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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1803

Author's Preface
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Editor’s Preface
Letters 1801
Letters 1802
‣ Letters 1803
Letters 1804
Letters 1805
Letters 1806
Letters 1807
Letters 1808
Letters 1809
Letters 1810
Letters 1811
Letters 1812
Letters 1813
Letters 1814
Letters 1815
Letters 1816
Letters 1817
Letters 1818
Letters 1819
Letters 1820
Letters 1821
Letters 1822
Letters 1823
Letters 1824
Letters 1825
Letters 1826
Letters 1827
Letters 1828
Letters 1829
Letters 1830
Letters 1831
Letters 1832
Letters 1833
Letters 1834
Letters 1835
Letters 1836
Letters 1837
Letters 1838
Letters 1839
Letters 1840
Letters 1841
Letters 1842
Letters 1843
Letters 1844
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4.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Tuxford, 1803.
My dear Jeffrey,

Your very kind letter I received at the very moment of departure. I left Edinburgh with great heaviness of heart: I knew what I was leaving, and was ignorant to what I was going. My good fortune will be very great, if I should ever again fall into the society of so many liberal, correct, and instructed men, and live with them on such terms of friendship as I have done with you, and you know whom, at Edinburgh. I cannot see what obligations you are under to me; but I have so little objection to your thinking so, that I certainly shall not attempt to undeceive you in that opinion, or in any other which is likely to make you think of me more frequently or more kindly.

I have found the country everywhere full of spirit, and you are the only male despondent I have yet met with. Every one else speaks of the subjugation of England as of the subjugation of the Minotaur, or any other history in the mythological dictionary. God bless you, my dear Jeffrey! I shall always feel a pride and happiness in calling myself, and in showing myself, your friend.

S. S.

P.S.—I beg leave to except the Tuxford waiter, who desponds exactly as you do.

5.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
No date: about 1803.
Dear Jeffrey,

Though Mrs. Jeffrey will not let you come for any length of time, will she not permit you to come for two days, if we give bond to send you back on Wednesday? Pray reply to this interrogation by return of post, and in the affirmative if you can. I beg leave to disagree both with Horner and yourself about ‘Etymologicon Magnum,’ which I think written with great spirit and dexterity of manner, and with acuteness and justness in point of argument. I think some of your expressions incorrect, but you are not too civil by a single bow or smile; you have your imagination in very good order through the whole of it, and I exhort you to think extremely well of your power of writing—a task which, I trust, you will not find very unpleasant or difficult. The other subjects of your note I will reserve till we meet.

Sydney Smith.

6.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
77, Upper Guildford-street,
30, 1803.
My dear Jeffrey,

I have the pleasure of informing you that it is the universal opinion of all the cleverest men I have met with here, that our Review is uncommonly well done, and that it is perhaps the first in Europe. I shall return with a million compliments, and some offers of assistance. I have thoroughly talked over the matter
with ——, and shall give you the result of our conversation.

If any book enjoys a greater reputation here than you can conjecture it would from its title, we may send you information of it; and for a monthly search for foreign books you may depend upon us.

I will stop such books as I want myself; but you had better give Horner a caution against stopping more books than he wants, as he is a sort of literary tiger, whose den is strewed with ten times more victims than he can devour.

Your journey to India must entirely depend upon the influence of Mackintosh with Government upon literary topics; he is much inclined to befriend you; but the whole business is in a very glimmering state, and you must not think much about it.

We are all well. I have been spending three or four days in Oxford in a contested election; Horner went down with me, and was much entertained. I was so delighted with Oxford after my long absence, that I almost resolved to pass the long vacation there with my family, amid the shades of the trees and the silence of the monasteries. Horner is to come down too: will you join us? We would settle the fate of nations, and believe ourselves (as all three or four men who live together do) the sole repositories of knowledge, liberality, and acuteness.

I will endeavour to send you a sheet as soon as possible, but cannot do so as soon as you mention.

Sydney Smith.

7.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
London (no date, but either 1803 or 1804).
8, Doughty-street.
My dear Jeffrey,

I send you all that you are to expect from me. The geographical names, which are so badly written, you will be able to decipher by the assistance of Tooke’sSurvey of the Russian Empire’; you will exercise your editorial functions of blotting and correcting at full liberty. In my last letter I objected strongly to hackney writers; I do so still; perhaps I shall be able, in course of time, to discover some very useful coadjutors above this rank.

Everybody speaks in high terms of the Review, and deprecates any idea of its extinction; strain every nerve to keep it up; it will give you reputation.

Playfair has supped with me. Of Horner business has prevented me from seeing much; he lives very high up in Gordon-court, and thinks a good deal about mankind; I have a great veneration and affection for him, and depend upon him for a good deal of my society. Yours kindly,

Sydney Smith.

8.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
London (no date, presumed 1803 or 1804).
My dear Jeffrey,

I believe I have transmitted to you, for this number, as much as will make two sheets, which was the amount I promised. I would have been better than my promise, but for reasons unfortunately too good. We shall be most truly glad to see you in England,
but what will become of the articles in your absence? for, situated as you are, your whole life is a crisis.

Mrs. Sydney is pretty well and slowly recovering from her shock,* of which your kindness and your experience enable you to ascertain the violence. Children are horribly insecure: the life of a parent is the life of a gambler.

I have seen Erskine. Murray will tell you how he appears to me; but a man coming from Dunse to London is of course stunned, and he must be a very impudent, or a very wonderful man if he is not. Do you know anybody who would go out Professor to a Russian University?—about £800 per annum, coals and candles gratis, and travelling expenses allowed, if sent to Siberia. A perfect deadness in the literary world. Your friend Mackintosh sails early in January, to the universal sorrow of his friends.

The Swintons are come to town, and are to bring me your portrait, as large as life I presume, as Mr. Swinton says in his note, I will put in my pocket a little parcel I have for you. You see I am as impertinent as ever, and I assure you, my dear Jeffrey, as affectionate towards you.

Sydney Smith.