Upon this, I immediately began collecting and reading the various articles and the book, and perceived that the public of this generation were in a way of having false history created, uncontradicted, under their own eyes.
I claim for my countrymen and women, our right to true history. For years, the popular literature has held up publicly before our eyes the facts as to this man and this woman, and called on us to praise or condemn. Let us have truth when we are called on to judge. It is our right.
There is no conceivable obligation on a human being greater than that of absolute justice. It is the deepest personal injury to an honourable mind to be made, through misrepresentation, an accomplice in injustice. When a noble name is accused, any person who possesses truth which might clear it, and withholds that truth, is guilty of a sin against human nature and the inalienable rights of justice. I claim that I have not only a right, but an obligation, to bring in my solemn testimony upon this subject.
For years and years, the silence-policy has been tried; and what has it brought forth? As neither word nor deed could be proved against Lady Byron, her silence has been spoken of as a monstrous, unnatural crime, ’a poisonous miasma,’ in which she enveloped the name of her husband.
Very well; since silence is the crime, I thought I would tell the world that Lady Byron had spoken.
Christopher North, years ago, when he condemned her for speaking, said that she should speak further,—
‘She should speak, or some one for her. One word would suffice.’
That one word has been spoken.
An editorial in The London Times’ of Sept. 18 says:—
’The perplexing feature in this “True Story” is, that it is impossible to distinguish what part in it is the editress’s, and what Lady Byron’s own. We are given the impression made on Mrs. Stowe’s mind by Lady Byron’s statements; but it would have been more satisfactory if the statement itself had been reproduced as bare as possible, and been left to make its own impression on the public.’
In reply to this, I will say, that in my article I gave a brief synopsis of the subject-matter of Lady Byron’s communications; and I think it must be quite evident to the world that the main fact on which the story turns was one which could not possibly be misunderstood, and the remembrance of which no lapse of time could ever weaken.
Lady Byron’s communications were made to me in language clear, precise, terrible; and many of her phrases and sentences I could repeat at this day, word for word. But if I had reproduced them at first, as ’The Times’ suggests, word for word, the public horror and incredulity would have been doubled. It was necessary that the brutality of the story should, in some degree, be veiled and softened.