LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 5 July 1817

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
July 5, 1817.

Ponsonby’s illness was very sudden, and is certainly very serious. It seems to put an entire end to his public life, and will deprive the Whigs of a leader whose place, though he had never been very efficient, it will be very difficult to supply. The embarrassments attending the choice are very great, principally on account of the unpopularity of Brougham, who after all must be the efficient leader. I apprehend, therefore, that no appointment will take place at present, but that people will be left to take their own course; and it is to be feared that many may find their way to the other side of the House.

I have met Talma in company, and heard his recitations, which has given me the opportunity of observing his merits and defects. Upon the whole I have been much pleased with him. He appears in

1 Miss Mercer was one of the great heiresses of the day, and was the attached friend and confidant of Princess Charlotte. She succeeded her father Baron Keith, and was also Baroness Nairne in her own right. At her death the Barony of Keith became extinct. Her daughter, Lady Lansdowne, succeeded to the Barony of Nairne.

2 General de Flahault was a French émigré of no fortune, one of Napoleon’s chief favourites and a reputed son of Talleyrand by Madame de Sonza, formerly Madame de Flahault.

some respects to more advantage as a private individual than on the stage; the awkwardness of his person being less apparent. He is much pleased with his reception here, and talks of returning next spring, though his public recitations were not very successful.

Miss Edgeworth’s new tales appear to be a failure; at least they are decidedly inferior to the best of her former works. The first part of “Ormond” is perhaps an exception to this censure. A book has just been published by Lady Morgan, a popular novel-writer, on France, which seems to be entertaining, and written with very just and liberal views; but it is too large and much too expensive. I forget whether I have mentioned to you “Manfred,” and Moore’s new poem. They may perhaps acquire a little temporary popularity with the fanciful votaries of modern poetry, but can never be permanently successful.