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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/389

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Charles Austin, had been his contemporary at college. He was a member of the debating society formed by J. S. Mill in 1825, and Mill afterwards contributed an account of Bentham to his ‘England and the English,’ 1833, a book, says Mill, ‘at that time greatly in advance of the public mind’ (Mill, Autobiog. pp. 126, 168). Though he was not a utilitarian, he frequently speaks with great admiration of Bentham (e.g. Speeches, ii. 65). In 1830 he was advised by Bowring, Bentham's disciple, to stand for Southwark, and his candidature was approved by Godwin. He issued an address, but withdrew on finding his prospects hopeless. After declining some other offers of a seat, he was elected for St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, on 30 April 1831. He had already become a friend of the elder Disraeli, and was now intimate with the son, who contributed to the ‘New Monthly.’ It does not appear that there was at present any special political sympathy between them, but their friendship continued through life.

Bulwer's relations with his wife were becoming worse. They travelled to Naples in the autumn of 1833, returning to England in the spring of 1834. Scenes followed which led to their living apart, and ultimately in April 1836 to a legal separation. The children at first lived with their mother, but were taken from her in 1838. Bulwer agreed to make an allowance of 400l. a year to his wife. Her remaining years were a long and painful tragedy. She was almost from the first in great want of money, partly, it seems, because she had no gift for economy, and partly because she spent a great deal upon lawsuits directed against her husband. She brooded over wrongs (real and imaginary), and attempted to obtain redress by most injudicious means, which only inflamed the quarrel. She began a long series of similar attacks by publishing in 1839 a novel called ‘Cheveley, or the Man of Honour,’ in which her husband was the villain. In the autumn of that year she went to Paris, and in 1840 prosecuted some agents employed by her husband who had tried to seize some papers in her house. She then lived at Florence and at Geneva, returning to England in 1847. After some stay in London and in Wales she settled at Taunton in 1857 with Mrs. Clarke, an innkeeper, who seems to have been a warm and hospitable supporter. On 8 June 1858 she appeared at Hertford upon the day of Bulwer's election for the county, and denounced him to the crowd. On 22 June following she was placed in charge of a physician upon a medical certificate of insanity. She was released on 17 July and went to France, accompanied by her son (afterwards Earl Lytton). In answer to newspaper comments, the son published certificates from Dr. Forbes Winslow and Dr. Conolly justifying the proceedings. He stated that his father had enjoined him to make every arrangement for his mother's welfare and to be guided by the advice of Lord Shaftesbury. Lady Bulwer's debts were also paid, but various difficulties arose, and she continued to attack her husband's character. After his death in 1873 her son increased her allowance, and she left Taunton, living afterwards at Dulwich and at Upper Sydenham, where she died in a house called Glenômera, 12 March 1882. After her death some letters to her from her husband were published in 1884, but the book was suppressed. A ‘Life of Rosina, Lady Lytton,’ was published by the editor of the letters in 1887. Lady Lytton accused her husband of infidelity, of personal violence in paroxysms of rage, and of various atrocities. Her statements show her readiness to believe in any enormity upon worthless evidence, and, except so far as checked by independent evidence, are obviously undeserving of confidence. The facts given above are only such as can be tested by published evidence. From the account given by the second Lord Lytton of the early years of the marriage it is obvious that his father was, in any case, far from a model husband. He was clearly passionate, irritable, and neglectful. Her conduct in later years was certainly such as to aggravate the difficulties of a very difficult position. Though she was not insane, her sense of her wrongs had become almost a monomania. It can only be said that she suffered cruelly for any follies she committed, and that Bulwer must be counted among the eminent authors who have not made and not deserved success in married life. Bulwer's domestic troubles did not diminish his restless energy. He spoke in defence of the Reform Bill in 1831, in 1832 he obtained (31 May) a committee to inquire into the state of the laws affecting dramatic literature, and he spoke (14 June 1832) in favour of cheap postage for newspapers, when the principle was accepted by the government. In 1834 and 1835, and again in 1855, he supported the repeal of the stamp duty on newspapers, and prepared a speech in support of Mr. Gladstone's proposal for the repeal of the paper duties in 1860. He was through life a steady supporter of the removal of taxes upon literature and of the copyrights of authors. In more purely political questions he did not become prominent in his early parliamentary career. In the first reformed parliament he was elected for Lincoln, which he preferred