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Feb 21 1812: Byron to Hodgson

On February 21, 1812,  Lord Byron asked his friend Francis Hodgson to write a review of  John Galt's recently published Voyages and Travels in the Years 1809, 1810, and 1811; containing statistical, commercial, and miscellaneous Observations on Gibralter, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Serigo, and Turkey. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1812).

Galt was a Scottish writer who Byron had met earlier in Gibraltar on his travels. He was later to write a biography of Byron. In 1824, Galt was appointed Secretary to the Canada Company, a charter company that was supposed to colonize the Huron Tract in Upper Canada. One of Galt's sons Alexander Tilloch Galt was to become a Father of Confederation and Canada's first Minister of Finance. There is some irony in this last fact since his father had been sent back to Britain in 1829, in part, because of his lack of basic accounting skills. Byron's letter reads as follows:
London: February 21, 1812.
My dear Hodgson,—There is a book entituled ‘Galt, his Travels in ye Archipelago,’ daintily printed by Cadelland Davies, ye which I could desiderate might be criticised by you, inasmuch as ye author is a well-respected esquire of mine acquaintance, but I fear will meet with little mercy as a writer, unless a friend passeth judgment. Truth to say, ye boke is ye boke of a cock-brained man, and is full of devices crude and conceitede, but peradventure for my sake this grace may be vouchsafed unto him. Review him myself I can not, will not, and if you are likewize hard of heart, woe unto ye boke, ye which is a comely quarto.
Now then! I have no objection to review if it pleases Griffiths to send books, or rather you, for you know the sort of things I like to play with. You will find what I say very serious as to my intentions. I have every reason to induce me to return to Ionia. Believe me,
Yours always,
B.


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