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self relieved of a load of obligation, for the publishers were generous enough to superadd the sum of 300l. to the original price of the copyright, in consequence of the extensive sale which it met with at the very outset. A tribute of admiration from Lord John Russell, on reading it, is thus couched:—
“I am all astonishment at the extent of your knowledge, the soundness of your political views, and the skill with which you contrive to keep clear of tiresomeness, when the subject seems to invite it . . . . .
“I dined at Wimbledon yesterday, and all the Spencers sang chorus in praise of your book.” (Vol. iv. p. 323.)
When we run our eye over the entries in Moore's Diary, we are apt to take comparatively little heed of those which relate purely to work. Yet they really are numerous, though a fortnight is commonly included in a line; such as “3rd to 17th. At work;” “Rest of this month hard at work.” Hence we are unconsciously led to regard the labour as nothing in the scale, when weighed against the indulgence of the gregarious propensity. The Diary, in fact, taken in its general character, might bear to be prefaced by an inscription which we remember to have read upon a sun-dial near Padua, “Horas non numero nisi serenas.” As a holiday, after being so hard at work, was indispensable, Moore rushes off to Scotland, and pays a visit to Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, a brief account of which is among the pleasantest passages in the book. Scott's conversation about his own productions is curious, showing that he rather stumbled upon his talent than cultivated it originally. “Had begun Waverley long before, and then thrown it by, until having occasion for some money (to help his brother,
I think), he bethought himself of it, but could not find the MS.” (Vol. iv. p. 33.3.) When he did, “made 3000l. by Waverley.”
Moore goes to the theatre (need we say?) at Edinburgh, of which his brother-in-law, Murray, was manager. Jeffrey, Sir Walter, and Mr. Thomson are
there with him. The enthusiasm displayed by the audience is quite extravagant (for us Scotchmen), and delights Sir Walter, who exclaims, “This is quite right. I am glad my countrymen have returned the compliment for me.”
Moore also visits Mr. Jeffrey at Craigcrook. On the morrow of his arrival, he writes:—
“After breakfast, sitting with Jeffrey in his beautiful little Gothic study, he told me at much length his opinion of my Life of Sheridan. Thinks it a work of great importance to my fame . . . . . * Here,’ (said Jeffrey) “is a convincing proof that you can think and reason solidly and manfully, and treat the gravest and most important subjects in a manner worthy of them . . . . . I am of opinion that you have given us the only clear, fair, and manly account of the o transactions of the last fifty years that we possess.’ ” (Vol. v. p. 7.
On his return from Scotland, Moore is called to Dublin by the illness of his father, who expires shortly subsequent to his son's arrival. Through the kindness of Messrs. Longman, who, although Moore is so heavily in debt towards the firm, permit him to draw upon them, he discharges all outstanding obligations, defrays expenses of his father's funeral, and supports his mother with all the comforts and attentions the occasion calls for. The Lord-Lieutenant proposes to arrange that the half-pay enjoyed by the late Mr. Moore should be continued, under the form of pension, to his daughter. Moore peremptorily declines the offer.
“All this is very kind and liberal of Lord Wellesley; and God knows how useful such an aid would be, as God alone knows how I am to support all the burthens now heaped upon me; but I could not accept such a favour.” (Vol. v. p. 25.)
It would seem that during the year 1826, Moore's talent for facetious and satirical verse-making was placed at the service of the Times newspaper, and, as has ever been the practice with that Journal, was amply remunerated. In fact, looking on the one hand at the large sums realized by everything he produced, and on the other at the very modest scale on which his ménage was conducted, together with the wellattested frugality and self-denial of his excellent partner, we have found it difficult to explain the state of chronic insolvency in which Moore obviously lived. His children were, it is true, always ailing, his wife never well. But then their medical attendant, Dr. Brabant of Devizes, having a cordial sympathy for genius and virtue in difficulties, would accept no fees. Moore himself seemed to have had no expensive habits, except that he never refused himself a hack postchaise; that luxury which Dr. Johnson so feelingly prized His “junketings” in London were usually enjoyed at the cost of others, and his garret to sleep in seems to have constituted almost his only expense. The solution must lie in the fact of his having twice had to overtake a considerable sum by his unassisted exertions; his own maintenance and that of his parents needing to be provided at the same time.
The history of the gift, sale, and ultimate destruction of Lord Byron's Memoirs has been so much canvassed, and versions so various have circulated concerning Moore's conduct on the occasion, that we are thankful to find much circumstantial information to guide us to a safe conclusion, though the Diary contains only a part of what Moore left in elucidation of this complex affair. The rest has been withheld by the noble editor, and we are bound to say without, as far as we can discover, satisfactory reasons for its suppression. Enough nevertheless remains wherewith to frame an accurate summary of this case—an indispensable item in a retrospective sketch of the Poet's life. The Memoirs were given to him, without reserve, as without directions, by Lord Byron; but were unquestionably intended partly as a justification of himself, and partly as a means of enriching his friend. Moore, pressed for money (as usual), made over the MSS. to Mr. Murray for the sum of 2000 guineas. He subsequently modified the transaction by ordering a clause to be inserted in the deed, by which he, Moore, should have the option of redeeming the Memoirs within three months of Lord Byron's death. When that unlooked-for event occurred, in 1824, the family and personal friends of the deceased nobleman urgently sought to possess themselves of the manuscript, with a view to its destruction. Moore, conceiving that in yielding it up for that purpose he should be defeating the intentions and wishes of his friend, demurs to the request. He pleads earnestly for its publication, proposing to suppress all matter calculated either to wound the feelings of living persons, or to shock public taste. But the Byron family, Mrs. Leigh, Sir John Hobhouse, and Mr. Wilmot Horton, are inexorable; and so much im
portunity is addressed both to Moore and Mr.
* This loan, or accommodation, on the part of Mr. Rogers, was subsequently repaid out of the profits of The Loves of the Angels and Fables of the Holy Alliance. (See Preface to vol. viii. of Works.)