LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 8 November 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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Lincoln’s Inn,
Nov. 8, 1817.

The death of the Princess Charlotte has produced an universal gloom, and is felt as a great public calamity. Lord King, who has been several times at Claremont, writes to me that he is more affected than he could have supposed it possible by such an event. The Prince and Princess were so happy in each other,
Death of Princess Charlotte
and conducted themselves so well as to have engaged the affections of all that neighbourhood, and the grief for her loss is universal and sincere. With respect, however, to party politics, the event is of no great importance; the Prince appearing to have obtained an overruling influence, and though courteous to the Opposition, being devotedly attached to the present Ministers, and especially to
Lord Castlereagh, one of the principal authors of the marriage.

I find it a very agreeable occupation to look over the different Travels in Italy, none of which satisfy me, Eustace1 perhaps, least of all because of his great pretensions. Forsyth,2 though he has the merit of thinking for himself, is likewise very unsatisfactory. A good book on Italy is still wanting and is likely to remain so, since it requires a greater combination of knowledge, good taste, and good sense than will ever be devoted to such a composition. Persons possessing these qualities in the requisite degree will not write books of travels.

Lord Byron has finished his fourth canto, which will be brought back by J. Hobhouse. It relates

1 John Chetwode Eustace, 1762-1815, a Liberal Roman Catholic, and friend of Edmund Burke. Travelled in Italy in 1802 and again later. His tour through Italy was published in 1813, which acquired for him immediately a wide reputation. Hobhouse, however, criticised him as “one of the most inaccurate and unsatisfactory writers of our time.” He died at Naples, 1815.

2 Joseph Forsyth, 1763-1815. Spent most of 1802 and 1803 in travelling in Italy. He was imprisoned during the war at Nismes and afterwards at Verdun, where he remained five years, and only regained his liberty in 1814. His “Remarks on Antiquities, Arts, Letters” came out in 1813, and was often reprinted.

principally to Venice. I hope his muse will do justice to that extraordinary place, beautiful in itself and rich in historical recollections, and rendered perhaps still more interesting by its present melancholy state of depopulation and decay.