There have been most excellent, credible, and authentic documents produced in this case; and, as a specimen of them, we shall mention Lord Lindsay’s letter, and the journal and letter it authenticates. Lord Lindsay at once comes forward, gives his name boldly, gives the history of the papers he produces, shows how they came to be in his hands, why never produced before, and why now. We feel confidence at once.
But in regard to the important series of letters presented as Lady Byron’s, this obviously proper course has not been pursued. Though assumed to be of the most critical importance, no such distinct history of them was given in the first instance. The want of such evidence being noticed by other papers, the ‘Quarterly’ appears hurt that the high character of the magazine has not been a sufficient guarantee; and still deals in vague statements that the letters have been freely circulated, and that two noblemen of the highest character would vouch for them if necessary.
In our view, it is necessary. These noblemen should imitate Lord Lindsay’s example,—give a fair account of these letters, under their own names; and then, we would add, it is needful for complete satisfaction to have the letters entire, and not in fragments.
The ‘Quarterly’ gave these letters with the evident implication that they are entirely destructive to Lady Byron’s character as a witness. Now, has that magazine much reason to be hurt at even an insinuation on its own character when making such deadly assaults on that of another? The individuals who bring forth documents that they suppose to be deadly to the character of a noble person, always in her generation held to be eminent for virtue, certainly should not murmur at being called upon to substantiate these documents in the manner usually expected in historical investigations.
We have shown that these letters do not contradict, but that they perfectly confirm the facts, and agree with the dates in Lady Byron’s published statements of 1830; and this is our reason for deeming them authentic.
These considerations with regard to the manner of conducting the inquiry seem so obviously proper, that we cannot but believe that they will command a serious attention.
We shall now proceed to state the argument against Lord Byron.
1st, There is direct evidence that Lord Byron was guilty of some unusual immorality.
The evidence is not, as the ‘Blackwood’ says, that Lushington yielded assent to the ex parte statement of a client; nor, as the ‘Quarterly’ intimates, that he was affected by the charms of an attractive young woman.
The first evidence of it is the fact that Lushington and Romilly offered to take the case into court, and make there a public exhibition of the proofs on which their convictions were founded.