LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The “Pope” of Holland House
Chapter IV: 1816

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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Ney and the Duke of Wellington—Lord Lansdowne—“Paul’s letters”—Lines on Scott’s “Waterloo,” by Lord Erskine—Debate on the Treaties—Lord and Lady Byron—Ricardo—Politics and the income tax—Benjamin Constant—Brougham and the Regent—Princess Charlotte’s household—Lord Byron—Lady Caroline Lamb—Glenarvon—Binda—Constant—The Hope pictures—“Childe Harold”—Ricardo—A Whig marriage—Southey’s poem on Waterloo—Lord Byron—Pozzo di Borgo—“Tales of my Landlord”—Spa Fields riot—Theatricals at Holland House.
From Mr. Whishaw to Mr. Smith.
Tuesday, Jan. 16, 1816.

VERY shortly I expect to send a copy of Lord Holland’s letter on Marshal Ney’s case, which I have obtained his permission to transcribe.

The political aspect of affairs, on the part of the Opposition, for the approaching meeting of Parliament is sad and gloomy, I fear, in the extreme.

The question concerning the proper treatment of Labedoyere and Ney,1 by the Duke of Wellington has

1 Lord Holland’s letter to Lord Kinnaird written December 5, 1815, contains the following passage:—

“Technical arguments may possibly be urged on both sides;

Duke of Wellington and Ney
excited all sorts of differences among the party, and the number of those who espouse what we consider as the true principles on this subject, and who have the courage to avow them, are likely to be very inconsiderable. Unfortunately, too,
Lord Grey has lately had one of those severe attacks to which he is so subject, and will probably be prevented from coming to town for some time. Lord Holland, it is true, is here, but he is considered as too violent, and an outcry has been attempted against him, with some success, as a friend of Buonaparte and France. Lord Lansdowne’s opinions are very right, but his feelings, I am afraid, will not be sufficiently strong, and he may probably be deterred from declaring the whole truth by the apprehension of doing mischief in France. In the Commons, Ponsonby, who, by the way, is not yet arrived, is inefficient, and Tierney, though admirable in finance and practical details, is unequal to great subjects; nor is he of sufficient weight to attract many followers. Horner and Brougham do not agree well together, the latter verging towards the democratic side, the former to the regular Whigs. Lord Milton

and though they appear to me all in favour of Ney’s claim, it is not on them I lay the stress, but on the obvious and practical aspect of the transaction, as it must strike impartial men and posterity. The plain relation of the events in history will be this—A promise of security was held out to the inhabitants of Paris; they surrendered their town; and while Wellington and the Allies were still really in possession of it, Labedoyere was executed, and Ney was tried for political opinions and conduct. Even of subsequent executions (and I fear there will be many), it will be said the Allies delivered over their authority in Paris to a French government, without exacting an observance of the stipulations on which they originally acquired it.”

approves entirely of what has been done, and thinks it all too little.
Lord Althorp, disapproving of many of our proceedings, yet thinks that no attack must be made on the Duke of Wellington.

East India College,
Feb. 18, 1816.

You will be glad to hear that the divisions among the Opposition are likely to be less serious than was at one time to be expected. Lord Grenville is decidedly favourable to economy and low establishments, and however incompatible these opinions may appear with his attachment to the Bourbons, we must regard his inconsistency in this respect as a very fortunate circumstance. He has lately shown a great indisposition to separate from his present friends, and has sent the draft of an amendment to Lord Lansdowne and Lord Holland for the motion which is to take place to-morrow upon the Treaties. This step was wholly unexpected, for it was thought a short time since that Lord Grenville would support the Address and range himself on this question, as on the question of the War, with the Administration. His amendment will in substance be adopted.

Brougham has distinguished himself very much, and has shown many of the talents of a leader; but he has not yet made himself acceptable to the older and regular part of the Whigs. He is somewhat rash and imprudent, as, for instance, in the Motion against Ferdinand of Spain; but with all his faults, which experience will gradually correct, he is an invaluable acquisition to the country.

Paul’s Letters

Lord Lansdowne has distinguished himself very greatly by his speeches, and still more by his conduct respecting the representation of Calne. In consequence of a vacancy for that borough made by Jekyll, he has determined to bring in Macdonald, a most excellent member of the Opposition, who has lately been turned out of Parliament by his uncle, Lord Stafford, for refusing to go over to Ministers. This conduct of Lord Lansdowne has been highly and justly applauded, in proportion as that of Lord Stafford has been universally and loudly reprobated.

Paul’s Letters to his Kinsfolk,” by Walter Scott, appears to be a trifling commonplace work, written, like the poem of Waterloo, for the sake of reimbursing to the author, with some profit, the expenses of his continental journey. Lord Byron has just published two poems hastily and somewhat carelessly written, but marked with his characteristic merits and defects. You will lament to hear that a separation is likely to take place between him and Lady Byron, an amiable and excellent person, whom I am afraid he has treated with great neglect and unkindness.

On Scott’s poem of Waterloo, by Lord Erskine
“How vast the heaps of prostrate slain
On Waterloo’s immortal plain;
Yet none by sabre or by shot
Fell half so flat as Walter Scott.”

Feb. 28, 1816.

The debate on the Treaties went off rather better than was expected; the two parties made an awkward
sort of junction, and
Lord Grenville, notwithstanding the apparent inconsistency of economy and the Bourbons, made a very good speech. The minorities of 40 in the Lords and 77 in the Commons were on the whole very respectable, and much greater than for a long time there was any reason to hope.

But the circumstance most fortunate in these debates, and which has contributed more than anything else to keep up the spirits of the Opposition, was the admirable speech of Horner, which both in style, manner, and above all in the excellent principles with which it abounded, was universally acknowledged to be one of the completest performances that has been witnessed by Parliament for a great number of years. It derived great weight from the opinion universally and justly entertained of the sincerity and high honour of the speaker, and produced so considerable an impression as to mark him out for the future leader of the Whigs, if that station had been consistent with his professional pursuits.

Probably the speech did not influence a single vote, but it lowered the tone of the Treasury bench and took away all the triumph of the reply. It was the universal topic of conversation for two or three days.

I have just had Benjamin Constant with me. He seems to be settled in England for some time, with the intention of publishing memoirs of the last reign of Buonaparte, for which he has ample materials, having seen him continually and having had many long conversations with him during his three months’ reign in 1815. His account of the great man seems in
Lord and Lady Byron
many respects to be candid and rational, agreeing in most of the essential points with the representations of

The separation of Lord and Lady Byron is going on; but as the former will not consent to any reasonable terms, it is probable there must be a suit of divorce in the Ecclesiastical Court on the ground of ill-treatment. The legal proof of this may perhaps be somewhat difficult; but of the fact there is no doubt, and it commenced, I fear, and has continued with little intermission from the first days of the marriage.

Ricardo’s pamphlet1 is sensible and ingenious; but I am still favourable to a metallic currency, and I find that Malthus agrees with me in this opinion. A seignorage on our coins and a repeal of the laws prohibiting their exportation would be probably all the case would require to ensure a constant supply of guineas on any great emergency.

March 18, 1816.

It will give you great pleasure to hear that Lord Lansdowne’s speech on Friday last on military expenditure was universally admired as a most finished performance, and has placed him very high in the first class of public speakers. It was distinguished not only by great clearness of statement and perfect knowledge of a very extensive and intricate subject, but by powers of pleasantry which he had not displayed on any former occasion. It is

1 Proposing a scheme for maintaining the value of bank notes by making them exchangeable, not for gold coin, but for standard bars of gold bullion.

The Income Tax
quite an era in his parliamentary life; and I cannot but be very highly gratified that he and
Horner, with whom I am so particularly connected, should be precisely the persons who have made the most marked and decided progress in public opinion during the present session.

The Ministers are determined to persist in their income tax, which they expect to carry by a majority of about 30. Many think it will not be quite so great, but that there will be a majority there seems to be no reasonable doubt. It is the strongest act of ministerial power, and the most striking proof of the inadequate state of parliamentary representation that has ever taken place in our time.

March 23, 1816.

Since I last wrote we have been most agreeably surprised by the signal and unexpected triumph over the income tax, which none even of the best informed had thought could possibly happen in the first instance.1 Several persons thought that the Bill might be thrown out in some one or other of its numerous stages, but no one expected that the original resolution would be

1 “At last I rose, and merely read distinctly the words of the Act imposing the income tax ‘for and during the continuance of the war, and no longer.’ The shout which these three words raised I shall never forget. We divided immediately (March 18, 1816), and threw out the Bill by a majority of 37, which, in reference to the snuff known as ‘Hardham’s 37,’ was called ‘Brougham’s 37,’ and I remember being represented in a caricature as offering a pinch of my ‘37’ to the Regent. The division was “for the continuance of the tax.” “In favour, 201; against, 238.”—“Memoirs of Lord Brougham,” vol. ii. p. 312.

The Income Tax
rejected at once by a powerful and decided majority. The greatest possible efforts had been made, and the strong and confident language of the ministerialists had convinced even their opponents that their exertions had been perfectly successful. I am afraid, indeed, that this must have been the case upon any question not so immediately and vitally connected with the pecuniary interests of the nation. This reflection may a little diminish our feelings of triumph; especially when we consider how slight an impression had been made on the people by the great military establishments, and how totally insensible they were to the injustice and impolicy of
Lord Castlereagh’s treaties and profligate system of the Allied Powers. Still it must be remembered that resistance to arbitrary taxation is one of the most natural and useful results of a spirit of freedom. Witness the case of ship money and the Stamp Act, the latter of which led to the American Revolution. The victory of the popular party in the present instance, considering the principle of the tax and the avowed determination of Government to force it against the avowed opinion and feelings of the people, is, perhaps, the greatest public event that has happened in our time; the most important, undoubtedly, that has taken place since the acquittal of Tooke and Hardy.1

A Ministry, thus defeated and disgraced, ought, according to the good rules of former times, to have been immediately dismissed, but they still retain their places, and the only effect will be that Mr. Canning,

1 In 1794, Horne Tooke, Stone, and others were tried for conspiracy.

Benjamin Constant
on his return to England, will stand somewhat higher, from his friends being lowered, and will obtain better terms in his political negotiation.

We have several rather interesting foreigners now in London, particularly Benjamin Constant, who was formerly the friend of Madame de Staël and the great opponent of Buonaparte in the Tribunate, who, after an exile of some years, returned to France on the restoration of Louis XVIII., and upon the return of Napoleon became a convert to his constitutional system, and one of his counsellors of state.

He is a distinguished literary man, a writer of political treatises and constitutions, a considerable German scholar, with somewhat of the sentimental and metaphysical cast of the Staël school, and has lately written a novel which he is about to publish. He is an agreeable man, but not particularly striking in conversation. However, he has a great deal to say, especially respecting Napoleon, whom he saw continually, and with whom he conversed on all sorts of subjects, political, literary, &c. I cannot now enter upon this wide field; but have strongly advised M. de Constant to write memoirs of Napoleon’s last reign instead of an apology for his own conduct as he had intended. Notwithstanding his political changes, or perhaps because of them, I believe him to be an honest man, and to have been fully convinced of the sincerity and constitutional intentions of Napoleon in 1815, founded upon his conviction of the necessity of such measures.

March 27, 1816.

Your conjecture as to the impropriety and impolicy of Brougham’s personal attack on the Regent was perfectly correct. It alienated a great number of the new adherents of the Opposition, disgusted several of the old ones, and is considered as having lost them the question on Wednesday night. This is extremely doubtful, because weak and timid people are glad to avail themselves of any pretexts in such cases; but certainly Brougham’s imprudence afforded them very plausible reasons for declining to act with a party avowing personal hostility to the Sovereign. This unfortunate mistake has been the general subject of conversation ever since. It has revived the drooping spirits of the Courier, has operated as a most important diversion in favour of the Ministers, and has perhaps laid the seeds of a new schism in the party of the Opposition.

You will be glad to hear that Lady Lansdowne is quite recovered, and talks with great animation of their journey to Italy. I was at a very splendid assembly at Lansdowne House last night—the first that has been given there this winter.

It is quite determined that Lord and Lady Byron are to separate, though it is very much against the inclination of the former. His conduct, according to every account, has been very culpable. What is to be said, for instance, of his never sitting down to table with his wife, alleging that he disliked seeing a woman eat, of his taking no notice of her friends, and not even asking her father and mother to his house when they were living at the Hotel a few doors off
Princess Charlotte
for some time last spring? I am afraid there never was any real affection between them. On her part it was a match of vanity; on his, a determination to obtain a prize which so many competitors were in pursuit of. You know that he was once refused, and this, it is said, he never forgave. After he had once obtained her consent, his ardour visibly abated; and his coolness is said to have been visible in his delays previous to his setting out to the North for the celebration of his marriage and in his slow and long-protracted journey.

April 6, 1816.

The Princess Charlotte’s household is said to be arranged. The appointments have all been made at Carlton House. The Duchess Dowager of Leeds is supposed to be at the head, Lady Jane Thynne and Lady Emily Murray, Ladies of the Bedchamber, Colonel Addenbrooke and Mr. Percy (son of Lord Lovaine), the male attendants. I do not suppose that this will interest you; but perhaps some of your neighbours may be pleased with this Court gossip. The country residence is a great house of Sir Joseph Mawbey’s in Surrey,1 unpleasantly situated, not far from St. Anne’s Hill and Lord King’s, but there is to be a strict charge against receiving Opposition visitors. How long this injunction will be observed must be considered very doubtful. Already some marks of ill-temper have appeared. They are not to have the Royal liveries, but those of Saxe-Coburg. The title of Duke of Kendal has been declined by the young prince, on the ground that he

1 The proposed purchase of this house was dropped.

does not wish to interfere or commit himself in politics, which an English peerage would make it necessary for him to do. This is very sensible, and seems to show that the Princess has some good secret adviser.

April 10, 1816.

I hope shortly to send you Lord Byron’s farewell verses to his lady. He has also written a satyr (sic) against Lady Byron’s governess, whom he considers as the cause of their separation. The attack is quite outrageous and is extremely resented by Lady Byron.

April 27, 1816.

Lord Byron is at last gone off to the Continent, having executed the deed of separation with great reluctance, and not till after he had been threatened with a Bill in Chancery. When he had signed the instrument, he threw it away from him, and being told that he must deliver it as his act and deed, “No,” said he, “I deliver it as the act and deed of Mrs. Clermont” (the governess), and it was not without difficulty that he was persuaded to deliver it in the regular manner.

May 16, 1816.

I am afraid Lady Caroline and her novel will experience less public indignation than they deserve. I had some conversation on the subject yesterday with Rogers, who talked very properly and rationally.

[Amongst Mr. Whishaw’s papers is the following “Key to Glenarvon,” by Lady Caroline Lamb.

Lady CalanthaLady C. Lamb.
Duke of AltamontiDuke of Devonshire.
Lady MargaretDuchess of Devonshire, Lady Bessborough.
Benjamin Constant
Mr. BuchananSir G. Webster.
GlenarvonLord Byron.
Princess of MadagascarLady Holland.
HoiaonskimMr. Allen.
“Dead Poet” Mr. Rogers.
Lady MandevilleLady Oxford.
Mrs. SeymourMrs. Kinnaird, or Lady Bessborough.
Lord AvondaleW. Lamb (Lord Melbourne).
Lord DallasMr. Ward (afterwards Lord Dudley).
Sophia SeymourLady Grenville.
Frances SeymourLady Morpeth.
Lady Augusta SelwynLady Jersey.
Castle Delaval Devonshire House.
Menteith House Melbourne House.]
June 24, 1816.

Binda was fortunate enough to see Mrs. Siddons on Saturday in Lady Macbeth, and was much surprised and delighted. He went with the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, who continue to be very kind to him, having invited him for the summer to Woburn and Devonshire.

June 29, 1816.

I am much obliged to M. de Constant for the civil things he said of me, which are in a great degree unmerited. But I am provoked that he will write nothing about Napoleon, or at least nothing worth reading. He always appeared to me timid and indecisive, and I never expected much, but after having informed me that his work was in the press, and desired me to provide him immediately with a translator, it is really inconceivable that the publication should be entirely withheld. His novel, “Adolphe,”
Lord Liverpool
which is just published, has its admirers, but for a man of great literary reputation, appears to me to be an absolute failure.

On Thursday Warburton and I went to Mr. Hope’s, where we were gratified by some of the pictures and vases, and particularly by the fine room called the library. But the furniture, notwithstanding all the care bestowed on it, is, with some few exceptions, in a bad, massive, and ponderous taste, and entirely opposed to the true principles of Grecian elegance. We were much better pleased yesterday with the collection of pictures at Grosvenor House, and regretted that you and Mrs. Smith were not with us. It is inferior only (if at all) to Lord Stafford’s gallery, and in some respects is more pleasing. There are beautiful works of Claude, Caspar Poussin, Guido, Titian, Cuyp, and especially of Rembrandt, besides two landscapes of Titian and Domenichino of considerable merit and still greater rarity.

July 2, 1816.

There are great reports afloat of ministerial changes and of Lord Liverpool quitting office, ostensibly on account of his health. If he retires, it will be difficult for Lord Eldon to remain. But I do not think there is, at present, any sufficient ground for believing in such changes, and I should be sorry to see Lord Liverpool quit the Government, since he would undoubtedly be succeeded by Lord Castlereagh, and the former is certainly much superior to the other in prudence, moderation, and deference for public opinion.

The Duke of Wellington’s sudden and unexpected arrival is very extraordinary; and I have heard no
Duke of Wellington
sufficient reason for it. It seems to be something political, possibly to represent to the Ministers the present state of France and to concert new measures.

You have perhaps heard that Lord Byron has taken a house near Geneva for two or three months; but is very little noticed or visited by the English or the natives. He was very nearly drowned by the upsetting of a boat on the lake.

We have a most beautiful day, and the weather is very inviting for the country.
“Jam mens prætrepidans avet vagari,
Jam læti studio pedes vigescunt.”
Catullus, xlvi. 7.

July 13, 1816.

I cannot forbear writing a few lines which will find you on your return from the Wiltshire tour, to thank you and Mrs. Smith for all your kindness, and to acquaint you that I had a most agreeable and prosperous journey home. The country was delightful, the weather and the roads pleasant, and my companions in the coach more amusing and agreeable than usual. They consisted of a lively Frenchman, who had lived several years with Mr. Weld, of Lulworth Castle, as the tutor to the young ladies; a seafaring person retired to South Wales; and an intelligent female Quaker, who had paid great attention to the Bell and Lancaster systems of education. The day passed very agreeably, and I arrived in the evening at Lincoln’s Inn a few minutes after ten.

No one seems to know the real cause of the Duke of Wellington’s return. But it is generally supposed
“Childe Harold“
that some new arrangements are in contemplation. The Duke has been sent for back from Cheltenham, and the
Chancellor put off his business this morning at Lincoln’s Inn in order to attend the Regent. The late entertainments at Carlton House have exceeded all former extravagance in splendour and expense.

July 22, 1816.

Murray has received a letter from Lord Byron, who has just finished the third canto of “Childe Harold,” consisting of 117 stanzas, which he thinks equal to the other two. It is to be sent home for immediate publication. He had traversed the whole lake in his barge, and had visited Gibbon’s house and garden at Lausanne and the scenery of the Nouvelle Héloise at Vevay, with all of which he was much delighted. His vessel was near being overset by a sudden squall off the rocks of Meillerie.

Madame de Staël has completed her work, which is to be entitled “Les causes et les effets de la Revolution Française.” It consists of three volumes, one of which is to be devoted to this country, its constitution, commerce, state of society, &c.

M. de Constant is going for some time to Spa. I have spoken to him rather strongly on the subject of his historical work, which I trust he will not abandon. He talks of recasting it into the form of Historical Memoirs during the leisure of the summer. He has seen the Duke of Wellington several times in society, but though his Grace knew him at Paris in parties in the year 1814, he does not now notice him. Possibly he may have heard of Constant’s sarcasms. The
Duke holds strong language as to the stability of the Bourbons and the mild tenour of their Government. He has seen a good deal of
Lady Caroline Lamb, with whom Constant also is intimate.

July 29, 1816.

Rundell and Bridge, finding no purchasers for the Pigot diamond in Christendom, have sent to offer it to the Pacha of Egypt, the conqueror of the Wahabees, who is making a great collection of jewels. If he declines the purchase it will be offered to Ali Pacha, Dr. Holland’s friend, who is also a great collector and extremely rich.

July 29, 1816.

Abercromby and Macdonald returned from Calne extremely well pleased with all that passed; they were received not only with great kindness, but with the utmost cordiality. The reports of a dissolution have subsided, but I am afraid it is not entirely out of the question; the object would be to procure a Parliament less under the influence of popular feelings and, of course, more manageable, with a view to strong financial measures (such as a modified income tax) without diminishing the establishments.

I wish Ricardo could be induced to come into the next Parliament. He would be very useful, though I am afraid he is not sufficiently averse to the income tax.

Oct. 19, 1816.

You will be pleased to hear of a Whig marriage, which gives great pleasure to Lord Holland and all his friends—Mr. Lambton to Lady Louisa, eldest daughter of Lord Grey.

Poem by Southey
Oct. 24, 1816.

We have very few political people in town, but from everything we hear the general state of public affairs is very gloomy, and there seems to be no prospect of any improvement, either commercial or agricultural. A general discontent prevails, and there is a great disposition towards some violent measure with respect to the Funds, which would be warmly supported by many country gentlemen, and, I am afraid, by the landed interest in general.

There seems, indeed, to be little doubt that a great blow will be levelled against the Sinking Fund in the course of the next Session.

In the general depreciation of property which has taken place no article appears to maintain its ground except poetry. Murray has given £2,000 for the third canto of “Childe Harold,” which is now printing; and he has sold 7,000 copies of that very indifferent “Tragedy of Bertram1 at the extravagant price of four shillings and sixpence each. Before I conclude I will transcribe some stanzas from Southey’sWaterloo,” which you perhaps have not seen:—

“Two nights have passed, the morning opens well,
Fair are the aspects of the favouring sky,
Soon yon sweet chimes the appointed hour will tell,
For here to music time moves merrily.
Aboard! aboard! no more must we delay;
Farewell, good people of the Fleur de Bled.
Beside the busy wharf the Trekschuit rides,
With painted plumes and tent-like awning gay;

1 By Maturin.

Poem by Southey
Carts, barrows, coaches hurry from all sides,
And passengers and porters throng the way,
Contending all at once in clam’rous speech,
French, Flemish, English, each confusing each.
All disregardant of the Babel sound,
A swan kept oaring near with upraised eye,
A beauteous pensioner, who daily found
The bounty of such casual company;
Nor did she leave us till the bell was rung
And slowly we our watery way begun.
Europe can boast no richer, goodlier scene
Than that through which our pleasant passage lay,
By fertile fields and fruitful gardens green,
The journey of a short autumnal day.
Sleek, well-fed steeds our steady vessel drew,
The heavens were fair and mirth was of our crew.
Along the smooth canal’s unbending line,
Beguiling time with light discourse, we went,
Nor wanting savoury food nor generous wine,
Ashore, too, there was feast and merriment.
The jovial peasants at some village fair
Were dancing, drinking, smoking, gambling there.”

This is very strange poetry!

Nov. 6, 1816.

I have seen an interesting letter from Lord Byron, strongly marked with his peculiar tastes and feelings. He writes from Milan, and speaks with great rapture of the Simplon, where he says that God and man have done wonders, to say nothing of the Devil, who assuredly must have had a hand (or hoof) in some of the rocks and precipices. He talks with great respect of the banditti, whom, unfortunately, he did not see. They traverse the country in great bands, thirty at a
Lord Byron
time, and remind him of “poor dear Turkey.” Lately they attacked a caravan of five carriages with the intention of plundering
Mr. Hope, who fortunately escaped; but they ransacked the two last carriages and lodged several slugs in the body of Mr. Hope’s courier. Lord Byron seems much pleased with Italy and the Italians, and with the unfinished triumphal arch of Napoleon at Milan, which, he says, is worthy of other times. In the Ambrosian Library, a vast collection abounding with interesting things, he is struck with nothing so much as an amorous correspondence between Cardinal Bembo and the famous Lucretia Borgia, the daughter and mistress (as it was believed) of Pope Alexander VI. He is also much pleased with a lock of Lucretia’s hair, a small portion of which he hopes, by favour of the librarian, to obtain, together with complete copies of the letters.

Mr. Waters, of the Opera, has engaged Crevelli, I believe, and Madame Bigottini, the handsome dancer.

I find that Rousseau was a great admirer of the “Orphée” of Gluck and never missed seeing it.

I go on Friday to Malthus’s, and shall take with me, by great favour, the third canto of “Childe Harold.” Friday I am going to the Abercrombys’, and to-morrow to Holland House.

Nov. 16, 1816.

We are going to Holland House to spend to-day and to-morrow. The Abercrombys come from Paris. Abercromby dined with Pozzo di Borgo,1 and also

1 Ambassador of the Emperor Alexander to Louis XVIII. In 1797 he had taken refuge in London and had lived in great poverty.

Pozzo di Bergo
Gallatin, who retains all his Republican opinions and is not backward to avow them. His wife, a shrewd American, is a singular personage at Paris, and somewhat quizzed by the Court and Corps diplomatique; but she takes her revenge by her keen remarks, and congratulates herself on the freedom and public spirit of America.

These dinners gave Abercromby an opportunity of seeing most of the foreign ministers and some of the most distinguished of the French Cabinet, viz., the Duc de Richelieu, M. Laisne, and M. de Cazes, the Minister of Police, and originally a protégé of the Napoleon family. He is a young man, somewhat of a coxcomb, and by no means well bred, but of insinuating manners, and a great favourite of Louis XVIII. He is understood to exercise his powers very harshly; and in the case of Sir Robert Wilson and his friends certainly acted with great injustice and oppression.

Abercromby says that Pozzo di Borgo’s dinner was without exception one of the most splendid things he ever saw. It was rather curious to contrast this magnificence with Pozzo’s situation three years ago, when he lived in poor lodgings up two pair of stairs in Soho. Now he is at the head of affairs in Paris and was the adviser of the dissolution of the Administrative Body, to which the Ministers of England, Austria, and Prussia assented.

I was glad to read this morning of the proceedings of the Gloucester Whig Club; I hope things went on smoothly and look promising. I trust Ricardo will join you.

Spa Field Riots
Nov. 27, 1816.

Lord Byron’s third canto is considered as very inferior to the two former, so is the “Prisoner of Chillon” and the other poems published with it. There are occasional passages of merit and great traits of imagination and genius, but he is very obscure and writes too quick and very incorrectly. He is also become an imitator of the Lake school, and certainly will not find a place among our classic writers.

We are very angry here with Jeffrey for his proscription of Addison, Pope, and Swift in the article on the latter. It is written with great spirit and vigour and exhibits all Jeffrey’s talents, but is wholly deficient in judgment.

Lord Byron’s new poems (both the third canto of “Childe Harold” and the “Prisoner of Chillon”) have sold prodigiously, but the best judges all agree that they are clearly inferior to his former productions.

Dec. 5, 1816.

A new novel is come out, “Tales of my Landlord,” I believe by the author of “Waverley,” i.e., the indefatigable Walter Scott.

Dec. 6, 1816.

The tone taken respecting the late riots1 by the Government papers show that they mean to alarm the country thoroughly, with a view, probably, to some strong measures in Parliament in order to withdraw the public attention from measures of reform and retrenchment.

1 The Spa Fields riots.

Holland House

Reports are revived of some change in Administration, which I do not at present believe. If any material change takes place it will be by the retirement of Lord Liverpool and the elevation of Lord Castlereagh, which certainly will not be an improvement. Lord Liverpool’s health has become very indifferent for some time past, and he may, therefore, perhaps be inclined to resign.

Dec. 24, 1816.

The second novel of the “Tales of my Landlord” is extremely good, though the subject is in some respects unpleasing. The author writes with great powers, but with very little moral feeling, and delights too much in “battle, murder, and sudden death.”

Dec. 25, 1816.

I had a pleasant day at Holland House. In the evening there were theatricals, in which Henry Fox,1 the two Smiths (sons of Bobus), young Tierney, and George Howard, a son of Lord Morpeth, acted the principal parts. They all did extremely well, especially Henry Fox. The performances consisted of scenes from different plays, and Binda acted the part of Canton, the Swiss valet, in “The Clandestine Marriage” with great success.

1 Afterwards fourth Lord Holland.