LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 21 October 1820

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
Oct. 21, 1820.

In your last letter you expressed a wish to know something of what I saw in Scotland. After leaving Mr. Kennedy’s I travelled by the Ayrshire coast, and the shores of the Forth of Clyde to Greenock and Glasgow. Greenock, the port of Glasgow, is a beautiful town which has risen up during the last thirty years, and considering the picturesque country in which it is situated, is one of the most striking seaports in the island. The docks and Custom House are magnificent, and everything appeared to be flourishing. It has no less than twenty-eight steamboats, which go regularly to Glasgow, Inverary and many of the lochs, to several of the different islands, and to Belfast and Liverpool. This new power will change the face of Nature in many parts of the High-
Dugald Stewart
lands. Places at the distance (by land) of perhaps a hundred miles, and hardly accessible before, are now become the residences of Glasgow merchants, who visit them every week or fortnight during the summer.

From Glasgow I went to Mr. Dugald Stewart, who resides at Kinneil, near Linlithgow, a curious old house strikingly situated near the Firth of Forth. It belongs to the Duke of Hamilton, and is one of the most ancient possessions of the family. I passed two days very agreeably and instructively with Mr. and Mrs. Stewart and their daughter. He had just finished the second part of his introduction to the Encyclopedia, and was in excellent health and spirits, and, indeed, in high “Whiggism.” He was very kind, frank, and communicative; and as he has lived in intimacy with some of the most considerable Scotch literati of the last age—Dr. Robertson, Adam Smith, and Ferguson—you may suppose that my time was passed very pleasantly.

From thence I went to Edinburgh, where I could stay only three days, during which I went over into Fife, to Mr. Ferguson, of Raith, a delightful and most hospitable house. Whilst I was there I heard the famous preacher Dr. Chalmers, who happened to be at the neighbouring town of Kirkcaldy, the birthplace of Adam Smith, and his residence when he wrote the “Wealth of Nations.”

Dr. Chalmers did not satisfy my expectations. He has considerable powers, but is exaggerated in manner and matter. He preaches the high Calvinistic doctrines, and is, of course, deficient in good sense,
Lord Liverpool
and probably also in good faith. I greatly doubt his sincerity. But he is an excellent parish priest at Glasgow, very active and judicious in all matters relating to the poor, and he probably considers these violent doctrines as being most popular and efficient.

I returned from Edinburgh by the great North road, making a slight détour by Melrose and Kelso, along the banks of the Tweed, where I saw Abbotsford, Walter Scott’s place, which has nothing remarkable in a beautiful country.

The Queen’s trial is going on very heavily; but it is not certain yet whether it will be carried against her in the House of Lords. Lord Byron has sent Murray a tragedy reported to be very fine, called “Marino Falieri, Doge of Venice.”