LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The “Pope” of Holland House
John Lewis Mallet to John Whishaw, 8 September 1831

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
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Malvern, Sept. 8, 1831.

My dear Whishaw,—The Times has taken up some clauses of the Reform Bill, the division of counties, and the giving votes to the tenants-at-will who occupy land or houses of the value at least £50 a year, with an extraordinary degree of violence, and has done its best to damage the whole measure in public opinion. I do not know a more capricious and unprincipled paper. The Bill, however, proceeds, and will get through the Commons in the early part of the ensuing week, and the quiet manner in which it has gone through the Commons (at least this session) is mainly due to Lord Althorp’s admirable temper and quiet good sense. He received last week a most flattering tribute of respect as to the conciliatory manner in which he had conducted the discussions from Peel and Wynne and several other members.

I am not sure that Brougham’s transference to the other House, notwithstanding his superiority and great talents, has been advantageous on the whole: and I am afraid that his sarcastic manner and Lord Grey’s irritable disposition will prove very formidable circumstances in the Lords: irritate the Opposition, and irritate the public against the Peers. Not a word calculated to excite angry feelings has escaped Lord Althorp.

You will see the list of the Commissioners who are to report on the division of counties, and on the districts to be allotted to boroughs. Abercromby is at
the head;
Gilbert,1 Littleton,2 and, very odd to say, Hallam are three of the principal persons; John Romilly, young Ord, Bellenden Ker, young Drinkwater,3 are among the members: I do not know, but it appears to me that Bentham’s laboratory and the Society for the Diffusion of Knowledge have furnished no inconsiderable quota.

Speaking of Bentham, there was a letter from him in the Courier newspaper some days ago animadverting on a criticism in the Spectator on Bowring’s4 report on French finances. I had suggested to Huskisson, when he was Secretary of State, some enquiry on this subject, and it appears from Bentham’s letter that he followed it up, and that when at Paris he had endeavoured to get some information as to French accounts. But, says Bentham, “Huskisson was all stiffness, haughtiness, coldness, and repulsive, and did not succeed. Bowring is all attractive.”

There is a pamphlet of Senior’s on the subject of Irish affairs, particularly with reference to the Poor Laws, which I have not seen, but which has been

1 Davies Gilbert, M.P., of Cornwall.

2 First Lord Hatherton.

3 J. E. Drinkwater Bethune, well-known counsel to the Home Office and member of the Supreme Council.

4 Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), an intimate friend of Bentham. In 1828 was appointed Commissioner for reforming the system of keeping public accounts. His appointment was cancelled by the Duke of Wellington. In 1831 was associated with Sir H. Parnell in the duty of examining and reporting on the public accounts of France, and appointed Secretary of the Commission for inspecting the accounts of the United Kingdom. This Commission was the foundation of all the improvements since made. (“Dic. Nat. Biography.”)

From J. L. Mallet
a good deal read and animadverted on in the
Times and Chronicle, both of which papers will hear of nothing but Poor Laws. Senior has severely criticised Dr. Doyle’s evidence and publications, which are chiefly remarkable for eloquent declamations and mistaken philanthropy; and no doubt the Doctor will reply and lay it on the economists. The most unexpected part of Senior’s panacea for Ireland is the decapitation of the Irish Church and the transferring of the revenues of five or six sees to the support of the Catholic clergy. This coming from Oxford has made people stare; and Stanley took an early opportunity of protesting in the House against the appropriation of any of the revenues of the Church to any save Church purposes.1

I am always truly yours,
J. L. Mallet.