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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1823
Sydney Smith to Lady Grey, 19 February 1823

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, Feb. 19th, 1823.
My dear Lady Grey,

In seeing my handwriting again so soon, you will say that your attack upon me for my indisposition to letter-writing has been more successful than you wished it to be; but I cannot help saying a word about war.

For God’s sake, do not drag me into another war! I am worn down, and worn out, with crusading and defending Europe, and protecting mankind; I must think a little of myself. I am sorry for the Spaniards—I am sorry for the Greeks—I deplore the fate of the Jews; the people of the Sandwich Islands are groaning under the most detestable tyranny; Bagdad is oppressed—I do not like the present state of the
Delta—Thibet is not comfortable. Am I to fight for all these people? The world is bursting with sin and sorrow. Am I to be champion of the Decalogue, and to be eternally raising fleets and armies to make all men good and happy? We have just done saving Europe, and I am afraid the consequence will be, that we shall cut each other’s throats. No war, dear
Lady Grey!—no eloquence; but apathy, selfishness, common sense, arithmetic! I beseech you, secure Lord Grey’s sword and pistols, as the housekeeper did Don Quixote’s armour. If there is another war, life will not be worth having. I will go to war with the King of Denmark if he is impertinent to you, or does any injury to Howick; but for no other cause.

“May the vengeance of Heaven” overtake all the Legitimates of Verona! but, in the present state of rent and taxes, they must be left to the vengeance of Heaven. I allow fighting in such a cause to be a luxury; but the business of a prudent, sensible man, is to guard against luxury.

I shall hope to be in town in the course of the season, and that I shall find your health re-established, and your fortune unimpaired by the depredations of Lady Ponsonby at piquette. To that excellent lady do me the favour to present my kind remembrances and regards.

Doblado’s Letters’ are by Blanco White, of Holland House. They are very valuable for their perfect authenticity, as well as for the ability with which they are written. They are upon the state of Spain and the Catholic religion, previous to the present revolution.

The line of bad Ministers is unbroken. If the
present will not do, others will be found as illiberal and unfriendly to improvement. These things being so, I turn my attention to dinners, in which I am acquiring every day better notions, and losing prejudices and puerilities; but I retain all my prejudices in favour of my hosts of Howick, and in these points my old-age confirms the opinions of my youth.

Your affectionate friend,
Sydney Smith.