LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The “Pope” of Holland House
Chapter III: 1815

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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Property tax—Edinburgh Review—Politics—Mungo Park—The Corn Laws—Buonaparte’s landing—Lord Castlereagh’s speech—Life of Mungo Park—King of Clubs—Foreign politics—Battle of Waterloo—Death of Whitbread—Brougham—Miss Edgeworth and Park’s Journal—Letter from the Edgeworths—The Allies—The Duke of Wellington—Louis XVIII. and the Slave Trade—Treatment of Napoleon and French politics—Sheridan—Lafayette—Duke of Wellington’s conduct in Paris—Napoleon’s voyage to St. Helena—Holland House—Canova—Binda—Sir Samuel Romilly’s visit to Paris—Dr. Holland—Bishop of Gloucester—Lines at Holland House—Sismondi’s account of Napoleon—Dr. Holland—Duke of Norfolk—Lord Holland and Duke of Wellington—Lord Castlereagh and the Catholic question—Edinburgh Review.
From Mr. Whishaw to Mr. Smith.
Feb. 9, 1815.

THE speeches at Gloucester on the petition against the property tax are very creditable to your county. Very good use was made of the suggestion that the idea of this tax ought to be closely associated, or rather identified, with the idea of war, so that when people talk of hostilities and national glory, they may know what is to be calculated upon or expected.

“Edinburgh Review”

The following are the names of the articles of the last number of the Edinburgh Review as far as I know or can guess them:—

Art. 1. Jeffrey.
6. Brougham.
7. Playfair.
8. Part, I believe, by Mr. Pillans, master of the High School at Edinburgh, but a good deal by Jeffrey.
10. Brougham.
11. Chiefly Jeffrey.
12. Brougham.

There are all sorts of strange reports about changes of Ministers in which I am not in the least of a believer. They originate in the strange secluded life which the Prince has been living at Brighton, without any intercourse or communication with his official servants. I shall content myself with the quotation from Tacitus1 of a passage which is very justly admired by Gibbon. Have the goodness to show it to Miss Bailey.2

Domitianus3 vero,—“umbraculis hortorum abditus, sicut ignava animalia, quibus si cibum suggeras, jacent, torpentque, presentia præterita, futura, pari oblivione demiserat.”

I am at length putting the finishing hand to Mungo Park, after many interruptions. The work has been done by fits and starts and in a manner very unsatisfactory to myself, but it must take its chance.

1 Tacitus iii. Hist. c. 36.

2 A lady who lived with Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

3 Vitellius is the right reading.

Return of Napoleon
Feb. 16, 1815.

I do not know whether you interest yourself much in the Corn Laws, which occupy all conversation here. Our friend Malthus has published a pamphlet1 in favour of restrictions which is not at all relished by his friends here, but will gain him a great name among the clergy and landed interest. Indeed, we, the poor corn consumers, are no match against these powerful bodies, joined to all Scotland, all Ireland, and now the Executive Government.

All accounts agree that the French Government is acquiring stability, so that I hope we may have peace for a short time; but the Congress deserves everything that can be said against it.

March 11, 1815.

We are in a state of the greatest consternation at the news of Buonaparte’s landing in France, which, for a time at least, must put a stop to your continental projects. I cannot enter, at present at least, into this tremendous subject; but according to the best intelligence, the enterprise bears a most alarming aspect, and seems likely to involve us in a new continental war, which may be fatal to our finances and Constitution.

March 15, 1815.

The political prospect on the Continent appears to be very alarming. The advance of Buonaparte to Lyons, which I quite believe (notwithstanding the discredit thrown on that intelligence by the Morning

1 On the Corn Laws.

Return of Napoleon
Chronicle), seems to show that the troops cannot be relied on, and that there are no means of opposing his march. I am afraid, therefore, that we must look forward to his marching on Paris with as little difficulty as he has done to Lyons, and that he will be reinstated without any delay. The bulk of the people may perhaps be against him (although this is doubtful); but it is upon the soldiery that he depends, and if the spirit that has manifested itself in many of the regiments should be generally prevalent, we may perhaps have a new revolution at Paris in a few days, and the Bourbons in England in a week. If I recollect right, I told you long since how very weak the Government was; having no support either from public opinion or from military force. I doubt whether there will even be a civil war in their favour.

It is stated in the French papers that in consequence of an intimation that the Congress were to dispossess Murat, he had signed a treaty with Buonaparte, and was advancing towards the north of Italy. In that case a general insurrection and revolution may be expected in that country. I am very uneasy about some of my friends who are at Naples.

If Buonaparte is once re-established he will remain; and we must expect an immediate war respecting Belgium. To establish a new confederacy will be difficult; nor would it now possess the same spirit as in 1813 and 1814, having lost a great portion of its moral force in consequence of the acts of the Congress. Buonaparte, on the contrary, will have
Return of Napoleon
the advantage of coming forward as a new man, to deliver his country from the disgrace of the Bourbon Government.

March 17, 1815.

The messenger who has just arrived states that Buonaparte was expected at Paris on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. His march has been a triumphal procession, he has nowhere experienced the slightest resistance, and the only bloodshed has been that of General Marchand at Grenoble, who was shot by his soldiers on account of his fidelity to Louis XVIII. His proclamation is said to be moderate in many of its terms, but he insists on France being reinstated in its dominions, and particularly Belgium, which will immediately involve us in a new war. Despatches have been sent to Vienna to bring the Duke of Wellington to Brussels, where he may be expected very soon. I am afraid his laurels will be somewhat tarnished, as he will probably be overpowered by numbers and be opposed by the population of the country. It seems as if we were on the eve of a long and terrible war, which may be highly injurious and perhaps fatal to our finances and Constitution. For many years everything in Europe must be entirely military; and there is an end during our time of all peace establishments.

The case is very deplorable; but you will surely consider yourselves fortunate that you were only preparing for your journey. I am very anxious about the Hollands and several other friends now in Italy, principally at Naples.

Return of Napoleon
March 21, 1815.

The state of public affairs is quite deplorable. Since the doubtful gleam of Saturday last all hopes have disappeared, and the prospects of affairs seem to be nearly the worst possible. Accident excepted, we may expect in the course of a few days to hear of Buonaparte’s being at Paris. It seems clear that the regular troops will not meet him face to face, and his march is, therefore, unimpeded. The King’s speech on the 16th has all the appearance of being an expiring effort; and I hear that the Bourbonistes have no better hope than that of making a respectable stand in the North and West of France, till they can receive assistance from the Allies; a wretched foundation of hope! After what has passed it would be little short of madness to attempt to place the Bourbons on the throne of France; yet I am afraid that this country will be speedily engaged in projects of this description.

Abercrombie tells me that Lord Castlereagh’s speech last night was a most disgusting avowal and exhibition of those selfish and profligate principles which have disgraced the conduct of the Allied Powers, especially at the Congress. He came to me this morning in great despair at the state of the country, delivered over, as it now is at this important crisis, to this most abandoned and dangerous system of Politics.

It is some consolation that Lord Grey and (I believe) Lord Grenville are entirely averse to any interference in the internal government of France, or even to a war for the possession of Belgium, which
Revolution in France
it is impossible for this country to retain against the decided determination of the French Government and people.

You inquire about the Lansdownes. They, of course, have postponed all thoughts of a continental journey till they see what course events take in France. It is a grievous disappointment, especially to Lady L.

March 27, 1815.

The new Revolution in France has taken place so rapidly and quietly as to leave no doubt with regard to the goodwill of the great majority of the people towards Buonaparte, or at least of their entire indifference to the Bourbons. To engage in a war for the sake of these latter would be quite unjustifiable; and after the experiment which has proved their unfitness and unpopularity, much more hopeless than in 1793. You will be glad to hear there is a band of Whigs (I am afraid it will be a very small one) decidedly adverse to any war of this description, or even to any war for Belgium, which cannot ultimately be retained against the power of France, aided by the inclinations of a great majority of the inhabitants.

April 10, 1815.

I have abundant reason to be satisfied with the success of my publication, but have been a good deal mortified by finding that some of Park’s friends consider me as having been unjust towards his memory in my observations relative to his connection with Bryan Edwards. My defence is that I undertook to be the biographer of Park, and not to write his panegyric, and that I did not think his conduct
Mungo Park’s Journal
relative to the great question of the Slave Trade, upon which his authority had some influence, could bepassed over entirely without animadversion.1

I am afraid that we shall certainly have war; and there will as certainly be a schism between Lord Grenville and Lord Grey,2 if it has not already taken

1 Mr. Murray wrote to Mr. Whishaw about the reception of his book as follows:—

Dear Sir,—I regret exceedingly that I shall be wholly without the means of satisfying you with the sort of intelligence respecting the Memoir which you appear to expect, as every criticism and opinion that has reached my anxious and interested ear has been most completely favourable.

Gifford and Lord Byron—two persons of opposite tastes and neither of them particularly known to you—have expressed to me their entire satisfaction at its judiciousness and interest of the narrative and its attending remarks, and Sir James Mackintosh is no less pleased with these qualities in it, and is delighted with the ease and elegance of the style in which it is written. Others of less note I have heard speak of it with indiscriminate satisfaction; and as to the comments of Park’s friends, you have too much experience of mankind not to have anticipated the many chances against the possibility of harmonising with the warm but ill-regulated feelings of mere relations.

If your visit be about four o’clock or later, you will probably be rewarded by meeting with Scott or Byron and most likely with both.

I remain, dear Sir,

Your obliged and faithful servant,

2 On the escape of Napoleon differences of opinion arose between Grenville and Grey on the war question. Grenville maintained that it was impossible to keep peace with Napoleon, and that vigorous hostilities should immediately be commenced; while Grey declared that it was the duty of the country and the Allies to do everything which they reasonably could to preserve the peace. A correspondence ensued which led to a division among their followers.

Mungo Park’s Journal
place. The best intelligence from France states that
Buonaparte is making immense preparations; and there is too much reason to believe that he will make it a war of national feeling and honour.

April 15, 1815.

Lord Wellesley has been making great speeches this week; and the Ministers are considered as having made a miserable figure, especially on the question respecting the Treaty of Fontainebleau.

It is pitiable to think of opening a new attack on Buonaparte and the French Empire under such auspices.

You will be pleased to hear that Park’s Journal has succeeded far beyond its merits or pretensions; and I am particularly flattered by the commendation which distinguished critics, such as Mackintosh and Horner, have bestowed on the style, which was purposely simple and subdued. The Edinburgh Review (by Brougham), which is of course highly favourable, intimates that I have been rather too cautious and timid. But I am satisfied on reflection that the tone that I took was the right one.

I mentioned that Park’s friends were dissatisfied; I more seriously lament that Sir Joseph Banks is displeased with me, though he maintains an entire silence. I consider him as under the influence of his prejudices in favour of the Slave Trade.

April 26, 1815.

Abercromby has suggested my asking whether you would like to dine at our club1 on Saturday next, the

1 The King of Clubs.

‘King of Clubs’
29th. The place, you may remember, is the Freemasons’ Tavern, and the hour six o’clock. As it is the day of the Royal Academy dinner,
Lord Lansdowne, Romilly, and some of our most considerable persons will not be of our party; but you would probably meet Abercromby and Malthus, and some others whom you may like to see. I have likewise invited Ricardo.

May 3, 1815.

Our party on Monday was perhaps a little too numerous. I hope you did not find us too noisy and controversial.

I am glad you have had an opportunity of seeing Miss O’Neill, and that you were so much pleased with her. She is a prodigious addition to the stage.

There are strange reports respecting the prevalence of the Jacobin party at Paris, and the state of coercion to which Napoleon is supposed to be reduced. It is said to be even hazardous for him to leave the metropolis. The Constitution is universally abused as being too monarchical; and Constant,1 one of its authors, is almost afraid of showing himself in society. On the other hand, the military preparations are said to be great and incessant. These circumstances afford strong argument for peace, but will have a directly opposite effect.

July 1, 1815.

It is impossible not to be a little mortified by the complete triumph of the legitimate Monarchs and of

1 Benjamin Constant, 1767-1830. Distinguished French writer and statesman.

the war faction in this country. The restoration of
Ferdinand of Spain, Ferdinand of Naples, the King of Sardinia, Louis XVIII., and the Pope (all of them in the full vigour of their bigotry, prejudices, and resentments) is a most inauspicious event for the liberty and happiness of Europe; to say nothing of its obvious effects upon our own country. But the prospect of a constitutional Monarchy under Buonaparte was very unpromising, and could not have been attended with any beneficial consequences to Europe or France. The latter has shown herself utterly unfit to be trusted with prosperity or even with moderate success. Having long abandoned all sanguine hopes of general improvement, I console myself, like you, by looking forward to the certain blessings of peace and tranquillity.

I conclude with an extract from a letter of Colonel Abercromby1 (our friend’s brother) which you may find interesting. He was in the thickest of the late battle, but escaped miraculously with only a slight wound. He has seen much service in Spain.

Bivouac, near Cateau,
June 22, 1815.

“The fate of Europe has perhaps been decided in one battle; and from what I have seen I do not wonder at the success of Buonaparte on former occasions. His dispositions and manoeuvres were excellent; and his troops must have beat to the Devil any others but the British commanded by such a hero

1 Son of Sir Ralph Abercromby, brother of the first Lord Dunfermline.

Death of Whitbread
Wellington. We are moving on with the Prussians, and the French are still flying. The fugitive will be driven to Paris; for I really do not think he will be able to face us at Laon. The people are all quiet, and receive us as they did in the South, determined pretty much to let the armies fight it out between them.”

July 8, 1815.

As you are at a distance from all authentic intelligence, you will be anxious to hear what is the true cause of poor Whitbread’s shocking fate, respecting which many false reports are circulated. It has originated in some degree from a bad state of health attended with a determination of blood to the head, with which he has been lately affected; but mainly and indeed almost entirely, by the complicated and unprosperous state of the concerns of Drury Lane Theatre, which have for some time given him perpetual uneasiness. He used much influence at the commencement of the concern, with tradesmen and others of that class to become subscribers; and the thoughts of the losses which they would sustain, and of the imputations he would be exposed to, have been continually present to his mind, and at times overpowered his intellects. The clearest evidence, I understand, was given before the coroner’s jury, showing great mental derangement; and this ought to be published, as it has been found impossible to conceal the manner of his death.

It is needless to say what a loss, both public and private, has been sustained by Whitbread’s death. It cannot during our time be replaced.

State of France

I hear of no particular news since the capitulation of Paris, which is very unpopular here; such was the vindictive spirit of the people, and so desirous were they of a little plunder and outrage. Some would not have been sorry for burning and massacres.

July 20, 1815.

The state of France seems to be most unfortunate and embarrassing for all parties; and nothing has happened to alter my opinion relative to the original justice and policy of the war. We had no right to expect such an overthrow of the French as took place at Waterloo; and the difficulty of placing the Bourbons on the throne, now that we have succeeded in the war, is even greater than what we apprehended. The weak and embarrassed condition of Louis XVIII. is too clearly shown by his soliciting the aid of Jacobin Ministers and calling a new legislative body. It is said to have been Talleyrand’s advice that he should remain at Ghent till he received some invitation from Paris; but that he was desired by the British Government to accompany the Allies into France.

You will be glad to hear that Brougham is just come into Parliament, being brought in by Lord Darlington, for Winchelsea, at the request of Lord Grey.

There is a violent quarrel between the Regent and the Queen on the subject of the new Duchess of Cumberland. The Queen is said to be very ill. If anything should happen to her, the Duchess, who has great powers of insinuation and intrigue, will probably come and play a great part in this country.

Letter of Maria Edgeworth
Aug. 1, 1815.

I forget whether I told you that I had received a very long and obliging letter from Miss Edgeworth relative to Park’s Journal and Life. Mr. E. adds a postscript; but he has been very ill, and is seriously declining in health. They approve very much in general, but think me somewhat harsh, and are influenced a little by the Quarterly Review. But they are of the prudent and cautious school. They have, however, been much interested and entertained; and the whole family took a part in the question respecting the Niger and the Congo.

From Miss Edgeworth to Mr. Whishaw.
Edgeworth’s Town,
June 27, 1815.

My dear Sir,—At last, after many provoking delays occasioned by Dublin custom-house officers and Dublin booksellers, we have obtained possession of the work you did me the honour and the favour to send us. We have read it with peculiar pleasure, not only from the real merit and interest of the book, but from its coming at a time when we were most certain to feel the full value of literary instruction and entertainment. My father has had an illness which has now lasted many months, but which has never diminished the activity and energy of his mind. Reading, or rather being read to, has been his great resource and solace. You may judge, then, how much his family have felt obliged to the author of the Life of Mungo Park for a work which opens so many new views to an inventive mind, at the same time that it gives so
Letter of Maria Edgeworth
much pleasure to literary taste, as a remarkably judicious composition, free from superfluity either of ornament or detail.

As writers on education, and as persons who are anxious for the improvement of the education of the people of Ireland, we felt an additional interest in that part of the Life of Park in which you speak with such forcible eloquence of the advantages that have resulted from the superiority of education among the lower ranks of the people in Scotland.

My father last night employed one of my sisters to make an extract from that invaluable note of yours on this subject, and he will have it inserted in an excellent paper which has lately been published in this country, for the special use of the people, The Irish Farmers Journal and Weekly Intelligencer. We could not venture to make so copious an extract as we could have wished, or to state some of the strongest facts, lest our extract should have proved too strongly bitter and utterly unpalatable to those for whom it was intended.

Do you, my dear Sir, in things of lesser importance admit of such sacrifices of the right to the expedient? In matters of importance I see you are inexorable. Have you not been rather too severe upon Park for his truism about the Slave Trade? First you decide that “his silence must more than his speeches offend,” and then you take exception at the first and only words the poor man says, by inferring that more is meant than meets the ear. You convert a harmless, perhaps a cowardly, but by your own statement a powerless, truism into a dangerous innuendo.

Letter of Maria Edgeworth

(Miss Edgeworth discusses at great length the question as to whether Park’s account of his travels was written by himself, or whether he had been helped by others.)

As to the general question whether an author of voyages and travels ought to accept of assistance from a professional writer in preparing his work for the public, you have with perfect liberality allowed that this is countenanced by the practice of many of our most celebrated navigators and travellers, and justified in some instances by the necessity of the case. But I perfectly agree with you in opinion that, wherever the traveller can, he ought for his own sake, and for the satisfaction and advantage of the public, to state his facts and deliver his tale, varnished or unvarnished, after his own fashion. Of this Mr. Park himself is a striking proof, and you have put it in the power of the public to see and judge of this proof. You have judiciously published, without correction, alteration, or embellishment, Park’s last Journal; and every one accustomed to literature and to see literary manufacture can, from these imperfect notes and hints, judge how capable Park was of writing for himself, and how much more interesting he might have made his travels by his own style, simple and unadorned, than by borrowing the pen of a practised writer, who would give flourishes and rhetoric, but could not give the stamp of truth, that inimitable stamp which happily defies all counterfeit, and is of more value even for its power to interest than the famous cachet of Voltaire or of any other writer in this world of writers.

There are many facts in Park’s Journal, curious in
Letter of Maria Edgeworth
themselves, and still more interesting in opening new views and affording a scent of new discoveries. The barbarism and civilisation existing at one and the same time among these Africans, their gold washing and their gold and iron smelting, and their gunpowder making, and their elegant mud mosques, and their famous Timbuctoo, and their kings’ sons stealing great-coats and their kings delighting in the shrieks of the criminals they have executed, form altogether a new combination, a new picture for the historian; and for the natural historian, geologist, mineralogist, and chemist, there is surely much to hope from “kingdoms they have yet to subdue” in Africa.

The geologist must not make up decisively his system of the world till he learns more of this new world. The chemist will be eager to have the analysing of the rust of gold, and if there be an alchemist left in the world he must look for the philosopher’s stone in the golden sand of Africa, and must take your pretty little black washerwomen to assist in the projection.

Will you be so good as to tell me by whom that print and the other very neat woodcuts in your book were executed? and say whether we should have any chance of engaging the artist at any moderate price to execute some vignettes for children’s books?

. . . . .

When we began to read Park’s travels I thought I could not feel such interest in the course of the Niger, Zad, or Congo; but by degrees I caught the general enthusiasm, and this whole family are now as mad as you or Park could have wished on this subject, and
Letter of Maria Edgeworth
as vehement in the discussion of the several reasons on Park’s and
Rennell’s1 side of the question. At all events, I am glad the father of history is upon this occasion proved not to have been the father of lies, and that the Niger was seen by Park to flow, as Herodotus described it hundreds of years ago, from west to east.

I am glad that the old lake is there, and very sorry Park, when so near Sillee as that, could not reach it, but was forced to turn back like the prince in the Arabian tales, who was in sight of the golden water and the singing tree when forced to turn back. As to this grand question of the Niger, upon collecting votes we find that this whole family are for Mr. Park’s opinion, and think it is the Zad and the Congo. But, like Irish arbitrators upon a reference, we incline to split the difference, and we would decide, for Major Rennell’s satisfaction, that the Niger should empty itself into the lake nobody knows where. But then, why should it be lost there? Why should it not flow through said lake (as, if precedent be required, the Rhone flows through the Lake of Geneva)? Why should not the Niger pursue its course, changing its name to Zad, or Congo or Zaire, as it pleaseth, till it pours through its terrible mouth into the sea?

Is that mouth so terrible? Is the navigation of the Zaire from the western coast so dangerous as to be quite impracticable? This is a question on which another of great importance depends, for if it were practicable, would it not be wise to try to pursue the course of the Congo till it be proved from where that

1 Major Rennell, F.G.S.

Letter of Maria Edgeworth
river rises, and whether it joins the lake or the Niger? This and some other points relative to a new expedition to Africa have been eagerly discussed by my father and brother since we have been reading your work. My father, however, claims the pleasure of giving you his own thoughts, and he who has always been so good as to undertake for me all the business part of our literary partnership will answer your note about Murray the bookseller, which Lady Romilly communicated to us. Accept, dear Sir, my thanks for the obliging interest you show in our concerns, and believe me,

Gratefully and sincerely your obedt. servant,
Maria Edgeworth.

My father has been confined to his bed with rheumatism and bilious sickness, till late this evening, is so indifferent that he cannot write for himself, and he desires me to hold the pen for him.

With respect to the question of the Niger, the possibility of its being evaporated from a lake which served as a reservoir for its waters must depend on the size of that lake, and with this we are unacquainted. However, as we know of no such method of disposing of the waters of a mighty river in any other part of the world, we are upon this point in a field of unbounded conjecture.

The possibility of traversing a hostile country in balloons is not hopeless. I know the means of conducting a balloon in perfectly calm weather. Whether such a calm can be found in any habitable regions of the air is yet to be determined. What periodical winds may reign over the sandy deserts of Africa
Letter of R. L. Edgeworth
is also a question yet to be answered. In the proper season an aerial voyage over the whole tract which
Park traversed might be passed in a very few days. The voyagers might alight in the desert in safety, and their celestial descent among the savages in a populous part of the country would ensure them not only safety but adoration.—Sed referre gradum! Nothing is so disgraceful to the scientific history of the present age as the mere mercenary use that has been made of balloons. Montgolfier, whom I knew at Paris, deplored the unworthy use that had been made of his invention.

With respect to Mr Murray, the bookseller, I return you my acknowledgments for the interest you take in our literary adventures. The partnership that subsisted between the nephew of the late excellent Joseph Johnson has been dissolved, but the business is still carried on at the same house by Mr. R. Hunter, one of Johnson’s nephews, who retains the copyright of our works. The gentleman to whom, after the death of Mr. Johnson, we were attached, was another nephew of his, Mr. Miles, who has quitted business. We have had no business with Mr. Hunter, to whom we are in no way bound. If we find him different from what Johnson’s nephew ought to be, we shall attend to your recommendation. Johnson had promised my daughter a certain price for the three first volumes of “Fashionable Tales.” On the day he died, Johnson, finding himself ill, desired his nephew Miles, who was alone with him, to give Miss E. credit in his books for double the sum which he had promised. Of this, Miles was so impatient to inform us, that he wrote by post to us that very night after his uncle’s death.

Without any stipulation he gave two thousand guineas for “Patronage.” This, undoubtedly, must have been done by the consent of his partner, Mr. Hunter; but we take it for granted that Mr. M. was the person who arranged the business. . . .

I am, dear Sir, with great regard,
Your obedt. servant,
Rich. Lovell Edgeworth.
From Mr. Whishaw to Mr. Smith.
Aug. 10, 1815.

I promised to write something about politics. All accounts agree as to the very disturbed state of France, and the difficulty of establishing the Bourbons. That which now takes place is only a continuation of the error committed by the Allies last year, in which it is melancholy to think that Great Britain took the lead, namely, the restoration of Louis XVIII., without considering whether he was sufficiently supported by public opinion, or had sufficient virtue or talents to enable him to regain the confidence which the family had lost. Whatever may be the crimes of France, or however desirable it may be that there should be a settled and moderate Government in that country, one cannot possibly wish success to this great violation of the great principle of national independence.

It will probably bring with it its own punishment. The Allies are certainly in a very embarrassing state; for they cannot continue to hold France as a conquered
The Duke of Wellington
country very long, and every hour of their stay adds to the difficulties of
Louis XVIII., and diminishes his chances of ultimate success. All letters from Paris state that the English are universally popular as contrasted with the Prussians, who are much disliked both by foes and friends; their conduct has given great disgust even to the rest of the Allies. They are very insolent and pay for nothing; whilst the English, who pay for everything, are at the same time very civil to their hosts.

Blucher, who has established himself at St. Cloud, conducts himself like a captain of freebooters, and in some cases has encouraged his soldiers to new excesses, both by precept and example. The Duke of Wellington, who has interfered very honourably in some cases, is for the most part a calm spectator, and appears to take little real interest in what is passing. He is thus described in a letter from Paris, which I have just seen:—

Le Duc de Wellington, ce héros froid et mediocre, que la nature a crée pour prouver que la science militaire peut exister sans autres talens, et l’intégrité pecuniaire sans autres vertus.” Notwithstanding the epigrammatic turn of this sentence, I believe it on the whole to be a pretty fair representation.

Aug. 16, 1815.

You will rejoice to hear that Louis XVIII. has consented, though with some unwillingness, to the total abolition of the Slave Trade. For this we are unquestionably indebted to the return of Buonaparte, who has lately been heard to say that he was satisfied
from accurate inquiry that the trade was in no way beneficial to France, being carried on with British capital. It is certainly a great triumph. The only two countries where this traffic has not now been abolished are Spain and Portugal.

The treatment of Buonaparte, which has the appearance of being in some respects harsh and rigorous, has produced a good deal of sympathy in his favour; much of the conversation which you have read in the papers is given with tolerable exactness; though several of the questions are rude and offensive, when Napoleon’s situation is considered. These were chiefly put to him by Lord Lowther and Mr. Lyttleton, member for Worcestershire, but principally the latter. Almost every one who has come into contact with Napoleon has been fascinated by his manners and deportment. No one more so than Captain Maitland, of the Bellerophon, who writes to his friends, that he never met with a man more agreeable and engaging, and few so well informed. Sir Henry Bunbury, who communicated to him the resolution of the Cabinet, states that he received the intelligence with the utmost composure; after which he addressed Lord Keith in a speech of some length, remonstrating against the hardship of the decision with great ability, and in a strain of feeling and eloquence. The impression which he made on them was, upon the whole, very favourable. The parting scene with Savary, Lallemand, and the Polish officers was very affecting; and several of those present shed tears. He talked much with Lyttleton respecting Whitbread and the cause of his death, and asked whether Ponsonby would succeed him as leader
The Allies
of the Opposition. He desired him to describe the peculiar eloquence of Lord Grey.

For my own part I must confess that my heart is a good deal hardened against this deserter of the cause of freedom, and profligate and inveterate warrior. But I entirely disapprove of all unnecessary harshness, such as keeping his friends from him, and taking away 4,000 gold napoleons, lest he should attempt to bribe the soldiers.

Weymouth, Aug. 31, 1815.

You ask me for politics, but I have very little to say. What is now taking place at Paris affords the best justification of those who condemned the renewal of the war, on the grounds both of justice and sound policy. After the astonishing and unexpected success of the Duke of Wellington, the situation of the Allies is difficult and embarrassing in the extreme. They have not only violated their engagements, but have probably committed a fatal error (with reference to the general peace and settlement of Europe) in placing upon the throne of France a man who has no army, no public opinion in his favour, no talents for government, and who must be supported by foreign arms. It seems impossible that such a state of things should be of long continuance; and it is very desirable for the sake of example that such unprincipled conduct should be punished. I was very much pleased the other day by hearing, in a large party in Holland House, a very eloquent tirade against the “Corporation of Sovereigns combined against the rights of independent nations” from Sheridan, who displayed upon
this occasion a spirit of vigour which reminded me of old times. He concluded, unfortunately, by talking and drinking himself into a state of intoxication, which put a speedy end to the illusion.

I forget if I told you that Abercromby, when at Paris, saw many appearances, as he thought, of a strong and deep feeling of the humiliation inflicted on them by the Sovereigns of Europe. He saw some excellent individuals, and was particularly pleased with Lafayette, who seems to be a virtuous and excellent man, still ardent for liberty, but wholly unfitted by the simplicity of his character for those arduous transactions in which he has borne so distinguished but so unfortunate a part. Abercromby says it is the general opinion that the Liberal party acted a most unwise part in not trusting Napoleon under the circumstances in which the nation was placed, with the supreme power; and their folly in supposing that the abdication of Napoleon would cause the Allies to stop in their career, is an act of credulity to which history affords no parallel.

With respect to the treatment of Napoleon, I think that those among his friends who wished it should have been suffered to accompany him; but I do not object to St. Helena as the place of his confinement. One laments the necessity of condemning a man of great powers to a state of banishment, which to him must be very little superior to solitary imprisonment; but some strong measure of the sort appears to be indispensable; and it is a characteristic and appropriate punishment for a man whose military exploits have been the constant subject of anxiety and alarm in Europe for the
Duke of Wellington
last twenty years, that he should be consigned for the rest of his life to a state of hopeless obscurity. Observe that my hatred of him is not founded on his real or supposed crimes so much talked of in the
Times and Quarterly Review, but upon his constant hostility to the principles of liberty to which he owed all his success, and upon that restless activity and insatiable ambition which has been the principal cause of the dreadful wars of the last twenty years, and of the present convulsed state of Europe.

Oct. 17, 1815.

London is very empty, and I have seen very few people; but I am going to Holland House for a few days to-morrow, and shall then be in the way of hearing what is going on. There are evidently great complaints of the Duke of Wellington for his conduct respecting the pictures and statues, in the removal of which he contrived to take the principal share without any necessity or any advantage to the British nation. He is the object of eternal lampoons and placards, and has rendered himself and the English thoroughly unpopular in Paris. Caldwell,1 who was there at the time, says that nothing could be more striking than the complete change of opinion and manner towards the English, which the proceedings at the Louvre occasioned. In the principal part of the transactions our countrymen were very conspicuous; and the English engineers assisted the Austrians in

1 George Caldwell, of Jesus College, Cambridge, graduated B.A. 1795, being tenth wrangler, and senior Chancellor’s medallist. He took orders, and was for many years fellow and tutor of his college.

Duke of Wellington
the removal of the great horses from the Tuilleries. It was very right that the works of art should be restored to their proper owners; but this should have been done by a formal declaration of the Sovereigns, or rather, by distinct treaty; and it should have been done in the first instance, instead of being, as it now appears, an act of arbitrary and capricious violence. The Duke’s letter makes out a very indifferent case; where there is a positive treaty it is idle to talk of understandings between the two Sovereigns; and the lecture that he reads to the French on the folly and vanity of a spirit of conquest, considering the circumstances under which it is published, is one of the greatest insults ever offered to a nation. Though much that he says is very true, the publication is equally offensive and injudicious.

The terms of the Peace (as it is called), of which the outlines are already known, will be very popular with the readers of the Times and Courier, who think that the rights of conquest cannot be pushed too far or France too much degraded. It is the most wretched termination of a great and successful contest that the world has ever seen, and the difficulties in which the new arrangement will involve us will afford the best practical comment on the impolicy of the present war, and the injustice and impropriety of interfering in the concerns of independent nations.

You know that an Ambassador is going out immediately to China. Lord Amherst, who is appointed to this service, is a particular friend of Lord and Lady Holland, and, on their suggestion, has offered the appointment of Physician to the Embassy to Dr.
Holland, who is now on the Continent, travelling with the Philips. Letters are despatched after him in every direction; and I hope he will accept the offer. It may be the means of giving the public a good book on China, whilst it furnishes him with a very sufficient pretext for putting an end to his unpleasant connection with the Princess.

Oct. 28, 1815.

Intending to pass only three days at Holland House, I have been detained most agreeably for ten days; and I have for some time hoped to give you an account of what I have seen and heard.

For the present you must be satisfied with a few anecdotes relative to Buonaparte’s voyage.

Admiral Fleming, who dined yesterday at Holland House, has had a letter from Sir George Cockburn, dated off Madeira, who says that Buonaparte has been in excellent spirits during the voyage, but that he is lethargic and incapable of reading or writing for any length of time. He sleeps fourteen out of the twenty-four hours. He has taken a great deal to playing at cards, of which he was quite ignorant when he left Plymouth, but now he has learnt several games, and plays so well that he beats everybody. Sir George had lost 130 napoleons to him the evening before, and said that if he went on he should be stripped of the whole profits of the voyage.

Buonaparte had ingratiated himself as usual with the ship’s crew during the voyage, and was universally popular. We have had several times Sir Hudson Lowe, the new Governor of St. Helena; an intelligent man and considerable military officer. He will do his
Holland House
duty honourably and liberally, without any unnecessary harshness. He is taking out for Buonaparte a considerable collection of books, in which are many of his own particular choice; especially some mathematical works and a complete set of the best French translations of the classics. There are many novels for Madame

Nov. 2, 1815.

I am happy to inform you that Scarlett1 arrived in town this morning. I sat with him an hour and he gave me a very agreeable account of his visit to Paris. He partakes in all our sentiments as to the unjustifiable and impolitic conduct of the Allies, and their prime agent the Duke of Wellington.

The Romillys also are arrived, full of the same sentiments. They were a week at Paris, and had the best means of observing and judging. From them and from others I have learnt many particulars which I hope soon to communicate to you.

Nov. 8, 1815.

It is time to say something of my late visit to Holland House, which was a curious moving scene of all nations and languages. Our parties consisted of Bessboroughs and Lord Erskine (without his star),2 Spaniards of various parties (all of them banished or proscribed), a very intelligent deputy from Buenos Ayres, Rogers and the Romillys just arrived from the Continent, and latterly the great sculptor Canova,

1 Sir James Scarlett, first Lord Abinger.

2 The insignia of the Thistle, which Lord Erskine was supposed to wear on every occasion.

and his brother, an Italian Abbate and savant. I must not omit
Miss Fox and Miss Vernon, who were very generally of our parties and great additions to them. By far the most interesting in the group was Canova. To a very striking physiognomy he adds great simplicity of manner, an easy and natural flow of conversation, with occasional traits of gentle unobtrusive humour, great enthusiasm for the Arts, and a disposition apparently the most amiable. He gave us the characters of the late and present Popes, and related with great spirit some of his numerous conversations with Buonaparte, who condescended to talk with him in his native Venetian dialect, and treated him with the greatest kindness, though he pleaded the cause of the Pope, then in captivity, and spoke of war and conquest as the enemies of the Arts with great disrespect. The Abbate Canova is a very pleasing man, but without any marks of the sculptor’s genius. He is entirely devoted to his brother, with whom he constantly lives; and he generally reads to the artist when the latter is engaged at his work. I inquired what were their usual books, and understood that they were generally Italian poets or some of the classic authors, whom the Abbate translated as he read with occasional comments and observations. This seems to me very natural and pleasing, and Lord Holland says it is extremely illustrative of the Venetian character, which is remarkably gentle and amiable.

Canova is extremely pleased with the Elgin Marbles, which he says are alone worth a journey to England. He gives no praise to Westminster Abbey but says, “Il y a quelques beaux idées.


Of our artists, Flaxman is most his favourite. I have not yet heard what he says of our architecture.

Among those whom I met at Holland House I must not forget a young Italian of the name of Binda, who has been an intimate there for a considerable time. His history is somewhat interesting. He was connected with the late Roman and Neapolitan Governments, and has been thrown out of a brilliant career of fortune by the late revolution in Italy. During his prosperity he collected a good library and some curious manuscripts and autographs. These latter he has now brought to England with the intention of disposing of them to the Museum, where there seems to be a disposition to purchase them. I have been of some little use to him in this negotiation, and his gratitude and acknowledgments are unbounded.

He became much connected at Rome last winter with the Hollands and Bedfords, both of whom invited him to England; he is very kind and amiable, and has a great deal of information. I am much disposed to improve my acquaintance with him, and shall have opportunities of doing so as he is likely to remain in England for some little time. If he travels and goes to Bath I may perhaps send him to Easton Grey.

Nov. 10.

I was interrupted the night before last, and could not resume my pen yesterday. I am now writing at a very early hour and hope to finish before breakfast. Before I go again into politics I must tell you that I
The Peace
dined yesterday with
Warburton,1 and had a very agreeable day with him and Howard. He spoke with great praise of Easton Grey, but was very severe on your neighbours and on provincial society in general. A stranger hearing him would have supposed that he was a great admirer of the polished conversation of the Metropolis, the only difference being that he extremely dislikes the one society and entirely neglects the other. We talked a little about politics, but both he and Howard (especially the latter) seemed to fall considerably short of the proper degree of indignation against the conduct of the Allies, which is felt by yourself, Abercromby, Benyon, Horner, the Hollands, and I think also by Lord Lansdowne. The Treaty of Peace, as it is called, is said to have been signed and will arrive in London early next week. I am afraid that it will be very popular. The sentiments of many real friends of liberty are unfortunately much warped by their hatred of Buonaparte and the French nation. Of this I have observed several melancholy specimens.

Of the travellers lately returned from the Continent,

1 Henry Warburton (1784?-1858), friend of Dr. Wollaston and Ricardo, supported Brougham in founding the London University, was member of its first council in 1827. In 1826 was returned for Bridport, and made his first speech on November 30th, on foreign goods. Was re-elected in every election till 1841, when he resigned his seat on the ground that a petition would have proved gross bribery against his colleague, in which his own agent would have been implicated. He was reckoned one of Lord Althorp’s most confidential friends. His collection of minerals, including those belonging to Wollaston, was presented in 1858 to the Mineralogical Museum at Cambridge. (“Dic. Nat. Biography.”)

The Romillys in Paris
the account given by the
Romillys is the most interesting and the strongest against the Allies. His tour, considering that he was absent for little more than two months, was very extensive, but he saw most things extremely well. They were highly delighted with Italy, but especially with Genoa, its grand marble palaces, its fine mountain situation, and the tranquil magnificence of the Mediterranean, on which they sailed several times. Throughout Lombardy and the Sardinian territory they were much struck with the great works of Buonaparte and the benefits he had conferred on the Italian dominions; most of which will now be lost by the changes which have lately taken place in those unfortunate countries. At Geneva, Romilly became much acquainted with Sismondi, whom he found an agreeable and intelligent man, although he has been very injudicious in his conduct with respect to French politics. He understood him to be possessed of many curious notes of Buonaparte’s conversations during last spring at Paris, which he will hereafter publish. At Paris, Romilly lived chiefly with Gallois,1 Lafayette, and others of the Liberal and Constitutional party, and fully confirms the account which Abercromby had given of that virtuous but feeble body of men. The last account of the causes of Napoleon’s return to Paris in March last, as it is understood by Romilly and believed by Lord Holland, appears to be the following: that intrigues and plots were forming for a change of Government, which was intended to take

1 Jean Antoine Gallois, born 1755, died 1829. Author on jurisprudence and politics.

Return of Napoleon
place in May following, but were very far from being matured. They seem to have determined on nothing positive and distinct beyond the deposition of
Louis XVIII. His successor was somewhat uncertain, but probably would have been Napoleon II. with a Regency, as a measure likely to conciliate the Austrian Government. Buonaparte hearing of these movements, and having also good reason to believe that a proposition had been made by France at the Congress, and seconded by Spain, for removing him to St. Helena, determined on trying this, his only chance for recovering the Throne. His sudden appearance was quite unexpected by the Revolutionists, whose schemes it entirely deranged, but he was immediately espoused by the military, and in a great degree by the population at large. They found it necessary to acquiesce and do the best that they could; that is, to put him under a strict constitutional discipline. The result was, that during his short reign he was never entirely the master, and after his failure at Waterloo they easily compelled him to abdicate; weakly supposing that the Allies would be satisfied with this sacrifice and would interfere no further with the internal affairs of France. Romilly brings many striking instances of the insolence of the soldiery and the hardship suffered by the Parisians, but I have no time to enter into such details. He seems to apprehend some great explosion. No traveller of any party affects to deny that Louis “l’inévitable” (as he has been called) has any support in France except the arms of the Allies. On the other hand, the Royalists are quite as furious against these their friends and supporters as any other
Dr. Holland
body of men in France.
Count de Bournon, a great Bourbonist and friend of Blacas, who is lately arrived, says that the cruelties of the Prussians have effaced all recollections of Buonaparte’s tyranny, and that the conduct of the Allies, and especially the Duke of Wellington, will infallibly produce a new and more widely extended war. He confidently expects that Russia will separate from the rest, on some point of internal interference and unite with France. You will probably have heard Tennant speak of Bournon, and know that his opinion is not worth much except in mineralogy; but I quote him as speaking the language of the high party at the Court of the Tuileries.

Dr. Holland has declined the offer of going to China, as interfering with his prospects of medical practice. It seems, indeed, very doubtful whether the Embassy will after all be admitted, so great is the alarm and indignation in that empire on account of our war with the Nepaulese.

I must tell you that Dr. Holland, having entirely quitted the Princess of Wales (though quite amicably), means to settle in London this winter. He is now for a short time at Cheltenham, and will probably go to Bowood. I have told him that Easton Grey will be on his way, and that you will assuredly be glad to see him. If you talked of Dr. Holland at Easton Grey at the time of receiving my former letter he would probably be criticised with some severity by Abercromby and Warburton, nor was he much liked by Tennant. His manner is certainly too courtly and “douceroux”; but he is very obliging and possesses
Holland House
great funds of information—qualities which, with a view to the ordinary intercourse of life, sufficiently atone for these defects.

The treaties seem to be as bad as possible, but unfortunately they are very popular. I am apprehensive of great schisms among the Whigs. I send you these lines written with a diamond on one of the windows in Holland House by Mr. Frere. The last line seems to me particularly good:—

“May neither fire destroy, nor waste impair,
Nor time consume thee till the twentieth heir,
May taste respect thee, and may fashion spare.”1
Dec. 2, 1815.

I send you an extract from a letter written by Sismondi to a friend of mine respecting the Emperor Napoleon, of whom he was formerly a great enemy, but to whom he became a sincere convert after his return in March last. His account in some respects is curious; and distinctly confirms what we have heard before of the change that has lately taken place in Buonaparte’s constitution and physical powers—in fact, a sort of premature old age.2

1 These lines were originally, it is believed, written on a pane of glass in the window of Roger’s dressing-room. Princess Marie Lichtenstein gives them in 1874 as in “the southern window of the library passage.”

2 The copy enclosed does not allude to this, perhaps some of the letter is missing.

Sismondi on Napoleon
Extract from a letter of Sismondi to a friend of Mr. Whishaw (probably translated by Mr. W.).

Buonaparte no longer threatens Europe with subjugations. Speculation on his military and political views have in a great measure ceased. But the general system and the peculiarities of his moral and intellectual character are the universal topics of conversation throughout Christendom. By a strange fatality, also, it has happened that as his possession of power kept the world in constant agitation, so his existence in retreat has produced a sort of torpor in all parties in France. The fear of his return checks the Royalists, in their ill-concealed designs of disturbing the property and restoring the old abuses of their country, and the possibility of paving the way for him prevents the republicans from exerting themselves, and deadens the activity even of those who, with more moderate views, are anxious to reduce the power of the Crown within some reasonable limits. It would be difficult to form a satisfactory judgment of a man who has been at all times the object either of the basest adulation or the grossest abuse, and whom it is now not only safe and fashionable, but even profitable, to calumniate. Those who have lived by his favour, and those who have employed every art of flattery and deception to palliate his crimes, and intoxicate him with praise, are as eager to obliterate their former servility by repeating and forging anecdotes to his dishonour as those who have suffered under his tyranny are to load his memory with every species of
Sismondi on Napoleon
abuse without examining the foundations on which such an accusation may rest. But, though it is difficult to ascertain facts which depend on the veracity of the relater, and therefore impossible to draw his character with certainty, the results of his elevation are more obvious, and it is an easier task to infer from them how far his life has been beneficial and show how far it has been injurious to mankind in general and to the countries which he has governed for some years in particular.

“I will give you my opinion without disguise and without prejudice—that is, without reference to any opinions which I have formerly entertained or expressed.

“He was certainly no ‘monster’; that is, not a Caligula, a Nero, a Catherine de Medici, or a Marat. He was, however, in many senses a tyrant, and in all a subverter of that power to which he owed everything; a prince who combined great military talents with as great military means, indulged without scruple or moderation that odious and childish passion of conquest which has misled many absolute, and nearly all French, kings, has at all times created so much calamity in the world, and often, as in the present instance, conducted those who gave way to it through much false glory, to defeat and degradation. He had the same propensity to disturb mankind as Louis XIV., Charles XII., and other princes who have been called ‘Great’; but he had greater means than many, and more virtues than most of those princes. He was, therefore, more formidable, but not more guilty or odious. His worst qualities, viz., his hatred of
Sismondi on Napoleon
Liberty and love of conquest, he had in common with most kings; his means of gratifying them, especially his capacity, he had in common with but few. But as he exerted them for such detestable ends he deserved his fall; and inasmuch as his designs were hostile to the independence of many nations, and his capacity nearly equal to his undertakings, his fall must be considered as a fortunate event for the great Powers of Europe and for England in particular.

“But is it so for France, or for those countries which under him were annexed to, or dependent on, France?

“This question can only be solved by examining the good and evil of his Government, by comparing his system with that which preceded it, and, above all, by comparing the evils of his Government with those of such as have succeeded, or are likely to succeed, to him. These questions, as they effect France, would require very laborious inquiries and very long discussions. I shall only make some cursory remarks upon them.

“The evils of his system in France may be classed under three heads: the want of liberty, the waste of life, and the waste of money.

“Liberty of discussion, at least on political topics, there was none in France under him; and even of security for personal liberty there was very little. There must have existed more freedom of speech than we supposed, or than some of his predecessors would easily have endured, because there are many instances not only of bon-mots but of injurious expressions being uttered by him, and even to him by persons
Sismondi on Napoleon
whom he, in his turn, outrageously and scurrilously abused, but whom he left, not only at liberty, but in authority and office. It is, indeed, a remarkable circumstance, and one very discreditable to his understanding, if not to his heart, that he was at all times more disposed to insult than to injure those who had offended him. He was, however, an enemy to freedom; and, to use an affected word, must be considered as a ‘Liberticide.’ In this part of his character two things are, nevertheless, to be observed: first, that he left many forms and institutions which, though he himself dispensed with or broke through them, might have survived him; secondly, that notwithstanding his disputed title and irritable temper, fewer persons were found, at the time of his disposal, in prison for State crimes than under
Louis XVI., the hereditary monarch of France and, if we can believe his panegyrists, the mildest and meekest of all royal personages.

“Was the old system, then, such as required, even in its mildest form, a larger number of unfortunate wretches to be immured in dungeons than the new one admitted of, even under a fierce and unrelenting military usurper?

“The advantages enjoyed under Buonaparte’s government are not to be exclusively ascribed to him. Many of them were due to the Revolution and Republic.

“They were:—

“1st. The complete freedom of worship and conscience.

“2nd. Speedy and impartial justice administered
Sismondi on Napoleon
in all civil concerns and in all criminal matters, also where political questions were not involved.

“3rd. A strict appropriation of public money to public purposes. ( N.B. Napoleon, after paying his household from a civil list of half the amount granted to Louis XVIII., with a regularity unequalled in the frugal management of a private person, saved more than a third, which he distributed to individuals of merit in the army.)

“4th. The gratification of national glory.

“5th. The magnificence of all public works, useful or ornamental.

“6th. The excellence and cheapness of the police.

“7th. The easy access to office and distinction for all persons whose talents fitted them for the discharge of public duties.

“Such were the evils and such the advantages of his government. Which of the first has the late Revolution corrected? How many of the last has it destroyed? and what new benefit has it conferred? also what fresh evils has it occasioned?

“The first of these questions must be answered in the singular number. One enormous evil is for the present removed, viz., the conscription. The relief will be complete if a long peace can be preserved, and if a war can be maintained without some mode of levying troops as oppressive and perhaps less impartial. The taxes which ‘Monsieur’ promised to repeal have been continued, and even increased. In the meantime the salaries of efficient offices, military and civil, are less punctually paid, while the number of sinecures and court attendants is increased; works of great
Sismondi on Napoleon
magnificence are in a great measure, and works of utility still more, neglected and abandoned.

“The price of land is falling, the security of property is very sensibly diminished, prompt obedience no longer follows the laws; much discontent prevails, and many persons have been already executed for their resistance to the newly restored authorities.

“National glory is gone. Buonaparte, perhaps, destroyed as he had created it. But no one expects the old race to revive it.

“The only new institution the king has introduced—viz., the Maison du Roi—it is said, will be confined only to such as can prove their nobility. Processions, reliques, and suppression of business on feast days have been enjoined. Whether these are benefits I do not know; but they certainly are not so considered by the public.

“So much for France. Italy and Belgium remain to be considered. For, as to Holland and Switzerland, if the first can maintain anything like independence, she must be the gainer by the late events. It is as absurd to deny that her subjugation was subversive to her happiness as to maintain that Buonaparte’s late settlement of the cantons was not beneficial to Switzerland. Napoleon not only corrected the evils of which he had been the immediate cause, under the Republic, in Switzerland, but he actually improved the condition of that country with reference to the state in which it stood previously to the Revolution war. Except in Geneva, which he annexed to France, he has no enemies in Switzerland, and he has many adherents and more admirers in the cantons.

Sismondi on Napoleon

“In Belgium the public opinion is decidedly hostile to him and his Government, and the people are as much delighted at his downfall as they had been lately at the expulsion of the Austrians, and formerly at the evacuation of the Spaniards. A calm calculation of their interests might lead them to another conclusion. France afforded them a permanent market for their manufactories and productions, and was powerful enough to protect them from incursions and conquests. Surrounded by independent states, they will in peace be harassed with the custom-house regulations of their neighbours, and in war are destined to become again, as they have so frequently been before, the theatre of war—the arena on which the great military powers carry on contests for glory—contests which it is the fate of Flanders to witness and to feed, but the glory of which she is no longer allowed to partake. If they belong to Austria or to Prussia they will hardly be relieved from the evils of a levy as severe as the conscription. If to the Protestant provinces of the Netherlands, they will be subjected to those to whom they feel the strongest repugnance, and in all cases they will be more exposed to the evils of war and less gratified by admission to high offices of a great empire, which, from policy or from accident, Napoleon rendered very accessible to the natives of the annexed provinces.

“Italy, in political liberty, can have lost nothing under Napoleon, for she had nothing to lose. In all that a Government not founded on liberty could bestow, she had gained prodigiously under the French domination. The conscription and the taxes were,
Sismondi on Napoleon
indeed, grievances, and grievances of a nature to which Italians had never been subject, and which they were therefore less prepared to endure.

“But, on the other hand, the general improvement of their agriculture, their means of communication, and their police, were benefits hitherto unknown in that country; and the security of persons and property, together with full admission of all the natives to the highest posts, both in their own country and in the empire, were advantages which they had never enjoyed, and which might be thought to compensate even for the taxes and military service required of them. Assassinations were hardly known in the kingdom of Italy and the provinces annexed to France. The administration of justice was public and impartial and in the hands of the Italians: there was a full toleration of religious opinions; the arts most congenial to the country were encouraged, not only by the rewards, but by the consideration conferred on their professors; and other arts of life were gradually introduced into the country. If the balance between good and evil had been struck under the Viceroy Beauharnais’ government, the conscription and national degradation must have been placed in one scale, security of person and property and an excellent administration of justice in the other. By the recent change they may possibly get rid of the conscription; but the degradation of their national character will not only remain, but be aggravated by those of superstition, persecution, and depression of talents. In Piedmont every man who has served the country which his sovereign lost and abandoned, for these last
Sismondi on Napoleon
ten years, is either banished or dismissed. The magnificent roads by which the intercourse with foreign nations was facilitated, are to be destroyed. The academies and schools are to be shut up; the improvements, even in medicine, are prohibited, and the Inquisition, which did not exist there, is to be introduced.1

“At Rome the Pope has denounced those authors of all mischiefs, the Freemasons, though I believe all the allied Sovereigns who restored him are of that foolish but innocent fraternity, and the mode by which his Holiness proposes to bring them to justice is by assigning one-half of their property to their accusers and the other to the judges who shall condemn them!

“The very lamps and pavements of Rome are denounced as impious innovations, and the old darkness and dirt are to be immediately re-established. The ancient modes of law proceedings are to be carefully restored, and all the benefits of sanctuaries and other kinds of impunity to be scrupulously extended to those worthy objects of compassion who live by depredation, and have been betrayed into the venial offences of stabbing their fellow-creatures. The roads are infested with robbers; the towns and villages abound with assassins. The taxes remain, or are increased, though not one of them is applied to objects beneficial to Italy. Sugar, coffee, and relief from conscription they have gained; justice, enterprise, security, and magnificence in public works they have lost by the change. They have still foreigners for

1 Note by Mr. Whishaw, “This is denied.”

Sismondi on Napoleon
their taskmasters; but the French opened to the natives a career of fortune and glory; and, though they pillaged them for purposes of war, they encouraged old and brought new arts into the country. The Austrians take their money and give them nothing in return but insolence and contempt.

“It is not wonderful that Napoleon should have many partisans among the Italians, for who can deny [that his fall] has restored with much aggravation all the evils which retarded the progress and debased the character of that highly ingenious people for two or three centuries.

“Great, however, as the calamity of his downfall will be to that country, that of his restoration would be still greater. Endless civil wars would ensue. The fears of one party and the vengeance of the other would desolate the country with persecution; but though the condition of Italy would not be bettered by an effort to recall him, it is unquestionably worse than when it had quietly submitted to his authority. The appearance of the peasantry, and of the country, has improved as much under Buonaparte in Italy as it has in France since the Revolution; and though newspapers and the Public may rail at that event, the traveller must be blind who, in passing through France, does not perceive that the division of property, the suppression of odious privileges, and the real equality of condition have improved the face of the country and the state of its inhabitants, and must ultimately have some effect in ennobling the rural intellects and the political character of the nation.

Dr. Holland
From Mr. Whishaw to Mr. Smith.
Dec. 22, 1815.

It is some time since I last wrote, but I have had very little to communicate. London has been very empty and society very stagnant. Lord and Lady Holland were absent for a long time at Woburn. Since their return I have been at Holland House once, and am going there again for a few days at Christmas, and afterwards to Lord King’s. No particular intelligence has been received from France by Lord Holland, except a distinct confirmation of the hardships inflicted on the Protestants in the South. It is very true, as the Courier states, that this rancour is connected with political opinions; but it is no sort of excuse for the charge of disaffection being always brought in such cases by the ruling ecclesiastical faction, and often with good reason, as they take care by their mode of treating them that the charge shall at length be true. Witness the primitive Christians and the heretics of early ages, the French Protestants during the League, and the Irish Catholics of our own times.

I am glad you were pleased with Dr. Holland, who seems also to have been successful at Bowood and with the Carnegies. The defects of his manner are very apparent, and extend in some degree to his character. They have excited a strong prejudice against him in the minds of some of our friends. I allude particularly to Abercromby and Warburton. But I can pardon these defects on the ground of his great information, and general good temper and agreeableness. I might have been more vigorous
Lord Holland and Duke of Wellington
some years since; but it is time for me to ask myself the question of
“Lenior et melior fis accedente senecta?”1

Somewhat of this temper is necessary in advanced life, to counterbalance its other unavoidable defects.

The Duke of Norfolk’s death has made our friend’s brother2 the premier peer of England, and, in consequence of a settlement made some time since, gives an annuity of £1,500 to our friend for his life, and a handsome provision for his children. But the Duke left him nothing by his will, having for a considerable time past been on bad terms with him. The Duke saw Dr. Milner, the Catholic, frequently during his illness, and appeared to show some partiality for the faith of the family; but he was not reconciled to the Church by any overt act.

Dec. 29, 1815.

I wish I was at liberty to send you a copy of an admirable letter written by Lord Holland to Lord Kinnaird, at Paris, relative to Ney’s case, and the Duke of Wellington’s construction of the 12th Article of the capitulation of Paris. It is excellent both in argument and style, and very strong against Wellington, to whom it was shown, and who returned it without any observation. Though too late to save Ney, the letter, I trust, was not without its use, for Wellington is said to be again fluctuating towards the milder system, and the escape of Lavalette, which

1 Horace ii., Epistle 2, 21.

2 Edward Charles Howard, brother of the twelfth Duke.

Lord Castlereagh
seems clearly to have been permitted, may be considered as a proof that the ruling party in the present Government are apprehensive of pushing matters to extremes.
Lord King, whom I am just going to visit, writes to give me notice “that he almost regrets Napoleon, for that, with all his bad qualities and rage for conquest (which includes almost every other fault), he was an Usurper, and as such obliged to be tolerant, and the natural enemy of many abuses much cherished by the Kings of the Earth, upon whom he was, in many respects, a powerful and effectual check.”

These opinions, however, are confined within a narrow circle. They are entirely unknown to the world at large.

You will be surprised to hear that Lord Castlereagh has a plan for doing something for the Catholics, and is in actual communication with the Pope relative to that subject. I believe this to be true, and shall rejoice in anything that is done, regretting only that it was not done long since, and by those who would have carried it with full effect.

Among the authors of the articles in the Edinburgh Review I may mention that of Lingard’s Anglo-Saxon History is written by Allen of Holland House, and Dr. Holland’s travels by Playfair.