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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1820
Sydney Smith to John Archibald Murray, 3 September 1820

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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Foston, York, Sept. 3rd, 1820.
My dear Murray,

Many thanks for your kindness in inquiring about your old friends. I am very well, doubling in size every year, and becoming more and more fit for the butcher. Mrs. Sydney is much as she was.


I seldom leave home (except on my annual visit to London), and this principally because I cannot afford it. My income remains the same, my family increases in expense. My constitutional gaiety comes to my aid in all the difficulties of life; and the recollection that, having embraced the character of an honest man and a friend to rational liberty, I have no business to repine at that mediocrity of fortune which I knew to be its consequence.

Mrs. —— is a very amiable young woman, inferior in beauty to Lady Charlotte Campbell, and not so remarkable as Madame de Staël for the vigour of her understanding. Her husband appears to be everything that is amiable and respectable.

The Queen is contemptible; she will be found guilty, and sent out of the country with a small allowance, and in six months be utterly forgotten. So it will, I think, end; but still I think Lord Liverpool very blamable in not having put a complete negative upon the whole thing. It would have been better for the country, and exposed his party to less risk than they have been already exposed to in this business. The Whigs certainly would have refused to meddle with the divorce.

I am sorry to read in your letter such an account of Scotland. Do you imagine the disaffection to proceed from anything but want of employment? or, at least, that full employment, interspersed with a little hanging, will not gradually extinguish the bad spirit?

I have just read ‘The Abbot;’ it is far above common novels, but of very inferior execution to his others, and hardly worth reading. He has exhausted the subject of Scotland, and worn out the few characters that
the early periods of Scotch history could supply him with. Meg Merrilies appears afresh in every novel.

I wish you had told me something about yourself. Are you well? rich? happy? Do you digest? Have you any thoughts of marrying? My whole parish is to be sold for £50,000; pray buy it, quit your profession, and turn Yorkshire squire. We should be a model for squires and parsons. God bless you! All the family unite in kind regards. Shall we ever see you again?

S. S.