Edward John Trelawny (1792-1881) was born into a well-established family from Cornwall. He passed a miserable childhood, and at the age of thirteen was enrolled by his father in the British navy. Discharged without a commission after a decade, Trelawny found his way to Italy, where he became part of the circle of expatriates around Byron and Shelley. He fought in the Greek War of Independence, during which he survived an assassination attempt, and wrote a notoriously unreliable but enormously successful autobiography, Adventures of a Younger Son, as well as his celebrated reminiscences of Shelley and Byron. Trelawny is buried beside Shelley in the English Cemetery in Rome.
In 1822, after having been discharged from the British navy, deserted by his wife, and as good as disowned by his father, the thirty-two year old Edward John Trelawny set off for Italy to make the acquaintance of his hero, Lord Byron.