John Cam Hobhouse diary: fresh content and new location
The diary of John Cam Hobhouse on the Web has undergone some changes. It’s current location at www.Hobby-O.com has moved to the Blog site of Peter Cochran at http://petercochran.wordpress.com/hobhouses-diary/. With the move comes significant new content, including full coverage from the years 1809-1824 and new material from Hobhouse’s time in London and Switzerland.
From the foreword to the Hobhouse diary:
John Cam Hobhouse (1786-1869) was Byron’s best friend. Educated at Westminster and Trinity College Cambridge, he travelled east with Byron in 1809, was Best Man at Byron’s wedding in 1815, travelled across Switzerland in Byron’s company in 1816 after the separation, around Rome with Byron in 1817, and lived with Byron in Venice in the same year. He met Byron at Pisa again in 1822, after Byron’s facetious poem on his imprisonment in Newgate, My Boy Hobby-O, had almost terminated their friendship. As a member of the London Greek Committee he encouraged Byron on his last journey in 1823; and had he insisted, Byron’s memoirs would almost certainly not have been destroyed in 1824.
Hobhouse’s diary was published in heavily truncated and censored form, as part of Recollections of a Long Life, edited by his daughter, Lady Dorchester, in six volumes between 1909 and 1911. He had used it as the basis for three previous publications: A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey in Europe and Asia, to Constantinople, during the years 1809 and 1810 (1813), Travels in Albania and other Provinces of Turkey in 1809 and 1810 (1855) and Italy: Remarks made in several visits from the year 1816 to 1854 (1859).
John Cam Hobhouse’s diary is one of the two major texts written about Byron by his contemporaries which has still to see the full light of day – though it is about much more than Byron, for Hobhouse became, as he cast off his Byronic shackles, a significant political figure in his own right. The sections on his two Napoleonic French excursions – on both of which he went without Byron – are worth books in themselves. His weeks in Newgate, just before he was elected MP for Westminster, will be included. However, the extent to which he played Sancho to Byron’s Quixote – Pylades to Byron’s Orestes – Hal to Byron’s Falstaff – Horatio to Byron’s Hamlet – Celia to Byron’s Rosalind – cannot be exaggerated, and will have justice done to it.