7 eldest served under his uncle in the Netherlands; and, in the year 1641, was appointed by King Charles I., Governor of the Tower of London.
In this situation he became obnoxious to the refractory spirits in the Parliament; and was in consequence ordered by the Commons to answer at the bar of their House certain charges which the sectaries alleged against him.
But he refused to leave his post without the king’s command; and, upon this, the Commons applied to the Lords to join them in a petition to the king, to remove him.
The Peers rejected the proposition. On the 24th October, 1643, Sir John Byron was created Lord Byron of Rochdale, in the county of Lancaster, with remainder of the title to his brothers, and their male issue, respectively.
He was also made Field-marshal-general of all his Majesty’s forces in Worcestershire, Cheshire, Shropshire, and North Wales : nor were these trusts and honours unwon, for the Byrons, during the civil war, were eminently distinguished.
At the battle of Newbury, seven of the brothers were in the field, and all actively engaged. Sir Richard, the second brother of the first lord, was knighted by Charles I.
For his conduct at the battle of Edgehill, and appointed Governor of Appleby Castle, in Westmorland, and afterwards of Newark, which he defended with great honour.
Sir Richard, on the death of his brother, in 1652, succeeded to the peerage, and died in 1679. His eldest son, William, the third lord, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Viscount Chaworth, of Ireland, by whom he had five sons, four of whom died young.
William, the fourth lord, his son, was Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Prince George of Denmark, and married, for his first wife, a daughter of the Earl of Bridgewater, who died eleven weeks after their nuptials.
His second wife was the daughter of the Earl of Portland, by whom he had three sons, who all died before their father.
His third wife was Frances, 8 daughter of Lord Berkley, of Stratton, from whom the Poet is descended.
Her eldest son, William, born in 1722, succeeded to the family honours on the death of his father, in 1736.
He entered the Naval service, and became a lieutenant under Admiral Balchen.
In the year 1763, he was made Maser of the Stag-hounds; and, in 1765, he was sent to the Tower, and tried before the House of Peers, for killing his relation and neighbour, Mr.
Chaworth, in a duel fought at the Star and Garter Tavern, in Pall-mall. This Lord William was naturally boisterous and vindictive.
It appeared in evidence that he insisted on fighting with Mr.
Chaworth in the room where the quarrel commenced.
They accordingly fought without seconds by the dim light of a single candle; and, although Mr.
Chaworth was the most skilful swordsman of the two, he received a mortal wound; but he lived long enough to disclose some particulars of the rencountre, which induced the coroner’s jury to return a verdict of willful murder, and Lord Byron was tried for the crime. The trial took place in Westminster Hall, and the public curiosity was so great, that the Peers’ tickets of admission were publicly sold for six guineas each.
It lasted two days and at the conclusion, he was unanimously pronounced guilty of manslaughter.
On being brought up for judgment he pleaded his privilege and was discharged.
It was to this lord that the Poet succeeded, for he died without leaving issue. His brother, the grandfather of the Poet, was the celebrated “Hardy Byron;” or, as the sailors called him, “Foulweather Jack,” whose adventures and services are too well known to require any notice here.
He married the daughter of John Trevannion Esq., of Carhais, in the county of Cornwall, by whom he had two sons and three daughters.
John, the eldest, and the father of the Poet, was born in 1751, educated at Westminster-school, and afterwards placed in the Guards, where his conduct became so irregular 9 and profligate that his father, the admiral, though a good-natured man, discarded him long before his death.
In 1778, he acquired extraordinary eclat by the seduction of the Marchioness of Carmarthen, under circumstances which have few parallels in the licentiousness of the fashionable life.
The meanness with which he obliged his wretched victim to supply him with money, would have been disgraceful to the basest adulteries of the cellar or garret.
A divorce ensued, the guilty parties married; but within two years after, such was the brutal and vicious conduct of Captain Byron, that the ill-fated lady died literally of a broken heart, after having given birth to two daughters, one of whom still survives. Captain Byron then married Miss Catherine Gordon, of Gight, a lady of honourable descent, and of a respectable fortune for a Scottish heiress, the only motive which this Don Juan had for forming the connexion.
She was the mother of the Poet. Although the Byrons have for so many ages been among the eminent families of the realm, they have no claim to the distinction which the poet has set up for them as warriors in Palestine, even though he says— Near Ascalon’s tow’rs John of Horestan slumbers; for unless this refers to the Lord of Horestan, who was one of the hostages for the ransom of Richard I., it will not be easy to determine to whom he alludes; and it is possible that the poet has no other authority for this legend, than the tradition which he found connected with two groups of heads on the old panels of Newstead.
Yet the account of them is vague and conjectural, for it was not until ages after the crusades, that the abbey came into the possession of the family : and it is not probable that the figures referred to any transactions in Palestine, in which the Byrons were engaged, if they were put up by the Byrons at all.
They were, probably, placed in their 10 — Sails from Malta to Prevesa.—Lands at Patras.—Sails again.—Passes Ithaca.—Arrival at Prevesa. IT was on the 19th of September, 1809, that Byron sailed in the Spider brig from Malta for Prevesa, and on the morning of the fourth day after, he first saw the mountains of Greece; next day he landed at Patras, and walked for some time among the currant-grounds between the town and the shore.
Around him lay one of the noblest landscapes in the world, and afar in the north-east rose the purple summits of the Grecian mountains. Having re-embarked, the Spider proceeded towards her destination; the poet not receiving much augmentation to his ideas of the grandeur of the ancients, from the magnitude of their realms and states.
Ithaca, for which he doubtless regarded with wonder and disappointment, as he passed its cliffy shores, was then in possession of the French.
In the course of a month after, the kingdom of Ulysses surrendered to a British serjeant and seven men. Childe Harold sail’d, and pass’d the barren spot, Where sad Penelope o’erlook’d the wave; And onward view’d the mount, not yet forgot, The lover’s refuge, and the Lesbian’s grave. But when he saw the evening star above Leucadia’s far-projecting rock of woe, And hail’d the last resort of fruitless love, 71 He felt, or deem’d he felt, no common glow; And as the stately vessel glided slow Beneath the shadow of that ancient mount, He watch’d the billow’s melancholy flow, And, sunk albeit in thought as he was wont— More placid seem’d his eye, and smooth his pallid front. At seven in the evening, of the same day on which he passed Leucadia, the vessel came to anchor of Prevesa.
The day was wet and gloomy, and the appearance of the town was little calculated to bespeak cheerfulness.
But the novelty in the costume and appearance of the inhabitants and their dwellings, produced an immediate effect on the imagination of Byron, and we can trace the vivid impression animating and adorning his descriptions. The wild Albanian, kirtled to his knee,
Read more about Chaworth, in a duel fought at the Star and Garter Tavern, in Pall-mall: