LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 20 January 1821

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
Jan. 20, 1821.

I HAVE only time to thank you for your letter, and to express to you how much I was pleased to hear of your having an opportunity of meeting Mr. Wilberforce, who, besides being one of the extraordinary men of the age, is very cheerful and pleasant, and gifted with extraordinary liveliness and great powers of conversation. He seems not to have been naturally intended for a “Saint”; his character inclines much more naturally to the courtier or man of the world. I apprehend you overrate his goodwill to the Whigs, to whom he has never been really favourable. Mr. Fox’s quotation that you speak of was very happy. It was made an occasion of a very indignant attack
Lines by Southey
Perceval. But you do not mention the two best lines—
“Lenit albescens animos capillus litium et rixæ cupidos protervæ;
Non ego hoc ferrem,” &c.1

The county meetings have been remarkably successful; but I still think that the Ministers will maintain their ground. I remember telling you some years ago, when you expected a change favourable to the Whigs, that I should almost as soon look for a Revolution; and my opinion is not much altered since that time.

I send you a good-natured recommendation of an Alpine guide, by Southey, which will amuse you if you have not seen it:—

“By troth this John Roth
Is an excellent guide,
A joker, a smoker,
And a savant beside.
A geologician,
A metaphysician,
Who searches how causes proceed;
A system inventor,
An experimenter,
Who raises potatoes from seed.

1 On April 23, 1804, when Spencer Perceval was Attorney-General in the Addington Administration, Mr. Fox brought forward a motion on the defence of the country, which was supported by Pitt and his friends. In the debate Perceval made a severe attack on the union of these two statesmen, which Fox warmly resented. In the course of his observations he applied to Perceval the expression of Dr. Johnson—“Pray, sir, consider what your praise is before you apply it so liberally.”

“The Grampound Bill”
Each forest and fell
He knoweth full well,
The chalets and dwellers therein;
The mountains and fountains,
The ices, the prices,
Every town, every village and inn.
Take him for your guide,
He has often been tried,
And will always be useful when needed,
In fair or foul weather
You’ll be merry together,
And shake hands at parting as we did.”