March 10 1816: Setback on Separation

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“Called on Lord Byron. Found S.B.Davies and Kinnaird with him, and the whole house in rumpus – a letter from Lushington to Hanson on Saturday offered a meeting at once to proceed with the separation. Kinnaird was violently against the last article of the Principle and to my surprise Davies said he had never seen that paper, and would not presume to give any advice on money matters, which a lawyer should decide. I was still of the same opinion – that the principle as to the Kirkby property was equitable – and I offered to bet Kinnaird ten guineas that Sir Samuel Romilly would think so. Byron said he would break it all off at once if we thought fit – and that he was not at all bound by the paper of yesterday. I told him it was nothing as a legal instrument, but that I thought he had assented positively to it – he said, “No, I did not”. – “If so,” said I, “it is nothing as a legal instrument”. – Douglas Kinnaird was violent as usual about the matter, and said that Lord Byron ought to have the grace for whatever he did do, and bind himself to nothing for the Kirkby property – especially as he offered to give up the whole of his present property. I differed from him, and left Byron with the notice that Romilly would be applied to. I rode in the park with S.B.Davies, and then rode down to Whitton, where I found them all glad to see me before I called on Byron. Today I went to Burdett, who told me that in common with every honest man in England, he thanked me for my book … I was happy as usual at home.”

—  John Cam Hobhouse writes in his diary, March 10 1816.

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