April 21 1816: Lord Byron Signs Separation Papers

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“At half-past three this day, Hanson brought the Deed of Separation. Lord Byron signed it, and delivered it in these words at first, “I deliver this as Mrs Clermont’s act and deed”. I was one of the witnesses of the Deed of Separation, as I had been to the Deed of Marriage Settlement on Saturday, December the 31st 1814. Hanson was the other. Hanson repeated to me today, in Lord Byron’s presence, that he was afraid Lady Byron intended some violence to Lord Byron’s person. He repeated also that he knew she intended to come back, for the last words that she made use of when she was getting into her carriage at Hanson’s house just before she left London [were], “Well pray, get him to come down as soon as you can – or if necessary write to me, and I will come back at a minute’s warning”. I immediately wrote to Doyle, telling him the deed was signed.

We had a session: Kinnairds, Mr and Lord, Sam Rogers, and S.B.Davies. Rogers was afraid to leave the room and his character behind him. However, he went. Dined at home. In the evening, had a note from Colonel Doyle, telling me that Lady Byron had received an intimation that Lord Byron’s friends intended to publish the correspondence – that if so, Lady Byron would publish everything that had passed since the first day of her marriage. I felt angry at this indirect threat, which was only a fish, to get me to give some assurance to the contrary. However, I showed the letter to Byron, and at last sent back, sensibly, that the intimation did not proceed from Lord Byron or myself. I went to Lady Holland tonight. Lord Grey gave me Wilson’s Interrogatories, and begged me to get them put into the papers, with some note or headline. I read them, and walked to the Morning Chronicle office, where I left them with Perry’s manager. Violent attack in the Champion, which I did not read.

— John Cam Hobhouse writes in his diary for April 21 1816.

 

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