LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
Chapter X: 1822

Chapter I: 1813
Chapter II: 1814
Chapter III: 1815
Chapter IV: 1816
Chapter V: 1817
Chapter VI: 1818
Chapter VII: 1819
Chapter VIII: 1820
Chapter IX: 1821
‣ Chapter X: 1822
Chapter XI: 1824-33
Chapter XII: 1833-35
Chapter XIII: 1806-40
Chapter XIV: Appendix
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Nassau Senior—“Nigel”—“Italy”—Politics—Miss Edgeworth—Miss Aikin—Mr. Colt’s marriage—Duel in Scotland—The Edgeworths—Excursion to Bury—Crabbe—Politics—Ricardo.
From Mr. Whishaw to Mr. Smith.
Feb. 5, 1822.

The review of Scott’s novels is by a forward, clever young man from Oxford, named Senior,1 a fellow of Magdalen, and a law pupil some little time since of Duckworth. He also reviewed the Agricultural Report in the preceding number.

Walter Scott has another novel in the press called “Nigel,” written to illustrate the manners of the seventeenth century. The scene, I believe, is laid in Scotland; and the story has some connection with that of Heriot, the goldsmith of James I., who founded Heriot’s Hospital at Edinburgh.

An anonymous poem in blank verse of the Lake

1 Nassau Senior, political economist, author of the Report on the Poor Law, 1834.

school, entitled “
Italy,” is just published, which is generally attributed to Rogers. It would not otherwise have much circulation, for it has little interest, though it contains some agreeable passages.

Feb. 16.

Parliament has been very active since its commencement, but I cannot commend its measures. The violent Acts called for by Lord Wellesley give me no great hopes as to his Administration; and it would not surprise me if he was to turn out, after all, a vulgar and commonplace Lord Lieutenant.

His conduct in India was on many occasions very arbitrary, and I am glad of what was said on this subject by Lord Folkestone and Dr. Lushington. Lord Londonderry’s speech last night did not satisfy the country gentlemen; but we shall see in a few days whether they will force the Ministers to stronger measures. Ricardo is considered as too much of a theorist; and though I agree with him in all his general principles, I am sorry that he thinks it necessary to promulgate them in Parliament, as they afford a good handle to the enemies of economy and retrenchment.

Miss Edgeworth, I believe still lingers at Lady Elizabeth Whitbread’s. I am sorry she does not take lodgings: which, as she has received £600 for her “History of Little Frank,” one would think she might afford to do. Miss Aikin’s book on the reign of James the First is very successful, and deservedly so. It is praised by Lady Holland and Mackintosh.

Feb. 26, 1822.

The character of the present Session of Parliament, if it was ever in the smallest degree doubtful, is decided by the late divisions. The country gentlemen are entirely with the Ministers, who may exercise an uncontrolled sway, subject to no restraint but their own discretion. Much blame is cast on Ricardo, who, though he voted with the Opposition, is considered as having spoken in favour of Ministers, by countenancing their principles and opinions. I think, indeed, that, considering the audience whom he addressed, he spoke too much as a theorist, and in a manner likely to be misrepresented. But though his speeches may have served as pretexts, I cannot think that they operated as the true motives of many votes. Mackintosh, however, represented the number thus influenced, or professing to be so, as nearly forty, but they were all willing to be satisfied with the measures of Government, and would have found good reasons for being so if Ricardo had never opened his lips.

Mr. Coke’s absurd marriage to Lady Anne Keppel, fifty years younger than himself, is the general topic of conversation. He had suggested to his nephew, whom he had for many years considered and treated as his heir, the propriety of paying his addresses to this lady, but the young man declined, or at least hesitated; till, hearing that his refusal might lead to serious consequences, he hastened to London to make his proposals, but received for answer that the lady was already engaged to his uncle.

The marriage takes place to-day; and the parties were to walk in procession to St. James’ Church.

Canning’s Motion

Mr. Coutts is said to have died worth near a million and a half, and to have left nearly the whole to his widow.

March 30, 1822.

The town is occupied by a duel in Scotland between Mr. Stuart, a zealous Whig, and Sir Alex. Boswell, the son of Dr. Johnson’s biographer, in which the latter was mortally wounded. It was occasioned by various libels which have appeared in the Scotch journals (the Beacon and Centinel) which have been established on the model of John Bull. Sir Alex., who was a great Tory and had an unfortunate talent for lampooning, wrote very much in those journals, and is supposed to have contributed, when in London last year, very largely to John Bull.

It is certain that he was well received at the Pavilion, and was made a baronet at the Coronation. He had libelled so many people that, after the late detection, he could not possibly escape a duel. Lord Archibald Hamilton and Lord Duncan, who had been much calumniated in the Scotch papers, had determined to challenge him; and Lord Duncan was actually on his way to Scotland for the purpose.

Canning’s1 notice of motion was a great surprise upon the House, and most of all on his late colleagues.

1 Canning was again Foreign Secretary. On the 29th he moved for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal the Act of Charles II. debarring Roman Catholic Peers from exercising their right of sitting and voting in the House of Lords.

Plunkett said that he had not been able to make up his mind on the subject. When pressed by Tierney on this important subject, he repeated that “he was not yet able to bring his mind to any definite conclusion.”

The Edgeworths
Plunkett made a wretched figure, and has lost character greatly by his conduct since his acceptance of office. Lord Wellesley, too, seems unlikely to be a gainer.

April 17, 1822.

On my return from the country, I found to my great surprise that the Edgeworths, who were to have remained in London till the end of this month, had taken a sudden flight in consequence of the death at Edgeworthstown of one of the Mrs. Sneyds. It is said that they will go immediately to Ireland, after a few days’ visit to Lady Elizabeth Whitbread, and that they have given up their journey through Scotland and their visit to Sir Walter Scott.

This intelligence surprised me, and I can hardly think the alleged reason the true one, considering that Mrs. Sneyd had been ill several months, and that her death had been expected for some time. Perhaps their curiosity was exhausted, or London was found too expensive. I feel some regret that I have not seen something more of them; for though I am not conscious that any efforts have been wanting on my part, yet the fact is, that I have only met them at Sir James Mackintosh’s in large parties, and never once seen them alone. When we met we were always on good terms; and I hope they are satisfied. It was my intention on my return from the country, to make some further endeavours, though probably to little purpose. Their time was engrossed by visits and sights, and their friendship was expanded like leaf gold over a prodigious surface. A popular author, however, must be considered in some degree
as a public character, and allowances ought to be made for the temptations incident on such a situation.

April 20, 1822.

I told you I would send some little account of my Easter excursion; which, notwithstanding the unfavourable weather, sufficiently answered its purpose of health and relaxation. At Bury I passed two days, and was happy to find the boys1 going on well, Edward in particular, who was an invalid, seems to be better in health and spirits than I have known him for many months. Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy were with me and extremely pleased with all they saw. This was highly satisfactory, the more so as Mr. K., who was educated at Harrow, well knows what English schools are.

Whilst we were at Bury we went to see Ickworth, a large house built by the late Lord Bristol, the founder of Down Hill (I believe it is called), on the coast of Antrim, which I recollect your seeing in Ireland. The ground plot of the house is oval, and is of prodigious height; and though little more than a shell, it has cost with the chimney-pieces, bas-reliefs, and other ornaments from Italy (many of which are in packages unopened), upwards of £50,000. I conclude that it will never be finished.

At Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, I saw a brother of Crabbe, the poet, a respectable and intelligent painter and glazier, who confirmed to me several of the particulars I had heard of his brother’s

1 Sir Samuel Romilly’s sons.

The Edgeworths
early life. I was gratified by viewing some of the scenes, which Crabbe has described so beautifully, and which he has made so interesting by his admirable Dutch painting. Suffolk is very monotonous, and generally bare of trees, but the agriculture is excellent, the cottages good, and the villages often very beautiful. I was pleased with Harwich and Colchester, and with much of the country between those two towns. I remember
Madame de Staël, who landed at Harwich from Sweden, describing it with great raptures.

I hear that the Edgeworths, who are still at Lady Elizabeth Whitbread’s, have again suddenly and, as Lord Londonderry says, “upon the crane neck principle,” altered their plans and determined to stay a month longer in London.

I have not seen Ricardo’s pamphlet,1 but hear a good account of it from Warburton and the adepts. He did not send me a copy, as he had done of his former works, considering me perhaps as a heretic.

April 27, 1822.

Lord Lansdowne and Macdonald may be expected about the middle of the week. I have heard no particulars, but have every reason to believe that the journey has answered well for both parties, and Lord Lansdowne is perfectly satisfied with his travelling companion. There can be no doubt that if Lord L. should come into power, he would make it an object to provide in some measure for our friend, by placing him in some respectable or useful situation. But I

1 On “Protection to Agriculture.”

The Edgeworths
have long considered Lord Lansdowne forming a part of any Administration as an event hardly possible, especially since the increasing ascendancy of
Peel, who is destined to be our future Governor.

The Edgeworths have returned from Lady Elizabeth Whitbread, and are afloat again, in full sail, down “the tide of human existence.” I have not seen them but hear from them continually. One day they are at the Westminster Abbey (which, by the way, having been cleared for the Coronation, is well worth seeing), then at the London Docks, and then at St. Paul’s, with Cockerell, the architect, to explain the structure and plan of the building. Mrs. Lushington (the Doctor’s lady), who often sees them, tells me that they pass thirteen or fourteen hours of the twenty-four in visiting and sights!

I have not yet read Ricardo’s pamphlet, but hear it much praised. The ministerialists, in particular, are much pleased with his doctrines, evidently because he says little against taxation.

[The correspondence with Mr. Smith here ends, as his death occurred in June, 1822. After Mr. Smith’s death the letters diminish in numbers, and are written only at long intervals to Mrs. Smith.]