HOBHOUSE, John Cam. Contemporary Account of the Separation of Lord and Lady Byron; Also of the Destruction of Lord Byron's Memoirs. London, privately printed [by W. Clowes and Sons], 1870.
8vo. Original maroon cloth, spine lettered in gilt; pp. iv, 239; hinges and spine with minor restorations; a few early pencil marginalia, otherwise a good copy of a great rarity.
First edition. Only a few copies printed. Celebrity status, homosexuality and Byron's at least erratic behaviour and relationships led to the breakdown of his short marriage to Baroness Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron (1792-1860). Hobhouse, Byron's close friend since university and travelling companion wrote this memorandum in May 1816. 'Hobhouse was loyal to Byron throughout the separation from Annabella, drawing up 'a full and scrupulously accurate account' of the events. This was printed privately in 1870 in the wake of the Beecher Stowe controversy' (ODNB). Haarriet Beecher Stowe had struck up a friendship with Annabella Milbanke, Lady Byron, when she visited England to promote Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1856, and later published an article where she alleged that Lord Byron 'fell into the depths of a secret adulterous intrigue with a blood relation, so near in consanguinity that discovery must have been utter ruin and expulsion from civilized society'. No other than Mark Twain supported her stance in the face of Victorian attacks accusing her of washing dirty linen in public.
COPAC locates only two copies, in the British Library and at Oxford. - The last copy to appear on the market was sold at auction in 1958.