LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 28 February 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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Produced by CATH
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.