It had never occurred to me, that, nine years after Lady Byron’s death, a standard English periodical would declare itself free to re-open this controversy, when all the generation who were her witnesses had passed from earth; and that it would re-open it in the most savage form of accusation, and with the indorsement and commendation of a book of the vilest slanders, edited by Lord Byron’s mistress.
Let the reader mark the retributions of justice. The accusations of the ‘Blackwood,’ in 1869, were simply an intensified form of those first concocted by Lord Byron in his ‘Clytemnestra’ poem of 1816. He forged that weapon, and bequeathed it to his party. The ‘Blackwood’ took it up, gave it a sharper edge, and drove it to the heart of Lady Byron’s fame. The result has been the disclosure of this history. It is, then, Lord Byron himself, who, by his network of wiles, his ceaseless persecutions of his wife, his efforts to extend his partisanship beyond the grave, has brought on this tumultuous exposure. He, and he alone, is the cause of this revelation.
And now I have one word to say to those in England who, with all the facts and documents in their hands which could at once have cleared Lady Byron’s fame, allowed the barbarous assault of the ‘Blackwood’ to go over the civilised world without a reply. I speak to those who, knowing that I am speaking the truth, stand silent; to those who have now the ability to produce the facts and documents by which this cause might be instantly settled, and who do not produce them.
I do not judge them; but I remind them that a day is coming when they and I must stand side by side at the great judgment-seat,—I to give an account for my speaking, they for their silence.
In that day, all earthly considerations will have vanished like morning mists, and truth or falsehood, justice or injustice, will be the only realities.
In that day, God, who will judge the secrets of all men, will judge between this man and this woman. Then, if never before, the full truth shall be told both of the depraved and dissolute man who made it his life’s object to defame the innocent, and the silent, the self-denying woman who made it her life’s object to give space for repentance to the guilty.
PART III. MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS.
THE TRUE STORY OF LADY BYRON’S LIFE, AS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ‘THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.’
The reading world of America has lately been presented with a book which is said to sell rapidly, and which appears to meet with universal favour.
The subject of the book may be thus briefly stated: The mistress of Lord Byron comes before the world for the sake of vindicating his fame from slanders and aspersions cast on him by his wife. The story of the mistress versus wife may be summed up as follows:—