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LORD & LADY BYRON
as told by
LORD MACAULAY, THOMAS MOORE, LEIGH HUNT, THOMAS
The following notices, from high class American journals, show the public opinion in that country with respect to Mrs. Stowe's article ; indeed it has been more universally condemned in the United States than here.
“Mrs. Stowe has committed the grave error of putting forth her story with out a tittle of proof, without the support of dates or circumstances, without even a clear statement of her charge.
Evening Post. “The authoress of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' can hardly wonder that she is made the subject of unlimited chit-chat, when the proprietors of rival magazines bid against each other for her contributions, and when her name, printed in elephantine letters, adorns half the dead walls in the republic."
N. Y. Tribune, Aug. 24, 1869. “A more painful narrative we never read-doubly painful, because it is evident that it is malignant and false to a degree.",
Philadelphia Press, Aug. 20, 1869. “The New York Tribune says that in all probability the article on 'Lord Byron's married life,' which appeared in the June number of the 'Temple Bar,' was used by Mrs. Stowe in the preparation of her paper for the Atlantic, as the statements in both are strikingly similar.” Aug. 20, 1869.
" Mr. Thackeray,” said an American lady,“ is it
true, this dreadful story which we hear about you
and Miss Bronté ?" “ Madam," responded the burly novelist, “it is, I
grieve to say, too true. Six children were the fruit of that unhallowed intimacy, and I killed them all with my own hand."
N all the discussion that has taken place,
with regard to what is now generally spoken of as “the Byron Scandal,” it seems to be taken for granted that Mrs. Beecher Stowe wrote the article entitled “The true Story of Lady Byron's Life" for publication in this country.
Now nothing could be farther from the truth than such a supposition. There is the best of evidence that it was written for the eyes of American readers, and was—at least originally—not intended for republication in this country at all.
There is another matter, too, that should be made known. The article printed in Macmillan is not as written by Mrs. Stowe, but has been corrected and adapted for English readers in a way that will doubtless annoy the authoress; for she could scarcely spell proper names correctly in the American edition, and then give them uniformly incorrect in the English edition —which anomaly actually does take place. Making every allowance for the excitement incidental to the subject, she would scarcely say, in the Boston edition, that her article was an appeal to American readers, and then in the London edition omit all mention of its being an appeal to American readers, cancelling the very name of her country, so that the article might sell here from the mere vulgar curiosity it would be sure to excite.
The facts would seem to be these :
In America, the active publishers there, have reprinted the English translation of the Countess Guiccioli's “Recollections of Lord Byron;" one special cheap edition of the work being produced in a flaring yellow cover, bearing the portrait of a rosy-cheeked lady in an exceedingly lownecked dress. The title is " Memoirs of Lord Byron by his Mistress," and the price is twentyfive cents--a trifle less than a shilling of our money. It was this popular edition, selling by tens of thousands, which met Mrs. Stowe's eye in every railway car, and on every steam-boat; and it was the sight of so many copies of the book, and so many readers of the “Memoirs," which suggested to Mrs. Stowe-according to her own statement in the Atlantic Monthly—that a favourable opportunity had now arrived for writing an article confuting the Countess Guiccioli, -indeed for openly publishing in America the secrets which (as a private adviser) she had been entrusted with in England, making of course a little money by the transaction,
Mrs. Stowe being a regular contributor to the Atlantic Monthly, the article naturally found its way into the pages of that magazine. That it was written from a purely American point of view, and intended for Trans-atlantic, and not English perusal, will be at once perceived by any one who may glance over it as printed in the Atlantic Monthly. It opens with the words—“The reading world of America has lately," whereas in Macmillan it begins "The reading world has lately"all mention of America being omitted. On the same page allusions to the “ Youths of America," and Mrs. Stowe's fear that the story of Lord Byron's mistress is going “ the length of this American Continent," are omitted in the Macmillan version -in fact, every page of the original article as written by Mrs. Stowe for the Atlantic Monthly bears evidence that the principal excuse for its appearance at all was that it might counteract some sudden and powerful feeling in favour of Lord Byron, his works and character, which had