Introductory Letter from T. Crofton Croker Esq.
Whoever the editor may be, I will presume to make no corrections upon what he is pleased to state respecting myself; there is indeed little or nothing on my part to object to, except that matters of such small moment as those in which I am named should be thought worthy of being recalled to memory: and I only beg to observe that at p.81, the woodcut given was from a drawing by my friend William Henry Brooke, although I certainly did design the engraved title-page of the 8th number of the Irish Melodies - a group of antiquarian objects surmounted by an Irish harp; to which Moore refers. However, violently, as you observe, the Right Honorable John Wilson Croker remonstrated in the Times of 30th January last against Lord John Russells spitefulness, I have nothing whatever to do with their literary or political differences, although Mr. Wilson Croker is an old and valued friend of mine.
I will therefore proceed, to the best of my humble ability, to reply calmly to your questions; and if I should exceed the ordinary [iii] limits of a letter, I trust to your indulgence to pardon my tediousness.
Thomas Moore - about whom I need not say one word here, as a poet - died on the 26th February, 1852, and for some time previous to his death, it was no secret that, like Swift, Scott and Southey, his mental faculties had been gone. It was also generally known that for some years previous to the failure of his memory he was in the habit of keeping a journal and of writing notes, with the view of leaving behind him materials for a Biography, as a provision for his widow. But who the editor of that Biography was to have been did not exactly trauspire until the promulgation of the poets will, written in 1828, in which Lord John Russell was named. A task which his Lordship, in compliance with his promise, nobly undertook. How he has accomplished it is another question; nor have I any thing to do with American opinions respecting Viscount Mahon or Lord John Russell as historians, whatever my own opinion may be.
It had been a curious practice with Moore to ask various people to write a posthumous Memoir of him. He certainly did so to Viscount Strangford in 1806, to myself in 1819, and I have been well assured, to others subsequently. Among them, the late Mr. Moran, the sub-editor of the Globe newspaper, who in consequence formed extensive but not very important collections chiefly of newspaper-cuttings for the purpose. On the 25th April, 1837, Moore visited Moran, and on the following day the latter thus wrote to me - Moore was particularly pleased with my annotated copy of his works, saying, Well, it is something to have a commentator, and a friendly one too, while one is alive. He also obtained a promise that I was to let him have the use of my collection for a posthumous work which he contemplates, and which I hope the public will long lack the sight of. I gave him a hint of your treasures, of which also - i.e. of their existence - he seemed well aware.
The connection which had existed between the late Mr. Power, the publisher of Moores most popular work, the Irish Melodies, from the year 1806 to Mr. Powers death in 1836, with a short [iv] interval of estrangement in 1832-3, always induced me to regard the collection of Moores letters to him, which he had carefully preserved, as perhaps the most important series of documents for the poets biography; and that they are irretrievably dispersed, to use the words of your advertisement, has been and still is a matter of regret, which however adds considerably to the value of your book.
The widow of Mr. Power died on the 17th July, 1850; and by her these letters, manuscript music, the musical copyright of the Irish Melodies and other works, were bequeathed to her unmarried daughters.
Some months afterwards, in conversation with the Misses Power, I offered to assist them in arranging this mass of letters; and as it appeared to me that many of them might be required for publication, and that a certain value attached to the originals as autographs, I recommended them to prepare transcripts to be ready when wanted, as the doing so would be a work of time and labour, and the state of Moores mind and health had then removed all delicacy of feeling on the subject. I observed to these ladies, who were perfectly aware of the fact, that Moore was then dead to the world; and that in whatever shape a Memoir of him was to appear upon his bodily demise, or whoever was to be the editor of his Journal, the most interesting letters would probably be selected for publication, and if not copied, might in passing through the press be either injured or destroyed. For many months did these ladies assiduously transcribe the letters in their possession, to the amount of about twelve hundred, which had been addressed by the poet Moore to their late father. And if, as Mr. Bentley (the eminent London publisher) told me, he was prepared to offer to Mrs. Moore £4,000 for her late husbands papers, as the foundation for his biography, I had no hesitation in expressing to the Misses Power my conviction that, in the same ratio, the collection of letters in their possession could not be worth less than £500, for the same purpose.
On the 25th May, 1852, I was informed that Lord John Russell had advised the acceptance of an offer made by Messrs. Longman [v] & Co., on condition of his Lordship undertaking to be the editor of Mr. Moores papers, and the sum offered for which, (stated to have been £3000,) with, adds Lord John Russell, the small pension allowed by the crown, (£100 per annum,) would enable Mrs. Moore to enjoy for the remainder of her life the moderate income which had latterly been the extent and limit of the yearly family expenditure.
From copies of about twelve hundred letters, forwarded at Mrs. Moores request, for Lord John Russells information, fifty-seven only, as you correctly state in the advertisement, were selected and published by his Lordship, many with omissions, which I observe your editor has supplied. The copies of Moores letters to Mr. Power, subsequent to 1818, were returned to his daughters with a few unnecessary blottings. All the original letters were then placed in my hands; and after having carefully read them over and weeded them, to the best of my judgment, of letters containing offensive personalities, I had no hesitation in recommending their sale as autographs, with the view to a pecuniary division of property between two sisters. Some good judges estimating the value of a letter at sixpence, others being of opinion that five shillings each would be a fair average price, there was no other way of testing this difference of valuation than in determining the question by public sale.
Accordingly, one thousand original letters and notes from Thomas Moore to Mr. Power, were sold by Messrs. Puttick & Simpson, auctioneers of literary property, at their great room, 191, Piccadilly, on Thursday, June 23, 1853, and the following day. Their catalogue, which is now not to be procured, although eagerly sought after, appears to have been the foundation of your volume, and is very properly acknowledged as such. The additions made by the editor, and pointed out in the advertisement, add considerably to the interest of the work. Personally I cannot but feel highly flattered at the manner in which Mr. Moore is pleased to regard me in his conversation with my late valued friend, John ODriscol.
The British public seem to have read with regret The Memoirs, [vi] Journal and Correspondence of Thomas Moore, edited by the Right Honorable Lord John Russell, and complaints have been made of many painful and unfair paragraphs having been allowed to appear. Moores autobiography of his boyhood, full of childish reminiscences, has been printed by the noble editor of the poets remains without any attempt to explain or illustrate it. From documentary evidence, which could easily have been procured, it can be shown to be most unsatisfactory and deceptive - to use no harsher word, - which however may be applied to the narrative of Moores foolish duel with Jeffrey in 1806,
When Littles leadless pistol met the eye.
Four hundred carelessly arranged and not very judiciously selected letters, ranging in date from January, 1793, to 8th November, 1818, follow this autobiographical fragment, among which letters is wedged in the account of this memorable duel; and upon the whole, about twenty editorial notes, some of one word only, occur - perhaps altogether they may make forty lines, and are of little or no consequence. Moores Diary follows, commencing on the 18th August, 1818, and occupies four 8vo. volumes and a half, terminating at an exceedingly odd date - not the close of the year 1833, but the 31st October, 1833, for as odd a reason, because, having reached a period of only twenty years from the present time, (i. e., the precise date on which the sixth volume [ftn.: The volumes referred to are those of the London edition.] was committed to the press,) the remaining portion of materials are to be employed with more reserve; and announcing what the public had already discovered, that the constant repetition of daily engagements becomes at length wearisome. Had these thoughts before occurred to the unreflecting editor of Moores Diary, they might have saved some pangs to parties still living, who have been most wantonly assailed, and have judiciously reduced the length of admitted weariness to the reader.
The passages which occur in Volume VI, and to which you call my attention, with reference to Mr. Power, are indeed not only painful and unfair, but the introduction of *** twice over [vii] furnishes inuendoes against the character of Moores early patron and friend, which, even if true, should not have been allowed to appear; and therefore the singular termination of the poets Diary requires, as you observe, some explanation, as in this very gap of two months - November and December, 1833 - was Mr. Powers conduct (of which Mr. Moore complains so strongly, and against which Lord John Russell allows insinuations to appear) most completely and triumphantly vindicated. Why then close the Diary on the 31st of October, leaving a slur upon Mr. Powers name, which would not have been the case if the Diary had been continued to the 31st December, and there was any truthfulness in it?
Your advertisement has echoed the popular soubriquet of Honest James Power; and it will be for Lord John Russell to explain, if he can, why, after having published Moores unfounded, pettish, and then virulent attacks upon his music publisher, he has not the moral courage to avow himself that they are unjust. And that publishers of Messrs. Longmans reputation, to whom the transaction must have been well known, could have lent themselves to the promulgation of a garbled statement, in deference to the judgment of any noble Lord, I confess, to me, is both matter of surprise and grief. Let them, however, to use the quaint phrase of their editor, enjoy the pleasure of safe malignity against the memory of a brother tradesman, who, when alive, was courted by them.
In what I am about to state to you, in compliance with your request, truth and justice shall be my only guides towards the graves of departed individuals, where, I had hoped, all differences of opinion would have been allowed to repose, respecting a question of mere worldly dross. But as this has not been the case, the feelings of the resurrectionist who revives such memories must not be shocked at learning that the recollection of a father may be as dear to his children as the memory of a husband to his widow.
If I mistake not, the semi-musical, semi-literary connection between the late Thomas Moore and James Power (the publisher of Moores Irish Melodies) existed for thirty years. It commenced [x] so far back as 1806, and the first number of that national work appeared in Dublin, in 1807. The copyright of that number was purchased from Mr. Moore for £50; and so successful did the speculation prove to be, that Mr. Power and his brother soon afterwards entered into an agreement to pay Mr. Moore £500 per annum, for seven years, to produce in each year another number of the Irish Melodies, with a few single songs in addition. The particulars which led to the temporary rupture between Mr. Power, after upwards of twenty-five years of the closest professed friendship on Moores part, are well known to me. Power once said to me, after receiving an insulting letter from Moore - somewhat irritated by its tone - By G - , Mr. Croker, I am his banker, bill-acceptor, and fish-agent - letter-carrier, hotel-keeper, and publisher, and now he wants to make me his shoeblack.
Certainly, the impression conveyed by Lord John Russells publication is not only an ungrateful return on the part of Moore towards his steady and constant benefactor, but it is equally erroneous as to facts. It may be pleaded that a poet is not always bound to adhere to those every-day common-place matters which form the regular occupation of the mere man of business; however, as I have been nearly all my life more of the latter than the former, and, as I have stated, had opportunities of knowing the details of this matter, in justice to the memory of Mr. Power, (and without communication with any of his family,) I feel it to be my duty at once to contradict to you the statements left on record by Mr. Moore, and it cannot be advanced, unguardedly published by Lord John Russell, who, as your editor is perfectly correct in stating, had the means afforded to him of testing facts, which his Lordship has only done by making serious omissions on the one side of the question.
The circumstances to which I particularly refer, are briefly these: Moore having allowed the pecuniary debt due by him to Mr. Power, on the 1st of January, 1820, of half a crown, or 2s 6d, to creep up on the 1st of January, 1829, to the not inconsiderable sum to a tradesman, of £1,665 13s 1d, for which advances I believe Mr. Power never charged him interest, and for security, [ix] held no other than the brains of the poet - Moore having reduced this large balance due to Mr. Power, in 1832, by about a £1,000, suddenly wished to come to town for a settlement of his accounts. On the 27th Moore called on his music publisher. It was the morning after Moores arrival in London; and on the 31st, as usual, made a convenience of Powers house by dining there, returning to supper, and leaving his son to sleep there. On the 5th April, Moore thus records in his diary:
And that was his true object, and then and there to have announced himself as the candidate for the representation of Limerick, as appears by Moores letter to Power of 14th March:
Here it should be observed, that Mr. Power had not then received Mr. (now Sir Henry R.) Bishops account for musical arrangement, part of which had to be charged against Mr. Moore. This, Mr. Power distinctly told Mr. Moore in my presence , on the 5th April, saying at the same time: I fear, Mr. Moore, it may be more than either of us expect. Moore observed, that he did not care much about that, and inquired what was something like the actual amount of his debt? Mr. Powers reply was: Why Why, I should say something about £500. Moores light-hearted remark was, I can soon arrange that . And Mr. Powers respectful comment, Certainly, Mr. Moore, when you please. [x]
There had evidently been a misunderstanding of some kind between Mr. Power and Moore, before this meeting at which I was present, for on seeing Moore come into his shop, Mr. Power said to me in the back counting-house, where I happened to be chatting with him: Dont go, Mr. Croker; you may as well hear all about this bubble Limerick affair - referring to Moores letter of the 14th March; and I know that Mr. Power considered it to be a very silly speculation on Moores part, and that if he entered Parliament, his mind would be taken off from literary employment, which would probably plunge him into irretrievable difficulties.
On the 29th, or in about three weeks after this conversation upon the account current between them, which extended over the space of fourteen years, (from 1818 to 1832,) Moore chronicles in his Diary that he received these long-standing accounts from Mr. Power; but he adds -
May 1st. - Glanced my eye hastily over the balance against me, [which it may be stated, was £534. 0. 10,] and was somewhat startled by its amount; but on looking through some of the items, saw such regularity and (as I thought) fairness in them, that I concluded all was right, and wrote to Power to say so, adding in my simplicity, that I flattered myself, never were accounts of so long a standing settled so smoothly and amicably as ours would be.
The actual words of Mr, Moores letter of 2d May, 1832, to Mr. Power, are -
The entries made in Moores Diary under date 4th and fifth May, contain serious charges against Power, and what is infinitely worse, a suppressed passage indicated by *** from the Editor, (who thereby, not having been over-scrupulous about what he had before published,) leaves the worst to the imagination. It is necessary for me to quote the passages at length, [xi] with a view to their perfect refutation, except where no clue has been afforded to what Moore might have called the starry mind of his Editor; for poor Moore had long before sent his good genius (typified by the common sense of Power) wandering upon a moonlight night, to get on as well as he could. Prophetically did Moore write of his evil genius, who plunges into the torrent as he -
Which moral should be, in my opinion, the correction of the wish expressed in Moores Diary, (Vol. ii., p.151,) that every literary man would write his own memoirs, into, I wish no literary man would write his own memoirs, and in an evil hour leave it in the power of genius to unmask his character and destroy all respect for it. Sooner let such cold-hearted genius shiver and perish on the muddy bank of the stream of Time.
This assertion on the part of Moore is not correct. While he declaims like Shylock, I will have my bond, Mr. Power modestly pleads lex Mercatoris - established custom and silence gives consent.
The facts may be briefly summed up. Moore, after fourteen years of procrastination in facing pecuniary difficulties, through which Power helped him to flounder creditably, takes courage to look into them, after three days consideration. He then fancies that he discovers an improper charge in the long standing over accounts, by an annual payment made to Bishop for doing what Moore himself was unable to perform, or at least did not do; namely, the arrangement of the symphonies and accompaniments to his words and preparing the music for press. Upon all these points, Moore was exceedingly particular.
On the 6th, or in due course, Moore receives a common sense letter - what he calls a smooth answer from Power, saying that there was no mistake in his accounts. Nor was there any. At which Moore, who further fancies himself seated as M. P. for Limerick, with a landed qualification from the beautiful lips of Ireland, becomes indignant, and directly changes his tone of address towards a tradesman in the Strand from My dear Sir into Dear Sir.
From May to October, a correspondence occurs between Moore and Mr. Power which I have been permitted to see - at least, the letters of the former. It is not of an agreeable character, as Moore appears to identify him with his hero, Tom Cribb, and commences sparring at Power and his (common-sense geniuss) power over a literary man, whose head has been turned by the offer of £500 a year from Marryat, (Memoirs, vol. vi. p. 275) and a thousand guineas from Harding, (vol. v. p. 269,) not ten weeks previously, with the prospect of writing M. P. after his [xiii] name as representative of indignant Limerick of the treaty or Cashel of Munster. Let me pass over all this as briefly as possible; which might have turned astray from the path of honor and duty a less imaginative head than was elevated by nature or education upon the shoulders of Thomas Moore.
Moore candidly acknowledges that he is by no means insensible to Mr. Powers courtesies in not pressing rigidly the due performance of our deed. But allow me, he proceeds, to remind you that I have so far gone beyond what I engaged to perform, as in two instances, instead of confining myself to the stipulated number of songs, to have given you poems of considerable length, [alluding to the Summer Fête and Evenings in Greece,] which, whatever may be the success or failure of the name connected with them, will, as you well know, be property, as literary works, so long as any thing I have ever written shall endure.
What a specimen of a head inflated with the intoxicating gas of vanity! and so up it goes, soaring through a cloud of mystification in the following passage, to the eyes of any reasonable publisher of modern times, who at this period was sustaining heavy losses by the publication of Mr. Moores works. In fact, to nearly such an extent had Mr. Power experienced losses through Mr. Moores reckless conduct, that Power, after he himself had put up the shutters of his shop in the Strand, lamented to me Mr. Moores speculative ideas, and said (literally with tears in his eyes, to use Moores words,) that he feared he should be ruined by them. He only desired to have more Irish Melodies, which he could sell, and not poetry, brought out in an expensive form which remained on his shelves. For, said he, Butterfly Balls, like the Summer Fête and slow Evenings in Greece, are heavy works to publish with scarcely an expectation of the expense of the production being repaid. I do not want such literary efforts. I want Irish Melodies or simple ballads, (like the Woodpecker Tapping or Canadian Boat Song) which will sell and leave me a profit to enable me to pay Mr. Moore his annuity under our deed. These were Mr. Powers words; how different was Moores estimate of his own value in the market! [xiv]
Had you, he writes, taken into consideration this extra effort of mine, and added to my emuneration [what charming simplicity!] in consequence, I should undoubtedly have thought such an act liberal; but from the language I have always heard you hold on such points, I should not have been surprised at it.
Moore, having worked himself up into a heat, determines to come down from his elevation as coolly as he can, practically illustrating Currans famous joke about Kouli Khan, after having spoiled in his Diary some of Currans best Irish pleasantries with those of other wits, which the honourable editor considers not only worthy of being retained, but of explanation!
The extracts from this letter appear to be very cool indeed. Proceed at my leisure to pay off a debt of a thousand pounds to a tradesman, who holds no security for the fulfilment of the promise! In the first place, Mr. Power did not want from Mr. Moore long poems elaborately constructed. He wanted only simple melodies, or ballads, likely to become popular. For the former he had, comparatively speaking, no sale; for the latter, [xv] an extensive one; perhaps at the time, the most extensive sale for works of this class of any music publisher in London. A single song, if it became popular, was a property; if a failure, or it did not sell, a loss of no great consequence; but Moore, who from his cradle to his grave was an actor, felt ambitious that he or his work should monopolize the attention of an audience for a whole evening, and hence the operatic construction of his Summer Fete, and Evenings in Greece, intended for the drawingroom. But he forgot to inquire where the actors were to be found in private circles, whose performance, after being once or twice listened to with indulgence, any intellectual drawingroom assembly would for hours endure the repetition of. The sale of both works was consequently limited, and the production of Mr. Moores long poems connected with music, however he might have estimated their value, proved to be anything but of advantage to the publisher.
Moore has the grace to acknowledge Mr. Powers forbearance with respect to our deed. He then proceeds, without further reference to the matter, to laud his own liberality, by which Mr. Power was so serious a loser, and therefore asks - indeed, nearly demands - an increase of pay upon what already must be considered a most liberal stipend. This is cool. Moore next goes on to insult Mr. Power by the mention of a pittance of not so much as £800 for superfluous matter under our deed, by which no superfluous matter was required, and being then in Mr. Powers debt upwards of £500 under that deed. Now, for the cool finale: Moore winds up by a statement to his best benefactor and steady friend in his difficulties and emergencies, that he shall proceed at leisure to pay off this little debt, by completing work that ought to have been long before performed and delivered. The bad taste, and worse feeling, of ingratitude displayed in this letter, attempting to vindicate a breach of contract, or rather breaches of contract, require no comment here.
So long previous to this as the 26th November, 1818, Moore mentions in his Diary having called upon Power, and mustered up courage enough to tell him that I could not take less than the [xv] clear £500 a year in our future agreement, without any deductions, such as had been made before for the arrangement of my music; left him to consider of it. And so was off for Holland House. On the 24th January, 1819, Power arrives at Sloperton Cottage, and acquaints Moore that Bishop is the person he thinks of for arranging Moores music in future, who, next to Stevenson, Moore prefers. On the following morning they enter into the business of the renewal of their agreement.
Here Moore records the most perfect justification of Mr. Powers conduct that can be conceived, and stultifies himself subsequently.
Moore being aware that Power was particularly anxious to have, [xvii] instead of unsaleable songs or poetry, the final or tenth number of the Irish Melodies, which the poet had most unjustifiably withheld, on the plea of the want of suitable airs, for no less than twelve years (1818-1830), having acknowledged in a note upon the advertisement to the seventh number of that national work, the receipt from myself alone of nearly forty ancient airs, - to some of which he has written words, as have also Lover and Bayley, most acceptably, and feeling that his former letter had not induced Honest James Power to alter his accounts, assumes another attitude, and threatens again, on the 1st August, 1832, in a change of tone: With respect to a future number (or numbers, for my stock of airs is now considerable) of Irish Melodies, it will be time enough to talk on that subject when our present accounts are settled to my satisfaction.
And the speculative character of Moore referred to, is illustrated by the following P.S. to his letter:
Mr. Power in a feeling of conscious rectitude, stood firm to his accounts. And so Moores tone becomes more subdued. On the 20th of August, when returning some proof-sheets, he writes to Mr. Power:
It is quite unnecessary to pursue this correspondence further, or to comment upon the last sentence quoted as coming from the pen of one who had been, whether owing to his own fault or the fault of others, a defaulter throughout the greater portion of his life. That unjust feelings of hostility were rankling against Mr. [xviii] Power in the breast of Moore, is evident from his Diary, as most inexcusably published by Lord John Russell, to whom the opportunity of knowing all the circumstances of the case had been afforded.
In the October subsequent to August, 1832, Moore came to London, where, after nearly a weeks disporting himself, he falls in with the poet Campbell, and takes him as a kind of witness to call at Powers, heartlessly recording respecting his best, his steadiest, and most sincere friend - my first visit to that gentleman since I have been in town. Moore, however, had called at the shop of that gentleman on the previous day, when he learned that Mr. Power was confined to his bed at his private residence by illness; and yet, though that private residence was not one minutes walk, (from 34, Strand to 22, Buckingham Street,) that minute appears to have been so precions to the flutter of Mr. Moore through the metropolis, as not to allow him time to perform the ordinary act of courtesy from a gentleman towards a tradesman, by inquiring after Mr. Power and leaving his card. If a Lord had been in the case, Moores conduct would probably have been very different.
The 14th of October appears to have been the day of Moores call at the shop, and whether Mr. Power was found there or in his bed-room by Messrs. Moore and Campbell, cannot be decidedly stated from the Diary of the former. However, they staid but a few minutes.
The shop was that in which Moore had formerly been so anxious to be admitted as a junior partner; and he probably might have been so, had not the sagacity of James Power foreseen that habits so vainglorious, so reckless and unbusiness-like as those of Moore, would soon have ruined the concern. Had the partnership taken place, which luckily for Mr. Power it did not, it is impossible to conceive a more unsatisfactory or vexatious partner than Moore would have proved himself to be, notwithstanding the poets promise to put annually a thousand pounds worth of brains into the stock, instead of subtracting £500 from it.
Moores Diary, if closely tested by dates, facts, and circumstances [xix], exhibits the most lamentable confusion of mind and memory. But I am not going to revert to melancholy recollections, nor to enter into too minute particulars to prove this: on the contrary, I would, if I could, appear as Moores friendly apologist.
Let us now enter a new year, (1833,) upon which dawns the hope of a reconciliation between Moore and Power. The latter, however, still maintains the correctness of his accounts, and the year opens gloomily enough upon poor Moore. The supplies are stopped from that quarter and another source, (a periodical edited by Captain Marryat.) Neither Hardings £1,000 nor Heaths £1,000 were forthcoming, and on the 1st of January Moore makes the following entry in his Diary:
Of course. So, on the 17th February, Moore writes to his Dear Sir, the following note, in which, however attempted to be disguised, the cringing feelings of a subdued spirit, unwilling to acknowledge itself to be in the wrong, peep out in every sentence. Moore, who on the 13th of the previous October, could not afford one minute to inquire personally after Mr. Powers health, now commences,
Here let me interrupt the current of this letter by observing that there certainly were not two opinions among men of fair and honourable minds; so far Moore was right, but their opinion was adverse to Moores judgment. He thus continues to Mr. Power:
On Wednesday, the 6th March, Moore arrives in town, but professes to be so much engaged (his Diary will show how) that he can only admit Mr. Power, whose purse is really of so much consequence to him, to an audience after Sunday, and then only by special appointment. I have every hope, writes Mr. Moore, that we shall come to an amicable understanding together. But he still doggedly continues to assert that Mr. Power and his accounts are wrong, and that he should have paid him £100 a year
more than he was fairly entitled to, (as the sequel will show,) or at the clear rate of £450, if not £500 per annum. He strongly urges this conclusion upon Mr. Power, as it would at once place us where we were, both in friendship and business. Then comes the threat: If, however, you should unfortunately persist in your own view of the transaction, I must then only consult [xxi] with my friends (of whom but one at present knows any thing about the matter) as to what steps I had best take. On the 17th March, (an ominous day when Irish harmony is in question,) Moore evidently becomes uneasy at what he regards to be Mr. Powers obstinacy, and, coupled with a request to send a copy of the letter-press of the Irish Melodies to Mr. OConnell, as he is in want of some mottoes for his letters from them, goes so far as to admit that it is just possible that in a business point of view he may be mistaken, and purposes to leave their differences to arbitration, naming either Mr. Longman or Mr. Rogers on his part, or leaving Mr. Power to name both arbitrators. To this proposal Mr. Power promptly assented, as well as to both the arbitrators named by Moore: but instead of Mr. ongman, his partner, Mr. Rees, agreed to act on behalf of Mr. Power.
To save his time, Mr. Power left with Mr. Rees documents upon which the arbitration was to be founded, to look over; and according to Moores statement, both Messrs. Longman and Rees said, that Power had not, as they expressed it, a leg to stand on; and adds Mr. Moore, in his Diary - In consequence of finding the case so bad, it was Reess intention to decline being arbitrator; but I suggested it would be advisable to state at the same time his reasons for so declining, as it might have the effect of making Power think a little more seriously on the subject.
Now this suggestion, as recorded by himself with a view to prejudice an arbitration, was not only impertinent, but most improper on the part of Mr. Moore. The fact, however, is the very reverse of what Moore has stated in his Diary, and that after looking over the documents confided by Mr. Power to Mr. Rees, the latter said that he must decline to act in the matter, as Mr. Moore had not a leg to stand upon; and that it would be painful for him to urge an adverse decision upon any claim, however fanciful, set up by Mr. Moore, considering his connection with the publishing-house in which he (Mr. Rees) was a partner.
On the 27th March, Mr. Moore told Mr. Rogers, that Mr. Rees had declined acting as an arbitrator, adding:
What do these *** mean? is not an unfair question; and my papers? What! - an advocate not look over his clients brief before he went into Court to plead his cause? Certainly such things have occurred, but Mr. Rees was not a member of the bar,
No; he was like Mr. Power himself, a plain-spoken, fair-dealing tradesman, who lived respected and died regretted.
My papers indeed! why, Mr. Moores own Diary, on the very opposite page, without one word as to his verbal ex parte statements, shows that Power had been with Rees in the morning, and left him our deeds of agreement and some extracts from my letters to look over. I should like to know what title Mr. Moore had to call these documents his papers! - papers to be considered in an issue between Moore versus Power, and to be merely used in self-defence by the latter, from the accusation of an overcharge of £500 in his accounts!
On the 4th of April, 1833, Moore records in his Diary, Visit from Power; adding, that he was soon made sensible of the great injury Rees had done me by declining the arbitration, and declining it too, in such a way as to leave Power still under the impression that there was nothing beyond the mere ordinary course of business in his conduct to me. ***
Here these mysterious and mischievous inuendoes occur again. If the passage was worth giving at all, why leave its meaning doubtful? Why should not an editorial note abridge or explain the circumstances - the result of the interview, or that the MS. was torn or blotted, or could not be deciphered? No, it stands as left by the hand of Lord John Russell, a worse than malignant [xxxiii] attack - an unexplained insinuation against the conduct of Moores steadiest and unveering friend, Honest James Power.
If Mr. Rees had told Mr. Power that he had not a leg to stand upon, (as asserted by Mr. Moore), why should Power have run himself into the risk of threatened law proceedings? He had already suffered severely in pocket from Moores duplicity by law charges. And the effect of this proposed arbitration having so far failed by the withdrawal of Mr. Rees, it was determined that another arbitrator should be named in his place with Mr. Rogers, and that if I would accept the unpleasant office, I was
to be the party to act for Mr. Power: but circumstances prevented our arbitration taking place; and I will here only venture to repeat that Mr. Reess opinion was, that Moore had not a leg to stand
upon, exactly the contrary to what Moore has stated , as will be presently established by the decision of two barristers, one of whom I am happy to say survives, and may be appealed to, if necessary, as to the accuracy of the following statement - Mr. Serjeant Merewether, who was Moores arbitrator, and from whom I first learned that Moore had kept a diary chronicling the gossip of the day.
After this interview of 4th April, between Moore and Power, the latter called on me and asked me if I would have any objection to act on his (Powers) part in a little dispute about a small sum of money of no great consequence between Mr. Moore and himself. To this my answer was, Certainly not; adding, however, that I should like to know something more of the particulars. When Mr. Power named Mr. Rogers as the party proposed by Mr. Moore in an amicable arbitration, I did not hesitate to assent, and a few evenings afterwards I was allowed by Mr. Power to inspect his books for a series of years with reference to the subject.
I found that for fourteen years Mr. Power had regularly credited Mr. Moore with £500, under the simple entry of By annuity, without charging, so far as I recollect, interest upon his advances, which were on the 1st January [xxiv]
On the 31st December, 1828, Moore wrote to Mr. Power - To have you so much in advance to me without any set-off in my work, is a very uncomfortable feeling to me, whatever your good-nature may make it to you.
Moores work, covenanted to be performed for this annuity, was always much in arrear, or in such a crude and sketchy state as to be useless to Mr. Power, whose loss by the delay in the production must have been considerable. There is an old adage that short accounts make long friends, but Moore thought otherwise; and long accounts appear to him to have been more agreeable with his music publisher, when, in 1828 and 1829, Moore could not but have been aware that he was upwards of £1500 in Mr. Powers debt; or to use Moores admirable sentence with reference to Sheridan, written about this period, (and which truly explains Moores own pecuniary situation,) he had attained that happy art in which the people of this country are such adepts, of putting the future in pawn for the supply of the present.
Mr. Powers declaration was, that with a young and growing family, he felt glad to get any thing from Moore, as a kind of security for this heavy advance over and above his annual payments of £500, but that he never could induce Mr. Moore to come to a settlement, as, whenever the subject of their reckoning was mentioned, he was always in a flutter after Lords, Ladies, and Lobsters.
Powers accounts showed at a glance that he had always acted in the most liberal spirit towards Moore, as charges for music, binding, stationery, books, and other similar items, although entered in Powers Petty Cash Account at what is called the trade (or a reduced) price, were often struck out, and sometimes the amount [xxxv] was considerable; - at least this is my impression. I had therefore no hesitation in expressing in writing to Mr. Power my candid opinion that, from what I had seen, I did not think that Mr. Moore ought to resist or dispute a balance of £500 against him, in so liberal an account current; for even admitting that more than one charge was wrong, they were balanced or nearly so upon the whole by no calculation of interest upon money in advance being brought to account, as well as by the deductions from the Petty Cash Book; and Moore could, if he pleased, in the course of the next year or two, easily clear off this balance against him by sixteen or twenty songs in a state fit for publication. And therefore that according to my feeling there need be little dispute or arbitration about the matter.
From the documents which I had looked over, it appeared clear to me that Moore was bound to furnish to Mr. Power a certain number of lyrics (sixteen, I think, of course in a proper state for the press) for his annuity of £500; but being unable to do this without calling in professional assistance, he directly sanctioned a payment or deduction from the annuity to Sir John Stevenson of £50 for his musical arrangements; because Sir John wisely selected the brothers Power to be his paymaster of £100 a year, in preference to drawing upon, or flying kites, as it was then called, with Thomas Moore. And thus did this charge creep into the accounts of Mr. Power for musical arrangements, reducing Moores annuity to £450. This is acknowledged by Moore.
Stevenson having failed, as Moore did (perhaps in consequence), to execute his work within anything like the stipulated time, Moore, whose fine musical ear and fastidious taste no one can doubt, was left at liberty to select another musical arranger, and his choice fell upon Sir Henry Bishop; who however considered £250 per annum, instead of £100, to be nearer his marketable value for the performance of the work required of him by Mr. Moore and Power; towards this Mr. Power contributed his half, charging the other against Mr. Moore. But let us revert to previous circumstances.
Moore, in his letter of 10th April, 1813, to Mr. Power, says [xxv] that he would give Sir John Stevenson one of his hundreds to get him fixed with him. This shows that he was willing to pay, twenty years previously to his dispute with his publisher, more than £50 per annum to arrange his lyrical compositions, for the arranger suited his taste.
Mr. Moore even never objected to an additional sum charged against him on the 9th August, 1816, for Sir John Stevensons compositions of five sacred songs, viz., £41. 13. 4. This alone is a proof that Moore always considered himself to be liable for such charges in proportion to the annuity, exclusive of the charge for arrangement.
In letter of 29th August, 1818, Mr. Moore says that in justice to Mr. Power his works must be put into a finished state by some one. He also says: You can hardly fix upon any composer for the purpose till I am on the spot to consult with you. A proof that Bishop would not have been employed on Moores works without his advice and consent.
In letter of 23rd December, 1818, Moore says that he has written to Stevenson to know if he means to finish his works, as, if he will not do them off hand, he (Mr. Moore) must get somebody else to do them. This shows that Mr. Moore considered himself as employing his own arranger and composer.
On the 18th January, 1819, Moore stated by letter to Mr. Power, that the account furnished to December was highly satisfactory, and made no objection to the sum of £41. 13. 4 charged by Sir John Stevenson for composing five sacred songs - making the annual payment to him £91. 13.4. And yet, in the face of this fact, Mr. Moore has the audacity to write to Mr. Power, on the 8th May, 1832, I but require you to adhere to the terms on which we first commenced, with the simple exception of the £50 a year deducted from my annuity to pay the arranger, which is the only deviation from our original terms that either you ever proposed, or that I, either by word or writing, ever consented to.
After this strange lapse of memory, who can believe any statement made by Mr. Moore?
Moores letters to Mr. Power of 16th and 22nd July, 1823, [xxxvii] January, 1824, and 17th April, 1829, establish the fact that Moore employed Bishop to compose music to his words, and of course bound himself to pay for those compositions he had thus ordered, however willing to transfer his debt to the shoulders of his pecuniary Atlas, Mr. Power.
Indeed, all this appeared so obvious to me, that I stated to Mr. Power my conviction that, without any arbitration being necessary, if the matter was put in its proper light before Mr. Moore by any mutual friend, he could not fail to be convinced of the erroneous view he had taken of his case with Mr. Power, both in honour and in equity. And I drew up a short statement, of which some parts have been used in the present letter. But Mr. Moore was not to be convinced, and he went about making representations of his supposed grievance, which no doubt he made appear to be a real one to many, by the suppression of facts.
Early in August, Moore appeared again in London, and returned to his old charge about the accounts by addressing the following somewhat taunting letter to Mr. Power:
As I had not given my refusal to act with Mr. Rogers as an arbitrator in this, as it appeared to me, most unnecessary dispute, Mr. Power had naturally and most honourably hesitated for the [xxxviii] second time accepting the services of Mr. Rees, of whose opinion he was aware, in the adjustment of a very simple question, whether Moore was entitled to receive £450 per annum, positively claimed by him, or £350, the difference having been paid to Bishop, instead of Stevenson, for performing Moores work. This statement of the case has been repeated, for we are now about to come rapidly to the conclusion of these unhappy differences, and to show how completely Mr. Power was right, and how vexatiously Mr. Moore was wrong. Even the loss of the pittance of £350 per annum, for no very great amount of Kabour, (sixteen songs,) Mr. Moore does not appear to have, been very anxious to abandon.
And so he writes to Mr. Power:
Of course Mr. Power did so; and the result was, the appointment of the late Mr. Horace Twiss (M.P. and Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies) as the arbitrator on his part, and on that of Mr. Moore, Mr. Serjeant Merewether, (now Town Clerk of the city of London,) with, of course, the choice of an umpire. This agreement to refer to arbitration is dated 14th November, 1833, upon a stamp of thirty-five shillings, and was drawn up by Messrs. Clarke and Fynmore, the award to be made on or before the 21st December, or, in case an umpire was necessary on or before 21st January, 1834.
It was soon followed up by the choice of an umpire in
Power and Moore
There was no occasion however, for any reference to an umpire, as the following document will prove:
Thus ends! these lamentable details of Moores petulancy; which Would never have been allowed to see any other light than that of the fire, had not Lord John Russells publication dragged them forth in vindication of the slandered character of as kind-hearted and as noble-minded a man as ever existed. Moores vain-glorious opinion of his own floating ability through life, when buoyed up by Powers cash and credit, made him have no hesitation, like a swimming child, when he thought himself secure, to strike out right and left, leaving the means by which he had been supported to drift with the current. The retrospect is deplorable. Moore entered into unworthy pecuniary discussions with his long-tried and best friend; they certainly gave many a severe and undeserved [xxx] pang to the closing years of Mr. Powers anxious and struggling life. Moore was profuse, and even wanton, in his expenditure both of time and money. Power liberal, but economical of both.
And that Lord John Russells editorship should have revived the recollection of these pangs, no one can regret more than myself. It would not only have been kind, but judicious on his Lordships part, to have consigned these feelings of human frailty to the oblivion of the grave. And it is indeed a very feeble apology for ungenerous admissions in a half-told story, that Moore was one of those men whose genius was so remarkable that the world ought to be acquainted with the daily current of his life and the lesser traits of his character.
If this be admitted as a truism, it will not be denied that there are two sides to every question. And it only remains for me to congratulate you upon the decided step you have taken respecting submitting to the world the Power Correspondence of Moore, so far as it is now possible to do so.
I remain, Dear Sir, your very obedient servant,
P.S. - As I was about to close this letter, I received from Mr. Murray a pamphlet, entitled Correspondence between the Right Hon. John Wilson Croker and the Right Hon. Lord John Russell, on some passages of Moores Diary, with a Postscript by Mr. Croker, explanatory of Mr. Moores Acquaintance and Correspondence with him.
The correspondence having appeared in the Times newspaper of the 30th of January and 1st instant, you will probably have seen, With the P.S., which, like that of a ladys letter, contains the more important matter, it is unnecessary for me to trouble you, as copies of the pamphlet will no doubt have found their way into the United States by the packet which conveys this communication to you.