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his will, for which he gave very sensible and distinct instructions; and, while Mr. Partington was employed in his business, he gave Mr. Let inz, at his request, the same account which he had before given to Mr. Hawkins, lamenting, at the same time, his own folly in fighting in the dark—an expression that certainly conveyed no imputation on Lord Byron, and implied no more than this, that by fighting with a dim tight he had given up the advantage of bis own superiority in swordmanship, and had been led into the mistake that he was in the breast of his lordship, when he was only entangled in his waistcoat, for under that mistake he certainly was when Lord Byron shortened his sword, and on him through the body. He added, to Mr. Levins, that he died as a man of honour; and expressed a satisfaction that he was in his present situation, rather than in that of having the life of any man to answer for.
'Mr. Partington, when he had finished the business he was sent for, and the will was properly executed, recollected the probability that he should one day be called upon to give testimony to the dying words of this unhappy client; and accordingly, with the caution that always accompanies a thorough knowledge of the law, he thought proper to commit to writing the last words he was heard to say on this occasion. This writing was put into the hands of Mr. Levinz, and gave rise to a •eport that a paper was written by the deceased, and sealed up, not to be opened till the time that Lord Byron should be tried; but no paper whatever was written by Mr. Chaworth, and that written by Mr. Partiagton was as follows :—
"Sunday morning, the twenty-seventh of January, about three of the clock, Mr. Chaworth said, That my lord's sword was half drawn; sod that he, knowing the man, immediately, or as quick as he could, whipped out his sword and had the first thrust j-that then my lord wounded him, and he disarmed my lord, who then said, By G—d, I have as much courage as any man in England."
'These are the particulars of this unfortunate affair; by which it should seem that neither Mr. Chaworth himself, nor any of his friends, could blame Lord Byron for the part he had in his death. Mr. Chaworth, it is manifest, was under the apprehensions of having mortally wounded Lord Byron; and Lord Byron, being still engaged, had a right to avail himself of that mistake for the preservation of his own life. His lordship himself, no doubt, may wish that he had, in that situation, disabled him only ; but in the heat of duelling who can always be collected f
'Some time after this unhappy affair Lord Byron surrendered himself to be tried by his peers; and on the 16th of April, 1765, about half an hour after nine in the morning, his lordship, escorted by parties of the horse and foot guards, and attended by the lientenantgovernor and constable of the Tower, and another gentleman, was brought for that purpose in a coach by the new road, Southwark, to Westminster-hall; and in the evening, between five and six, his lordship was conducted back the same way, and in the same manner, before all the witnesses for the prosecution could be examined.
'The trial being resumed the next day, as soon as their lordships had examined the rest of the witnesses in support of the charge against Lord Byron, the solicitor-general summed up the evidence j after .which Lord Byron, who declined examining any witnesses on his own behalf, told their lordships that what he had to offer in his own vindication he had committed to writing; and begged that it might he read by the clerk, as he feared his own voice, considering his present situation, would not be heard. His speech was accordingly read by the clerk in a very audible and distinct manner, and contained an exact detail of all the particulars relating to the melancholy affair between him and Mr. Chaworth. He said he declined entering into the circumstances of Mr. Chaworth's behaviour further than was necessary for his own defence, expressed his deep and unfeigned sorrow for the event, and reposed himself with the utmost confidence on their lordships' justice and humanity, and would with cheerfulness acquiesce in the sentence of the noblest and most equitable judicature in the world, whether it were for life or for death. The peers, who amounted in number to two hundred and fifty, then adjourned to their own House, and after some time returned, when they unanimously found his lordship guilty of manslaughter: and as, by an old statute, peers are, in all cases where clergy is allowed, be dismissed without burning in the hand, loss of inheritance, or corruption of blood, his lordship was immediately dismissed on paying his fees.—The witnesses examined on behalf of the crown were the several gentlemen in company at the Star and Garter Tavern when the accident happened, the master and waiters, Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Adair, the surgeons who attended Mr. Chaworth, his uncle, and the lawyer who made his will.
'Thecouncilforhislordship were the Honorable Mr. Charles Yorke, and Alexander Wedderburn, Esq.; attorney, Mr. Potts. Against his lordship, the attorney-general, the solicitor-general, Mr. Sergeant Giy n, Mr. Stowe, Mr. Cornwall; attorney, Mr. Joynes.'
The public curiosity was so great on this occasion, that tickets of admission were publicly sold for six guineas, and found eager purchasers.
This affair has been very frequently misrepresented, and much censure has been generally thrown upon Lord Byron/ which he seems hardly to have deserved. The circumstances of the duel and its fatal termination are very much to be regretted; but the man must be possessed of extraordinary cooluess and forbearance indeed, who eeald feel his adversary's sword entangled in his own coat, and not avail himself of the opportunity which was thus presented to him of patting an end to the combat, and of preserving his own life. The imputation of unfairness is evidently unfounded: from the statement of Mr. Chaworth, it appears that he made the first lunge.
It wan, however, an event, which, as might have been expected, clouded the whole of the after-life of the unfortunate survivor. His lordship married Elizabeth, the daughter of Charles Shaw, Esq. of Besthorp-hall, in the county of Norfolk, by whom he had three sons; but all of them died without issue before their father, who departed this life at Newstead Abbey, May 17, 1798.
Among the many remarkable persons who are to be reckoned among the immediate ancestors of the late Ixird Byron was the Honorable Commodore John Byron, who was wrecked in the year 1740 on the coast of Patagonia. This gentleman was the second son of William, the fourth Lord Byron, by his third marriage. He was born at Newttead Abbey, on the 8th of November, 1723; and was sent, while yet a boy, into the navy. In the year 1740 an expedition was fitted out for the purpose of annoying the Spaniards, who were then at war with England, in the South Seas, where an attack would be the hast expected. The command of the five ships of which this force was composed was intrusted to Commodore, afterwards Lord, Anson. On one of these ships, the Wager, Mr. Byron was rated as a midshipman, he being then seventeen years of age. The Wager was a ship in every respect unfitted for the service to which she was appointed. She had been an East Indiaman, and was now used as a store ship. In consequence of her being heavily laden, and moreover a very bad sailer, she toon parted company with the rest of the squadron, after having lost her mizen-mast in a squall off Straits Le Mai re, and never again joined the other ships. The island of Soccoro had been appointed as a rendezvous, and to this place the commander of the Wager, Capt. Cheap, endeavored to steer; but, owing to his obstinacy, and to the difficulty of navigating in those unknown seas, he failed in this attempt. The storm continued, while the ship's distress increased, until at length she was blown upon a lee shore, where she struck between two rocks.
The narrative published by Mr. Byron after his return is, perhaps, one of the most interesting books of the kind which the language contains. The late Lord Byron has made ample use of it in the course of bis singular poem of ' Don Juan/ as we shall hereafter take occasion to remark; and has alluded to it by saying that the hardships which his bero suffered were
The description given by Mr. Byron of the wreck has great power, and conveys with the least effort astriking picture of that appalnng event:—
'In this dreadful situation she (the ship) lay for some little time, every soul on board looking upon the present minute as his last; for there was nothing to be seen but breakers all around us. However, a mountainous sea hove her off from thence; but she presently struck again, and broke her tiller. In this terrifying and critical juncture, to have observed all the various modes of horror operating according to the several characters and complexions amongst us, it was necessary that the observer himself should have been free from all impressions of danger. Instances there were, however, of behaviour so very remarkable, they could not escape the notice of any one who was not entirely bereaved of his senses; for some were in this condition to all intents and purposes; particularly one, in the ravings despair brought upon him, was seen stalking about the deck, flourishing a cutlass over his head, and catling himself king of the country, and striking-every body he came near, till his companions, seeing no other security against his tyranny, knocked him down. Some, reduced before by long sickness end the scurvy, became on this occasion, as it were, petrified, and bereaved of all sense, like inanimate logs, and were banded to and fro by the jerks and rolls of the ship, without exerting any efforts to help themselves.'
This happened in the middle of the night; and, when day broke, the people got the boats out; but Mr. Byron, who, with the captain, went on shore, could not save a single article of his clothes, except what he had on his back. The land was, if possible, more dreadful than the sea, nothing appearing all around but a wild solitude, alike destitute of animals and vegetation. This dismal spot lay to the northward of the Straits of Magellan; but whether it formed part of an island or of the continent the sufferers had no means of determining. The narrative proceeds thus:—
'It is natural to think,' says the author, 'that to men, thus upon the point of perishing by shipwreck, getting to land was the highest attainment of their wishes; yet, all things considered, our condition was but little mended by the change. Whichever way we looked, a scene of horror presented itself: on one side the wreck (in which was all that we had in the world to support and subsist us), together with a boisterous sea, presented us with the most dreary prospect; on the other, the land did not wear a much more favorable appearance; desolate and barren, without sign of culture, we could hope to receive little other benefit from it than the preservation it afforded us from the sea. Exerting ourselves, however, though faint, benumbed, and almost helpless, to find some wretched covert against the extreme inclemency of the weather, we discovered an Indian hut, at a small distance from the beach, within a wood, in which as many as possible, without distinction, crowded themselves, the night coming on exceedingly tempestuous and rainy. But here our situation was such as to exclude all rest and refreshment by sleep from most of us; for, besides that we pressed upon one another extremely, we were not without our alarms and apprehensions of being attacked by the Indians, from a discovery we made of some of their lances and other arms in our hut; and our uncertainty of their strength and disposition gave alarm to our imagination, and kept us in continual anxiety.
'In this miserable hovel, one of our company, a lientenant of invalids, died this night; and of those who for want of room took shelter under a great tree, which stood them in very little stead, two more perished by the severity of that cold and rainy night. In the morning the calls of hunger, which had been hitherto suppressed by our attention to more immediate dangers and difficulties, were now become too importunate to be resisted. We had most of us fasted eight-and-forty hours, some more; it was time, therefore, to make inquiry among ourselves what store of sustenance had been brought from the wreck by the providence of some, and what could be procured on the island by the industry of others; but the produce of the one amounted to no more than two or three pounds of biscuit-dust reserved in a bag; aud