July 31 1815: Byron Is Not Happy

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“Rode up to London to see Kinnaird – he not there –  saw Byron and Burdett – the latter rode down to Brentford with me, and confided the whole story of Coutts’ folly in marrying Miss Mellon to me, as well as his own political disappointment in the failure of affairs in France. Jack Gaule tells me there were many here who wished success to the French arms.  Continue reading

July 30 1815: Crowd of Boats

“On Sunday, the 30th of July, the crowd of boats was greater than I ever remember to have seen at one time. I am certain I speak within bounds when I state, that upwards of a thousand were collected round the ship, in each of which, on an average, there were not fewer than eight people. The crush was so great, as to render it quite impossible for the guard-boats to keep them off; though a boat belonging to one of the frigates made use of very violent means to effect it, frequently running against small boats, containing women, with such force as nearly to upset them, and alarming the ladies extremely. The French officers were very indignant at such rude proceedings, saying, “Is this your English liberty? Were such a thing to happen in France, the men would rise with one accord and throw that officer and his crew overboard.” Continue reading

July 30 1815: ‘NAPOLEON’S FAREWELL’ by Lord Byron

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On July 30 1815, a poem entitled ‘Napoleon’s Farewell’ is published anonymously in the Examiner. The editor is at pains to add that he does not necessarily agree with the sentiments of the poem, but since the editor is Leigh Hunt, he probably did. Hunt does cautiously write in relation to the poem: “We need scarcely remind our readers that there are points in these spirited lines, with which our opinions do not accord; and, indeed, the author himself has told us that he rather adapted them to what he considered the speaker’s feelings than his own.” The poem in fact was written by Lord Byron whose sympathies for Napoleon were well known and intense. Byron was aware that his was no longer a popular opinion and he tried to further hide his identity by adding the suggestion that the poem is a translation from a French poem.  Continue reading

July 29 1815: Raining in Plymouth

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During the whole of the 29th of July it rained incessantly, and nothing worth relating took place: the Frenchmen were deprived of their usual amusement of admiring the ladies, and being admired in return, not a boat having made its appearance. They often remarked, with the characteristic vivacity of their nation, that they were placed in the situation of Tantalus,—so many beauties in view, without the possibility of approaching them.

— Captain Maitland of H.M.S. Bellerophon writes about July 29 1815. Continue reading

July 28 1815: Byron and Napoleon

 
Friday July 28th 1815: Rode up to London again. Went with Byron to Garraway’s, where Newstead was brought in at 95,000 guineas the first lot. Thebona fide holding was 79,000 guineas – he is much annoyed. Rochdale – 16,000 guineas. Called on Lady Noel, who wants Byron to sell hugely.

 
Before I came out of London, heard the Gazette Officiel from France today contains what I dreaded, a list of proscribed – nineteen for their lives, others banished. Napoleon is to go to St Helena, and that island to be bought, by the King, of the East India Company. The ministerial papers are angry at the distinction paid to him, and because people stand with their hats off in his presence. His letter to the Prince Regent is very good. He still acts en Prince on board the Bellerophon at Plymouth – the curiosity to see him there is unabated – returned to Whitton.

 — John Cam Hobhouse writes in his diary about July 28 1815.

July 27 1815: Napoleon on English Women

“In the afternoon [on July 27 1815] Sir Richard and Lady Strachan, accompanied by Mrs Maitland, came alongside the ship. Buonaparte was walking the deck, and, when I told him my wife was in the boat, he went to the gangway, pulled off his hat, and asked her if she would not come up and visit him. She shook her head; and I informed him, that my orders were so positive, I could not even allow her to come on board. He answered, “C’est dur, ça.” “That is very hard.” And addressing himself to her, “Milord Keith est un peu trop sevère; n’est-ce pas, Madame?” “Lord Keith is a little too severe; is he not, Madam?” He then said to me, “Ma foi, son portrait ne la flatte pas; elle est encore plus jolie que lui.” “I assure you her portrait is not flattering; she is handsomer than it is.” I told him Sir Richard Strachan was in the boat with her, and that he was second in command of the Channel fleet: he bowed to him, and said, “He appears a very young man to hold so high a rank.” Continue reading