BYRON, George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron (1788-1824). Autograph letter signed (with initials, 'N.B.') to John Murray, n.p., n.d. [January 1814], 5 lines on one page, oblong 4to, address panel (seal tears in upper and lower margins, small split in upper edge, frayed at bottom, slightly browned, later endorsement in pencil in blank portion of leaf). Provenance: purchased from Elkin Mathews, London, 30 November 1938, £16, and:
MURRAY, John (1778-1843). Autograph letter signed to Thomas Moore, n.p., 'Tuesday' [January 1814], 1½ pages, 8vo (integral leaf removed, slightly browned), and:
HOBHOUSE, John Cam, 1st Baron Broughton (1786-1869). Autograph letter signed to [John Murray], Whitton Park, n.d. ('Tuesday', circa 1833?), one page, 8vo.
Byron gives final instructions for the printing of The Corsair, asking for the notes to be at the end, and promising to send 'some mottos from Dante for each Canto -- & one for the titlepage tomorrow'. Murray writes to Moore that 'Lord Byron, who is at my side, has just compleated a poem in 3 cantos entitled the Corsair and he begs me to say that he relies upon your kindness for permission to dedicate it to you', in the first part of the letter enclosing a Bank Bill, expressing pleasure that Moore is 'meditating some poem of importance' and wishing to be its publisher.
The fair copy of the manuscript of The Corsair reached John Murray by 5 January 1814, and the first edition was published on 1 February. All 10,000 copies sold immediately and within a fortnight the work was in its 5th edition. Byron wrote to Moore on 6 January 'your dedication is assured being already written', then at Murray's suggestion wrote a second dedication free of political references to Ireland, but Moore finally opted for the first version.
Hobhouse recalls Murray's proposal to have 'some of Lord Byron's MSS for me to look over or some proofs to inspect' when the election was over, and offers his services. The letter was probably written after he stood for parliament in 1833 or 1835, when he was returned for Nottingham. After his retirement, he expanded the notes to Childe Harold and wrote notes for one canto of Don Juan. (3)