Excerpt from ledger detailing purchase of 'Lord Byron's Works', 11 May 1819 [Library reference: MS.42889].
Lord Byron's manuscript of 'Don Juan' included personal attacks on other authors, mockery of British values and some descriptions and topics which might be interpreted by some readers as indecent.
Despite this, publisher John Murray was keen to proceed with publication. He hoped that Byron could persuaded to tone down some of the passages, and perhaps thought a little scandal might boost his sales.
Murray purchased cantos I and II of 'Don Juan' along with two other Byron works 'Ode to Venice' and 'Mazeppa'. The price paid for all three works was £2100, as noted in Murray's ledger in May 1819.