October 22 1814: Lord Byron Bets Wrong

On October 22 1814, Lord Byron writes to John Cowell. His friends had reminded him of a bet that Byron had made some time ago. Six years earlier Byron had calculated that the odds of him marrying were one hundred to one. He had made bets on these odds which he was now forced to pay given his anticipated marriage to Miss Milbanke. There was some dispute, and differing recollections, as to the identity of the betters but Byron magnanimously paid.  Byron is learning that his marriage will be costly. Continue reading

October 21 814: Southey on the War With America


Would to God this business with America were settled.  It is a war of the Devils own making from which nothing but mischief can arise. Yet while it lasts I would strike hard & home, & therefore cannot but approve the blow at Washington. If poor Ross had not fallen, Baltimore would probably have experienced the same fate.

— Robert Southey writes to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, on October 21 1814.

October 20 1814: Object of Curiosity


On October 20 1814, Lord Byron writes to Annabella Milbanke, from London.

I have been so much amused with your “extracts” though I had no idea what evil spirit I then appeared in your eyes—you were quite right however as far as appearances—but that was not my natural character—I was just returned from a far country where everything was different—& felt bewildered & not very happy in my own which I had left without regret & returned to without interest— Continue reading

October 19 1814: First Performace of the Star Spangled Banner

On October 19 1814,  at the conclusion of August von Kotzebue’s drama Count Benyowsky, of The Conspiracy of Kamschatka,  at Baltimore’s Holliday Street Theatre, the actor Mr. Harding sings publicly for the first time Francis Scott Key’s new song. Key’s lyrics were published with sheet music for the first time by the music publisher Joseph Carr in 1814. The arrangement was by his son Thomas Carr. The ‘Star Spangled Banner’ with the original arrangement is performed  below by the The Anacreontic Society. Continue reading

October 18 1814: I Hate It

 October 18 1814: Mutineers Found

On October 18 1814, Sir Thomas Staines of the HMS Briton writes to Vice Admiral Dixon about having found on Pitcairn Island the remaining descendants of the crew of the HMS Bounty that had mutinied on April 28 1789. The mutiny had been led by Fletcher Christian against Captain William Bligh. Christian eventually led some of the crew to Pitcairn Island. Only one of the original Bounty mutineers was alive in 1814 though the island was inhabited by the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians as it remains to today. Continue reading