ; that death cannot destroy consciousness. We learn from the Divine 
Word that our works do follow us. Humanity is — and will be as long as men and 
women can read or hear— the debtor of Thomas Hood. 

" Why come not spirits from the realms of glory 
To visit earth as in the days of old — 
The times of ancient writ and sacred story ? 
Is heaven more distant \ or has earth grown cold ? 

" To Betlilehem's air was their last anthem given, 
When other stars before the One grew dim % 
Was their last presence known in Peter's prison ? 
Or where exalting martyrs raised the hymn ?" 

Hood was born " a cockney," on the 23rd of May, 1799, in the Poultry, close to 
Bow Bells. His father dwelt there as one of the partners in a firm of publishers — 
Verner, Hood, and Sharpe.* He was articled to his uncle, Mr. Robert Sands, an 
engraver, and seems to have worked a while with the burin ; but the specimens he 
has given us, however redolent of humour and rich in fancy, do not supply 
evidence that he would have excelled as an artist. f It is obvious, indeed, that 
he did not "take" to the profession, for he deserted it early, and became a man 
of letters, finding his first employment in 1821, as a sort of sub-editor of the London 

* Mr. Sharpe lived to he an old man, through varied changes of life, and in 1832 was a publisher at the 
Egyptian Hall. He pubUshed, among other works. The Anniversary, an annual, edited by Allan Cunningham. 
He was a kindly old man when I knew him, very deaf, with much literary taste and many hterary sympathies. 

t I form this opinion merely, however, from his published engravings. It is probable that the wood engravers 
did not do him justice. His daughter possesses some dra-wings in water-colours, some pen-and-ink sketches, and 
some etchings, that show far higher powers, and seem to indicate that he could have been an artist if he had given 
his mind to art. 




One who knew him in his childhood described him to me as a singular child — 
silent and retired — with much quiet humour, and apparently delicate health. I 
knew another friend of his youth, a Mr. Mason, a wood engraver, who told 
me much of the " earlier ways " of the boy- 
poet ; that when a mere boy he was con- 
tinually making shrewd and pointed remarks 
upon topics on which he was presumed to 
know nothing ; that while he seemed a 
heedless listener, out would come some 
observation which showed he had taken 
in all that had been said ; and that, when 

a very child, he would often make some 
pertinent remark which excited either a smile 
or a laugh. 

He married, on the 5th of May, 1824, the 
sister of his "friend" Reynolds. It was a 
happy marriage, although both were poor ; and 
it was " Love " who was " to light a fire in 
their kitchen." She was his companion, coun- 
sellor, and friend during the remainder of his 
troubled life — the comforter in whom he 
trusted ; in mutual love and mutual faith 
realising, all through their weary pilgrimage, 
the picture drawn by another poet : — 

' As tiiito the bow the cord is 
So unto the man is woman. 
Though she bends him she obeys him ; 
Though she draws him, yet she follows ; 
Useless one without the other." 

When first I knew them they resided in 
chambers. No. 2, Robert Street, Adelphi. 
While writing for the London Magazine, his 
labours must have been remunerative, for he 
removed from his "lodgings" in the Adelphi 
(where a child was boi'n to him, who died in 
infancy), first to a pleasant cottage (then called 
" Rose Cottage ") at Winchmore Hill (where 
his daughter Fanny — Mrs. Broderip — was 
born), and not long afterwards to a really 
large house at Wanstead — " Lake House " — 
with ample " grounds." He lost a considerable sum in some publishing speculation ; 
and that loss early in his career was the cause of his subsequent embarrassment. 
At Lake House the younger "Tom" was born. It was originally the Banquet 
Hall of Wanstead House (Wellesley Pole's mansion), and there was a lake between 

the two — now dwindled to a ditch. Both these dwelling-houses of the poet I 
have engraved. 

His connection with the London Magazine led to intimacy with many of the 
finer spirits of his time, who appreciated the genius and loved the genial nature of 
the man. Foremost of those who exchanged warm fiiendship with him was 
Charles Lamb. 

Owing mainly to his ill-health, he and his wife went but little into society ; so, 
indeed, it was at all periods of their lives. Comparative solitude was, therefore, the 
lot of the poet. But the sacrifice implied little of self-denial. With wife, children, 

hood's residence at -WINCHJIOKE HILL. 

and friends, he could easily be made content ; and, although no doubt fully appre- 
ciating praise, he never had much appetite for applause. 

His long residence abroad — at Coblentz and Ostend — was, in a degree, com- 
pulsory. His publisher was a craving creditor — if, indeed, he ever was really a 
"creditor" at all, which I have reason to doubt. It was not without difficulty his 
return to England was eff'ected in the year 1839.''' My intercourse with him was 
renewed in the small dwelling he occupied at Camberwell. He was there to be near 

* There is no doubt that a lawsuit, in which he was involved with his publisher, and the worry and anxiety 
that ensued, induced a state of health that led to his death much earlier than, in the course of nature, it might have 
been looked for. I know that was the opinion of his physician. 




his kind friend, Dr. Robert Elliot (brother of Dr. William Elliot, both of whom dearly 
loved the poet), " a friend in need and a friend indeed." ■' 

It is in no degree necessary to my purpose to pass under review the works of 
Thomas Hood. They were very varied — novels, poems (serious as well as comic) — 
filling seven volumes (exclusive of the two volumes of " Hood's Own "), collected by 
his daughter and his son. Nearly the whole of these were written, not only while 


haunted by pecuniary troubles, but while under the depressing influence of great 
bodily suffering. So it was with the merriest of his poems, " Miss Kilmansegg," 
composed during brief intermissions of bodily pain which would have been accepted 

■' It is pleasant to record the fact that nearly every hterary man or woman with whom I have beeri acquainted, 
or whose lives I have looked into, has found a generous and disinterested fnend m a doctor. I could, of my own 
to^Xdge tell many anecdotes of the sacrifices made to mercy by members of the profession ; of continuous labours 
^tZShoueht of recompense ; of anxious days and nights, by sick or dying beds, without the reniotest idea of 
^ees "I X tell onfTa doctor, himself gone home; it was related to me by Sir James Eyre, M D. L^fo^"- 
natelv I have forgotten the name of the good physician ; but there are, no doubt, many to whom the story will 
annlv siTaS^caUed upon him one morning when his career was but commencing and saw Ins waiting-room 
thi^eed ^th^atients "Why," said he, " you must be getting on famously." " WeU, I suppose I am," was the 
answer '^ut let rnVtell tMs fact to you. This morning 1 have seen eight patients ; six of them gave me nothing- 
tLIeventh gave iS a guinea, which I have just given to the eighth." Such a physician Providence sent to Thomas 


by almost any other person as sufficient excuse for entire cessation from work ; and, 
perhaps, might have been by him, but that it was absolutely necessary the day's toil 
should bring the day's food. Yet at this very time a sum of £50 was transmitted to 
him, without application, by the Literary Fund. Hood returned it, " hoping to get 
through his troubles as he had done heretofore." There was then a gleam of bright- 
ness in the long-darkened sky. In 1841 Theodore Hook died, and Hood became 
editor of the iV^ot; Monthly Magazine. " Just then," as Mrs. Hood writes, " poverty 
had come very near." He removed from Camberwell to 17, Elm-Tree Eoad, 
St. John's Wood. He did not long keep his editorship, however : differences 
having arisen between him and Mr. Colburn, he was induced to start a magazine of 
his own. 

Meanwhile, an accident, totally unanticipated, did that which years of labour 
had not done — made him famous. In the Christmas number of Punch, in 1843, 
appeared the "Song of a Shirt." It ran through the land like wildfire; was 
reprinted in every newspaper in the kingdom, although anonymous ; and there was 
intense desire to know who was the author. He had been so long absent from the 
active exercise of his " calling," that when the poem burst upon world, there were 
many to whom the writer's name was "new." 

In January, 1844, Hood's Magazine was issued. He laboured like a slave to 
give success to that speculation. It was in a melancholy sense " Hood's Own : " 
there was a " proprietor," but he was without " means ; " there was an effort to do 
without a publisher ; printer after printer was changed ; the magazine was rarely 
"up to time;" vexation brought on illness; he "fretted dreadfully; there was 
alarm as to the solvency of his co-proprietor, a man who had " lived too long in the 
world to be the slave of his conscience." Unhappy authors, who are their own 
pubhshers — lords of land in Utopia — will take warning by the fate of Thomas Hocfd 
and his " speculation " for his own behoof. It was a failure, and therefore his : had 
it been a success, no doubt it would have become the property of a publisher. 

The number for June — the sixth number of Hood's Magazine — contained an 
announcement that on the 23rd of May he had been striving to continue a novel he 
had commenced; that on the 25th, "sitting up in bed, he tried to invent and 
sketch a few comic designs, but the effort exceeded his strength, and was followed 
by the wandering delirium of utter nervous exhaustion." Two of the " sick-room 
fancies" were published with the June number: the one is "Hood's Mag." — a 
magpie with a hawk's hood on; the other, "The Editor's Apologies," is a drawing 
of a plate of leeches, a blister, a cup of water-gruel, and three labelled vials ; 
suggesting, according to some writing underneath, the sad thought by what harrass- 
ing efforts the food of mirth is furnished, and how often the pleasures of the many 
are obtained by the bitter suffering and mournful endurance of the one. 

Yet three of the pleasantest letters he ever penned were written soon afterwards 
to the three children of his dear and constant friend. Dr. Elliot. 

He rallied, however, sufficiently to resume work for his magazine, and many 
valued friends were willing and ready to help him — authors who were amply recom- 
pensed by the knowledge that they could thus serve the author of " The Song of a 


Shirt." "I must die in Harness, like a Hero or a Horse," he writes to Bulwer 
Lytton on October 30th, 1844. Death was drawing nearer and nearer, but before its 
close approach there came a ray of sunshine to his death-bed — Sir Robert Peel 
granted to him a pension of £100 a year, or rather to his widow, for she was almost 
so. It was a small sum — a poor gift from his country in compensation for the work 
he had done ; but it was very welcome, for it was the only boon he had ever received 
that was not payment for immediate toil — " toil hard and incessant " to the last. He 
was dying when the " glad tidings " came ; yet in the middle of November, 1844, he 
" pumped out a sheet of Christmas fun," and " drew some cuts " for his magazine. 
He was, as he said,," so near death's door, that he could almost fancy he heard the 
creaking of the hinges ! " His friends were about him with small gifts of love : they 
came to give him " farewells ; " and for all of them he had kind words and thoughts. 
On the 3rd of May, 1845, he died, and on the 10th he was buried in the grave- 
yard at Kensal Green. 

Some seven years afterwards, subscriptions were raised, chiefly owing to the 
exertions of a kindred spirit, Ehza Cook (with whom the thought originated), and 
a monument was erected to his memory, designed and executed by the sculptor, 
Matthew Noble. On the 18th of July, 1854, it was unveiled in the presence of many 
of the poet's friends, Monckton Milnes (now Lord Houghton) " delivering an oration" 
over the grave that covered his remains. To raise that monument, peers and many 
men of mark contributed ; but surely even higher honour was rendered to him — a yet 
purer and better homage to his memory — by the "poor needlewomen," whose 
offerings were a few pence, laid in reverence and affection upon the grave of tbeir 
great advocate — a fellow- worker, whose toil had been as hard, as continuous, and as 
ill rewarded as their own. 

In person Hood was of middle height, slender and sickly-looking, of sallow com- 
plexion and plain features, quiet in expression, and very rarely excited, so as to give 
indication of either the pathos or the humour that must ever have been working in 
his soul. His was, indeed, a countenance rather of melancholy than of mirth : there 
was something calm, even to solemnity, in the upper portion of the face, seldom 
reheved, in society, by the eloquent play of the mouth, or the sparkle of an observant 
eye. In conversation he was by no means brilliant. When inclined to pun, which 
was not often, it seemed as if his wit was the issue of thought, and not an instinctive 
produce, such as I have noticed in other men who have thus become famous ; who 
are admirable in crowds ; whose animation is like that of the sounding-board, which 
makes a great noise at a small touch when Hsteners are many and applause is sure. 

We have been so much in the habit of treating Tom Hood as a "joker," that we 
lose sight of the deep and touching pathos of his more serious poems. All are, 
indeed, acquainted with "The Song of a Shirt" and "The Bridge of Sighs," but 
throughout his many volumes there are poems of surpassing worth, full of the highest 
refinement— of sentiment the purest and the most chaste. 

In writing a memoir of him in the " Book of Gems," for which, in consequence 
of his absence from England, I received no suggestions from himself, I took that 
view, and some time afterwards I received from him a letter strongly expressive of 




the gratification I had thus afforded him. His nature was, I believe, not to be a 
punster, perhaps not to be a wit.-'' The best things I have ever heard Hood say are 
those vs^hich he said when I was with him alone. I have never known him laugh 
heartily, either in society or in rhyme. The themes he selected for " talk " were 
usually of a grave and sombre cast ; yet his playful fancy dealt with frivolities some- 
times, and sometimes his imagination frolicked with nature in a way peculiarly his 
own. He was, however, generally cheerful, and often merry when in " the bosom 
of his family," and could, I am told, laugh heartily then ; that when in reasonably 


good health, he was " as full of fun as a s^hcolboy." He loved children with all his 
heart ; loved to gambol Avith them as if he were a child himself ; to chat with them 
in a way they understood ; and to tell them stories, drawn either from old sources, 
or invented for the occasion, such as they could comprehend and remember, f There 
was more than mere poetry in his verse— 

"A blessing on tlieii' merry hearts. 
Such readers I would choose, 
Because they seldom criticise, 
And never write reviews ! " 

» Talfour'd thus pictures him :— " Hood, so s^rave, and sad, and silent, that you were astonished to recognise in 
him the outpourer of a thousand wild fancies, the detector of the inmost springs of pathos, and the powerful vindi- 
cator of poverty and toil before the hearts of the prosperous." 

■t The son and daughter have preserved and printed some of these ' ' impromptu " stories. 



Literature was, as he expresses it, his " solace and comfort through the extremes 
of worldly trouble and sickness," " maintaining him in a cheerfulness, a perfect sun- 
shine, of the mind." Well might he add, " My humble works have flowed from my 
heart as well as my head, and, whatever their errors, are such as I have been 
able to contemplate with composure when more than once the Destroyer assumed 
almost a visible presence." 

Poor fellow ! He was longing to be away from earth when I saw him last ; 
struggling to set free the 

" Vital spark of heavenly flame ; " 

lying on his death-bed, watched and tended by his good and loving wife, who sur- 
vived him only a few brief months : — 

" She for a little tried 
To live without him— liked it not— and died ! " * 

But he lived long enough to know that a pension had been settled upon her by Sir 
Kobert Peel — a pension subsequently continued to his children, That comfort, 
that consolation, that blessing, came from his country to his bed of death ! 

Honoured be the name of Sir Kobert Peel ! great statesman and good man ! It 
is not often that men such as he sit in highest places. Let Science, Art, and Letters 
consecrate his memory! It was he who whispered "peace" to Felicia Hemans, 
dying ; bidding her have no care for those she loved and left on earth. It was he 
who enabled great Wordsworth to woo Nature undisturbed ; he who hghtened the 
drudgery of the desk to the Quaker poet, Bernard Barton ; he who upheld the 
tottering steps, and made tranquility take the place of terror in the overtaxed brain 
of Robert Southey. From him came the sunshine in the shady place that was the 
home of James Montgomery. It Avas his hand that opened the sick-room 
shutters, and let in the light of hope and heaven to the death-bed of Thomas 

Whether it be or be not true that Addison sent for his step-son. Lord Warwick, 
to his death-bed, "that he might see how a Christian could die," certain it is that 
the anecdote is often quoted as an encouragement and an example. We have, in the 
instance of Thomas Hood, such a case occurring under our immediate view, closing a 
life, not of glory and triumph, not of prosperity and reward, but of long-suffering in 
body and mind, of patient endurance, of humble confidence, of sure and certain hope, 
in the perfectness of holy faith. Ay, he was tried in the furnace of tribulation ; and 
his battle of life ended in according, while receiving, "Peace." 

~ In one of his letters to his wife he thus writes :— " I never was anything, deai'est, till I knew you ; and I have 
been a better, happier, and more prosperous man ever since. Lay by tliat truth in lavender, sweetest, and remind 
me of it when I fail." 

+ I refer in this passage only to those who are the subjects of my " Memories ; " but to this list may be added the 
names of Tytler, Forbes, Owen, Sir William Hamilton, M'CuUoch, the widow and daughters of the artist Shee, the 
Widow of the painter Haydon, the poet-laureate Tennyson, the widow of Sir Charles Bell, the " destitute " daughters 
of Principal Eobertson, the botanist Curtis, the widow of Loudon, and probably others, of whom I ha^-e no knowledge. 
These were, or are, all participants of that state bounty which the oountiy enables a minister to dole out to its 



These are the last lines he wrote : — 

" Farewell, Life ! my senses swim, 
And the world is growing dim ; 
Thronging shadows cloud the light, 
Like the advent of the night, — 
Colder, colder, colder still, 
Upward steals a vapour chill ; 
Strong the earthly odour grows, — ■ 
I smell the mould above the Rose ! 

" Welcome, Life ! the spirit strives. 
Strength returns and hope revives ; 
Cloudy fears and shapes forlorn 
Fly like shadows of the mom, — 
O'er the earth there comes a bloom, — 
Sunny light for sullen gloom. 
Warm perfume for vapours cold, — 
I smeU the Eose above the mould : " ' ' ' 

In one of the letters I received about this time from his true and faithful a.nd 
constant friend, F. 0. Ward, he writes to me : — " He saw the on-coming of death with 
great cheerfulness, though without anything approaching to levity ; and last night, 
when his friends, Harvey and another, came, he bade them come up, had wine 
brought, and made us all drink a glass with him, ' that he might know us for friends, 
as of old, and not undertakers.' He conversed for about an hour in his old playful 
way, with now and then a word or two full of deep and tender feeling. When I left 
he bade me good-bye, and kissed me, shedding tears, and saying that perhaps we 
never should meet again." 

I have his own copy of the last letter he ever wrote : it is to Sir Robert 
Peel :— 

" Dear Sir, — We are not to meet in the flesh. Given over by physicians and by myself, in 
this extremity I feel a comfort for which I cannot refrain from again thanking you with all the 
sincerity of a dying man, at the same time bidding you a respectful farewell. 

" Thank God, my mind is composed, and my reason undisturbed ; but my race as an author is 
run. Mj' physical debility finds no tonic virtue in a steel pen, otherwise I would have written one 
more paper — a forewarning against an evil, or the danger of it, arising from a literary movement 
in which I have had some share ; a one-sided humanity, opposite to that catholic, Shakspearian 
sympathy which felt with king as well as peasant, duly estimating the moral temptations of both 
stations. Certain classes at the poles of society are already too far asunder. It should be the duty 
of our writers to draw them together by kindly attraction— not to aggravate the existing repulsion, 
and place a wider moral gulf between rich and poor — hate on the one side, and fear on the other. 
But I am too weak for this task — the last I had set myself. It is death that stops my pen, you 
see, and not my pension. God bless you, sir, and prosper all your measures for the benefit of my 
beloved country ! " 

Almost his latest act was to obtain some proofs of his portrait, recently engraved, 
and to send one to each of his most esteemed friends, marked by some line of affec- 
tionate reminiscence. The one he sent to us I have engraved at the head of this 

His daughter writes me thus of his last hour on earth: — " Those who lectured 
him on his merry sallies and innocent gaiety should have been present at his death- 
bed, to see how the gentlest and most loving heart in the world could die ! " " Think- 
ing himself dying, he called us round him — my mother, my little brother, and myself 
— to receive his last kiss and blessing, tenderly and fondly given ; and gently clasp- 
ing my mother's hand, he said, ' Remember, Jane, I forgive all — alll ' He lay for 
some time calmly and quietly, but breathing painfully and slowly ; and my mother, 




bending over him, heard him murmur faintly, ' Lord, say, Arise, take up thy cross, 
and follow Me ! '" 

He died at Devonshire Lodge, in the New Finchley Eoad. Of that house we 
procured a drawing, and have engraved it. 

He left one son and one daughter. 

Genius is not often hereditary. There are but few immortal names, the glory of 
which has been " continued," It is gratifying to know that the seed planted by 


Thomas Hood and his estimable wife has borne fruit in due season. The dau.hte 
(Fanny) wedded a good clergyman in Somersetshire, and, though now a widow .s 
the happy mother of children (one of whom, by the way, is our god-daughter) . sbe 
is the auLor of many valuable works, the greater number of them bemg spe y 
designed for the young. The name of " Fanny Broderip '' is honoured m 1 tteis 
To the son-another " Tom "-it is needless to refer. He has added ^^-^^l^J^i 
venerated name he bears, and has written much that his great fether ^ - elf im^^^ 
have owned with pride. _ They have had a sacred trust committed to them, and 
far have nobly redeemed it. 



Alas ! since this Memory was first published, the son, "Tom Hood the younger," 
has also been called from earth, dying in the prime of life. 

Tom much resembled the father in mind : he was gently genial — if the term 
may pass. His wit also was calm, not loud : it was not of the character that can 
set the table in a roar. He had, I believe, a stern struggle with life — a wrestle, 
indeed, in which he was worsted. I knew but little of him towards the close of his 
somewhat brief career : he seemed absorbed by requisite labour to satisfy present 
and, it may be, pressing, needs, and did not give himself the fair play that might have 
led to a far higher position than he was destined to occupy. Tom had one advantage 
which his father had not : his personal appearance was much in his favour. He was 
handsome : the outline of his face was singularly fine ; the features were regular, 
and the expression indicated the kindly nature of the man ; while his form was tall, 
straight, and not without natural grace. 

In this Memory of Thomas Hood I have printed his last letter, and quoted his 
latest words. They are such as must, in the estimation of all readers, raise him even 
higher than he yet stands. The world owes him much; Humanity is his debtor; 
and who will not exclaim, borrowing from another poet — 

" The thoughts of gratitude shall fall like dew 
Upon thy grave, good creature 2" 



HEODORE EDWABD HOOK Avas born in Charlotte Street, 
Bedford Square, on the 22nd September, 1788. His father 
was a musical composer, who " enjoyed in his time success 
and celebrity." His elder brother, James, was Dean of Wor- 
cester, whose son was the late learned and eloquent Dean of 
Chichester. The mother was an accomplished lady, and also 
an author. 

The natural talent of Theodore was, therefore, early nursed : 
unfortunately, the Green Room was the too frequent " study" of 
the youth, for his father's fame and income were chiefly derived from the composition 
of operetta songs, for which Theodore usually wrote the libretto. When little more 
than a boy he had produced, perhaps, thirty farces, and in 1808 gave birth to a novel. 
Those who remember the two great actors of a long period, Mathews and Liston, 
will be at no loss to comprehend the popularity of Hook's farces, for these eminent 
men were his " props." 

In 1812, when his finances were low, and the chances of increasing them limited, 
and when, perhaps, also his constitution had been tried by " excesses," he received 

L 2 

the appointment of Accountant-General and Treasurer at the Mauritius — a post with 
an income of £^,000 a year. Hook seems to have derived his quahfication for that 
office from his antipathy to arithmetic, and his utter unfitness for business. The 
result might have been easily foreseen : in 1819 he returned to England, the cause 
being indicated by his famous pun. When the Governor of the Cape expressed to 
him a hope that he M^as not returning because of ill-health, Hook " regretted " to say 
" they think there is something wrong in the eheat." He was found guilty of owing 
d612,000 to the Government, yet he was "without a shilling in his pocket." If 
public funds had been abstracted, he was none the richer, and there was certainly 
no suspicion that the money had been dishonestly advantageous to him. Although 
kept for years in hot water, battling with the Treasury, it was not until 1823 that 
the penalty was exacted — some time after the John Bull had made him a host of 
enemies. Of course, as he could not pay in purse, he was doomed to " pay in 
person." After spending some months " pleasantly " at a dreary sponging-house in 
Shoe Lane, where there was ever " an agreeable prospect, barring the vpindows," he 
was removed to the Rules of the Bench, residing there a year, being " discharged 
from custody " in 1825. While in the " Rules " he was under very little restraint, 
being almost as much in society as ever, taking special care not to be seen by any of 
his creditors, who might have " pounced " upon him, and made the marshal respon- 
sible for the debt. The danger was less in Hook's case than in that of others, for 
his principal " detaining creditor" was the King. 

I remember his telling me that during his " confinement " in the " Rules," he 
made the acquaintance of a gentleman who, while a prisoner there, jDaid a visit to 
India. The story is this — the gentleman called one morning on the marshal, who 
said, " Mr. So-and-so, I have not had the pleasure to see you for a long time. " No 
wonder," was the answer, " for since you saw me last I have been to India." In 
reply to a look of astonished inquiry he explained, " I knew my affairs there were so 
intricate and involved, that no one but myself could unravel them, so I ran the risk 
and took my chance. I am back with ample funds to pay all my debts, and to live 
comfortably for the rest of my days." Mr. Hook did not say if the gentleman had 
obtained from his securities a license for what he had done ; but the anecdote illus- 
trates the extreme laxity enjoyed by prisoners in " the Rules," which extended to 
several streets, as compared with the doleful incarceration to which poor debtors 
were subjected, who, in those days, often had their miserable homes in a gaol for 
debts that might have been paid by shillings. 

He then took up his residence at Putnej^, from which he removed to a " mansion " 
in Cleveland Row, but subsequently to Fulham, where the remainder of his life was 
passed, and where he died. The house at Fulham was a small detached cottage. It 
is of this cottage that Lockhart says, "We doubt if its interior was ever seen by 
half-a-dozen people besides the old confidential worshippers of Bull's Mouth." It 
was " removed " by the railroad. 

Hook resided here in comparative obscurity. It gave him a pleasant prospect of 
Putney Bridge, and of Putney on the opposite side of the river. As the Thames 
flowed past the bottom of his small and narrow garden, he had a perpetually cheerful 




and changing view of the many gay passers- 

by in 


and yachts, and steamboats. 

The only room of the cottage I ever saw 


was somewhat coarsely furnished : a few 


prints hung on the walls, but there was no 


evidence of those suggestive refinements 



which substitute intellectual for animal 

v^,^ f • 

gratifications in the internal arrangements 




of a domicile that becomes necessarily a 







Hook's love of practical joking seems 





to have commenced early. Almost of that 




character was his well-known answer to 





the Vice-Chancellor at Oxford, when asked 



whether he was prepared to subscribe to 





the Thirty-nine Articles — " Oh, certainly, 






to forty of them if you please; " and his 





once meeting the proctor dressed in his 




^ ^ 


robes, who, having questioned him, " Pray, 




\ N 


sir, are you a member of this University ? " 




received a reply, "No, sir ; pray are 



you ? " 




^ ^ 

In the Memoirs of Charles Mathews, 



by his widow, abundant anecdotes are 



\ vv 

recorded of these practical jokes ; but in 


r \ 

\ \^ 

fact, " Gilbert Gurney," which may be 




regarded as an autobiography, is full of 





them. Mr. Barham, his biographer, also 




relates several, and states that when a 



young man he had a "museum" con- 




taining a large and varied collection of 




knockers, sign-paintings, barbers' poles. 



and cocked hats, gathered together during 



his " predatory adventures ; " but its most 





attractive object was "a gigantic High- 


lander," looted from the shop-door of a 




tobacconist on a dark, foggy night. These 



:\ V 


" enterprises of great pith and moment " 



are detailed by himself in full. The most 



" glorious " of them has been often told 




— how he sent through the post some 



"four thousand" letters, inviting on a 


given day a huge assemblage of visitors 


to the house of a lady of fortune, living 

at 54 

, Berners Street, beginning with a 

dozen sweeps at daybreak — including lawy 

ers, doctors, 

upholsterers, jewellers, coal- 


mercliants, linen-drapers, artists, even the Lord Mayor, for whose behoof a special 
temptation was invented. In a word, there was no conceivable trade, profession, 
or calling that was not summoned to augment the crowd of foot passengers and 
carriages by which the street was thronged from dawn till midnight, while Hook 
and a friend enjoyed the confusion from a room opposite.* Lockhart, in the 
Quarterly, states that the hoax was merely the result of a wager that Hook would 
in one week make the quiet dwelling the most famous house in all London. Mr. 
Barham affirms that the lady, Mrs. Tottenham, had, in some way or other, fallen 
under the displeasure of " the formidable trio " — Mr. Hook and two unnamed 

His conversation was an unceasing stream of wit, of which he was profuse, as if 
he knew the source to be inexhaustible. He never kept it for display, or for 
company, or for those who knew its value — wit was, indeed, as natural to him as 
common-place to common-place characters. It was not only in puns, in repartees, 
in lively retorts, in sparkling sentences, in brilliant illustrations, or in apt or exciting 
anecdote, this faculty was developed. I have known him string together a number 
of graceful verses — every one of which was fine in composition and admirable in point 
— at a moment's notice, on a subject the most inauspicious, and apparently impos- 
sible either to wit or rhyme, yet with an effect that delighted a party, and might 
have borne the test of criticism the most severe. These verses he usually sung in a 
sort of recitative to some tune with which all were familiar ; and if a piano were at 
hand, he accompanied himself with a gentle strain of music. 

Mrs. Mathews relates that she was present once when Hook dined with the 
Drury Lane company, at a dinner given to Sheridan in honour of his return for 
Westminster. The guests were numerous, yet he made a verse upon every person 
in the room: " every action was turned to account; every circumstance, the look, 
the gesture, or any other accidental effects, served as occasion for wit." Sheridan 
was astonished at his extraordinary faculty, and declared that he could not have 
imagined such power possible had he not witnessed it. 

People used to give him subjects the most unpromising, to test his powers. 
Thus Campbell records that he once supplied him with a theme, " Pepper and Salt," 
and that he amply seasoned the song with both.f 

I was present when this rare faculty was put to even a more severe test at a party 
at Mr. Jerdan's, at Grove House, Brompton — a house long since removed to make 
room for Ovington Square. It was a large supper party, and many men and women 
of mark were present ; for the Literary Gazette was then in the zenith of its power, 
worshipped by all aspirants for fame, and courted even by those whose laurels had 
been won ; while its editor, be his shortcomings what they may, was then, as he ever 
was, ready with a helping hand to those who needed help — a lenient critic, a 
generous sympathiser, who preferred pushing a dozen forward to thrusting one back. 

* In " Gilbert Gurney " Hook makes Daly say—" I am the man ; I did it ; for originality of thought and design , 
I do think that was perfect." 

+ Campbell thus -writes of Hook in 1812 :— " Yesterday an impro\'isatore— a wonderful creatiu'e of the name of 
Hook— sang some extempore songs, not to my admiration, but to my astonishment. I prescribed a subject, ' Pepper 
and Salt,' and he seasoned the impromptu with both— very truly Attic salt." 



Hook, having been asked for his song, and, as usual, demanding a theme, one of 
the guests, either facetious or maUcious, called out, " Take Yates's big nose " (Yates, 
the actor, was of the party). To any one else such a subject would have been 
appalling. Not so to Hook ; he rose, glanced once or twice round the table, and 
chanted (so to speak) a series of verses perfect in rhythm and rhyme, the incapable 
theme being dealt with in a marvellous spirit of fun, humour, serious comment, and 
absolute philosophy, utterly inconceivable to those who had never heard the marvel- 
lous improvisatore ; each verse describing something which the world considered 
great, but which became small when placed in comparison with 

" Yates's big nose ! " 

It was the first time I had met Hook, and my astonishment was unbounded. I 
found it impossible to believe the song Avas improvised ; but I had afterwards ample 
reason to know that so thorough a triumph over difficulties was with him by no 
means rare. 

I had once a glorious day with him on the Thames, fishing in a punt on the river, 
opposite the Swan, at Thames Ditton. Hook was in good health and good spirits, 
and brimful of mirth. He loved the angler's craft, though he seldom enjoyed it ; he 
spoke with something like affection of a long ago time, when bobbing for roach at the 
foot of Fulham Bridge, the fisherman perpetually raising or lowering his float, accord- 
ing to the ebb and flow of the tide. 

Yes, it was a glorious day ! A record of his "sayings and doings," from early 
morn to set of sun, would fill a goodly volume. It was a fine summer day. Fishing 
on the Thames is lazy fishing ; the gudgeons bite freely, but there is little labour in 
"landing" them: it is the perfection of the dolcefar niente, giving leisure for talk, 
and frequent desire for refreshment. In a punt, at all events, though not by the 
river side, idle time is idly spent ; but the wit and fun of Mr. Hook that day might 
have delighted a hundred by-sitters, and it was a grief to me tbat I was the only 
listener — Hook and I — to borrow a pun that is said to have been made by another 
upon another occasion. Hook then conceived — probably then made — the verses he 
afterwards gave me for the Neiv Monthly, entitled " The Swan at Ditton." 

The last time I saw Hook was at Priors Bank, Fulham, where his neighbours, 
Mr. Bay lis and Mr. Whitmore, had given an " entertainment," the leading feature 
being an amateur play, for which, by the way, I wrote the prologue. Hook was then 
in his decadence, in broken health, his animal spirits gone, the cup of life drained 
to the dregs. It was morning before the guests departed, yet Hook remained to the 
last, and a light of other days brightened his features as he opened the piano and 
began a recitative. The theme was, of course, the occasion that had brought the 
party together ; and perhaps he never, in his best time, was more original, powerful, 
and pointed. I can recall two of the lines — 

" They may boast of their Fulham omnibus, 
But this is the Fulham stage." 

There was a fair young boy standing by his side while he was singing : one of 
the servants suddenly opened the drawing-room shutters, and a flood of Hght fell upon 


the lad's head. The effect was very touching, but it became a thousand times more 
so as Hook, availing himself of the incident, placed his hand upon the youth's 
brow, and in tremulous tones uttered a verse of which I remember only the con- 
cluding lines — 

' For you is the dawn of the morning', 

For me is the solemn good-night." 

He rose from the piano, burst into tears, and left the room, 
present saw him afterwards.* 

Few of those who were 


All the evening Hook had been low in spirits ; it seemed impossible to stir him 
into animation until the cause was guessed at by Mr. Blood, a surgeon, who, under 
the name of Davis, was at that time an actor at the Haymarket. He prescribed a 
glass of sherry, and retired to procure it, returning presently with a bottle of pale 
brandy. Having administered two or three doses, the machinery was wound up, and 
the result was as I have described it. 

I give one more instance of his ready wit and rapid power of rhyme. He had 
been idle for a fortnight, and had written nothing for the John Bull ; the clerk, 
however, took him his salary as usual, and on entering his room said, " Have you 

* Mr. Barham has a confused account of this incident. He was not present on the occasion, as I was— standing 
close by tJie piano when it occurred. 


heard the news? — the King and Queen of the Sandwich Islands are dead" (they 
had just died in England of the small-pox) ; "and," added the clerk, "we want 
something about them." " You shall have it," said Hook ; " it's done ! 

' Waiter, two sandwiches ! ' cried Death ; 
And their wild majesties resigned their breath.' '" 

I remember once breakfasting with him, mulled claret being on the table, in jugs 
that were unmistakably sacramental, and his telling me that when Mrs. Wilson 
Croker was shocked at so great an outrage on propriety, he succeeded in persuading 
her they were not what she supposed, the cherubim being neither more nor less 
than little models of Bacchus. 

The Jolin Ball was established at the close of the year 1820, and it is said that 
Sir Walter Scott having been consulted by some leader among " high Tories," 
suggested Hook as the person precisely suited for the required task. The avowed 
purpose of the publication was to extinguish the party of the Queen Caroline, wife 
of George IV., and in a reckless and frightful spirit the work was done. She died, 
however, in 1821, and persecution was arrested at her grave. Its projectors and 
proprietors had calculated on a weekly sale of seven hundred and fifty copies, and 
prepared accordingly. By the sixth week it had reached a sale of ten thousand, 
and became a valuable property to " all concerned." Of course there were many 
prosecutions for libels — damages and costs, and incarceration for breaches of 
privilege ; but all search for actual delinquents was vain. Suspicions were rife 
enough, but positive proofs there were none. Hook was, of course, in no way 
implicated in so scandalous and slanderous a publication. On one occasion there 
appeared among the answers to correspondents a paragragh purporting to be a reply 
to a letter from Mr. Hook, "disavowing all connection with the paper." The gist 
of the paragraph was this : — " Two things surprise us in this business : the first, 
that anything we have thought worthy of giving to the public should have been 
mistaken for Mr. Hook's ; and secondly, that such a iierson as My. Hook should 
think himself disgraced by a connection with John Bull.'" 

Even now, at this distance of time, few of the contributors are actually known. 
Among them were undoubtedly John Wilson Croker, and avowedly Haynes Bayly, 
Barham, and Dr. Maginn. 

In 1836, when I had resigned the New Monthly into the hands of Mr. Hook, 
he proposed to me to take the sub-editorship and general literary management of the 
John Bull. That post I undertook, retaining it for a year. Our " business " was 
carried on, not at the John Bull ofiice, but at " Easty's Hotel," in Southampton 
Street, Strand, in two rooms on the first floor of that tavern. Mr. Hook was never 
seen at the office— his existence, indeed, was not recognised there : if any one had 
asked for him there by name, the answer would have been that no such person was 
known. Although, at the period of which I write, there was no danger to be appre- 
hended from his walking in and out of the small office in Fleet Street, a time had 
been when it could not have been done without personal peril. Editorial work was 
therefore conducted with much secrecy, a confidential person communicating 



between the editor and the printer, who never knew, or rather, was assumed not 
to know, by whom the articles were written. In 1836 — some years before, and 
during the years afterwards — no paragraph was inserted that in the remotest degree 
assailed private character : political hatreds and personal hostilities had grown less 
in vogue ; and Hook had lived long enough to be tired of assailing those whom he 
rather liked and respected. The bitterness of his nature (if it ever existed, which 
I much doubt) had worn out with years ; but, undoubtedly, much of the briUiant 
wit of the John Bull had evaporated ; in losing its distinctive feature, it had lost its 
power, and, as a " property," it dwindled to comparative insignificance. 

Mr. Hook derived but a small income from his editorship during the later years 
of his life. I will believe that more honourable motives than those by which he 
had been guided during the fierce and turbulent party times when the John Bull 
was estabhshed had led him to relinquish scandal, slander, and vituperation as 
dishonourable weapons ; but I know that in my time he did not use them. His 
advice to me, on more than one occasion, was, to remember that " abuse " seldom 
eff"ectually answered a purpose ; and that it was wiser, as well as safer, to act on 
the principle that " praise undeserved is satire in disguise." All that was evil in the 
John Bull had been absorbed by two infamous weekly newspapers, the Age and the 
Satirist : they were prosperous and profitable. Happily, no such newspapers now 
exist ; the public not only would not buy, they would not tolerate, the personalities, 
the indecencies, the gross outrages on public men, the scandalous assaults on 
private character, that made these publications " good speculations" at the period of 
which I write, and undoubtedly disgraced the John Bull during its earlier career. 

No wonder, therefore, that no such person as Mr. Theodore Hook was connected 
with the John Bull. He invariably denied all such connection, and perseveringly 
protested against the charge that he had ever written a line in it. I have heard it 
said that during the troublous period of the Queen's trial, Sir Eobert Wilson 
met Hook in the street, and said, in a sort of confidential whisper, " Hook, I am to 
be traduced and slandered in the John Bull next Sunday." Hook, of course, 
expressed astonishment and abhorrence. " Yes," continued Wilson, " and if I am, 
I mean to horsewhip you the first time you come in my way. Now stop ; I know 
you have nothing to do with that newspaper ; you have told me so a score of times ; 
nevertheless, if the article, which is purely of a private nattire — if that article appears, 
let the consequences be what they may, I Avill horsewhip you ! " The article never 
did appear. I can give no authority for this anecdote, but I do not doubt its truth. 

I have another story to tell of these editorial times. One day a gentleman 
entered the John Bull office, evidently in a state of extreme exasperation, armed 
with a stout cudgel. His application to see the editor was answered by a request to 
walk up to the second-floor front room. The room was empty, but presently there 
entered to him a huge, tall, broad-shouldered fellow, who in unmitigated brogue 
asked, " What do you plase to want, sur ? " " Want ! " said the gentleman, " I 
want the editor." "I'm the idditur, sur, at your sarvice ; " upon which the gentle- 
man, seeing that no good could arise from encounter with such an " editor," made 
his way down-stairs and out of the house without a word. 



In 1836 Mr. Hook succeeded me in the editorship of the iVe/r Monthly Magazine. 
The change arose thus : when Mr. Colburn and Mr. Bentley had dissolved partner- 
ship, and each had his own establishment, much jealousy, approaching hostility, 
existed between them. Mr. Bentley had announced a comic miscellany, or rather, a 
magazine, of which humour was to be the leading feature. Mr. Colburn immediately 
conceived the idea of a rival in that line, and apphed to Hook to be its editor. 
Hook readily complied, the terms of £400 per annum having been settled : as usual, 
he required payment in advance, and "then and there " received bills for his first 
year's salary. Not long afterwards Mr. Colburn saw the impolicy of his scheme ; 
I had strongly reasoned against it, representing to him that the New Monthly would 
lose its most valuable contributor, Mr. Hook, and other useful allies with him ; that 
the ruin of the New Monthly must be looked upon as certain ; while the success of 
his Joker's Magazine was problematical at best. Such arguments prevailed : he 
called upon Mr. Hook with a view to relinquish the design. Mr. Hook was exactly 
of Mr. Colburn's new opinion. He had received the money, and was not disposed, 
even if he had been able, to give it back ; but suggested his becoming editor of the 
New Monthly, and in that way "working it out." The project met the views of 
Mr. Colburn, and so it was arranged. 

But when the plan was communicated to me, I declined to be placed in the 
position of sub-editor. I knew that however valuable Mr. Hook might be as a 
large contributor, he was utterly unfitted to discharge editorial duties ; and that, as 
sub-editor, I could have no power to do aught but obey the orders of my superior ; 
while, as co-editor, I could both suggest and object, as regarded articles and 
contributors. This was also the view of Mr. Colburn, but not that of Mr. Hook : 
the consequence was that I retired. As to the conduct of the New Monthly in the 
hands of Mr. Hook, until it came into those of Mr. Hood, and not long afterwards 
was sold by Mr. Colburn to Mr. Harrison Ainsworth, it is not requisite to speak. 

A word here of Mr. Colburn. I cherish the kindliest memory of that eminent 
bibliopole. He has been charged with many mean acts as regards authors ; but I 
know that he was often liberal and always considerate towards them : he could be 
implacable, but also forgiving, and it was ever easy to move his heart by a tale of 
sorrow or a case of distress. For more than a quarter of a century he " led " the 
general literature of the kingdom, and I believe his sins of omission and commission 
were very few. Such is my impression, resulting from six years' continual inter- 
course with him. 

He was a little man,, of mild and kindly countenance, and of much bodily 
activity. His peculiarity was that he rarely or never finished a sentence, appearing 
as if he considered it hazardous to express fully what he thought; consequently, one 
could seldom understand what was his real opinion upon any subject he " debated 
or discussed." His debate was always a " possibly " or a " perhaps ; " his discus- 
sion invariably led to no conclusion for or against the matter in hand.* 

It was during my editorship of the New Monthly that the best of all Hook's 

* Of Colburn, Lady Morgan said, " He could not take Ms tea without a stratagem. He was a strange milangei 
of meanness and munificence in his dealings." 


works, " Gilbert Gurney," was published in that magazine. The part for the 
ensuing number was rarely ready until the last moment ; and more than once at so 
late a period of the month, that unless in the printer's hands the next morning, its 
publication would have been impossible. I have driven to Fulham, to find not a 
line of the article written ; and I have waited, sometimes nearly all night, until the 
MS. was produced. Now and then he would relate to me one of the raciest of the 
anecdotes before he penned it down ; sometimes as the raw statement of a fact 
before it had received its habiliments of fiction, but often as even a more brilliant 
story than the reader found it on the first of the month.* 

Hook was in the habit of sending pen-and-ink sketches of himself in his letters. 
I had one of especial interest, in which he represented himself down upon knees, 
with handkerchief to eyes. The meaning was to indicate his grief at being late 
with his promised article for the l^eiv Monthhj, and his begging pardon thereupon. 
He had great facility for taking off" likenesses. 

Here is Hook's contribution to Mrs. Hall's Album : — 

"Having been requested to do that which I never did in my life before, write two charades 
upon two given and by no means sublime words, here they are. It is right to say that they are 
to be taken with reference to each other. 

" My first is in triumphs most usually found ; 
Old houses and trees show my second ; 
My whole is long, spiral, red, tufted, and round, 
And with beef is most excellent reckoned. 

" My first for age hath great repute, 
My second is a tailor ; 
My whole is like the other root, 
. Only a iiJWe paler." 

"Theodore E. Hook, 

Se2}t. Uh, 1835. 
" Do you give them up ? " Car-rot. 


The reader may permit me here to introduce some Memories of the immediate 
contemporaries and allies of Hook, whose names are, indeed, continually associated 
with his, and who, on the principle of " birds of a feather," may be properly 
considered in association with this master-spirit of them all. 

The Eev. Richard Harris Barham, whose notes supplied material for the 
" Memoirs of Hook," edited by his son, and whose " Ingoldsby Legends " are 
famous, was a stout, squat, and "hearty-looking parson" of the old school. His 
face was full of humour, although, when quiescent, it seemed dull and heavy ; his 
eyes were singularly small and inexpressive — whether from their own colour, or the 
light tint of the lashes, I cannot say, but they seemed to me to be what are called 
white eyes. I do not believe that in society he had much of the sparkle that 
characterised his friend, or that might have been expected in so formidable a wit of 
the pen. Sam Beazley, on the contrary, was a light, airy, graceful person, who 

* Hook's biographer does not seem, to have been aware that for several months before he became editor of the 
New Monthly, he wrote the " Monthly Commentary" for that magazine — a pleasant, piquant, and sometimes severe 
series of comments on the leading topics or events of the month. 




had much refinement, without that peculiar manner which bespeaks the well-bred 
gentleman. He was the " Daly " of " Gilbert Gurney," whose epitaph was written 
by Hook long before his death : — 

" Here lies Sam Beazley, 
Who lived hard, and died easily." * 

When 1 knew him he was practising as an architect in Soho Square. He was one 
of Hook's early friends, but I believe they were not in close intimacy for some years 
previous to the death of Hook. 

Tom Hill was another of Hook's frequent and familiar associates : he is the 
" Hull " of " Gilbert Gurney," and is said to have been the original of " Paul 
Pry" (which Poole, however, strenuously denied), a belief easily entertained by 
those who knew the man — a little, round man he was, with straight and well-made- 
up figure, and rosy cheeks that might have graced a milkmaid, when his years 
numbered certainly fourscore.! Tom Hill was a drysalter in Queenhithe, a man of 
narrow education, of no literary attainment, while his manners were by no means 
those of a gentleman. He managed, however, to draw the wits about him, giving 
recherche dinners at Sydenham, never costly. He was in reality their " butt ; " 
some liked but none respected him. One of his friends pictures him as " a little, 
fat, florid man — an elderly Cupid." Another says " he had a face like a peony." He 
had a rare collection of books, of which he knew only the titles and their marketable 
value : drysalting and literary tastes did not harmonise. In his later days he was 
poor : he lived and died in third-floor chambers in the Adelphi. But his age no 
one ever knew. The story is well known of James Smith asserting that it never 
could be ascertained, for that the register of his birth was lost in the fire of London ; 
and Hook's comment, " Oh, he's much older than that ; he's one of the little Hills 
that skipped in the Bible." He was a merry man, toujours gai, who seemed as if 
neither trouble nor anxiety had ever crossed his threshold, or broken the sleep of a 
single night. His peculiar faculty was to find out what everybody did, from a 
minister of state to a stable-boy ; and there are tales enough told of his chats with 
child-maids in the park to ascertain the amounts of their wages, and with lounging 
footmen in Grosvenor Square to learn how many guests had dined at a house the 
day before. His curiosity seemed bent upon prying into small things ; for secrets 
that invqlved serious matters he appeared to care nothing. " Pooh, pooh, sir, don't 
tell me ! I happen to know ! "—that phrase was continually coming from his lips. 
It is said that when he gave a penny to a crossing-sweeper, he used to ask his name 
and address. 

Of a far higher and better order was Hook's friend Mr. Brodrick, so long one of 
the police magistrates, a gentleman of large acquirements and sterling rectitude. 

* Mr. Peake, the dramatist, who wrote most of Mathews' " At Homes," attributes this epitaph to John Hard- 
wick. Lookhart gives it to Hook. Hook pictures Beazley in " Gilbert Gmmey." " His conversation was full of 
droll conceits, mixed with a considerable degree of superior talent, and the strongest evidence of general acquu-e- 
ments and accomplishments." -, , x-^ i.- j , • 

t • He was plump, short, with an intelligent countenance, and near-sighted ; with a constitution and complexion 
fresh enough to look forty, when I believed him to be at least four times that"—GUl)ert Ourney. 

Nearly as much may be said of Dubois, more than half a century ago the editor of 
a then popular magazine, the Monthly Mirror. Dubois, in his latter days, eujoyed 
" the sweets of office " as a magistrate in the Court of Bequests. ' He was a pleasant 
man in face and in manners, and retained to the last much of the humour that 
characterised the productions of his earlier years. To the admirable actor and 
estimable gentleman, Charles Mathews, I can merely allude. His memory has 
received full honour and homage from his wife, but there are few who knew him 
who will hesitate to indorse her testimony to his many excellences of head and 

I knew William Maginn, LL.D., when he was a schoolmaster in Cork, where he 
was born in 1794. He died in London in 1842. When very young he established 
a reputation for scholastic knowledge, and attained some eminence as a wit ; and 
about the year 1820 astounded "the beautiful city" by poetical contributions to 
BlackivootV s Mafiazine, in which certain literary citizens of Cork were somewhat 
scurrilously assailed. The doctor, it is said, was invited to London in order to 
share with Hook the labours of the John Bull.-'- I believe, however, he was but a 
very limited " help ; " perhaps the old adage, " two of a trade " applied in this case. 
Certain it is that he subsequently found a more appreciative paymaster in Westma- 
cott, who conducted the Age, a newspaper then greatly patronised, but, as I have 
said, one that now would be universally branded with the term " infamous." 

It is known, also, that he beca-me a leading contributor to Fraser's Magazine, a 
magazine that took its name less from its publisher, Fraser, than from its first editor, 
Fraser, a barrister, whose fate I have understood was mournful, as his career had 
been discreditable. The particulars of Maginn's duel with the Hon. Grantley 
Berkeley are well known. It arose out of an article in Fraser reviewing Berkeley's 
novel, in the course of which he spoke in utterly unjustifiable terms of Berkeley's 
mother. Mr. Berkeley was not satisfied with inflicting on the publisher so severe 
a beating that it was the proximate cause of his death, but called out the doctor, 
who had manfully avowed the authorship. Each, it is understood, fired three shots 
without effect, and when Fraser, who was Maginn's second, asked him if there 

should be another shot, Maginn is reported to have said, "Blaze away, by ! a 

barrel of powder ! "f 

The career of Maginn in London was, to say the least, mournful. Few men 
ever started with better prospects ; there was hardly any position to which he might 
not have aspired. His learning was profound ; his wit of the tongue and of the 
pen ready, pointed, caustic, and briUiant ; his essays, tales, poems, scholastic disqui- 
sitions — in short, his writings upon all conceivable topics were of the very highest 
order. " O'Dogherty " is one of the names that made Blackwood famous. His 

* Lockhart, in one of his letters to Wilson, in 1824, expresses a belief that Maginn had come over (from 
Ireland) to assist Theodore Hook in the John Bull, and " to do all sorts of bye jobs." That was after hehad become 
somewhat renowned as a leading contributor to Blackwood. His fli'st article in Blackwood was, I believe, a transla- 
tion into Latin of the ballad of " Chevy Chase." 

+ Since this was written, Mr. Grantley Berkeley has published, in a volume of his " ReooUections," full details 
of this duel. It is, of course, an ex parte statement— very ex parte indeed. 

DR. MAGINN. 159 

acquaintances, who would willingly have been his friends, were not only the men of 
genius of his time ; among them were several noblemen and statesmen of power as 
well as rank. In a word, he might have climbed to the highest rung of the ladder, 
with helping hands all the way up : he stumbled and fell at its base. 

It is notorious that Maginn wrote at the same time for the Age, outrageously Tory, 
and for the True Sim, a violently Kadical paper. For many years he was editor of 
the Standard. It was, however, less to his thorough want of principle than to his 
habits of intoxication that his position was low when it ought to have been high ; that 
he was indigent when he might have been rich ; that he lost self-respect and the 
respect of all with whom he came in contact, except the few "kindred spirits" who 
relished the flow of wit, and little regarded the impure source whence it issued. 

Maginn's reckless habits soon told upon his character, and almost as soon on his 
constitution. They may be illustrated by an anecdote related of him in Barham's Life 
of Hook. A friend, when dining with him and praising his wine, asked where he got 
it. "At the tavern close by," said the doctor. "A very good cellar," said the 
guest ; " but do you not pay rather an extravagant price for it ?" "I don't know, I 
don't know," returned the doctor; "I believe they do put down something in a 
book." And I have heard of Maginn a story similar to that told of Sheridan, that 
once when he accepted a bill, he exclaimed to the astonished debtor, "Well, thank 
Heaven, that debt is off my mind ! " 

The evil seemed incurable ; it was not only indulged in at noon and night, but at 
morning. He was one of the eight editors engaged by Mr. Murray to edit the Repre- 
sentative during the eight months of its existence. I was a reporter on that paper of 
great promise and large hopes. One evening Maginn himself undertook to write a 
notice of a fancy ball at the Opera House in aid of the distressed weavers of Spital- 
fields. It was a grand affair, patronised by the royal family and a vast proportion of 
the aristocracy of England. Maginn went, of course inebriated, and returned worse. 
He contemplated the affair as if it had taken place among the thieves and the demireps 
of Whitechapel, and so described it in the paper of the next morning. Well I remember 
the indignation of John Murray, and the universal disgust the article excited. 

I may relate another anecdote to illustrate this sad characteristic. It was told to 
me by one of the doctor's old pupils and most intimate and steady friends, Mr. 
Quinten Kennedy, of Cork. A gentleman was anxious to secure Maginn's services 
for a contemplated literary undertaking of magnitude, and the doctor was to dine with 
him to arrange the affair. Kennedy was resolved that at all events he should go to 
the dinner sober, and so called upon him before he was up, never leaving him for a 
moment all day, and resolutely resisting every imploring appeal for a dram. The 
hour of six drew near, and they sallied out. On the way Kennedy found it almost 
impossible, even by main force, to prevent the doctor's entering a public-house. On 
their road they passed an undertaker's shop ; the doctor suddenly stopped, recollected 
he had a message there, and begged Kennedy to wait for a moment outside. The 
request was complied with, as there could be no possible danger in such a place. 
Maginn entered, with his handkerchief to his eyes, sobbing bitterly : the imdertaker, 
recognising a prospective customer, sought to subdue his grief with the usual words 


of consolation, Maginn blubbering out, " Everything must be done in the best style — 
no expense must be spared; she was worthy, and I can afford it." The undertaker, 
seeing such intense grief, presented a seat, and prescribed a little brandy. After 
sufficient resistance both were accepted. A bottle was produced, and emptied, glass 
after glass, with suggested instructions between whiles. At length the doctor rose to 
join his wondering and impatient friend, who soon saw what had happened. He was, 
even before dinner, in such a state as to preclude all business talk ; and it is needless 
to add that the contemplated arrangement was never made. 

He lived in wretchedness and died in misery — wantonly worn out at the age of 
forty-two. His death took place at Walton-on-Thames, and in the churchyard of that 
village he is buried. Not long ago I visited the place, but no one could point out to 
me the precise spot of his interment. It is without a stone, without a mark, lost 
among the clay sepulchres of the throng who had no friends to inscribe a name or ask 
a memory.* 

Maginn was rather under than above the middle size ; his countenance was 
" swarthy," and by no means genial in expression. He had a peculiar thickness of 
speech, not quite a stutter. Latterly excesses told upon him, producing their usual 
effects. The quick intelligence of his face was lost ; his features were sullied by 
unmistakable signs of an ever-degrading habit ; he was old before his time. He is 
another sad example to " warn and scare." A life that might have produced so much 
yielded comparatively nothing ; and although there have been suggestions, from 
Lockhart and others, to collect his writings, they have never been gathered together 
from the periodical tombs in which they lie buried, and now, probably, they cannot 
be all recognised.! 

Among the leading contributors to the 'New MontJily, before and after the advent 
of Mr. Hook, was John Poole, the author of " Little Pedlington," " Paul Pry," and 
many other pleasant works — not witty, but full of true humour. He was, when in his 
prime, a pleasant companion, though nervously sensitive ; and, like most professional 
"jokers," irritable exceedingly whenever a joke was made to tell against himself. 

It is among my " Memories " that during the first month of my editorship of the 
New Monthly I took from a mass of submitted MS. one written in a small, neat hand, 
entitled " A New Guide Book." I had read it nearly half through, and was about to 
fling it with contempt among "the rejected" before I discovered its point. I had 
perused it, so far, as an attempt to describe an actual watering-place, and to bring it 
into notoriety. When, however, I did discover the real purpose of the writer, my 

* While on Ms death-bed Sir Eohert Peel sent him a sum of money, probably not the iirst. It arrived in time 
to pay his funeral expenses. 

t In September, 1842, a subscription was made for the widow and children of Dr. Maginn, Dr. Gilfard ((hen 
editor of the Standard) and Lockhart being trustees in England ; the Bishop of Cork, and the Provost of Trinity 
College, DubHn, in Ireland ; and Professor Wilson, in Scotland. The " card" that was issued stated truly that 
" no one ever listened to Maginn's conversation, or perused even the hastiest of his minor writings, without feeling 
the influence of very extraordinary talent. His classical learning was profound and accurate, his mastery of modern 
languages almost unrivalled, his knowledge of mankind and their afl'airs great and multifarious ;" but it did not 
state that which was true when it stated that, " in all his essays, veise or prose, serious or comic, he never trespassed 
against decorum or sound morals," or that "the keenness of his wit was combined with such playfulness of fancy, 
good-humour, and kindness of natural sentiment, that his merits were ungrudgingly acknowledged even by those 
of polities most different from his ovm." On the contrary, such a statement was palpably and notoriously untiue. 

yOHN POOLE. i6i 

delight was large in proportion. The MS. was the first part of " Little Pedlington." 
I believe he had then no intention of continuing it ; " it was complete in itself," but 
the popularity it acquired induced him to make of it a book. It was " drawn out " 
until it became a mere thread. 

It was, as I have said, generally believed that Tom Hill suggested the character 
of Paul Pry. Poole never would admit this. In 1831 he wrote a sort of " funny" 
autobiography for the JV^eu' MojUhly (to accompany a portrait of him published there), 
in which he declined to tell his age, where he was born, what he had written, what 
he was inclined to do, or, indeed, anything about himself, except that Hamlet Tra- 
vestie was published in 1810. But that was " when he was a child," and the piece of 
Tomfoolery led to his bemg a writer for the stage, his first farce being Who's Who ? 
In that article he thus gave the origin of Paul Pry : 

" The idea of tlie character of Paul Pry was suggested to me by the following anecdote related 
to rae several years ago by a beloved friend. An idle old lady, living in a narrow street, had 
passed so much of her time in watching the affairs of her neighbours, that she at'length acquired 
the power of distinguishing the sound of every knocker within hearing. It happened that she fell 
ill, and was, for several days, confined to her bed. Unable to observe, in person, what was going 
on without, she stationed her maid at the window, as a substitute for the performance of that 
duty. But Betty soon grew weary of the occupation. She became careless in her reports, 
impatient and tetchy when reprimanded for her negligence. ' Betty, what are you thinking about ? 
Don't you hear a double knock at No. 92 ? Who is it ? ' ' The first-floor lodger, ma'am.' ' Betty, 
Betty, I declare I must give you warning ; why don't you tell me what that knock is at No. 54 r ' 
' Why, lor, it's only the baker with pies.' ' Pies, Betty ! What can they want with pies at 54 ? 
They had pies yesterday I ' " 

Poole had the happy knack of turning every trifling incident to valuable account. 
I remember his telling me an anecdote in illustration of this faculty. I believe he 
never printed it. Being at Brighton one day, he strolled into an hotel to get an early 
dinner, took his seat at a table, and was discussing his chop and ale, when another 
guest entered, took his stand by the fire, and began whistling. After a minute or 
two, "Fine day, sir," said he. "Very fine," answered Poole. "Business pretty 
brisk?" " I believe so." " Do anything with Jones on the Parade ?" " Now," said 
Poole, " it so happened that Jones was the grocer from whom I occasionally bought a 
quarter of a pound of tea, so I answered, ' A little.' " " Good man, sir," quoth the 
stranger. " Glad to hear it, sir." "Do anything with Thompson in North Street ?" 
" No, sir." " Shaky, sir." " Sorry to hear it, sir ; recommend Mohammed's baths !" 
" Anything with Smith in James Street ?" " Nothing. I have heard the name of 
Smith before certainly, but of this particular Smith I know nothing." The stranger 
looked at Poole earnestly, advanced to the table, and, with his arms a-kimbo, said, 
" By Jove, sir, I begin to think you are a gentleman !" " I hope so, sir," answered 
Poole, " and I hope you are much the same." " Nothing of the kind, sir," said the 
stranger, " and if you are a gentleman, what business have you here ?" upon which 
he rang the bell, and as the waiter entered, indignantly exclaimed, " That's a gentle- 
man ; turn him out !" Poole had unluckily entered, and taken his seat in, the com = 
mercial room of the hotel. 

All who knew Poole know that he was ever full of himself, behevmg his renown 
to be the common talk of the world. A whimsical illustration of this weakness was 

lately told me by a mutual friend. When at Paris some time ago, lie chanced to say 
to Poole, " Of course you are free at all the theatres ?" " No, sir, I am not," he 
answv-red solemnly and indignantly. " Will you believe this ? I went to the Opera 
Comique, and told the director I wished for a free admission. He asked me who I 
was. I said, ' John Poole ! ' Sir, I ask yoii, will you believe this ? He said, he 
didnt know me /" 

The Queen gave him a nomination to the Charter-house, where his age might 
have been passed in ease, respectability, 'comfort, and competence ; but it was 
impossible for one so restless to bear the wholesome and necessary restraint of that 
institution. He came to me one day, boiling over with indignation, having resolved 
to quit its quiet cloisters — his principal ground for complaint being that he must dine' 
at two o'clock, and be within walls by ten. He resigned the appointment, but subse- 
quently obtained one of the Crown pensions, and took up his final abode in Paris, 
where during the last ten years of his life he lived — if that can be called "life" 
which consisted of one scarcely ever interrupted course of self-sacrifice to eau-de-vie. 
His mind was, of late, entirely gone. I met him in 1861, in the Eue St. Honore, and 
he did not recognise me. 

I am not aware of any details concerning his death. When I last inquired con- 
cerning him, all I could learn was that he had gone to live at Boulogne ; that two 
quarters had passed without any application from him for his pension ; and that there- 
fore of course he was dead. 

He was a tall, handsome man, by no means "jolly" like some of his contem- 
porary wits — rather, I should say, inclined to be taciturn ; and I do not think his 
habits of drinking were excited by the stimulants of society." Little, I believe, is 
known of his life — even to the actors and playwrights with whom he chiefly associated 
— from the time when his burlesque of Hamlet Travestie (printed in 1810) commenced 
his career of celebrity, if not of fame, to his death, in the year 1862, I believe, being 
then probably about seventy years old. He is perhaps entitled to a more enlarged 
Memory than I can give him. 

One of the earlier contributors to the John Bull, and a frequent contributor to the 
New Monthly, was the " song-writer "-—Thomas Haynes Bayly. He was of a good 
family, born in Bath. Although his songs, of which he wrote many hundreds, are 
now seldom heard, there was a time when every street chorister had them perpetually 
on his tongue ; and a barrel-organ would have been very imperfect if it did not con- 
tain at least, "I'd be a butterfly," and " Oh, no ! we never mention her." In fact, 
the ear was cloyed by their perpetual repetition at the corner of every lane and alley 
of the metropolis ; yet not there only : for a long time they were the " pets " of the 
drawing-room, and favourites at all the theatres, being generally wedded to simple 
music that suited the tastes of the masses. 

Haynes Bayly was a gentleman of refined habits, tall, slight, and of handsome 

« He played a prac"ical joke upon the actors of the Brighton Theatre, who were defective of a letter in their 
dialogue, by sending- to them a packet, containing, of various sizes, the letter H. 



person and agreeable manners. His father was an eminent solicitor of Bath, and 
at one period of his life he was rich. He lost his inheritance, however, it was under- 
stood, by the rascality of a trustee. ' 

There was another Bayley — his very opposite in all ways — F. W, N. Bayley, 
who was usually distinguished as "Initial Bayley." He, too, wrote songs, and 
they were popular, but his productions were often mistaken for those of his name- 
sake, which they resembled much as does the pinchbeck of Birmingham the pure 
gold of twenty carats. He prided himself on copying Maginn, whom he was rather 
like in person, and certainly in acquired " ways," even to the slight stutter — a 
peculiarity of his prototype. He died young, the victim, no doubt, of perilous 
habits, which could not stand the wear and tear of life as " a bookseller's hack." 
He had, however, much natural wit, and a singular facility in writing rhymes, some 
of which were certainly above mediocrity. There is one of his books that yet lives ; 
it describes the adventures of two tourists in India who made their escape in a very 
odd way from a tiger. Few can remember and recall him now ; and there are not 
many who have read a line of his multifarious " scribblings " in prose and verse. 

Other "aids" of the John Bull 1 might summon from the " vasty deep;" but 
there are not many of them whose names are worthy the record of even a line. 

From what I have written, the reader will gather that I only knew Hook in his 
decline^ — the relic of a manly form, the decadence of a strong mind, and the com- 
parative exhaustion of a brilliant wit. Leigh Hunt, speaking of him at a much 
earlier period, thus writes : — " He was tall, dark, and of a good person, with small 
eyes, and features more round than weak ; a face that had character and humour, 
but no refinement." And Mrs. Mathews describes him as with sparkling eyes and 
expressive features, of manly form, and somewhat of a dandy in dress. When in 
the prime of manhood and the zenith of fame, Mr. Barham says, " he was not the 
tuft-hunter, but the tuft-hunted;" and it is easy to believe that one so full of wit, 
so redolent of fun, so rich in animal spirits, must have been a marvellously coveted 
acquaintance in the society where he was so eminently calculated to shine ; from that 
of royalty to the major and minor clubs ; from the " Athenaeum " to the " Garrick," 
of which he was a cherished member. 

In 1828, when I first saw him, he was above the middle height, robust of frame, 
and broad of chest ; well-proportioned, with evidence of great physical capacity ; 
his complexion dark, as were his eyes. There was nothing fine or elevated in his 
expression ; indeed, his features when in repose were heavy ; it was otherwise when 
animated ; yet his manners were those of a gentleman, less, perhaps, from inherent 
faculty than from the polish which refined society ever gives.* 

He is described as a man of " iron energies," and certainly must have had an 

» The portrait that heads this Memory is from a drawing made by Mr. Eddis for the coUeotion of Mr. Magrath, 
long the respected secretary of the Athenaeum Club. 

M 2 

1 64 


iron constitution, for his was a life of perpetual stimulants, intellectual as well as 

When I saw him last — it was not long before his death — he was aged, more by 
care than time ; his face bore evidence of what is falsely termed " a gay life ; " his 


voice had lost its roundness and force, his form its buoyancy, his intellect its 

' Alas ! how changed from him, 
That life of pleasure, and that soul of whim ! " 

Yet his wit was ready still ; he continued to sparkle humour even when exhausted 
nature failed, and his last words are said to have been a brilliant jest. 

At length the iron frame wore down ; he was haunted by pecuniary difficulties, 
yet compelled to daily work, not only for himself, but for a family of children by a 


lady to whom lie was not married. He then lived almost entirely on brandy, and 
became incapable of digesting animal food. Well might his friend Lockhart say, 
" He came forth, at best, from a long day of labour at his writing-desk, after his 
faculties had been at the stretch ; feeling, passion, thought, fancy, excitable nerves, 
suicidal brain, all overworked, perhaps well-nigh exhausted." 

And thus, "at best," while " seated among the revellers of a princely saloon," 
sometimes losing at cards among his great " friends" more money than he could 
earn in a month, his thoughts were labouring to devise some mode of postponing a 
debt only from one week to another. Well might he have compared, as he did, his 
position to that of an alderman, who was required to relish his turtle soup while 
forced to eat it sitting on a tight rope. 

The last time he went out to dinner was with Colonel Shadwell Clarke, at 
Brompton Grove. While in the drawing-room he suddenly turned to the mirror 
and said, — " Ay, I see I look as I am, done up in purse, in mind, and in body too, 
at last ! " 

Colonel Clarke was the editor of the United Service Journal/'' a magazine pub- 
lished by Mr. Colburn, to represent and advocate the interests of the army and 
navy. At his house I used to meet many of the officers of both services who had 
distinguished themselves as authors. Captain Marryatt more especially — a short, 
stout, thick-set man, who walked, and looked, and spoke as if he were at home 
only on the quarter-deck. He seemed *' every inch a sailor," with energy, prompt- 
ness, and courage. He may be said to have commenced the class of naval novels, 
in which he had many followers and imitators ; but none of them have retained the 
pubHc favour that is still given to " The King's Own " and " Peter Simple." 

Hook died on the 24th of August, 1841, at the comparatively early age of fifty- 
three, and was buried in the churchyard at Fulham, which adjoined his residence. 
His grave is in a nook under the Avest window, where a score of Bishops of London 
are interred. Close beside the upright stone that bears the name of Theodore Edward 
Hook is the tomb of Bishop Sherlock. 

Yes, when I knew most of him, he was approaching the close, not of a long, but 
of a " fast" life. He had ill-used Time, and Time was not in his debt. 

He was tall and stout, but not healthfully stout, with a round face, which told 
too much of jovial nights and wasted days ; of toil when the head aches and the 
hand shakes ; of the absence of self-respect ; of mornings in ignoble rest to gather 
strength for evenings of useless energy; of, in short, a mind and constitution naturally 
vigorous and powerful, but sadly and grievously misapplied and misused. 

No writer concerning Hook can claim for him an atom of respect. His history 
is but a record of written, or spoken, or practical jokes, that made no one wiser or 
better. His career "points a moral" indeed, but it is by showing the wisdom of 
virtue. In the end, his " friends," so called, were ashamed openly to give him help ; 
and although bailiffs did not — as in the case of Sheridan — 

" Seize his last blanket," 
'' Colonel Clarke had lost a leg in one of the Peninsular battles. 

his death-bed was haunted by apprehensions of arrest, and it was a relief rather than 
a loss to society when a few comparatively humble mourners laid him in a corner of 
Fulham Churchyard. 

Alas ! let not those who read the records of many distinguished,' nay, some 
illustrious, lives imagine that because men of genius have too often cherished the 
perilous habit of seeking consolation or inspiration from what it is a libel on nature 
to call " the social glass," it is therefore reasonable or excusable, or can ever be 
innocuous. Talfourd may gloss it over in Lamb as averting a vision terrible ; Beattie 
may deplore it in Campbell as having become a dismal necessity ; the biographer of 
Hook may lightly look upon the curse as the spring-head of his perpetual wit. I 
will not continue the list ; it is frightfully long. Hook is but one of many men of 
rare intellect, large mental powers, with faculties designed and calculated to benefit 
mankind, who have sacrificed character, life— I had almost said soul — to habits which 
are wrongly and wickedly called pleasures — the pleasures of the table ! Many indeed 
are they who have thus made for themselves miserable destinies, useless or pernicious 
lives, and unhonoured or dishonourable graves. I will add the warning of great 
Wordsworth when addressing the sons of Burns : — 

" But ne'er to a seductive lay- 
Let faith be given ; 
Nor deem the light that leads astray 
Is light from heaven." 

Take also the impressive warning of Earl Eussell, that " vice in men of wit and 
intellect is of tenfold peril : it is not ' light from heaven,' but flashes from a volcano 
that has its source in hell ! " 


MELIA OPIE lived to be eighty-four years old, I saw her but a 

short time before her death, sitting in an easy chair, in her 

drawing-room at Norwich ; and the ruling passion was still 

alive, for she was neatly and gracefully dressed, and moved as 

if she would rise from her seat to welcome me. She had 

preserved other of the attributes of her youth, and in her " the 

beauty of age " was a charming picture. She was the only 

child of James Alderson, M.D., and was born on the 12th of 

November, 1769, in the parish of St. George, Norwich, and 

in that city she died on the 2nd of December, 1853, having passed there nearly 

the whole of her life ; for when she became a widow she returned to it, and, 

with few brief intermissions, it was ever afterwards her home. 

She did not become an author until after her marriage. That event took 
place in 1798. Late in the previous year she wrote to one of her friends, 
"Mr. Opie (but mum) is my declared lover." She hints, however, that her heart 
was pre-engaged, and that she "ingenuously" told him so. He persisted, 
nevertheless. At that time, she adds, " Mr. Holcroft also had a mind to nje," but 
he " had no chance." She was " ambitious of being a wife and mother," and 
" willing to wed a man whose genius had raised him from obscurity into fame and 
comparative afifluence." Her future husband she first saw at an evening party, 


as she entered (as her friend and biographer, Lucy Brightwell, states) bright and 
smiling, dressed in a robe of blue, her neck and arms bare, and on her head a small 
bonnet, placed in somewhat coquettish style, sideways, and surmounted by a plume 
of three white feathers." The painter, John Opie, was " smitten " at first sight. He 
was rugged and unpohshed ; she had the grace and lightness of a sylph. He (accord- 
ing to Allan Cunningham) looked like an inspired peasant ; she, if her admirers are 
to be credited, had the form and mind of an angel. Yet they were married, in Mary- 
lebone Church, on the 8th of May, 1798 ; the young bride preserved a record of her 
trousseau — " blue bonnet, eight blue feathers, twelve other feathers, two blue Scotch 
caps, four scollop'd-edge caps a la Marie Stuart, a bead cap, a tiara, two spencers 
with lace frills, et ctetera, et csetera." 

Opie was not rich ; " great economy and self-denial were necessary ; " and so she 
became " a candidate for the pleasures, the pangs, the rewards, and the penalties of 

" Gaiety " was her natural bent ; not so that of Opie ; yet she did her duty by 
him from first to last ; and as, no doubt, she expected little of romance, giving her 
husband more respect than love, her married life passed in easy contentment until 
bis death on the 9th of April, 1807, and his burial in St. Paul's, in a grave beside 
that of Sir Joshua Reynolds. She bears testimony to his " genial worth and natural 
kindness ; " yet he was undoubtedly a coarse man ; as one who knew him well writes, 
"rugged and unpolished, to say the least," although, as Haydon describes him, "of 
strong understanding, manly, and straightforward."* 

She is described, at that period, as exceedingly beautiful, intellectual, refined, 
graceful, and altogether lovely. She sung sweetly,! painted skilfully, and was 
remarkably brilliant in conversation ; and it must have astonished many to find the 
lovely, fascinating, and accomplished girl preferring Opie to the host of lovers that 
gathered in her wake. 

From that far-away time she was a widow ; as she mournfully writes in after 
years, " a lone woman through life, an only child, a childless widow," yet ever as 
maid, wife, and widow enjoying society, for some time the gayest of the gay, but 
always without spot or blemish, slander never having touched her fame. She was 
all her life long " true and lovely, and of good report." 

She did not join the Society of " Friends " until the year 1825, although she 
attended their meetings much earlier. In 1814 she writes, " I left the Unitarians ;" 
but it does not appear that she was ever in actual connection with that body, 
although she had frequent intercourse with them, and held " unsettled opinions" 
concerning the Christian faith. 

In 1825 her father died. He, too, had " accepted Christianity," was " a believer 
in the atoning work of the Saviour," and, if not a Quaker, was, notwithstanding, 

* The biography she wrote of her husband she considered a failui'e, only because she had "not done justice to 
his talents or his virtues.-' 

i- She was perfect as a musician, according to the simple " perfecting " of those days, and sung with power and 
sweetness the music then in vogue— the "SaUy in our Alley," the "Savomneen Deelish," the soprano songs in 
Love in a Village, in the Beggars' Opera, and Artaxerxes ; and, added to this fascinating accomplishment, she had a 
knowledge of,' and affection for, Art. 


interred in the Friends' burying-ground at Norwich, in a grave in which his daughter 
was laid more than a quarter of a century afterwards. 

Probably it was her intimacy with the family of the Gurneys (honoured be the 
name, for it has long been, and is, that of many good women and good men) that led 
to her joining the Society of Friends. It is said, indeed, that she had an early 
attachment to one of them, Joseph John Gurney. He had known her when " a gay 
and lively girl," when she was a beautiful and young widow, and when she was 
sedate and aged ; and perhaps, as far as we can think and see, it is to be lamented 
that she did not become his wife ; for that they had devoted friendship each for the 
other there can be no doubt. 

It was soon after she had become a Quaker we first knew her. As a trait of 
character, I may mention that about this time I had occasion to Avrite and ask her to 
furnish a story for a work I was then conducting, the Amulet. In reply, she stated 


it was opposed to her principles to write a story, but she would send me an anecdote. 
She did so, and the distinction made no difference, for a very touching and pathetic 
story, called " An Anecdote," I received.* 

Not long afterwards we made her acquaintance. She was verging upon fifty, but 
looked much younger. Her personal appearance then might be described by the 
single word " sonsie." Her full bust, upright form, and stately carriage were indi- 
cative of that rare privilege of age, 

" Life to the last enjoyed." 

Despite somewhat of severity in her quick blue eye, her manner and appearance 
were extremely prepossessing. There was a pleasant mixture of simplicity and 
coquetry in the folds of the pure white kerchief scrupulously arranged over a grey 
silk dress of the richest fabric, though plainly made, and entirely without ornament. 

* "Thou knowest— or thou ought to know"— she wrote to Mrs. Hall, at the commencement of our correspond- 
ence in the year 1827, " that since I became a Friend I am not free to what is called ' make a story,' hut I will wi-ite 
a/acS for thy annual, or any little matter of history, or truth, or a poem if thou wishest, but I must not write pure 
fiction ; I must not lye, and say, ' so and so occurred,' or ' such and such a thing took place,' when it did not : dost . 
thou understand me 2 " 

One of her Quaker friends describes her cap as " of beautiful lawn, and fastened 
beneath her chin with whimpers, which had small crimped frills." Her hair, of a 
singular colour, between flaxen and grey, was worn in waving folds in front. It had 
a natural wave, but, of course, was never curled. Her carriage was erect, her step 
firm and rapid, her manner decided, her voice low and sweet in tone, her smile per- 
fect sunshine. She "flirted" a fan with the ease and grace of a Spanish donna; 
and if her bright, inquiring, and restless eyes made one rather nervous at a first 
interview, the charm of her smile, and the winning grace of her nature placed one at 
ease after a few minutes' conversation. Still, the incessant sparkling of those quick 
blue eyes told 

" that e'en in the tranquillest climes, 
Light breezes might rufBle the flower sometimes." 

When we met in after years, the restless manner was much calmed. As the face 
became less beautiful it grew more soft, less commanding, but more lovable. 

Miss Brightwell thus pictures her: — "She was about the standard height of 
woman, her hair was worn in waving folds in front, and behind it was seen through 
the cap, gathered into a braid. Its colour was peculiar — between flaxen and grey; 
it was unusually fine and deHcate, and had a natural bend or wave. . . . Her eyes were 
especially charming : there was in them an ardour mingled with gentleness that bespoke 
her true nature." She was aged when Miss Brightwell wrote this, but she pictures 
her also in youth — no doubt from hearsay. " Her countenance was animated, bright, 
and beaming ; her eyes soft and expressive, yet full of ardour ; her hair abundant 
and beautiful, of auburn hue ; her figure well formed, her carriage fine, her hands, 
arms, and feet well shaped ; and all around and about her was the spirit of youth, 
and joy, and love." 

Yet, although a member of the Society of Friends, and bound by duty to be sedate, 
the old leaven clung to her through life — innocently and harmlessly ; and there was 
no sin in her occasional murmurs of self-reproof — " Shall I ever cease to enjoy the 
pleasures of the world ? I fear not." 

In truth, she never did. And so her Diary oddly mingles gaities with gravities : 
May meetings with brilliant evenings, labours of love and works of charity with idola- 
trous hero-worship ; and if there occur records of worldly sensations, at which an 
Elder among the Friends might shake his head and sigh, there are many such 
passages as these : — " Went to the gaol — have hopes of one woman." — " Called to 
see that poor wretched girl at the workhouse ; mean to get the Prayer-book I gave 
her out of pawn." 

Mrs. Opie was brought up as an "ultra-liberal." Her sympathies were with the 
people. They were often exercised, at the close of the past and the beginning of the 
present century, when advocacy of freedom was a crime, and there was peril even in 
free interchange of thought. But though a Liberal in politics, her heart had room 
enough for all humankind : her bounty was large, and her charities were incessant. 
Among other merciful projects, in conjunction with Mrs. Fry — another of the earth's 
excellents — she conceived the idea of reforming the internal management of hospitals 
and infirmaries. In 1829 a project had been actually " set on foot — an institution 


for the purpose of educating a better class of persons as nurses for the poor," a project 
much encouraged by Southey, who considered that " nothing in the system need be 
adopted at variance with the feehngs of a Protestant country," 

It was in reference to his belief in the peculiar fitness of Amelia Opie to carry 
out this work of wisdom and mercy that Southey thus wrote of her in his 
" Colloquies : " — ■ 

" One who has been the liveliest of the lively, the gayest of the gay ; admired for her talents 
hy those who knew her only in her writings, and esteemed for her worth by those who were 
acquainted with her in the relations of private life ; one who, having grown np in the laxest sect 
of semi-Christians, felt the necessity of vital religion while attending upon her father during the 
long and painful infirmities of his old age, and who has now joined the lively faith for which her 
soul thirsted ; not losing, in the change, her warmth of heart and cheerfulness of spirit, nor 
gaining by it any increase of sincerity and frankness ; for with these Nature had endowed her, 
and society, even that of the great, had not corrupted them."* 

So far back as the year 1818, Mrs. Hall was acquainted with Mrs. Fry, of whom 
it may be emphatically said, " her works do follow her ;" and Mrs. Hall suppHes me 
with this Memory of that estimable woman : — 

It was my privilege to accompany her more than once to Newgate, some years, 
however, after she had commenced her herculean and most merciful task of reforming 
that prison. I first met her at the house of WiUiam Wilberforce, to whom humanity 
still owes a large debt, although it has been, in part, paid by the abolition of negro 
slavery in all lands where the Anglo-Saxon tongue is spoken. The great philan- 
thropist was then living at Brompton, and after a lapse of so many years, I recall my 
sensations of intense happiness when, in my dawn of youth, conversing with that 
venerable man. 

Newgate, when first visited by Elizabeth Fry, was a positive Aceldama. The 
women were all in rags, no care of any kind having been given to their clothing, and 
almost as little to their food. They slept without bedding on the floor of their prison, 
the boards raised in parts to furnish a sort of pillow. With the proceeds of their 
noisy beggary from occasional visitors they purchased spirits at a tap-room within the 
gaol ; and the ear was constantly outraged by frightfully revolting language. Though 
military sentinels were placed at intervals, even the governor entered their part of 
the prison with misgiving and reluctance. A picture of very great merit, illustrating 
this incident in the hfe of Mrs. Fry, by Mrs. E. M. Ward, graced the Exhibition of 
the Royal Academy in 1867. 

Things had, however, changed for the better when I accompanied Mrs. Fry to 
Newgate. She had been at her work — and not in vain — during five years. My 
companion was the Rev. Robert Walsh, one of the most dear and valued friends of 
my girlhood — of my womanhood also. His children and his grandchildren are of my 
best and most-beloved friends to-day. f 

* In another, of Ms letters Southey says of Amelia Opie :— " I like her in spite of her Quakerism, nay, perhaps 
the better for it ; for it must be always remembered in what sect she was bred up, among what persons she had 
lived, and that religion was never presented to her in a serious form until she saw it in drab." 

+ Dr. Walsh was, during many years, Chaplain to the Embassies at Constantinople and at Rio, and his works 
on Turkey and Brazil retained places in aU libraries. He died Rector of Finglas, near Dubhn, honoured and beloved : 
of him I shall have more to say before I close these "Memories," and something of his son, the late Eight Hon. 
John Edward Walsh, Master of the BoUs, our very dear friend, who died in Paris in 1869. 



But of Elizabeth Fry. I do not remember how it came about ; yet I can see 
myself now clasping her hand between mine, and entreating to be taken with her 
once, only once ; and I can recall the light and beauty that illumined her features — 
the gentle smile and look of kindness— as she moved back the hair from my moist 
eyes, and said, " Thy mother will trust thee with me and thy friend the doctor. 
Her heart is urged to this for good ; do not check the natural impulse of thy child, 
friend," addressing my dear mother ; " better for thy future in her to hear her plead- 
ing to visit those with whom the Lord is dealing in His mercy, than for thy sanction 
to visit scenes of pleasure, where there can be gathered no fruit for hereafter." I 
felt the words as a reproof ; for only the night before I had seen the elder Kean play 
Macbeth. It was the first time I had been at a theatre, and the consequent excite-" 
ment had kept me awake all night. Her words made me thoughtful. I remember 
removing the rosette from my bonnet, and putting on my gravest-coloured dress, to 
accompany Elizabeth Fry to Newgate. 

Hannah More, speaking of this heroic "Friend," pictured her well: — "I thought 
of her as of some grand woman out of the Old Testament — as Deborah judging 
Israel under the palm-tree." 

When in repose, there was an almost unapproachable dignity in Mrs. Fry. Her 
tall figure, the lofty manner in which her head was placed on its womanly pedestal, 
her regal form, and the calmness of her firm, yet sweet voice, without an effort on 
her part, commanded attention. You felt her power the moment you entered her 
presence ; but when she read and expounded the Scripture, and above all, when she 
prayed, the grandeur of the woman became the fervour of the saint. In person she 
was not unlike Amelia Opie, though obviously of a " stronger " nature, and though 
by no means unfeminine, more masculine in form. 

When I passed with her and Dr. Walsh, and a lady whose name I have forgotten, 
into the dreaded prison, and heard the loud gratings of the rattling keys in the locks, 
and the withdrawing and drawing of the bolts, and felt the gloom and damp of the 
walls, and heard my friends speak with bated breath, and then saw the door open, 
and a number of women — stained by "the trail of the serpent " — I should have been 
glad to have been anywhere but where I was. "Wilt thou go back, young friend ?" 
whispered a kind voice. I looked up to her sweet face, and laying my hand in hers, 
felt strengthened by her strength. A Bible was on the table, and a chair and hassock 
were beside it ; but, before she read or prayed, Mrs. Fry went to each individually. 
Not one word of reproof fell from her to any, though several Avere loud in their com- 
plaints against one particular woman, who really locked a fiend. She took that 
woman apart, reasoned with her, soothed her, laid her hand on her shoulder, and 
the hard, stubborn, cruel (for I learned afterwards how cruel she had been) nature 
relented, and tears coursed each other down her cheeks. " She promises to behave 
better," she said, " and thou wilt not taunt her, but help her to be good. And He 
will help her who bears with us all ! " She had an almost miraculous gift of reading 
the inner nature of all with whom she came in contact. She seemed to show a 
peculiar interest in each ; while each felt as if the mission was specially to her. I 
shall never forget the wild scream of delight of a young creature who fell at her feet 



to whom slie had said, " I have seen thy child." One of the women told the girl 
that if she was not quiet, she could not remain for the prayer. I remember even 
now how she clenched her hands on her bosom, to still its heavings, and how she 
kept in her sobs, while her bright glittering eyes followed every movement of Mrs. 
Fry, when she added, " Thy child is well, and has cut two teeth, and thy mother 
seems so fond of her ! " 

This preparation for prayer and teaching occupied fifteen or twenty minutes, and 
eager and even noisy as some of those poor women had previously been, when 
Mrs. Fry sat down and opened The Bible, the only sound that was heard was the 
suppressed sobs of the girl to whom Mrs. Fry had spoken of her child. There was 
something very appalling in the instantaneous silence of these dangerous women, 
subdued in a moment into the stillness which so frequently precedes a thunder-storm. 
The calm and silvery tones of the reader's earnest voice fell like oil on troubled 
waters. Gradually the expressions of the various faces changed into what may 
well be called reverential attention. Her prayer I remember thinking very short, but 
comprehensive ; its entreaties were so earnest, so anxious, so fervent, that few were 
there whose moistened eyes did not bear testimony to its influence. She seemed to 
know and feel every individual case, to share every individual sorrow, and to have a 
ready balm for every separate wound. I can see the radiance of her face through 
the long lapse of years, and recall the " winningness " of her voice, so clear and 
penetrating, yet so tender. When she paused — remaining silent a while — and then 
rose to withdraw, the women did not crowd towards her, as on her first entrance, 
but continued hushed, and gathered together ; indeed, several were too over- 
powered for words ; but they gazed on her as if she were an angel, and was 
she not ? 

It was my privilege to repeat my visit. The second was but a repetition of the 
first — a few new faces, and some of the old ones gone ; among them the girl whose 
child Mrs. Fry had taken under her own care. The mother had been sent over seas, 
for a crime that would now be atoned for by a few weeks' incarceration. 

Amid the admirably-performed duties of domestic life, followed, as years advanced, 
by trials that the world calls " bitter," that holy woman never wavered from her holy 
mission ; removing with marvellous patience the chains of mind as well as of body, 
that weighed so heavily upon the human race, and teaching the liberty that only the 
Christian appreciates, values, or enjoys. 

Our most interesting intercourse with Amelia Opie occurred in Paris, in February, 
1831, not long after the so-called "three glorious days." We had met and chatted 
with her at the receptions of the Baron Cuvier, where, among the philosophers, she 
was staid and stately. 

And the Baron Cuvier is a rare Memory. His thick and somewhat stubbed form ; 
his massive head containing the largest quantity of brain ever allotted to a single 
human being ; his broad and high forehead ; his features far more German than 
French ; his manner sedate almost to severity : such is the picture I recall of the 


marvellous man, the parent of many great men wlio have opened to us the portals of 
New Worlds.* 

This is Mrs, Hall's Memory of Amelia Opie at the Baron Cuvier's : — "In Paris, 
Mrs. Opie was one of the lights of the liberal and intellectual, as well as of the 
legitimate and aristocratic, soirees. One evening we met her in the circle at the 
Baron Cuvier's, where the Bourbonists were certain to congregate, and where the 
Baron's magnificent head ' stood out ' like the head of Imperial Jove. At one 
moment she was discussing some point of natural history with the great naturalist ; 
the next, talking over the affairs of America with Fenimore Cooper, who, however 
much he disliked England, was always kindly and courteous to the English in Paris ; 
the next, explaining in very good English-French to some sentimental girl, ' who 
craved her blessing, and called her mere,' that she never was and never would be a 
nun ; and that she belonged to no such laborious, useful, or self-denying order as the 
Soeurs de Charite ; and at the close of the evening, when, in compliment to the 
English present, a table was covered with a white cloth, and tea was made and 
kindly poured out by Madame Cuvier's daughter, Mrs. Opie was certainly one of the 
pillars of the tea-table, laughing and listening (she never could have been so univer- 
sally popular had she not been a good listener), and being to perfection the elderly 
English lady, tinged with the softest Hue, and vivified by the graceful influence of 
Parisian society." 

But one memorable evening we had the honour of passing in the salons of General 
Lafayette — the venerable soldier whose singular career of glory was then drawing to 
a close. The occasion was eventful : there were present many young Poles. The 
fatal struggle was then commencing in Poland ; they were on the eve of departure, 
and had come to bid the aged hero adieu, and receive his blessing. It was touching 
in the extreme to see the old man kissing the cheek of each young soldier as he 
advanced, place a hand upon his head, and give the blessing that was asked for. 

This is Mrs. Hall's recollection of the evening at Lafayette's : — " The gathering 
at Lafayette's is never to be forgotten. The General was a most remarkable and 
most deeply interesting man ; he was at that time (in 1831) worn down, with much 
of his fire quenched, resembling rather a patriarch than a soldier ; yet he had a short 
time previously given a crown to Louis Philippe. The rooms were crowded, and in 
the crowd was Fenimore Cooper, more at home with the Kepublicans, warmer and 
more genial than he had been at Cuvier's on the previous evening, where the society 
was courtly and constrained. All the remarkable men of that party were there, and all 
seemed agitated about something going forward, which at first was incomprehensible 
to us. Lafayette stood in an inner room, conversing with a staff of old friends, who 
appeared privileged to crowd around him ; but every five or six minutes the circle 

* These lines, descriptive of Cuvier, were written by Mrs. Opie, after his death : — 

" 'Twas sweet that voice of melody to hear, 
Distinct, sonorous, stealing on the ear ; 
. ~ And watch to mark some sudden gesture throw 

^ The hair aside, that veiled that wondrous brow,— 
That brow, the throne of genius and of thought. 
And mind, which all the depths of science sought." 


opened, a youth in a foreign uniform approached, the old man pressed his hands, 
looked earnestly and affectionately in his face, addressed to him a few words in a low 
tone, and then the youth bent and kissed his hand, some even knelt and craved his 
blessing, and he dismissed them with a sentence, ' Ah, le bon Dieu vous benit, mon 
fils ! ' or, ' AUez a la gloire ! ' or, * Vive la patrie ! ' One, a fine handsome fellow, 
more than six feet high, the Greneral embraced and kissed ; tears rushed to his eyes, 
and twice when the young man knelt he raised him and pressed him to his heart. 
Mrs. Opie wept, as indeed many did, who hardly comprehended the cause either of 
the reception or the parting, but we soon learned that the youth was the son of a 
distinguished Polish ofl&cer, who had fallen in defending his country, and that he was 
going to Poland with his countrymen to renew the struggle — that all those who 
so craved the blessing of Lafayette were Poles, all resolved to conquer or die, all 
destined to leave Paris at the dawn of the following day ; and they did so, and in 
six weeks all those young hearts had ceased to beat — 

' Their last-flght fought— 
Their deeds of glory done.' 

Indeed, the meeting was a singularly solemn one for Paris ; even when the little 
ceremony was concluded, there was so much serious matter connected with Poland to 
think of and talk about, so much anxiety as to the result of the struggle, the young 
hraxes excited so much interest, and Lafayette appeared so overpowered, that we 
withdrew earlier than usual, leaving Mrs. Opie walkmg through the rooms in earnest 
and animated conversation. 

" Suddenly we were somewhat startled by a buzz and an audible whisper ; we 
could only make out the words Saur de Charite, and walking with formal state up the 
room, we saw Amelia Opie, leaning on the arm of a somewhat celebrated Irishman 
(O'Gorman Mahon), six feet high, and large in proportion, with peculiarities of dress 
that enhanced the contrast between him and his companion. She was habited as 
usual in her plain grey silk, and Quaker cap ' fastened beneath her chin with whimpers 
which had small crimped frills.' No wonder such a vision of simplicity and purity 
should have startled gay Parisian dames, few or none of whom had the least idea of 
the nature of the costume ; but the good old General selected her from a host of 
worshippers, and seemed jealous lest a rival should steal the fascinating Quaker from 
his side." 

To Lafayette and his family Mrs. Opie was greatly attached. She described him 
as " a delightful, lovable man," " a handsome, blooming man of seventy," "humble, 
simple, and blushing at his own praises ;" and in allusion to her appearance at one 
of his "receptions," she writes : — "I sighed when I looked at my simple Quaker 
dress, considered whether I had any business there, and slunk into a corner." But 
that was when the General "received" in state at the Etat Major of the Garde 
Nationale, and not when she was "at home" with him and his family at "The 

It was at that time she sat to the sculptor David for the medal I have engraved. 
David was a small, undignified man, much pock-marked. He was to the last a fierce 




Republican ; as fierce, though not as ruthless, as his relative and namesake, the painter. 
I saw much of him during several after-visits to Paris. 

Mrs. Opie occupied an entresol in the Hotel de la Paix, and a servant, v^^ith some- 
thing of the appearance of a sobered-down soldier in dress and deportment, waited in 
the anteroom of the Quaker dame to announce her visitors. Singularly enough, Mrs. 
Opie was never more at home than in Paris, where her dress in the streets, as well 
as at the various reunions, attracted much attention and curiosity, the Parisians 
believing she belonged to some religious order akin to the Sisters of Charity. 


The last time Mrs. Opie visited London was to see the Great Exhibition in 1851. 
There she was wheeled about in a garden chair. She retained much of her original 
freshness of form and mind, and was cheerful and " chatty." In the brief conversation 
I had with her, surrounded as she was by friends who loved, and strangers who vene- 
rated, her, she recalled our pleasant intercourse in Paris, murmuring more than once, 
" How many of them have gone before ! " 

In the autumn of that year I chanced to be in Norwich, and there my last visit to 
her was paid at her residence in the Castle Meadow. The house exists no longer, but 




a picture of it has been preserved by her friend, Lucy Brightwell, and I have engraved 
it. Plain house though it was, and fitly so, its memory is hallowed. 

The room was hung with portraits, principally of her own drawing ; * flowers she 
was never without. She was delighted with its cheerful outlook, and described it as 
a " pleasant cradle for reposing age." From her windows she saw " noble trees, the 
castle turrets," and " the woods and rising grounds of Thorpe." She was thankful 
that "the lines had fallen to her in pleasant places." There, venerated and loved, 
she dwelt from 1848 to her death. 


She was at that time very lame, yet the courtesy of her nature was manifested in 
an effort to rise and give me a cordial welcome, and we passed an hour chatting 
pleasantly and cheerfully of gone-by people and times. 

Her society was eagerly sought for by the most enlightened persons of the age : 
to name her friends would be but to catalogue the most remarkable of those who are 
interwoven with the history of our times. She was earnestly and sincerely philan- 

» "It was her custom, from a very early period, to take profile Ukenesses, in pencil, of those who visited her : 
several hundreds of these sketches were preserved in books and folios." 

tliropic ; her name was not frequently seen in the list of subscribers to public 
charities ; but when a tale of want or sorrow was told to Mrs. Opie, tears rapidly 
twinkled in her blue eyes, and gradually those pretty hands, which were demurely 
folded Quaker-fashion, would unclasp, and presently the right one found its way 
through the ample folds of her dress to her purse, from which she gave with frank 

She described her dwelling in a letter written to Mrs. Hall, dated 8th Month 4, 
1851 :— 

" T am glad Mr. Hall liked my residence. I had long wished for it. The view is a constant 
delight to me. My rooms are rather too small, but my sitting-rooms and chamber being 
en suite, they suit a lame body as I now am ; and below I have three parlours, two kitchens, and 
a prett)^ little garden — for a town. I have a second floor and an attic which commands Norwich 
and the adjacent country ; but this is thrown away on me. I have seen it, and that is enous>;h. 
The noble trees, flowering shrubs, and fine acacias round the castle keep, into which I am daily 
looking, have to me an unfailing charm. The road runs under my window ; and I have seen 
many groups of le tiers etat hastening along, evidently to the Monday cheap train to London. It 
is a pleasant sight. The wind is rather high, and the trees I have told thee of are waving and 
bending their light branches so gracefully and invitingly before me, that I could almost fancy 
they were bowing to me, and get up and return the compliment, however gauchely. After this 
extraordinary flight of fancy, it is necessary that I should pause a while to recover it ; so farewell ! 
Thy loving friend, "Amelia Opie." 

It was obvious, however, that the time of her removal was drawing on. The 
death of her dear friend, Joseph John Glurney, one of "the excellent of the earth," 
in 1847 — of Dr. Chalmers soon afterwards — and of other beloved friends and relatives, 
affected her much, though she bore her losses resignedly, if not cheerfully, bowing in 
submission to the Divine Will, remembering her favourite text, " Shall not the Judge 
of all the earth do right ? " 

Age and infirmities had been creeping on ; the comforting influence of the good 
Bishop Stanley was continually with her ; numerous friends thronged around her ; 
she still manifested interest in all they said and did. But, in 1849, Bishop Stanley 
died. She loved that good man very dearly, and his death was accepted as a warning 
that her own was near at hand. Writing to Mrs. Hall, in 1851, she says, — speaking 
of the good man's grave, — "It is covered by a large black marble, with a deep 
border round of variegated marble, the colours black and grey. He lies in the middle 
of the great aisle of the cathedral, and when the painted-glass window, as a memorial • 
to his memory, is finished, and placed over the great western gates of entrance, it is 
thought that the rays of the setting sun, on which he loved to gaze, will shine upon 
the stone that covers his ' dear remains.' " * 

She suffered much, yet was cheerful, buoyant, and happy to the last ; and at 
midnight on the 2nd of December, 1853, she breathed her last, murmuring, "All is 
peace ! — all is mercy ! " And so she joined the good and holy spirits — her friends in 
life and after life — who had been waiting to give her welcome. 

The good works she did on earth she considered and has characterised thus : — 
" They are good only as the evidence of faith." 

* Another of her friends was Archdeacon Wrangham. I knew him well : he was a tall, slight man, of exceed- 
ingly gentle and attractive manners, with the ease and grace and persuasive eloquence of a Christian ge.fleman. 
He had a proneness to translate favourite poems into Latin verse, and usually had a copy or two in his pocket to 
present as a memorial, where he had reason to think the gilt would be acceptable. 



She died in the full possession of those clear and admirable faculties which 
rendered her one of the most remarkable women of her time, and it is no small 
evidence of her qualities — of the heart as well as of the head — to say that all the 
young who knew her regretted her as they would a chosen friend or companion. 
When she passed away from earth Norwich lost one of its attractions, for many made 
pilgrimage (especially from the New World) to the shrine of this brilliant but true- 
hearted woman, whose enthusiasm overthrew time, and outlived the decay of life itself- 


Mrs. Opie's nature was most essentially feminine. It was feminine in its gifts — 
in its graces — in its strength — in its weakness — in its generosity. She was without a 
particle of jealousy, and her colour rose and her eyes sparkled while she bestowed 
warm and earnest, if not always critically judicious, praise on what she admired. She 
would have made a heroine, and died in a cause she believed right and righteous, but 
she never could have been guilty of the vulgarity of modern " Bloomerism ; " she 
honoured her sex and its peculiar virtues too much to wish it unsexed. The sensitive 
delicacy of her mind was evident, not only in her writings, but in her words and 
deportnaent, and it was impossible for the young to have a better guide or a more 
excellent example. Her manners would have graced a court, and not encumbered a 

N 2 

cottage. Her lessons continue to be of value ; they were not written merely for a 
time or for a passing purpose. 

She was interred in the Friends' burying-ground at the Gildenscroft, in the same 
grave with her father, and in association with so many of her beloved friends. At 
the extreme left side of the ground, beneath an elm-tree that overshadows the wall, is 
a small slab bearing the names of James Alderson and Amelia Opie, with the dates of 
their births and deaths.* 

Dear Amelia Opie ! her nature was essentially feminine in its gifts, its graces, its 
goodness, its weakness, and its vanities ; truthful, generous, and considerate ever. Pure 
of heart and upright in walk and conversation, her memory is without a blot ; her 
precepts are those of Virtue ; and her example was their illustration and their comment. 

" Only the actions of the just 
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust." 


It maybe "fitting" to associate with that of Amelia Opie the name of Bernard 
Barton, merely, however, because he also was of the Society of Friends. As dear 
Amelia Opie felt bound to eschew fiction after she donned the sober garb of drab or 
grey, so the Quaker-poet had serious misgivings whether it might not be a crime in 
one of his "persuasion" to write, or at all events to print, poetry. He consulted 
Southey, who could see in it no wrong at alLf He referred his scruples to Byron, 
who bade him continue to court the Muses. Of others he asked advice, but followed 
his own natural bias, being " inclined to think that poetry might be composed with 
strict consistency, and by no means in opposition to our code, and yet not be exclu- 
sively religious." Some of the " Friends," however, thought otherwise. By one of 
them he was severely reproved for using the word " November" in poetry. 

He sought the counsels of friends concerning his project of abandoning the desk 
and trusting for bread to the issue of his pen. Among others, Charles Lamb quoted 
his own example, that "desks were not deadly" — that anything was better than 
dependence on publishers ; while Byron remmded him of the common lot of those 
whose sole dependence was literature : — 

" Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail." 

The warning of Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton may serve its sacred purpose 

now as it did then ; for there are many who foolishly fancy a career of letters must 

be a successful one. These are the words of the gentle essayist : — 

"Throw yourself on the world without any rational plan of Eiipport, but Avhat the chance 
employ of booksellers would afford you I ! ! Throw yourself rather fi'om the steep Tarpeian rock — 

* These are the words of her affectionate biographer, Lucy Brightwell, in a little memoir published by the 
Religious Tract Society : — " Should any wanderer, at some future day, desii'e to visit the grave of Amelia Opie, he 
wUl find at the extreme left of the ground, beneath an elm-tree that overshadows the wall, a small slab, bearing the 
names of James Alderson and Amelia Opie, with their ages and the dates of Iheir deaths." 

+ Bernard Barton wrote to Southey, in 1820, to ask whether the Society of Friends was liiely to be offended at 
his publishing a volume of poems — a question which Southey said he could no more answer than whether a ship 
setting sail for India should make a prosperous voyage, but adding, that if poetiy were unlawful, the Bible itseli 
must be a prohibited book. 


slap, dash, headlong upon iron spikes Come not within their grasp. I have known many- 
authors want for bread, some repining, others enjoying the blest security of a counting-house, all 
agreeing they had rather have been tailors, weavers — what not ? than the things they were. I 
have known some starved, some go mad, one dear friend ' dying in a workhouse.' Oh, you know 
not — may you never know ! — the miseries of subsisting by authorship !" 

So worthy Bernard Barton — having first tried trade and not liking it — remained 
a banker's clerk at Woodbridge, a position which he wisely kept during forty years, 
not quite contented with his lot, but cheerful, easy, and comparatively happy, in 

" Health, peace, and competence." 

He was, however, helped up " the steep " by a subscription among friends who 
saw and feared no evil in the poet's messages from the Muses. It enabled him to 
buy the house in which he lived — a house where had dwelt the mother of the wife 
he lost in giving birth to an only child. It was old-fashioned, and so suited the poet 
well, and was wildly overgrown with trees, one of which, a tall poplar, " mother 
stuck there a twig " when he brought her home a bride. Let us hope that it may be 
growing still — a poet's memory and monument. 

In advanced age his circumstances were rendered comfortable by an annual 
pension of £100, obtained for him by Sir Kobert Peel. 

I recall him in his broad-brim hat and Quaker-cut coat as he walked the streets 
of London ; a tall man, with a complexion gathered, not from the counting-house, 
but from rural walks through " the valley of Ferns," by the banks of his " favourite 
Deben." His expression had, I thought, more of the keenness of the man of busi- 
ness than the visionary fancies of the poet. His mouth was close and " mercantile," 
but his eyes were gentle, generous, and kindly. Assuredly, however, he seemed 
country-born, country-bred, and with country manners — they were neither rude nor 
coarse. His daughter is justified in saying he had "a happy frankness of nature," 
and was a pleasant companion, with a genial flow of good spirits, with much of 
the prudence, sound sense, and "rationality" of the "Friends," mixed with the 
cordiality and outward as well as inward sympathy they are too frequently educated 
to repress. 

He was born in London on the 31st of January, 1784, and died at Woodbridge 
on the 19th of February, 1849. He was but a few days old when his mother died, 
but in his father's second wife he had a friend so loving and true, that he did not 
know she was not his own mother until he learned the fact when a boy at a boarding 

His simple poetry illustrates the homely joys and domestic virtues : it is full of 
feeling and fancy ; by no means of the highest class, but easily comprehended by the 
mind and the heart. A letter I received from him in 1845 may be given as an 
illustration of his character; it accompanied a little volume entitled " Household 
Verses : " — 

" For the book thus forwarded to thee I do not feel called upon to say much. I expect it will 
be thought tame and insipid by many. But I am a lover of the quiet household virtues— can 
breathe most freely in that purer atmosphere in which they live, move and have their being ; and 
have felt restrained, not less by my taste than by my religious creed, from seeking to gain popu- 

larity by the use of those exciting stimulants so much in vogue of later years with the followers of 
the Muses. To those who can analyse and appreciate the deop, still under-current of thought and 
feeling which home and every-day life affords, I do not think my subjects, or mode of treatinj? 
them, will be insipid ; others I can hardly hope to please, so if I must suffer for my somewhat 
unfashionable predilections, I shall have the comfort of knowing they are hearty, though homely, 
and sincere, though simple." 

His daughter (and she is not the only witness) bears testimony to "his genuine 
piety to God, good-will to men, and cheerful, guileless spirit which animated him, 
not only while writing in the undisturbed seclusion of the closet, but through the 
walk and practice of daily life." Though town born and bred, he loved Nature with 
intense love ; " earth, and sky, and water, trees, fields, and lanes ; " and above all, 
the human face divine. Memory and fancy made his little study full of life, peopling 
its silent walls with Nature's cherished charms. 

I knew another Quaker-poet — Joseph Wiffin, the translator of " Tasso." He 
spent the whole of his later life in easy and comfortable retirement, in the palatial 
dwelling, and among the patrician woods, of Woburn Abbey, as secretary and 
librarian to the Duke of Bedford. Here he enjoyed all that wealth could give, 
without its drawback of responsibility. The richest stores of literature and art 
were fully and freely his ; and men of letters, whose daily toil is for daily bread, 
may be pardoned if they envied him the luxury of repose among the books and 
pictures that successive Russells had gathered together. He was a handsome, 
unassuming man, of peculiarly suave and gentle manners, seemingly one who neither 
courted the honours nor encountered the struggles of an outer world. He died in 
1836. His sister was the widow of another esteemed and popular poet — Alaric A. 
Watts. She also has left earth, and her son is married to the daughter of William 
and Mary Howitt. 


My only reason for inserting here a Memory of the great American novelist is, that 
I was introduced to him by Amelia Opie, meeting him first at her hotel in the Rue 
de la Paix, Paris, in 1831. During our residence there in that year I saw him 
often. Not long after my return I wrote my " recollections" of him for the New 
Monthly Magazine, to accompany an engraving from a picture painted by Madame 
Mirbel, the leading miniature painter of France. This is my written portrait of him 
then : — 

He is rather above than under the middle height, his figure well and firmly set, 
and his movements more rapid than graceful. All his gestures are those of prompt- 
ness and energy. His high, expressive forehead is a phrenological curiosity : a deep 
indenture across its open surface throws the lower organs of eventuality, locality, 
and individuality into fine eff'ect; while those immediately above — comparison, 
casuality, and gaiety — are equally remarkable. His eyes, which are deeply set, have 


a wild, stormy, and restless expression. An inflexible firmness gives expression to 
the mouth. His head, altogether, is startlingly intellectual. 

He was the heau ideal — let the term be translated at will — of an American citizen, 
and gave me, more than any other man I have ever seen, the idea of a Republican 
of our own Republic of 1650 : stern, perhaps, in his bearing, certainly not cordial ; 
massive in head, in figure, and in mind ; proud — but it Avas democratic pride, the 
growth of study and necessity, not the aristocratic pride that you see, at once, 
"comes by nature." His step was firm, as if intended as an outer manifestation of 
strong will and approved purpose. I cannot describe him as " a loveable man ; " but 
certainly he was one who would have extorted respect, and have excited fear — if fear 
had been necessary for an object to be achieved. 

Later in life, and not long before his death, this portrait of him was drawn by 
his friend and physician. Dr. Francis : — " His manly figure, high, prominent brow, 
clear and fine grey eye, and royal bearing, reveal the man of will and intelligence." 

At the time to which I refer, I received a letter from him containing some bio- 
graphical facts. From that letter I extract the following passage : — 

"My family settled in America in the year 1579. It came from Buckingham, in England, and 
for a century it dwelt in the county of Bucks, in Pennsylvania. It then, or rather my brnnch of 
it, became established in the State of New York. My mother was the daughter of Richard 
Fenimore, of Burlington County, New Jersey. I was born in 1789, at Burlington, on the Dele- 
ware, but was carried an infant to Corfrentour, Ostego County, New York. I was sent to various 
grammar schools between the ages of six and twelve, and at thirteen I was admitted to Yale 
College, New Haven, Connecticut. Here I remained three years, and then went to sea. My 
father died in 1809. I married the second daughter of John Peter De Lancey, of Mamaronech 
West, Chester County, New York. On my marriage I quitted the navy. From that time until 
I came to Europe, I resided either at Cooperstown or in West Chester County, or in the city 
of New York. My first book was published in 1821, since which time a tale has appeared 
annually. I was appointed Consul at Xiyons, but merely to protect my papers, &c. Never 
having visited Lyons, this nominal post I resigned on quitting Switzerland in 1828. In 1826 I 
came to Europe as a traveller, and with a view of improving my health, which had been much 
injured by a violent fever in 1824. I am much better, thank God, and begin to think of return- 
ing home." 

He did return home in 1833 — to receive the honours he had so justly earned, 
and to enjoy the repose to which he was so fairly entitled. He did not, however, 
relinquish. work. It was not until 1840 that one of the best of his books — " The 
Pathfinder " — was published. Some one called him " the prose poet of the woods 
and seas." He was more than that ; he was not a mere writer of fiction ; his novels 
are histories, correct and authentic, of the early struggles for freedom and for progress 
in civilisation of his country ; while they are accurate delineations of American cha- 
racter, coloured, no doubt, by patriotic zeal, but, in the main, true. Moreover, they 
sustain morality and add dignity to humanity. Cooper has done more than all the 
other writers of America — they are many, and worthy of all honour — to make known 
to the world (for there are few languages into which his works have not been trans- 
lated) " his country, her scenery, her characteristics, her aboriginal inhabitants, and 
her history." 

He died, in "the full fruition of the promises of the Christian faith," at his 
beautiful sylvan retreat on Ostego Lake, on the 14th September, 1851, " in full 

possession of all his intellectual powers ;" and a worthy monument to his memory- 
was erected by subscription, soon after his death, in the city of New York. 

I knew also Washington Irving when he had passed his zenith, and was resting 
with his crown of bays pressing on his broad and lofty brow. I found him then, as 
others found him, sleepy in a double sense— physically and intellectually. The time 
was somewhat later than that when Jeffrey (1822) described him as " rather low- 
spirited and ailing in mixed company." He was then the very opposite of the bold 
and energetic man of whom I have just written. 

There are but few other distinguished Americans with whom I have been 
acquainted ; among them, however, I must name Hawthorne — not long ago removed 
from us. He was a handsome man, of good " presence ; " reserved — nay, painfully 
" shy," and apparently utterly unconscious of his status in society. He was, as is 
known, a most estimable gentleman. Those who knew him intimately depose to the 
high qualities of his mind and heart. Generous in all his sympathies, of a nature 
earnestly affectionate, a disposition naturally and emphatically good, he was dearly 
loved and is truly mourned by the widow and children who survive him. 

I knew also N. P. Willis, from whose recollections of English celebrities I have 
frequently had occasion to quote. He was introduced to me by Lady Blessington, 
with a view to his contributing articles for the New Monti ihj ; and several of his 
most valuable papers were published in that magazine. He was but then newly 
arrived in London from a lengthened tour in the East, and soon made his way into 
the best English circles ; for his manners were essentially those of a gentleman, 
though somewhat tainted with what was then called " dandyism; " his person was 
in his favour ; he dressed well, and conversed with much fluency and marked effect ; 
he had seen much, read much, and was a keen observer of men and manners. He is 
one of the men of mark of whom his great country is rightly and justly proud,. 

It is a pleasure to make record of our short acquaintance with that most excellent 
American lady, Mrs. Sigourney. We maintained, however, a close correspondence 
with her during many years. She was a sweet and essentially womanly woman, of 
mild demeanour and very gentle manners ; handsome, too, although she had passed 
the mid-age of life ; and was thoroughly loveable. Those who knew her well bear 
testimony to her many noble qualities. Her mind was of a high order. She saw all 
things with generous 'eyes ; strove — and successfully — to find good in everything ; 
and has left many records that the young especially may study with great profit — 
treading in the footsteps of those who teach much that is right and nothing that is 


T was not my happy destiny to know mucli of Kobert Southey — the man 
of all the men of letters of my time I most revere ; yet it is something 
to have conversed and corresponded with that truly great man, — a lofty 
poet, a sound teacher, a thorough Christian, who, if he never wrote a 
line that " dying he might wish to blot," certainly never penned a 
sentence that was not intended to do good. He was not a Christian 
in theory only ; he practised all the virtues inculcated by the precepts 
and examples of his Divine Master ; and the less assured believer may 
refer to him as one of the many great intellectual lights who had faith 
in the Divinity of the Saviour, and in the Gospel as a direct gift from 
God. Who shall say how much, in the perilous time of prevalent infi- 
delity in which he lived, he dispelled doubts and destroyed scepticism, by exhibiting 
a man who had read and thought extensively and deeply, seeking for truth in 
every occult as well as open source — who was not a missionary by profession, nor 
a teacher of whom instruction was demanded as a duty — declaring implicit belief 
in Christianity, and thus confirming and strengthening thinkers and reasoners com- 
paratively weak in faith ? * 

* Writing to James Montgomery in 1811, he says : — "I have passed through many changes of belief, as is likely 
to be the case with every man of ardent mind who is not gifted with humility ; " adding that Gibbon first struck his 
faith in Christianity, and that he became, "for a time, a Socinian," was then "inclined to try Quakerisni," but 
ended " in clinging to all that Christ has clearly taught, yet shrinking from all attempts at defending, by articles of 
faith, those points which the Gospels have left indefinite." " For many years," he writes at aperiod long afterwaids, 
" my belief has not been clouded with the shadow of a doubt ; " and, still later, "Without hope there can be no 
happiness, and without religion no hope but such as deceives." 

1 86 


I desire to do justice to the memory of this illustrious man, chiefly because he 
was a man of letters hy profession : it was his pride so to proclaim himself. There is 
" a craft," of which he is the chief (I have the honour to be a humble member of it), 
which numbers many thousands, who derive honourable independence solely from 
literary labour; "whose ivays," to borrow a sentence from Southey, " are as 
broad as the Queen's high road, but whose means lie in an inkstand." It cannot 


fail to cheer and encourage all such to consider the career of Kobert Southey ; so 
useful to every class that came under his influence ; at once so high and so humble ; 
so honourable, so independent, so pure; so brave, yet so conciliating; so prudent, 
yet so generous ; so careful of all home duties ; so truly the idol of a household ; so 
just in all his dealings with fellow-men; so rational in the expenditure of time; so 
lavish in distributing good in thought, word, and deed ; so true to man, and so 
faithful to God ! 

The family of Southey was originally — as far back as the poet could trace its 


history — settled at Wellington, in Somersetshire, where their "heads" appear to 
have been small farmers or substantial yeomen. His father was a linen-draper at 
Bristol, where the poet was born on the 12th August, 1774. The house is still 
standing in Wine Street : I have engraved it. It has not undergone much altera- 
tion, except that what was formerly one house is now divided into two. 

Chiefly by the help of a maternal uncle, the Rev. Herbert Hill, Southey was sent, 
in 1788, to Westminster School ; and in 1792 was entered at Balliol College, 
Oxford. His boy-teaching had been obtained at Corston, near Bristol. In 1793 he 
visited the school "when it had ceased to be one," and that visit induced a poem 
entitled " The Retrospect," which shows however much he may have wandered 
from the right road to happiness, the seed of goodness was fructifying in his soul. 
It is dated 1794, and addressed to "Edith," his after wife. These are the con- 
cluding lines : — 

" My path is plain and straight, that light is given, 
Onward in faith, and leave the rest to Heaven." 

In 1836, accompanied by his son Cuthbert, Southey visited his old haunts in 
Bristol, and was entertained by Joseph Cottle, who had published his " Joan of 
Arc," in 1793. He had forgotten nothing — not even a by-way !— in the city of his 
birth. Let us imagine his feelings, so long after the battle had been fought and the 
victory won, and when, by universal accord, he was recognised among the foremost 
men of his age and country. Sixty-two years had passed since his birth, and nearly 
fifty since he had gone out into the world to find the road to fame. He was a way- 
worn, though not a way-wearied, man, for life had been pleasant to him, and he had 
trodden mostly in the paths of peace ; but he had a long career of struggles passed, 
obstacles encountered, and difficulties overcome, to look back upon, as he stood 
before that tradesman's house in Wine Street, and walked among his fellow-citizens, 
few of whom knew the glory he conferred upon their city, and the intell-ectual wealth 
he had acquired— to lavish it on mankind. Probably, in that great capital of com- 
merce, he would have excited more hoBaage if he had been a prosperous sugar-baker ; 
but if that thought had come to him, which we venture to say it did not, it would 
not have kept away the God-given happiness with which he reviewed his past, or 
have lessened his gratitude for the mercy that had kept him active in His service for 

nearly half a century of life. He visited the school-house where he had been 
taught fifty-five years ago. Fifty-five years ago ! His teachers, no doubt, had gone 
home long before, and we are not told that there were any to greet him, in the 
streets or in the houses of magnanimous Bristol ! But we are free in fancy to pic- 
ture the venerable white-headed man wearing his crown of glory, conscious of his 
triumphs, and going back, back — with the pride that God sanctions and approves — 
into the long past. 

He was, in a manner, compelled to leave Westminster, his " crime " being that 
he had written " a sarcastic attack upon corporal punishment," at which the self- 
accused head-master took mortal offence ; and on that ground he was refused admis- 
sion to Christ Church, which thus lost the glory that would have clung to it for all 
time — conferring it on Balliol.-'' 

In 1791, while at College, having made the acquaintance of Coleridge, they 
entered into the Utopian scheme of " Pantisocracy," agreeing to become emigrants to 
the New World; " to purchase land by common contributions, to be cultivated by 
their common labour " — and so forth. However much of thoughtless folly there was 
in the project, it certainly originated in benevolence ; and that it met the earnest 
advocacy of Southey is only evidence of large and genuine love of his kind. For- 
tunately it was abandoned, mainly by the wise advice of good Joseph Cottle, the first 
publisher of Southey, Coleridge, and Wordsworth, to whose volume of " Recollec- 
tions" I have referred in writing of Coleridge. By him " Joan of Arc " was pub- 
lished in 1794. 

Southey was married to Edith Fricker on the 14th November, 1795, at Eedcliff 
Church, Bristol ; her sister having been wedded to the poet Coleridge. It was a 
marriage of pure affection, without a worldly thought, scarcely with a worldly hope ; 
and it endured unbroken and undiminished through a varied and trying lifetime of 
forty-two years. 

In 1801 Coleridge was residing at Greta Hall, close to Keswick, in Cumberland ; 
he described to Southey the attractions of the locality: — "A fairer scene you have 
not seen in all your wanderings " (Southey had but recently returned from Portugal) ; 
and to that house, in 1805, Southey removed. There he dwelt all the remainder of 
his days ; and in the neighbouring churchyard of Crosthwaite he is buried. 

There were a few friends in the neighbourhood— many far off, with whom to 
correspond, with beautiful scenery, the wonderful works of God in rich abundance 
all about him, and a library full of the books he loved — all his own ! 

In 1813, by the death of Pye, the Laureateship became vacant, and the appoint- 
ment was conferred upon Southey, having been, however, previously offered to, and 
declined by, Walter Scott ; and, for the first time, the ofiice, instead of conferring 
dignity, received it from the holder. Southey's successors have been Wordsworth 
and Tennyson. 

* Southey was never " at home" in Oxford. Coleridge, writing to him in 1724, says, " I would say thou art a 
nightingale among owls, but thou art so songless and heavy towards night, that I will rather Uken thee to the 
matin lark ; thy nest is in a blighted corn-field, where the sleepy poppy nods its red-cowled head, and the weak-eyed 
mole plies his dark work ; but thy soaring is ever unto heaven." 


It is needless to give, even in outline, a history of the full life of Southey : its 
main facts are well known ; yet some notes I may offer in prefacing my slight per- 
sonal Memory of the great and good man. His first work, the drama of " Wat 
Tyler," written when he was a mere youth, haunted by visions of imaginary Freedom, 
has been, for more than half a century, a subject of irrational censure ; and because 
he repented him of the evil, he has been branded as a traitor and renegade by men 
who were utterly incapable of comprehending the change that time and reason — and 
surely it is not too much to say Providence — had wrought in the mind and heart of 
the poet. To call Southey a renegade is tantamount to calling the Apostle Paul an 


Byron had "a sort of insane and rabid hatred " of Southey ; but the Laureate 
was an over-match for the chief of " the Satanic school." He " sent a stone from 
his sling that smote the Goliath in the forehead." When in 1817, in the House of 
Commons, William Smith, of Norwich, branded " Wat Tyler " as "the most seditious 
book that ever was written," and its author as a "renegado," Southey addressed to 
him a letter, explaining that the obnoxious poem had been written twenty-three years 
previous to 1817 ; that a copy of it had been surreptitiously obtained, and made 
public by some skulking scoundrel, who had found a bookseller to issue it without the 
writer's knowledge, for the avowed purpose of insulting him, and with the hope of 
doing him injury; that it was "a boyish composition," "full of errors," and 

Southey himself wi'ote, " I should be as much ashamed of having been a Republican as I should of having been 

a child.- 


" miscliievous," written under the influence of opinions long since outgrown and 
repeatedly disclaimed ; that the writer had claimed the book only that it might be 

The "reply" to William Smith was scathing : it is, perhaps, as grand a " defence " 
as the English language can supply — stern, fierce, and desperately bitter, yet manly, 
dignified, and thoroughly teue. There was self-gratulation, but no self-glorification, 
in his reference to " Wat Tyler," — " Happy are they who have no worse sins of their 
youth to rise up in judgment against them," — and when he says of himself, " He has 
not ceased to love Liberty with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his 
strength." It was with a pride not only justifiable, but holy, that in this famous 
letter he said, in future biographies of him it will be recorded that " he lived in the 
bosom of his family, in absolute retirement ; that in all his writings there breathed 
the same abhorrence of oppression and immorality, the same spirit of devotion, and 
the same ardent wishes for the amelioration of ^mankind ; . . . that in an age of per- 
sonality he abstained from satire." \ 

His biographers may say much more than that. Although there is abundant 
evidence of his sacrifices to serve or comfort young aspirants for fame, to draw 
upwards and onwards struggling men of letters who needed help, there is not a tittle 
of proof — there could not be, for it does not exist — of his ever having written a line 
to discourage the deserving. [In a letter to Bernard Barton, Sou they, referring to his 
connection with the Quarterly Review, makes note of " the abuse and calumny he had 
to endure for opinions he did not hold and articles he had not written."] Now that 
every review he ever wrote is known, they may be read to obtain only conviction that he 
was generous as well as just, merciful as well as wise, whenever a work came under 
his hands as a reviewer. " As a writer " (I quote from Coleridge, who knew him so 
well) " he has uniformly made his talents subservient to the best interests of humanity, 
of public virtue, and domestic piety. His cause has ever been the cause of pure religion 
and of liberty, of national independence and national illumination." 

These are, among others, the subjects on which he wrote — advocating religion, 
virtue, the cause of humanity, and the natural rights of man — at a time when 

* Sir W. Scott, writing: to Southey in 1817, refers to William Smith as a " coarse-minded fellow," who 
" deserved all he got." " His attack seems to have proceeded from the vulgar insolence of a low mind desirous of 
attacking genius at a disadvantage." 

+ He indulged, at times, in mild and gentle satire, such as left no festering wound. In Mrs. Hnll's Album he 
wrote the following. I must premise that the autographs of Joseph Buonaparte and Daniel O'Connell occupied the 
" opposite page." On the same page ai'e the autographs of Amelia Opie and Maria Edgeworth : — 

" Birds of a feather flock together, 
But vide the opposite page, 
And thence you may gather I'm not of a feather 
With some of the birds in this cage. 

" EoBKET Southey, ^2nd October, 1836." 

Some years afterwards Charles Dickens, good-humouredly refemng to Southey's change of opinion, wi-ote in the 
Album, immediately under Southey's lines, the following : — 

" Now if I don't make 
The completest mistake 
That ever put man in a rage, 
This bird of two weathers 
Has moulted his feathers. 
And left them in some other cage. 
" Boz." 


envenomed slander was brawling to " cry him down " as a Tory, a Government hack, 
and a hired enemy of freedom : — 

The diffusion of cheap literature of a healthy and harmless kind ; the importance 
of a wholesome training for children in large towns ; the wisdom of encouraging 
female emigration under a well-organised system ; a better order of hospital nurses ; 
the establishment of savings-banks throughout the country ; the abolition of flogging 
in the army and navy ; extensive alterations in the Game Laws ; arguments for 
greatly diminishing the punishment of death ; regulations for lessening the hours of 
labour of children in factories ; the policy of discontinuing interments in crowded 
cities and towns ; the employment of paupers in cultivating waste lands ; proposals 
for increasing facilities for educating the people ;* the wise humanity of Magdalen 
institutions ; against a Puritanical observance of the Sabbath ; advocating judicious 
alterations in the Liturgy. 

Li short, there is hardly a theme of rational reform of which he was not the 
zealous and eloquent advocate. 

These lines were written by Southey in the year 1813, long after he had become, 
by God's mercy, " a renegade :" — 

" Train up thy childi'en, England, in the ways 
Of righteousness, and feed them with the bread 
Of wholesome doctrine. Where hast thou thy mines 

But in their industry % 
Their bulwarks where, but in their breasts ? 

Thy might but in their arms % 
Shall not their numbers, therefore, be thy wealth, 
Thy strength, thy power, thy safety, and thy pride ? 

Oh grief, then, grief and shame, 

If in this flourishing land 
There should be dwellings where the new-born babe 

Doth bring into its parent's soul no joy, 

WTiere squalid poverty 

Receives it at its birth, 

And on her withered knees 
Gives it the scanty food of discontent." 

It was Southey who edited the first collected edition of the poems of Chatterton 
(published 1802), by which the sister and niece of the unhapppy boy obtained £300, 
that " rescued them from great poverty." It was he, too, who, when reviewers were 
hard upon Henry Kirke White, reached out a hand to him struggling amid troubled 
waters, editing his poems, and consecrating his memory after his death. For Herbert 
Knowles, who had written a poem " brimful of power and of promise," he " wanted 
to raise (and did raise) £30 a year," of which " he would himself give £10," to send 
him as a sizar to Oxford. Like unhappy White, however, who died while " life was 
in its prime," Knowles enjoyed the aid but a short time : " the lamp was consumed 
by the fixe that burned in it." So far back as 1809 he wrote encouragement to 
Ebenezer Elhott, saying, "Go on, and you will prosper." The footman, "honest 
John Jones," and the milkmaid, Mary Colling, were not too humble or insignificant 
for his helping praise. Both had that which peers coveted at his hand in vain — 
laudatory reviews in the Qiunterly Review ; and of the poems of each he was the 
" editor," to the profit as well as honour of both. When he dipped his pen in 

* " I want to show how much moral and intellectual improvement is within the reach of those who are made 
more our inferiors than there is any necessity that they should be, to show that they have minds to be enlarged and " 
feelings to be gratified, as well as souls to be saved. 

gall — for, as lie somewhere says, he was not in the habit of diluting his ink — it 
was to assail those he considered equally the foes of God and man. The impetus- 
may be found in the , following passage from one of his " Letters concerning Lord 
Byron : " — 

" The puTjlication of a lascivious book is ore of the worst offences that can be committed 
against the well-being of society. It is a sin to the consequences of wliich no limits can be assigned; 
and those consequences no after repentance in the writer can counteract. Whatever remorse of 
conscience he may feel when his hour comes (imd come it must) will be of no avail. 'I'he poignancy 
of a death-bed repentance cannot cancel one copy of tlie thousands that aie sent abroad; and so 
long as it continues to be read, so long is he the pander of posterity, and so long is he heaping up 
guilt upon his soul in perpetual accumulation." 

Yes, a very large portion of his busy, active, and hard-working life was devoted 
to the cause of benevolence — the whole of it to the advancement of his kind in know- 
ledge, virtue, loyalty, and piety. It was indeed a hard-working life ; yet so regular, 
so methodic, so " systematised," that when one reviews his habits, one ceases to 
wonder at the quantity of labour he " got through."* 

It was to this regularity the world is mainly indebted for the rich and abundant 
legacy he bequeathed to posterity. " Every day, every hour, had its allotted 
employment ;" his son tells us, and he himself describes, the even tenor of his way 
from early morn till night. He was " by profession a man of letters ; " and though 
he found ample leisure for home duties, for the domestic charities that dignify and 
sweeten life, he had none for what is usuaUy callad pleasure. He dared not be idle ; 
for continual and arduous labour only could bring to that home the comforts and 
small luxuries there were so many to share ; not alone of his own immediate family, 
but of near and dear relatives, whose dependence was chiefly, in some cases solely, 
upon the fruits of his toil. 

" My notions of competence," he writes, " do not exceed £300 a year." Earlier 
than that, in 1808, we find him rejoicing that "the £200 a year which is necessarj'- 
for mj^ expenditure is within my reach." In that year, writing to Cottle, he says : 
" The very money with which I bought my wedding-ring and paid my marriage fees 
was supplied by you ;" and he adds, " There lives not the man upon earth whom I 
remember with more gratitude, or more affection." 

The income he derived from his post of Poet-Laureate he devoted to effect an 
insurance on his life. Indeed, at no period of his career was his income so large as 
that of a first-class banker's clerk; yet he was often described as " rich," and once, 
at least, as "rolling in riches unworthily obtained."! He was a spendthrift only in 
books — the tools without which he could do no work : among them he lived. De 

* Some idea of his early industi-y in verse -making may be formed from the fact, that in 1793, he burned ten 
thousand verses, preserved about the same number, and put aside fifteen thousand as " worthless," excluding 
letters, many of which were written in rhyme. " Time has been when I have written iifty, eighty, one hundred 
lines before breakfast, and I remember to have composed twelve hundred (many of them the best I ever did produce) 
in a week." — Southey in a letter to Montgomery. 

+ From a letter (inedited) to Miss Seaward, I quote the following passage :— " Your estimate of the value of 
my copyrights moved me to a doleful smile . I sold the copyright of ' Joan of Arc ' for fifty guineas and fifty copies . 
I sold the edition of 'Thalaba' for £115, and the edition hangs on hand. The fate of ' Madoo ' vou know. No 
bookseller would give me £500, nor half the sum, for the best poem which it is in my power to produce. Constable 
would not even make me an offer for ' Kehama,' when, in return to his overture (which proved to relate to his 
Review^ I asked him. through Scott, what he would give for it. It is only Scott who can get his thousands. He 
has got the goose. My swan's eggs are not golden ones. Now that looks like a sarcasm, and it belies me in 
looking so." 


Quincey calls his library "his wife:" it was, at all events, there his time was spent. 
"They are on actual service," he writes. They were books, not for show, but for 
use ; acquired by degrees, as his means enabled him to procure them : gradually 
they multiplied, until they numbered 14,000 volumes. With them he dwelt, " living 
in the past," and " conversing with the dead." In one of his Colloquies he gives a 
few interesting notes as to the sources from which some of them came : from monas- 
teries and colleges that had been ransacked, many; from the old bookstalls, where 
he haunted, others ; while some were the welcome gifts of cherished friends. Again 
they have been dispersed ; but they had done their work. " Wherever they go," he 
writes, " there is not one among them that will ever be more comfortably lodged, or 
more highly prized by its possessor." Yes, they had done their work ; the proof is 
this : he published nearly one hundred volumes, original and edited, and upwards of 
two hundred articles contributed to the Quarterlij and other reviews. He had, as 
one of his friends writes, " enjoyment in all books whatsoever that were not morally 
tainted or absolutely barren." He read with amazing rapidity, and saw at a glance 
over a page where was the grain and where the chaff. 

" Here," he exclaims, " I possess those gathered treasures of time, the harvest of 
so many generations, laid up in my garners ; and when I go to the windows, there is 
the lake, and there the circle of the mountains, and the illimitable sky ! " 

The pure and lofty- — -nay, the " holy " character of Southey may be judged from 
his works ; but if other testimony be needed, there is ample — not alone from friends, 
but from foes. " In all the relations and charities of private life," writes Hazlitt, 
who was in many ways his adversary, " he is correct, exemplary, generous, just." 
William Howitt — who by no means takes a generous view of his works, their motives 
and their uses — deposes to his " many virtues and the peculiar amiability of his 
domestic life." Lamb, after his unmeaning quarrel with him, is made happy by the 
tenderness with which the high-souled Laureate sought reconciliation ; the essayist 
writing, " Think of me as of a dog that went mad and bit you." The political bias 
of Thackeray was the opposite to that of Southey ; yet this is the testimony of the 
author of " The Four Georges " to the Poet Laureate of George IV. : — " An English 
worthy ; doing his duty for fifty noble years of labour ; day by day storing up learn- 
ing ; day by day working for scant wages ; most charitable out of his small means ; 
bravely faithful to the calling he had chosen ; refusing to turn from his path for 
popular praise or prince's favour. I hope his life will not be forgotten, for it is 
sublime in its simplicity, its energy, its honour, its affection." 

I offer no comments on either the poetry or prose of Southey ; I assume both to 
be sufiiciently known to my readers. Indeed, generally in these " Memories " I 
adopt that plan. Others have shown, and others may yet show, the purity of his 
style. No author, living or dead, drank more exclusively from " the pure well of 
English undefiled," and no student of " English " can drink from a better source than 
the writings of Southey.* 

* In a MS. note of Ltetitia Landon concerning Southey I find this remark :— " There is something in Southey's 
genius that always gives me fin idea of the Alhambra. There is the grand proportion and the fantastic o]n?ment 
The setting of his verses is like a rich arabesque ; it is fretted gold. The Oriental magnificence of his longer 



I may, however, quote this passage from a letter written to me by Walter Savage 
Landor : — 

" Of late years the prose of Southey has been preferred to his poetry. It rarely happens that 
there is a preference without a disparagement. No poet in the present or the past century has 
■written three such poems as ' Thalaba,' 'Kehama,', and ' Roderick.' Others have more excelled in 
DELINEATING what they find before them in life, but none have given such proofs of extraordinary 
power of CREATING. He has been called diffuse, because there is a spaciousness and amplitude 
about his poetry, as if concentration was the highest quality of the writer. He lays all his thoughts 
before us, but they never rush forth tumultuously. He excels in unity of design and congruity of 
character; and never did poet more adequately express heroic fortitude and generous affection. 
He has not, however, limited his pen to grand paintings of epic character. Among his shorter 
productions will be found some light and graceful sketches, full of beauty and feeling, and not the 
less valuable because they invariably aim at promoting virtue." 

That he had many and bitter foes is certain. No doubt they disturbed him 
much; but "the conscience void of offence "justified his repeated declaration that 
they took little from his peace and happiness, and affected him no more than a pebble 
could a stone wall. It is, I think, Coleridge who says, " Future critics will have to 
record that quacks in education, quacks in politics, and quacks in criticism were his 
only enemies." 

I quote his own lines : — 

" We soon live down 
Evil or good report, when undeserved." 

The earliest testimony to his moral and intellectual worth is that of the publisher 
Cottle ; yet this of Coleridge may have been even earlier : — " It is Southey's almost 
unexampled felicity to possess the best gifts of talents and genius free from all their 
characteristic defects." He deposes also to the poet's matchless industry and per- 
severance in his pursuits, and the worthiness and dignity of those pursuits ; to the 
methodical tenor of his daily labours, which might be envied even by the mere man 
of business ; the dignified simplicity of his manners ; the spring and healthful cheer- 
fulness of his spirits. As " son, brother, husband, father, master, friend, he moves 
with firm, yet light steps, alike unostentatious and alike exemplary;" and in one of 
his letters to Southey of a later date he writes, — " God knows my heart. I am 
delighted to feel you as superior to me in genius as in virtue." 

I might quote such testimonies in abundance, but another will suffice. It is that 
of one who knew him as intimately, and had studied him as closely, as his friend 
Coleridge — the poet Wordsworth. These lines, written after Southey's death, are 
inscribed on his monument : — 

" Whether he traced historic truth, with zeal 
For the State's guidance, or the Chiu-ch's weal, 
Or Fancy, disciplined by studious art. 
Informed his pen, or wisdom of the heart, 
Or judgment sanctioned in the Patriot's mind 
By reverence for the rights of all mankind, 
Wide were liis aims, yet in no human breast 
Could private feelings meet for holier rest." 

poems— such as ' Thalaba ' — is singularly contrasted with the quaint simplicity of his minor poems. They give the 
idea of innocent yet intelligent children, yet almost startle you with the depth of knowledge that a simple truth 
may convey." Some one said of his " style," it was "proper words in proper places." 

Thus Lamb writes to Southey : — " The antiquarian spirit strong in you, and gracefully blending even with 
the religious, may have been sown in you among those wrecks of splendid mortality "—the dim aisles and cloisters 
of the old abbey at Westminster. 


I may add, perhaps, that of one other dear friend and true lover — the author of 
" Philip Van Artevelde : " — 

" That heart, the simplest, gentlest, kindliest, best, 
Where truth and manly tenderness are met. 
With faith and heavenward hope, the suns that never set." 

The earliest description of his person is that of his friend, the Bristol publisher, 
Cottle. The youth, as he pictures him, was "tall, dignified, an eye piercing; a 
countenance full of genius, kindliness, and innocence ; possessing great suavity of 
manners." * His height was five feet eleven inches. " His forehead was very broad ; 
his complexion rather dark ; the eyebrows large and arched ; the eye well shaped, 
and dark brown ; the mouth somewhat prominent, muscular, and very variously 
expressive; the chin small in proportion to the upper features of the face." So 
writes his son, who adds that " many thought him a handsomer man in age than in 
youth," when his hair had become white, continuing abundant, and flowing in thick 
curls over his brow. Byron, who saw him but twice, — once at Holland House, and 
once at one of Rogers' breakfasts, — said, " To have that man's head and shoulders, 
I would almost have written his sapphics." That was in 1813, when Southey was 
in his prime. Hazlitt thus pictures him: — "Southey, as I remember him, had a 
hectic flush upon his cheek, a roving fire in his eye, a falcon glance, a look at once 
aspiring and dejected." Other authors write of him in similar terms — all describing 
him as of refined yet manly beauty of person, f 

To his habits I have made some reference. Cottle says of him when a youth, — 
" His regular habits scarcely rendered it a virtue in him never to fail in an engage- 
ment." Thus wrote De Quincey long afterwards: — " So prudently regular was 
Southey in all his habits, that all letters were answered in the evening of the day that 
brought them." " Study," Hazlitt says, " serves him for business, exercise, recrea- 
tion." Not quite so, for he was a good walker, " walking twenty miles at a stretch." 
It was thus he made acquaintance not only with the mountains and lakes, but with 
the hills, and dales, and crags, and streams of the wild district in which he dwelt. 

* There is a portrait of Southey engraved in Cottle's " Reminiscences, " picturing him with long hair, " curling 
beautifully," the hair which he declined to submit to the shears and powder of the barber at Oxford, to the bai-ber's 
intense disgust. 

t Tn a pleasant rambling epistle, in rhjone, to Allan Cunningham, and published by Allan in the Anniversary, 
of which he was the editor, Southey treats of the various portraits that had been painted of him. Of most of them 
he complained — 

" They 
Who put one's name, for public sale, beneath 
A set of features slanderously unlike, 
Are our worst libellers." 

He showed to Allan such an array of "villainous visages" as would sufiSoe to make him, in " mere shame," take 
up an alias, and forswear himself. First was " a dainty gentleman," with sleepy eyes, half closed, "saucy and 
sentimental ;" next, " a jovial landlord," whose cheeks had been engrained by many a pipe of Porto's vintage; 
next, a leaden-visaged specimen of one in the evangelical line ; next, one sent from Germany by the Brothers: 
Schumann ; he wished them no worse misfortune for their recompense 

" Than to fall in with such a cut-throat face 
In the black forest of the Odenwald." 

He owned "Sir Smug," and recognised the likeness when " at the looking-glass " he stood "with razor-weaponed 
hand ; " but next saw himself so pictured as if on trial at the Old Bailey, when 

" that he is guilty 
No judge or jury could have half a doubt." 

Notwithstanding, however, these " complaints," he was often " well and l-ruly " painted. The best portrait of him, 
probably, is that by Laurence, which has been of.en engraved, and of which my woodcut is a copy. 

o 2 




He did not often, as Wordsworth, did, sound their praises in verse, but he had as full 
a capacity for enjoying the beaut'ies of nature — the more so because he ever looked 
from nature up to nature's God. 

His manner seemed to me to be peculiarly gentle. William Hazlitt has complained 
that " there was an air of condescension in his civility." To him, perhaps, there was, 
for he neither respected the writer nor Hked the man ; but De Quincey also writes, — 
" There was an air of reserve and distance about him — the reserve of a lofty, relf- 
respecting mind — perhaps a little too freezing, in his treatment of all persons who 
were not amongst the coriia of his ancient fireside friends." But he adds, " For 
honour the most delicate, for integrity the firmest, and for generosity within the limits 
of prudence, Southey cannot well have a superior." He writes also " of his health 
so regular, and cheerfulness so uniformly serene ; " and adds that " his golden equa- 
nimity was bound up in a threefold chain — in a conscience clear of offence, in the 
recurring enjoyments from his honourable industry, and in the gratification of his 
parental affections." 

Southey was " constitutionally cheerful, and therefore hopeful." In a letter to 
James Montgomery he thus writes :— " Oh that I could impart to you a portion of 
that animal cheerfulness which I would not exchange for the richest earthly inheri- 
tance ! For me, when those whom I love cause me no sad anxiety, the skylark on a 
summer morning is not more joyous than I am ; and if I had wings on my shoulders, 
I should be up with him in the sunshine carolling for pure joy." 

" A cheerful life is what the Mnses love, 
A soanng spirit is their prime delight." 

His rehgion was practical. In his calm solitude, amid a quiet and contented 
peasantry, few cases of grief and misery came in his way, and he was ever too busy 
a man to seek them ; but there were many pensioners on his small income ; some 
who had rights, others who had none. This is one of his very few references to the 
subject :— " It is my fate to have more claimants upon me than usually fall to the 
share of a man who has a family of his own."' Only once in his life was he able to 
say he had a year's sufficient income " in advance." Yet he writes, " On the whole, 
few men have had more reason to be thankful for blessings enjoyed." 

Although he said of himself — 

" Thus, in the ages which are past I live, 
And those which are to come my sure reward will give "— 

anticipated honours were not the only ones he enjoyed, albeit he was so wise as 
uniformly to decline the political and social distinctions that were offered him. In 
1826, during his absence in Hohand, he was elected member for the borough of 
Downtou by the influence of Lord Kadnor ; that honour he declined, as consistent 
neither with his circumstances, inclinations, habits, nor pursuits in life. Moreover, 
the return was null, inasmuch as he held a pension of £200 a year "during pleasure," 
and was without a " qualification." The latter objection would have been removed 
by a subscription of admirers and friends to purchase for him the requisite " estate ; " 
but other objections retained their force. Robert Southey, therefore, continued to be 
" Robert Lackland," and a new writ was moved for. 


In 1835 (the letter is dated February 1st) Sir Robert Peel communicated to 
Southey thus: — "I have advised the king to adorn the distinction of baronetage 
with a name the most eminent in literature, and v^hich has claims to respect and 
honour that literature alone can never confer." And in a second letter Sir Robert 
alludes to the eminent services he had rendered not only to literature, but to the 
higher interests of virtue and religion. 

That honour Southey also declined, having, however, first communicated with his 
son, and found the opinions and feelings of that son in entire harmony with his own. 
" I am writing," he said, " for a livelihood, and a livelihood is all I have gained." 
Incessant work "enabled him to live respectably, nothing more:" "without his 
pension," he says, " it would not have done even that." 

Walter Scott, in a letter to Southey, entreats him to take warning and not over- 
ivork himself. How frequently is this counsel given, where only daily toil produces 
daily bread ! Few worked harder than Scott, and noae harder than Southey. To 
Southey, however, mental labour was an absolute necessity ; a year of illness such as 
most men have to suffer during life would have inevitably brought that which most of 
all things terrified him — debt. Of course he "overworked" himself; of course we 
all do, whose incomes are precarious, determined not only by the fancy of the pubhc, 
but by a score of circumstances, on any one of which depends life — the bfe of the 
"man of letters by profession." The caution, "Do not overwork yourself," to such 
men is something like the prescription of port wine daily to an artisan whose wages 
are twenty shillings a week. 

The prime minister, however, had the happiness to augment his pension to £500 
a year. That independence came somewhat late ; it was the sunshine when the day 
was closing in, but it dispelled the clouds that otherwise would have darkened its 
decline. He had passed his sixtieth year, having known but one great sorrow, the 
loss of his darling son, Herbert : 

" In whose life I lived, in wliom I saw 
My better part transmitted and improved." 

The " common lot" had been his, but troubles were now gathering with age. In 
1834 his beloved wife was placed in a lunatic asylum, in the vain hope that her 
restoration might be surer there than at home. It had pleased God to visit him with 
the " severest of all domestic afflictions, those alone excepted into which guilt enters." 
He seldom afterwards quitted the retirement in which he lived at Greta Hall. 

In November, 1837, his wife, Edith Southey, died. It was, as he writes to his 
old friend Cottle, " a change from life to death, from death to life." " While she was 
with me I did not feel the weight of years ; my heart continued young, and my spirits 
retained their youthful buoyancy." " We have been married two-and-forty years, 
and a more affectionate and devoted wife no man was ever blessed with." "After 
two-and-forty years of marriage, no infant was ever more void of offence towards God 
and man. I never knew her to do an unkind act, nor say an unkind word." His 
wife was his " note-taker ; " her pen had been his ever-ready help before her daughters 
grew up to aid him. She made extracts for him ; and therefore he writes, in a letter 


after her death, — " She will continue to be my helpmate as long as I live and retain 
my senses." *' 

Two years afterwards, when his threshold rarely echoed familiar footsteps, when 
his children and friends had gradually departed for homes on earth or homes in 
heaven, he resolved on marrying his very dear friend, Caroline Anne Bowles. They 
were married on the 5th of June, 1839, at Boldre Church, and he returned to Greta 
Hall with her in the August following, f 

She came to his home when it was all but desolate ; when his vigour had 
declined ; when he could no more take the long walks that gave him health and 
strength ; when his mind was clouded, and when his days could be but few ; when 
he was indeed " shaken at the root." 

I knew Caroline Bowles before she became the wife of Southey. She had long 
passed the middle age, was not handsome, though with a very gentle manner and 
gracious countenance ; a loveable, because a good, woman. Her books, though now 
seldom read, are not forgotten. She was worthy to be the companion, the friend, 
the wife, of Robert Southey. She has been silent as to his latter days ; but it is 
certain, from the pious nature of her mind, that she led him onward towards the 
celestial city to which he was hastening. 

" No sacrifice," writes one of the friends of Caroline Bowles (in a contribution to 
the Athenmim), "could have been greater than the one she was induced to make. 
It can be placed beyond all doubt that she was fully prepared for the distressing 
calamity which impended over both. . . . She consented to unite herself to him, 
with a sure prevision of the awful condition of mind to which he would shortly be 
reduced, from the purest motive that could actuate a woman in forming such a con- 
nection — namely, the faint hope that her devotedness might enable her, if not to 
avert the catastrophe, to acquire at least a legal title to minister to the sufferer's 
comforts, and watch over the few sad years of existence that might remain to him." 

That was indeed true heroism. Her high and holy purpose was accomplished ; 
and we may be very sure she had her reward. 

* It was at that time of trial he quoted a passage from " some old author : " — " Bemember, under any affliction 
that Time is short, and that although your cross may be heavy, you have not far to bear it." 

■i- " We have been acquainted more than twenty years, and that acquaintance was matured into friendship, 
at a time when no possibUHy that it might ever proceed farther could have been looked to on either pai-t. I am in 
my sixty- fifth year, Caroline Bowles in her fifty-second year. I shall have for my constant companion one who will 
render my fireside cheerful, and save me fi-om that forlorn feeling against which even my spirits, buoyant as they 
are by constitution, might not always have been able to bear me up." Southey, so long ago as the 21st Februaiy, 
1829, prefaced his poem of " All for Love " with a tender address, that is now, perhaps, worth reprinting :— 

" To Caroline Bowles. 

" Could I look forward to a distant day, 
With hope of building some elaborate lay, 
Then would I wait till worthier strains of mine, 
Might have inscribed thy name, O Caroline ! 
For I would, while my voice is heard on earth, 
Bear witness to thy genius and thy worth. 
But we have been both taught to feel with fear 
How frail the tenure of existence here ; 
What unforeseen calamities prevent, 
Alas ! how oft, the best resolved intent ; 
And, therefore, this poor volume I address 
To thee, dear friend and sister poetess ! 


"Keswick, Feh. 21,1829." 


I have preserved a letter from Caroline Bowles to Mrs. Hall, dated July 2, 1830, 
■which contains passages that may illustrate her character : — 

" At present the little energy restored by partial restoration to health is all in requisition to 
answer claims of this ' worlc-a-day world' ■which may not be pat otf till a more convenient 
season ; and, then, I must confess, that when I can command my own time, and a gleam of sun- 
shine is vouchsafed to us, I am more restless within walls than a squirrel in his cage, and grudge 
every moment not spent in the garden, or in a little open carriage, or on the back of a certain 
palfrey, Miniken yclept, whose diminutive proportions would just fit him for a charger to Queen 
Mab, and who seems to have as much taste for scrambling with me over hill, dale, and common, 
as if he was still roaming his native isle. Judge by this very uncallcd-ioT history of my ww-literary 
pursuits and rambling propensities whether I cannot sympathise with your longing for green fields 
and babbling brooks. . . . T might well expect to be foigotten, except by the few who love me 
for myself, and expect no return but of afi'eclion."* 

The "enemy" — so Death is wrongfully called — was creeping towards him. 
" His movements were slower ; he was subject to frequent fits of absence ; there was 
an indecision in his manner, and an unsteadiness in his step, wholly unusual to him." 
" He sometimes lost his way even in familiar places ; " "in some of the last notes he 
wrote, the letters were formed like those of a child." "His mind," writes one of 
his friends, "was beautiful even in its debility ;" the river was not turbulent as it 
joined the ocean. In 1840 Wordsworth describes a visit to his old friend of half a 
century : — " He did not recognise me till he was told. Then his eyes flashed for a 
moment with their former brightness, but he sank into the state in which I found 
him, patting with both hands his books affectionately like a child." 

In the malady of his departed wife he had learned what a woeful thing it is 

" When the poor flesh surviving doth entomb 
The reasonahle soul ;". 

and not long afterwards he was doomed himself to feel that terrible afHiction. 

It was a sad sight to see the aged and venerable man " shaken at the root," 
" irritable as he had never been before," " losing his way in well-known places," bis 
form thin and shrunk, the fire gone from his eyes, or shining dimly as a light going 
out, and the bright intelligence fading from the still fine features; growing worse and 
worse, with brief intervals of consciousness, during which, with " placid languor," 
sometimes, apparently, torpor, he hopelessly and helplessly saw the shadow approach ; 
still "mechanically" moving about his books, taking down one and then another, 
looking upon them with relics of old love, and mournfully murmuring as he put them 


" Memory, memory, where art thou gone \ " 

So passed the last three or four years of his life, giving the clearest proof that he 
could do nothing, because nothing was done. There had been no sudden shock, no 
bodily ailment ; the mind was simply worn out by the wear and tear of life — fifty 
years of labour, as "by profession a man of letters ! " 

On the 21st of March, 1843, he died, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, " in sure 
and certain hope of a glorious resurrection." 

* In 1852 Caroline Southey received one of the Crown pensions— £200 a year — "in consideration of her late 
husband's eminent literary merits ;" and in 1861 Miss Kate Southey received a pension — £100 a year — " on account 
of the important services rendered by her father to English literature." Mrs. Southey died in 1854. 



On the 23rd of March, 1843, he was buried in the churchyard of Crosthwaite, 
where his wife Edith, four of his children, and several of his dear household, rela- 
tives and friends, had been, or have since been, laid. The tombstone contains their 
names, the dates of their births and deaths — no more.* Here " the dead speak, and 
give admonition to the living." His funeral was private. Except the members of 
his family, there were but two strangers. A white-headed man, older by four years 
than the departed, walked over the mountains that gloomy and stormy day, to offer 
a last tribute of affection on his grave ; it was the venerable poet, William Words- 
worth, who leaned upon the arm of his son-in-law, Quillinan — a most estimable 


gentleman and true poet, who survived but a short time his illustrious father-in-law. 
It was told to me, by one who was present, that as the solemn words were uttered, 
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," a ray of unlooked-for sunshine suddenly fell upon the 
grave; the rain ceased, the wind lulled, and at the instant, two small bhds sung 
from an adjacent tree. In a poem entitled " The Funeral of Southey," written by 

* The family have all passed away from Kesvriok ; and only memory and these churchyard graves remain to 
preserve, as they veill do for ever, the renowned name in that most beautiful district. Katherine Southey, who was 
horn at Greta Hall, died at Lairthwaite Cottage, Keswick, on the 12th of August, 1864, and was laid by the side of 
her kindred. She was aged fifty-four. Her aunt, Mrs. Lovell (one of the three sisters, Mrs. Coleridge and Mrs. 
Southey being the others), died there but a few years previously, at the patriarchal age of ninety-one, having been 
a vndow sixty-six years, and nearly all that time a cherished inmate in the dwelling of the Laui'eate, and, after his 
death, in that of his daughter Katherine. 


Mr. Quillinan, he notices this, which we may accept as a striking and most interest- 
ing fact : — 

" Heedless of the driving rain, 
Fearless of the mourning train, 
Perched upon the tremhling stem, 
They sung the Poet's requiem." 

Posthumous honours were accorded to the poet. There is a bust in the Poets' 
Corner of Westminster Abbey, and another in the cathedral of the city whose chiefest 
glory it is — or ought to be — that Bristol was his place of birth. 

"A simple slab marks where his ashes lie, 

Fast by the church ; while, from the sculptor's art, 
Within the aisle his semblance meets the eye ; 
The marble sleeper makes the stranger start." 


\7 y 


The monument in Crosthwaite Church is a fine and very beautiful achievement of 
sculptured art : a recumbent figure, in pure white marble, without a spot ; and the 
sculptor. Lough, by a happy inspiration, has preserved, with singular fidelity, the 
features and expression of the poet,* as he describes him in placid and tranquil 
sleep. On the base are inscribed the lines by Wordsworth I have elsewhere quoted. 
Two of his own might also be placed there : he 

" teacheth in his songs 
The love of all things lovely, all things pure." 

* It ought to be recorded that the commission fo the sculptor was for a work in Caen stone ; but Mr. Lough (so , 
writes the poet's son), " with characteristic liberality, executed it in white marble at a considerable sacrifice." 



The sculptor, John Graham Lough, claims from me a few words of memory : he 
died, at a good old age, in April, 1876. Born, at the end of the last century, of humble 
parents, and with little aid beyond his own perseverance, energy, and ability, to 
achieve success, he raised himself to a very honourable position as a sculptor, though 
he may not have quite realised the expectations the painter Haydon entertained of 
his genius, and which he recorded in his " Life." Mr. Lough was the son of a small 
farmer liviug at Greenhead, near Hexham, Northumberland, and, when a boy, is 
said " to have foHowed the plough, and sheared the corn." But even then he showed 
a taste for drawing, and yet more for modelling, " always making figures in clay with 
his hands," as he himself told Haydon. He enjoyed large patronage from the com- 
mencement of his career to its close. 

In private life no artist has been more largely esteemed and respected. His per- 
sonal friends were numerous, including many of the most renowned men and women 
of the age in science, art, and letters. There frequently assembled at his house per- 
sons not only high in rank, but renowned for intellectual and social worth ; their 
regard for the man was great, as was their admiration of his genius as an artist. He was 
estimable in all the relations of life ; he was essentially in manner, as well as in mind, 
a gentleman ; his many acquaintances were all personal friends : and few men have 
lived who will be more regretted by a very large circle. His widow, a sister of the 
distinguished surgeon, Sir James Paget, survives him ; but he leaves no son to 
inherit his name and his honours. A more estimable gentleman has rarely graced 
the annals of art. 

I have intimated that my personal memory of the great and good man — Robert 
Southey — who was so "lovely in his life "-^is but limited. I knew him only in 
London, in 1830, when he was in the wane of life, yet not older than fifty-six ; even 
then he had been forty years, or very nearly so, an author — living " laborioils days " 
from his youth upwards. I met him more than once at the house of Allan Cunning- 
ham, whom he cordially greets in one of his poems, — 

"Allan, true child of Scotland, thou who art 
So oft in spirit on thy native hills." 

Though I can add nothing of worth to the portrait I have given, I may recall 
him as he appeared to me. He was the very heau ideal of a poet — singularly impressive, 
tall, somewhat slight, slow in his movements, and very dignified in manner, with the 
eye of an hawk, and with sharp features, and an aquiline nose, that carried the 
similitude somewhat further. His forehead was broad and high, his eyebrows dark, 
his hair profuse and long, rapidly approaching white. I can see vividly, even now, 
his graceful and winning smile. To the commonest observer he was obviously a 
man who had lived more with books than men, whose converse had chiefly been with 
"the mighty minds of old," whose "days," whose "thoughts," whose "hopes," 
were, as he tells us they Avere, " with the dead." 

In the few and brief conversations I had with him, he impressed me — as, indeed, 
he did every person who was, even for an hour, in his company — with the conviction 
that he elevated the profession of letters not only by knowledge acquired and distri- 
buted, not alone by the wisdom of his career and the integrity of his life, but by 



manners unassuming and unexacting, and by a condescending gentleness of demeanour 
that, if not humility in the common sense of the term, arose out of generous con- 
sideration and large charity. 

Not long ago I made a pilgrimage to the house in which Southey lived, and to 
the grave in v^hich he is buried. I had for my pleasant and profitable companion [to 
his graceful pencil I am chiefly indebted for the illustrations that accompany this 
Memory] the artist Jacob Thompson, who knew the poet, and knew also his neighbour, 

Greta Hall, for nearly half a century his residence — his " loophole of retreat " — 
stands on a slight elevation above the river Greta, and close to its confluence with 
the Derwent.* From a picturesque bridge — Greta Bridge — a view of the house is 


obtained. It was originally two houses, converted by the poet into one. It consists 
of many rooms, all small, except what was the poet's library— his library in chief, 
that is to say, for every apartment was lined with books. " Books," writes Words- 
worth, "were his passion :" — "Books were his passion, as imndering was mine ; " 
and, he adds, circumstances might have made the one a Benedictine monk, in whose 
monastery was a library, and the other a pedlar, such as he describes his "Wanderer" 
to have been. Adjoining it is the chamber in which he died, or rather, in which his 
spirit was released from its earthly tabernacle, to companion the angels and pure 

* The river Derwent connects the two lakes— Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite. 
and together they make their way into the lake (Bassenthwaite). 

The Greta joins the Derweut, 



spirits who had gone before, and to be with the Master he had long served. He 
there had, to borrow a line from his friend Coleridge, 

" Found life in death." 

A garden surrounds the house ; there is a sloping lawn in front ; and immediately 
facing the entrance are two " narrow-leaved " maple-trees, planted by the poet. Let 
us hope that no thoughtless or heedless hand will ever remove them. Behind is a 
thick growth of shrubs and underwood, leading down to an embrasure of the river ; 
along the bank is the Poet's Walk, at the end of which was a seat beneath an elm- 
tree, where he often sat looking across the stream upon the ruins of an ancient friary 
(now a barn) and the mountains of old Skiddaw and Blencathra. 

La front of the house, however, the grandest view is obtained. It commands 
Derwentwater (the loveliest of all the English lakes : " I would not," writes Southey, 
" exchange Derwentwater for the Lake of Geneva "), on which look down the loftiest 
and the most picturesque of the mountains of Cumberland. From every one of the 
windows there is a glorious prospect. Within ken is the " gorgeous confusion of 
Borrowdale, just revealing its sublime chaos through the narrow vista of its gorge." 
There is bleak Skiddaw, with " its fine black head," that extorted a compliment even 
from London-loving Charles Lamb. There is Souter Fell, where ghosts have been 
seen in troops in the broad light of day. There is the Druids' Temple, little more 
than a mile from Keswick, at the foot of Saddleback, — old Blencathra, — near the 
entrance to St, John's Vale, the stones of which " no person can count with a like 
result as to number." There is Derwentwater, seen from so many points, with its 
traditions of the young lord who was " out in the fifteen," and died on a scafibld on 
Tower Hill. You may ascend the " Lady's Kake," up which his lady fled for shelter ; 
and if you listen calmly, you may hear the distant fall of Lodore. From his window 
he saw, as he wrote, not only Derwent, " that under the hills reposed," but other 
views that were to him " perpetual benedictions." Thus he describes some of 
them : — 

" 'Twas at that sober honr when the light of day is receding, 
And from surrounding things the hues wherewith day has adorned them 
Fade like the hopes of youth till the beauty of youth is departed : 
Pensive, though not in thought, I stood at the window beholding 
Mountain and lake and vale ; tlie valley disrobed of its verdui'e ; 
Derwent retaining yet from eve a glassy reflection, 
Where his expanded breast, then still and smooth as a miiTor, 
Under the woods reposed ; the hills that, calm and majestic, 
Lifted their heads into the silent sky, from far Glaramara, 
Bleacrag, and Maidenmawr, to Griesdale and westernmost Wythrop ; 
Dark and distinct they rose. The clouds had gathered above them, 
High in the middle air huge pui-ple pOlo-wy masses, 
While in the west beyond was the last pale tint of the twilight. 
Green as the stream m the glen, whose pure and chrysolite waters 
Flow o'er a schistous bed, and serene as the age of the righteous. 
Earth was hush'd and still : all motion and sound were suspended; 
Neither man was heard, bird, beast, nor humming of insect- 
Only the voice of the Greta, heard only when all is in stillness." 

I borrow a description of the adjacent scenery from William Howitt's excellent 

and interesting volumes — "Homes and Haunts of the most Eminent British 

Poets : " — 

" The situation of Southey's house, faking all into consideration, is exceeded b}"^ few in England. 
It is agreeably dibtaut from the road and the little town, and stands in a fine open valley sur- 



rounded ty hills of the noWest and most diversified character. From your stand on the Greta 
Bridge, looking oyer the house, your eye falls on the group of mountains behind it. The lofty hill 
of Latrig lifts its steep green back, with its larch plantations clothing one edge, and scatteied in 
groups over the other. Stretching away to the left, rise the still loftier range and gaunt masses 
of Skiddaw, with its intervening dells and ravines, and summits often lost in their canopy of 
shadowy clouds. Between the feet of Skiddaw and Greta Bridge lie pleasant knolls and fields, 
with scattered villas and cottages and Crosthwaite Church. On your right hand is the town, and 
behind it green swelling fields again, and the more distant inclosing chain ot hills. If you then 
turn your back on the house and view the scene which is presented from the house, you find your- 
self in the presence of the river, hurrying away towaids the assemblage of beautifully- varied 
mountains which encompass magnificently the Lake of Derwent water." 

Yes, South ey perhaps as fully as "Wordsworth enjoyed the beautiful and glorious 
scenery of "the English lakes." The one wrote much concerning them; the other 


said little about them in verse ; but who can doubt that they influenced the mind, 
heart, and soul of the one as fully as they did the mhid, heart, and soul of the 
other ? 

The two poets, and others who were their associates in this locality, have added 
deep interest to the charms it derives from nature ; and for all time the places they 
have commemorated will be "delights" to all visitors who dwell even for a day 
among the mountains and rivers, the hills and dells, of Westmoreland. 

The walks that were familiar to the poet were in all directious ; some at a distance 

from his home. He walked ever with his head raised, thrown back somewhat, looking 
upwards, and was rarely seen without a book in his hand.* Of these walks, his 
favourite was to "The Friars' Crag," or Walk, — a promontory that overhangs Der- 
wentwater, a short way from Keswick. It was of this spot he said, — " If I had 
Aladdin's lamp, or Fortunatus's purse, I would here build myself a house." The 

^>,»^ cM:'i. 


erag which I have pictured — is said to have derived its name from the monks of 

Lindisfarn coming to it once a year to receive the blessing of St. Herbert. The view 
hence is very lovely. Close to the foot of the crag the rocks are washed by the 

* James Hogg, -writing of Southey, says :— " Deep thought is strongly marked in his dark eye ; but there is a 
defect in his eveli'ds for these he has no power of raising, so that when he looks towards the top of one of his 
romnn'ic mountains,' one would think he was looking at the zenith." Although he adds, " Tliis peculiarity is what 
will most strike eveiy stranger in the appearance of the accomplished Laureate," I do not find the " defect " referred 
to by any other writer ; and certainly did not observe it myself. 



waters of tlie lake, tlae whole expanse of which is seen, with its picturesque islands. 
On the right the eye takes in the sunny slopes of " the Catbells " — scarcely to be 
called mountains when compared with mighty Scafell in the distance — while beneath 
them lies the fairest of all the islands, the island dedicated to St. Herbert, f 

At the head of the lake, standing like a sentinel guarding the entrance to Borrow- 
dale, is Castle Crag, and on its left lies the beautiful Fall of Lodore, immortalised by 
Southey in some quaint verses which are known to most readers : — 

"And dasMng and flashing, and splashing and crashing, 
* * * With a mighty uproar, 
And this way the water conies down at Lodore." 


Lodore Waterfall is about three miles from Keswick, on the road to Borrowdale, 
between two towering cliffs : one on the left, Gowdar Crag ; on the right. Shepherd's 
Crag. The peiyendicular height through which the water descends is said to be 
150 feet (the whole height of the fall is 360 feet). The crags on either side are 
covered with trees overhanging the water ; the oak, ash, birch, holly, and even the 
wild rose, flourish in wanton luxuriance. The foaming cataract, as it bounds over 
the huge rocks, is to be seen more than three miles off. The fall runs into the lake, 
and the noise which it makes can be heard miles away. There is a pretty rustic 
bridge over it, and at its foot stands a little hotel, once an ancient hostelry, but now 
much enlarged to accommodate the many thousands that annually visit the place. 

+ Bede tells us that the saint went once a year to see St. Cuthbert, of Earn Island, and to hear from him the 
words of everlasting life. As thev sat together one day, St. Cuthbert told his friend that he felt his time was coming 
when his spirit would depart hence. St. Herbert, in his agony of grief, prayed to God that he nught not suiTive his 
teacher. Tradition has it that the friends both died on the same day, even at the same hour (a.d. 687;. 

But the grand and glorious scenery of the Lakes may be adverted to more fitly 
when I recall to memory the great High Priest of Nature, Wordsworth. 

An illustrative anecdote was told me by the sexton of Crosthwaite Church, who, 
however, had little to say of the poet, except that he seldom saw him smile. He met 
him often in his walks, but he seemed pensive, full of thought, and looked as if his 
life was elsewhere than on earth. The anecdote is this. Southey had a great dislike 
to be "looked at ;" and although very regular in his attendance at church, he would 
stay away when he knew there were many tourists in the neighbourhood. One 
Sunday, two strangers who had a great desire to see the poet besought the sexton to 
point him out to them. The sexton, knowing that this must be done secretly, said, 
" I will take you up the aisle, and, in passing, touch the pew in which he sits." He 
did so, and no doubt the strangers had " a good stare." A few days after, the sexton 
met Southey in the street of Keswick. The poet looked somewhat sternly at him, 
said, " Don't do it again,'" and passed on, leaving the conscience-stricken sexton to 
ponder over the " crime " in which he had been detected by the poet. 

The graveyard of Crosthwaite is a lonely graveyard, in the midst of mountains, 
commanding an open view of Derwentwater, on which the mountains Blencathra and 
Skiddaw look down. There are few human dwellings near at hand, and even those 
are being hidden by intervening trees. The church is very ancient — more than seven 
centuries have passed since its foundations were laid : it was not long ago thoroughly 
restored by a liberal " neighbour." 

In 1816, Southey, in describing the churchyard, which thirty years afterwards 
was to be his resting-place, writes : — '* The churchyard is as open to the eye and to 
the breath of heaven as if it were a Druids' place of meeting." A wall has since been 
placed, but it is looked over, — upon the lake and on the mountains, "the everlasting 
hills " of which he somewhere speaks. 

And in that calm and isolated graveyard lie the mortal remains of Robert 
Southey, — 

" He who sung 
Of Thalaba the wild and wondrous song ;" 

he who, in so many ways, inculcated the wisdom of Virtue. If his prophecy of 
himself has not been as yet altogether fulfilled — 

" Thus, in the ages which are past I live, 
And those which aie to come my sure reward will give," 

at least it is certain that he has received the justice he looked for, and knew to be 
his right. 


Few great men have been more earnest and sincere in friendship than Robert Southey 
and Waltek Savage Landor. I knew Landor in 1837, at Clifton, and had many 
walks with him over its health-giving downs ; more than once I met him at the 
" evenings" of Lady Blessington ; but any records of his life and character would 


now be superfluous — all that one could desire to know, and more than one would care 
to know, has been written of him by his friend, John Forster, in two bulky volumes. 
It was by Forster I was introduced to Landor, and by his counsel I published 
examples of Landor's poetry in " The Book of Gems." At that time he gave me a 
memoir of himself, which I here copy : — 

" Walter Landor, of Ipsley Court, in. the county of Warwick, married first Maria, only 
daughter and heiress of J. Wright, Esq., by whom he had an only daughter, married to her cousin, 
Humphrey Arden, of Longcroft, in Staffordshire ; secondly, Elizaheih, eldest daughter and coheiress 
of Ch. Savage, of Tachhrook, who brought above £80,000 into the family. The eldest of this 
marriage was born January 30th, 1775. He was educated at Eugby. . Ilis private tutor was 
Dr. Sleath, of St. Paul's. When he had reached the head of the school, he was too young for 
college, and was placed under the private tuition of Mr. Langley, of Ashbourne. After a year he 
was entered of Trinity College, Oxford, where the learned Benwell was his private tutor. At the 
peace of Amiens he went into France, but returned at the end of the year. In 1808, on the first 
insurrection of Spain, in June, he joined the Viceroy of Gallicia, Blake. The Madrid Gazette of 
August mentions a gift from him of 20,000 reals. On the extinction of the constitution he 
returned to Don P. Cevallos the tokens of royal approbation in no very measured terms.* In 
1811 he married Julia, daughter of J. Thuillier de Malaperte, descendant and representative of J. 
Thuillier de Malaperte, Baron de Mieuville, First Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles VIII. 
He was residing at Tours when, after the battle of Waterloo, every other Englishman to the 
number of four thousand went away. He wrote to Carnot that he had no confidence in the 
moderation or honour of the Emperor, but resolved to stay, because he considered the danger to 
be greater in the midst of a broken army. His house was the only one without a billet. In the 
autumn of that year he retired to Italy. He occupied the Palazzo Medici in Florence, and then 
bought the celebrated villa of Count Gherardesca, at Fiesole, with its gardens and two farms, 
immediately under the ancient villa of Lorenzo de Medici. His visits to England have been few 
and short." 

In a subsequent letter he wrote to me : — 

" I ought to have told you some evil- of mj'self, which is always worth having, as there is 
always a demand for it in England in all states of the market. I was rusticated at Oxford for 
shooting across the quadrangle at prayer-time. I was guilty of offering a subscription of £1,000 
to whatever association might be formed in Monmouthshire in opposition to the Duke of Beaufort. 
At the same time, I never asked one of my sixty-four tenants at Lantony for his vote, but told 
them all to act according to their conscience. They alone could have turned the scale in any con- 
tested election." 

These remarks, however, do not bring his life to a period later than 1838. I will 
endeavour to compress into a few pages the remainder of it, although the whole 
comprises — dating from the day of his birth to that of his death — a period of eighty- 
seven years. 

He was born at Warwick (where his father was a physician), on the 30th of 
January, 1775. " Well born " on both sides, and heir to a large fortune and a large 
estate, his family could trace their descent from the Norman who founded it. In 
person, also, he was liberally endowed by nature ; handsome in youth, especially so 
in middle age, and hardly less so when he was far past the allotted term of life. 
Forster thus pictures him at sixty : — 

" He was not above the middle stature, but had a stout, stalwart presence ; walked without a 
stoop ; and in his general aspect, particularly the set and carriage of Lis head, was decidedly of 
what is called a distinguished bearing. His hair was already silvered grey, and had retired far 
upward from his ibrehead, which was wide and full, but retreating What at first was 

* " Though wiUing to aid the Spanish people in the assertion of their liberties, I -mlL have nothing to do with a 
perjurer and a traitor." 


noticeable in the broad, white, massive head were the full yet sharply-lifted eyebrows In 

the large grey eyes there was a depth of composed expression that even startled by its contrast to 
the eager restlessness looking out from the surface of them ; and in the same variety and quickness 
of transition the mouth was extremely striking. The lips that seemed compressed with unalterable 
will, would in a moment relax to a softness more than feminine, and a sweeter smile it was impos- 
sible to conceive The nose was never particularly good, and the lifted brow, flatness of 

cheek and jaw, wide upper lip, retreating mouth and chin, and heavy neck, .... were pecu- 
liarities prominent in youth and age." 

At a period long afterwards Forster describes his " fine presence, manly voice, 
and cordial smile, the amusing exaggerations of his speech, and the irresistible con- 
tagion of his laugh." In 1858 Mrs. Barrett Browning wrote, *' If you could only see 
how well he looks in his curly white beard ;" and about the same time, Mr. Brown- 
ing, "He has a beautiful beard, foam white and soft;" and an American lady 
describes " his snowy white hair, and his beard of patriarchal proportions, his grey 
eyes still keen and clear, his grand head not unlike Michael Angelo's Moses ;" and 
thus of him wrote Lady Blessington : — " He has one of the most original minds 
I have ever encountered, and it is joined to one of the finest natures." Waldo 
Emerson wrote thus : — " He has a wonderful brain, despotic, violent, inexhaustible."* 

The portrait is that of the mind as well as the person ; it unmistakably portrays 
the unsettled, stubborn, turbulent, and reckless man who, all his life long, professed, 
advocated, and acted on principles that entailed great misery and continual self- 
reproach ; keeping him at perpetual war with his kind — excepting a few ; but the 
few were sound in judgment, with ample means to estimate at his worth one of the 
most remarkable men of the age. 

In 1808, when they first met at Bristol (they had previously corresponded, and 
Landor had dedicated to Southey his " Gebir " and other poems), Southey refers to 
him as " the only man of whose praise I was ambitious, or whose censure would have 
troubled me ;" and he adds, " Before we met I had said I would walk forty miles to 
see him ; and having seen him, I would gladly walk four score to see him again." 
Again, at a later period : — " To have obtained his approbation as a poet, and pos- 
sessed his friendship as a man, will be remembered among the honours of my life, 
when the petty enmities of this generation will be forgotten, and its ephemeral 
reputations shall have passed away." And so late as 1844 : — " Difi'ering as I do 
from him in constitutional temper and in some serious opinions, he is yet of all men 
living the one with whom I feel the most entire and cordial sympathy of heart and 
mind." It is Southey also who pays this compliment to him as a poet : — " Landor, 
who paints always with the finest touch of truth, whether he is describing external 
or internal nature." 

The friendship that so long existed — and always unbroken — between Southey 
and Landor is to me a mystery, not to be explained by the fact that Southey was the 
first to do justice to the genius of Landor, and that Landor tendered generous and 
liberal aid to Southey when he thought it was needed. They seem to have had 

* His dress was at times so shabby that " servants have mistaken him for a beggar." " He wore his clothes, 
like Dominie Sampson, until they would hardly hold together ; and new garments were left for him at his bedside, 
which he would put on without discovering the change." Sometimes he would set out from Bath to go to Coventiy, 
and find himself in Birmingham ; he ought to have changed trains, but had not heard the man at the station call out 
the name of the place. 


nothing in common ; perhaps no two men ever existed who were so entirely opposite. 
Southey was a Tory, Landor a Eepublican — or worse ; the one was provident as well 
as just, the other reckless and utterly inconsiderate ; the one was a devoted and 
affectionate husband, the other held matrimonial ties to be very slight ; the one was 
patient, generous, " thinking no evil," abjuring the notion that revenge was virtue, 
the other petulant, irritable, passionate, ever ready to give or take offence; — in a 
word, the one was a Christian, the other, if not a mocker, was a despiser, of all 
creeds. Fortunately for both, perhaps, they rarely met, and assuredly, when they 
did, Landor was " on his best behaviour." Southey was one of the few men whose 
esteem he was willing to make an effort to retain. 

He had also much intercourse and frequent correspondence with Wordsworth 
— another nature entirely different from his ; and he described the two poets of the 
Lakes in a vigorous line — ■ 

"Serene creators of immortal things.'' 

At one time he had intended to inscribe his " Dialogues " to Wordsworth; he did 
not do so because he had written with such asperity and contemptuousness of people 
in power, that a sense of delicacy would not permit him to place Wordsworth's name 
before the volume. 

He did not, however, cherish towards Wordsworth the sentiments he kept 
unchanged for Southey. In a letter he wrote to me from Clifton (it is without a 
date) he thus gives vent to his feelings as regards the great and good man whom 
so many venerated and loved as well as honoured, and no man more than Robert 
Southey : — 

" I could never have closed my career more to my satisfaction, in the list of letters, than by 
defending the honour of my friend Southey against his friend Wordsworth. In the midst of a 
friendship of thirty-five years, after Southey had raised him into notice by commending his poetry 
when others scorned it, Wordsworth, in many conversations, used the same expressions of malignity 
against him. So long as this was unpublished, I endured it. At last, it not only has been 
repeated in conversation at dinner parties, but has appeared in a work on Coleridge. I judged of 
Wordsworth only by his writings, in which, among a good deal of the trifling and the trivial, 
there is very much of the first merit. I thought he had the wisdom to esteem Southey, and the 
virtue to declare it. On this idea I praised him in my ' Imaginary Conversations ' more highly 
than any one had done before, and long afterward I addressed an Ode to him. I met him, and 
felt a pleasure in meeting him. I even endured his presence after I had had the proof of his 
malignity, makinii- due, and rather more than due, allowance for what I believed to be a sudden 
irritation. But when I heard from three different quarters the same hostile cry, and Jound the 
verdict filed upon record, I resolved to inflict upon the ungrateful scoundrel a memorable 

His friend Forster is to his faults more than a little kind, yet he has discharged 
his duty with justice as well as mercy, and the result is to picture a man of very 
lofty genius, but whom few could revere and none could love. He was a fierce 
democrat from the time when he began to think and act ; and though he was an old 
man when he publicly offered ^1,000 reward to any one who would assassinate the 
King of Naples, he was a young man when at Oxford he gave a toast : " May there 

* Crabbe Eobinson has stated that Wordsworth never read the utterly grovmdless and bitterly malignant 
attacks of Landor. 



be only two classes of people — the Kepublican and the paralytic." A perusal of his 
letters confirms the opinion one is forced to retain of him ; such words as " impostor," 
" scoundrel," " coward," " sycophantic ruffian," are of frequent occurrence.* 

Mrs. Lynn Linton, who knew him well — was to him, indeed, during many years, 
as a daughter — admits that he was "stormy, passionate, and misguided; " but con- 
tends that he was also "tender, noble, and aspiring;" and demands that he be 
judged for his virtues as well as his vices. 

There was one vice he certainly had not — hypocrisy. 

For the rest, in brder to form a just idea of Walter Savage Landor, it should be 
told that he sold a fine family estate to buy that of Llanthony, in South Wales. f 
Some time he lived there, and there he married (in 1811), "a girl without a six- 
pence," but "pretty, graceful, and good-tempered." But he quarrelled with all 
about him — his wife included (she had contradicted him, and "given him his first 
headache ") ; brought actions in which he was defeated ; sustained actions in which 
he had heavy damages to pay ; and left the place in disgust, having chastised his 
enemies of the Cimri sometimes in Latin, sometimes in English, verse ; made his 
way through France — not without leaving a sting there — and settled at Florence. 

"My citron grove at Fiesole," consoled him for a thousand vexatious insults and 
injuries ; but in process of time they were doubled in Tuscany, and he returned to 
England, to settle in Bath — "the only place " where he seemed "at home," and to 
which he was really attached. 

Nearly all the friends of his youth and his manhood had preceded him to the grave ; 
his life of mingled yarn was drawing to a close ; he prepared himself for death, but 
not to die, like the old Koman — gracefully. 

Of his many reckless acts the latest was, perhaps, the worst ; at least, the victim 
at whom he aimed the blow was neither king nor kaiser, but an unarmed woman, 
against whom he wrote a libel that can be characterised by one word only — 
atrocious. Every newspaper in the kingdom reported a trial that made many 
indignant and all sorrowful. The result was a verdict of guilty and damages of 
£1,000. That sum he would not, perhaps could not, pay. Broken in health and 
in heart, yet indomitable still, like the mortally-wounded lion (to whom he liked to 
be compared), he escaped from the consequences of his act, and in the autumn of 
1858 was again at Fiesole, ruined not only in reputation, but in purse. But he 
had no means to live among his citron groves, and so sought a poor lodging in 
Florence, first taking refuge " in the hotel on the Arno with eighteen-pence in his 
pocket," and depending thenceforward on the eleemosynary helps of relatives and 

* It is recorded, that once an Italian marquis entered his room -with his hat on, Mrs. Landor being present, 
Landor went up to him, knocked his hat off, then took him by the arm and turned him out. He was charged with 
complicity in the crime of Orsini, who certainly dined with him on the eve of his departure to Paris to assassinate 
the Emperor. That charge, at least, was not sustained by any proof. He wrote to Forster in January, 1858. the day 
after the attempt of the assassin, but his sympathy was for the victims, and not for the Emperor who had escaped. 
" IDreadful work ! " he writes, " horrible crime ! to inflict death on a hundred for the crime of one ! " 

+ Some years afterwards, while looking at a very beautiful spot on the banks of the Trent, called Carwardine 
Spring, he exclaimed to a friend at his side, " Why the deuce did not I buy this place, and build my home here instead 
of at that confoimded Llanthony 2" " Bather," said his friend, "why did you sell this place, wliieh had been in 
your fkmily for centuries 1 " 



On the 17tli of September, 1864, he died, and at length his perturbed spirit found 
a resting-place in the English burying-ground at Florence. 

And his friend John Forster is also gone. During some years of his life, I knew 
John Forster intimately ; but his memory is not to me a pleasant memory, and I 
yhall treat the subject briefly. Between the years 1830 and 1836 I was editor of 
the A^ett' Monthly Magazine (except during one year, when I acted as sub-editor to 
Lytton Bulwer, afterwards Lord Lytton), and my friendship was then very useful 
to Mr. Forster. I desired that it should be so ; for I estimated highly his great 
abilities, and they were beneficially employed on the magazine over which I presided. 
There was rarely a week, all those years, that he was not a welcome guest in my 
house. I take no sort of credit to myself for having foreseen the eminence to which 
he was destined to arrive, and the fortune it was his lot to obtain ; his prospect of 
either was but dim when I knew him first. I will only now say of him that I found 
him a friend when he needed me, but not a friend when I needed him. I told him 
" my mind " — almost in these very words — in the presence of Charles Dickens — 
when their intimacy was barely commencing — and for many years before his death 
we never exchanged a word. 

Forster had long held a lucrative appointment as one of the Commissioners in 
Lunacy; and he married the widow of the pubhsher, Henry Colburn (Colburn's 
second wife), who brought him considerable wealth. She survives her second 

And that is all I shall say of John Forster. 



?^3N the year 1822 I first knew Sydney, Lady Morgan. I saw her sitting 
in " the Httle red room in Kildare Street, by courtesy called a boudoir ; " * 
and although the "Wild Irish Girl" was even then a woman of "a 
certain age," she had so much of that natural vivacity, aptness for 
repartee, and point in conversation (often better than wit), that made 
her the oracle and idol of "a set" in the Irish metropolis, where others 
— not a few — feared and hated her ; for her political bias was strong, 
and her antipathies, strong also, were seldom withstood or withheld. 

She was never handsome, even in youth ; small in person, and 
slightly deformed, there was about her much of ease and self-possession, 
but nothing of grace ; yet she was remarkable for that peculiar some- 
thing — for which we have no English word, but which the French express by 
je ne sais quoi — which in women often attracts and fascinates more than mere 
personal beauty. 

Although it was said of Lady Morgan that she was a vain woman, had always 
coveted the distinction of seeing the visiting-cards of lords and titled ladies in her 

* No. 35. She put up a portico, -which still marks the house in the now somewhat gloomy and unfashionable 
street. That house I have engraved. 


card-stand, and liked, when she paid visits, to borrow a carriage with a coronet, to 
receive as many as might be of stars actual at her " evenings," to exhibit on her 
chimney-piece the gifts of people whom heritage rather than genius had made great, 
and was, in short, a woman of the world, she had, like all women of decided cha- 
racter and energetic temperament, her kindly sympathies and her considerate 
generosities, was a very loveable person to those she loved, and a true friend to those 
in whom she took interest. 

Her collected letters, interspersed with meagre bits of memoir, were published 
soon after her death by her literary executor, Hepworth Dixon, and under the editor- 
ship of Geraldine Jewsbury. We cannot doubt that judicious discrimination was 
exercised in the selection. According to that authority the diaries from her own 
hand were " copious," and she kept every letter she had received, from the epistles 
of field-marshals to the billets of a washerwomen. In a word, she contemplated 
and arranged for this memoir, and prepared it accordingly, with as much system and 
order as she settled her toilet and her drawing-room for a "reception" — to make 
the best of herself and her belongings ; commencing with the day of her birth 
(but she does not name the year), when all the wits of Dublin were assembled 
— of whom she gives a biographical list — and ending with her last drive in a friend's 

During many years she kept a journal. Of its utter barrenness an idea may be 
formed from those portions of it which her biographer has published, and from the 
fact that from one whole year's record he has printed but six lines, no doubt the 
only portion that was worth preserving. Her autobiography is, indeed — as were her 
rooms — an assemblage of a mass of things, no one of which was of much value, but 
which, when taken together, were curious, interesting, and instructive. 

"No subtlety of inquiry could entrap Lady Morgan into any admission about 
her age." The dates of all old letters were carefully erased. " I enter my protest 
against dates," she writes. " What has a woman to do with dates ? — cold, false, 
erroneous, chronological dates ! I mean to have none of them."* It is, however, 
understood that Sydney Owenson was born in 1777; and it is said by one of her 
biographers, Mr. W. J. Fitzpatrick (who does not give his authority), that "her 
birth occurred on shipboard." She is, at best, but half Irish, for her mother was an 
Englishwoman. She herself tells us she was born on Christmas-day, in " ancient 
ould Dublin." Her father was Eobert Owenson — according to his daughter, "as 
fine a type of an Irish gentleman as Ireland ever sent forth." He was an actor, and 
manager of theatres in Dublin. During one of his professional tours in England he 
met at Shrewsbury an EngHsh lady. Miss Hill (with whom he "ran ofi'"), the 
daughter of a wealthy gentleman. She was never forgiven. She was not young, 
but a very serious and sensible woman, unlike her husband in everything. Of that 
marriage the issue was Sydney, subsequently married to Sir Charles Morgan, and 
Olivia, her younger sister by many years, who became the wife of another knight, 

* I once said to her, " Lady Morgan, I bought one of your hooka to-day. May 1 tell you its date V " Do," 
she answered, " but say it in a whisper." " 1803 : " She lifted her hands and looked unutterable things, but did 
not take the hint unkindly. 




Sir Arthur Clarke. It is not improbable that his little precocious daughter acted 
occasionally under his auspices in provincial towns, but she never played in Dublin ; 
and it is certain that her father early resolved, as far as possible, to keep his 
daughters from the stage ; yet what an admirable actress Lady Morgan would have 
been, had that been her destiny ! 

Early in life, however, she sought independence. She was fond of saying that 
she had provided for herself from the time she was fourteen years old ; and she had 
so wise and self-preserving a horror of debt, that she either paid ready money for 
what she wanted, or did without it. Much of her after prosperity can be traced to 
that resolution — one which it must have required wonderful firmness to have held to, 
considering her natural love of display, and her always expensive "surroundings." 
She became a governess, and discharged the duties of that office in two families, 
until her writings became remunerative. Her father kept "his girls" at an "eminent 

boarding-school." He did his best for them ; and they largely repaid him by affec- 
tionate care and duty till he died, in May, 1812, having enjoyed the luxury of calling 
each of his daughters "my lady." 

Her younger days were passed amid perplexing, harassing, indeed terrible, trials, 
under which a loftier nature might have fallen. She touches on them, though rarely, 
" seeing a father frequently torn to prison, a mother on the point of beggary with 
her children," and so forth. 

From her earliest girlhood up to the very eve of her marriage she had her 
perpetual flirtations; but there her love affairs began and ended. Some of her sage 
friends opined that she "flirted more than was right," and it is probable she occa- 
sionally stood so near the fire as slightly to singe her white garments. Still she was 
ever " safe ; " like her countrywomen generally — I would almost say universally — 
realising the portrait of the poet Moore, of 

"the wild sweet-briery fence 
That round the flowers of Erin dwells. 
Which warns the touch, while winning the sense, 
Nor charms us least when it most repels." 



The seemingly light and frivolous, and really fascinating girl— fascinating both as 
girl and woman — escaped the only slander that surely slays. Yet she had at no 
period of her life any sustaining and preserving power from that which supports in 
difficulties and upholds in danger — Keligion ; and she was continually in society 
where, without a protector, she might have seemed an easy victim.* 


Her literary career began early, yet not so early as she liked to make it appear. 
Her abilities were gifts of nature. "All," she writes, "that literary counsel, require- 
ment, and instruction give to literary composition was, in my early career of author- 
ship, utterly denied me." 

* Writing' of herself in 1811, she says, "Inconsiderate and indiscreet; never saved by prudence, but often 
rescued by pride ; often on the verge of error, but never passing the line." 



In 1801 her first book was published in Dublin, and afterwards in London, by 
Sir Eichard Phillips ; * thenceforward she continued working for more than half a 
century, having written and published, from the commencement to the close of her 
career, upwards of seventy volumes. 

In 1812 she married Sir Charles Morgan, M.D. He had received knighthood at 
the hands of the Duke of Richmond, Lord Lieutenant, by request of the Marquis 
and Marchioness of Abercorn, the then friends of Sydney Owenson, who were resolved 
that their "pet" should have a title. Both events came off at their seat, Baron's 
Court : there the doctor was knighted ; there the two were made one. Contrary to 
prophecies of friends and to general expectation, they were a happy couple. Sir 
Charles had personal advantages, and he was a man of strong mind, yet happily a 
devoted believer in his wife, while she had large respect for him : his sound common 
sense and her erratic nature harmonised. He was a Doctor of Medicine, the friend 
and correspondent of Jenner. Though younger by five or six years than Miss 
Owenson, he was not young when he, a widower and an Englishman, born in 
London in 1783, wooed and won the Wild Irish Grirl. He was tall, handsome, of 
very gentlemanly address, respectably born and connected, with some independent 
property, and madly in love with the fascinating " Glorvina." She was not so 
desperately smitten with him. " A little diablerie would make me wild in love with 
him," she writes. He was too quiet; in a word, too English. Nevertheless, he 
became a thorough Irishman — ."more Irish than the Irish," like the old Anglo- 
Norman settlers ; took the Liberal side in politics ; and was a sturdy fighter for 
Catholic emancipation. He was, in all senses of the word, a gentleman — "a man of 
^reat erudition, speculative power, and singular observation."! In August, 1844, 
he died. His death was a heavy loss to Lady Morgan ; for she loved him, confided 
in him, and felt for him entire respect. And he was worthy of it ; for there had 
been neither envy of her fame nor jealousy of the admiration she excited, where a 
lower nature might have felt both. 

After her marriage, when the sound, " Milady," always so pleasant to her, had 
become familiar in all Dublin coteries, she used to give parties weekly in Kildare 
Street, and assumed to be the leader of literary fasbion. There was no one to dispute 
her role, and her "evenings" drew together much of the talent, and some of the 
rank, of the Irish capital. Only once I was among her guests; for soon after I 
became acquainted with her I left that city, and launched my bark on the turgid and 
troubled river of life in London. .{ 

* At that period, and long afterwards, the law of copyright operated in the two islands much as it now does 
between Great Britain and the United States of America. 

+ Though, as she says in one of her letters, " educated in the most rigid adherence to the tenets of the Church 
of England," her sympathies were with the then oppressed of the other faith. Oppressed, in tmth, they were in her 
early days. It is very difl'erent now. 

t She gave me a letter to Mr. Colburn, and my first contribution to periodical literatui-e was published in the 
New Monthly Magazine— the magazine of which, eight years afterwards, I became editor. In 1830, Mrs. Hall, having 
occasion to write to her, made reference to the kindness and service of that introduction, and received this reply :— 

"Dear Madam, " January 1, 1830. 

"I have been exceedingly gratified by the receipt and perusal of the letters, and two very ingenious works 
which you and Mr. Hall have had the kindness to forward to me. The circumstance you allude to, of my hiving 
been of some use to Mr. Hall, is particularly gracious, the more so as I have not the slightest recollection of the 
event. My zeal is so often mistaken for my influence, and my desire to be useful to the young and deserving so 



In the spring of 1837 Lord Melbourne granted to Lady Morgan a pension of ^2300 
a year, " in acknowledgment of the services rendered by her to the world of letters." 
She had saved a sum by no means inconsiderable. Sir Charles had an income of 
his own; and being "independent," she resolved upon leaving L-eland and settling 
in England— in a word, to become " an absentee," a class she had unequivocally 
condemned when she saw little chance of being of it ; and although she afterwards 
wrote a sort of apology for the step — publishing, indeed, a book on the subject. 


/ . 



— Vr 

L I 

,>" ~L 

il \ 

% ';1^ri'inijiiTin7 

M* \m i\ \\\ 


arguing " that English misgovernment and misrule made L'eland uninhabitable ; " 
that it was "the English government, and not the natives of the country, who were 
to blame," and so forth, she failed to convince her country or herself of the righteous- 
ness of her removal. Probably her attractions " at home " had grown less ; many of 
her old friends had departed, some to England, others to the better land. 

notorious, that the applications I receive fi'om the aspirants of literary fame are beyond count or memory. It has 
rarely happened that I have received such acknowledgments as youi' unmerited gratilude has la"vished on me, or 
that, "casting my bread upon the inaters, I have found it after many days." 



It is clear that, so early as '32, she had wearied of the Irish capital, which she 
described as "in summer a desert inhabited only by loathsome beggars." In 1833 
she writes, "The Irish destiny is between Bedlam and a gaol." " Dear dirty Dublin," 
gradually became " odious Dublin," In 1835 she talked of " wretched Dublin, the 
capital of wretched Ireland." In 1837 she wrote — 

" Oh, Ireland, to you 
I have long bade a last and a painful adieu ! " 

And so, having " freighted a small vessel" with their household gods. Sir Charles 
and Lady Morgan became permanent residents in London, taking, after a brief 
"looking about," what she terms a maisonnette, 'No. 11, William Street, Knights- 
bridge, entering into possession on the 17th of January, 1838, and there continuing 
to her death — never again visiting Ireland. Naturally, perhaps, her popularity had 
there dwindled to nothing. She is by no means the only "native" who was a 
patriot in adversity and an absentee in prosperity. The painter Barry said, "Ire- 
land gave me breath, but Ireland never would have given me bread." And in one 
of her letters Lady Morgan writes, " There is as little affection for merit as there is 
market." * 

In London she aimed to be the centre of a circle — artistic, literary, scientific, 
aristocratic ; giving large parties as well as small ; sometimes crowding into two 
rooms of very limited size a hundred guests — persons of all ranks, patricians and 
plebeians. Certainly the arrangement of her rooms was most effective ; the lights 
and shadows were in the right places, the seats were comfortable — " easy chairs" — ■ 
the eye was perpetually arrested by something that was either peculiar or interesting. 
Somebody said it was like a " baby-house ;" perhaps it was, but many of the toys 
were histories. Her society — often so conflicting, composed of elements that never 
could socially mingle- — she managed with admirable tact, sometimes no easy task ; 
for there were the Russian and the Pole ; the " black Orangeman " and the " bitter 
Papist; " the proud aristocrat and the small fry of letters ; in a word, people were 
compelled to rub against each other whose positions, opinions, and interests were not 
only at variance, but in entire and utter hostility.! 

She would have liked to have written " Corinne," and been expatriated by 
Napoleon. She was very proud of being ordered to leave France, but it was not 
followed up as she hoped it would have been. She liked to be thought to sit and 
move like Madame de Stael, and to rub a bit of stick with her forefinger as Madame 
de Stael did when in thought. But Lady Morgan, after the first fancy of the moment, 

* We once encountered an ultra -Irishman, who told us he was going to Lady Morgan's "to blow her up for 
deserting her country and turning her back on the Liberator." He went, and was so fascinated by the ready smUe 
and few words of tenderness she gave to the memory of " dear old Dublin"— her inimitable tact of turning disad- 
vantages into advantages, and foes into friends— that he assured us the next day, "the people of Ireland mistook 
that charming Lady Morgan altogether ; that her heart, every morsel of it, was in Ireland ; she lived in England 
only to protect her countrymen and prevent their ieing imposed on." 

t She told us she had once deplored so earnestly her ignorance of geology to one of its professors, that he 
offered to read a lecture on the subject (which her ladyship lamented pathetically she had not heard) in her 
drawing-room ! She laughed afterwards at this, as one of the great difficulties of her social life. She added, " I 
got out of it by regretting that my present audience were unworthy such an honour, but that if he would do so the 
next night ! Well, he was kind enough to promise, but I could not have sui'vived it, and the next day, of course, 
I was very ill." She once described to us a visit paid to her by a young literary Americ m, adding, " I dare say he 
exchanged his Bible for a peerage the moment he landed at Liverpool. You should have seen his ecstasy when 
presented to a duchess, and |iow he luxuriated under the shadow of the strawberry leaves." 


could not be an imitator ; her impulses grew into objects, and the earnestness born 
of affectation matured into reality. 

As I have said, she continued to reside in William Street after she became a 
■widow, and during the remainder of her life. At length, however, the foe she most 
di'eaded' — old age — gradually drew nearer and nearer. Towards the end of 1852 
her letters and diary record the losses of old friends. One after another departed, 
and she was left almost alone with old memories : they were warnings to set her 
house in order ; but they were not solemn enough to impress her with any feeling 
akin to continuous grief, or to create dread of the " enemy." To the last she was 
toujouis gate ; new friends came to replace the old ; some one " worth seeing " was 
sure to ,be at her " reception ; " and the bait of an invitation was too tempting to be 
resisted, notwithstanding the sure pressure of a mingled crowd. 

The death of her brother-in-law. Sir Arthur Clarke, in 1857, did alarm her; and 
towards the close of 1858 it became obvious to her friends — suspicious to herself — 
that her work on earth was done. Her beloved sister, Olivia, Lady Clarke, her 
oldest friend and earliest companion, with whom she had struggled through a pre- 
carious youth, had died some years before (1845). On her birthday, 1858, Lady 
Morgan had a dinner-party, told stories, and sung a comic song. On the 17th of 
March, 1859, she had a musical party, at which we were present;* a gay and 
crowded party it was — full of what she ever liked to see, celebrities or notorieties ; 
and on the 16th of April, 1859, she died. She was interred in the Brompton Ceme- 
tery, where a tomb, executed by Mr. Sherrard Westmacott, has been erected to her 
memory by her niece, Mrs. Inwood Jones f — a charming and accomplished lady, 
whom it is oar privilege now to know intimately. 

The life of Lady Morgan was one of excitement from its dawn to its close. Even 
when a governess, " instructor of youth," | her days were never sad, nor did time 
hang heavily on her hands. She was a charming companion at all periods, and was 
generally regarded in that light rather than as a teacher. Her animal spirits were 
inexhaustible ; if not handsome, she was pretty, and in person attractive ; she told 
Irish stories with inimitable humour, and sung Irish songs with singular esprit ; she 
had been familiar with " society " from her childhood, and had been reared in self- 
dependence ; her vanity, he^ value of herself, made her at ease amid the great as 

* She usually gave a party on St. Patrick's Day. In 1858 Mrs. Hall received from her this characteristic 
note : — 

" 19(/i March, 1858. 11, William Street, Bclgro.via. 
"Mt dear Mrs. Hall, 

" If I was not as blind as a bat, and as weak as a rat, I would answer your pleasant and kind letter 
(pleasant because it was so kind) en long et en large : as it is, I can only say a thousand thanks. I was, in all ti'uth 
sending you a little invite for Patrick's Day, when your note arrived with an account of your illness. 

" I have been three months confined to my house, and even to particular rooms, by order of Dr. Ferguson ; so 
I have escaped so far bronchitis, but I feel the want of air and exercise. I hope very soon to see you in William 
Street, and have a few agreeables to meet you. I had my band on Patrick's Night, and sung my Saxon guests an 
Irish song, which made my little Irish harp reverberate with surprise ! I faithfully pay my annual subscription to 
the Governesses' Institution. I hope it is the one you recommended to me. 

" Ever with kind regards, 

" S. Morgan." 

+ The tomb wiU be found on the right of the principal walk, entering the gate in the Fulham Hoad. ^ A large 
plain slab is supported by six pillars ; on a slab underneath is carved an Irish harp, propped by two books, "France " 
and the " Wild Irish Girl." At the base is a wreath of immortelles. 

i She did not forget this ; bequeathing, in her will, a sum of £200 to the Aged Governesses' Benevolent 


among the small ; like the soldier of fortune, she had all to gain and nothing to lose ; 
reckless as regarded foes, but fervent in defence of friends. Living on praise as the 
very breath of her life, flattery, no matter how gross, seemed never to exceed her 
right. No doubt much of " womanliness '' was sacrificed to that perpetual exercise 
of self-dependence. Self-dependence is not the natural destiny of woman — rarely 
bringing content, and still more rarely happiness. 

A writer who knew her in her prime, thus pictures " Glorvina "at " the Castle : " 
— " Hardly more than four feet high, with a slightly-curved spine, uneven shoulders 


and eyes, she glided about in a close-cropped wig, bound by a fillet or solid band of 
gold, her face all animation, and with a witty word for everj^body." " Notwith- 
standing her natural defects, she made a picturesque appearance." Another writer, 
alluding to the " unevenness " of her eyes, says, "they were, however, large, lus- 
trous, and electrical." Prince Puckler Muskau (who published a tour in Ireland in 
1828) describes her as " a little, frivolous, lively woman, neither pretty nor ugly, 
and with really fine and expressive eyes." 

This is Mrs. Hall's portrait of Lady Morgan at a late year of her life : — 

" Lady Morgan's person was so well known to the hahitues of London — at all 


events, to the classes that belong to the fashionable and literary — that any descrip- 
tion {or them may be, as she would say, de trop ; but thousands have been, at one 
time or other of their lives, interested in her works, and the sort of flying reputation 
she had for saying and doing odd, but clever, things, and the marvellous tact which 
comprised so much of her talent, or the talent whose greatest society-power was tact. 
To those we say that Lady Morgan was small and slightly deformed ; that her head 
was large, round, and well formed ; her features full of expression, particularly the 
expression that accompanies ' humour,' dimpling, as it does, round the mouth, and 
sparkling in the eyes. The natural intonations of her voice in conversation were 
singularly pleasing — so pleasing as to render her ' nothings' pleasant ; and whatever 
aflectation hovered about her large green fan, or was seen in the ' way she had ' of 
folding her draperies round her, and looking out of them with true Irish espieijlerie, 
the tones of that voice were to the last full of feeling." 

Portraits of her were, of course, often painted ; more frequently in France than 
in England. Sir Thomas Lawrence pictured her, but expressed a wish that, if 
engraved, his name should not go with it ! David d'Angers sculptured her bust. 
The portrait that stands at the head of this Memory is from a photograph taken 
not very long before her death, but subsequently " worked upon."* It is engraved 
from the copy she gave us. In 1824 the poet, Samuel Lover, then a miniature- 
painter in Dublin, painted a portrait of her. It was to have been engraved by 
Meyer ; " but," says Lady Morgan's biographer, " between the painter and the 
engraver, the result was such unmitigated ugliness that Colburn would not let it 

Few writers have aroused more hostility, or have been more thoroughly abused. 
Her grand enemy was her countryman, John Wilson Croker. It was he who 
assailed her in the Quarterly Preview, accusing her, either indirectly or directly, of 
" licentiousness, profligacy, irreverence, blasphemy, libertinism, disloyalty, and 
atheism." She had her revenge — her character of Crawley junior, in " Florence 
Macarthy," must have been a bayonet-stab in the very vitals of her foe.t He 
certainly overshot the mark ; there can be no doubt that his severity augmented 
the popularity of Lady Morgan, and increased the number of her friends. She was 
found to be " an awkward customer " whenever she was assailed. She girded on 
her armour even to the last, and went into battle with no less an adversary than 
Cardinal Wiseman, who attacked her for having asserted, in her book on Italy, that 
the sacred chair of St. Peter, when examined, was found to contain this passage 
in Arabic characters : — •" There is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet ! " She 
answered the Cardinal in a pamphlet — it was the old war-horse roused to energy by 

* The portrait I give of her is engraved from a photograph taken shortly before her death, one of those she 
gave to many of her friends— ourselves among the rest. The sun picture was not a very good one — being, indeed, 
only amateur's work ; it was tinted by his or her hand. The artist caught something of the well-known expression, 
some traits of the dear old face. Like most intellectual faces, however, Lady Morgan's was not to be photographed 
— not even painted ; there was an electricity about it which paint-brush could not hope to catch, nor camera to fix. 

t Croker, by his earliest work, " Familiar Epistles," is said to have done to death the actor Edwin ; at least, it 
was recorded on Edwin's tombstone, in St. Werbm-gh's Churchyard, that " his death was occasioned by an illiberal 
and cruel attack on his professional reputation from an anonymous assassin." Croker, among other "names," 
calLed. Lady Morgan " a female Methuselah," knowing that was a barbed arrow that was sure to stick. 



the trumpet-call to battle. Latterly her sight began to give way, and she was almost 
blind when she ran a tilt against "his Eminence." 

Let us fancy her gay ladyship travelling through France with her little "Irish 
harp case," that was mistaken for a "petit mort she had brought over to bury in Pere- 
la-Chaise ; buying herself" a clicqjeau de soleil with cornflowers stuck in the side of 
it — twenty francs ;" receiving from Lafayette and his household assurances of " the 
attachment of three generations;" her " Wednesdays " in the gay city, where the 
highest and the lowest met — princes, dukes, marshals, counts, actors, Maltese 
knights, small poets, and small wits — in a word, any celebrity or any notoriety, male or 
female, was welcome to her salon. There the first violin player of France placed her 
on a raised seat, and declared she was his " inspiration." There Humboldt called 
and left his card, with the pencilled words, " Toujours malheureux." Generally, 
however, she " kept clear of the English ; " content with any praise, and greedy only 
of the admiration that was to be had without the asking ; yet ever so pleasant, so 
full of point, so perfect in the style 2^a^'lant, as she terms it, as really to be what she 
aimed to be — the queen of society.* 

If her triumph was less in London than in the Elysees, it was because her wor- 
shippers were more phlegmatic than their light-tongued and light-hearted neighbours. 
Yet her " evenings at home " were always " successes." 

Lady Morgan had an idea that she might be the means of bringing together in 
fraternal intercourse the aristocracy of rank and the aristocracy of talent on a more 
extensive scale than was possible in her maisonnette. Mr. Mackinnon, of Hyde Park 
Place, had a large house, a suite of rooms capable of " entertaining " many, and in 
partnership with that estimable gentleman her plan was to be carried out. He was 
to issue cards to ladies and gentlemen of his order ; she, to those who were eminent 
in literature, science, and art. The cards were printed accordingly. They expressed 
that Lady Morgan and Mr. Mackinnon desired to be honoured with the company of 
So-and-so on the evening of Wednesday, July 16th. It was certainly somewhat 
startling to read the names thus joined ; it was known that the one was a widow, 
the other a widower, and there was consequently no just cause or impediment why 
they two should not be joined together. Still it was curious, and " gossip " might 
have been excused, especially as the card was lithographed in the joint names, that 
of Lady Morgan standing first. We received our invitation from her ladyship's own 
hands, and accepted it. On the evening of the 16th we duly entered the drawing- 
room at Hyde Park Place. We heard titles of all degrees announced ; but hardly a 
name eminent in literature, art, or science greeted our ears. There were present, 
perhaps, two hundred people of rank, but, excepting ourselves and three or four 
others of our " calling," Lady Morgan had no followers to fraternise with those of 

* Among her other peculiarities, her gay ladyship describes herself as a Freemason : a venerable marquise— 
" the dear bdle et lonne of Voltaire "—being grande mattresse. of a lodge— proposed it to her, and she became " a fi-ee 
and accepted mason." The belle et honne at the inauguration wore a picture of Voltaire, set in brilliants. There 
were men-masons present, among them the Bishop of Jerusalem, and the actor Talma. " As to the secret," she 
writes, " it shall never pass these lips, in holy silence sealed ; " and certainly her ladyship may well wonder how it 
was that a secret confided to many women, young, and beautiful, and worldly, should never haw been revealed. 
She does not tell us if she wore an apron, but the bdle et bonne marquise did ; and so the illustree Anglaise was added 
to the list of free and accepted masons—" received with acclamation and three rounds of applause, and cries of 
' Honneur ! honneur ! ' " 


Mr. Mackinnon. Speculation was vain as to the cause of so appalling an effect. 
The lady was evidently irate ; there was no way of accounting for the humiliating 
fact, and, as may be supposed, the evening passed off with amazing dulness, for the 
co-operation of no other lions had been sought. A few days afterwards the mystery 
was explained. Mr. Mackinnon had agreed to envelope and direct such cards as 
were to go to his " order," Lady Morgan undertaking the transmission of such as 
were intended to lure the magnates of her own circle and craft. The cards, properly 
prepared and addressed, she handed to Mr. Mackinnon's butler for the post ; but either 
that important functionary forgot his duty, or grudged the postage, or thought it 
beneath him and his master to invite so many untitled guests — at all events, they 
were subsequently found safe in his desk, where they had been in comfortable seclu- 
sion from the day when dear Lady Morgan placed them in his hands. It is needless 
to say, there began and ended the scheme of her ladyship to bring together the aris- 
tocracy of rank and the aristocracy of talent. 

She had that cordiality of manner which " took " at once, and did not permit you 
time to inquire if it were sincere. She was, however, entirely free from literary 
jealousy ; * she would aid, and not depress, young authorship ; she was often generous 
with her purse, as well as her pen and tongue ; there was nothing mean about her ; 
and flattered as she had been from her youth upwards, is it wonderful that her large 
organ of self-esteem occasionally assumed a character of arrogance ? that when she 
called herself "Glorvina," it was her weakness to persuade herself how closely she 
resembled that brilliant creation of her fancy ; that she was, in a word, vain, although 
her vanity may have been but the skeleton of pride ? 

She was essentially materielle. In no one of her letters, in no part of her journal, 
can there be found the remotest reference to that High Power from which her genius 
was derived, which protected her wayward and perilous youth, her prosperous woman- 
hood, and her popular, if not honoured, old age. There is no word of prayer or of 
thanksgiving in any of her written thoughts. 

Her tact was portable, applicable, alive, alert, marketable, good-natured, ever 
ready at call, and consequently often useful ; yes, and useful to others as well as to 
herself, for she was continually " on the watch " to serve a friend and set aside a 
difficulty. Lady Morgan had no left hand, no deaf ear, " no blind side ;" she was 
life, bright life, from top to toe. Even when her receptions were over, and, at her 
great age, it might have been supposed she had gone wearied and languidly to bed, 
she chattered cheerfully to her maid, and closed her eyes with a jest. 

She was created for society — enjoyed and lived in society to the last : nothing 
annoyed her so much as being invited to a small party. She liked the crowded 
room, the loud announcement, and the celebrity she had earned. Her vanity was 
charming ; it was different from every other vanity ; it was so naive, so original, and 

* When both Sir Charles and Lady Morgan -wrote for a -well-kno-wn periodical, they were ever ready to foster 
young talent ; and I call to mind with gratitude her generous criticism on the works of an author, whom a less 
generous nature would have thought a poacher on what she might have considered her own Irish preserve. Lady 
Morgan had her quick and natural appreciation of an absurdity or a weakness, and could not help having " a fliag " 
at it ; it was your neighbour's tui-n to-day, and might be yours to-morrow ; but what matter 1 she would do you a 
kindness, and be really glad to do it, all the same. She never put the young aspirant for celebrity aside, to pay 
more attention to a titled visitor. 



she admitted it with the frankness of a child. " I know I am vain," she once said 
to Mrs. Hall, " but I have a right to be so. It is not put off and on, like my rouge ; 
it is always with me, it sleeps with me, wakes with me, companions me in my soli- 
tude, and arrays itself for publicity whenever I go abroad. I wrote books when your 
mothers worked samplers, and demanded freedom for Ireland when Dan O'Connell 
scrambled for gulls' eggs among the wild crags of Derrynane." " I am vain," she 
said, on another occasion, to Mrs. Hall, " but I have a right to be so. Look at the 
number of books I have written ! Did ever woman move in a brighter sphere than 
I do ? My dear, I have three invitations to dinner to-day ; one from a duchess, 
another from a countess, a third from a diplomatist — I will not tell you who — a very 
naughty man, who, of course, keeps the best society in London. Now what right 
have I, my father's daughter, to this ? What am I ? A pensioned scribbler ! Yet 
I am given gifts that queens might covet. Look at that little clock ; tJiat stood in 
Marie Antoinette's dressing-room. When the Louvre was pillaged, Denon met a 
bonnet rouge with it in his hand, and took it from him. Denon gave it to me." 
Then, with a rapid change, she added, " Ah, that is a long time ago ! Princes and 
princesses, celebrities of all kinds, have presented me with the souvenirs you see 
around me, and they would make a wiser woman vain." 

If you complimented her on her looking " so much better," she would reply, 
" Perhaps I am better rouged than usual." Once a lady, not famous for sincerity, 
said, " Dear Lady Morgan, how lovely your hair is ! How do you preserve its 
colour ?" " By dyeing it, my dear ; I see you want the receipt." When we were 
so fortunate as to find her alone, we were charmed by her mingling of acute observa- 
tion with much that was genial and generous ; but our enjoyment would be, at times, 
suddenly disturbed by a sarcasm — -just as when in a delicious sandwich you are stung 
by an unwieldy drop of mustard. 

Devoted as Lady Morgan appeared to be — to strangers — to the frivolities of the 
world, she had sound and rational views of life and its duties as a daughter and a 
wife. Speaking with Mrs. Hall of some young ladies suddenly bereft of fortune, she 
said, with an emphatic movement of her dear old green fan — " They do everything 
that is fashionable — imperfectly : their singing, and drawing, and dancing, and lan- 
guages amount to nothing. They were educated to marry, and, had there been time, 
they might have gone off ivith, and hereafter from, husbands. They cannot earn 
their salt ; they do not even know how to dress themselves. I desire to give every 
girl, no matter her rank, a trade — a profession, if the word pleases better. Cultivate 
one thing to perfection, no matter what it is, for which she has a talent — drawing, 
music, embroidery, housekeeping even; give her a staff to lay hold off; let her feel, 
' That will carry me through life without dependence ! ' I was independent at four- 
teen, and never went in debt." 

Perhaps no writer ever owed less to experience than Lady Morgan. The faults 
of her youth were the faults of her age. She was never young. Her mind attained 
its majority at a very early period. She carried the same views, the same ideas, 
the same prejudices, the same craving for liberty, the same sympathies, into her 
more aspiring works on France and Italy, as she did into her novels ; the same contra- 


dictory love for republicanism and aristocracy, the same vanity — a vanity tlie most 
abounding, yet so unlike in its perfect and undisguised honesty, its self-avowing 
frankness, to all other vanities, that it became absolutely a charm — perhaps one of 
her greatest charms. 

The last time Mrs. Hall saw " the Wild Irish Girl," she was seated on a couch in 
her bed-room — a picturesque ruin of old-lady womanhood. Her black silk dressing- 
gown fell round her -petite form, which seemed so fragile that she feared to see the 
old lady move. " Why, Lady Morgan ! " she said, " you are looking far better than 
1 expected ; you are really looking well." " Ah, no, my dear," she said in reply, 
" I am not ; you should see me in the morning — it's the rouge ! it's the rouge ! " 

I may, with propriety, follow a Memory of Lady Morgan by Recollections of 
some other of the Irish authors with whom I have been acquainted. They must be 
brief " notices," nothing more ; but it jv^ould be easy for me to enlarge them. 

They " loom " around me as I write. Foremost among them is 


John Banim was one of the authors of the " O'Hara Tales " (the other, his elder 
brother, Michael, died not long ago in their native town, Kilkenny), and he was the 
sole author of many novels and some poems of much beauty and power. I knew him 
first so far back as 1822, when he occupied, with me, a cottage at South Bank, St. 
John's Wood, our landlord being our next-door neighbour — Ugo Foscolo — of whom, 
in due time, I shall have to speak. 

Banim was essentially one of the people. His wife, a very lovely young woman 
then, was peasant born. At that time he was labouring to earn bread by his pen in 
London : precarious and scanty, until he "hit upon " a new idea, and drew attention 
to Ireland, that had long been regarded as a barren field, for Maria Edgeworth and 
Lady Morgan were then its only cultivators, and they were gradually retiring from 
it. Banim may be considered as the founder of that class of fiction which became 
at once, and immensely, popular. The public was not unjust to John Banim, 
although ultimately his circumstances were very inauspicious ; and, but for the 
Government pension he enjoyed, his days might have ended in unmitigated poverty. 

He was a Roman Catholic, with opinions that, in later days, have assumed a hos- 
tile, bitter, though senseless, attitude to England ; and it is not unfair to say that his 
several books were tainted by his peculiar views. 

Banim was known to the world as the " coadjutor" of Shiel in the production of 
a tragedy — Damon and Pythias — performed at Covent Garden in 1821, when the 
author was twenty-four years old. It is understood, however, that Shiel's part of the 
production extended to little more than advice, " clippings," and a recommendation 
to the manager. Its success was mainly owing to the brilliant and powerful acting 
of Macready. At that time Banim was studying art rather than letters, and taught 
drawing in Dublin. On the strength of this gleam of sunshine he married, and 

Q 2 


ventured to buffet the stream in London, residing first at a cottage in Amelia Place, 
Brompton — tlie cottage in whicli Curran had sometime lived, and where he died. 

I saw him there, knew him intimately afterwards, and had renewed intercourse 
with him at a subsequent period, when he resided in the neighbourhood of Black- 
heath, previous to his prolonged residence in France under circumstances of 
embarrassment approaching penury. It was sought to raise a fund for his support, 
towards which Ireland, who owed him so much, was a niggardly contributor, 
although a public meeting was held in Dublin, at which Shiel presided; and similar 
meetings took place in other parts of the country. 

During many after-years — in England, France, and Ireland — his health was 
deplorably bad : the lower extremities were paralysed, and he was incapable of 
action, except with his head and hands. These, however, were active ; dismal 
necessity made them so ; but his popularity had waned, and to earn the means 
of life was a hard, almost an impossible, tasji. I arranged for him the sale of his 
latest novel (he was then residing at Boulogne) for a sum by no means adequate to 
his hopes ; and in 1835 he returned to Ireland, like the wounded stag, to die where 
he was raised — in his native city of Kilkenny. " I found him," writes his ever good, 
upright, and loving brother, " laid listlessly on a sofa, his useless limbs at full length ; 
his open hand was on the arm of the oouch, and his sunken cheek rested on his 
pillow. I looked down on a meagre, attenuated, almost white-headed old man." 
Friends rallied round him, however, giving sympathy for his sorrow ; and aid more 
substantial .frequently came to his bed of physical suffering. One of the Queen's 
pensions — d6150 a year — was accorded to him, mainly, I believe, by the instrumen- 
tality of the good Earl of Carlisle. It brought sunshine to the gloom at Windgap 
Cottage, and made comparatively happy the remaining years of his life ; for he lived, 
"bedridden," until July, 1842, when his days of anguish were closed. 

A small pension was subsequently granted to his widow, who survived their only 
child, a daughter ; and very recently a pension has been accorded by Mr. D'Israeli 
to the daughter of the brother, Michael Banim. 

Banim, in his prime, was a good specimen of the Irish Celt. His face was full, 
somewhat too much so, heavy in the lower part, with a broad forehead and grey 
eyes, such as can beam with gentle love, or be rapidly lit into fierce fire. He was 
somewbat pitted with the small-pox, but his face was handsome, and certainly 
expressive. He was sadly changed when I saw him last ; physical suffering had, 
perhaps, impaired his mind ; and although not quite the wreck his loving and devoted 
brother describes, it was impossible to look upon him without a sense of pain. He 
was born in 1798, and died in 1842. 



Gerald Griffin was born in 1803, in Limerick : lie was the ninth son of his father, 
a brewer in the " city of violated treaties." At the age of nineteen he was in London, 
picking up a precarious living by literature ; struggling with absolute poverty, with- 
out friends, without experience, almost without hope. He had dreams of fame, 
indeed ; for in his pocket he carried some poems and an unfinished tragedy, and had 
grand notions of great things to come. He found the publishers cold, of course ; 
crawled where he expected to fly ; and lay broken in spirit and almost in heart at the 
foot of the mountain, the summit of which he had fancied it easy to reach by the aids 
of energy and industry associated with genius. 

He found a useful adviser and friend in John Banim — himself a struggler in the 
mighty vortex of London ; and at Banim's I met him more than once. He was then 
a delicate, or rather refined-looking young man, tall and handsome, but with mournful 
eyes, and that unmistakeable something which prognosticates a sad life and an early 
death. He had long dark hair, and a forehead that indicated intellectual power ; 
but there was deep sadness in his looks, even in his attitudes, as if Hope had been 
omitted in the organisation of his brain. Though little more than a boy, he seemed 
already exhausted ; way-worn, though so fresh on life's journey. I saw him many 
years afterwards under more favourable auspices in Limerick, and once again in Cork 
in 1839, a few months before his death. 

His story is a sad one, yet its like may be told of many, some of whom 
triumphed over, while others succumbed to, a dismal fate. 

His play, Gisijjjnis, was written, or rather completed, in " coffee-houses," and 
upon little slips of paper. Where or how he was lodged nobody knew. Sickened by 
" repeated delays and disappointments," when he sought admission into periodicals, 
employment as a translator, willing to be a literary drudge, a bookseller's hack, any- 
thing that could keep away actual starvation — for it had nearly come to that when a 
friend once discovered him, and ascertained that he had been three days without 
food — no wonder he " wished he could lie down quietly, die, and be forgotten." 
Banim, having missed him for many weeks, went in search of, and found, him in a 
miserable attic. " His landlady spoke of him in terms of pity, represented him as 
in great distress ; she was afraid he denied himself the commonest necessaries ; he 
appeared in bad spirits, dressed but indifferently, shut himself up for days together 
in his room without sending for any provisions, and when he went out, it was only at 
nightfall." Yet he might have had help ; more than one of his good and loving 
brothers would have given it, not out of superfluities, but out of needs ; and when 
Banim tendered aid (although Banim was himself, at that time, hardly better off) it 
was indignantly rejected. He had the proverbial waywardness of genius ; the pride 
that does not ape humility : he had all sorts of aliases, and shrunk from giving 
notoriety to his own name. He seems to have had a morbid horror of patronage, 
and turned away with apparent loathing from even the friendship that would have 
ministered to his necessities. 


His novel, " The Collegians," did, indeed, find its way to fame, and so did his 
tales of " The Munster Festivals," but the charmer whispered to him in vain ;* his 
very heart seemed blighted ; and he sought and, it is to be hoped, found shelter at 
the foot of the Cross. 

In 1836, when I saw him at Limerick, he had determined upon joining some 
religious fraternity. He had obtained and nourished an idea that his novels were 
sins, of which he ought to repent ; and that poetry was an offering at the feet of 
Satan, instead of grateful incense to the God of Mercy and of Love. As a preparation 
for his future, one gloomy night he burned all his manuscripts, and wrote no more ; 
he joined the " Society of Christian Brothers " — " a society that, besides fulfilling all 
the pious exercises of the monastic state, devotes its best energies to the religious 
and moral instruction of the children of the poor." In this new vocation he might 
have been very useful ; but the lamp had burned down, there was little oil left, it 
flickered and died out. 

On the 12th of June, 1840, he was laid in "the little burying-ground " on 
Shandon Hill, Cork, where, as he had written, " the headstones of a few Brothers 
invite us to a de profundis and a thought on the end of all things." It was of fever 
he died ; but the seed of death had been planted "long ago," and he was an easy 
victim to the common enemy — or friend — of humankind. Thus his prophecy of 
himself was fulfilled : — 

" In the time of my boyhood I had a strange feeling, 
That I was to die in the noon of my day." 

I recall him, and with mournful satisfaction, as I saw him at Cork in 1839 ; he 
was dressed not as a monk, but in the half-clerical garb of " the Brothers." The 
melancholy of his countenance, and the subdued solemnity of manner that had 
impressed me in his youth, had become deeper, more solemn, and more sad. I can 
but compare him then to a hunted stag, that, wayworn, panting, and shaken in limb 
and heart by efforts to escape, rolls its large, earnest, and melancholy eyes, as it 
draws a last breath and sinks on the sward a victim to eager and relentless hounds. 

But the fate of Gerald Griffin niiight have been far different. He had to endure 
no self-reproach ; nothing of immorality or wrong-doing had engendered remorse. 
He was not, as his friend Banim was, a martyr to disease ; indeed, his health never 
gave way in the contest ; he had friends who, if not wealthy, were prosperous, who 
had helped, and would have continued to help, him " up the steep ;" appreciating 
admirers were numerous, and critics had never been " unkind," He was simply a 
coward in the battle of life. He had suffered privations and disappointments ; but 
who has obtained literary distinction without them ? These were almost his only 
pangs ; and when hope altogether left him, and he sought escape in solitude and 
ascetic gloom, victory was almost within his reach, and he knew it to be so ; he 
" gave in" when he might have run the race that was set before him, to arrive in 
triumph at the goal, and to wear the crown he could have won. 

* Twenty yeai-s after his fli'st attempts to bring it on the stage, the rejected of the managers, his play, Gisippus, 
was produced at Drury Lane by Maoready, and was " eminently successful." Griffin had then been two years in 
the grave. 


If a Memory of Samuel Lover is associated with that of Lady Morgan, it is not 
because they were friends. They were friends, indeed, at an earlier period of the 
young poet-artist's career, but " my lady," perhaps, assumed too much, and Lover 
was disposed to concede too little, for she considered him indebted to her for much 
of his fame, while he was disposed to think she stood in the way of it ; and they 
quarrelled thenceforward for their lives. 

Lover was born in Dublin in 1792, and died in 1869. He was twice married, 
and leaves a daughter by his first wife ; she is the wife of a distinguished German 
professor. He enjoyed, for some years before his death, one of the literary pensions. 
Rest, and a steady income derived from his songs and plays, made his later days 
comfortable. He resided some time at Sevenoaks, removing to Jersey, where in 
tranquillity and comfort, carefully watched and tended by his devoted wife, he died. 
He is buried at Kensal Green, where she has erected a monument to his memory. 

Lover began life as a miniature painter, and attained high professional standing. 
Some of his productions would not suffer by comparison with those of the best artists 
of his time. But at a very early age he wrote verses and composed music — 
borrowing, no doubt, generally from old or obsolete Irish airs, as in the case of 
" Rory O'More" and " Molly Carew;" others, however, he claimed to have origi- 
nated, as " The Angels' Whisper." Of the science he knew little ; but he had a 
correct ear, refined taste, and a voice of limited compass, but much expression. He 
was also an admirable raconteur — of Irish stories especially. Those who have heard 
him recite his " New Pittateys " and " Will ye lend me the loan of a gridiron ?" will 
not easily forget them. He also wrote a dozen or more of successful dramas, some 
of which keep places on the stage, as The Irish Lion and The White Horse of the 
Peppers^' He did, indeed, make an efi"ort to act as well as to write them ; but his 
acting was a failure, although he succeeded in giving reading-lectures that were 
popular both in England and America. 

I copy Mrs. Hall's Memory of the artist-poet : — 

" The much-admired novel of ' Rory O'More ' grew out of the popularity of the 
song of that name. The melody had a wonderful ' run ' — on street organs as well 
as in the drawing-room. It keeps its place in both, and is a favourite with our con- 
tinental neighbours. Not long ago, at Brussels, we heard the bugler of the omnibus 
that runs to Waterloo making the streets re-echo to the playful air of ' Rory O'More.' 

" Mr. Lover's ' Handy Andy ' was the most national, if not the most successful, of 

* Much of their success was omng to the admirable acting of Power. Poor Tyrone Power, who was lost in the 
President (the ship that sailed from New York with favouring breezes, and full of passengers buoyant with hope, 
some twenty years ago, and has never since been heard of, even by a fragment of wreck), has had no successor on 
the modem stage. He was the very embodiment of Irish character — playing with equal zest, force, and truth the 
Irish gentleman and the Irish bog-trotter. Indeed, in a play {The Groves of Blarney), written for him by Mrs. S. C. 
Hall in 1830, and which was performed ninety nights at the Adelphi, he sustained three characters, each very 
distinct and different from the other — a gentleman of the old school, a peasant of the better class, and a " natural " 
(a sort of half-idiot). Power was a little, active, energetic man, much pock-marked, yet with a countenance capable 
of very varied expression ; his brogue was rich and oily; he never "over-did" his parts; he seemed to be, and 
was, an Irishman to the very life. He was not, however, a mere imitator of his countrymen ; he had a capacious 
mind, and his personations were neither chances nor copies. 


his Irish novels, abounding in that racy Irish humour, and illuminated by sudden 
flashes of wit, with which he knew how to enrich his inimitable shorter stories. As 
a lecturer Mr. Lover had to contend against physical defects which would have 
swamped a less persevering or adventurous spirit at the onset ; but in England and 
America he lectured with great success. His voice, both in singing and speaking, 
was feeble, yet he managed to make expression take the place of strength ; and 
the interest of his audienee, once excited, he never suffered to flag. His features 
were really better than those of his matchless countryman, ' Tom Moore,' but they 
had not the buoyant, joyeuse expression, the ' fly-away-care ' bewitchment of 

' The poet of all circles, and the darling of his own.' 

Still, the next delight to hearing Moore discourse the sweet music of his country was 
to hear ' Sam Lover ' murmur ' The Angels' Whisper,' ' The Fairy Boy,' ' The Four- 
leaved Shamrock,' or abandoning pathos for humour, burst into ' Molly Carew,' or 
any one of those ' rollicking ' yet delicate songs that never called a blush, except of 
innocent pleasure, to a woman's cheek. Certainly Lover 

' Ran through each change of the lyre,' 

and if not exactly ' master of all,' out of more than two hundred lyrics he has left 
some that will strike the heart, and dim, as well as brighten, the eyes of all true 
lovers of genuine melody and poetry as long as the English language endures."* 


Ceoly excelled in many ways — poet, dramatist, biographer, novelist, historian, com- 
mentator, public speaker, preacher, and political writer. He wrote a successful play. 
Pride shall have a Fall ; he was the author of two popular novels, " Salathiel " and 
" Marston ;" and he produced several works on abstruse matters of theology — among 
the rest a new interpretation of the Apocalypse of St. John. 

Jerdan says that Croly's two sisters, his wife (a Miss Begbie), and his eldest 
daughter were "poetesses" of no mean order. 

Croly was a large and heavy man, ponderous in appearance and in manner ; his 
head was much beyond the usual size; the forehead broad but receding; the organ 
of benevolence was not there, and there was very little of that of veneration. It 
was essentially a Celtic head. His voice was loud and solemn, but not impressive ; 
there was nothing of concihation in it ; nothing of the gentle and persuasive elements 
so valuable to the Christian teacher. I did not often hear him preach : he had a 
sort of rude and, indeed, angry eloquence, that would have stood him in better stead 
at the bar than in the pulpit. His voice, aspect, and manner altogether, would have 

* A memoir of Samuel Lover has been pubUshed by one of his friends (Bayle Bernard, who has died since it 
was published). No doubt the materials were furnished by Lover's widow. The work is in so far satisfactory that 
it does ample justice to his value as an author, and his worth as a man. But it cannot be described as altogether 


"told" well on the Bench, where he would certainly have been "a terror to evil- 
doers." It will be seen that Croly did not impress me favourably; yet at one period 
I was thrown much in his way : we were associated to promote the purpose of a 
private charity, and he wrote weekly, from 1839 to 1846, the leading articles for 
the Britarinia newspaper, of which I was some years the directing editor. He was 
a fierce politician, and hated political opponents. 

In 1838 I applied to him for some aid to a biography ; he indignantly refused it, 
writing, " I must request that nothing whatever shall be said about me or my career 
in any work of yours, or where you have any influence. I should regard it as the 
last personal offence. There is, therefore, an end of the matter." 

He changed his mind, and some time afterwards supplied me with a long memoir, 
in which, however, he was by no means communicative concerning himself ; indeed, 
I had afterwards reason to know that the subject might have been distasteful to him, 
and with good reason. 

One of the latest incidents of his life was very gratifying to him. During the 
mayoralty of his friend Sir Francis Graham Moon, his admirers and parishioners 
subscribed to present to him a testimonial. Strange to say, the testimonial was his 
own bust.* 

Croly was eloquent in the brief speech he delivered on the occasion : although 
aged then, he seemed vivacious in body and in mind. 

He was born in 1780, and died suddenly, near his residence in Bloomsbury 
Square, on the 24th of November, 1860. In England he was first a curate on 
the skirts of bleak and barren Dartmoor ; and it was not until 1835 that church 
preferment came to him. There was a huge gap between, and if Croly were a 
" disappointed clergyman," it is no wonder. To himself, no doubt, he refers in 
these lines : — 

"Hast thou, Man of Intellect ! 
Seen thy soaring spirit checked ; 
Struggling in the righteous cause, 
Champion of God's slighted laws; 
Seen the slave or the supine 
Win the prize that should be thine V 

For some time he had the chaplaincy of the Foundling Hospital, but resigned it 
because some of the managers of the charity thought his sermons to be above the 
comprehension of his hearers. Croly protested that his auditors were not merely 
the children and servants of the institution, but dwellers in the neighbourhood— a 
neighbourhood which, he said, "contained perhaps the most intelligent population 
in England," and who had become indifferent or disdainful of Christianity because of 
" the verbiage of which they heard so much." 

" Their alienation," he wroie, " is not from religion, but from the senseless argu- 
ment and the shallow appeal, from the tiresome reiteration of obsolete trivialities and 
dreary truisms, from pathos without feeling, and all that dull pantomime of oratory 
in which a white handkerchief is a figure of speech." 

* That bust he bequeathed to the parish, to be placed in the church. 




Among those who attained large popularity in Dublin when Lady Morgan was 
famous there, was the Rev. Chaeles Matukin. It was he who introduced me to 
" my lady," and he honoured me with his " patronage." I do not mean the sentence 
as a sneer, for he had then achieved renown, and I was but on the threshold of " a 
life of letters." I had then published a poem which attracted his attention; it is 
utterly forgotten, as it ought to be. 

As the author of two successful tragedies, Bertram and Manuel (in which the 
elder Kean sustained the leading parts), and of several popular novels, the name is 
not one that I can pass over in my " Memories," independently of the obligation he 
conferred on me. Moreover, he was an eloquent preacher, although probably he 
mistook his calling when he entered the Chtirch. Among his many eccentricities I 
remember one : it was his habit to compose while walking about his large and 
scantily-furnished house ; and always, on such occasions, he placed a wafer on his 
forehead — a sign that none of his family or servants were to address him then — to 
endanger the loss of a thought that might enlighten a world.* 

He was always in "difficulties." In Lady Morgan's Memoirs it is stated that 
Sir Charles Morgan raised a subscription for Maturin, and supplied him with £50. 
" The use he made of the money was to give a grand party. There was little fur- 
niture in the reception-room, but at one end of it there had been erected an old 
theatrical property-throne, and under a canopy of crimson velvet sat — Mr. and Mrs. 
Maturin ! " He was born in 1782, and died in 1824. 


Although Richard Lalor Shiel was Master of the Mint, he was also the author 
of a successful tragedy, Evadne, and took high stand as an author. He was born in 
1791, and died in 1851, at Florence, where he was British Envoy. As one of the 
leading Roman Catholics who fought side by side with O'Connell for the " eman- 
cipation " they obtained, he made himself a name in Ireland — where, however, it is 
forgotten now, for he was a staunch adherent to the Union that binds the two 
countries, and did not follow his " leader " in his insane efforts for " Repeal." Shiel 
was the very opposite of O'Connell in person, mind, and pursuits ; the one was 
"burly and big," the other small of frame, and constitutionally delicate; the one 
had a powerful voice, that could have filled the Coliseum, that of the other was thin 
and weak, and sometimes fell into a positive squeak. Yet Shiel was perhaps more 
of an orator than O'Connell ; he was not a ready speaker, and had to learn his best 
speeches by heart. His most famous oration is in print — that delivered at Pen- 

* The anecdote is related by Lockhart in Ms " Life of Scott." But I have seen Maturin so " decorated." Sir 
Walter Scott described his tragedy of Bertram as " grand and powerful ; the langnage most animated and poetical ; 
and the characters sketched with a masterly enthusiasm." 


nington Heath. It is a grand display of eloquence, and did much to accomplish the 
object for which the great meeting was held — to obtain the co-operation of England in 
pressing the Catholic claims on the Government. But that speech was not delivered 
as it was printed. It was said, and generally believed at the time, that he lost the 
written copy of it en route to the place of assembly. 

He was a man of kindly nature, very agreeable in manners, and a thorough 
gentleman ; while his person, though small, was much in his favour. 


There was another eminent Irishman — Thomas CoiiLEY Geattan — who for more 
than half a century occupied a prominent position in literature, and a position still 
more prominent in society. Though an aged man before he died, he looked young to 
the last ; and his natural gaiety of mind and manners seemed but little impaired by 
years. He cannot be described as an author by profession ; his novels were results of 
frequent travels on the Continent, a long residence in Belgium, and, it may be, a 
general love of literature ; but Fate had been more auspicious to him than to many 
of his brethren of the pen. He was for many years Consul at Boston, and after- 
wards held a similar post at Antwerp, where English visitors ever found in him a 
ready adviser and friend. From that post he retired in favour of one of his sons, 
spending the remainder of his days in elegant and comfortable leisure, with nothing 
to do but to enjoy himself; and that he did to the full. He was born in Dublin in 
1796, and died in July, 1864. 


Another eminent Irishman was Sir James Emerson Tennent, Bart. I knew 
Mr. Emerson before he became famous and took the name of his lady, when his 
prospect of representing in Parliament his native city (Belfast) was remote and 
small, although from the commencement of his career he gave promise of achieving 
the distinction at which he aimed. He was active, energetic, and intelligent ; a good 
and fluent speaker ; and his latest work, resulting from his official residence at 
Ceylon, supplies conclusive evidence that his powers of observation were great, his 
capacity large, his abilities, indeed, of a high order ; and that it was by no means 
altogether by chance that he was elevated to a position which, at the outset of life, 
seemed so far out of his reach. Moreover, he had personal advantages which 
assisted him when other aids were his : he was handsome of person, and essentially 
a courteous gentleman, who neglected none of the minor arts by which friends are 
made. He was born early in the present century, and died in March, 1869. 



And surely a word is due to the memory of Sheridan Knowles. He was thoroughly 
GENUINE — simple, natural, and good — a nature unspoiled by great success. He was 
humble as a child when the press and the public proclaimed him the first writer of 
tragedies of the age ; and he had a right to high rank, if to produce a successful 
tragedy be, as it is considered to be, the loftiest achievement of genius. 

Yes, he was a very simple man ; there was not an atom of affectation, pretence, 
or assumption about him ; he looked what he was — a child of nature, although his 
associations had been all his life long with the footlights. 

Macready told me of his utter astonishment when Knowles read to the great actor 
the grandest of his plays — Virginius. "What!" he said, half pleasantly and half 
seriously, "you the author of that tragedy! Why, you look more like the captain 
of a Leith smack ! " And so he did in those days, for he had a ruddy complexion 
that indicated little of the lamp, and a cheerfulness of air and manner that spoke 
nothing of hope deferred. 

He was but a poor actor. The " brogue " never quite left him, and his mind 
seemed more intent on the matter than the manner of the stage. Yet in some parts 
in his own plays he achieved considerable repute — notably as Master Walter in the 
Hunchback. His earnestness and deep feeling were sound atonements for lack of 
dramatic skill. 

It is known that in his later days he became (or at all events took the role of) a 
Baptist minister. It was not my good fortune ever to have heard him preach, which 
I now much regret, although I am told it was a performance that one might have 
been satisfied to witness but once. 

I remember Harley relating to me an encounter with him in an omnibus. Harley 
said, "Why, Sheridan, you have not been to see us lately." " Oh, no ! " was the 
reply, in a tone subdued to sadness ; "I have given up all such sinful thoughts and 
pleasures !" After a while, however, the old leaven was uppermost. Suddenly he 
seemed alive, and exclaimed, " But, by the way, how do you get on with your pan- 
tomime this year ? " 

We can scarcely fancy the change — from the pleasant to the sedate, the gay to 
the lugubrious — Sheridan Knowles " dofiing his gaudy suit," his coat of motley, and 

" by commutation strange, 
A reverend divine." 

But whatever and wherever he was, Sheridan Knowles was in earnest — simple, 
honest, and true always. He was born in Dublin in 1784, and died in London on 
the 1st of December, 1862, having been twice married, and leaving children by his 
first wife. 



I KNEW but little of Cajrleton. Although undoubtedly a powerful writer, a vigorous 
and accurate delineator of Irisb character — one, indeed, whose works will always 
have value, an increasing value, as Irish peculiarities become less and less distinct 
and formidable — he was not respected in the better circles of the city in which 
he dwelt, Dublin ; while his habits were such as, in a degree, to exclude him from 

He was essentially a peasant — peasant-born and peasant-bred. Educated among 
those who nourished intense hatred of England and Protestantism ; brought up to 
be a priest ; mingling from childhood with the people he was afterwards to depict, 
acquiring the manners he was to describe, and cherishing the prejudices which formed 
the staple of his stories, it is no marvel if he were a coarse delineator, and exhibited 
the worst features of the national character. 

In the cabin, the hedge school, the " shebeen," among " the factions," he received 
his early education ; and the " schooling" appertaining, to them no one has ever 
pictured with such fidelity. 

The grade he pictures is below that of Banim, and far beneath that of Grriffin. 
They had much the same training ; but the companionship of these two was not 
confined, as was that of Carleton, to the classes that perpetuated prejudice ; they 
were, by comparison, gentlemen ; they had, at least, associated with gentlemen, 
while he was what in Ireland they call a " Jackeen." Yet perhaps he surpassed 
them in the power with which he painted pictures from the life, and has certainly 
left behind him books that will, one day or other, interest as traits and stories of 
a time as much forgotten as is the old Norman language in the Irish barony of 

There were other reasons that made him lose caste, low as it was. He " turned " 
more than once — was a Protestant one day, a Catholic the next, and again a Pro- 
testant, when the conviction of the moment was stilled or stifled. 

He was rather above than below the middle size, thick-set, with a face of the 
lower Irish type, giving little indication of the great ability he undoubtedly possessed^ 
For the rest, he had one of the Crown pensions of £200 a year. There were scores 
of his countrymen by whom it was better deserved, but, like most things that are 
done in Ireland, it savoured of " a job." He was born in 1798, and died in January, 


There are many who regret the absence from earth of " Father Prout " — the Rev. 
Francis Mahony ; not that he had many of the quaUties that endear man to man. 
At one period of his life he had, I believe, very social qualities- — perhaps too many. 
He was a hon comfagnon in his early manhood, but of late he was entirely absorbed 
in himself. His visits to London were not often ; they seemed hurried, as if he 

longed to return to his life of mingled anchorite and sensualist in Paris, where of 
him and his attic many strange stories are told. 

Francis Mahony was born in Cork, in the year 1800. His father was a respected 
merchant of that city, and in his youth he lacked nothing that money could procure. 
As a Koman Catholic, however, and the son of a tradesman, he did not find his way 
into " society," for the prejudices of religion and caste ran high there at that time. 
He was, therefore, educated in France and in Rome. Maynooth did not then exist : 
happy would it be for Ireland if it had never existed. The Irish priests that were 
educated on the Continent, by associating with gentlemen, and in comparative freedom 
from fetters of bigotry, became enlightened, intelligent, and liberal. 

In 1835, or thereabouts, Mahony became a permanent resident in London, 
joining a " band of brothers " who founded and conducted Fraser's Magazine. It 
was then different from what it is now. It was very brilliant ; its writers were the 
most renowned " wits " of the metropolis ; but its object was to imitate the worst 
features of Blackwood ; and if it gave the world much that was valuable, it contri- 
buted largely to the worst passions that are public and private afflictions. 

Maclise was their artist ; he was then beginning his career, and carefully con- 
cealed his connection with the periodical.* 

I spent an evening at one of their Symposiums, held in an obscure public-house, 
somewhere in Soho, with the " wits " who then sustained Fraser's Magazine. 
" Prout " was in the chair." There were present Percy Banks, who married a sister 
of the artist Maclise ; Churchill, a reckless man of genius, who was literally a " man 
about town ; " Frazer, who edited the Foreign Quarterly Magazine ; and others whose 
names I do not remember. They were, excepting Maclise, fast men all of them. 
Their habits did not suit mine ; and though I know there was abundance of wit as 
well as wine, I do not recall the evening with pleasure. Mahony was a " wit" of 
the better and of the worst order ; a writer of great ability ; while his knowledge of 
the dead languages was profound and ever ready. His translations of several modern 
songs into Latin are among the triumphs of the pen. His attempt to show the 
number of foreign tongues, ancient and modern, from which Moore borrowed his 
.rich melodies— by pretended extracts from many imagined writers — are among the 
marvels of authorship. 

Mahony generally " gave us a call " when he visited London. Sometimes he 
would enter our drawing-room, keep his hands in his pockets, look all about him, 
make some observation such as " You have changed your curtains since I was here 
last," bid us good morning, and retire— his visit occupying some three mmutes. At 
other times he would sit and have " a chat" about old times and forgotten people ; 
then his remarks would be "pithy" and to the point, the geniality of his nature 

* The earlier volumes of Fraser's Magazine, between 1829 and 1834 or 1835, contam many portraits of dis- 
tingTiished persons drawn and etched by Maclise ; they were associated with a page of biography and criticism trom 
the pen of Dr. Maginn. As these matters were sometimes bitterly sarcastic, a degree ot mystery was kept up as 
to artist and author. The portraits may therefore be said to have been obtained « suiTeptitiously yet they are 
admirable as likenesses, and capital as specimens of art. Few ornone of the persons portrayed actuaUy f* for their 
portraits. The series would form a curious and interesting collection if brought together, although nine out of ten 
of the subiects are now gone from earth. I cannot at the moment recall any who are now living except Thomas 
Cariyte and Mrs S. C. h!i1. The whole of the pages have been recently coUected, admii'ably edited, largely added 
to, and published by Chatto and Windus. 

would come out, and he was the pleasant, intelligent, and agreeable companion. 
But genial he was not ; he was terse, sharp, and often bitter ; and although his 
ecclesiastical training had rendered him cautious to a degree that amounted to sus- 
picion, occasionally he would indulge in praise as well as censure, and seem to enjoy 
the one as much as he did the other. 

No doubt he was a Jesuit as well as a priest. He was accused, indeed, of being 
neither more nor less than " a spy ;" and it is not unlikely that he was in continual 
communication with the General of the Order concerning a hundred things of which 
he was supposed to take no note. 

A writer in the Pall Mall Gazette (C. L. G.), who knew him well, asserts that — 

" He might have had a cardinal's hat but for that which is imputed to him as his one great fault 
— conviviality. At Rome, so strongly impressed were the leading men of the Church with his 
hbilities that it was intimated to him that he might hope to rise high in honours ecclesiastical if he 
would devote his exclusive services to the Pope. He assented ; a period of probation was assigned, 
(luring which it was ascertained that his notions of temperance were too liberal for the Church. 
Prout told me the temptation he had at Rome, adding, 'Any road, thej'' say, leads to Rome, but 
would it not have been odd if I had gone to seat myself there through the Groves of Blarney ? ' 
I treated his statement, at the time, as a joke, but from one of the highest Church authorities in 
Paris I subsequently had full confirmation of the fact that the cardinal's hat was actually offered 
to him in prospect, and that he lost the distinction as I have intimated." 

During the later years of his life he resided in Paris, occupying an entresol in the 
Rue de Moulins. I saw him there but once : he was toasting a mutton chop for his 
dinner, and on the corner of his table, among letters and MSS., was a worn and not 
very clean serviette — -his table-cloth. 

His habits were, indeed, those of a recluse ; he saw little or no society, kept no 
servant, and lived a life the very opposite to that of a gentleman. He was every 
day to be seen at Galignani's — seldom anywhere else, yet generally silent there — 
strolling in, greeting few or none, reading the papers, conversing not at all on tojjics 
of the day's news, and returning to his solitary chamber to read and to write. He 
was a principal proprietor of the Globe newspaper, and, of course, one of its chief 
writers, not only on foreign, but on home subjects. 

A generous and sympathising friend of Mahony thus pictured him in the Pall 
Mall Gazette : the portrait is to the very life : — 

"Many of our readers must have remarked, passing in and out the reading-room of 
Galignani's Library of late years, a figure singular enough to attract a glance of curiosity even 
in Paris. The figure we mean was that of a little eldeily man with an intellectual head, and 
whose keen bluish eyes had a queer way of looking up sharply over the rims of his spectacles. 
His garb was ecclesiastical in its general character, but above all was the garb of one very little 
careful of appearances ; for if his shirt happened to be white, it seldom boasted buttons, and there 
were many days when both whiteness and buttons were wanting to it. The manner of this little 
figure, too, was as quaint and interesting as his appearance. If you knew him, he saluted you 
with some quaint, caustic bit of badinage, all the richer for a touch of brogue which had long ceased 
to be provincial, and gave only a fine tinge of nationality that suited the speaker's humour. He 
would make some half-droll inquiry, tell some droll anecdote, not improbably garnished with a bit 
of classic parsley in the form of a quotation from Horace, and then, as likely as not, would dart 
off, sticking his hands in his coat pockets, without saluting either yourself or the companion whom 
you had introduced to him." 

Mahony was born at Cork in 1800, and died at Paris in 1865. 


Another of the Irish writers of novels with whom I was acquainted is Eyre Evans 
Crowe. They are forgotten now, but "Yesterday in Ireland" and "To-Day in 
Ireland " competed, and successfully, with the wilder fictions of Banim and Grrifiin ; 
and his " History of France " keeps its high place among the better order of historical 
works. Crowe resided many years in Paris, as the French correspondent of news- 
papers, and was', for a time, editor of the Daily Neics. 

I knew him when his first books were published, and had some intercourse with 
him in Paris more than once ; but, unfortunately for me, I saw little of him of late 
years, for he was a gentleman of rare intelligence, large experience in life and in 
letters, and his society was ever agreeable and instructive.* 


I HAVE not been able to devote much space to this group of Irish " worthies," but I 
should be guilty of gross neglect — of ingratitude, indeed — if I left the subject without 
some expressions of homage and affection as regards my long-valued friend, the Rev. 
Robert Walsh, LL.D., and his most admirable and eminent son, John Edward 
Walsh, the late Master of the Rolls in Ireland. 

Dr. Walsh commenced his career in letters as the author of a " History of 
Dublin ; " but he is better known to the world as the author of two singularly well- 
timed works, "Records of a Residence in Brazil," and a "Residence in Constan- 
tinople." He accompanied his friend. Lord Strangford, as Chaplain to the Embassy 
to both countries. After a life of travel and of much valuable labour in many 
ways, he obtained the Rectory of Finglass, near Dublin, where he died. His 
much elder brother. Dr. Edward Walsh, was one of the Physicians to the Forces, 
and wrote a History of the mournful expedition to Walcheren. 

They were both among the most cherished of our friends. With the Rev. Robert 
Walsh our relations were close and intimate for a long period ; we recall him to 
memory with respect and affection. His son, John Edward, we knew from his early 
boyhood, and are bound by ties of friendship to his family. 

His removal from earth in October, 1869, at the comparatively early age of fifty- 
two, was one of the mysterious dispensations of Providence we may not seek to 
fathom. Few better men, in all the relations of life, have ever lived. A sound 
lawyer, an eloquent pleader, a very learned scholar, and of large capabilities for 
labour, his rise in his profession was a thing assured long before he attained its 
most elevated rank. He was Member for the University, Attorney-General, and 
Master of the Rolls, all within a year, the year 1866. In 1869, having made a 

* One of Crowe's sons is the excellent and popular artist, Mr. Eyre Crowe, A.E.A. Crowe was bom in 1798, 
and died in 1868. 


vacation tour to Italy, he was attacked with a sudden illness on his way home 
through Paris, and in that city he died. 

The private affliction was grievously heavy : not only his own family, but friends 
—and he had many— mourned his departure as a grief that had no remedy. The 
removal was a public loss of vast magnitude. Though a Protestant and a Conserva- 
tive, he was not a political partisan. All parties had confidence in him in his sound 

judgment, generous sympathies, and unimpeachable integrity. It seemed, to our 
finite view, that he was taken from his country when his country most needed him. 


I MAY not close this chapter without a Memory of Daniel Maclise, estimable as an 
artist and as a man. I knew him when he was a lad in Cork, in the year 1820. I 
had visited the School of Art in that city, and saw a young boy standing before a 
desk and drawing from an antique model— one of a series of casts presented by 
George IV. to the school. I conversed with him, examined his copy, and observed, 
" My little friend, if you work hard and tliinh, you will be a great man one of these 
days." In the year 1828, when this child had become almost a man, I encountered 
him in London, with a portfolio under his arm ; he had become an artist, and was 
drawing portraits for any who sought his aid, and at such prices as content young 
men distrustful of their own powers, and who have merely dreamed of fame. I'ifty 
years after my first meeting with Daniel Maclise it is my lot to render homage to his 
genius ; to class him among the foremost painters of his age ; and to register the 
fulfilment of my prophecy of half a century ago. Such happy incidents are of rare 

He was born in Cork : the date of his birth has been given as the 25th of 
January, 1811. I believe, however, it ought to be 1809. His family was from 
Scotland, and his father was Scottish born. He held an ensigncy in the Elgin 
Fencibles,* and went with his regiment into Ireland in 1798. While quartered in 
Cork he married into a family of the name of Clear, respectable traders in that city, 
retired from the army, and entered into a business new to him. As might be 
expected, his avocation turned out unprosperously. It was the high privilege of 
Daniel Maclise, by genius, industry, and principles honourable to his heart as well as 
to his mind, to restore the fallen fortunes of his family ; while the father, till the end 
of his life, was the "honoured guest" of his artist-son. 

In 1827 or 1828 he came to London, and entered the schools of the Koyal 
Academy, maintaining himself by painting portraits, &c. During his studentship he 
gained all the honours for which he competed, including the gold medal for a picture 
of " The Choice of Hercules : " that was in 1831. 

* It is so stated, at least, in several biographies. I do not, however, helieve that the father was a commissione.,1 
officer. In Cork he followed the calling of a shoemaker. It is to the honour, and not to the prejudice, of Maclise 
that he fi-eed himself from the trammels sometimes created by humble birth. He was in aU respects one of Nature's 


In 1835 he was elected an Associate of the Eoyal Academy ; and in 1841 he was 
promoted to full honours. I could say much — from long experience — of the genial 
nature, the high mind and generous heart, of Daniel Maclise ; but I could not say it 
half so well as it was said by his loving friend, Charles Dickens (alas that I should 
have to write the late Charles Dickens !), at the annual dinner of the Royal Academy : 
— " Of his genius in his chosen art I will venture to say nothing here, but of his 
prodigious fertility of mind and wonderful wealth of intellect I may confidently assert 
that they would have made him, if he had been so minded, at least as great a writer 
as he was a painter. The gentlest and most modest of men, the freest as to his 
generous appreciation of young aspirants, and the frankest and largest-hearted as to 
his peers, incapable of a sordid or ignoble thought, gallantly sustaining the true 
dignity of his vocation, without one grain of self-assertion, wholesomely natural at 
the last as at the first, 'in wit a man, in simplicity a child,' no artist of whatsoever 
denomination, I make bold to say, ever went to his rest leaving a golden memory 
more pure from dross, or having devoted himself with a truer chivalry to the art- 
goddess whom he worshipped." 

A more eloquent tribute to the memory of any man was never uttered. I can 
indorse every word of it : that is all I need say of one whom I honoured and regarded 
with sentiments of deep respect and earnest affection. 


EIGH HUNT was the son of a clergyman of the Church of England, 

and was born at Southgate, in Middlesex, 19th October, 1784. Like 

Coleridge and Lamb, he was educated at Christ's Hospital, and 

chiefly under the same grammar-master, and, like Lamb, he was 

prevented from going to the University (which, on the Christ's 

Hospital foundation, is understood to imply going into the 

Church) by an impediment in his speech, which, however, 

'^ he had the better luck to outgrow. At school, as afterwards, 

he was remarkable for exuberance of animal spirits, and 

for passionate attachment to his friends, but did not evince any great 

regard for his studies, except when the exercises were in verse. His 

prose themes were so bad that the master used to crumple them up in 

his hand, and throw them to the boys for their amusement. Animal 

spirits, a power of receiving delight from the commonest every-day objects, 

il as well as remote ones, and a sort of luxurious natural piety, if I may so 

speak, are the prevailing influences of Hunt's writings. His friend Hazlitt 

used to say of him, in allusion to his spirits, and to his family stock (which is from 

the West Indies), that he had "tropical blood in his veins." 

" He has been an' ardent politician in his time, and has suffered in almost every 
possible way for opinions which, whether right or wrong, he has lived to see in a 

E 2 





great measure, triumph. Time and suffering, without altering them, we understand, 
have blunted his exertions as a partisan, by showing him the excuses common and 
necessary to all men, but the zeal which he has lost as a partisan he no less evinces 
for the advancement of mankind." 

These passages are contained in a letter addressed to me by Leigh Hunt in 1838, 
and were notes for a biography I wrote of him in the " Book of Gems." His 
ancestors, who originally " hailed " from Devonshire, were, on the fathers side, 
Tories and Cavaliers who fled from the tyranny of Cromwell, and settled in Bar- 
badoes. His grandmother was " an O'Brien, and very proud of her descent from 


Irish kings." At the outbreak of the American Eevolution, his father, for the zeal 
he displayed in his speeches and writings on the Royalist side, became obnoxious to 
the popular party. He was dragged out of his house, and after having narrowly 
escaped being tarred and feathered, was carried to prison, but was enabled to escape 
by a heavy bribe to one of the sentinels who guarded him, and getting on board a 
ship in the Delaware, made his way to Barbadoes, and thence to England. By his 
loyalty a very considerable landed estate was lost to his family. He ultimately, how- 
ever, became a Republican and a " Universalist, a sect that beheved all mankind, and 
even the demons, would be eventually saved." After some time practising as a 
lawyer in Philadelphia, he " emigrated " to England, and entered the Church, having 


wedded a lady of Pennsylvania against the consent of her father, " a stern merchant." 
"She had Quaker breeding," and although of a proverbially "fierce race" — the 
Shewells — she was meek, kindly, and Christian ; and from her, no doubt, the poet 
derived much of the gentle urbanity and generous sympathy that were essential 
features in his character. To her, also, he traces a " constitutional timidity " that 
" often perplexed him through life ; " it is not so much seen in his books as it was in 
his conversation and conduct. This characteristic was noticed by many, who won- 
dered that so "mild" a person should have embarked on the stormy sea of politics, 
and have become a fierce partisan of the pen. 

His father, not long after he made his home in England, took orders, and became 
tutor to the nephew of the Duke of Chandos, whose name was Leigh, after whom he 
called his latest-born,''' who was nine years younger than the youngest of his 
brothers, of whom there were several. His father had the spiritual cure of South- 
gate ; and there, Leigh Hunt writes, " I first saw the light." Southgate was then 
" lying out of the way of innovation," with a pure sweet air of antiquity about it, on 
the border of Enfield Chase, and in the parish of Edmonton. The house is yet 

-^ C^^TU. ^iJK^/Ti -ivcff^ a j^ytjz^ MC^^f^yi^f w^^^ 

standing, and I have engraved it. The neighbourhood retains much of its peculiar 
character ; it has still " an air of antiquity : " of old houses and ancient trees many 
yet remain ; the forest is, indeed gone, but modern " improvements " have but httle 
spoiled the locality. 

Li 1792 he entered Christ's Hospital. For eight years he toiled there, bare- 
headed all that time, save now and then when " he covered a few inches of pericranium 
with a cap no bigger than a crumpet." Here, however, he obtained a scholarship, 
under the iron rule of the hard taskmaster of whom something has been said in the 
Memory of Coleridge. No doubt much of the after-tone of his mind was derived 
from his long residence in the heart of a great city, and to it may be traced not only 
his love of streets, but his love of flowers — his luxuries at every period of his life. 
He was grateful to the Hospital for having "bred hini up in old cloisters," for the 
friendships he formed there, and for the " introductions it gave him to Homer and 
to Ovid." In 1802 his father published a volume of his verses under the title of 
"Juvenilia," of which the poet in his maturity grew ashamed. For some time he 

* His names were James Henry Leigh Hunt ; so they stand in the baptismal registry, although he is known 
only as Leigh Hunt. 


was " in the law-office of his brother Stephen." Gradually he drew in, and gave out, 
knowledge. He next obtained a clerkship in the War Office, which he relinquished 
when he became a political writer, — first in a weekly paper called The News, and 
afterwards in the Exanviner. He was, by profession, a Man of Letters, working 
with his pen for his daily bread, and "becoming, all at once, a critic of authors, 
actors, and artists." 

In 1808, the two brothers, John and Leigh, " set up " the Examiner, the main 
objects of which were (as Leigh states in his Autobiography) to assist in producing 
Reform in ParUament, liberality of opinion in general (especially freedom from super- 
stition), and a fusion of literary taste into all subjects whatsoever." 

They soon made it popular, but had to pay a penalty for the freedom of speech 
that was then, even in its mildest tones, a crime in England. They were tried and 
sentenced to two years' imprisonment, and a fine of £1,000,* for a libel on the Prince 
of Wales, and they remained in different prisons until the 3rd of February, 1815, 
John at Coldbath Fields, and Leigh in Surrey Gaol, where, however, he was allowed 
to have his wife (he had married in 1809) and his children with him, and in various 
other ways his incarceration was made comparatively light ; for here he had many 
admiring and sympathising visitors, among them Byron, Moore, f Maria Edgeworth, 
Haydon, and Wilkie. 

It has been too generally thought that in the case of this libel the punishment 
greatly exceeded the offence. Making due allowance for the difference between 
"now and then," it would cot seem so; for perhaps no libel more bitter was ever 
printed. If the Prince had been a grazier, he would have obtained the protection he 
claimed from a jury of his countrymen ; and if the author had written of the grazier 
in terms such as he wrote of the Prince, he must have accepted the issue. Here is 
the marrow of it : there can be no harm in reprinting, to condemn it, half a centuiy 
and more since it was written. Hunt was commenting upon an article of gross 
adulation of the Prince in the Morning Post:—" Who would have imagined that this 
' Adonis in loveliness ' was a corpulent gentleman of fifty ; in short, that this 

* Some influential friends offered to raise a subscription to pay the fine ; but that was declined by the bro'hers. 
To this and the heavy expenses incurred in subsequent Government prosecutions (some of which filled, however, in 
obtaining verdicts against them) may be attributed the pecuniary ditficulties which John and Leigh Hunt laboured 
under during the whole of their lives. 

+ In Moore's ' ' TwopcLny Post-bag," in the midst of political triflings, we come upon these earnest lines on the 
separation and imprisonment of the two brothers : — 

" Go to your prisons— though the air of spring 
No mountain coolness to your cheeks sliall tiring ; 
Though summer flowers shall pass unseen away, 
And all youi- portion of the glorious day 
May be some solitary beam that falls. 
At morn or eve, upon j'our dreary walls — 
Some beam that en^ ers, trembling as if awed. 
To tell how gay the young world laughs abroad 1 
Yet go — for thoughts, as blessed as the air 
Of spring or summer flowers, await you there ; 
Thoughts such as he, who feasts his courtly crew 
In rich conservatories, never knew! 
Pure self-esteem — Ihe smiles that light within — 
The zeal whose circling ch:iri*ies begin 
With the few loved ones Heaven has placed it near, 
Nor cease till all mankind ai'e in its sphere ! — 
The pride that suffers without vaunt or plea, 
And the fiesh spirit that can warble free, 
Thi'ough prison bars, its hymn of liberty ! " 


delightful, blissful, wise, pleasurable, honourable, virtuous, true, and immortal 
prince was a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, 
a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has 
just closed half a century without one single claim on the gratitude of his country, or 
the respect of posterity ? " * 

The visit of Leigh Hunt to Lord Byron^ and its result in the publication of The 
Liberal: Verse and Prose from the South, forms parts of the literary history of the 
epoch. In May, 1822, at Byron's request. Hunt left England for Leghorn, where, 
in July, he found his attached friend Shelley,! a very few days before the terrible 
death of that greatly-gifted man of genius. The sad event changed the after-destiny 
of Leigh Hunt. Byron seems to have liked him but little ; their elements could no 
more have mingled than fire and oil. Their intercourse did not last long. One of 
the consequences much impaired the reputation of Leigh Hunt. The volume 
" Byron and his Contemporaries " was a serious error. Leigh Hunt could no more 
comprehend Byron than Byron could understand and appreciate Leigh Hunt. I 

On his return from the "sunny South," Hunt went to live at Highgate. The 
sylvan scenery of the London suburb refreshed him ; he luxuriated in the natural 
wealth of the open heath, the adjacent meadows, and the neighbouring woods. The 
walk across the fields -from Highgate to Hampstead, with ponds on one side and 
Caen Wood on the other, used to be " one of the prettiest in England;" and he says 
of the fairest scenes in Italy, "I would quit them all for a walk over the fields from 
Hampstead." He had, indeed, long loved the locality. Before he left England he 
had dwelt in a pretty cottage at Hampstead; it is still standing, and but little 
altered. The accompanying engraving will show that it remains — fit dwelling for a 
poet. Shelley went often to visit Leigh Hunt there, delighting in the natural broken 
ground, and in the fresh air of the place, which " used to give him an intoxication of 
animal spirits." Here he swam his paper-boats in the pond, and played with 
children ; and to that house Shelley brought at midnight a poor woman, a forlorn 
" sister," whom he had found in a fit on the heath, and whom he thus saved from 

Leigh Hunt, when I knew most of him, was living at Edwardes Square, Ken- 
sington, in a small house, on restricted means. All his life long his income was 

* It was contained in the Examiner, No. 221, published on Sunday, 22nd March, 1812. In one of his letters to 
Mrs. Hall, Leigh Hunt writes :-" The libel would not have been so savage had I not been warmed into it by my 
indignation at 1he Regent's breaking his promises to the Irish." " It origmated m my sympathies with the suffer- 
ings of the people of Ireland." Whin Leigh Hunt met O'Connell some years afterwards, the latter told him how 
much the article delighted him, but that hi had felt certain as to the penalties it would draw down upon its author 

+ I find this description of Shelley in one of the letters written to me by Leigh Hunt :■- Shelley was taU and 
slight of figure, with a singular union of general deUoacy of organisation and muscular strength. His iMir was 
brown, prematurely touched with gi-ey ; his complexion fair and glowing ; his eyes grey and extiemely vmd his 
face small and deUcately featm-ed, especially about the lower part ; and he had an expression of coimtenance when 
he was talking in his usual earnest fashion, giving you the idea of something seraphioal. Hazlitt said he 
looked like a spirit." In the same letter occm-s this sketch of his friend Keats :-" Keats was undei the nnddle 
si^e, and somewhat large above, in proportion to his lower limbs, which, however T^^re neatly formed and he had 
anything in his dress and general demeanour but that appearance of levity which has be€^a stiangely atti buted to 
him in a late publication. In fact, he had so much of the reverse, thoiigh m ^%™^„e^^°™/ff7,f: oonsc oZes. 
be supposed to maintain a certain jealous care of the appearance and beanng of a gentleman, m the consciousn^^^^^ 
of his genius, and perhaps not without some sense of his origin. His face was handsome and sensitive with a look 
in the lyes at once earnest and tender ; and his hair- grew in delicate b™^ "o^)'^^^ °^,'^?i''i;n, ' -^!.^^^^^ t^^:,, 

t Southey, wi'iting in November, 1822, says ;-" He (Byron) and Leigh Hunt, no doubt, ^lU qi.anel, and then 
separation break up the concern " — i.e. the Liheial. 



limited ; it is, indeed, notorious that he was put to many " shifts " to keep the wolf 
from the door. " His whole life," says his son, " was one of pecuniary difficulty." 
No doubt he had that lack of prudence which is so often one of the heavy drawbacks 
of genius — one of the penalties that nature exacts as a set-off against the largest and 
holiest of her gifts. It may not, and perhaps ought not, to be admitted as an excuse 
in bar of judgment; the world is not bound to make allowances for those struggles - 
of the mind, heart, and soul with poverty, which not unfrequently seem to have 
discreditable issues, and usually bear Dead-Sea fruit. There have been many men 

LEIGH hunt's cottage AT HAMPSTEAD. 

of genius who would suffer the extreme of penury rather than borrow — such, for 
example, as I have elsewhere shown, was Thomas Moore, to whom the purses of 
wealthy and high-born friends were as sacred as the Crown-jewels ; but men of 
letters arc for the most part less scrupulous. To some it seems venial, to others 
little else than a practical illustration of the text, " It is more blessed to give than to 
receive," and a belief that God makes almoners of those He enriches with over- 
abundance. Such ideas, however, are opposed to the views of society. Undoubtedly 
they lower the intellectual standard, and debase the mind. Self-respect can rarely 
exist without independence ; yet, to quote the words of a kindred spirit — unhappy 


Will Kennedy — " if pecuniary embarrassments be a crime, then are the records of 
genius a Newgate Calendar."* 

I do not mean the reader to infer that either privately or publicly there is aught 
dishonourable to lay to the charge of Leigh Hunt. "Who art thou that judgest 
another?" But it is certain that his applications to friends for pecuniary aid were 
frequent, and may have been wearisome. Of such friends he had many. Among 
the most generous of them was that good man, Horace Smith. f 

Surely the lines of Cowley apply with emphatic force to Hunt : — 

" Business— the frivolous pretence 
Of human lusts to oast oil innocence ! 
Business — the thing that I of all things hate ! 
Business— the contradiction of my fate 1 " 

The truth is that, like many men of his order, he never knew the value of money. 
He was very generous, and certainly thoughtless, in giving. No reckless extra- 
vagance is laid to his charge ; his habits were the very opposite to those of a spend- 
thrift ; he was utterly indifferent to what are called " the luxuries of life." Simple 
in his "ways," temperate almost to the extreme, his "feasts" were with the poets, 
his predecessors, and the table was always well furnished that was covered with 
books. I 

I have treated this subject with some hesitation, and perhaps should have 
abstained from it altogether, but that I find the son of the poet writing thus : — " The 
plan of working, the varied and precarious nature of the employments, an inborn 
dulness of sense as to the lapse of time, conspired to produce a life in which the 
receipt of handsome earnings alternated with long periods that yielded no income at 
all. In these intervals credit went a long way, but not far enough. There were 
gaps of total destitution in which every available source had been absolutely 
exhausted." "At this juncture," he continues, "appeals were made for assistance, 
sometimes with and sometimes without the knowledge of Leigh Hunt, and they were 
largely successful. § 

* I knew intimately, between the years 1826 and 1830, the author I have quoted — WOliam Kennedy. He was 
undoubtedly a man of genius, but wayward and reckless. I lost sight of him many years before his death— his 
intellectual death, that is to say ; for his latter years were passed in a lunatic asylum, where he died. My intro- 
duction to him was singular. I reviewed in the EcUctic Eeview — so far back as 1825— a smaU book he had published, 
either in Glasgow or Paisley, and received from him a letter of acknowledgment. It led to my inviting him to 
London as my guest, and by my influence he obtained a situation as reporter on the Morning Jourmd, a newspaper 
with which I was myself connected, and of which I was subsequently, for a time, the editoi'. Kennedy was an 
Irishman, a native of Belfast. His youth had been "wandering." Previous to his visiting London he was, I 
understood, a strolling player in Scotland, where he had probably acquired habits that led to the early close of a 
life which might have been most honourable and prosperous, for his abilities had attracted attention, and he 
obtained the appointment of Consul (I think) at Venezuela. 

t In one of Shelley's letters to Leigh Hunt, in allusion to a sum of money Shelley desired to send to Hunt to 
defray his journey to Italy, he says : — "I suppose that I shall at last make up an impudent face, and ask Horace 
Smith to add to the many obligations he has conferred on me. I know I U' ed only ask." 

+ His friend Mr. Beynell tells me (and he is a safe and sure au.thority) that in his later days Mr. Hunt often 
said to him his great wish was that when he died he should not owe to any one a halfpenny. He had borrowed from 
the good Duke of Devonshire a sum of £200, and returned it to him, the duke remai-king that it was the only instance, 
save one, in which money thus lent had been proffered back : he declined to accept it. Hunt was indebted to Mr. 
EeyneU— a debt incuried by Mr. fleyneU becoming surety for him in 1832, when the fortunes of the poet were at 
their lowest ebb. Twenty years aftei wards he repaid that sum — on receiving the first instalment of Shelley's legacy 
— as he had promised he would do. No doubt other similar cases might be recorded. 

5 In a letter he addressed to me when, in 1835, I was writing a brief memoir of him for the " Book of Gems," 
he says, '' You will not hesitate to add what objections you are compelled by impartiality to entertain against me ; " 
and in a subsequent letter he writes, " Had you said that fiv -six hs of my writings were worth nothing, 1 should 
have agreed with you, for I think so, and I would use stronger terms, if there ni'ght not be vanity itself in so doing. 
My only excuse is (and it is, luckUy, a good one, so far) that I have been forced to write for bread, and so put forth 
a good deal of unwiUing nothingness." 

In 1844, Sir Percy Shelley, the son of the poet, succeeded to the title and estates 
of his grandfather, and one of his earliest acts (under the suggestion of his mother, Mary 
Wolstoncroft Shelley) was to settle on Leigh Hunt and on his wife, in the event of 
her surviving him, an annuity of £120 ; and in 1847 he was placed on the Pension- 
list, and received, " in consideration of his distinguished literary talents," a pension 
of £200 a year. Lord John Eussell, in conveying this boon to him, adds, " The 
severe treatment you received, in times of unjust persecution of liberal writers, 
enhances the satisfaction with which I make this announcement." Thus in his old 
age the comforter came to his home, and the "pecuniary difficulties" that had 
haunted his whole life were no longer felt, — should not have been so, perhaps I 
ought to say, for I believe pecuniary difficulties were never " entirely removed " 
from him Until he was in his shroud. 

That there were fine points in the character of Leigh Hunt all who knew him 
admitted : foremost among them was his love of Truth. In one of his letters to me 
he writes : — "I would rather be considered a hearty loving nature than anything 
else in the world, and if I love truth, as I do, it is because I love an apple to be 
thought an apple, and a hand a hand, and the whole beauty and hopefulness of 
God's creation a truth instead of a lie." He was justified in saying of himself that 
he had "two good qualities to set off against many defects" — that he was "not 
vindictive and spoke the truth," although it may have been with him, as he said it 
was with his friend Hazlitt, "however genuine was his love of truth, his passions 
may have sometimes led him to mistake it." 

Charles Lamb, who dearly loved him, describes his "mild dogmatism" and his 
" boyish sportiveness ; " and Hazlitt writes of him thus : — " In conversation he is all 
life and animation, combining the vivacity of the schoolboy with the resources of the 
wit and the taste of the scholar." Of him Haydon the painter said this : — " You 
would have been burnt at the stake for a principle, and you would have feared to put 
your foot in the mud." Even Byron, who " hated him without a cause," and whose 
hatred seemed the birth of self-reproach, proclaimed him to be " a good man." 

But to my thinking, the best testimony to the character of Leigh Hunt is that which 
was borne to it by Lord Lytton, an author who has perhaps had more power to cir- 
culate bitter things, and shoot poisoned arrows at his brethren of the pen, than most 
men, yet who, I beheve, has said of them more generous and "helping" things and 
fewer bitter things than any man living. This character occurs in a review of Leigh 
Htmt's poetry in the New Monthly Magazine, 1833. It is anonymous, but I can do 
no wrong in stating that Lord Lytton was the writer : — " None have excelled him in 
the kindly sympathies with- which, in writing of others, he has softened down the 
asperities and resisted the caprices common to the exercise of power. In him the 
young poet has ever found a generous encourager, no less than a faithful guide. 
None of the jealousy or the rancour ascribed to literary men, and almost natural to 
such literary men as the world has wronged, has gained access to his true heart, or 
embittered his generous sympathies. Strugghng against no light misfortunes and no 
common foes, he has not helped to retaliate upon rising authors the difficulty and 
the appreciation Avhich had burdened his own career. He has kept undimmed 


and unbroken, through all reverses, that first requisite of a good critic — a good 

I knew but little of Leigh Hunt when he was in his prime. I had met him, 
however, more than once, soon after his return from Italy, when he recommenced a 
career of letters which he had been induced to abandon, trusting to visionary hopes 
in the aid he was to derive from familiar intercourse with Byron. He was tall, but 
slightly formed, quiet and contemplative in gait and manner, yet apparently affected 
by momentary impulse ; his countenance brisk and animated, receiving its expression 
chiefly from dark and brilliant eyes, but supplying unequivocal evidence of that mixed 
blood which he derived from the parent stock, to which his friend Hazlitt alluded in 
reference to his flow of animal spirits as well as to his descent, "he had tropical blood 
in his veins." His son Thornton (Cor)ihill Magazine) describes him "as in height 
about five feet ten inches, remarkably straight and upright in his carriage, with a firm 
step and a cheerful, almost dashing, approach." He had straight black hair, which 
he wore parted in the centre; a dark, but not pale complexion; black eyebrows, 
firmly marking the edge of a brow over which was a singularly upright, flat, white 
forehead, and under which beamed a pair of eyes, dark, brilliant, reflecting, gay, and 
kind, with a certain look of observant humour. " He had a head larger than most 
men's ; Byron, Shelley, and Keats wore hats which he could not put on." 

In 1838 I saw him often, and saw enough of him to have earnest esteem and 
sincere regard for the man whom I had long admired as the poet. He gave me many 
valuable hints for my guidance while I was compiling " The Book of Gems of British 
Poets and British Artists," All his "notes" concerning his contemporaries (I have 
some of them still) were genial, cordial, and laudatory, affording no evidence of envy, 
no taint of depreciation. His mind was, indeed, like his poetry, a sort of buoyant 
outbreak of joyousness, and when a tone of sadness pervades it, it is so gentle, 
confiding, and hoping as to be far more nearly allied to resignation than to repining, 
although his life was subjected to many heavy trials ; and especially had he to com- 
plain of the ingratitude of political "friends" — for whom he had fought heartily — 
when victory was only for the strong, and triumph for the swift. Perhaps there is 
no poet who so entirely pictures himself in all he writes ; yet it is a pure and natural 
egotism, and contrasts happily with the gloomy and misanthropic moods which some 
have laboured first to acquire and then to portray. " Quick in perception, generous 
of impulse, he saw little evil destitute of good." 

In conversation Leigh Hunt was always more than pleasing; he was "ever a 
special lover of books," as well as a devout worshipper of Nature; and his " talk" 
mingled, often very sweetly, the simplicity of a child with the acquirements of a man 
of the world — somewhat as we find them mingled in his " Jar of Honey from Mount 
Hybla." It did, indeed, according to the laudatory view of one of his poetic school, 
often " combine the vivacity of the schoolboy with the resources of the wit and the 
taste of the scholar." 

This generosity of thought and heart is conspicuous in all his writings. His 
Autobiography is full of liberal and generous sentiments— rarely any other— evidence 
of the charity that " suff'ereth long and is kind, vaunteth not itself, is not easily puffed 


up, thinketh no evil." He who might have said so many bitter things, utters scarcely 
one ; he who might have galled his enemies to the quick, does not stab even in 

He wrote much prose and many poems, and although marred, perhaps, by 
frequent affectations, his poetry is of the true metal; tender, graceful, and affectionate, 
loving nature in all its exterior graces, but more especially in man. It is, and ever 
will be, popular among those whose warmer and dearer sympathies are with humanity. 
Charles Lamb, in his memorable defence of Hunt against an alleged insinuation of 
Southey, that Hunt had no religion, thus writes of him : — " He is one of the most 
cordial-minded men I ever knew— a matchless fireside companion." Southey regretted, 
and justly, that Leigh Hunt had " no religion." He had, indeed, a kind of scholastic 
theology, that he considered might stand in the stead of it ; he himself calls it, in a 
letter to me, " a sort of natural piety," but in none of his letters — nor in his Diary 
— is there the slightest allusion to its consolations, no evidence of trust in a super- 
intending Providence, and but little intimation of belief or hope in the Hereafter. 
Who will not lament this as he reads his writings, knowing how closely combined is 
love of man with love of God ; how much stronger for the general good is Virtue 
when it is based on Christianity ? His religion (which he styles, in the letter to me 
I have quoted, "a sort of luxurious natural piety") was cheerful, hopeful, sympa- 
thising, universal in its benevolence, and entirely comprehensive in charity, but it 
was not the religion of the Christian ; it was not even that of the Unitarian. He 
recognised Christ, indeed, but classes Him only among those — not even foremost of 
them — who were lights in dark ages ; " great lights," as he styles them, " of rational 
piety and benignant intercourse " — Confucius, Socrates, Epictetus, Antoninus. Jesus 
was their "martyred brother," nothing more. His published book entitled "The 
Keligion of the Heart " (1853) is but little known ; I hope it will never be reprinted. 
Had Southey read it, he would not have been content with the mild rebuke to Leigh 
Hunt which excited the ire of one of the gentlest and most loving of the friends of 
both, Charles Lamb, who, in his memorable letter to the Laureate — a letter indig- 
nant, irrational, and unjust — bitterly condemned the one for a very mild castigation 
of the other.*' His theory of religion may, perhaps, be indicated by the following 
Lines, which were certainly among his own favourites. I copy them from Mrs, 
Hall's Album, in which he wrote them : — 

" Aboi] Ben Adliem (may liis tribe increase !) 
Awoke one nig'ht from a deep dream of peace, 
And saw, within the moonlight in his room, 
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, 
An angel, writing in a book of gold. 
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, 

* I by no. means, however, mean to convey an idea that Leigh Hunt was " ii'religious " in the ordinaiy sense 
of the term. I am quite sure he was not so. The New Testament was a book of his continual study, but it was 
read in a spirit that brought none of the light it has, happily, brought to other men. If he was a " free-'' hinker," 
he lendered profound respect to the Divine Author of the Christian faith, and therefore never sneered at Ihose who 
accept it as a means of Salva+ion, and never wrote with any view to sap or to weaken Belief. If we may not class 
him among the ad\ ocates of Christianity, it would be injustice to place him among its opponents. Some one who 
wrote a touching and very eloquent tribute to his memory in the Examiner soon after his death, says, " He had 
a childlike sympathy of his own in the Father to whom he is gone, of which those who diverged fi-om his path can 
only say that, ignorant of the direct line to the eternal sea, he took the sure and pleasant pathi beside the river." 


And to the presence in the room he said, 
' "What -wTitest thou ? ' The vision raised its head, 
And with a look, made of all sweet aocord, 
Answer'd, ' The names of those who love the Lord.' 
'And is mine one ? ' snid Aboii. ' Nay, not so,' 
Replied the ang-el. Abou spoke more low, 
But cheerily still, and said, ' I pray thee, then. 
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.' 

" The angel wrote and vanish'd. The next night 
It came again with a gi-eat, wakening light. 
And show'd the names whom love of Grod had bless' d. 
And lo ! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest." 

Leigh Hunt lived to see political asperities softened down, the distinctions 
between Whig and Tory gradually diminished, and party bitterness become almost 
extinguished. He lived, indeed, " through a storm of obloquy, to be esteemed and 
loved by men who had been his most vigorous antagonists." * No doubt, as a poli- 
tician, he " flourished " some years too soon ; he was a reformer much too early. 
Both of his successors as editors of the Examiner, Albany Fonblanque and John 
Forster, were rewarded in the way that Liberal governments — more wise in their 
generation than Tory governments — reward their partisans of the Press, But Leigh 
Hunt "guided the pen" at a period when little was to be gained by it except 
annoyance and persecution — at least in advocating " the old cause," " Hazlitt used 
to say, that after Leigh Hunt and himself and their like had done the rough work of 
the battle for Liberal opinions, the gentlemen of the Whig party ' put on their kid 
gloves ' to finish the business and carry off the honours," 

Leigh Hunt was " a journalist (I again quote from the Examiner) when courage 
and independence were the highest and perhaps the rarest qualities a journalist could 
show," He wrote when party spirit ran high, when language was seldom measured 
by responsibility, when vituperation was a weapon in common use. 

In the year 1857 his wife had died. His sons, such as were left to him, had 
gone forth to fight the battle of life; his mind and his heart were "shaken," Li 
that year he writes, sadly foreboding, — " I am alone in the world," Troubled fancies 
haunted him. In one of his letters to his friend, John Forster, he murmurs : — " I 
have been long fancying that most people, some old friends included, had begun not 
to care what T said or thought about them — whether anything or nothing; " and in 
another letter he writes, — " Strange to say, it was joy at finding the bookseller offer 
me more money than I had expected for some copyrights that was the immediate 
cause of my illness," He met old age with homage, and death with fortitude. 
Almost the last sentence in his autobiography is this : — " I now seemed — and it has 
become a consolation to me — to belong as much to the next world as to this - , , . , 
the approach of my night-time is even yet adorned with a break in the clouds and a 
parting smile of the sunset." 

Alas ! he refers not to the hope of the Christian, but to a far dimmer, less rational, 
and infinitely less consoling faith — " May we all meet in one of Plato's vast cycles of 

* A notable instance of this was the altered conduct of Professor Wilson towards his old opponent. He not 
only wrote a very kindly review of his " Legend of Florence " in Blachwnod, but lamented the bitter things which 
had been written in its early numbers, and used to send Leigh Hunt the magazine regularly as long as he lived. 

= 54 



Just two months before completing his seventy-fifth year " he quietly sank to 
rest." The oil was exhausted, the light had burned gradually down.*- 

When I saw him last he was yielding to the universal conqueror. His loose and 
straggling white hair thinly scattered over a brow of manly inteUigence : his eyes 
dimmed somewhat, but retaining that peculiar gentleness yet brilliancy which in his 
youth were likened to those of a gazelle ; his earnest heart and vigorous mind out- 



speaking yet, in sentences eloquent and impressive ; his form partially bent, but 
energeti'c and self-dependent, although by fits and starts— Leigh Hunt gave me the 
idea of a sturdy ruin, that " wears the mossy vest of time," but which, in assuming 
the graces that belong of right to age, was not oblivious of the power, and worth, 
and triumph enjoyed in manhood and in youth, f 

. TT-» laof wnrV onlv a few days before his death, was an article in the Spectator, in defence of his beloved 
^ . Mi,^ }^ • 'c+ liL n^^^-^lnns of Hoffff in a then recently published collection of Shelley's Letters. 

fr^^Y''ffivto "new h?m besrwiU S^^^^^^^^^ to themselv^es clothed in a dressing-gown, and bending his 

head over a book or over the desk."-THOKNTON Hunt. 



He died at the house of one of the oldest, closest, and most valued of his friends, 
Mr. C. W. Keynell, in High Street, Putney. I have pictured the dwelling: It had a 
good gardeji, where the poet loved to ramble to admire the flowers, of which he was 
" a special lover." Immediately in front is the old gabled, quaint-looking Fairfax 
House, in which, it is said, Ireton Hved, and where that general and Lambert often 

It is pleasant to know that the death-bed of the aged man was surrounded by 
loving friends, and that all which care and skill could do to preserve his Hfe was 

There was no trouble, nothing of gloom about him at the last ; the full volume 
of his life was closed; his work on earth was done. Will it seem "far-fetched " if 
we describe him away from earth, continuing to labour, under the influence of that 
Eedeemer I am sure he has now learned to love, reahsing the picture for which in 
the Book I have referred to he drew on his fancy— and finding it fact ? 

This it is : — " Surely there are myriads of beings everywhere inhabiting their 
respective spheres, both visible and invisible, all, perhaps, inspired with the same 
task of trying how far they can extend happiness. Some may have realised their 
heaven, and are resting. Some may be helping ourselves, just as we help the bee or 
the wounded bird ; spirits, perhaps, of dear friends, who still pity our tears, who 
rejoice in our smiles, and whisper in our hearts a belief that they are present." 

" Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth 
"Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." 

Leigh Hunt was nearly the last of that glorious galaxy of genius which, early in 
the present century, shone upon the intellectual world ; he survived them all, and 
with a memory of each. Some of them were his friends, and most of them his 
acquaintances. He had seen star after star decline, but might exclaim, and did 

exclaim, with one of his eloquent contemporaries, — 


" Nor sink those stars in empty night : 
They hide themselves in Heaven's own light." 

When writing a Memory of Leigh Hunt in the Art-Journal, I found there was no 
record to mark his grave in the cemetery at Kensal Green, where he was buried. I 
appealed, therefore, to his friends and admirers to remove from England such a 
" reproach." After some delay and some confusion, the circumstances causing and 
attending which it is now useless and needless to detail, the "reproach" iras 
removed : a sum sufficient for the purpose was raised by subscription : *" a modest 
but graceful monument was wrought by the eminent and accomplished sculptor, 
Joseph Durham, A.R.A. It was "inaugurated" by Lord Houghton, on the 19th of 
October, 1869 (Leigh Hunt's birthday), and formally presented to the family, some 
of whom were present, on the impressive and interesting occasion. 

* I ought not to omit to state that I received from an estimable gentleman of Philadelphia, Mr. C'hilds, the 
editor of the Public Ledger, an offer to pay the whole of the cost of the proposed monument, whatever it might be. 
1 did not accept that offer, but I was proud and happy to add his honoured name to the list of subscribers. 


From the uoble lord's address I extract the following passages : — 

" He was held up to sbame as an enemy of religion, whereas he was a man from whose heart 
there came a flowing piety spreading itself over all nature and in every channel in which it was 
possible to run. I remember a passtige in one of his writings in which he says he never passed a 
church, of however unreformed a faith, without an instinctive wish to go in and worship for the 
good of mankind. And all this obloquy, all this injustice, all this social cruelty, never for one 
moment soured the disposition or excited a revengeful feeling in the breast of this good man. He 
had, as it were — I have no other phrase for it— a superstition of good. He did not believe in the 
existence of evil, and when it pressed against him, in the bitterest form against himself, he shut his 
eyes to it, and. believed it to be good. Now, with this disposition, with this character, with th^se 
elements of life, surely we do well in honouring this man to-day. Surely it is something that len 
years after his death there t-hould have been men who felt it was not well but that there should be 
some special memorial of his existence — something which should tell people, more than hooks they 
were reading, that there had been in England such a man. In uncovering the monument we shall 
lionour not only that man, but we shall honour the poetic intellect, we shall honour that delightful 
faculty which gives to mankind its purest form of intellectual contemplation, and which, somehow 
or other, adapting itself to the different temperaments of mankind, always either extends, or 

purifies, or expands the mind of its possessor We know that through all the difficulties of 

a more than usually hard life he kept to the end a cheerfulness of temper which the most successful 
might have envied and the wealthiest might have adorned. In his own beautiful words, all we can 
now think of is — 

' The woe was short, 'twas fugitive ; 'tis past ; 
The song that sweetens it will always last.' ' 

The inscription is very simple : on one side are recorded the days of his birth and 
death, while on another are the words, — 

" Write me as one that loves his fellow-men." 

Two of his sons have followed him to the grave : one of them had long been the 
sub-editor of a leading newspaper. 



•HEKE is no memoir of Horace Smith, but he wrote a biography 
of his brother James, to preface an edition of his collected 
writings ; and although singularly, and perhaps blamably, abne- 
gating himself, we thence gather a few facts and dates that may 
aid us in recalling both to memory. The brothers, of whom James 
was the elder by about four years, were the sons of Robert Smith, 
Esq., an eminent legal practitioner of London, who long held the 
office of Solicitor to the Ordnance — an office in which James suc- 
ceeded him. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society and of 
the Society of Antiquaries, and in all respects an estimable and accomplished gentle- 
man. Horace, having eschewed the legal profession, preferred that of a stockbroker ; 
a business, however, hardly more to his taste, and in which he made no "figure," 
being, from his youth upwards, better known at Parnassus than in the vicinity of the 
Exchange. Both wrote early in life, somewhat to the dismay of the father, who had 
paved the way to fortune through another and very opposite path.* Notwithstanding 

* The earliest anecdote recorded of Horace is this :— In a letter to Mathews he relates that when at school, 
being asked the Latin for the word cowardice, and having forgotten it, he replied that the Romans had none; 
which being fortunately deemed a Ion mot, he got praise and a laugh for not knowing his lesson. 



when Horace produced historical novels, he not only took interest in his son's 
productions, hut gave him " aid and suggestions," which, by his extensive reading 
and profound knowledge of English history, he was well qualified to do. 

James was born on the 16th of February, 1775, and Horace in 1779, at the house 
in which their father dwelt in Basinghall Street, London. There was also another 
son, Leonard, and there were six daughters. 

The boys were educated at Chigwell, in Essex. In after years, when " a sexage- 
narian pilgrim," James frequently recalled to memory with pleasure and with grati- 
tude the years there passed ; and on revisiting the place towards the close of life, he 
thus murmured his latest thoughts : — 

" Life's cup is nectar at the brink, 
Midway a palatable drink, 
And ■wormwood at the bottom." 

James was articled to his father in 1792, subsequently became his partner, and 
in 1832 succeeded him. He had tried his " 'prentice ban' " in various short-lived 
periodicals, especially the Monthbj Mirror, edited by Tom Hill.* When Drury Lane 
was burned and rose again — to adopt an original simile — -like a Phoenix from its 
ashes (it was in 1812), there appeared an advertisement ofiering a recompense for a 
poem in honour of the occasion. The idea occurred to these mercantile brothers 
that they would write and print a collection of Poems, imitative of all the leading 
poets of the time. They did so, and " woke to find themselves famous." And no 
wonder : they are fine as compositions, and singularly true as copies of the style and 
manner of the poets imitated ; while so exquisitely pointed and witty, without a 
particle of ill-nature, that not one of the bards who were "hit" could have been 
ofi'ended at being touched, as if by arrows tipped with feathers from the wings of a 
Cupid or a seraph. 

" One of the luckiest hits in literature " (thus Horace modestly speaks of the 
work) " appeared on the reopening of Drury Lane Theatre in October of that year." 
The idea was suggested just six weeks before that event, and the " Kejected 
Addresses " occupied the writers no longer time. The copyright was ofi"ered to, and 
declined by, Mr. Murray, for the modest sum of £20. He reluctantly undertook to 
publish it, and share the profits — if any ; and it is not a little singular that the worthy 
publisher did actually purchase the book, in 1819, after it had gone through fifteen 
editions, for the sum of £131. May such results often follow transactions between 
publishers and authors ! 

James wrote the imitations of Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, Crabbe, and 
Cobbett ; Horace those of Byron, Scott, Moore, Monk Lewis, and Fitzgerald. The 
sarcasms were so genuine, the humour so ample, and the imitations so true, that no 
one of the poets took ofi'ence ; on the contrary, they were all gratified. It has been 
rightly said by Mr. Hayward, " that the only discontented persons were those who 
were left out." Crabbe said of the imitation of him — " There is a little ill-nature — 

* Southey writes in one of his letters in 1813,— "'Horace in London' was printed some years ago in the 
Monthly Mirror. I remarked it at the time, and wondered that it did not attract more notice. James wrote the 
first of the ' At Homes ' ^in 1808) for Mathews : it was entitled ' Mail-Coach Adventures.' " 




and I take the liberty of adding, undeserved ill-nature — in their prefatory address ; 
but in their versification they have 
done me admirably." 

The brothers became " lions " at 
once ; but they had no notion of 
revelling in notoriety ; of literary 
vanity they had none, and they 
shrank from, rather than courted, 
the stare of "admirers," to whom 
any celebrity of the hour was — and 
is — a thing coveted and desired. 

This story has been often told. 
When the venerable has bleu, Lady 
Cork, invited them to her soiree, 
James Smith wrote his regret that 
they could not possibly accept the 
invitation, for that his brother Horace 
was engaged to grin through a horse- 
collar at a country fair, and he him- 
self had to dance a hornpipe at 
Sadler's Wells upon that very night.* 

James reposed on his laurels : as 
his brother says, " he was fond of 
his ease," and unsolicitous of further 
celebrity, never again wooing a pro- 
verbially capricious public, content- 
ing himself with flinging scraps of 
humour here and there, heedless of 
their value or their fate ; while 
Horace became a laborious man of 
letters. Of James, Mathews used 
to say, "He is the only man who 
can write clever nonsense." He 
lived among wits — dramatic wits 
more especially — and from him some 
of them derived much that consti- 
tuted their stock in trade. His 
motto was " Vive la bagatelle ! " 
his maxim, " Begone, dull care ! " 
His sparkle was that of champagne. 
But, as one of his friends wrote, 
" he ever preserved the dignity of the English gentleman fr 

om merging in the 

* Horace says that though such a letter may have been wi'itten, it was never sent. 

S 2 

professional gaiety of the jester;" there was never aught of sneering or sarcasm 
in his humour — his wit was never a stab. On the contrary, he was buoyant 
and genial, even when enduring much bodily suffering ; and there was no mistaking 
the fact that he loved to give pleasure rather than pain. 

Horace, on the other hand, became a worker ; he took the pen seriously and 
resolutely in hand, and although not at any time dependent on literature, became an 
author by profession, joining the immortal band who 

" live for aye 
In Fame's eternal volume." 

James died on the 24th of December, 1839, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and 
was buried under the vaults of St. Martin's Church. Horace died on the 12th of 
July, 1849, aged sixty-nine, and was buried in the churchyard of Trinity Church, 
Tunbridge Wells. 

James " seldom wrote, except as an amusement and relief from graver occupa- 
tion. Though he may be described as a wit by profession, his nature was kindly, 
genial, and generous." One who knew him intimately avers that it was " difficult 
to pass an evening in his company without feeling in better humour with the world;" 
and many of his friends have testified to his inexhaustible fund of amusement and 
information, and his " lightness, liveliness, and good sense." 

Of James his brother writes : — " His was not the sly, sneering sarcasm that finds 
most pleasure in the bon mot that gives pain, nor was it of that dry, quiet character 
which gives zest to a joke by the apparent unconsciousness of its author. His good 
sayings were heightened by his cordial good nature, by the beaming smile, the 
twinkling eye, and the frank, hearty cachinnation that showed his own enjoyment." 
He had a remarkably tenacious memory, and was ever ready with an apt quotation 
from the old poets ; and he pleasantly sang some of his own songs. 

I recall to memory one of his jeux cV esprit ; I am not sure if it be published : — 

" Cfelia publishes ■with Murray, 
Cupid's ministry is o'er : 
Lovers vanish in a hurry ; 
She writes — she writes, boys. 
Ward otf shore ! " 

And I have another in MS., " The Alphabet to Madame Vestris :" 

" Though not with lace bedizened o'er ^ 

From James's and from Howell's, 
Oh, don't despise us twenty-four 

Poor consonants and vowels. 
Though critics may your powers discuss, 

Yoxu- charms, admiring, men see, 
Eemember you froni four of us 

Derive yom' X L N C." 

Although I more than once visited James Smith at his house in Craven Street, I 
saw most of him — and it was the best of him — at the " evenings " of Lady Blessing- 
ton in Seamore Place. He was not far off from his grave, and was usually full of 
pain : it was often shown by that expression of countenance which accompanies 
physical suffering, and his round, good-humoured face, although it was seldom with- 
out a smile, was generally contracted, and at times convulsed from internal agony. 
He had eyes full of humour — he looked as if all things, animate and inanimate, were 


suggestive of jokes, which were continually slipping in and playing about during any 
pause in any conversation. 

Leigh Hunt described him as "a fair, stout, fresh-coloured man, with round 
features;" and N. P. Willis as a man "with white hair, and a very nobly-formed 
head and physiognomy ; his eye alone, small, and with lids contracted into an 
habitual look of drollery, betrayed the bent of his genius." 

He wheeled himself about the room in a sort of invalid chair, and had generally 
something pleasant, and often something witty, to say to each of the guests, his 
beautiful and accomplished hostess coming, naturally, in for the largest share of both. 
He was tall and stout, and the merry twinkle of his eye gave evidence that his 
thoughts were redolent of humour, even when he did not speak. Some one has said, 
" He had the head of a man, with the heart of a boy." 

Horace Smith was of another, and certainly a higher nature. Leigh Hunt deposes 
to " the fine nature of the man " (and well he might do so, having had experience of 
his liberality), and pictures him as " of good and manly figure, inclining to the robust; 
his countenance extremely frank and cordial, sweetness without weakness." And 
Shelley, writing of him, exclaims : — " It is odd that the only truly generous person I 
ever knew who had money to be generous with should be a stockbroker." * " Gay, 
tender, hospitable, and intellectual," that is Lady Morgan's character of Horace 
Smith ; and this is Southey's testimony to the credit of the brothers both : — " They 
are clever fellows, with wit and humour as fluent as their ink, and, to then- praise be 
it spoken, with no gall in it." 

Yes, certainly Horace v?as of a far higher nature than James. Perhaps it was 
fairly said of them, " One was a good man, the other a good fellow." But Horace 
was happily married, and had loving children, enjoyed a healthy constitution, and 
Hved in comparative retirement, away from the bustle of society, in a tranquil home. 
During the later years of his life he resided at Brighton — it was not then as it is now, 
London-on-sea, where everybody meets everybody, and nods of recognition are about 
as many as the steps one takes when promenading the Parade. 

He was twice married, and left a daughter by his first wife, and two daughters 
by his second, who was the maternal aunt of Mr. E. M. Ward, K.A., the artist, and 
it is from a sketch by him of his uncle that I engrave the portrait at the head of this 
Memory. Mr. Ward retains affectionate remembrances of Horace Smith, of his love 
for children, and the delight that was caused in his father's house whenever " Uncle 
Horace " was expected : his arrival was ever the signal of a merry-making. He 
usually placed the children on his knees, and regaled them with fairy tales told in 
extempore verse. 

It was at Brighton I knew Horace Smith, so far back as the year 1835. My 
knowledge of him, though limited, enables me to endorse the opinions I have quoted 

*■ That, however, was not an " odd thing." It is known that on " the Stock Exchange " originate very many 
charities • that, inde'ed, scarcely a day passes there without some subscription-list being handed about +0 relieve 
want and' suffeiing, public and private. Many thousand pounds are there collected of which the world hears and 
knows nothing and the number of persons thus assisfed amounts to several hundreds annually. Some of the best 
" charities " of 'England had their birth at this place of busy traflac, where, apparently and outwardly, the mind and 
soul are exclusively occupied in money-g -ttinff. 


from better authorities. He was tall, handsome, with expressive yet quiet features ; 
they were frequently moved, however, when he either heard or said a good thing, 
and it was easy to perceive the latent humour that did not come to the surface as 
often as it might have done. It is saying little if I say I never heard him utter an 
injurious word of any one of his contemporaries, although our usual talk concerned 
them ; for I was at that time editor of the New Monthly, to which he was a frequent 
contributor, and he liked to know something of his associates in letters, the greater 
number of whom, I believe, he had never seen. He knew their writings, however, 
and was certainly an extensive reader as well as a sound thinker, and always a 
generous and sympathising critic. I copy one of his letters ; it is evidence of that 
which was the leading characteristic of his mind — a total abnegation of self. 

" nth October, 1831. 

" 10, Hanover Crescent. 
"I am sorry you should deem the smallest apology necessary for returnina: my MS., a duty 
which every editor must occasionally exercise towards all his contributors. From my domestic 
habits and love of occupation I am always scribbling, often without due consideration of what I am 
■writing, and I only wonder that so many of my frivolities have found their way into print. With 
this feeling, I am always grateful towards those who save me from committing myself, and 
acquiesce very willingly in their decisions. In proof of this I will mention a fact of which I am 
rather proud. Mr. Colburn had agreed to give nie £500 for the first novel I wrote, and had 
announced its appearance, when a mutual friend, who looked over the MS., having expressed an 
unfavourable opinion of it, I threw it in the fire, and wrote ' Brambletye House ' instead. Let me 
not omit to mention, to the credit of Mr. C, that, upon the unexpected success of that work, he 
subsequently presented me with an additional £100. "Yours very truly, 

"Horatio Smith." 

His novels are still " asked for" at the circulating libraries, and, perhaps, as his- 
torical romances, they even now hold their place next to those of Scott, while among 
his collected poems are many of great beauty and of much strength. I believe, how- 
ever, that after the publication of "Rejected Addresses" he preferred to consider the 
comic vein exhausted. 

Horace was not rich ; indeed, neither of the brothers was so. James never could 
have amassed money, notwithstanding he was Solicitor to the Board of Ordnance. 
He invested his whole capital, amounting to no more than £3,000, in the purchase of an 
annuity, and died three months after it was bought. Horace bequeathed to his widow 
and children an ample sufficiency, although he was far too generous to become 
wealthy. Shelley did not know that it was out of comparatively limited means, and 
not a superfluity, that he relieved, at the entreaty of the former, the pressing wants 
of Leigh Hunt. Many other instances may be recorded of his generosity in giving — 
or lending, which often means much the same thing — to less prosperous brothers of 
the pen. 

He was, indeed, emphatically a good man; of large sympathy and charity; 
generous in giving, even beyond his means ; eminent for rectitude in all the affairs 
and relations of life; and "richly meriting" the praises that are inscribed on his 
tombstone in the graveyard at Tunbridge Wells. 


G. P. R. JAMES. 263 

a p. E. JAMES. 

Very little is known of the life of George Payne Eainsford James ; yet he was the 
author of forty novels, each in three volumes, and produced other works, outnumber- 
ing, indeed, the productions of Sir Walter Scott. He began to publish in 1822, his 
first book being a " Life of the Black Prince." In 1829 " Kichelieu " appeared, and 
from that time the issues of his fertile brain came so rapidly before the public as to 
create astonishment at his industry, and the " speed " at which he worked with his 

I knew him and esteemed him much as an agreeable and kindly gentleman, some- 
what handsome in person, and of very pleasant manners. He had the aspect, and 
indeed the character, that usually marks a man of sedentary occupations. His work 
all day long, and often into the night, must have been untiring, for he by no means 
drew exclusively on his fancy ; he must have resorted much to books, and have been 
a great reader, not only of English, but of continental histories ; and he travelled a 
good deal in the countries in which the scenes of his historic fictions were principally 

His novels have always been popular — they are so now — although many com- 
petitors for fame, with higher aims and perhaps loftier genius, have of late years supplied 
the circulating libraries. It was no light thing to run a race with Sir Walter Scott, 
and not be altogether beaten out of the field. His great charm was the interest he 
created in relating a story, but he had masterly skill in delineating character, and in 
" chivalric essays " none of his brethren surpassed him. He received this tribute, 
and it is a just one, from the historian Alison : — 

" There is a constant appeal in his brilliant pages, not only to the pure and generous, but to the 
elevated and noble sentiments. He is imbued with the very soul of chivalry, and all his stories 
turn on the final triumph of those who are influenced by such feelings. Not a word or a thought 
which can give pain to the purest heart ever escapes from his pen." 

Christopher North proclaimed his works to be those of " a gentleman," while he 
spoke highly of their graphic power ; and Leigh Hunt " hit the vein " in which he 
wrote, and which constituted the charm of his writings : — "Interest without violence, 
and entertainment at once animated and mild ; novels which have been tonics to the 
critic in illness and in convalescence." 

As " next to nothing " is known of the life of so remarkable a man — one who has, 
for half a century, kept a foremost place among British writers of fiction — I gladly 
avail myself of some notes furnished to me by a lady who knew him well and long, 

" He was born in London, August 9th, 1800. He first studied medicine, but at 
an early age showed a love of letters, and, when very young, published several short 
tales and poems — among them the ' String of Pearls.' During the exciting times 
that followed the abdication of Napoleon, he visited France and Spain, and no 
doubt thus obtained the perfect knowledge of the history of those countries afterwards 
displayed in his writings. He married a daughter of Dr. Thomas, and for some time 
after his marriage resided in different parts of France, Italy, and Scotland, where he 
became acquainted with, and gained the friendship of. Sir Walter Scott. It was Sir 
Walter who, after perusing ' Richelieu,' advised him to adopt literature as a 


profession. ' Richelieu ' was published in 1829, and it is well known how successful 
was the career of the author, and how eagerly the appearance of a new work from 
his pen was looked for by the public ; but to those who knew him in his home, in 
addition to the admiration felt for him as an author, there could not fail to be joined 
sincere esteem for him as a man. He had a large and noble heart, and was always 
a kind friend to those who needed assistance, especially to his poorer literary 
brethren, whilst his courteous, gentlemanly bearing gained him friends in all ranks 
of society. 

"About 1842 Mr. James took up his residence at Walmer, and was a frequent 
guest of the Duke of Wellington at Walmer Castle. In 1845 he left England with his 
family for a short visit to Germany, partly for recreation and partly to collect some 
information connected with the ' History of Richard Coeur de Lion,' a work he was 
then writing. The illness of two of his children detained him for a year, and at 
Carlsruhe and Baden-Baden ' Heidelberg ' and the ' Castle of Ehrenstein ' were com- 
posed. Soon after his return to England, he removed to the neighbourhood of Farn- 
ham, Surrey, and there he wrote with great rapidity. His industry was immense ; 
his custom was to rise at five o'clock and write till nine. For four or five hours 
later in the day he employed an amanuensis, and usually Avalked to and fro his study 
while dictating. In June, 1850, Mr. James left England with his family to visit the 
United States, and purchased an estate in Massachusetts, where he continued to 
reside till he was appointed British Consul at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1852. His duties 
there were very arduous, and his health suffered greatly from the climate, which was 
rendered more than usually trying to European residents, at that time, by the terrible 
scourge which frequently ravages the Southern States — yellow fever. 

"During Mr. James's residence in the States he wrote several works, taking 
American life and history for their subjects, such as ' Ticonderoga,' ' The Old 
Dominion/ &c. The last work he published in Philadelphia was ' Lord Montague's 
Page,' in 1858. ' Bernard Marsh,' a sequel to this, appeared afterwards, and was 
the last work that emanated from the pen of this highly-gifted author^ making a total 
of about one hundred and ninety volumes. 

" In 1859 Mr. James was removed, at his earnest request, from the Consulate of 
Norfolk to that of Venice, his friends hoping that the ItaUan chmate might benefit his 
health and restore his strength, but although he at first seemed to improve from the 
change, the demands upon his mental powers were so great that even his untiring 
energy was unequal to the task imposed upon it. Soon after the arrival of Mr. James 
in Italy, war broke out, and Venice was besieged, which added greatly to the fatigue 
and anxiety of the consul's position, and in the early part of 1860 he was seized with 
an illness that proved fatal in the April of that year. He was interred in the Protestant 
Cemetery at Venice, and a monument was erected to his memory by the English 
residents of that city. 

" Mr. James left a widow, one daughter, and three sons. He was a most kind 
and aff'ectiunate husband and father, a warm-hearted, faithful friend, a genial 
companion, and to sum up all good qualities in one comprehensive title, a Christian 


' ITH unmingled pain I write the name of Lsetitia Elizabeth 
Landon — the L. E, L. whose poems were for so long a 
period the delight of all readers, old and young. Her life 
was a "battle" from the cradle to the grave — the grave in 
which she " rests from her labours " in that far-off land where 
the white man ever walks hand in hand with death. 

We were among the few friends who knew her intimately ; 
but it was not in her nature to open her heart to any. Her 
large " secretiveness " was her bane ; she knew it and 
deplored it. It was the origin of that misconception which embittered 
her whole life, the mainspring of that calumny which made Fame a 
mockery, and Glory a deceit. But when Slander was busiest with her 
reputation, we had the best means to confute it — and did. For some years 
there was not a single week during which, on some day or other, morning 
j' or evening, she was not a guest at our house. Yet this blight in her spring- 
time undoubtedly led to the fatal marriage that resulted in her mournful and 
mysterious death. The calumny was of the kind that most deeply wounds a 
woman. How it originated was, at the time, and is, of course, now, impossible to 
say. Probably its source was nothing more than a sneer ; but it bore Dead-Sea 


fruit. A slander more utterly groundless never was propagated. In after years it 
was revived with '• additions," and broke off an engagement that promised much 
happiness with a gentleman then eminent and since famous as an author : not that he at 
any time gave credence to the foul and wicked rumour; but, to /ter, " inquiry'' was 
a sufficient blight, and by lier the contract was annulled.* The utter impossibility of 
its being other than false could have been proved not only by us, but by a dozen of 
her intimate friends, whose evidence would have been without question, and conclu- 
sive. She was living in a school for young ladies, seen daily by the ladies who kept 
that school, and by the pupils. In one of her letters to Mrs. Hall, she writes, — " I 
have lived nearly all my life since childhood with the same people ; the Misses Lance 
are strict, scrupulous, and particular : moreover, from having kept a school so long, 
with habits of minute observation. The affection they feel for me can hardly be 
undeserved. I would desire nothing more than to refer to their opinion." Dr. Thom- 
son, her constant medical friend and adviser, testified long afterwards to "her esti- 
mable qualities, generous feelings, and exalted, virtues." It would, indeed, have been 
easy to obtain proof abundant ; but in such cases the very effort to lessen the evil 
atigments it. There was no way of fighting with a shadow ; it was found impossible 
to trace the rumour to any actual source. Few, then, and perhaps none now, can 
tell how deeply the poisoned arrow entered her heart. Ay, if ever woman was, 
Laetitia Landon was " done to death by slanderous tongues." 

I have touched upon this theme reluctantly; perhaps it might have been omitted 
altogether ; but it seems to me absolutely necessary in order to comprehend the 
character of the poet towards her close of life, and the mystery of a marriage that 
so " unequally yoked " her to one utterly unworthy. 

Here is a passage from one of her letters to Mrs. Hall without a date, but it must 
have been written in 1836, when she was suffering terribly under the bHght of evil 
report : — 

"I have long since discovered tiiat I must be prepared for enmity I have never provoked, and 
imkindness I have little deserved. God knows that if, when I do go into society, I meet with 
more homage and attention than most, it is dearly bought. What is my life? One day of 
drudgery after another ; difficulties incurred for others which have ever pressed upon me be3'ond 
health, which every year, by one severe illness after another, is taxed beyond its strength ; envy, 
malice', and all unc'haritableness,— these are the fruits of a successful literary career for a woman." 

Yet she was slow to believe that false and evil words could harm her ! At first 
they seemed but to inspire her, in her innocence, with a dangerous confidence, and 
to increase a practice we always deplored of saying things for "effect" — things in 
which she did not believe. Certainly no advocate of Miss Landon can affirm that the 
"bright ornament" of Truth was hers. It was no use telling her this; she would 
argue that a conversation of facts would be as dull as a work on algebra, and that all 
she did was to put her poetry into practice. 

Poor child ! poor girl ! poor woman ! What a melancholy volume is her brief 

* There is no reason now why I should not give the name of John Forster ; he met Miss Landon first at our 
>.r,-,i=P There was to us always an unfathomable mystery in the closing of their acquaintance. But a marriage with 
John Forster could have led to no result more happy than did that of her marriage with McLean. Ihey were 
utterly unsuited— the one to the other. '■ 



history ! " Dreary," beset with " privations," " disappointments," " unkindnesses," 
and " harassments," " ever struggling against absolute poverty," these are her own 
words in mouri^ful application to herself. 

Endowed by nature with the perilous gift of 
genius, she was, while yet a child, thrown entirely 
on her own resources, altogether without a guide 
by which such a mind could be directed, or such a 
character be wisely formed. She was not more 
than fifteen years old when the letters " L. E. L.," 
appended to some verses in the 'Literary Gazette, 
riveted public attention ; and when it became known 
that the author was scarcely in her teens, a full 
gush of popularity burst upon her, which might 
have turned older heads and steadier dispositions. 
As she wrote — 

" I -well remember how I flung myself. 
Like a young goddess, on a purple cloud 
Of light and odour. 
And I — I felt immortal, for my brain 
Was drunk and mad with its first draught of fame." 

She became a " lion," courted and flattered, and 
feted ; yet never was she misled by the notion that 
popularity is happiness, or lip-service the true 
homage of the heart. 

She was residing at Old Brompton when her 
first poem appeared in the Lite^'ciry Gazette, which 
Mr. Jerdan had not long previously established. 
In this age of u'on, when poetry is, in the estima- 
tion of publishers, " a drug," it would be difficult 
to conceive the enthusiasm excited by the magical 
three letters appended to the poems whenever they 
appeared. Mr. Jerdan was a near neighbour of the 
Landons, and he thus refers to their residence at 
Old Brompton : — " My cottage overlooked the 
mansion and grounds of Mr. Landon, the father 
of ' L. E. L.,' at Old Brompton, a narrow lane only 
dividing our residences. My first recollection of 
the future poetess is that of a plump girl, grown 
enough to be almost mistaken for a woman, bowl- 
ing a hoop round the walks, with a hoop-stick in 
one hand, and a book in the other, reading as she 
ran, and, as well as she could manage, taking both 
exercise and instruction at the same time." ^ 

Although the house in which she resided was recently taken down, I have 
thought it desirable to procure a drawing of it, which I have engraved. 

When visiting her relatives at " Aberford, near Witherby," by whom she was 



received with affectionate attention, she thus playfully wrote, in one of her letters to 
Mrs. Hall : — " The beauty of this part of the country lying in its woods, what is it 
without foliage ? — 

" It is folly to dream of a bower of green 
When tliere is not a leaf on a tree ! " 

" Aberford, near Witherby. 

" Saturday. 
"The winter is very severe — even now the garden is partially covered with snow. However, 
in the more sunshiny patches snowdrops and pink and hlue liepaticas are beginning to peep out, 
and the greenhouse gives handsome promise of hyacinths, &c. 


MISS landon's .residence at old brompton. 

"Partly from the severity of the weather, partly because it is the custom so to do, we live very 
much to ourselves. But the family circle is in itself large and cheerful, and I do not know a more 
aa-reeable woman than my aunt. One of my cousins sings exquisitely. She was singmg last ni^ht 
what I always call your "song-' I come from a happy land.' She is a very pretty creature, too 
and looks exceedingly graceful at the harp. The younger ones are sadly distressed at my want 
of accomplishments When I first arrived, Julia and Isabel began to cross-question me : 'Can you 
navP' 'No' 'Can you sing?' 'No.' ' Can vou speak Italian ? ' 'No.' ' Can you draw ?_' '^o 
At last thev came down to ' Can you write and read ? ' Here I was able to answer, to their great 
relief, 'Yes, a little.' I believe Julia, in the first warmth of cousinly affection, was going to ofier 

*° *fa We h^Vt^NW^'leasant visit, and received extreme kindness; but I am as constant as ever 
to London. I would not take five thonsand a year to settle down in the co.n>try. I miss the new 
books, the new faces, the new subjects of conversation, and I miss very much the old iriends I have 
left behind. „ -^^^^ ^,^^^ ^^,^j^, affectionate 

"L. E. Landon," 


She was born on the 14tli of August, 1802, at Hans Place, Chelsea, where her 
father, a junior partner m the house of Adair, army agents, then resided ; and in that 
locality, with few brief intervals, the whole of her life was passed. When we first 
knew her in 1825 she lived with her grandmother in Sloane Street ; subsequently 
she became a boarder in the school establishment of the Misses Lance, at No. 22, 
Hans Place, the house in which she had been a pupil when but six years old ; and 
here she was residing up to within a few months of her marriage, when, in conse- 
quence of the retirement of the Misses Lance, she became an inmate in the family of 
Mrs. Sheddon at Upper Berkeley Street, Connaught Square. 

In answer to my request that she would give me some particulars of her life's 
history, I received from her the following letter : — 

" My deak Mr. Hall, 

" In endeavouring to give you some idea of my life, I find that a few words will com- 
prise its events, so much has one year repeated the other. My childhood was passed at Trevor 
Park, and is the basis of the last tale in 'Traits and Trials.' I cannot remember the time when 
composition in some shape or other was not a habit. I used to invent long stories, which I was only 
too glad if I could get my mother to hear. These soon took a metrical form ; and I used to walk 
about the grounds', and lie awake half the night, reciting my verses aloud. 

" The realities of life began with me at a very earlj' period of existence. The embarrassed 
state of my father's circumstances made us live in great seclusion at Old Brompton, and also led to 
a thousand projects for their amelioration — among others, literature seemed the resource, which it 
only seems to youth and inexperience. Witb what wonder in after years we look back on how we 
used to believe and expect! My course of reading had been very desultory — principally history 
and travels, and I especially remember a Life of Petrnrch which perhaps first threw round Italy 
that ideal charm it has always retained in my eyes. The scene of his being crowned at the Capitol 
was always present to my mind, and gave me the most picturesque notion of the glory of poetry. 
The Odyssey was another work which I was never tired of reading. It was the same sort of 
pleasure tbat I derived from reading Scott — an excitement, a keener sense of existence, and a 
passionate desire of action. Were I to be afked the writer who has exercised the greatest influence 
in forming my style, I should say — Walter Scott. 

"The desire of publication is inseparable from composition, and some of my MSS. were sent to 
the editor of the Literary Gazette^ who spoke highly of their promise, though at first he doubted 
who was the author. He would not believe that they were written by the child whom he saw 
playing with his own children. The ' Improvisatrice ' met with the usual difiiculties attendant on 
a first attempt. It was refused by every publisher in London. Mr. Murray said peers only 
should write poetry ; Longmans would not hear of it ; Colburn declared poetry was quite out of his 
way; and for months it remained unpublished. In the meantime, the fugitive poems with my 
signature, L. E. L., had attracted much attention in the Literary Gazette, and Messrs. Hurst and 
Robinson agreed to publish it. I may without vanity say that its success was complete, and I 
have never since found any publishing obstacles. Messrs. Hurst and Robinson gave me £300 for 
the 'Improvisatrice,' and £600 for the ' Troubadour.' I mention this as it was asserted in some of 
the newspapers that I have been a loser by their failure. Such was not the case. And it would 
give me sincere pleasure to express the gratitude I still feel for their kind and gentlemanlike con- 
duct towards me. Indeed, 1 have always met with the same treatment from every publisher with 
whom I have been connected. I certainly am not one of the authors who complain of the book- 
sellers. My whole life has been one of constant labour. My contributions to various periodicals 
—whether tales, poetry, or ciiticism — amount to far more than my published volumes. I have been 
urged to this by the necessity of aiding those nearly connected with me, whom my father's death 
left entirely destitute. I have lived almost wholly in London ; and though very susceptible to the 
impressions produced by the beauty of the country, certainly never felt at home but on the pave- 
ment. I write poetry with more ease than I do prose, and with far greater rapidity. In prose I 
oiten stop and hesitate for a word ; in poetry never. Poetry always carries me out of myself. I 
Ibrget everything in the world but the subject which has interested my imagination. It is the 
most subtle and interesting of pleasures, but, like all pleasures, it is dearly bought ; it is always 
succeeded by extreme depression of spirits, and an overpowering sense of bodily fatigue. 

" To conclude. Mine has been a successful career, and I hope I am earnestly grateful for the 
encouragement I have received, and the friends I have made. But my life has convinced me that 


a public career must be a painful one to a woman. The envy and the notoriety carry with them a 
bitterness which predominates over the praise. 

" I am ashamed of all this long detail about myself; but it was your wish. Anything further 
that I can supply do ask and have. 

"Yours most truly, 

"L. E. Landon." 

Her grandmother's grave was, if I recollect rightly, the third opened in the 
graveyard of Holy Trinity, Brompton. Her lines on the " new" churchyard will be 
remembered. I attended the old lady's funeral, Mrs. Hall having received from Miss 
Landon this letter : — 

" I have had time to recover the first shock, and it was great weakness to feel so sorry, though 
even now I do not like to think of her very sudden death. I am thankful for its giving.her so 
little confinement or pain. She had never known illness, and would have borne it impatiently 
— a great addition to suffering. I am so very grateful to Mr. Hall, for I really did not know 
what to do. Her funeral is fixed for Friday ; the hour will be arranged to his and Mr. Jerdan's 

Mrs. Hall supplies me with the following particulars concerning her early acquain- 
tance and intercourse with Laetitia Landon : — 

"My husband had been introduced to a certain little Miss Spence, who, on the 
strength of having written something about the Highlands, was decidedly 'blue,' when 
' blue ' was by no means so general a colour as it is at present. She had a lodging of 
two rooms in Great Quebec Street, and * patronised' young litterateur's, inviting them to 
her ' humble abode,' where'"tea was made in the bed-room, and where it was whispered 
the butter was kept cool in the wash-hand basin ! There were ' lots ' of such-like 
small scandals about poor little Miss Spence's ' humble abode; ' still people liked to go, 
and my husband was invited, with a sort of apology for poor me, who, never having 
published anything at that time, was considered ineligible : it was ' a rule.' 

" Of course I had an account of the party when Mr. Hall came home. I coveted 
to know who was there, and what everybody had worn and said. I was told that 
Lady Caroline Lamb had been present, enveloped in the folds of an ermine cloak 
which she called a ' cat-skin,' and that she talked a great deal about a periodical she 
wished to get up, to be called the Tabby's Magazine ; and that with her was an 
exceedingly haughty, brilliant, and beautiful girl, Rosina Wheeler, since well known, 
as Lady Lytton, and who sat rather impatiently at the feet of her eccentric ' Gamaliel.' 
Miss Emma Roberts was one of the favoured ladies ; and Miss Spence, who, like all 
* Leo-hunters,' delighted in novelty, had just caught the author of ' The Mummy,' 
Jane Webb, who was as gentle and unpretending then as she was in after years, 
when, laying aside romance for reality, she became the great helper of her husband, 
Mr. Loudon, in his laborious and valuable works. When I heard Miss Benger was 
there in her historic turban, I thought it fortunate that I had remained at home. I 
had always a terror of tall, commanding women, who blink down upon you, and have 
the unmistakable air about them of * Behold me ! have I not pronounced sentence 
upon Queen Elizabeth, and set my mark on the Queen of Scots ? ' Still I quite 
appreciated the delight of meeting under the same roof so many celebrities, and was 
cross-questioning my husband, when he said, ' But there was one lady there on whom 
I promised you should call to-morrow.' 



" Imagine my mingled delight and dismay : delight at the bare idea of seeing lier 
who must be well-nigh suffocated with the perfume of her own ' Golden Violet,' the 
idol of my imagination ; dismay — for what should I say to her ? what would she say 
to me ? 

" And now I must look back, back to the ' long ago,' the long, long ago ! 

"I can hardly realise the sweep of years that has gone over so many who have 
become near and dear to us since I first saw Lsetitia Landon — in her grandmother's 
modest lodging in Sloane Street — a bright-eyed, sparkling, restless little girl, in a 
pink gingham frock, grafting clever things on common-place nothings, froUicking from 
subject to subject with the playfulness of a spoiled child, her dark hair put back from 
her low, yet broad, forehead, only a little above the most beautiful eyebrows a painter 
could picture, and falling in curls around her slender throat. We were nearly the 
same age, but I had been a year married, and if I had not supported myself on 
my dignity as a matron, should have been more than nervous on my first intro- 
duction to a ' living poet,' though the poet was so different from what I had imagined. 
Her movements were as rapid as those of a squirrel. I wondered how any one so 
quick could be so graceful. She had been making a cap for her grandmother, and 
would insist upon the old lady's putting it on, that I might see ' how pretty it was.' 
To this, ' grandmamma ' (Mrs. Bishop) objected. She ' couldn't,' and she ' wouldn't' 
try it on ; ' how could Lsetitia be so silly ?' And then the author of the ' Golden 
Violet ' put the great, be-flowered, be-ribboned thing on her own dainty little head 
with a grave look — like a cloud on a rose — and, folding her pretty little hands over 
her pink frock, made what she called a ' Sir Roger de Coverly' curtsy, skipping back- 
wards into the bed-room ; and rushing in again, having deposited out of sight the 
cap she was so proud of constructing, she took my hands in hers, and asked me * if 
we should be friends.' ' Friends ! ' I do not think that during the long intimacy that 
followed the childlike meeting, extending from the year 1825 to her leaving England 
in 1838, during which time I saw her nearly every day, and certainly every week — I 
do not think she ever loved me as I loved her ; how could she ? But I was proud of 
the confidence and regard she bestowed on me, and would have given half my own 
happiness to have sheltered her from the envy and evil that embittered the spring and 
summer-time of her blighted life. It always seemed to me impossible not to love her, 
not to cherish her. Perhaps the greatest magic she exercised was, that after the first 
rush of remembrance of that wonderful young woman's writings had subsided, she 
rendered you completely oblivious of what she had done, by the irresistible charm of 
what she was. You forgot all about her books ; you only felt the intense delight of 
life with her. She was penetrating, yet thoroughly sympathetic, and entered into 
your feelings so entirely, that you wondered how the little ' witch ' could read you so 
readily and so rightly ; and if, now and then, you were startled, perhaps dismayed, 
by her wit — it was but as the prick of a diamond arrow. Words and thoughts that 
she flung hither and thither, without design or intent beyond the amusement of the 
moment, come to me still with a mingled thrill of pleasure and pain that I cannot 
describe, and which my most friendly readers could not understand, because they did 
not know her. When I knew her first, she certainly looked much younger than she 



was. When we talked of ages, which we did the first day, I found it difficult to 
believe she was more than seventeen — she was so slight, so fragile, so girlish in her 
gestures and manners. In after days I often wondered how she seemed so graceful ; 
her neck was short, her shoulders high ; you saw those defects at the first glance, 
just as you did that her nose was retrousse, and that she was ' under hung,' which 
ought to have spoiled the expression of her mouth ; yet it did not. You saw all this 
at once, but you never thought about it after the first five minutes. Her complexion 
was clear, her hair dark and silken, and the lashes that sheltered her grey eyes long, 
and slightly upturned ; her voice was inexpressibly sweet and modulated, but there 
was a melancholy cadence in it, a ' fall ' so full of sorrow, that I often looked to see 
if tears were coming. No — the smile and eyes were beaming in perfect harmony ; 
yet it was next to impossible to believe in her happiness, with the memory of that 
cadence still in the ear. Like all the earnest workers I have known intimately, she 
had a double existence — an inner and an outer life. Many times when I have wit- 
nessed her suffering either from spasmodic attacks, to which she was continually 
liable, or from the necessity for work to provide for the comforts and luxuries of those 
who never spared her, I have seen her cast, as it were, her natural self away, enter 
the long, narrow, and poorly-furnished room that opened on the garden at Hans 
Place, and flash upon a morning visitor as if she had not a pain or a care in the world ; 
dazzling the senses, and captivating the aff'ections of some new acquaintance, as she 
had done mine, and sending him or her away believing in the reality of her happiness, 
and fully convinced that the melancholy that breathed through her poems was assumed 
— that, in fact, her true nature was buoyant and joyous as that of a lark singing 
between earth and heaven. If they could but have seen how the cloud settled down 
on that beaming face ; if they had but heard the deep-drawn sigh of relief that the 
by-play was played out, and noted the languid step with which she mounted to her 
attic, and gathered her young limbs on the common seat, opposite the common table 
whereon she worked, they would have arrived at a directly opposite, and a too true, 
conclusion — that the melancholy was real, the mirth assumed. 

'' My second visit to her was after she had left her grandmother, and was residing 
at 22, Hans Place. Miss Emma Roberts*' and her sister, at that time, boarded also 
at Miss Lance's school, and Miss Landon found there a room at the top of the house, 
where she could have the quiet and the seclusion her labour required, and which she 
could not have had with her kind-natured but restless grandmother. She never could 
understand how ' speaking one word to Letty,' just one word, and not keeping her 
five minutes away from that desk, where she would certainly grow ' humped ' or 
' crooked,' could interfere with her work. She was one of those stolid persons, the 
bane of authors, who think nothing of the lost idea, and the unravelling of the web, 
when a train of thought is broken by the ' only one word,' ' only a moment,' which 
scatters thoughts to the wmd — thoughts that can no more be called home than the 
thistle-down that is carried away by a passing breeze. 

* Miss Emma Roberts, whose name is now forgotten, was the author of some works of merit. She accompanied 
her sister and her sister's husband to India, and died there. 



" She continued to reside in that unostentatious home, obedient to the ' rules of 
the school' as the youngest pupil, dining with the children at their early hour, and 
returning to her sanctuary, whence she sent forth, rapidly and continuously, works 
that won for her the adoration of the young and the admiration of the old. But 
though she ceased to reside with her grandmother, she was most devoted in her 
attentions to her aged relative, and trimmed her caps and bonnets, and ' quilled ' her 
frills, as usual. I have seen the old lady's ' borders' and ribbons mingled with pages 
of manuscript, and known her to put aside a poem to ' settle up ' grandmamma's cap 
for Sunday. These were the minor duties in which she indulged, but her grandmother 


owed the greater part, if not the entire, of her comforts to the generous and unselfish 
nature of that gifted girl. Her mother I never saw. Morally right in all her arrange- 
ments, she was mentally wrong, and the darling poet of the pubHc had no lo\ing 
sympathy, no tender care from the author of her being. She had endured the wrongs 
of a neglected childhood, and but for the attachment of her grandmother she would 
have known ' next to nothing ' of the love of motherhood. Thus she was left alone 
with her genius ; for admiration, however grateful to a woman's senses, never yet 
filled a woman's heart. 

" When I first knew her, and for some time after, she was childishly untidy and 
negligent in her dress. Her ' frocks ' were tossed on, as if buttons and strings were 


encumbrances ; one sleeve off the shoulder, the other on, and her soft, silky hair 
brushed ' anyhow.' But Emma Eoberts, whose dress was always in ' good taste,' 
determined on her reformation, and gradually the young poet, as she expressed it, 
' did not know herself.' I use the word ' young ' because she was so wonderfully 
youthful in appearance, and positively as she grew older looked younger — her dehcate 
complexion, the transparent tenderness of her skin, and the playful expression of her 
childlike features adding to the deception." 

In the zenith of her fame, and towards the terrible close of her life, the personal 
appearance of Miss Landon was highly attractive. Though small of stature, her form 
was remarkably graceful, and in society, at all events, she paid to dress the attention 
that literary women too frequently neglect. This is Mrs. Hall's portrait of her at a 
later period than the sketch I have given : — 

" It was strange to watch the many shades of varied feeling that passed across her 
countenance even in an hour. I can see her now — her dark silken hair braided back 
over a small, but what phrenologists would call a well-developed, head ; her forehead 
full and open, but the hair grew low upon it ; the eyebrow perfect in arch and form ; 
the eyes round, soft, or flashing, grey, well formed, and beautifully set, the lashes 
long and black, the under lashes turning down with a delicate curve, and forming a 
soft relief upon the tint of her cheek, which, when she enjoyed good health, was 
bright and blushing. Her complexion was delicately fair ; her skin soft and trans- 
parent ; her nose small {retrousse), the nostril well defined, slightly curved, but 
capable of a scornful expression, which she did not appear to have the power of 
repressing, even though she gave her thoughts no words, when any mean or des- 
picable action was alluded to. It would be difficult to describe her mouth ; it was 
neither flat nor pouting, neither large nor small; the under jaw projected a little 
beyond the upper. Her smile was deliciously animated ; her teeth white, small, and 
even ; and her voice and laugh soft, low, and musical. H^er ears were of peculiar 
beauty, and all who study the beauty of the human head know that the ear is either 
very pleasing to look on, or much the contrary : hers were small, and of a delicate 
hue. Her hands and feet were even smaller than her sylph-like figure would have 
led one to expect. She would have been of perfect symmetry but that her shoulders 
were rather ' high.' Her movements, when not excited by animated conversation, 
were graceful and ladylike, but when excited they became sudden and almost abrupt." 

There were few portraits of Miss Landon painted, yet she was acquainted with 
many artists, and had intense love of art. Witness her " Subjects for Pictures " in 
the Neiv Monthly Magazine, written at my suggestion. Her friend Maclise painted 
her three or four times : I know of none others, except that by Pickersgill. It is 
engraved with this Memory. I always thought it the most like her, but it is not 
flattering. Though quite unskilled in the language of the schools, she had a fine 
feeling for 

" The art that can immortalise." 

I remember her once speaking of artists in her usual animated and pictorial manner, 
and concluded by saying, " they deserved all honour — they idealised humanity." 


What a string of pearls I migM have gathered, had I noted down the thoughts that 
fell in sayings from her lips ! 

She cannot be described as handsome, but at times her face became absolutely 
beautiful, when its expression was animated by thought, and the language of warm 
feeling, or of earnest sympathy, fell from her eloquent lips. Then her eyes too would 
speak ; I have seen them many a time sparkling with indignation and dissolved in 

In society she was brilliant, without by any means being 

" That dangerous thing, a female wit." 

Her language was often epigrammatic, and her " sayings " would have been worth 
collecting and preserving for their point and purpose. She was usually full of 
animation, and never failed to deal " well " with any subject on which she conversed. 
Those who saw her at such times would have thought that gaiety was her prevailing 
characteristic ; it was not so. Frequently I have seen her sigh heavily in apparently 
her merriest moments, and have quoted to myself these lines, — 

" Chide not her mirth who was sad yesterday, 
And may be so to-morrow." 

She first met the Ettrick Shepherd at our house. When Hogg was presented to 
her, he looked earnestly down at her for perhaps half a minute, and then exclaimed, 
in a rich manly " Scottish " voice, " Eh, I didna think ye'd been sae bonnie ! I've 
said many hard things aboot ye. I'll do sae nae mair. I didna think ye'd been sae 
bonnie !" Mrs. Opie, who also first saw her at our house, paid her a questionable 
compliment, saying she was the prettiest butterfly she had ever seen; and I remember 
the staid Quakeress shaking her finger at the young poetess, and saying, " What thou 
art saying thou dost not mean ! " Miss Jewsbury (the much elder sister of the 
accomplished authoress, Greraldine), whose fate somewhat resembled her own, said of 
her, " She was a gay and gifted thing," but Miss Jewsbury knew her only "in the 
throng." Her toils were too intense, the demands upon her resources too heavy : 
there was a perj)etual necessity for labour to answer the needs of others, not her 
own, for her wants were limited ; her own expenses little more than those she paid 
for her moderate board at " a school;" and for dress, though no doubt she had a 
woman's longing in that way, she said, and we could well believe her, she had 
seldom two silk gowns of her own.* But " gay " the troubles and anxieties of life 
would not let her be ; " gay" she was forbidden to be by the necessity of daily toil, 
ill or in health ; more than that, her nature inclined her to despondency — almost a 
necessity of the poetic temperament. Her closer friends knew that the sparkle was 
often unreal : — 

" The cheek may be tinged with a warm sunny smile, 
Though the cold heart to ruin runs darkly the whUe." 

* Mrs. Hall remembers once meeting her coming out of Youngman's shop, in Sloane Street, and walking home 
with her. "I have been," she said, " to buy a pair of gloves, the only money spent on myself out of the £300 I 
received for • Romance and Eeality.' " That same day she spoke of having lived in Sloane Street when a child. 
Her mother's menage must have been curiously conducted :— " On Sundays my brother and myself were often left 
alone in the house, with one servant, who always went out, locking us in, and we two children used to sit at the 
open parlour- window, to catch the smell of the one-o'clock dinners that went past from the bakehouse, well knowing 
that no dinner awaited us." 

T 2 

And beyond doubt, in later years, there was " a fatal remembrance " that threw 

" Its dark shade alike o'er her joys and her woes." 

I have rarely known a woman so entirely fascinating as Miss Landon. This arose 
mainly from her large sympathy ; she was playful with the young, sedate with the 
old, and considerate and reflective with the middle-aged ; she could be tender, and 
she could be severe, prosaic, or practical, and essentially of and with whatever party 
she chanced to be among. I remember this faculty once receiving an illustration. 
She was taking lessons in riding, and had so much pleased the riding-master, that at 
parting he complimented her by saying, " Well, madam, we are all born with a genius 
for something, and yours is for horsemanship." 

Her industry was absolutely wonderful : she was perpetually at work, although 
often, nay, generally, with little of physical strength, and sometimes utterly prostrated 
by illness. Yet the work must be done. Her poems and prose were usually for 
periodical publications, and a given day of the month it was impossible to postpone. 
She was also a fertile correspondent : we have had hundreds of her letters ; many of 
them we have now. She found time to show how deep an interest she took in all 
that concerned those she liked or loved. Her entirely unselfish nature was known, 
by pleasant experience, to all friends, admirers, or acquaintances with whom she came 
in contact, either in the way of business or of pleasure. 

She married Mr. McLean, then Governor of the Gold Coast,* — a man who 
neither knew, felt, nor estimated her value. He wedded her, I am sure, only 
because he was vain of her celebrity ; and she him, because he enabled her to change 
her name, and to remove from that society in which, just then, the old and infamous 
slander had been revived. There was, in this case, no love, no esteem, no respect, and 
there could have been no discharge of duty that was not thankless and irksome. f 

The Poet Laureate has written : — 

" That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies ; 
That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright ; 
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight." 

Undoubtedly the wicked slander that associated the name of Maginn with that of 
L. E. L. had some foundation. She had written to that very worthless person a 
letter, or letters, containing expressions which she ought not to have penned. They 
sufficed to arouse the ire of a jealous woman, and led to much misery. To have seen, 
much less to have known Maginn, would have been to refute the calumny. But the 
worst accusation that could justly have been urged against her was imprudence. 

Mrs. Hall, having heard this slander, thought herself bound to write to Miss 
Landon on the subject. She did so, and this was her. reply. As thirty years 
have gone since it was written, and as the parties chiefly implicated are dead, I do 

* She was married on the 7th of June, 1838, to Mr. George McLean, at St. Mary's, Bryanston Square, her 
brother, the Eev. Whittington Landon, oificiating. The bride was " given away " by her long and attached friend, 
Sir Lytton Bulwer Lytton, afterwards Lord Lytton. They were married a fortnight, at least, before the marriage 
was announced even to friends. A sad story was some time afterwards circulated, the truth of which I have no means 
of confirming, that McLean had been engaged to a lady in Scotland, which engagement he had withdravm ; and 
that she was in the act of sealing a farewell letter to him, when her dress caught fire, and she was burnt to death. 

t It is but just to state that, in a letter I received from the late Lord Lytton, he dissents from the view I take 
of the character of McLean : of whom he writes in terms of consideration and respect. 



not consider I commit any breach of confidence (especially as it was not marked 
" private ") in printing it :* — ■ 

"My deae, Mrs. Hall, 

" You are quite right in saying; you owe me no apology for your letter, thougli I own I 
am surprised at its contents ; for, from all that has been said to me, 1 had no idea that the least 
importance was attached to the slanders of a violent and malevolent woman. Mrs. Maginn is too 
well known in her own circle ; she speaks hut of me as she speaks of every one else. 8he has for 
some time past taken a great dislike to me, and first one spiteful invention and then another was 
its consequence — always, however, fawning and flattering to my face. She seems to have quite a 


mania about my letter-writing ; for the first shape in which it reached me was, that I had written 
four-and-twenty love-letters to Mr. Maclise, and that he had offered her one of them. As to the 
new fancy ahout her husband, I cannot even call it jealousy— for jealousy implies some degree of 
feeling ; it is sheer envy, operating upon a weak, vulitar, but cunning nature. Asto the idea of an 
attachment between me and Dr. Maginn, it seems to me too absurd even for denial. The letters, 
however, I utterly deny. I have often written notes, as pretty and as flattering as I could make 
tliem, to Dr. Maginn, upon difi'erent literary matters, and one or two on business. But how any 
construction but their own could be put upon them I do not understand. A note of mme that 
would pass for a love-letter must either have been strangely misrepresented, or most strangely 
altered. Dr. Maginn and his wife have my full permission to publish every note I ever wrote— m 
The Ane if they like. I regret I ever allowed an acquaintance to he forced upon me of which i was 
always ashamed. The fact was I was far too much afraid of Dr. Maginn not to conciliate him it 
possible ; and if civility or flattery would have done it, I should have been glad so to do. As it 
has turned out, I have, I fear, only made myself a powerful enemy ; lor of course, on the first 
rumour that reached me, I felt it incumbent on me to forbid his visits, few and infrequent as they 
were. I have met both since, and the only notice I took was to cut Mrs. Maginn decidedly. 

"I have long since discovered that I must be prepared for enmity I have never provoked, and 

• In a letter to Mrs. HaU, written some time before the one I have printed, I find this passage :-" Who on 
earth do you think I had a long visit from on Sunday \ Dr. Maginn." 


nnkindness I have little deserved. God knows that if when I do go into societ}' I meet with more of 
homage and attention than most, it is dearly bought. What is my life P One day of drudgery after 
another; difficulties incurred for others, which have ever pressed upon me beyond health, which 
every year, by one severe illness alter another, shows is tasked beyond its strength; envy, malice, 
and all uncharitableness — these are the fruits of a successful literary career for a woman. 

" I can do nothing. It is impossible to lead a more quiet life, or less to provoke personal 
animadversion, than I do, and yet is there anything too malicious to be invented, or too absurd to 
be repeated about me ? 

'• [ leave it to all you have known and seen of me to judge if belief be possible. 

" I have nothing more to say. I thank you for your kindness. I have always experienced it, 
but do not make the slightest claim upon it. 

" Your obliged, 

" L. E. Landon." 

To those who knew, or, indeed, had ever seen Dr. Maginn, increduhty as to that 
slander would not have been difficult. A man less likely to have gained the affections 
of any woman could not easily have been found. To say nothing of his being a 
married man — dirty in his dress and habits, revolting in manners, and rarely sober, 
he might have been pointed out as one from whom a woman of refinement would 
have turned with loathing, rather than have approached with love. I should, 
perhaps, have passed over this incident as unworthy of thought, but that, in a pub- 
lished volume of " EecoUections," the Honourable Grantley Berkeley made it the 
peg on which to hang " a story." He can hardly expect those who were either 
the friends or acquaintances of Miss Landon to credit it, yet he is circumstantial in 
his statement that she was eager to place her honour in his keeping on the very first 
occasion of their meeting (so he says), or that she really looked to him to avenge a 
wrong done to her by Dr. Maginn, who, he more than insinuates, sought to corrupt 
L. E. L. as the price of " making or marring" her literary prospects, and that at a 
time, be it remembered, when her fame had been long established, and when no 
writer could have either increased or impaired it. Moreover, Mr. Berkeley requires 
us to accept the picture he draws of the poetess — saying to him (the first time she 
had ever spoken with him), her voice interrupted by " sobs," " I resolved to trust 
you with more than my life ; to tell you all, and to ask your counsel ; " and that, as 
a consequence, he " rescued from the machinations of a scoundrel one of the most 
amiable and gifted of her sex." Of all visionary fancies arising out of the creative 
faculty, this is one of the most — "thorough." 

For my own part, although I may believe that once or twice Miss Landon did 
actually admit to her presence the Honourable Grantley Berkeley, I do not believe 
she ever said to him a single word in reference to her intimacy with Dr. Maginn, or 
that any such conversation ever took place as that which this chivalric champion so 
minutely details.* I consider his statement an invention, " pure and simple." 

The last time I saw L. E. L. was in Upper Berkeley Street, Connaught Square, 
on the 27th June, 1838, soon after her marriage, when she was on the eve of her 
fatal voyage. A farewell party was given to some of her friends by Mrs. Sheddon, 
with whom she then boarded, Misses Lance having resigned their school. When 

* Mr. Grantley Berkeley, having' read my opinion when I published my views (hut much more guarded than they 
are now) in the Art-Journal, thought proper to send me a threatening letter, and iu a second edition of his hook to 
assail me in no measured terms. I treated both in the only way in which they could be treated— with indiiference ; 
and took no notice of his attacks on me. Others, however, did not treat him so tenderly. Mr. C. L. Gruneisen (a 


the proper time arrived, there was a whisper round the table, and as I was the 
oldest of her friends present, it fell to my lot to propose her health. I did so with 
the warmth I felt. The " chances " were that we should never meet again ; and I 
considered myself free to speak of her in terms such as could not but have gratified 
any husband, except the husband she had chosen. I referred to her as one of my 
wife's most valued friends during many years of closest personal intimacy, and sought 
to convey to McLean's mind, and to the minds of her other friends, the high respect 
as well as affection with which we regarded her. There were some at the table who 
shed tears while I spoke. The reader may imagine the chill which came over that 
party when McLean had risen to "return thanks." He merely said, "If Mrs. 
McLean has as many friends as Mr. Hall says she has, I only wonder they allow 
her to leave them." That was all : it was more than a chill — it was a blight. A 
gloomy foreboding as to the future of that doomed woman came to all the guests, as, 
one by one, they rose and departed, with a brief and mournful farewell. Probably 
no one of them ever saw her again. 

They sailed for Africa on the 5th of July, 1838. On the 15th of August she 
landed, and on the 15th of October she was dead! — dying, according to a coroner's 
jury, " of having incautiously taken a dose of prussic acid."* Alas! it is a sad, sad 
story — one that makes my heart ache as I write. It was a terrible close to a most 
unhappy life. 

The circumstances of her death will be for ever a mystery — a sad and mournful 
mystery indeed ! 

The very morning of her death, in a letter to a friend, she wrote, " The solitude, 
except an occasional dinner, is absolute. From seven in the morning till seven in 
the evening, when we dine, I never see Mr. McLean, and rarely any one else." 
Writing previously, she says, " There are eleven or twelve chambers here, empty, I 

gentleman well known to, and greatly esteemed by, the public) took up my defence, and it was safe in Ms hands. 
He expresses his conviction that my memoir of L. E. L. "was a thoroughly truthful memoir." That matters little ; 
but he describes Mr. Grantley Berkeley as a " slanderer and a libeller ; " characterising his statement as " a monstrous 
fable." I exti'act two or three passages from Mr. Gruneisen's brave and manly letter to the editor of the Fall Mall 
G-azette .■— " Mr. Grantley Berkeley, smarting under the obloquy which must always attach to his name for the brutal 
assault on the proprietor and publisher of Fraser's Magazine, has now added to the previous odium by seeking to stab 
a man through the heart of a woman. To justify one of the most ruffian-like attacks ever made on an unoffending 
tradesman, Mr. Berkeley seeks to fis on Dr. Maginn a most disgraceful charge by communicating to the world that 
which, if true, ought to have been kept by him a profound secret, even until death. If L. E. L. did make a Grantley 
Berkeley her confidant, she must have done so under the impression that he was a ' chevalier sans peur et sans 
leproche'— one who would be her champion, and not her slanderer. But I have no hesitation in expressing my 
utter disbelief in Mr. Berkeley's statement that Miss Landon selected him as her defender. ... It has evidently 
been an afterthought of Mr. Berkeley to turn to his accoimt a scandalous report to exonerate him in his allegations 
against Dr. Maginn." 

A few days after the publication of that letter (to which Mr. Gruneisen affixed his name and address), the 
Rev. J. B. Landon (a cousin of Miss Landon), in the absence from England of Miss Landon's brother, wi'ote as 
follows to the Pall Mall Gazette:—'' Mr. Grantley Berkeley's statements would long since have been met with an 
indignant denial on the part of the relations of L. E. L., had they not felt that the amount of credit likely to be 
attached to any statement that gentleman might make was hardly such as would justify them in giving oun-ency 
to the slander by taking the trouble to deny it. They would have been satisfied to leave him to the profound con- 
tempt of aU right-thinking persons which he has already incurred, and the reproaches of an accusing conscience 
which may yet await him. As, however, others have generously stepped forward in L. E. L.'s defence, they feel 
that silence on their part might be misconstrued ; and I therefore lose no time in declaring their conviction that 
there is not the slightest foundation for the story which Mr. Grantley Berkeley's morbid vanity has led him to 

* Dr. Madden (" Memoirs of Lady Blessington"), by whom the " Gold Coast" was visited not long after the 
death of L. E. L., describes the Castle as "a large, ill-constmcted, dismal-looking fort, with a few rooms of a 
barrack-looking fashion." The town, " Cape Coast," is a wretched town, " containing about four thousand inha- 
bitants, natives of the country, with a few European traders." "A wilderness of seared verdure, and tangled 
shrubs and stunted bushes— a jungle and a swamp, realising desolation "—that was the scenery around the 
miserable dwelling called " a Castle." 

am told, yet Mr. McLean refuses to let me have one of them for my use. He 
expects me to cook, wash, and iron ; in short, to do the work of a servant. He says 
he will never cease correcting me until he has broken my spirit, and complains of 
my temper, which you know was never, even under heavy trials, bad." It is but a 
mild view of the case which Dr. Madden takes when he says — " The conviction left 
on my mind, by all the inquiries I had made (at Cape Coast), and the knowledge I 
had gained of the pecuUarities of Mr. McLean, was that the marriage of L. E. L. 
with him was ill calculated to promote her happiness, or to secure her peace ; 
and that Mr. McLean, making no secret of his entire want of sympathy with her 
tastes, of repugnance for her pursuits, and eventually of entire indifference towards 
her, had rendered her exceedingly unhappy." * 

The following letter from L. E. L. was received by Mrs. Hall on the 3rd of 
January, 1839. It was without a date. On the 1st we had heard of her death. It 
was a " ship letter," and charged two shillings and fourpence ; but the mark of the 
place at which it was posted is indistinct : — 

" Dear Mrs. Hall, 

''1 must send you one of my earliest epistles from the tropics, and as a ship is just 
sailing, I will write, though it can only be a few hurried lines. I can teil j'ou my whole voyage 
in three words — six weeks' sea-sickiiess — but I am now as well as possible, and have been ever 
since I landed. The Castle is a very noble building, and all the rooms large and cool, while some 
would he pretty even in England. That where I am writing is painted a deep blue, with some 
splendid engravings — indeed, fine prints seem quite a passion with the gentlemen here. Mr. 
McLean's library is fitted up with bookcases of African mahogany, and portraits of distinguished 
authors. I, however, never approach it without due preparation and humility, so crowded is it 
with scientific instruments, telescopes, chronometers, barometers, gasometers, &c., none of which 
may be touched by hands profane. On three sides, the batteries are dashed against by the waves ; 
on the fourth is a splendid land view. The hills are covered to the top with what we should call 
wood, but is here called bush. This dense mass of green is varied by some large, handsome, white 
houses, belonging to different gentlemen, and on two of the heights are small forts built by Mr. 
Mcl.ean.^ The cocoa-trees, with their long, fan-like leaves, are verj^ beautiful. The natives seem 
to be obliging and intelligent, and look very picturesque with their fine, dark figures, with pieces 
of the country cloth flung around them. They seem to have an excellent ear for music. The 
band plays all the old popular airs which they have caug'nt from some chance hearing. The ser- 
vants are tolerable, but they take so many to work. The pri.^oners do the scouring, and fancy 
three or four men cleaning a room that an old woman in England would do in an hour, besides Ihe 
soldier who stands by, his bayonet drawn in his hand. All my troubles have been of a house- 
keeping kind, and no one could begin on a more plentiful stock of ignorance than myself. How- 
ever, like Sinbad the Sailor in the cavern, I begin to see daylight. I have numbered and labelled 
my keys — their name is legion — and every morning I take my way to the !^tore, give out flour, 
sugar, butter, &c., and am learning to scold if I see any dust, or miss the customary polish on the 
tables. I am actually getting the steward of the ship, who is my right hand, 1o teach me how to 
make pastry. I will report progress in the next. We live almost entire. y on ducks and chickens ; if 
a sheep be killed, it must be eaten the same day. The bread is very good, palm wine being used for 
yeast ; and yams are an excellent substitute for potatoe.s. The fruit generally is too sweet for my 
liking, but the oranges and pine-apples are delicious. You cannot think the complete seclusion in 
which I live, but I have a great resource in writing, and I am very well and very happy. But I 
think, even more than I expected, if that be possible, of my English friends. It was almost like 
seeing something alive when I saw the ' Buccaneer' and ' Outlaw ' side by side in Mr. McLean's 
library. I cannot tell you the pleasure it gave me. Do tell Mr. Hall that every day I find the ' Books 

* " Mr. McLean was a good mathematician. All his tastes were for the cultivation of the exact sciences. His 
favourite pursuits were geometrical and algebraic calculations, barometrical and thermometrical observations. He 
affected scorn for poetry and poets." 

Mr. McLean died at Oape Coast on the 28'"li of May, 1847. He had been for several years "President of the 
Afiican Company" in Western Africa. He was not buried in the same grave with his unhappy wife, but "at 
her side." 


of Gems ' greater treasures. I refer to them perpetually. I have been busy with what I hope you 
will like — essays from Sir Walter Scolt's works, to illu-itrate a set of Heath's portraits. I believe 
they are to appear every fortnight next year. Give my kindest love to Mrs. Fielding and Mr. Hall, 
and believe me ever your truly affectionate 

"L. E. McLean." 

She had signed her name " L. E. Landon," but had erased " Landon," and 
written in " McLean," adding, " How difficult it is to leave oif an old custom ! " 

She was buried, on the evening of her death, "in the courtyard of the Castle." 
The grave was dug by torchlight ; and there stood beside it a few " mourners " 
wrapped in cloaks, shelters from " a pitiless torrent of rain." Guided by " a flicker- 
ing light," the busy workmen hurried through their work ; the mourners hastened 
away; one " silent watcher " — it was not her husband — waited till the grave was 
covered in, and all that was mortal of her whose life was indeed a grief from the 
cradle to the grave was " put out of sight."* 

Let the name she bore for so brief a time be forgotten ; let her be known in the 
literary history of her country only as Lsetitia Elizabeth Landon ; and let the " small 
white tablet inserted in the Castle wall " at Cape Coast be the only record of the 
name " McLean." f 

Poor girl ! Poor woman ! Poor victim ! Thus she fulfilled her own mournful 
prediction, though speaking of another : — 

" Where my father's 1)01168 are lying, 
There my bones will never lie ! 

Mine shall be a lonelier ending, 

Mine shall be a wilder grave : 
Where the shout and shriek are blending, 

Where the tempest meets the wave. 
Or perhaps a fate more lonely, 

In some drear and distant ward, 
Where my weary eyes meet only 

Hired nuise and sullen guard ! " 

* Lady Blessiagton had charged Dr. Madden to have erected, at her cost, a monument over the remains of 
L. E. L. Upon applying on the subject to Mr. McLean, he said, " It was unnecessary, as he had already ordered 
out from England a mural slab with an inscription ; and it had been lying for some time in a store in the Castle, 
and he would have it put up shortly." That was done a few days afterwards. 

I)r. Madden thus describes the grave of the poetess : — " The spot that was chosen for the grave of this accom- 
plished, but unhappy lady could not be more inappropriate. A few common tiles distinguish it from the graves of 
the various military men who have perished in this stronghold of pestilence. Her grave is daily trampled over by 
the soldiers of the fort. The morning blast of the bugle and roll of the drum are the sounds that have been thought 
most in unison with the spirit of the gentle being who sleeps below the few red tiles where the soldiers on parade do 
congi-egate. There is not a plant, nor a blade of grass, nor anything green, in that courtyard, on which the 
burning sun blazes down all day long. And this is the place w lere they have buried L. E L. ! " 

It is, I presume, a vain hope that some one hereafter may transport her remains from that wretched " settle- 
ment," and place them in some God's acre of English ground ; realising the hope of Walter Savage Landor in some 
lines addressed to Lady Blessington : — 

" Oh, never more ! the burthen of the strain 

Be those sad, hopeless words ; then make her bed 
Near shadowy boughs, that she may dwell again 
Where her own English violets bloom and fade. 

The sole sweet records clustered o'er her heid, 
In this strange land, to tell where our belov'd is laid." 

+ During Dr. Madden's brief residence at Cape Coist Castle he occupied the chamber in which L. E. L. died. 
He describes "a frightful dream, or rather, a half- waking, half-sleeping sort of hallucination, in which I fancied 
that the form of Mrs. McLean, clad in a white dress, was extended before me lifeless on the floor, on the spot where 
I had been told her body had been discovered. This imaginary white object liy between my bed and the window, 
thi'ough which the moon was shining brightly, and every time I raised myself, and examined closely this spot, on 
which the moonbeams fell in a slanting direction, the imaginary form would cease tu be discernible ; and then in a 
few minutes, when I might doze, or fail by any effort to keep attention alive, the same appalling figure would 
present itself to my im'agination." 

Was this " a dream that was not all a dream \ " 


The name of Laman Blanchaed may be rightly associated with that of Lsetitia 
Elizabeth Landon, for he wrote her " Life," and did ample justice to her memory. 
He first met the young poetess at our house ; and a friendship was commenced 
between them which did not terminate with her death. Foreseeing what " might 
be," she had laid a duty on him before her departure for Africa, and the pledge he 
gave was faithfully kept. With a copy of the volumes, Blanchard wrote us this 
note: — ■ 

" For two reasons you will try to like the long-looked for. The first and strongest refers to the 
glorious creature who is g(me ; and the second to one whom you know to have striven hard to vin- 
dicate her name, and to keep her memory as a pleasant odour in the world. If 1 have i'ailed, it is 
because there were difficulties in the way that I cannot explain ; and if some of her enemies escape, 
it was because I was fearful of injuring her." 

Blanchard was born at Great Yarmouth on the 15th of May, 1803. His father 
removed to London in 1805, and followed the calling of a painter and glazier in 
Southwark. Laman was educated at the neighbouring school of St. Olave, where he 
soon became a prominent scholar, gaining prizes when he was under ten years old. 
He had been doomed to drudgery in a proctor's office, but early formed acquaintance 
with Buckstone, and acquired a taste for the stage. He tried, indeed, his "prentice 
ban' " at the Margate theatre, but recoiled with the natural delicacy of a sensitive and 
highly-refined organisation from the humiliations of a strolling player's life. For a 
time he was assistant secretary to the Zoological Society, of which his brother-in- 
law. Vigors, was the chief founder and secretary. At the early age of eighteen he 
fell in love, and married Miss Ann Gates. He soon became a " writer," editing or 
sub-editing the Monthly Magazine, La Belle Assemblee, afterwards the True Sun, and 
ultimately the Courier, the once famous paper being then in a dying state, having, 
moreover, gone over from the Tories to the ultra-Liberals. None of these employ- 
ments were remunerative ; he worked hard, and in many ways, to keep the wolf, 
Poverty, from the door. 

He published but one book — "Lyric Offerings" — a collection of most sweet 
poems. His writings were all " anonymous." Few but his friends knew the true 
value of the author, fewer still the great worth of the man. 

His name is not largely known ; for he died while yet but midway up " the 
steep" that leads to "Fame's eternal temple." Not long after the death of his 
friend L.E.L., he himself proved the sad truth of the lines, that 

" Wit to madness nearly is allied, 
And thin partitions do the bounds divide." 

I knew him when he commenced his career as a man of letters by profession. 
Scott has well said, " Literature is a good staff, but a bad crutch," — to depend on it 
altogether is but a sadly precarious trust. He was of all men the readiest and most 
versatile. His ever prompt and eloquent pen could indite a sonnet, point an epigram, 


tell a story, or give interest to an essay, while slower spirits were pondering and 
wondering what they had to write about. His wit was genial, and not caustic : it 
brightened everything it played about, and was checked only by a sensitive desire to 
avoid giving pain : — 

" His wit in the combat, as gentle as bright, 
Ne'er can-ied a heart-stain away on its blade ! " 

His was the ardent temperament of a genuine child of song, yet dedicated to the 
direst and hardest duty- work. His vocation was that of a writer for the press ; 
and multitudinous were his "leaders,' "criticisms," "reviews," "reports," and 
"opinions" upon every conceivable subject, which the public strongly rehshed, 
while entirely ignorant of their source : — 

" The sunny temper, bright where all is strife ; 
The simple heart that mocks at worldly wiles ; 
Light wit that plays along the calm of life, 
And stirs its languid surface into smiles." 

In person he was small ; his countenance was at once expressive of his heart and 
mind — sensitive, graceful, and affectionate ; his eyes, those unerring indicators of 
genius, were peculiarly tender, yet sparkling like two burning coals. Earnest, true, 
fervent, sympathising, the man was made to be loved. 

While yet in the prime of life and in the vigour of intellect, a domestic sorrow 
— the death of his wife, whom he had married when little more than a boy — struck 
his energies at the root. Eest, perfect rest, was absolutely needed to his body and 
his mind ; but how was the day-labourer for bread to obtain it, with several children 
looking to him for food ? It is a common thing for thoughtless friends to say to such 
a man so circumstanced, "You must not overwork yourself ! " Ah! they do not 
see under the gay draperies that society folds around the form — they do not see the 
chains that bind us to the galley in which we are slaves. A terror of the future — a 
spectral dread of want — took hold of my poor friend — seized him by the brain through 
the heart. It was half real, half imaginary, yet it did its work. Hope went, and 
life followed. The eloquent and tender poet ; the brave advocate of natural rights ; 
the brimful and active, but generous, wit ; the sterling and steadfast essayist ; the 
searching, yet indulgent, critic — for he was all these and more — died in a moment of 
madness induced by despair ; and died in harness, which, if one ready hand had 
unbuckled for a time, he might have worn, after brief repose, with honour to himself 
and advantage to all mankind.* 

The reader will, I trust, permit me to print two or three extracts from his letters : 
they show the fervid and affectionate nature of the man, — how prone he was to 
exaggerate small favours conferred ; while they serve, in a degree, to account for the 
terrible ending of his laborious and energetic life : — 

"Your letter, dear Mrs. Hull, contained as much sound wisdom as true kindness. More I 
cannot say. It gratified us much; but gratified is a wretched word ; it moved and delighted ua 

* In fact, hands wtn ready to do the work of mercy. Lord Lytton and John Forster, two of his most es+eemed 
and valued friends, knowing his circumstances and particular need.s, had met and devised a plan to free him of 
all unhealthy encumbrances. They were, I have been told, actually together, devising the best mode of working for 
his emancipation from pecuniary obligations, when they received intelligence of his death. 


more than any letter I ever received in my life. As few living could have so written, so no one, I 
almost think, would have so written. It will be treasured as something more precious than the 
ordinary tokens of interest and friendship — as sometliing more to be prized than the tokens which 
the early dreams of Fame look forward to, for a better fame it is to enjoy the sympathy and regard 
of those to whom she is a familiar guest than to have a flying visit from her oneself. You have 
brightened my present by giving me such a glimpse of a future ; and that future, whatever it may 
turn out, must be gladdened by the recollection of this moment — of the feelings crowded into it, of 
the resolves I build upon it. The only thnnks I give you are conveyed in the adoption of your 
advice, in the prompt and earnest acting upon that which you have so feelingly and beautiiully 
expressed. Most sure we are that this will be felt by you as the truest gratitude, and that all 
return else would be idle." 

" I am scarecely out of the house once a month, the condition of my wife being so precarious, 
her faculties so impaired, and the mental irritation so continual. I am nearly worn out with 
anxieties and miseries, though not easily cast down. Her bodily strength may admit of her being 
removed shortly ; that may give a chance for her shaken brain and restless nerves." 

"The alarm occasioned by my excessive illness is past, and the frightful nervous derangement 
and palpitations are abating, so as to give the assurance that my system, which had been insensibly 
sinking for many weeks, has been spared the worst blow. To a total want of rest, calm promises 
to succeed, and I am already, though pitiably distressed in health, considerably relieved. In the 
deepest of this affliction I have been conscious of the presence of a spirit of mercy. And the 
extreme kindnuss of many friends — dear to me always is yours and Mr. Hall's — not only endears 
life to me, but also enables me lo live. God bless you and yours, dear Mrs. Hall, prays, with his 
truest gratitude, your faithful friend, Blanchard." 

It was indeed a melancholy morning when thirty or forty of his friends assembled 
at his dwelling, somewhere in Lambeth, to accompany his remains to the grave, in 
the cemetery at Norwood, where not long afterwards a monument was erected to his 

Prominent among the group that filled his stiiall parlour was his constant friend 
and familiar associate, Douglas Jerrold. The ceremony was one of peculiar gloom ; 
and the sobs that every now and then came from some corner of that mournful room 
manifested deep and desponding grief that a life so active and so useful should have 
been closed by so sad a death, just when the future seemed to promise a reward 
other than " rest from labour." 

Blanchard and Jerrold were friends from a very early period. They had similar 
tastes, yet their natures were very opposite : in Blanchard there was nothing of the 
caustic bitterness so notorious in Douglas Jerrold. I have heard a hundred of 
Jerrold's witty sayings or retorts — very few that had no sting ; indeed, I can call 
to mind but one, and that is well known. When Charles Knight, the esteemed and 
estimable publisher, one evening asked Jerrold to write his epitaph, " I will," he 
answered ; "in fact, it is done — ' Good Knight ! ' " 

It was far otherwise with Laman Blanchard, who was ever kindly tender and 
genial ; whose wit was often as pungent and brilliant as that of his friend, but who, 
as I have said, was not only reluctant to give pain by repartee, but had always 
something to say that might give pleasure. Jerrold carried in his countenance the 
leading characteristics of his mind ; its expression was penetrating and sarcastic. I 
am told, by those who knew him more intimately than I did, that his heart was 
open to melting charity ; that, if his words often gave a stab, he was ever ready and 
willing to heal the wounds he inflicted ; and that in his domestic relations he was 


sympathetic, generous, and good. His son, Blanchard Jerrold (who has made himself 
a name in letters), is the husband of Blanchard's only daughter, and they have children 
who bear the joint names of the two men. 

In 1856, the American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, met Douglas Jerrold ; and 
this is the portrait he drew of him : — 

" He was a very short man, but with breadth enough, and a hack excessively bent — bowed 
almost to deformity ; very grey hair, and a face and expression of remarkable briskness and 
intelligence. His profile came out pretty boldlv, and his eyes had the prominence that indicates, 
I believe, volubility of speech ; nor did he fail to talk from the instant of his appearance ; and in 
the tone of his voice, and in his glance, and in the whole man, there was something racy — a 
flavour of the humorist. His step was that of an aged man, and he put his slick down very 
decidedly at every footfall ; though, as he alterwards told me that he was only fifty-two, he need 
not yet have been infirm." 

[Blanchard Jerrold has recently published a memoir of his father-in-law and god- 
father, Laman Blanchard. It gives me little or nothing to add to my Memory of 
him. With the " Life " are published several of his fugitive pieces : a careful search 
might have found others, to my mind, better worth preserving than those that have 
been thus collected.] 


I CANNOT close this Memory of poor unhappy L^titia Landon without introducing 
some comments concerning the career of William Jeedan, who was so long 
"before the world" as the editor of many works, more especially the Literary 

He tells us in his " Autobiography " that he was born at Kelso, on the 16th of 
April, 1782 : he died at Bushy Heath, in Kent, on the 11th of July, 1869, in his 
eighty-eighth year. His was, therefore, a very long life ; and if its historian cannot 
describe it as altogether creditable, it was certainly useful. 

It would be difficult now to comprehend the immense power exercised by the 
Literary Gazette for a period of time extending over the years between 1820 and 
1840. A laudatory review there was almost sure to sell an edition of a book, and 
an author's fame was established when he had obtained the praise of that journal. 
People do not, perhaps, think more for themselves now than they did then ; but the 
bands that bestowed the laurels were, at that time, few : country readers and pro- 
vincial booksellers had no other guide. There are now a hundred reviewers in 
London, and in the several shires of the kingdom thrice as many ; but for a quarter 
of a century there was but one who was accepted as " authority." The Gazette stood 
alone as the arbiter of fate, literary and artistic. In process of time other Daniels 
came to judgment : several rivals had appeared — to Hve a brief while and die ; but 
the Athenmim became a competitor irresistible. The elder Dilke was a gentleman of 
energy and independence ; moreover, he had capital. That periodical had been tried 
and did nothing in the hands of Silk Buckingham, but when Mr. Dilke became its 



sustaining influence it rapidly rose ; the Literary Gazette as rapidly fell. In 1850 it 
passed from the hands of Mr. Jerdan, and in 1862 it died, and is forgotten. 

It is but justice to say of Mr. Jerdan that he ever "did his spiriting gently," 
was always ready to help, and never willing to depress, the efforts of men striving 
for fame ; and many are they who achieved greatness mainly as a consequence of 
the encouragement received at his hands, whom severity of rebuke might have 
depressed into oblivion. It is scarcely too much to say that during his fifty years 
of labour there was hardly a young author who did not gratefully thank him for 
" good words." 

As with authors, so with artists. He may have occasionally over-appreciated 
inferiority, and there may have been a few cases in which he failed to see the 
promise in the bud ; but generally — almost universally — his judgment was sound, 
and his verdicts such as were seldom questioned either by competitors or successors. 
That is no slight praise of one who wielded a power of which existing conductors 
of the public press can form but a weak estimate. Some of them would do well to 
imitate his example ; some who think little of the broken hearts they cause when 
occupied in the business of criticism ; who do not often go to rest without the con- 
sciousness that the bitter "justice" of the pen has made some one miserable. 

To their consideration I recommend this verse of a hymn :- — 

" Help us to help each other, Lord, 
Each other's cross to bear ; 
Let each his friendly aid afford 
To soothe his brother's care ! " 

But Mr. Jerdan was not the editor of the Literary Gazette only ; he was the 
author of many original works. None of them, indeed, have maintained any hold 
on the public, but they served their purpose for a time, and were evidence of thought 
and industry as well as ability. 

In 1852-3 he published his " Autobiography ;" and in 1866 a volume entitled 
" The Men I have Known " — printed originally in that useful and interesting and 
thoroughly good periodical, the Leisure Hour. I confess I have wondered how it 
was that these works contain so little : no man has lived who had so many oppor- 
tunities of personal intercourse with the leading authors and artists of his age. He 
seems to have neglected such opportunities strangely ; probably he never contem- 
plated being called upon to write concerning them ; and it is certain that he was not 
of those who sow seed for an anticipated harvest.* 

I was not one of his intimate friends, but I have met occasionally at his residence, 
Grove House, Brompton, a house long ago removed to make way for Ovington Square, 
many of the chief wits, leading authors, and principal artists of the time — a time 
comprising many years — and a very large proportion of them were contributors to 
his Gazette. 

* One of Jerdan's latest " works " was to found the " Army and Navy Pensioners' Employment Society " — a 
Fociety that did an enormous amount of good, and which still exists as one of the truest and best charities of the 
metropolis. Out of it grew the "Corps of Commissionnaries," formed and established by Captain Walter, and 
wiiich has become one of the most useful institutions of England. It would do no good now to make record of the 
" untoward " circumstances that led to Mr. Jerdan's retirement from the society not long after it was formed. 


Still, although his " Autobiography" disappoints me, it does not follow that it will 
disappoint others. The volumes were hurriedly pushed through the press ; he did 
not stay to clothe naked facts, or to describe the person of whom he undertook to say 
something. I have been surprised to note how rarely I have been indebted to him 
for a suggestion, or an idea, in recalling my own " Memories." 

I met him at dinner, when he was in his eighty-fifth year. It was at the society 
of " Noviomagus," a social society founded by Crofton Croker and some other anti- 
quaries, some fifty years ago, consisting exclusively of Fellows of the Society of 
Antiquaries, and which has numbered among its members, and especially its guests, 
many distinguished and remarkable men. Jerdan was singularly full of life and 
vigour, said many witty things, conversed with great animation of his long-past, and 
delivered a speech, pointed, epigrammatic, nay, even eloquent. It would have been 
a matter to remember if it had occurred even in his best days. Yet he was 
then, as he has long been, as Hawthorne has described him, "time-worn, but not 

I would gladly say more than I have felt justified in saying of William Jerdan. 
Many liked and regarded, without respecting him ; no doubt he was of heedless 
habits ; no doubt he cared little for the cost of self-gratification ; no doubt he was far 
too little guided, all his life long, by high and upright principle ; but I, for one, will 
not decline to accept the "apology" thus offered in his "Autobiography" — a hope 
"that some fond and faithful regret might embalm the memory of the sleeper, who 
can never wake more to participate in a sorrow and bestow a solace, listen to distress 
and bring it relief, serve a friend and forgive a foe, perform his duties as perfectly as 
his human frailty allowed, never wilfully do injury to man, woman, or child, and love 
his neighbours — of one sex as himself, and of the other better." 

I quote with less satisfaction another passage in which Jerdan said of himself — 
" I have drained the Circe-cup to the lees ; but I still gratefully acknowledge the 
enchanting draught of its exquisite and transporting sweetness, in spite of the empti- 
ness of its froth and the bitterness of its dregs." Far better for him would it have 
been if he had more often put away from his lips the Circe- cup, and given heed to 
the warning that its pernicious effects may poison mind, heart, and soul. 

" He was nobody's enemy but his own" — a saying common enough, but one more 
utterly fallacious or more calculated to work evil could not be quoted. The man who 
is his own enemy is the enemy of all mankind, not only in the wrongs he actually 
induces, but in the example he gives — in the lessons he is perpetually teaching to 
those who are either wicked or weak imitators. 

His first appearance in print was in 1804-5 ; his latest articles were given to the 
printer in 1869. He died in harness — it may almost be said with the pen in his 
hand ; for although aided in his later days by the Crown pension of £100 a year, his 
necessities compelled him to work for bread. He had many attached friends with 
ready help when want came too near him. The most assiduous was the sculptor 
Joseph Durham, who stood by him to the last, and saw him placed in his grave. The 
most generous and helpful was Sir Frederick Pollock, the companion of his boyhood 
and his friend always. That most learned, most good, and most admirable man, who 

went to his rest on the very day when I wrote this Memory, "full of years and 
honours " indeed — might have been an example (which he was not) as well as a 
friend (which he was) to William Jerdan. Estimable in all the relations of life, he 
adorned and honoured the elevated position to which he raised himself, not less by 
integrity than by genius, and added one more to the long list of great lawyers who 
have been good men. He left several sons ; one of them holds the highest rank as 
a physician, and another on the Bench. 

It is strong testimony to the merit of William Jerdan, that for more than sixty 
years he kept the friendship of Frederick Pollock. 


Cockermouth, in Cumberiand, on the 7th of April, 1770, the 

?reat poet, William Wordsworth, was born. The house in 

which he first saw the light that cheered and gladdened him 

for more than eighty years, and from which came the light 

that will cheer and gladden hundreds of millions as long as 

man endures — the house is still standing, and I have pictured 

it. It is a gentleman's residence now, as it was then ; for 

he was of a good family, was educated at Hawkshead School, 

and graduated at St. John's, Cambridge, in 1787. 

His is not a " full" life in the ordinary sense of the term ; and it may 

be told in a few sentences. He has said that " a poet's life is written in his 

works : " of himself it is especially true.* 

He was never "at home" at the University; and he has left few 
Y records of his residence there. 

" He was not for that hour nor for that place." Feeling 

" How gracious, how benign, is solitude," 

* He did, however, write — or rather, he dictated— a brief biography, which his nephew, Dr Christopher Words- 
worlh, now Bishop of Lincoln, has published in his comprehensive, yet succinct, reverential, alfectionate, and by 
no means over-enlarged. Memoirs of the poet. " The Prelude " also — a poem published after his death, but 
commenced at a vei-y early period — "is designed to exhibit the growth of his mind from infancy to the year 1799, 
when he, so to speak, entered upon his mission and ministry, and deliberately resolved to devote his time and 
faculties to the art and office of a poet." But, in fact, there is hardly one of his poems that does not give us some 
insight into his thoughts, feelings, hopes, and aspirations— " the inner man." 





he ever yearned for his native vales. Visiting them in 1788, his heart was won to his 
first love, and with few brief intervals they became his " home " till death : — 

" When te the attractions of this busy world. 
Preferring studious lessons, I had chosen 
A habitation in this i)eaceful vale." 

" The child is father of the man." From the " dawn of childhood " he had been 
sanctified by " sweet discipline : " — 

" Not with the mean and vulgar works of man, 
But with high objects and enduriag things 
With life and nature." 

Before he found his "loophole of retreat," he had other " discipline," painfnl and 
humiliating, but which, happily, left no evil influence on his heart and mind. While 
little more than a youth, he was tainted by that which tainted also Southey and 
Coleridge ; he avowed himself a repubHcan, an enemy to hereditary monarchy and 
hereditary peerage. On his return from a residence in France he writes, — 

" I brought with me the faith 
That if France prospered, good men would not long 
Pay fruitless worship to Humanity." 

He was soon taught, however, by a merciful Providence, that a house " mortared 
with blood " must inevitably fall ; he had seen the wicked Republic only begin her 
" maniac dance," while the " sleeping snakes were covered with flowers ; " when "the 
atheist crew " were preparing their foul orgies, with smiles and greetings in the holy 
name of Liberty : — 

" When blasts 
From hell came sanctified hie airs from heaven ;" 

and he mournfully, and in a deeply repentant spirit, writes, that when thanksgivings 
for victories gained by the arms of England were ofi"ered up in her churches, 

" I only, like an uninvited guest 
Whom no one owned, sate silent." 

Yet it was he who, in after life, so heroically addressed the 

" Vanguard of Liberty — ye men of Kent ! " 

when threats of invasion came across the narrow strait that divides England from 
France ; and who, in 1803, exclaimed with all his heart and soul — 

" Shout! for a mighty victory is won." * 

He was not, indeed, as Southey was, branded as " a renegade," for the even tenor 
of his way was such as to create no personal or political enemies ; but, happily for 

* " It may, perhaps, be interesting to you to be informed that the very evening before I received your last 
letter, Mr. Coleridge and I had a long conversation upon what you, with great propriety, call Jacobiaieal pathos, 
and I can assure you he deeply regretted that he had ever written a single word of that character, or given, directly 
or indirectly, any encouragement whatever to such writings, which he condemned as arguing both want of genius 
and of knowledge. He pointed out as worthy of the severest reprehension the conduct of those writers who seem 
to estimate their power of exciting sorrow for suffering humanity by the quantity of hatred and revenge which they 
are able to pour into the hearts of their readers. Pity, we argued, is a sacred thing that cannot and will not be 
profaned. Mr. C. is as deeply convinced as myself that the human heart can never be moved to any salutary 
purposes in this way, and that they who attempt to give it such movements ai-e poisoners of its best feelings. They 
are bad poets and misguided men." (From a letter— inedited— from Wordsworth to John Taylor, dated Grasmere, 
April 9th, 1801, in the collection of the late John Dillon, which that gentleman kindly permitted me to extract.) 


himself and for mankind, tlie Laureate Wordsworth was as thorough an " apostate " 
from the devilish faith of his youthood as was the Laureate Southey. 

There is not much to tell of the earlier years of the poet ; he was drinking his fill 
from the pure fountain of Nature ; grounding himself to become her great High Priest ; 
learning from the Book that cannot be closed to the student ; preparing to spread for 
Humanity a feast that never satiates, and to make millions after millions his debtors 
for delights enjoyed, instruction received, and benefits incalculable conferred on the 
whole human family. 

Just at the most critical period of his life, when his prospects were so little cheer- 
ing that, it is said, he was seeking employment in connection with the London press, 
a friend died, and left him a considerable sum of money. That " event" — for such 

it was no doubt determined the after career of the poet ; it gave him vigour for the 

race that was set before him, armed him for the fight of life, enabled him to array 

" His temples with the Muse's diadem." 

" That friend bore the name of Calvert" — Kaisley Calvert — and no Memory of 
the poet can be without an expression of gratitude to him : — 

" He cleared a passage for me, and the stream 
Flowed in the bent of Nature." 

Other aids came from other friends. Good Sir George Beaumont, who some 
years before had warned the painter Haydon against " the terrific democratic notions 
of William Wordsworth," bequeathed to him an annuity ; he was appointed to the 
office of " Stamp Distributor" for his native county; was placed on the " Pension - 
list," the record of England's meagre boons to her worthies ; ultimately he became 
Poet Laureate, and throughout his long life was, in a word, independent. 

" Blessed be the God 
Of Nature and of man that this was so." 

u 2 




He never felt, as so many poets have felt, 

" The influence of malignant star ;" 

never toiled for the bread that is often bitter to the high of soul ; it was not his 
destiny to 

" Learn in suffering what he taught in song." 

In 1799 Wordsworth first found a home at Town-end, Grasmere — a comparatively 
humble cottage. In 1802 he was married to Mary Hutchinson ; they had known 
each other from childhood, and had been playfellows in youth. In 1808 they 
removed to Allan Bank, near at hand, and in 1813 to Rydal Mount, a house that any 
pilgrim to English shrines may yet visit — a house that, if it perish, can never be for- 


gotten. There, for thirty-seven years, they lived ; and there, on the 23rd of April, 
1850, his spirit was called from earth. 

There was another light in his home beside that which was sent to be the darling 
of his heart ; a " phantom of delight," his " second-self : " — 

"A creature, not too bright or good, 
For human nature's daily food ; " 

his companion, his friend, his adviser, his encourager, his comforter, his trust, his 
hope, and his wife.*' They had five children, two of whom, Thomas and Catherine, 

* Of the wife of Wordsworth, De Quincey thus writes :— " She furnished a remarkable proof how possible it is 
for a woman neither handsome nor even comely, according to the rigour of criticism, to exercise all the practical 
fascination of beauty, through the mere compensating charms of sweetness all but 'angelic,' of simplicity the most 
entire womanly self-respect and purity of heart, speaking through all her looks, words, and movements." 



died young ; " sweet Dora " became the wife of Mr. Quillinan ; and of his surviving 
sons, William, the second, became Distributor of Stamps, residing at Carlisle ; the 
eldest, John, the Eeetor of Plumbland and Vicar of Brigham, Cumberland. 

Quillinan was under sixty when he died — in 1851. His first wife was a daughter 
of Sir Egerton Bridges. He was Irish by birth and descent, and was bred a Koman 
Catholic ; but the shackles of his church hung loosely about him, and he was a 
Liberal, at least in creed. He was esteemed by all who knew him, and dearly loved 
in the family of the poet. His own poems were of a high, if not of the highest order ; 


and he would, no doubt, have taken rank in the world of letters, if circumstances had 
made his position depend on his writings. 

The " other light" was his sister Dorothy,—" Dorothea, given of God." Matronly 
duties never called her from his side ; from his earliest boyhood, from the time when 
his mother's prophecy was uttered, " William will be remarkable either for good or 
for evil," she had been ever near him : — 

" The blessing of my later years 
Was with me when I was a boy." 

To the poet, who loved her with devout affection, she was a perpetual blessing ; 
it was she who, in his early days of peril, 

" Maintained for me a saving interooui'Se 
With my tme self." 

To her lie owed much, and to her, therefore, mankind owes much. " She gave me," 
writes the poet, — 

" She gave me eyes, she gave me ears, 
And humble cares, and delicate fears, 
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears. 
And love, and thought, and joy." 

She did more than that : she dispelled foreboding shadows ; " softened down an 
over- sternness ;" planted the rock with flowers ; and the heart that might have been 
biassed to evil — indeed, at one time the peril was great — she led, God-guided, into 
the pleasant paths of Peace, and Love, and Hope, and Joy. We have not only the 
poet's tribute to this guardian and ministering angel ; De Quincey, who knew her 
well, and it is said worshipped her as " a star apart," testifies to her quick and ready 
sympathy with every living thing. And when Wordsworth brought his wife to be 
the house-mate of his sister, she became the true friend of the one as she was the 
true friend of the other. 

There are few of what are termed " leading incidents " in the poet's after life. 
In 1842 he resigned his office of Stamp Distributor in favour of his son WiUiam, and 
received from Sir Robert Peel one of the Crown pensions, d£300 a year — " part of the 
limited fund which Parliament has placed at the disposal of the Crown, on the con- 
dition that it shall be applied to the reward and encouragement of public service, or of 
eminent literary and scientific merit," 

On the death of Southey, in 1843, he was appointed Poet Laureate. The office 
was at first declined, but Sir Eobert Peel pressed its acceptance, writing him that 
" the offer was made, not as imposing any onerous or disagreeable duty, but as a 
tribute of respect which is justly due to the first of living poets," And Wordsworth's 
reply was — •" The being deemed worthy to succeed my lamented and valued friend, 
Southey, enhances the pleasure I receive."*' In 1845 he visited London to "kiss 
hands," and it must have been a touching sight when the venerable white-haired man 
bent his knee to the young Queen, then barely commencing a reign which has been 
so fruitful of blessings over a realm on which " the sun never sets." 

Soon after his eightieth birthday his warning came. 

When his mind was losing consciousness, his venerable wife said to him, 
" William, you are going to Dora "^ — his beloved daughter. The words were at the 
time unheeded, but next day, when some one drew aside the curtain, he murmured, 
" Is that Dora ? " And who will venture to say it was not Dora, " sent of God " to 
companion him from earth to heaven, who stood, in the spirit, at that moment by the 
side of him to whom Death was giving Freedom and Life ? 

" Hast thou been told that from the viewless bourne, 
The dark way never hath allowed return 1 
That all. which tears can move, -with life is fled, 
That earthly love is powerless on the dead 2 
Believe it not!" t 

* Wordsworth, in a letter to James Montgomery, says, " It has afforded me a melancholy pleasure to be thought 
worthy of succeeding my reverend friend." 

t " I never fear to avow my belief that warnings from the other world are sometimes communicated to us in 
this : and that, absurd as the stories of apparitions generally are, they are not always false, but that the spirits of 
the dead have sometimes been permitted to appear. I believe this, because I cannot refuse my assent to the 
evidence which exists of such things, and to the universal consent of all men who have not learnt to think otherwise. 


He died on the 23rd of April, 1850, passing away almost insensibly while the 
cuckoo clock was striking the hour of twelve at noon. 

Thirty years before, the poet had received high promptings from that familiar 
sound — the cuckoo clock ; and such thoughts as he breathed then — so long ago — may 
have solaced the last moments of his earthly life : — 

" Well may our hearts have faith that blessings come 
Streaming from founts ahove the starry sky, 
With ang-els when their own untroubled home 
They leave, and speed on nightly embassy 
To visit earthly chambers— and for whom ? 
Yea, both for souls who God's forbearance try, 
And those who seek His help and for His mercy sigh." 

" So lived he till his eightieth year was past ;" in venerable age, as in energetic 
youth, labouring to give "delights" that will be healthy stimulants* for ever and ever. 

Such is an outline — and it may suffice — of the long, yet comparatively undisturbed, 
even, and uneventful life of the poet, William Wordsworth. 

His person and his character have both been abundantly portrayed by his con- 
temporaries. In middle life Hazlitt thus pictured him : "He reminds one of some 
of Holbein's heads, grave, saturnine, with a slight indication of sly humour." At a period 
somewhat later, Wilson, in the " Noctes," says, " The eyes were dim and thoughtful, 
and a certain sweetness of smile occasionally lighted up the strong lines of his counte- 
nance with an expression of courteousness and philanthropy." Lockhart, in " Peter's 
Letters," notes " his large, dim, pensive eye," his " smile of placid abstraction," and 
" his long, tremulous, melancholy lips." And thus De Quincey writes : " Many such 
heads, and finer, have I seen among the portraits of Titian, and in a later period 
among those of Vandyke, but none that has more impressed me in my time." " It 
was a face of the long order." " His eyes small, rather than large ; not under any 
circumstances bright, lustrous, or piercing," yet often " solemn and spiritual;" send- 
ing forth " a light that seemed to come from unfathomed depths ;" " the nose a little 
large and arched." He was tall — five feet eleven inches — but seemed taller when he 
stood or sat, although " in walking he had a slouched or sliding gait that took from 
his height." Thus Leigh Hunt pictures him: " I never beheld eyes that looked so 
inspired or supernatural. They were like fires half burning, half smouldering, with 
a sort of acrid fixture of regard, and seated at the further end of two caverns. One 
might imagine Ezekiel or Isaiah to have had such eyes." He adds, " He had a 
dignified manner, with a deep and roguish, hut not unpleasing voice, and an exalted 
mode of speaking." In later life one of his acquaintances writes of " his venerable head ; 
his simple, natural, and graceful attitude in his own chair ; his respectful attention 
to the slightest remarks or suggestions of others in relation to what was spoken of ; 
his kindly benevolence of expression as he looked round now and then on the circle." 
His nephew. Bishop Wordsworth, writes of " the broad, full forehead, the silver 

Perhaps you will not despise this as a mere superstition, when I say that Kant, the profoundest thmker of modern 
ages, came, by the severest reasoning, to the same conclusion. But if these things are, then there is a state 
death : and it there be a state after death, it is reasonable to suppose that such things should be. -BoUH Southey 

" Wordsworth, writing of himself in 1845, when his poems were to him as so many memories, speaks ot 
" the spirituaUty with which I have endeavoured to invest the material universe, and the moral relations under 
which 1 have wished to exhibit its most ordinary appearances." 


hair, tlie deep and varied intonations of the voice." An American writer describes 
his eyes in his eightieth year as giving to his countenance its high intellectual expres- 

Such, according to these authorities, was the " outer man," Wordsworth. Having 
quoted them, I scruple to give my own portrait ; yet I must do so, as I drew it in 
1832, during one of his brief visits to London, 

His features were large, and not suddenly expressive ; they conveyed little idea 
of the " poetic fire " usually associated with brilliant imagination. His eyes were mild 
and up-looking, his mouth coarse rather than refined, his forehead high rather than 
broad ; but every action seemed considerate, and every look self-possessed, while his 
voice, low in tone, had that persuasive eloquence which invariably "moves men." 

Perhaps it was impossible to find two men whose " faces " more thoroughly 
difi'ered than did those of Southey and Wordsworth. 

Wanderers in Westmoreland will see the same type in every third peasant they 
meet : a face long and narrow, a forehead high, a long and rather aquiline nose, 
with eyes meek and gentle, expressing little strength, and nothing of strong passion. 

There are many portraits of him. He " believed he had sat twenty times." That 
which I prefer, excepting, perhaps, the bust by Thrupp, which brings him more 
thoroughly before me, is by Pickersgill, painted for St. John's College, Cambridge, 
and which Wordsworth himself greets in some lines : — 

" Go faithful portrait," &c. 

It is the portrait J. have engraved at the head of this Memory, and which I also 
engraved (full length) in the " Book of Gems ;" it was painted sitting under a rock 
at the side of a mountain.! That by the American artist, Inman, seems to have been 
the one he and his family liked best. It was that, or rather a copy of it, which hung 
in his own dining-room. Wordsworth writes about " an engraving, from a picture 
by Mr. Hay don, of me in the act of climbing Helvellyn." I have never seen it. 
Southey says that Hazlitt painted a portrait of Wordsworth so " dismally," that on 
seeing it, one of his friends exclaimed — "At the gallows, deeply afi"ected by his 
deserved fate, yet determined to die like a man." 

To " the inner man " — Wordsworth — there are abundant testimonies. Coleridge, 
when he first knew Wordsworth in early youth, at Allfoxden, says, " Whose society 
I found an invaluable blessing, and to whom I looked up with equal reverence as a 
poet, a philosopher, and a man ;" and he writes to Cottle, about the same period, "He is 
one whom, God knows, I love and honour as far beyond myself as both morally and 
intellectually he is above me." Thus Lockhart — " Peter's Letters " — " His poetry 
is the poetry of external nature and profound feeling, and such is the hold which 
these high themes have taken of his intellect, that he seldom dreams of descending to 

* Another American, Emerson, in 1833, styles him "a plain, elderly, white-haired man, not preposessing, and 
disfigured by green goggles." Emerson saw him again in 1846, and says, " He had a healthy look, with a weather- 
beaten face, his face corrugated, especially the large nose." But it is clear that Wordsworth excited no reverence 
in the mind of Emerson ; if that clear-sighted and cold-reasoning man had hero-worship, it was not for the poet. 

+ Of Pickersgill's portrait of Wordsworth, Crabb Robinson wi'ites, " It is in every respect a fine picture, except 
that the artist has made the disease in Wordsworth's eyes too apparent." I confess that did not strike me ; neither 
can I say what Crabb Robinson means. 


the tone in which the ordinary conversation of men is pitched." Haydon thus speaks 
of Wordsworth : " With his usual cheerfulness, he delighted us by his bursts of 
inspiration;" and adds, " His purity of heart, his kindness, his soundness of prin- 
ciple, his information, his knowledge, and the intense and eager feeling with which 
he pours forth all he knows, interest and enchant me;" and again, " He follows 
Nature like an apostle, sharing her solemn moods and impressions." This is the 
testimony of his old and familiar friend, Southey : " The strength and the character 
of his mind you see in ' The Excursion ' " — " The Prelude " then existed only in MS. 
■ — " and his life does not belie his writings, for in every relation of it, and in every 
point of view, he is a truly exemplary and admirable man." 

Bishop Wordsworth wrote these lines in a volume of his uncle's poems : — 
" In diction, in nature, in grace, in variety, in purity, in philosophy, in morals, 
in piety, does he not surpass all our writers ? " 

This is Mrs. Hemans' compliment to Wordsworth : — 

" True bard, and holy ! thou art even as one 
Who by some secret gift of soul or eye, 
In every spot beneath the smiling sun, 
Sees where the springs of living waters lie." 

She also describes him in prose : — " There is an almost patriarchal simplicity about 
him — an absence of all pretension ; all is free, unstudied, — 

' The river winding at its own sweet wiU,' 

in his manner and conversation. There is more of impulse about him than I had 
expected, but in other respects I see much that I should have looked for in the poet 
of meditative life ; frequently his head droops, his eyes half close, and he seems 

buried in quiet depths of thought His reading is very peculiar ; but to my 

ear, delightful, slow, solemn, earnest in expression, more than any I have ever heard. 
When he reads or recites in the open air, his deep, rich tones seem to proceed from 
a spirit-voice, and belong to the religion of the place — they harmonise so fitly with 
the thrilling tones of woods and waterfalls." And again she says, " His voice has 
something quite breeze-like in the soft gradation of its swells and falls." " His manners 
are distinguished by that frank simplicity which I believe to be ever the characteristic 
of real genius ; his conversation is perfectly free and unaffected, yet remarkable for 
power of expression and vivid imagery." She speaks also of his gentle and affectionate 
playfulness in his intercourse with all the members of his family. " There is a daily 
beauty in his life, which is in such lovely harmony with his poetry, that I am thankful 
to have witnessed and felt it." 

" True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home." 

Sir John McNeill, proposing the health of Wordsworth at the Burns Festival, 
thus spoke of him : " Dwelling in his high and lofty philosophy, he finds nothing 
that G-od has made common or unclean ; he finds nothing in human society too 
humble, nothing in external nature too lowly, to be made the fit exponent of the 

bounty and goodness of the Most Higli." I copy these lines from a poem by Laman 
Blanchard : — 

" Wio looked on common life, with all its care, 
And found a beauty and a blessing there ; 
Who steered his com'se by Nature's sacred chart, 
And shed a halo round the human heart." 

And Talfourd, in the course of a speech in the House of Commons in 1837, thus 
spoke of him : " He has supplied the noblest antidote to the freezing effects of the 
scientific spirit of the age, and while he has done justice to the poetry of greatness, 
has cast a glory round the lowest conditions of humanity, and traced out the subtle 
links by which they are connected with the highest. His habits were almost those 


of an anchorite ; he had no artificial wants ; his luxuries were those which abundant 
Nature supplied — 

' Eich in the wealth 
Which is collected among woods and fields.' " 

It may be that his intense love of nature induced forgetfulness of that eternal 
truth — 

" The proper study of mankind is man ; " * 

* Yet Mrs. Hemans tells us that when " pestered with albums " he found it convenient to administer the same 
line to all patients :— 

" The proper study of mankind is man." 

He did not so summarily dismiss Mrs. Hall's Album, writing there the lines beginning— 

" She dwelt among the untrodden ways, 
Beside the springs of Dove ;" 

writing them, I am proud to say, when seated at her own library table. 


for he mixed but little with society, and his happiest hours were those he passed " at 
home," in the bosom of a family by whom he was reverenced as well as loved, and 
among a few chosen friends by whom he was almost adored. 

I may, perhaps, venture to give my own appreciation of his character as I wrote 
it (" Book of Gems ") in 1837. I know it gave the poet pleasure.* 

" The style of Wordsworth is essentially vernacular, at once vigorous and simple. 
He is ever true to nature, and therefore, if we except Shakspeare, no writer is so 
often quoted ; passages from his poems have become familiar as household words, 
and are perpetually called into use to give strong and apt expression to the thoughts 
and feelings of others. This is, perhaps, the highest compliment a poet can receive ; 
it has been liberally paid to him even by those who knew little of the rich mine of 
which they are but specimens. With him the commonest objects — 

' Bare trees, and mountains bare, 
The grass, and the green fields ' — 

are things sacred : he has an alchemy of his own, by which he draws from them ' a 
kind of quintessence,' and rejecting the ' gross matter,' exhibits to us the present 
ore. He sees nothing loftier than human hopes — nothing deeper than the human 
heart ; and while he worships nature, he so paints her aspect to others that he may 
succeed in ' linking to her fair works the human soul.' His poems are full of beauties 
peculiarly their own, of original thoughts, of fine sympathies, and of grave yet cheer- 
ful wisdom." 

My readers will not consider out of place some touching and eloquent lines^ 
written on visiting the scenes of the poet's triumphs, by the late John Dillon, Esq., 
a gentleman who, in the active discharge of duties connected with commercial life, 
had leisure to cultivate and cherish the arts that refine and elevate, and did not find 
the labours incident to trade antagonistic to the enjoyments derivable from inter- 
course with the Muses. 

" I understand him better, that I've seen 
His mountains and his valleys, and those lakes, 
The near lake and the distant ; sate me down 
In his own garden, where he thought and felt ; 
For thought to him was feeling ; seen his house. 
Tasted the freshness of the au- he breathed, 
And knew the world he lived in, sung, and loved ; 
Beheld that purple mountain, those green hills. 

Nature to him was faith, and earth a heaven. 
Man was to him a shepherd on the fells, 
And human life the grey and winding path 
That wanders up the mountains, and then fades 
In mist and distance 

His mind was as that flying cloud of light 
Which rushes o'er the mountains and the plains, 
Then mingles in the waters like a dream. 
The earth and skies, the sunshine and the storm, 
The mighty mountain and the gurgling stream, 
Pell on his vision, till his sense became 
All eyesight 

* In a letter to me (dated December 23, 1837) he writes, in reference to my memoir of him, " Absurdly unreason- 
able would it be in me if I were not satisfied with your notice of my writings and character. AU I can further say 
is, that I have wished both to be what you indulgently say they are." 



A mind like his 
Sees in the merest nook where verdure dwells 
The smallest ilower that springs there, and the dew, 
The single dewdrop that weighs down its lids, 
Eioh specimens of nature, to be kept 
And hoarded 'raid the treasures of his thoughts 
Even as a wonder, and a proof of God." 

The poet's *' ways " were, of course, familiar in the neighbourhood where he had 
lived so long. A good walker, he was acquainted with every spot within twenty 
miles of him,* and he was often found a stroller at night. The people used to hear 
him " maundering" about the roads,, talking to himself — composing, of course ; but 
much of his poetry was produced while moving up and down " the Poet's Walk" — 
the walk that led from his hall-door to the end of the plantation. 

Neighbours, when they saw him pacing the floor of his " study," which was ever 
out of doors, used to say, as they listened to his solemn voice, " Ah ! there he is — 
maundering about again !" Ay, he was drinking deep draughts from that eternal 
fountain that furnished living water to mankind. His mind was ranging over the 
whole domain of nature, while on-lookers thought him an idler on the waste of life ; 
intensely enjoying all that met his eye or ear, and revelling in sights and sounds to 
which many of those about him were blind and deaf.f 

It is notorious that the poet lived to be an old man before the world had learned 
to appreciate his genius. Yet so early as 1804 this is the opinion of Southey, the 
soundest and safest, while the most generous, of critics : — " He will rank among the 
very first poets, and probably possesses a mass of merits superior to all, except only 
Shakspeare." Again he writes, in reference to Wordsworth's "Lyrical Ballads," 
" I do not hesitate to say that in the whole compass of poetry, ancient or modern, 
there is no collection of miscellaneous poems comparable to them, nor any work 
whatever which discovers greater strength of mind, or higher poetical genius." And 
apain, " It is by the side of Milton that Wordsworth will have his station awarded 
by posterity." \ 

But Southey was one of the very " few ;" Charles Lamb did, indeed, greet him 
with the 

" AU hail hereafter ! " 

and De Quincey, when a youth, worshipped at his shrine. Yet, although from the 

* " I calculate," writes De Guincey, " that Wordsworth must have travelled 180,000 miles on his legs ; a mode 
of exertion which, to him, stood in the stead of alcohol and all other stimulants whatsoever to the animal spirits." 

i- Yet in Wordsworth nature was, at one opening, quite shut out. Southey tells us that " Wordsworth has 
no sense of smell. Once, and once only, in his lite, the dormant power awakened. It was by a bed of stocks in full 
bloom • and he says it was like a vision of paradise to him ; but it lasted only a few minutes, and the faculty has 
since continued torpid." Mr. Charles Kent, one of the later friends of Leigh Hunt, tells us he had a similar defect, 
the ioy that is given by sweet scents having been denied to him. 

% Southey was, however, as fxilly aware as any critic that the friend he loved was not without " fault." In a 
letter from Southey to Miss Seward (dated December 10, 1807), lent to me by Mr. DiUon, I found the following 
remarks on Wordsworth : — " You speak of Wordsworth's poems as I should expect, faii-ly appreciating their defects 
and excellencies. William Wordsworth is a most extraordinary man, one whose powers as a poet it is not possible 
to overrate and who will stand in the first rank of poets. It is the vice of his intellect to be always upon the 
stretch and'strain— to look at pileworts and daffodowndUlies through the same telescope which he applies to the 
moon and stars, and to find subjects for philosophising and fine feeling, just as Don Quixote did for chivalry, in 
every peasant and vagabond he meets. Had I been his adviser, part of his last volume would have been suppressed. 
The storm of ridicule which it would draw down might have been foreseen ; and he is foolishly, and even diseasedly, 
fensitive to the censure which he despises, like one who is flea-bitten into a fever. But what must that blindness 
of the heart be which is dead to the noble poetry contained in these volumes ?" 


beginning he " fit audience found," '^^ and was ever emphatically " a poet for poets," 
Fame was slow with acknowledgment, and tardy with reward ; and he was aged 
before his recognition as a poet for universal man. For many years, with a con- 
sciousness of power not to be suppressed, he lived with a knowledge that he was 
" scorned." The word is not too strong to express the general sentiment with 
which he was regarded. All the critics were " down upon him." The " oracles " 
were not merely dumb: they jeered, they pitied, and thought they paid him but 
fairly, and dealt with him only leniently, when they gave him contempt for the 
" puerilities" and " absurdities" that most of them lived to see immortalities. t 

No wonder that intercourse with humanity became distasteful to him ; that he 
sought, instead, converse with nature — the vales, and skies, and — " common things ! " 

Not only were the critics his foes ; even loving friends often shook their heads, 
and smiled at the poet's simplicity in fancying the world could ever accept verses 
such as his. One of them ventured to intimate that among the lyrics there was a 
piece that at all events ought to be cancelled, as the printing of it would make the 
writer " everlastingly ridiculous." It was the poem " We are Seven," which is now 
placed among the most touching and delicious poems in the language of our land. 

The " Lyrical Ballads," published originally in 1798, was an edition of five 
hundred copies. " The sale was so slow," arising from " the severity of reviewers," 
that its progress to oblivion seemed certain. When the pubHsher, Cottle, sold his 
copyrights to Longman, that copyright was valued at nil, and was given back to 
Cottle for nothing, as of no worth, who gave it to the author on the same terms. 
'' This will never do," wrote Jeffrey, idth admuahle jyi'escience, when reviewing " The 
Excursion;" and in reference to the critic's opinion of the poet, Lamb writes to 
Southey, " Jeff"rey is resolved to crush it." "He crush 'The Excursion!'" 
exclaimed the Laureate ; " tell him he can as easily crush Skiddaw ! " That most 
wonderfully sweet and powerful poem (there are tens of thousands who consider it 
fulfils the prophecy of Southey, and gives him rank with Milton), the result of many 
years of labour, thought, reflection, knowledge, observation, study, not from books 
— for, like his own " Wanderer," 

" He had small need of books " — 

was pooh-poohed away among " rubbish." Even Giffard, although he yielded to 
Southey 's wish, and let Lamb review it in the Quarterly, clipped the friendly critic's 
wings, erasing so many laudatory passages, that the very soul of " gentle-hearted 
Charles " was wrung with anguish. 

He was, in the estimation, or at least according to the description, of those whose 
business was to lead and guide public opinion, neither more nor less than " one of 
the school of whining and hypochondriacal poets that haunt the Lakes." 

* In a letter to Moxon, in 1833, he states that not a single copy of his poems had been sold by one of the 
leading booksellers in Cumberland, " though Cumberland is my native county." 

t Among the " few" was Professor Wilson, a mere youth and " stranger " to the poet. In a letter, warm to 
enthusiasm, he lauds the "Lyn'cal Ballads." "He valued them next to his Bible," aad felt for their author "an 
attachment made up of love and admiration." The letter was not signed by the writer's name, but Wordsworth 
answered it. It cheered the great poet by its evidence that there were some to appreciate his genius. He had given 
to the writer " no cheap nor vulgar pleasure," for it was plain that his poems had been thought over and studied, 
and that his correspondent was no common youth. 


Such were his reviewers — as Coleridge writes, 

" Disinterested thieves of our good name, 
Cool, sober murderers of their neighbour's fame." 

It would have been opposed to nature had the self-conscious poet in no way 
murmured against this dispensation of the critics, representing the public. He did 
murmur, no doubt, and very frequently complained, — even so late as 1831, when I 
knew him, — at the miserable recompense that rewarded his many years of labour ; 
but, at the period to which I refer, indifference was gradually giving way, the fruit 
was ripening to reward toil, and the " hereafter " that was to bring the " All hail ! " 
was gradually looming into sight. 

When " The Excursion " was " crushed," Wordsworth wrote to Southey : — " Let 
the age continue to love its own darkness ; I shall continue to write, with, I trust, 
the light of Heaven upon me." 

Critics will do well to bear perpetually in mind that a not far-off thereafter may 
reverse a sentence that will, at the moment, be accepted as just. A hundred modern 
instances may be quoted : that so generally pronounced against Wordsworth will, 
perhaps, suffice. I cannot say if Jeffrey repented him of the evil ; probably at the 
last, as at the first, he was unable to comprehend the great High Priest of Nature — 
the poet who, next to that of Shakspeare, has his name written in the book of British 
Worthies, He did not " crush " " The Excursion," neither did he extinguish the 
poet ; but no doubt he so thoroughly " stifled" his aspirations as to extort a brief 
resolve to write on, but to print no more — to leave the benefits of publication to his 
heirs and assigns. Is it 

" No public harm that Genius from her course 
Be turned, and dreams of truth dried up, even at their source ?" 

Yes, the history of authors is full of " calamities " of that kind. Unhappily, there 
is ever a strong temptation to unsympathising and ungenerous and harsh criticism. 
Though it may be rare — perhaps it has never happened — that an author has died 
of a review, at least it is certain that the " this will never do " of the critic has 
depressed and saddened, nay, blighted a whole life, and deprived generations of the 
fruits of labours that might have been productive of much good. I speak from my 
own knowledge when I say tbis ; and I could, if I pleased, describe a score of such 
cases that are within my own experience. If critics could witness the agonies that 
harsh judgment has brought to a working home, when hands have been shackled 
and brain has been paralysed by heedless injustice, or even by justice ministered not 
with reluctance, but with relish, there would be less of misery among those whose 
" sensitiveness " is proverbial — authors and artists. 

In estimating the full effect of unjust or severe personal criticism, we must not 
confine our thoughts to the author attacked. Often it affects literature. Some 
scholars in easy circumstances have ceased to write rather than be the butt of 
ignorant critics. Such was the case with Francis Douce, whose illustrations of 
Shakspeare are a text-book for students. He was so bitterly assailed that he deter- 
mined never again to publish. He gave his Manuscripts to the British Museum, 
locked in iron-bound boxes, with a legal proviso that they should not be opened until 


a century after his death. His valuable and curious library he left to the Bodleian 
at Oxford. 

No book is better known and appreciated than Percy's " Eeliques of Ancient 
Poetry." It had, too, a salutary effect on popular literature, by substituting simple 
nature in ballad poetry for foolish conventionalism. Yet the bishop was so bitterly 
attacked, particularly by Ritson, that it embittered his life. He never ceased lamenting 
that he had published the book, and in his later days could not bear to hear it 

It would be easy to multiply examples. 

And it may be strictly true that in this way critics have slain authors ; that 
some who might otherwise have lived to be famous have died of a review. 

Even so it was with great Wordsworth : very nearly he had resolved to write, or 
at all events to print, no more. But, as I have said, he lived to see his faith in 
himself gradually but surely becoming the faith of all mankind. 

One morning in 1831, when Mr. Wordsworth honoured me with his company at 
breakfast, our talk fell on his "lack of popularity." I, who was among the most 
devout of his worshippers, sought to argue him out of so depressing a belief, and I 
showed how I had become so familiar with his writings by placing before him a copy of 
Galignani's edition of his works, collected in a form, and at a price, that brought 
the whole of them within my reach. I expressed a belief that of that book many 
hundreds, probably thousands, were annually sold in England. That led to an 
appointment with a view to inquiry, and next day I accompanied him to a book- 
seller's in Piccadilly^a firm with the encouraging and ominous name of " Sustenance 
and Stretch." The sale of the work, as of all English reprints, was strictly "pro- 
hibited." I asked for a copy of Galignani's edition : it was produced. I asked if I 
could have six copies, and was told I could ; fifty copies ? yes, at a month's notice ; 
and further questions induced conviction that by that one house alone between two 
hundred and three hundred copies have been sold during the year. I believe Words- 
worth was far more pleased than vexed to know that although he derived no profit 
from them, at least his poems were read."* 

In 1864 I made a pilgrimage to the home and grave of Wordsworth, — the haunts 
he loved, and the places he has made familiar as household words to millions hving 
and for millions yet to come. I will ask the reader of this Memory to visit them 
with me — 

" In that sweet mood, when pleasant thoughts 
Bring sad thoughts to the mind." 

* In a letter addressed to me by Leigh Hunt, in 1831, he writes :— " Wordsworth's lack of popularity was owing 
partly to that taste for the French school of poetry which was still Ungering among us from the times of Dryden 
and Pope and partly to the excess to which he pushed his simplicity, as if m scorn of it, which naturaUy enough 
irritated the wits and others, who had been bred up in its conventional elegancies. He has smce given indications 
of a consciousness of having gone a Uttle too far ; and they, on the other hand, are veiy sorry and complimentary, 
and so all is well at last. Meanwhile, he waited patiently for the turn of the tide that was to bring to him a crowd 
of devoted admirers " They who knew Wordsworth may conceive the dehght he would have felt at examining the 
edition of oU his poems (700 pagesl, published by Moxon, not long after the poet's death. It is a beawtifuUy- 
printed volume, in sufficiently large and clear type, infinitely preferable to that of Galignani, so long the only 
" collected " edition of his poems, but most unsatisfactory and incomplete. 



went, and mnores thp l«r,<q«.o V^^ / ""^"^ *^^ "^e^^'^T of the Conti- 

world can comnpf! T T f, '^f/^*^ ^^^«^' ^^ «o^e respects, no country of the 
to readers of W d;wo 7 b"' ttr ^^:1"^^^^^ ^^ ^'^ ^^^^^^ ^^^ place/familiar 
.ificent locality of Xh 'even he Ts^'f ""'';'^""^^ ^^ *'^* ^^^^^^ ^^^ -^^- 
tbere it was hard tl reach L. n f T. "'"^'- ^^'^ *^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ ^^ved 
Helvellvn-'' h! ^ *^'^ ^^^^^"^^ ^^^ days of toil before he saw - loftv 

J^ondon. The wayside inns that gave him little more than shelter have 


"nil Tn?"^ T '°''"l- ^' '''^ "'' P»"- '» »Vire whether such 
palaces and roads improve the counties of hUl and valley, wood and water- at 
leas they afford more comforts to those who there seek health relaxation Ir ioy 
h"::iVl :'? of f ^'r,^.«'™f f- »'"-• »- of the ,.L attractive fl 
dde n ?W ' f / ." "' "■" "'" '""'" ' ""^ " "' "'""'o •• " tt"' i« at Amble. 

IsUv ThV"P ',wT ^'™"' """"^""^ '" '"> "'1'^ lions" may he made 

easdy. The Prmce of Wales Hotel " stands on a border of Grasmere Lake, a few 
yards only from its eastern bank.* 

;;^5SES"^- -^^^- ■5Si;rS-£?^S,-^ ^ST!^ 


Let us, however, set out on our tour to " the land of Wordsworth," j&rst entering 
the house — Rydal Mount — in which he lived from the year 1813 to the year of his 
death in 1850. Nay, rather let us, for the moment, pass it by — closing our eyes as 
we pass — and, a mile or so farther on, drop down upon a little humble cottage by 
the roadside. "That little cottage (at Town End, Grasmere*) was Wordsworth's, 
from the time of his marriage, and earlier — in fact, from the beginning of the century 
to the year 1808. t Afterwards, for many years, it was mine." So writes De 
Quincey. It was then a white cottage, " with two yew-trees breaking the glare of 
its white walls." The house has undergone little change ; the low rooms are 
unaltered ; the flight of stairs to the " drawing-room " — " fourteen in all ; " the fire- 
place, " half kitchen and half parlour fire ; " the small and contracted bed-rooms ; the 
road close in front, the wide open view of mountains, and the steep hill, covered with 
wild shrubs and underwood that overhung the house behind — these are all as they 
were when the poet left them more than half a century ago. Such was his first 
house — his "little nook of mountain ground." 

Rydal Mount is about two miles from Ambleside, on the road to Keswick, and 
about the same distance from Grasmere. It stands a few yards out of the main 
road, on high ground — a projection of the hill called " Nab Scar" \ — and commands 
an extensive view, to which I shall refer presently. Rydal village is in the hollow 
underneath, in a narrow gorge, "formed by the advance of Loughrigg Fell and 
Rydal Nab." In the immediate neighbourhood are some of the finest waterfalls of 
the district, ia the park of Lady Le Fleming — 

" Lady of a lofty line." 5 

The house is comfortable, without being by any means grand ; it is covered with 
jasmine, roses, and ivy. || The rooms are many, but small; it has not undergone 

* In 1769 the poet Gray describes Grasmere village as utterly isolated — "not a single red tile, no staring gentle- 
man's house breaks in upon the repose of this unsuspected paradise, but all is peace, rusticity, and happy poverty, 
in its sweetest, most becoming attire." It is entirely altered now : here is Mrs. Lynn Linton's description of 
Grasmere in 1865. Grasmere is " a scattered collection of human habitations, cottages, shops, houses, mansions, 
each with its own garden, or special plot of greenery." Some idea of its character maybe formed from the fact that 
the postman walks some eight miles in and out and about the village while delivering letters. These are Mrs. 
Heman's lines on Grasmere valley : — 

" O vale and lake, within yon mountain um, 
Smiling so tranquilly, and yet so deep ! 
Oft doth your dreamy loveliness return, 
Colouring the tender shadows of my sleep 
With light Elysian ; for the hues that steep 
Your shores in melting lustre, seem to float 
On golden clouds from spirit-lands remote, 
Isles of the blest ; and in our memory keep 
The place with holiest harmonies." 

+ He left the cottage in 1808 for Allan-bank, where he resided about two years ; he then went to the Parsonage, 
also in Grasmere, where he remained until he went to Eydal Mount in 1813. 

X At Nab Cottage, near at hand, unhappy Hartley Coleridge lived ; he was but a lodger there. Poor erring 
child of Genius, he never had, never could, with his habits, have had a house of his own. If he was not respected, 
he was dearly loved by all who knew him. 

\ It is of this particular place that Mason, the biographer of Gray, writes—" Here nature has performed every- 
thing in little, which she usually executes on a larger scale, and on that account, like the miniature painter, seems 
to have finished every part of it in a studied manner ; not a little fragment of rock thrown into the basin, not a 
single stem of brushwood that stai-ts from its craggy sides, but has its picturesque meaning, and the little central 
stream, dashing down a cleft of the darkest-coloured stone, produces an effect of light and shadow beautiful beyond 

II The engraving, from a drawing by my friend Jacob Thompson, pictures the house as it was when the poet 
lived there. Some of the trees have since been cut down ; a new stone, porch has been introduced, and the exterior 
has, unhappily, been subjected to other " improvements." Yidt p. 293. 


much alteration at the hands of its present tenant, although by a former occupier, 
Wordsworth's small parlour — his " study," if he had any — has been " deformed " by 
removing the old jutting-out fire-place, in the corner of which host and guest might, 
and did often, sit. A little corner cupboard of oak let into the wall remains to 
suggest that there the half-finished book was placed when the sunshine or moonshine 
gave the poet a call to come forth. That, then, was his library ; but a library was,* 
as all know, a secondary consideration with the poet ; " he had small need of books," 
although, as his nephew tells us, " he was extremely well read in English poetry." 
"We have also the evidence of Southey that he was intimately acquainted with the 
poets of Great Britain ; had deeply read and closely studied them ; was not only 
familiar with them, but knew them well, even those of whom so many others know 

The word " 8alve " still gives its welcome at the door-step ; it is a mosaic pre- 
sented to the poet by a friend who brought it for him from Italy, f 

A mound immediately opposite the door, to reach which you descend half-a-score 
of time-worn steps, edged with ferns and wild flowers, commands the prospect on 
which the poet loved to look- — the lovely vale of the Kotha. In front — to the left 
— is Wansfell. His household, the poet writes, has a favoured lot, 

" Living' -with liberty to gaze on thee." 

Underneath it is Ambleside ; to the right are the fells of Loughrigg, with its solitary 
crag that " daily meets the sight." Immediately in front are— Windermere to the 
left, Eydal Water to the right. From the summit of Nab Scar, within ken, are 
Windermere, Kydal, Grasmere, and Coniston Lakes ; the Tarns also of Loughrigg, 
Easedale, Elterwater, and Blellam ; while, far away, Solway Frith is distinctly 
visible. On the summit of Helm Crag, seen in all directions in the locality, are two 
singular rocks, known throughout the district as " the Lion and the Lamb ; " they 
convey the idea — the lesser crouching at the feet of the larger animal, supplicating 
mercy.]: Such were the sights that 

" From this low threshold daily meet my sight. 
When I step forth to hail the morning Tght." 

Now and then the sound of the not-far-ofi" cascade greets the ear, softened by 
distance into melody. Immediately underneath is the modern church — Lady Le 

* It is said that a stranger once asked the servant to show him " Mr. Wordsworth's study," and received this 
answer as she conducted him into a room in which were many books, " This is master's library, but his study is out 
of doors." 

t In 1826 " the poet's home " was pictured by Maiy Jane Jewsbury — 

" Low and white, yet scarcely seen 
Are its walls, for mantling green, 
Winding walk and sheltered nook 
For student grave and graver book." 

i Wordsworth calls these singular rocks "the Astrologer and the Ancient Woman." I cannot say how, why, 
or when their title was changed. 

" Dread pair, that speak of wind and weather, 
Still sit upon Helm Crag tegether." 

Fleming's Chapel; it is there still — with its holy response to the poet's prayer 
" when first the woods embraced that daughter of her pious care " — 

" Heaven prosper it ! May peace, and love, 
And hope, and consolation fall, 
Tkrough its meek influence, from above, 
And penetrate the hearts of all." 

It is, however, the walks about — the Poet's Walk especially — that pilgrinas will 
visit as a Shrine; they are sutficiently "trim," but Nature is allowed to have her 
will, and they are full of wild flowers — the foxglove, the wild strawberry, and 
various ferns abounding. At the extremity of one of them is a summer-house lined 
with .fir cones, which must be recruited now and then, for they supply pilgrims with 

The Poet's Walk leads from the house, through a shaded and narrow path- 
way; he consigned it to the care of "those pure minds who reverence the Muse."f 

"A poet's hand first shaped it; and the steps 
Of that same bard, repeated to and fro 
At mom, at noon, and under moonlight skies, 
Through the vicissitudes of many a year. 
Forbade the vreeds to creep o'er its grey line." 

It is, I rejoice to say, carefully kept ; an aged gardener, who was there in Words- 
worth's time, still trims the borders and weeds the banks. And the gentleman who 
dwells there — whether he reverences or is indifferent to the Muse, I cannot say- 
keeps the place in order, giving entrance to the public on certain days.j But I 
could not fail, in visiting the poet's house, to quote the lines written on it by Mary 
Jane Jewsbury in 1826 : — 

" What shaU outward signs avail 
If the ansvrering spirit fail ? 
What this beauteous dwelling be 
If it hold not hearts for thee 1 " 

You pass out of the grounds by a small gateway, and have a long walk that leads 
to Grasmere. Of this walk Mrs. Lynn Linton says, "The terrace walk along Nab 
Scar, with its desolation, sometimes left bare and naked to the sky, and sometimes 
clothed with fern, and moss, and lichen, is very lovely ; lovely, from the first step 
outside the poet's garden, to the last, by White Moss, and the little pool fringed with 
water-lilies." "Hundreds of times," writes the poet, "have I here watched the 
dancing of shadows amid a press of sunshine, and other beautiful appearances of 
light and shade, flowers and shrubs." 

The grounds slope, sometimes with a sudden and steep descent. One of the 
paths leads to "Dora's field." In that field there is a venerable oak, the branches 

* " He led me," says Emerson, " into his garden, and showed me the gravel- walk in which thousands of his 
lines were composed." Mr. Justice Coleridge "writes of him — " He dealt with shrubs, flower-beds, and lawns with 
the readiness of a practised landscape-gardener ; his own little grounds afforded a beautiful specimen of his skill." 

+ " The sylvan, or say, rather, the forest scenery of Eydal Park was, in the memory of living men, magnificent, 
and it still contains a treasure of old trees. By aU means wander away into those old woods, and lose yourself for 
an hour or two, among the cooing of cushats, and the shriU shriek of startled blackbirds, and the rustle of the 
harmless glowworm among the last year's red beech leaves. No very great harm, should you even fall asleep under 
the shadow of an oak, while the magpie chatters at safe distance, and the more innocent squirrel peeps down upon 
you from the bough of the canopy, and then, twisting his tail, glides into the obscurity of the loftiest umbrage." — 
Professor Wilson. 

+ I trust these remarks will apply to Eydal Mount in 1875 as they did in 1865. The owner of such a place is a 
trustee for aU human kind. 

X 2 




of which are thickly covered with lichens and ferns, that have thrust their roots deep 
into the moist bark ; and at its foot there is a spring where grow the plants that 
flourish best in perpetual moisture. There, too, is the stone that at Wordsworth's 
suit was spared : the lines he wrote are engraved on a brass tablet, let into it : — 

" In these fair vales hath many a tree, 

At Wordsworth's suit, heen spared ; 
And from the builder's hand this stone, 
For some rude beauty of its own, 

Was rescued by the bard. 
So let it rest ; and time will come 

When here the tender-hearted 
May heave a gentle sigh for him 

As one of the departed." 


In this spot, it seemed to me, and no doubt it will so seem to all visitors who 
love the bard and reverence his memory, that Wordsworth was more palpably present 
than elsewhere ; and it will demand no great degree of hero-worship to utter, beside 
that stone and that aged tree, his own words applied to his predecessors in his 
" high calling : " — 

" Blessings be with them, and eternal praise. 
Who gave us nobler loves and nobler cares. 
The poets, who on earth have made us heirs 
Of true and pure delight by heavenly lays." 

From the house our steps naturally pace to the grave in which the mortal part of 
Wordsworth rests. Happily, he sleeps among the scenes he has made immortal ; 



happily, it was not his destiny to "moulder in a far-off field of Rome." The 
little graveyard of Grasmere, "the Churchyard among the Mountains," was 
familiar to all readers of "The Excursion" before the poet was laid there. It 
receives mournful, yet happy, interest as the place in which he " sleeps " among the 
dalesmen of Grasmere valley, upon whose shoulders — " the shoulders of neighbours," 
in accordance with his wish, expressed long years before — he was borne to his grave. 
By the side of his beloved Dora he was buried.* It is a humble grave : they are 
plain, erect stones that record his name, and those of his immediate relatives. He 
reposes under the green turf: no weight of monumental marble keeps the daisies 
from growing there. Others, no doubt, have done as I did — transplanted a wild 


flower from his "Walk" to the mound that rises over his remains; and others, no 
doubt, for generations yet to come, will do as I did, breathe a prayer of fervent and 
grateful homage to his memory at the foot of the grave in which his mortal part is at 
rest from labour : — 

. " The common growth of mother Earth 
Suffices me— her tears, her mirth, 
Her humblest mirth and tears '. " 

A group of yew-trees throw their shadow on the grave ; they were planted by 
his own hands, "principally, if not entirely; " and who is there that will not say 
"Amen" to the poet's v/ish, "May they be taken care of hereafter;" and to his 

* Dora Wordsworth, the poet's only daughter, was married in 1841 to Edward Quillinan. Concerning that 
estimable gentleman I have elsewhere offered some remarks. Few men were more esteemed and respected than was 
Mr. Q,uillinan by a large circle of acquaintances, of whom I had the privilege to be one. His beloved Dora died in 
]847, and her venerable father " was never the same man afterwards." Mr. Guillinan is buiied near to the grave 
of Wordsworth, by the side of Dora, and Hartley Coleridge lies there too. The spot was selected by Wordsworth, 
who said, in reference to poor Hartley, " I know he would have liked to lie where I shall lie." 

hope that some future generation may see them rivals to the " Pride of Lorton 
Vale," and the forlorn sisters that give at once gloom and gladness to Borrowdale ? 

The river Kothay meanders round the churchyard ; it may be rude and harsh in 
winter, but it pursued its course to Lake Grasmere vs^ith a gentle and harmonious 
melody Mrhen I was there. Alone for a long half-hour I stood — mute. Suddenly a 
group of children passed through the little gate, arranged some wild flowers under 
the church porch, and laid them on the poet's grave, "under the yew-trees and 
beside the gushing Eothay," the spot " he had chosen for himself." The poet would 
have loved to see that sight ; possibly did see it. 


The subject of Religion was not prominent — certainly not intrusive — in his 
writings, yet it breathes through almost everything he wrote ; the essentially holy 
mind of the poet is everywhere manifest. No writer, living or " dead," has better 
taught us how 

" To look through Nature up to Nature's God." 

I found, in Mr. Dillon's collection of autographs, a letter written by Wordsworth 
to the painter Haydon, dated January 20th, 1817, which, I believe, has never been 
in type. I am, therefore, induced to print it. 

"Thelwall, the politician, many years ago lost a daughter. I knew her ; she was a charming 
creature. Thelwall's were the agonies of an unbeliever, and he expressed them vigorously in 



several copies of harmonious blank verse, a metre which he writes well, for he has a good ear. 
Ihese effusions of anguish were published ; but though they have great merit, we cannot read 
them but with much more pain than pleasure. You probably know how much I have suffered in 
this way myself, having lost, within the short space of half a year, two delightful creatures, a girl 
and a boy, of the several ages of four and six and a half. That was four years ago, but they are 
perpetually present to my eyes. I do not mourn for them, yet I am sometimes weak enough to 
wish that I had them again. They are laid side by side in Grasmere Churchyard ; on the head- 
stone of one IS that beautiful text of Scripture, ' Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and 
forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven ; ' and on that of the other are inscribed the 
following verses : — 

' Six months to six years added, he remained 

Upon this sinful earth, by sin unstained ; 

O blessed Lord, whose mercy then removed 

A child that every eye that looked on loved, 

Support us,— teach us calmly to resign 

What we possessed — and now is wholly Thine I " 

These verses I have inscribed because they are imbued with that sort of consolation which you 

f3-y 's deprived of. It is the only support to be depended upon, and happy are they to whom 

it is vouchsafed."* 

We turn from the churchyard and the church, the church that contains a memorial 
stone, with a medaUion portrait (Harriet Martineau tells us), " accom^Danied by an 
inscription adapted from a dedication of the Eev. John Keble." Wordsworth 
described that church in 1790. It has been "renovated" since; but still the roof 
is upheld by "naked rafters," and still "admonishing texts" speak from its white' 
walls, f 

The accompanying view is of the head of Windermere, looking towards Rydal ; 
it is engraved from a drawing by Jacob Thompson, taken before the locality was 
changed— dotted with villas — and represents the lovely scene as it was when Words- 
worth looked upon it. There is the steep hill behind the poet's dwelling ; behind 
the group of trees is Ambleside ; the vale of Eydal is hidden by the dark mass in the 
middle of the dell ; to the left is Loughrigg Fell ; and underneath it, more to the 
left, is the entrance to the vale of Langdale. 

You cannot walk a mile in that rugged and wild, and grand and fair district 
without quoting some passage from the poet ; hnking it, as it will be linked for ever, 
with the place or object on which you look.| Every spot is consecrated by his 
genius ; he has left his mark everywhere ; the lakes, the rivers, the hills, the moun- 
tains, the dales and dells, the rocks and crags, the islands and waterfalls, are all 
signed with his name : § — 

" Deep pools, tall trees, black chasms, and dizzy crags. 
And tottering towers." 

* " In this just and high sense of the word, the education of a sincere Christian, and a good member of society 
upon Christian principles, does not terminate with his youth, but goes on to the last moment of his conscious 
earthly existence, — an education, not for time, but for eternity." (From an Address by Wordsworth at the 
Foundation of a School-house at Bowness, May 6th, 1836.) 

■t Another local memorial was raised to the memory of Wordsworth in November, 1853, in his native town of 
Cockermouth. It took the form of a church decoration — a stained glass window (by Hardman), costing upwards of 
£300, and containing figures of saints and evangelists, with an inscription on a brass tablet beneath the window. 

X " The brook that runs through Easedale, which is in some parts of its course as wide and beautiful as a brook 
can be. I have composed thousands of verses by the side of it." — Wordsworth. 

5 I have limited my notes to Wordsworth's pictures of the district in which he lived. It is needless to say, 
however, that his Muse had a far wider range— in Scotland, in Wales, and in several countries of the Continent. 
Most unhappily, Ireland had no share of the wealth given to other lands. He visited Ireland in 1829, but it was in 
the company of a gentleman,— John Marshall, M.P., of Leeds, — who drove him through it in " a carriage and four." 
No wonder, therefore, that his Muse was uninspired and idle ; yet he coveted a ramble in Kerry County, with an 
artist as his compinion. He visited Killarney, but it was in October. "To the shortness of the days, and the 
speed with which he travelled," he writes, " may be ascribed the want of notices, in my verse, of a country so interest- 
ing." Ay, it was indeed a misfortune for Ireland that he was not a traveller there, as he so often was by the 



" Wordsworth has himself told us that nine-tenths of his verses were murmured 
in the open air, and about them there is an out-door fragrance. We sniff the moun- 
tain breeze, and hear the murmur of the forest, and gaze into the clear depths of the 
rocky stream ; and even in his loftiest mood, when raised into a purer atmosphere 
than we breathe on earth, his thoughtful brow is still fanned by its gales, his 
inspiration is coloured by its beauty, and finds a fit local habitation amidst its natural 

There is the Derwent, "fairest of all rivers," that blent its murmurs with his 
nurse's song — "glory of the vale," the "bright blue river " that was a joy to the 
very last ; there is drear Helvellyn, with its ravines, " a history of forgotten storms" 
— "lofty Helvellyn," on the summit of which he stood side by side with the 
" Wizard of the North," when Scott revelled in " his day of strength." There they 
stood rejoicing ; and, as Mrs. Linton writes, " let any one haunted by small cares, 
by fears worse than cares, and by passions worse than either," go " stand in the 
midst of that great majesty, the sole small thing, and shall his spirit, which should be 
the noblest thing of all, let itself be crippled by self and fear, till it lies crawling on 
earth, when its place is lifting to the heavens ? Oh ! better than written sermon, or 
spoken exhortation, is one hour on the lonely mountain -top, when the world seems 
so far ofi", and God and his angels so near : " — 

" When inspiration hovered o'er this gronnd." 

St. Herbert's cell is yet on an island in Derwentwater ; the cell of the saint who, 
in his " utter soHtude," prayed that he and the man he loved as his own soul — a far- 
away fellow-labourer, St. Cuthbert — " might die at the same moment," 

"Nor in vain 
So prayed he ! " + 

There is bleak Skiddaw, the poet's love :- 

' What was the great Parnassus' self to thee, 
Mount Skiddaw ? " 

There is the Greta, giving its gently mournful voice, as it rolls onward to join 
the Derwent, gliding together into Bassenthwaite, 

" Among this multitude of hills, 
Crags, woodlands, waterfalls, and rUls," 

with her sinuous banks, her " thousand thrones," 

" Seats of glad instinct, and loves' carolling." 

There is the mightiest of all the cataracts. Often 

" O'er the lake the cataract of Lodore 
Pealed to his orisons." 

banks of Windermere. " The deflcienoy," he adds, " I am somewhat ashamed of." Out of his Irish tour came only 
the lines " To the lone Eagle," which he saw at the Giant's Causeway, or rather near it, at Fairhead. One of the 
most delightful conversations I had with the poet concerned that brief and unsatisfactory tour. When talking of 
KUlarney he fully conceded that the KiUarney lakes, considered as ont lake, surpassed in gi-andeur and beauty any 
ont of the lakes of Cumberland. 

* John Dennis. 

+ " There is beauty in the tradition that the man of action and the man of meditation, the propagandist and 
the recluse, were so dear to each other, and so congenial."— Habbiet Mabtineau. 


There is still the road the Roman conquerors laid down, — 

"The massy ways carried along those heights 
By Roman perseverance." 

There are the " piled-up stones," Druidic relics, laid where they now stand by- 
British hands, centuries before the Romans were a power in Britain ; " long Meg " 
and her daughters, the " giant mother " and her brood : — 

" A weight of woe, not easy to be borne, 
Fell suddenly upon my spirit, cast 
From the dread bosom of the unknown past. 
When first I saw that sisterhood forlorn." 

And still you may visit the cairn heaped over the bones of Dunmail, — 

' ' Last king of rocky Cumberland." 

We see the "rocks of St. John" — the crags that, at a distance, "resemblance 
wild to a rough fortress bore," and became a turreted castle when magic seduced 
King Arthur within its walls, to waste his time and his strength in guilty dalliance. 

Here, too, is " the Eden " — a name that, though borrowed from Paradise, is borne 
rightfully ; for here 

" Nature gives the flowers 
That have no rivals among British bowers." 

And here is majestic Lowther : — 

^^ " Lowther, in thy majestic pile are seen 
Cathedral pomp, and grace, in apt accord 
With the baronial castle's sterner mien." 

There is the river Duddon, " the cloud-born stream," " cradled among the moun- 
tains " — Duddon, so often his sole listener, and here are the 

" Tributary streams 
Hurrying with lordly Duddon to ujiite." 

Here are the nooks with woodbine hung, " half grot, half arbour;" and here is still 
" the Fairy Chasm," and here 

" The gloomy niche, capacious, blank, and cold." 

Still Duddon shelters the startled scaly tribe, and the " dancing insects forged upon 
his breast;" still " passing winds memorial tributes pay, and torrents chaunt their 

And here is his own Rydal. It hath, and will ever have, " a poet of its own," 

" Haunting your green shade 
All seasons through, is humbly pleased to braid 
Ground flowers, beneath your guardianship self-sown." 

Here are yet " the Stepping Stones " — 

" stone matched with stone 
In studied symmetry ; " 

and here is " the Wishing Gate," — 

' Surviving near the public way 
The rustic Wishing Gate," 

leading to a field sloping to the river's bank. " Time out of mind " has a gate been 
there. May no evil chance remove it! for there "wishes formed or indulged have 
favourable issues : " — 

" And not in vain, when thoughts are cast 
Upon the iiTsvocable paat." 

The yevi^-tree, " which to this day stands single, " of vast circumference and gloom 
profound," is " still the pride of Lorton Vale; " the tree that furnished weapons to 
those who 

" Drew their sounding bows at Azincour." 

And there flourish yet the four solemn sisters — yew-trees planted a thousand years 
ago :— 

" Fraternal four of Borrowdale, 
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove." 

The " golden daffodils " are still here in rich abundance — 

" Beneath the lake, beside the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze ! " 

And if we wander there in spring-time, we cannot fail to see 

" A primrose by a river's brim," 

and, it may be, an ass 

" Cropping the shrubs of Leming Lane," 

to recall the gentle brute that would not leave its dead master, and taught the savage 
potter to be a wiser and a better man. There are violets on the same "mossy 
stone," " half hidden from the eye ;" and there is " the meanest flower that blows " 
— the meek daisy, — " the poet's darling," " the unassuming commonplace of nature," 
that had power to give the poet 

" Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears." 

Still the butterflies sparkle from bud to bud— descendants of those he chased when a 
boy, with " leaps and springs," while his tender sister stood by : — 

" But she, God love her ! feared to brush 
The dust from off its wings." 

Still we may hear the cock straining its clarion throat, 

" Threatened by answering farms remote.'' 

That surely is the very redbreast the poet welcomed over his threshold ; the whole 
house was his cage. He springs about from bank to bank, now along the Poet's 
Walk, knowing well that none will make a stir 

" To scare him as a trespasser." 

And the lark, is it the same the poet hailed " upspringing," " pilgrim of the sky," 

"Type of the wise who soar, but never roam, 
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home 1 " 

" I heard a stock-dove sing or say 
His homely tale this very day." 

No doubt it is the bird of which the poet sang so sweetly and so oft. Still 

' Along the river's stony marge 

The sand-lark chants a joyous song ; 
Ine thrush is busy in the wood, 
And carols loud and strong." 

There are all the mountains-- a mob of mountains," as Montgomery called them- 
go where wewiU ; and the lakes, larger and lesser, that greet the eye from every 
hill-top ; majestic Ullswater, " wooded Winandermere""-" shy Winander " 

'Mid clusterinsr isles and holly-sprinlded st*eps ;" 


lovely Derwentwater, lonely Haweswater : they were, each and all, familiar to the 
poet almost as his own Walk above the Eotha : — 

" Ye know him well, ye cliffs 
And islands of Winander." 

They all knew him, and of all he was the Laureate. The " brook " I reverently 
cross is that 

" Whose society the poet seeks, 
Intent his wasted spirits to renew." 

It runs " through rocky passes among flowery creeks ; " and that " little unpretend- 
ing rill of limpid water " is the very one that, to his mind, was brought " oftener 
than Ganges or the Nile." 

Is that " Emma's Dell ?" for here we can see 

" The foliage of the rocks, the birch, 
The yew, the holly, and the bright green thorn, 
With hanging islands of resplendent furze." 



" To note the shrub and tree, in stone and flower, 
That intermixture of delicious hues," 

Is that "Johanna's Eock" by Rotha's bank, at which we pause 
turning to look up at 

" That ancient woman seated on Helm Crag 2 " 

Is that the cHflf " so high above us " — an " eminence," 

" The last that parleys with the setting sun ? " 

Is that 

" The loneliest place we have amid the clouds ? " 

Is that " the lonely summit " to which his beloved gave his name ? Is that " narrow 
girdle of rough stones and crags," by the eastern shore of Grrasmere — is that the 
place the poet named " Point Rash Judgment," for that he there learned and 

" What need there is to be reserved in speech, 
And temper all our thoughts with Charity 3" 

At least we may rest awhile at " The Swan : " — 

" Who does not know the famous Swan ? " 

The small wayside hostelry is still a palpable reality, and if you drink nothing else at 
its porch, you may there take in as full and rich a draught of nature as any country 
on God's earth can supply. 

These are the " facts " of the district : the poet has clothed them in glory and in 
pride — living realities — Romance unveiled by Truth. He is, as John Ruskin says, 
" the great poetic landscape-painter of the age." He did, indeed, so paint with 
words, as to bring vividly before the mind's eye the grandest and loveliest things in 

But who can walk in this favoured locality without calling Fancy to his aid ? I 
know that some of his pictures were drawn far away from the scenes so inseparably 
linked with his name ; but it will be hard to separate any one of them from the dis- 
trict that is so especially his. 

[And now a true poet (for such he is, although I know not if he has ever written 
verse) has his dwelling also in this fair district : here John Ruskin, as did William 
Wordsworth, woos and worships Nature.] 

It is the high privilege of genius — more especially it is that of the poet — to conse- 
crate the common things of life — 

" Clothing the palpable and the familiar 
With golden exhalations of the dawn." 

Time has changed many of them, no doubt ; indeed, we know that ruthless railroad 
layers have swept away some of the " nooks of English ground " that genius had 
made sacred ; but others remain associated with the poet's history. Let all who 
love the district, and have power there, preserve them, as they would the cherished 
children of their homes and hearts. 

The plank that in a dell half up Blencathra crosses yonder stream, under which 
it glides so gently, now that summer, self-satisfied, laughs from the mountain-tops — 



is that the plank where Lucy Gray left her footmarks half-way over, when the storm 
was loud and snow was a foot thick above the perilous pathway ? 

"But the sweet face of Lucy Gray 
Will never more be seen." 

Is that " straggling heap of unhewn stones " at Green-head-ghyll a remainder of 
the sheepfold reared by " Michael " and " the son of his old age," ere the boy 

"In the dissolute city gave himself 
To evil courses," 


and broke the old man's heart ? 

Give alms to the " female vagrant " you meet in highway or in byway, for does 
she not recall to memory her whose sad story was poured into the poet's ear ? — ■ 

"And homeless, near a thousand homes, I stood, 
And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food." 

Surely charity cannot be withheld from any wayworn beggar you encounter on the 
roadside here. That thorn must be the very thorn — " so old and grey" — under the 
scant shade of which sat, at all times of the day and night, that lonely woman, — 

" In misery near the miserable thorn," — 

whose doleful cry was " Misery, misery!" Poor Euth ! that maybe the very 
" greenwood tree " by the banks of Tone under which she sat ; it overhangs the 
rocks and pools she loved — 

" Nor ever taxed them with the ill 
That had been done to her." 


Will it not well repay a visit to distant Ennerdale to read the story of " The 
Brothers " beside a nameless grave — to see the grey-haired mariner standing there, 
his fraternal home desolate ? Ah ! if the touching tale can move us to tears — 
" a gushing of the heart " — beside a city home-fire, what may it not do in that lonely 
graveyard, where was nor epitaph, nor monument, tombstone, nor name — 

" Only the turf we tread ! " 

Is that the fountain where, beneath the spreading oak, beside a mossy seat (we 
Fee them both), there talked a pair of friends, though one was young, the other 
seventy-two ? Was it beside this hedge, on this highway, the shepherd mourned 
the "last of his flock?" 

" A healthy man, a man full grown, 
Weep in the public roads alone ? " 

That little maid—" a simple child " — is she the great-grandchild of her—" one of 
seven " — of whom two slept in the churchyard beneath the churchyard tree ? 

" Her beauty made me glad." 

Sitting under " Dungeon-ghyll Force," do we see in the boys who saunter there 
descendants of those who, having " no work to do," watched the poet — 

" One who loved the brooks 
Tar better than the sage's books" — 

as he rescued the lamb from the troubled pool, and gave it to its mother ? 

" And gently did the bard 
Those idle shepherd-boys upbraid." 

Let us search for the roofless hut in which he met " the Wanderer," a poet, 
"yet wanting the accomplishment of verse;" who had "small need of books;" 
whose character was God-made ; who learned from nature to worship Him in spirit 
and in truth. Can we see the well, " shrouded with willow-flowers and plumy fern," 
at which he bade the poet drink ? the hut in which " the wife and widow " dwelt, 
a-weary, a-weary for the beloved who never came ? 

" If he lived, 
She knew not that he lived : if he were dead, 
She knew not he was dead." 

Is that the spot, " among the mountain fastnesses concealed," where "lonesome and 
lost " the Solitary lived, 

"At a safe distance fi-om a world 
Not moving to his mind \ " 

Is that far-off valley, with its grey church-tower, environed by dwellings " single or 
in several knots "—is that the valley where the poet, the wanderer, and the recluse 
encountered the good priest, discoursing of things that no gross ear can hear; 

" And to the highest last. 
The head and mighty paramount of truths,— 
Immortal life in never-fading worlds 
For mortal creatures conquered and secured ? ' 

Is that indeed the veritable " churchyard among the mountains " where rest so much 



of human joys and griefs, hopes and blights — records that live but in the pastor's 
memory ; where green hillocks only mark the graves — 

" Free 
From interruption of sepulohral stones ? " 

But I might go on, page after page, touching every portion of the sublime and 
beautiful district where the poet had his home and haunts, for you can hardly move 
a step, or turn the eye on a single point, without finding something he has given to 
fame, some association of his glory, — 

"Contented if he might enjoy 
The things which others understand ; " 

ever preparing a feast for millions upon millions, who will be his debtors to the end 
of time. 

He lived down " indifference," almost the only human malady to which he had 
been subjected ; he lived to know that he was valued in a measure approaching 
desert ; acknowledged by the senate and "the masses " as a benefactor of all human- 
kind — not for a day, but for ever — in high and holy consciousness that he had done 
the work of God for the good of man. To William Wordsworth have been, and 
will be, given, by universal accord, as long as language can utter thought, 

" Perpetual benedictions ! " 

Is there any tourist — any one with leisure and means — who has not visited the 
land of Wordsworth ? Shame be to him or her who can boast of having visited many 
countries of the Continent in search of pleasure, and who remains in guilty ignorance 
of the charms that are to be found in such abundance close to our own thresholds 
at home ! 

What a volume of beauty may be opened by those who spend a month — a week 
— a day — at the English lakes ! All that Nature can supply of the graceful and 
the grand are within easy reach ; it is impossible to exaggerate in describing the 
sublime and beautiful of this locality, accessible within a few hours from any part of 

I cannot think the man or woman lives who can dwell even for a brief time amid 
these mountains and vales, beside these lakes and rivers — with Wordsworth in his 
hand — who will not thank God for the intense enjoyment placed at his command — 
not the less to be valued because it may be so easily obtained. Yes, far too often 
there is truth in the poet's lines — 

" Thus 'tis ever ; what's wifhin our ken, 
Owl-like, we blink at, and direct our search 
To furthest Inde in quest of novelties ; 
Whilst here, at home, upon our very thresholds, 
Ten thousand objects hurtle into view, 
Of interest wonderful." 



LTHOUGH I knew Professor Wilson under other, and always plea- 
sant, circumstances, I associate my happiest remembrance of 
him with " The Festival" that took place in the pretty and 
picturesque town of Ayr, on the 6th of August, 1844, when a 
vast assemblage of the Scottish people tendered homage to 
the memory of Robert Burns, by welcoming to Scotland his 
sons, two of whom had been absent in India during more than 
a quarter of a century. I do not think I shall try the patience 
of my readers if I recall that exciting scene on that memorable 
day. I will first ask them to accompany me to a compara- 
tively humble, but neat and comfortably- furnished, cottage, where resided 
Mrs. Begg, the sister of the poet, and in which met, on the evening succeeding 
"the day," all the members of his family — his sister, her children, and her 
husband's brother, the poet's three sons, and the daughter of Colonel James 
Glencairn — the only " strangers " (for the poet's friend and biographer, 
McDiarmid, was no stranger) being Mrs. Hall and myself, and an artist whose genius 
was then in the bud, but who has since become famous — Sir Joseph Noel Baton, 
R.S.A., whose friendship we have had the happiness to retain from that far-away 
time to this. 


Mrs. Begg was a plain and very simple woman, obviously of a gentle and kindly 
nature, but giving no evidence that to her had been allotted any portion of the 
intellectual power of which her great brother had so much. Her sons and her 
daughter were in no way remarkable. Her husband's brother wore the dress of a 
Scottish peasant of the better class, and, I believe, had never aimed at any position 
beyond it. He spoke of " Robbie Burns " as a companion with whom he had passed 
many a pleasant day and merry night, and wore the bonnet and plaid as he had 
done fifty years before that evening. Robert Burns, the eldest son of Robert Burns, 
died long ago. He is said to have greatly resembled his illustrious father. I give 
the portrait of him as I gave it in 1844: — " His eyes are large, dark, and intelligent ; 



and his memory is stored with legends, poems, and historical records of great value. 
These materials are not only abundant, but well arranged and ordered ; and when a 
question is asked, intelligent reply is ready. His conversation is rich in illustration, 
and though he gracefully said ' the mantle of Elijah had not descended upon Elisha,' 
the son possesses much of the ability, if not the genius, of the father." The other 
two sons. Colonel William Nicol and Colonel James Glencairn, are still living at 
Cheltenham ; and no gentlemen in that favoured town of retired worth are more 
honoured or respected.* Both are men of considerable talent ; they have not been 

* Alas' within a few hours after this passage was written (in 1865), we received from his daughter intimation 
of the death rf our exoeUent and valued friend Lieut. -Colonel James Glenoairn Burns who departed this hfe at 
Cheltenham S November, in his seventy-second year. He was essentially a man of high moral and social worth ; 
of Sies"o means limited ; he had written things not unworthy of his name ; and sang, with much taste and 



called upon to exert it ; but pleasanter companions are rarely met. It is a treat that 
many have enjoyed to hear Colonel James sing his father's songs. 

Such was the group we met in that homely cottage by " the auld brigg " at Ayr 
on the eve after the poet's triumph — a triumph certainly greater than any that has 
honoured a memory in Great Britain at any period of its history. 


Mrs. Hall had her Album with her. Colonel James Glencairn had previousl 
written in it ; his name being prefaced by the following : — 

" This is confessedly a collection of the autographs of ' Lions ; ' and as it is impos- 
sible Mrs. Hall can get that of the Lion my father, she probably thinks the next best 
thing is to obtain that of one of his Cubs. I therefore have much pleasure in tran- 
scribing, at her request, the first verse of the addi^ess to a mountain daisy." 

feeling, some of his great father's songs. To the memory of that father he was intensely attached, proud of the 
name he bore, and always delighted when Burns was a theme of talk. The other brother, Colonel William Niool 
is also dead. Colonel Janfes has left a daughter unmarried, and she is, I believe, the only one of the descendants of 
Eobert Burns (the other brothers having left no children), if we except the sons and daughters of Mrs. Begw, 


When assembled in that cottage at Ayr, it was suggested by our friend the 
Colonel that on the page which contained his name and the passage quoted, the 
names of the other members of the family should follow, as they never had met all 
together before, and most probably would never meet all together again. My readers 
will, I am sure, be pleased to see these autographs as they were — then and there — 

A dull and gloomy morning ushered in " the day." Nevertheless, upwards of 
eighty thousand persons were " gathered " at Ayr. They came from all parts of the 
kingdom, and some from foreign lands. The town was full of triumphal arches — 
"forests of evergreens" at every point associated with the poet's history; proces- 
sions of people fancifully dressed ; Lodges of Freemasons, Foresters, and Odd 
Fellows ; and the trades, — weavers, tailors, bootmakers, and so forth, — with no lack 
of bands ; and at least a score of bagpipes heading parties of stalwart Highlandmen, 
each playing his own pibroch, all of them " in harmony." 

At one end of a field was a platform, on the first bench of which sat the family 
of Robert Burns. Before them, the multitude pf|,ssed in orderly procession, pausing 
when they reached the point, and bowing in homage to the sons of the poet ; then 
marching on to the music with which every pne of them was familiar, and joining in 
a song, the words of which were known all the world over. When all had thus 
passed, they collected into a mass, and raised a cheer such as can be heard nowhere 
else in the world — literally eighty thousand voices of eighty thousand hearts ! 

It was not difficult to distinguish those to whom chiefly appertained that day the 
glory and the triumph ; the honest lads apd bonnie lasses, workers at the loom, 
tillers of the soil, who, belonging to " the land of Burns," had their full share of 
his renown ; and never, perhaps, in the history of any country has there been such 
conclusive evidence that a people, nine-tenths of whom were the grandchildren of 
his co-mates, identified themselves with a poet who had been half a century in his 

On the platform — on the seat immediately beneath us — sat a man of powerful 
frame, large-limbed and tall, who in youth was of a surety " the best wrestler on the 
green," and who in age seemed one of the elder sons of Anak, of whose "boisterous 
vigour" many pens and tongues have written and spoken. Look at his massive 
head, his clear grey eye, his firm-set and finely-chiselled mouth, his broad and 
intellectual brow, and you will be sure it is not physical force alone that makes him 
greatest of the many great men by whom he is surrounded. His hair, thin and 
grizzled and unusually long, was moved by the breeze as he rose to speak — in a 
voice manly as his form, richly and truly eloquent. He was master of his theme, 
and loved it ; but then aud there a stoic would have been an enthusiast, with the 
cheers of such a multitude booming in his ears. 

That was John Wilson. 

While he was speaking, and his long thin locks waved about in the wind, I 
thought I might steal imperceptibly, at such a momect, a single hair. I saw one 
that I believed had been accidentally detached, and I ran the hazard of taking it. 
The Proiessor felt the touch, and turning instantly round, flashed upon me one of 

Y 2 




those fierce looks of which I had heard so much from those who had seen the 
"lurking devil in his keen grey eye ; " but at once perceiving that no insult was 
meant, and perhaps appreciating the motive of the theft, as I murmured out some- 
thing like " It is but one to keep for ever," his lips as suddenly assumed a smile of 
loveable grace such as might have won the heart of an enemy. That " single hair" 
is on my table as I write. 


From the platform there was an adjournment of the " select " — but the select 
consisted of two thousand persons — to a monster tent or " pavilion " that had been 
erected to receive the guests at the dinner. The President was the good, graceful, 
and gracious Earl of Eglintoun, whose two memorable words, " Eepentant Scotland," 
had an enduring echo there that day in every Scottish heart. There was a gathering 
of Scottish " men of mark " ranged on either side of the noble chairman, following in 
order : the sons of Burns on his right, and the sister and her children on his left ; 


with some of the poet's early friends ; and one, a venerable matron then, who, when 
a blooming lass of sweet seventeen, had been the subject of his verse. Among the 
guests were Alison, Aytoun, Glasford Bell, " Delta" Moir, Charles Mackay, and the 
brothers, William and Robert Chambers.* And good right had Eobert Chambers to 
be there, foremost among the men whom the people delight to honour ; for, but for 
his exertions, near relatives of the great poet — to render homage to whose memory 
the tens of thousands had assembled — would have had to bear neglected penury 
instead of independent comfort. Scotland owes to these admirable brothers a debt 
the extent of which it would be difficult to calculate. 

But on that day of glory the assembly of the " aristocracy " of Eank and Letters 
was far too small ; from England and Ireland there were few guests, while Scotland 
did not contribute a fourth of the number she ought to have sent to the gathering. 
Its glory and its triumph were to " the common people ;" and certainly the appear- 
ance of these — for whom tents had been provided — was an object of even higher 
importance than the assembling of the " select." 

As we looked upon the heaving multitude, we could not avoid thinking that if all 
the preparations for the banquet had suddenly disappeared, the manifestation of 
respect on the part of the people towards their poet would have been accomplished — 
the heart-beatings of Scotland as thoroughly exhibited, if no pavilion, with its tasteful 
draperies and elevated galleries, had been planted on the banks of the river that 
waters the land of Burns. Who that witnessed the glorious sight can have ceased to 
remember the fervent looks of the old and middle-aged, the tearful eyes and excla- 
mations of the young, the eagerness with which parents pointed out to their children 
the grey-haired sons of the poet they delighted to honour? On, and on, and on, 
they came, in peace and harmony, disturbed by no jarring feelings, moved by no 
political object, warmed by the genial influence of the tenderest and most elevated 
patriotism. The shouts of the people were echoed by the enthusiastic cheers of the 
noblemen and gentlemen who were on the platform, while the tears of the fairer 
portion of the assembly proved how deeply they sympathised with the great purpose 
all had met to commemorate. As long as the procession was in progress, the men 
who composed it refrained from any manifestation of their feelings beyond lowering 
their banners, uncovering their heads, and gazing upon the poet's sons ; but when 
the gigantic thistle, the emblem of their native country, closed the procession, and 
had been not only honoured, but divided and borne off blossom by blossom, and leaf 
by leaf, as mementoes of the " field of Burns," there was a rush of human beings 
back towards the platform, and eager hands were upstretched from below to grasp 
the hands of the family of the poet. 

Yet it was a most exciting scene within the pavilion, where nearly two thousand 
persons, ladies and gentlemen, were seated. We recall their fervid enthusiasm when 
the noble chairman rose and proposed the memory of Robert Burns — '"drunk in 

* Since this was -written, William Chambers has been Provost of Edinburgh ; one of the highest, if not the 
very highest, positions in the world to which a " gentleman in trade " can attain. Robert Chambers has, however, 
been elevated to a far loftier rank. He is now with the glorified saints who in heaven continue work commenced on 



solemn silence," but followed a few minutes afterwards by a shout such as is seldom 
beard more tban once in a lifetime. Tbd Earl of Eglintoun was then in his zenith — 
a thorough " gentleman" in look, in manner, and in heart. His address was brief, 
pithy, and condensed, yet remarkably conclusive and comprehensive. It was, indeed, 
an example of true eloquence — if eloquence is to be estimated by effect produced. 
There was in it no word too much — not a syllable that might have been as well left 

Then Professor Wilson rose to " welcome the sons of Burns." He was " in his 
glory." His robust and manly form appeared to grow under his theme, his magni- 
ficent head positively seemed to roll about over his huge shoulders, and his large 
hands to sweep away all let and hindrance to his gigantic energy. 

I cannot attempt to give the toasts that followed ; among them " Wordsworth 
and the Poets of England"- — "Moore and the Poets of Ireland." The latter was 
proposed by Henry Glasford Bell ; and in the course of his eloquent speech he took 
occasion to introduce the name of Mrs. S. C. Hall thus : — " I have to-day seen that 
not the gifted sons alone, but also some of the gifted daughters, of Ireland have come 
as pilgrims to the shrine of Burns — that one in particular — one of the most distin- 
guished of that fair sisterhood who give by their talents additional lustre to the geijius 
of the present day — has paid her first visit to Scotland that she might be present on 
this occasion, and whom I have myself seen moved even to tears by the glory of the 
gathering. She is one who has thrown additional light on the antiquities, manners, 
scenery, and traditions of Ireland, and Avhose graceful and truly feminine works are 
known to us all, and whom we are proud to see among us." — (Blackwood.Y' 

I cannot give even an outline of the Professor's speech, which occupied full an 
hour. Perhaps the apologies he offered for the failings and shortcomings of the poet 
might have been spared, and were considered out of keeping with the occasion ; f 
still it was a most masterly discourse ; and those who heard it can never forget the 
wild burst of applause that followed his concluding sentence, — " We rise to welcome 
you to your father's land." The whole assembly rose with a loud and long-continued 

My readers will believe the event to be the most exciting of all our " Memories." 
It is inseparably associated (I shall never desire to separate them) with the memory 
of Professor Wilson — the Burns Festival, where so many living worthies, linked 
hand in hand with the Ploughman and the Artisan, assembled in earnest homage to 
glorify the illustrious dead. 

" To live in hearts we leave behind 
Is not to die." 

John Wilson was born on the 18th of Msy, 1785, in a "somewhat gloomy-looking 
house in a dingy court at the head of tbe High Street," Paisley. The house is still 

* My readers will not, I hope, consider me as materially departing from the rule I have laid down in these 
" Memories " of introducing little concerning ourselves, if I am unwilling to resist the temptation to "clu-onicle" 
this event. 

t The Professor printed it in extenso m Blackwood' s Magazine. I know that it gave greater pain than pleasure to 
those who were more immediately held in honour that day. Colonel James Burns has more than once expressed 
that feeling to me. I did not hold the opinion he did, but I could easily understand that some of the Professor's 
allusions to his father fell very far short of giving him content. 


standing, being "preserved" for public uses, under the name of "Wilson's Hall."* 
His father was a wealthy man, having realised a fortune in trade as a gauze manu- 
facturer, and was respected for social worth and moral integrity. His mother is 
described as "beautiful, of rare intellect, wit, humour, wisdom, and grace." The 
boy John was "precocious," physically and intellectually; "foremost in the play- 
ground and in the task ; " running a race against ponies while yet a child ; in youth 
surpassing men in bodily feats, and in early manhood excelling all competitors in 
strength of arm and swiftness of foot. Almost from his birth to his death, as one of 
his friends wrote long afterwards, " whatever he did was done with all his soul." 

In June, 1803, he entered as a gentleman commoner at Magdalen College, Oxford, 
having been previously " well-educated" at Glasgow. His father left him an " unen- 
cumbered fortune of £50,000." Thus endowed, with rare personal advantages, " the 
world was all before him, where to choose," in a sense very different from that which 
applies generally to the heir of the Muses. Yet, so early as 1807, he selected an 
abiding-place on the banks of Wihdermete, and the cdttdge of EUeray was his home 
until the year 1815. 

When at Oxford, and indeed everywhere, he hdd the acquaintance of the refined 
and the rough — the learned and the ignorant— the " brutal," indeed. Dr. Eouth, 
the President of his College at Oxford, was his friend ; but his " friends " also were 
the " grooms, the cobblers, and the stable-boys." He gave wide scope for scandal, 
but such were the joyousness of his nature, the buoyancy of his big heart, and his 
many endearing qualities ; so prominent also were his powers as a student and a 
scholar — his after-fame being clearly foreseen — that his eccentricities were visited 
with no heavy penalties, and he passed from the University with honour, if not with 
unmingled respect. 

I have given my own portrait of Wilsbn as I saw him, and heard him speak, in 
1844 ; I may add that 6i Mr. Aird, the editor of the Dumfriesshire Herald, when 
writing of the Burns Festival, and in reference to the Professor's speech on that 
memorable occasion: — "Now broad in humour; now spdrtive and playful; now 
sarcastic, scornful, and searchiiig ; now calmly philosophic in criticism ; now thought- 
ful and solemn, large of ' reverent discourse, Iboking bfefore and after ' with all the 
sweetest by-plays of humanity, with every rfeco'nciling sdftness of charity, — such in 
turns, and in quickest intermingled tissue of the ethereal wobf, have been the many 
illustrations which this large-minded, large-hearted Scotchman, in whose character 
there is neither corner nor cranny, has poured in the very prodigality of his aliec- 
tionate abundance around and over the name and the fame of Robert Burns." 

Talfourd, considering him as an editor, and contrasting him with Campbell in 
that capacity, speaks of his " boisterous vigour, riotous in power, reckless in 
wisdom, fusing the productions of various intellects into one brilliant reflex of his 
own master mind ; " and Hallam describes him as a " writer of the most ardent and 
enthusiastic genius, whose eloquence is as the rush of mighty waters." 

* It is a large stone-built house, situate in the main street of Paisley. At the time of Wilson's birth it was 
one goodly mansion ; it is now divided into separate tenements. 



> In 1812, Scott, in a letter to Joanna Baillie, referred to him as a " young man of 
very extraordinary powers" — "an eccentric genius" — "a warm-hearted and enthu- 
siastic young man " — " something too much, perhaps, of the latter quality places 
him among the list of originals." 

De Quincey writes, in 1808, of "his large expansion of heart, and a certain air 
of noble frankness." " He seemed to have an intense enjoyment of life." Young, 
rich, healthy, and full of intellectual activity then, with no care, present or fore- 
shadowed, how could it have been otherwise ? 

James Hogg, in one of his lay-sermons, says, — "Professor Wilson's conversation 
is rich and brilliant ; but then he takes sulky fits. If there be anybody in the com- 
pany whom he does not like, the party will not get much out of him for that night ; 
his eyes gleam like those of a dragon ; and a poet says of him (Wordsworth, I think), 
' He utters a short lieml at every pause, but further ventures not.' " 

The poetry of Professor Wilson has not attained the popularity to which it is 
entitled ; probably because, when he first published, he had to compete with a 
formidable rival in his own illustrious countryman, and the fame which, in England, 
nearly at the same period, was about to absorb that of all other bards. His poems 
are, however, full of beauty ; they have all the freshness of the heather ; a true relish 
for nature breaks out in them all ; there is no puerile or sickly sentimentalism ; they 
are the earnest breathings of a happy and buoyant spirit ; a giving out, as it were, of 
the breath that has been inhaled among the mountains. They manifest, moreover, 
the finest sympathies with humanity ; nothing harsh or repining seems to have entered 
the poet's thoughts ; they may be read as compositions of the highest merit, — as 
bearing the severest test of critical asperity ; but also as graceful and beautiful tran- 
scripts of Nature, when her grace and beauty are felt and appreciated by all. There 
is no evidence of " fine frenzy " in his glances " from heaven to earth, from earth to 
heaven ; " but there is ample proof of the depth of his worship, and the fulness of 
his affection for all the objects which " nature's God" has made graceful and fruitful. 

He was ever gentle and kindly, and meek and humble — in verse ; holy and tran- 
quillising was the influence he obtained by associating with the Muses. It was only 
in prose he was harsh, uncompromising, and bitter ; yet in his criticisms there was 
always evidence of a sound heart — of a nature like the Highland breezes he loved to 
breast — keen, biting, but healthy ; often most invigorating when most severe, but to 
be safely encountered only by those whose stamina was unquestionable. 

On the banks of Windermere he had his "full fling" of "animal delights" — 
racing, leaping, wrestling, boxing, fishing, boating, and cock-fighting— one of the 
sports in which our not far-ofi" ancestors indulged as the " manly " English. And if 
there be ample testimony to his lofty genius and social worth, there is certainly quite 
as much to uphold the declaration of one of his comrades for a time: — " It was a' 
life an' murth amang us as lang as Professor Wilson was at Wasd'le Heed." 

He dearly loved the gentle craft of the angler. Dogs were his familiar friends, 
but so were other animals. From the horse to the spider they were objects of study 
that gave him pleasure — generally healthy pleasure, but sometimes pleasure that was 
not so. He had large humanity — earnest love of all things in nature. For dogs his 



affection was intense, and many curious illustrative anecdotes are told of that passion. 
Especially he loved all things that needed help. For nearly eleven years he kept in 
his room a sparrov^r he had found, scarcely fledged, on his door-step. Who that has 
read can have forgotten his terrific anathema against those who were more than sus- 
pected of having poisoned his dog Bronte, in revenge for his awful denunciation of 
those who had " patronised " the butchers Hare and Burke ? 

Yet there is abundant evidence that the fierce leopard of " Maga " could be as 
gentle as a lamb — that the giant could use a giant's strength as tenderly as a young 
mother nursing her first-born. Let us picture the Professor as he was seen one day, 
long after the period to which I am now referring, with a carter's whip in his hand, 


walking beside a miserable horse through Edinburgh streets. He had released the 
animal from a brute far more worthless, had unharnessed him from a cart full of coal, 
upset the coal into the street, given the carter one blow, and promised him another, 
and left the fellow, utterly astonished, " gaping wide-mouthed," and speechless, as he 
followed the horse to the charge of the police. 

Notwithstanding his somewhat perilous attractions, he found a wife worthy of 
him. Miss Jane Penny was "the belle of the Lake district" — as good as she was 
beautiful — "whom he had sensibility to love, ambition to attempt, and skill to win." 
In May, 1811, he married. In 1815 he was called to the Scottish Bar, having quitted 
"dear sycamore-sheltered EUeray " in consequence of a breach of trust on the part 
of a " guardian " that deprived him of nearly all his property. 

Elleray is a nest in the midst of mountains, in an elevated dell surrounded by 



foregrounds of great beauty, sequestered and secluded, commanding views of sur- 
passing loveliness and of exceeding grandeur. The sight is at once graceful and 
magnificent, and no marvel that the poet loved it with his whole heart. This is 
De Quincey's desc.ription of EUeray : — " Within a bow-shot of each other may be 
found stations of the deepest seclusion, fenced in by verdurous heights, and present- 
ing a limited scene of beauty — deep, solemn, noiseless, severely sequestered — and 
other stations of a magnificence so gorgeous as few estates in this island can boast, 
and, of those few, perhaps none in such close connection with a dwelling-house. 
Stepping out from the very windows of the drawing-room, you find yourself on a 
terrace, which gives you the feeling of a ' specular height ' such as you might expect 
on Ararat, or more appropriately conceive on ' Athos seen from Samothrace.' " Mrs. 
Gordon adds that " Windermere is best seen from Elleray — every point and bay, 
island and cove, lying there unveiled." 

The cottage is now denuded of its " profusion of jasmine, clematis, and honey- 
suckle." The trellis no longer " clusters with wild roses," but the gigantic syca- 
more still flourishes, and overshadows the lowly dwelling that was so long the 
home of the poet. He dearly loved that tree. " Never in this well- wooded 
world," he writes, "not even in the days of the Druids, could there have been 
such another." " Oh, sweetest and shadiest of all sycamores, we love thee above all 
other trees ! " 

Not far ofi" was Keswick, where the high-souled Southey lived, and Eydal, where 
great Wordsworth communed with Nature. Thither, as to a cool fountain, came the 
man in his buoyant and hearty youthhood ; there his favourite pursuits were to the 
full enjoyed. He had " a fleet of yachts" on the lake. He excelled in all manly 
exercises and field sports ; on road, field, flood, foot, or horseback, he was equally at 
home. In wrestling he had few equals, being, as a professor of the " noble art of 
self-defence " described him, " a vera bad un to lick."^-^ 

In the summer of 1865 I paid a visit to Elleray, to the cottage in which he dwelt 
during the earlier part of his residence in the district, and to the comparatively 
sumptuous house he built, and which was afterwards for many years his home. 

" And sweet that dwelling rests upon the brow, 
Beneath that sycamore of Orest Hill, 
As if it smiled on Wiadermere below." 

It occupies a commanding site above the eastern bank of Windermere, and near to 
the picturesque town of Bowness ; consequently, the views are supremely grand and 
beautiful. There are many houses all about it now. A railway terminus discharges 
its cargo thrice a day close to the gate that leads to the well-wooded grounds of the 
" mansion," and probably the nightingales and cushat doves have been chased from 
the locality. It would no doubt grieve the great Nature-lover to hear the shrieking 

* The gardener at EUeray told me a story of the Professor. No doubt many such stories are rife in the neighbour- 
hood. He had challenged /we potters, brothers, to fight (potters are tramps) the whole of them. He led them into 
his sitting-room, cleaied for the purpose, locked the door, put the key into his pocket, and told them to set to. One 
after another they were "floored" beneath his stalwart arm and "profound" science. At length one of them 
ci awled along, entnngled himself in his legs, and Wilson fell. The five set upon him together then as he lay on the 
ground, and would ceitainly have killed him, but that his servants burst in the door, and rushed to his rescue. 

yOHN WILSON. 33 ( 

" whistle " in their stead; but there are some things even civil engineers cannot 
destroy : the outlook from the hall-door at EUeray is one of them. 

Mrs. Hemans thus writes of EUeray : — " I never saw any landscape bearing so 
triumphant a character. The house, which is beautiful, seems built as if to overlook 
some fairy pageant, something like the Venetian splendour of old, on the glorious 
lake beneath." 

In 1817 — a memorable year for letters — was commenced the publication of 
Blackwood's Magazine, so inseparably linked with the name of Wilson from its birth 
to his death. The Edinbnryh Review was then in its prime. To that work Wilson 
contributed one article — his first and his last — a review of Byron ; but the Tories 
were a powerful party in Edinburgh, and some of them resolved that the Whigs 
should not have it " all their own way." 

One of two who suggested the idea to Mr. William Blackwood, an enterprising 
publisher in Edinburgh, was Thomas Peingle, " a pleasant poet," who afterwards 
emigrated to South Africa, from which he subsequently returned, and became editor 
of the Friendship's Offering, one of the annuals, published first by Lupton Relfe, a 
bookseller in Cornhill, and afterwards by Smith and Elder. 

I knew Pringle somewhat intimately. He was a kindly and courteous gentleman, 
with limited literary power, but with much taste and feeling for literature and for 
art. What was his occupation at the Cape I cannot say. He could not have been 
an " effective settler," for he was lame — so lame, indeed, as to be compelled to use 
a crutch. His politics got him into " a scrape " with the authorities at Cape Town. 
He was compelled to quit the colony, and strove to exist as an author in London, 
where not long afterwards he died. Those who desire to know more of him may read 
his " Narrative of a Residence in South Africa." I published some of his stray 
pieces and poems in the British Magazine, a work I then conducted. They were 
never, I believe, collected. 

The first number of the Edinburgh Monthly Magazine was issued by Mr. Black- 
wood in April, 1817. Its infancy was weak and unpromising. Misunderstandings 
having arisen between Blackwood and the then editors — Messrs. Cleghorn and 
Pringle — they withdrew. The title was changed, and in October, 1817, was issued 
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. It began in a storm ; a ferocious spirit influenced 
the leading writers from the first. " The Mohawks of the press," as Lady Morgan 
afterwards styled them, produced something like a shudder, and excited an amount 
of wrath scarcely conceivable nowadays ; for there was such abundant evidence of 
high ability in all its departments, that no one could despise, however much he 
hated. Later in its history, Leigh Hunt, in the Liberal, described its writers as " a 
troop of Yahoos, or a tribe of satyrs," " adoring Blackwood as some Indian tribes do 
the devil ! " 

It soon became more than a suspicion that Wilson, if not the editor, was, at all 
events, a principal contributor. He was like an athlete in the arena, dashing at a 
score at once ; striking now here, now there ; wounding alike friends and foes ; 
heedless where he struck, or who fell beneath his blows ; while " even in his fiercest 
moods he was alive to pity, tenderness, and humour," and would have been the first 

to heal the wounds he inflicted. The magazine prospered, and has ever since main- 
tained its high repute. It was famous, and it v^as feared, and Wilson was assailed — 
not without show of reason — as a reprobate and a moral assassin. 

It is known that one of Wilson's closest allies in the conduct of Blackwood 
was John Gibson Lockhakt, the son-in-law of Sir Walter Scott, and the successor of 
Gifford in the editorship of the Quarterly Review. The personal appearance of Lock- 
hart was familiar to all habitues of society reception-rooms in London. Neither in 
aspect nor manner, in mind nor in character, had he aught of the genial nature, the 
utter unselfishness, the large and universal sympathy, of his friend Wilson. Indeed, 
it would have been difficult to find two men so utterly dissimilar. 

This is the portrait of Lockhart in Mrs. Gordon's Life of her father. Professor 
Wilson: — "His pale olive complexion had something of a Spanish character in it 
that accorded well with the sombre, or rather, melancholy, expression of his coun- 
tenance ; his thin lips, compressed beneath a smile of habitual sarcasm, promised no 
genial reponse to the warmer emotions of the heart : cold, haughty, supercihous in 
manner, he seldom won love." He is described by other authorities as " systematic, 
cool, and circumspect :" " when he armed himself for conflict it was with a fell and 
deadly determination:" "no thrill of compassion ever held back his hand when he 
had made up his mind to strike." In Edinburgh he received the cognomen of " the 
Scorpion." His friend Wilson— through the mouth of the Ettrick Shepherd— described 
him "wi' a pale face, and a black toozy head, but an e'e like an eagle's, and a sort 
o' lauch about the screwed-up mouth o' him that fules ca'ed no canny, for they 
couldna thole the meaning o't." In " Peter's Letters" he thus pictures himself: — 
" His features are regular and quite definite in their outline : his forehead is well 
advanced, and largest in the region of observation and perception." He protests 
against its being supposed that his play of " fancy is to gratify a sardonic bitterness, 
or to nourish a sour and atrabilious spirit." He was young then, and hoping to find 
there were better things in hterature than satire. He did not find it, because he did 
not seek for it. 

Certainly he was a strikingly handsome man : tall and slight, with abundant dark 
hair on a head well set on his shoulders, and with features " finely cut ; " but on his 
face there was a perpetual sneer, as if he grudged humanity a virtue.* 

Blackwood, the eminent bibliopole, so often the mark of assailants as merciless 
as were those who upheld him, Wilson describes as "a perfectly honourable and 
honest man." I saw him often during his brief visits to London, and once in his 
shop in Edinburgh. We were invited to his house — an invitation circumstances 
compelled us to postpone ; and on a subsequent visit to Edinburgh he had been 
removed from earth. He was a plain man, somewhat burly of form ; of his shrewd 
intelligence there can be no doubt ; he did not convey the idea of an intellectual 

* Lockhart died at Abbotsford on the 25th of November, 1854, a few months only after his friend Wilson ; he 
is buried ia Dryburgh Abbey, " at the feet of his great father-in-law." He was born in the Manse of Cambusnethan, 
on the 14th of July, 1794— his father being minister of the parish — and married, in 1820, Sophia, the daughter of 
Sir Walter Scott 'By her he had a son and a daughter. The son died young ; and so perished the Mneal repre- 
sentatives of the great Scottish bard. The daughter married Mr. Hope, who took the name of Scott ; and, happily, 
there are children of that marriage. 

man ; neither, I believe, did he ever assume to be one. But he was a man of 
strong will; he did not hesitate to "cut down" even the papers of Wilson, and 
was the only" real editor" of the magazine in the day of its strength. He died in 
September, 1854, esteemed, respected, and beloved