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as I write this very passage, and think what even his lame foot might have done to injure the “ energetic" person I have described in a former part of my book, I am forced to use a very strong word (truth must help me out with it); but I feel as if I ought to blush for not having secreted my doubts on this point. There was, at all events, no necessity to mention them. I might fairly have let them remain among other things, which I did not think it warrantable to speak of. Others may even know him to be a man of courage ; and I have nothing to oppose to their knowledge. But Lord Byron has been so treated in all quarters, as a man of whom every thing was to be said-gifting him, as it were, with the privileges of an ancient, and making the least thing in his character, bad or good, a matter of dispassionate, or rather passionate curiosity, that a biographer is involuntarily led to speculate more upon him than he would upon another person; and I trust, whatever my spleen may have been sometimes it is not very visible in the passages here quoted, and that the reader will do me the justice of supposing that the ardour of my portrait painting was upon me, more than any other feeling
After all, my doubt was only a doubt, however strongly expressed. I express doubts on the other side; I sum up all by saying that he was a contradiction;" and the instances I put, on either side, apply only to physical courage. If I doubt whether circumstances had left him enough of this to hinder him from becoming a victim to a state of protracted anxiety, exasperated by illness, and if I have too good reason to know that he wanted moral courage enough to face a part of society upon certain points, I doubt not, that at any time of life, he had quite sufficient to obey the calls of his favourite impulses, and to dare any thing for their sake, as long as he could have been kept in action; and this, perhaps, in sedentary and sophisticate times like the present, is as much as many men would require to be conceded them. Above all, I pretend to little more myself; and only to that more, as far as endurance is concerned, and inasmuch as the circumstances of my life have led me to have greater views of what ought to be endured for mankind. With regard to physical courage, I lay claim, in some respects, to less than I have attributed to Lord Byron. I have moral courage, and a good deal of it ; but illhealth, and other circumstances, have often put it to the test.
III. With regard to a mistake liable to be drawn respecting Mr. Horace Smith.-It has been suggested to me, that in the notice respecting Mr. Horace Smith, the
passage where I speak of that gentleman's difference with Mr. Shelley, “ on some points,” may not be explicit enough. Advantage, it is thought, may be taken of it by the malignant, to aim a very cruel blow at the peace of a great many worthy people. Unfortunately, persons who despair of being liked and respected, and therefore seek their importance in giving pain, are but too apt to insist upon making use of a piece of malignity, the more they know it to be unfounded; but in the hope that the very different people above mentioned may be consoled for these or any other mistakes on the subject in the meanwhile, and cautioning them how they suffer themselves to add to the absurdity by the magnitude of their alarm, I think it proper to state that Mr. Horace Smith differed altogether from Mr. Shelley upon points of religion. I wish I had stated this more explicitly; but I live a good deal out of the world, and in calling to mind two men who differed extremely with one another, and yet were both of excellent natures, I really forgot that, with some men, difference of opinion is only a signal for every thing hostile, hypocritical, and vexatious.
In me convertite ferrum.- It is a monstrous thing, in my eyes, to find my friend Mr. Shelley made a bug-bear of, to frighten any portion of the fellow-creatures whom he loved ; but allowing, as I do, that he differed with many excellent and clever people upon points the most important, I can never suffer his name to be mentioned without adding to it the enthusiastic expression of my regard ; for I know also, that whatever he differed with, he differed with in a spirit as unhostile as possible, and out of the best intentions and most exalted views. Any burden of obloquy that may be made up out of these sentiments I shall be proud to bear; and I only wish Mr. Smith and his friends could have known him as thoroughly as I did, that they might see how many reasons I have for abiding fast by his memory.
LETTER TO THE AUTHOR FROM THE REV. MR.
[The communication here laid before the reader came to hand unfortunately too late to enable me to alter the passage complained of. The pleasure—the honour-of receiving a letter from “ Le Grice,"_" a Grecian” --(for all my school-days come over me at his name, and I still feel like a little boy before him) -- was turned into great pain, when I saw the mistake I had made in speaking of his brother. I acted, I confess, on the mere recollection of a school-report ; one of the millions of reports which are every day disseminating mistake among the children of this world, young and old. As the case stands, and the chance of paining the venerable eyes in question still remains (though I hope it may be otherwise provided against) I have thought it best to print the letter itself. In the perusal of it, if those eyes happen to meet with the book, the momentary tear occasioned them by an error respecting one son, will assuredly be changed into balm and pleasure, on seeing the fervour with which it is effaced by another. I beg pardon of those whom I have thus unwittingly offended ; and can only say (what I hope will not give them a less Christian opinion of me, than is intended) that in being accustomed to regard the faults of mankind as the result of circumstance, and seeing hopes for them in the opinion incompatible with no real good or piety, I did not feel that horror in using the word " rake” which may reasonably startle an aged mother, or indeed any other person who has grown up in the old system of thinking.)
“Penzance, Feb. 10, 1828. “ DEAR SIR, “ Excuse my writing on this paper, in my haste I can find no other. Your Recollections' have just reach
What could have induced you to have given such an account of my dear Brother? He died, you say, a rake. I acquit you of all malignant intention : surely your memoranda of “ Christ's” were not lately written, but some old memoranda now thrown in to fill your book. I hope so: supposing that my brother had been a little inconsiderate, what right can you have to dig up his frailties from the grave: but it was not so : the epithet is most unfounded. A rake! I wish, Sir, you were at my elbow, and could read a packet of his letters written from Jamaica :-read his first feelings on the scenes in Jamaica : he was awakened to most serious thoughts, and meditating a history of the internal state of the island, especially of the Maroons. If you could see his letters, you would revere instead of abusing his memory. How delightfully you speak of your Father and Mother. My Mother is still living: only suppose this page of your book coming before her eyes! Her favourite son“ died a rake." Think a moment. I will copy a passage from a letter written by my brother on his birth-day, 31st August, 1801, in Jamaica, a year before he died; and which I now keep to inspire solemn thoughts on my birth-day every year :-“ I have not received a letter from my Mother for a long time, which I have before said has given