LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1815

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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109.] To Lady Holland.
February 1st, 1815.
My dear Lady Holland,

Many thanks for your letter. I think you very fortunate in having Rogers at Rome. Show me a more
kind and friendly man; secondly, one, from good manners, knowledge, fun, taste, and observation, more agreeable; thirdly, a man of more strict political integrity, and of better character in private life. If I were to choose any Englishman in foreign parts whom I should wish to blunder upon, it should be Rogers.

Lord —— paid a visit to a family whom he had not visited since the capture of the Bastille, and apologized for not having called before; in the meantime, the estate had passed through two different races.

We have stayed at Castle Howard for two or three days. I found Lord Carlisle very good-natured, and even kind; with considerable talents for society, a very good understanding, and no more visible consequence, as a nobleman, than he had a fair right to assume. Lady Carlisle seems thoroughly amiable. I soon found myself at my ease at Castle Howard, which will make an agreeable variety in my existence. Lord Morpeth and Lady Georgiana called upon us; we have, in short, experienced very great civility from them. Lord and Lady Carlisle called upon us twice, and were overwhelmed in a ploughed field!

Sydney Smith.

110.] To Lady Holland.
Foston, 1815.
Dear Lady Holland,

I thought you would have written me a line upon your first coming, but I thought also you were ill; and as I get older, I make more and more allowance for the omnipotence of indolence, under whose dominion friend, lover, client, patron, satirist, and sycophant so often yield up their respective energies.


I am not always confident of your friendship for me, at particular times; but I have great confidence in it, from one end of the year to another: above all, I am confident that I have a great affection for you.

I hear that Ward is in London. He follows you across Europe, and you him, but you never meet; I suppose your mutual gratification is to be in the same city;—the purest and least sensual passion I ever heard of, and such as I did not suppose to exist but in the books of knights-errant.

Sydney Smith.

111.] To Lady Holland.
No date: about 1815.

I hope the Lady Holland finds herself well, and brings with her a gay and healthy train;—that all are well, from Cleopatra the queen to Antonio the page.

Though I have no great affection for poverty at any time, it is on such occasions as these that I owe it the greatest grudge. If I were a Dean, I certainly would congratulate you in person, and not by letter. I missed you all very much in my last visit to London, which in other respects was a very agreeable one.

I will not say a word about politics, or make the slightest allusion to a small rocky island in the middle of the Atlantic, the final cause of which now seems to be a little clearer; but I may say he gives up too soon,—his resistances are not sufficiently desperate. I may say also, that I admire him for not killing himself, which is, in a soldier, easy, vulgar, and commonly foolish; it shows that he has a strong tendency to hope, or that he has a confidence in his own versatility
of character, and his means of making himself happy by trifling, or by intellectual exertion.

Now pray do settle in England, and remain quiet; depend upon it, it is the most agreeable place. I have heard five hundred travelled people assert that there is no such agreeable house in Europe as Holland House: why should you be the last person to be convinced of this, and the first to make it true?

Affectionately yours,
Sydney Smith.

112.] To Lord Holland.
My dear Lord Holland,

I am totally unacquainted with the two tutors I recommended to B——, but they were recommended to me from a quarter in which I could perfectly confide. My desiderata were, that they should possess a good deal of knowledge, and that they should be virtuous and good-tempered men. B——’s son I understood to be an ordinary young man, and not requiring a person of more than common judgment and dexterity; and therefore as much was proved to me as I required to be proved, before I recommended. I can satisfy you in the same particulars by the same inquiry; but whether the individual asked for may possess the sense, firmness, and judgment necessary to manage such a clever boy as ——, I cannot determine, as I have not sufficient confidence, upon points of this nature, in the person to whom my questions are addressed.

If the Universities were well sifted and swept for you, the best person to get would be a Cambridge
man, or, at least, some man from an English university; but then he would require a great deal of attention, would be troublesome from the jealousy of being slighted, and would be altogether an unpleasant inmate. I therefore put Englishmen out of the question. All things considered, they would not do for you. I look upon Switzerland as an inferior sort of Scotland, and am for a Scotchman. A Scotchman full of knowledge, quiet, humble, assiduous, civil and virtuous, you will easily get; and I will send you such a one per coach, or (which he will like better) per waggon, any day; but will he command the respect of
——? Will he acquire an ascendancy over him? Will he be a man of good sound sense and firmness? Here I cannot help you, because I know nobody myself; and, in a recommendation I should have so much at heart, I should choose to judge for myself.

I do not know the name of the ex-tutor, or where he is; but will write tonight, inquire every particular, state generally what is wanted, without mentioning names, and send you the answer.

It will be hardly possible for you and Lady Holland to consent to such a plan; but I should have thought that a tutor with three or four pupils, forty or fifty miles from London, would be the best arrangement. They abound, their characters are accessible, they are near, and among five hundred schoolmasters it may not be impossible to find a man of sense. But perhaps health would be an objection to this; though I must observe that the health of very delicate children very often improves, in proportion as they are removed from the perilous kindness of home.

Mr. —— always seemed to me an excellent and
accomplished, but a very foolish, man. There is very little mother-wit in the world, but a great deal of clergy.

I remain always, my dear Lord Holland, with the most sincere attachment and affection,

Sydney Smith.