A Blighted Life/Preface

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"The Blighted Life," by Rt. Hon.1 Rosina, Lady Lytton, with the Supplemental Notes which seemed necessary to make it complete, is now presented to the world in a perfect form; and the Editor hopes, that as it is one of the most interesting, so it will prove likewise one of the most useful of books. It details, in a highly graphic manner, a narrative of persecution of the most base and unmanly kind, practised by a wicked Man of great talent and resources upon a Noble Lady, who had hardly anything to defend her but a high spirit, a consciousness of innocence, and a resolve not to be crushed. This man had all the help that Power, and the Plots of guilty Associates could give him; he was himself false, cruel, cunning, and unscrupulous; and yet he was foiled by Lady Lytton, alone and almost unaided, except by the Voice of Public Opinion, which conquered the devices of both Court and Cabinet--for we believe that each was implicated in this most foul transaction.

The Volume contains Three Portraits; one of Lady Lytton, which is now for the first time given to the world; but which hardly does justice to her beauty, intellect, and grace: a Portrait of her husband, highly flattered; for almost every low and evil passion was traced indelibly on that odious countenance; and it was impossible to look upon him for any time without feelings of disgust and even horror: the third is that of her Son, the present Lord Lytton, on whose conduct in this business we forbear to comment; we leave the consideration of it entirely to the public. As the handwriting of Nature developes in the features, the eyes, the forehead, and the mouth, the true character of the soul and spirit within, we recommend a careful contemplation of these Portraits to all students in physiognomy, and think they will find, as they examine, a confirmation of their own best experience in this most interesting branch of science. Lord Lytton the First hid his mouth with his moustache and beard, because he was too conscious of its frightful expression to let it be seen.

The most saddening thought that arises after the perusal of this Volume, is, that no change has yet been made in the infamous Lunacy Laws, for which, in the main, we have to thank our Whig Rulers. Never was a more criminal or despotic Law passed than that which now enables a Husband to lock up his Wife in a Madhouse on the certificate of two medical men, who often in haste, frequently for a bribe, certify to madness where none exists. We believe that under these Statutes thousands of persons, perfectly sane, are now imprisoned in private asylums throughout the Kingdom; while strangers are in possession of their property; and the miserable prisoner is finally brought to a state of actual lunacy or imbecility--however rational he may have been when first immured. The Keepers of these Madhouse Dens, from long study in their diabolical arts, can reduce, by certain drugs, the clearest brain to a state of stupor; and the Lunacy Commissioners take all for granted that they hear over the luxurious lunch with which the Mad Doctor regales them.

Let us hope that this Volume may again call public attention to the monstrous crimes that are perpetrated under this dreadful system; and that it may help to unrivet only one of the brazen fetters which now bind down our People in bondage.

The character of the main Figure in ths Volume has been often drawn in flattering colours--most usually, we fancy, by his own descriptive pen. He has been called Poet, Novelist, Orator, Statesman, and we know not what; but if his Wife's Narrative, as contained in these pages, be correct, he was assuredly about as complete a Scoundrel as ever walked in shoe leather. And that the Narrative is strictly accurate and absolutely true, we entertain no doubt whatever. And if so, how odious was his conduct to that injured Lady. We believe that the man who would immure a perfectly sane Wife in the prisons of a Madhouse would not hesitate at her murder, if he thought himself safe. And it was in that horrible crime that Lord Lytton was detected, and fortunately was foiled. How well we recollect the universal horror which the news of the deed occasioned. The Daily Telegraph was then on its last legs. It had hardly a circulation of 3,000 a day. As each new morning dawned we expected to hear of its death. In a happy moment for the Levy-Lawson-Levis, Lady Lytton was betrayed, seized, and immured. The Editor saw his chance, and made the Metropolis ring with the outrage. Levi was saved; so also was Lady Lytton. She was released, as described in "The Blighted Life;" but to the horror and indignation of all decent people, her betrayer and most brutal torturer was nevertheless retained in office as Colonial Minister by the Queen, who, soon after, in order to mark her high sense of his conduct, elevated him, and his equally infamouse brother Henry, to the peerage. A more shameful insult, either to the People or to the House of Lords, was never committed; but insult now seems to be the lot of us all, and so Vivat Regina2!


  1. Rt. Hon.: Right Honorable
  2. Vivat Regina: Long live the Queen