LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1826

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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235.] To the Countess Grey.
January 29th, 1826.
My dear Lady Grey,

Terrible work in Yorkshire with the Pope! I fight with the beasts at Ephesus every day!

I hope you have lost no money by the failures all around you. I have been very fortunate. In future I mean to keep my money in a hole in the garden.

This week I publish a pamphlet on the Catholic question, with my name to it. There is such an uproar here, that I think it is gallant, and becoming a friend of Lord Grey’s (if he will forgive the presumption of my giving myself that appellation), to turn out and take a part in the affray. I would send you a copy, but it would cost you three times as much as to buy it. But the best way is neither to buy nor receive it. What a detestable subject!—stale, threadbare, and exhausted; but ancient errors cannot be met with fresh refutations.

They say it is very cold, but I am in a perfectly warm house; and when I go out, am in a perfectly warm great-coat: the seasons are nothing to me.

I wish Lord Howick would come and see me, as he passes and repasses: I am afraid he doubts of my Whig principles, and thinks I am not for the people. You know that Dr. Willis opposes Beaumont for the county of Northumberland. The sheriff has provided himself with a strait waistcoat.

How did you like Lord Morpeth’s answer? It seems to me modest, liberal, and rational. It is very generally approved here. It is something, that a young man of his station has taken the oaths to the good cause.


Pray tell all your family the last person burnt in England for religion was Weightman, at Lichfield, by the Protestant Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, in the reign of James the First, 1612. God save the King! From your sincere friend,

Sydney Smith.

236.] To the Earl Grey.
February 16th, 1826.
My dear Lord Grey,

There appeared, in the ‘Monthly Magazine’ (January), and was thence copied into several papers, ‘A Letter of Advice to the Clergy, by the Rev. Sydney Smith.’ It is a mere forgery; and I have ascertained that the author is a Mr. Nathaniel Ogle, of Southampton. May I beg the favour of you to inform me who Mr. Nathaniel Ogle is? I thought Nat. Ogle, the eldest son of the Dean, had been dead, and that the estate had passed to John. If you know anything of this gentleman, I should be obliged to you to inform me, and also to send me the address of the Rev. Henry Ogle.—Any attack of wit or argument is fair; but to publish letters in another man’s name is contra bonos mores, and cannot be allowed. I hope you are well, and bring with you to town a lady as well as yourself.

I have published a pamphlet in favour of the Pope, with my name, which I would send, but that it would cost you more than its price, being above weight, and sine pondere: but I cannot help writing; facit indignatio versus. Most truly yours,

Sydney Smith.

237.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Foston, Feb. 28th, 1826.
My dear Jeffrey,

I can make nothing of Craniology, for this reason: they are taking many different species of the same propensity, and giving to them each a bump. Now I believe that if nature meant to give any bumps at all, it must have been to the genus, and not to the species and varieties; because the human skull could not contain outward signs of a tenth part of the various methods in which any propensity may act. But to state what are original propensities, and to trace out the family or genealogy of each, is a task requiring great length, patience, and metaphysical acuteness; and Combe’s book is too respectably done to be taken by storm.

Instead of this, I will send you, as you seem pressed, the review of ‘Granby,’ a novel of great merit. Stop me, by return of post, if this book is engaged, and believe me always most truly yours,

Sydney Smith.

238.] To — Fletcher, Esq.
York, March 25th, 1826.
My dear Sir,

I am truly glad that any effort of mine in the cause of liberality and toleration meets with your approbation. You have lived a life of honour and honesty, truckling to no man, and disguising no opinion you entertained. I think myself much honoured by your praise. I will take care you have a copy of my speech as soon as I return to Foston from York, where I am
now staying for a short course of noise, bad air, and dirt.

My letter is by this time nearly out of print: a thousand copies have disappeared, and I am printing another thousand; and I will take care you have one from the author, as a mark of his sincere regard and respect.

God bless you, my dear Sir! I wish you a fertile garden, a warm summer, limbs without pain, and a tranquil mind. The remembrance of an honourable and useful life you have secured for yourself already.

Ever yours,
Sydney Smith.

239.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Ship Inn, Dover,* April 14th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

I have arrived safely at Dover, and shall cross tomorrow in the Government packet. You must direct to me at Messrs. Laffitte and Co., Paris. You need only write once a week, except in case of accidents; I shall

* “These letters, perhaps, are not of sufficient interest to be worthy of general attention. Yet they show the pleasure he took in imparting to the absent the daily incidents occurring to him in a new place, and the promise gratuitously given, and never once departed from, that he would write every day. He well knew how eagerly these letters would be read at home. The looking at everything with a view to the enjoyment he should have in taking his family abroad at some future time,—his mindfulness of all the little commissions given him,—show him to have been as full of unostentatious domestic virtue, as he was conspicuous for that which is deemed greater and nobler.—C. A. S.”—Note to the Letters from Paris, by Mrs. Sydney Smith.

The brief extracts which have been selected from the letters writ-

write, as I told you, every day. I think, when we go to Paris, I shall set off in the steamboat from London.

The road from London to Dover is very beautiful. I am much pleased with Dover. They have sunk a deep shaft in the cliff, and made a staircase, by which the top of the cliff is reached with great ease—or at least what they call great ease, which means the loss of about a pound of liquid flesh, and as much puffing and blowing as would grind a bushel of wheat. The view from the cliff, I need not tell you, is magnificent.

I dare say a number of acquaintances will turn up. You shall have an exact account of the contents of the steam-packet. God bless you all!

S. S.

240.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Calais, April 15th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

I am writing from a superb bedroom and dressing-room, at Dessein’s. I wanted to order dinner, and a very long carte, of which I understood nothing, was given me; so I ordered “Potage aux choux” (God knows what it is), “Pommes de terre au naturel,” and “Veau au naturel.” I am afraid I shall have a fortune to pay for it.

I have been walking all about Calais, and am quite

ten by Mr. Sydney Smith to his wife, during his first visit to Paris, are not inserted for their brilliancy, nor because they inform us of anything about Paris with which we are not familiar. I think them precious, as showing his fresh and open sense of enjoyment, and his eager desire to share it with his family. The words in italics were underlined in the copies made by Mrs. Sydney, and so I have left them: I would not rob them of the emphasis given to them by her proud and grateful affection.—Ed.

delighted with it. It contains about half the population of York. What pleases me, is the taste and ingenuity displayed in the shops, and the good manners and politeness of the people. Such is the state of manners, that you appear almost to have quitted a land of barbarians.

I wish you could see me, with my wood fire, and my little bedroom, and fine sitting-room. My baggage has passed the Custom-house without any difficulty; therefore, so far, my journey has answered perfectly.

You shall all see France; I am resolved upon that. God bless you all!

S. S.

241.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris: no date.
Dearest Wife,

My dinner at Calais was superb; I never ate so good a dinner, nor was in so good an hotel; but I paid dear. I amused myself that evening with walking about the streets of Calais, which pleased me exceedingly. It is quite another world, and full of the greatest entertainment. I most sincerely hope, one day or another, to conduct you all over it; the thought of doing so is one of my greatest pleasures in travelling. I was struck immediately with, and have continued to notice ever since, the extreme propriety and civility of everybody, even the lowest person; I have not seen a cobbler who is not better bred than an English gentleman. I slept well on a charming bed, after having drunk much better tea than I could have met with in England.


I found the inns excellent everywhere on the road, and the cookery admirable. The agriculture appeared to me extremely good; the instruments very clumsy, and the sheep, cows, and pigs miserable. The horses admirable for agriculture and seven miles an hour. At Paris I drove to several hotels and could not get admission; at last I found rooms at the Hôtel D’Orvilliers. I dined in a cafe more superb than anything we have an idea of in the way of coffee-house, and I send you my bill. A dinner like this would have cost thirty shillings in London. At this coffee-house I was accosted by Binda, who was dining there. My dinner was not good, for, not knowing what to choose, and not understanding the language of the kitchen, I chose the first thing upon the list, and chose badly; it is reckoned the best coffee-house in Paris.

In the morning I changed my lodgings to the Hôtel Virginie, Rue St. Honoré, No. 350. My sitting-room is superb; my bedroom, close to it, very good; there is a balcony which looks upon the street,—as busy as Cheapside;—in short, I am as comfortably lodged as possible: I pay at the rate of £2. 2s. per week. I am exceedingly pleased with everything I have seen at the hotel, and it will be, I think, here we shall lodge. God bless you all!

Sydney Smith.

242.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, April 19th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,
* * * * *

I called on the Duke of Bedford, who took me for
Sir Sidney Smith, and refused me; I met him afterwards in the street.

I have bought a coat-of-arms on a seal for six shillings, which will hereafter be the coat-of-arms of the family; this letter is sealed with it.*

I called upon Dumont, who says that our hospitality to his friends has made us very popular at Geneva, and that M. Chauvet gave a very entertaining account of us.

Paris is very badly lighted at nights, and the want of a trottoir is a very, great evil. The equipages are much less splendid and less numerous than in England. The Champs Élysées are very poor and bad; but, for the two towns, in spite of all these inconveniences, believe me, there is not the smallest possibility of a comparison; Regent-street is a perfect misery, compared with the finest parts of Paris. I think, in general, that the display of the shops is finer here than in London.

Of course my opinions, from my imperfect information, are likely to change every day; but at present I am inclined to think that I ought to have gone, and that we will go, to the Boulevards.

There are no table-cloths in the coffee-houses; this annoys me; (at least none for breakfast.)

I am very well; still a little heated with the journey. I have written regularly every day. God bless you

Sydney Smith.
April 20th.

The Duke of Bedford wrote me a note, saying there had been some mistake on the day I called,—that I

* Vide Memoir, p. 205.

had been mistaken for my namesake,—“as much unlike you as possible.” This note was carried to
Sir Sidney, who opened it, read it, and returned it to me, with an apology for his indiscretion, offering to take me to some shows, and begging we might be acquainted.

S. S.

243.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, April 21st, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

I breakfasted yesterday with Miss Fox and Miss Vernon. I met an ancient member of the National Assembly—a M. Girardin, a sensible, agreeable man, who gave me an introduction today to the Assembly, of which I mean to avail myself.

I dined with Lord Holland; there was at table Barras, the ex-Director, in whose countenance I immediately discovered all the signs of blood and cruelty which distinguished his conduct. I found out however, at the end of dinner, that it was not Barras, but M. de Barante, an historian and man of letters, who, I believe, has never killed anything greater than a flea. The Duke de Broglie was there; I am to breakfast with him tomorrow. In the afternoon came Casimir Perrier, one of the best speakers in the Assembly, and Dupin, a lawyer. I saw young Abercrombie here, the Secretary of Legation.

Lady Granville has invited me to her ball, which is to be, as they say, very splendid.

I have hired a laquais de place, who abridges my labour, saves my time, and therefore money. I am
assailed by visitants, particularly by
Sir Sidney Smith, who is delighted with my letter to him, and shows it about everywhere. God bless you all!

S. S.

244.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, April 22nd, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

From Montmartre there is a noble panorama of Paris. From thence I went to the Assembly of Deputies,—a dark, disagreeable hall. I was placed so far from them that I could not hear. They got up and read their speeches, and read them like very bad parsons. I dined at seven o’clock at the Ambassador’s; Miss Fox carried me there. The company consisted of Lord and Lady Granville, Lady Hardy (Sir Charles Hardy’s lady), Mr. and Mrs. Ellis, Lady C. Wortley, Mr. Sneyd, Mr. Abercrombie, and two or three attaches; and in the afternoon came a profusion of French duchesses,—in general very good-looking, well-dressed people, with more form and ceremony than belongs to English duchesses. The house was less splendid than I expected, though I fancy I did not see the state apartments. There is an assembly there this morning, to see the greenhouses and gardens, to which I am invited: you know my botanic skill—it will be called into action this morning; tomorrow I am going to a déjeûner à la fourchette with the Duke de Broglie.

I have renewed my acquaintance with young ——.
There is something in him, but he does not know how little it is; he is much admired as a beauty. God bless you all! I have written every day.

S. S.

245.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, April 23rd, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

I went yesterday, with Dumont, to breakfast with the Duke de Broglie. The company consisted of the Duke, the Duchess, the tutor, young Rocca, M. de Staël, brother to the Duchess, and the children. The Duke seems to be a very amiable, sensible man. He and M. de Staël are going to make a tour, and I think will come to see us in Yorkshire.

After breakfast I went to see the palace of the Duke of Orleans. The pictures are numerous, but principally of the French school, and not good; the rooms in which there are no pictures are most magnificent; in short, magnificence must be scratched out of our dictionary. I then went to a déjeûner à la fourchette at the Ambassador’s, where there was a numerous assembly of French and English; it was a very pretty sight, in a very pretty garden.

I dined with Lord Bath. In the evening we went to see Mdlle. Mars, the great French actress. Her forte is comedy; she seems to excel in such parts as Mrs. Jordan excelled in, and has her sweetness of voice. She is very old and ugly; she excels also in genteel comedy, as Miss Farren did. I certainly think her a very considerable actress.

After the play I went to Lady Holland’s, where
Humboldt, the great traveller,—a lively, pleasant, talkative man.

I like M. Gallois very much; he is a truly benevolent, amiable man. I have not yet had a visit from the hero Sir Sidney Smith; it is his business to call upon me, and I am not anxious to make acquaintance with my countryman.

God bless you! I have written every day, but have received no letters.

S. S.

246.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, April 27th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

Yesterday was a very bad, draggling day, and Paris is not pleasant at such a time. I went to the King’s Library, containing four hundred thousand volumes; they are lent out, even the manuscripts, and, I am afraid, sometimes lost and stolen. It is an enormous library, but nothing to strike the eye. I then saw the Palais du Prince de Condé, which is not worth seeing.

I dined with Lord Holland, who is better. The famous Cuvier was there, and in the evening came Prince Talleyrand, who renewed his acquaintance with me, and inquired very kindly for my brother. I mean to call upon him. The French manners are quite opposite to ours: the stranger is introduced, and I find he calls upon the native first. This is very singular, and, I think, contrary to reason.

In the evening I went to Lady Granville’s ball; nothing could be more superb. It is by all accounts
the first house in Paris. I met there crowds of English.
Madame de Bourke, the widow of the late Danish Ambassador, renewed her acquaintance with me. The prettiest girl in the room was Miss Rumbold, the daughter-in-law of Sir Sidney Smith.

The French Government are behaving very foolishly, flinging themselves into the arms of the Jesuits; making processions through the streets of twelve hundred priests, with the King and Royal Family at their head; disgusting the people, and laying the foundation of another revolution, which seems to me (if this man* lives) to be inevitable. God bless you!

S. S.

247.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, April 28th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

Yesterday was a miserable day; it rained in torrents from morning to night. I employed the morning in visiting in a hackney-coach. It is curious to see in what little apartments a French savant lives; you find him at his books, covered with snuff, with a little dog that bites your legs.

I had no invitation to dinner, so dined by myself at a coffee-house. I improve in my knowledge of Paris cookery. There were four English ladies dining in the public coffee-house,—very well-bred women. In the evening I received an invitation from Mrs. H. S—— to go with her and her son to the Opera. I went, and was pleased with the gaiety of the house;

* Charles X.

there is no ballet, and at present no good singer. The house was full of English, who talk loud, and seem to care little for other people; this is their characteristic, and a very brutal and barbarous distinction it is. After the Opera, I went to drink tea with Mrs. S——, and so ended my day.

This morning it is snowing. I am going to breakfast with the Duke de Broglie. God bless you all!

S. S.

248.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, April 29th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

Horrible weather again today; snowing and raining all day. I went to breakfast with the Duke de Broglie. They are virtuous, sensible people, but give breakfasts without a table-cloth!

I saw the Palace of the Luxembourg and the House of Peers; bad pictures, fine gardens, and the noblest staircase in Paris. The Luxembourg gardens are very fine for the French style of gardening, which I confess I like very much. I am going tomorrow with Mr. Sneyd to see St. Cloud perfectly and Meudon. A fortnight is sufficient for any man to see Paris, if he meets with no friends and is diligent.

S. S.

249.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, May 1st, 1826.

Saturday was again a horrible day. I have been
badly advised about the time of year: the month of May is the time. We will set off from Yorkshire the 1st of May.

I dined with Talleyrand; his cook is said to be the best in Paris. The Duke of Bedford took me there. He was very civil (Talleyrand, I mean), as was his niece, the Duchess de Dino. I sat near Mr. Montron, the Luttrell of Paris,—a very witty, agreeable man, with whom I made great friends. In the afternoon I went to Lady Grantham’s, where was a splendid assembly. I amused myself very much, and stayed till twelve o’clock. I renewed my acquaintance with Pozzo di Borgo, the Russian Ambassador; a very sensible, agreeable man.

S. S.

250.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
Paris, May 4th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

I was engaged all yesterday in seeing the procession. The King laid the first stone of a statue to Louis XVI. in the Place de Louis XV. The procession passed under my window, where were Miss Fox, Miss Vernon, Lady Holland, and others. There were about twelve hundred priests, four cardinals, a piece of the real Cross, and one of the nails, carried under a canopy upon a velvet cushion; the King, the Marshals, the House of Peers, and the House of Commons following. A more absurd, disgraceful, and ridiculous, or a finer, sight, I never saw. The Bourbons are too foolish and too absurd; nothing can keep them on the throne.


The season is very cold; it is a decided east wind today. I am fully a month too soon; the foliage is not half out.

You know Mrs. H. S——. On Sunday, when I preached, she sat near Sir Sidney Smith; he commended the sermon very much. “Yes,” said Mrs. S——, “I think it should make you proud of your name!” You may easily guess how this was relished.

I am a good deal alarmed by these riots in England, because I do not know how they are to end. There is a want of work; when will the demand for manufacturing labour revive? How is it possible to support such a population in idleness?

The King is grown dreadfully old since I dined with him at the Duke of Buccleuch’s, in Scotland; I should not have known him again. There are some hopes of the Dauphin and of the Duchess d’Angoulême. If some change does not soon take place, there will be a revolution. God bless you all!

S. S.

251.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
May 5th, 1826.
Dearest Kate,

I went yesterday to the Cimetière du Pere la Chaise. This is a large burying-ground of two hundred acres, out of Paris. The tombs are placed in little gardens by the relations, and covered with flowers. You see people mourning and weeping over the graves of their friends. I was much pleased and affected with it.

From thence I went to the Castle of Vincennes, two or three miles from Paris. It was here that the Duke
d’Enghien was shot by order of Buonaparte. A monument, in very bad taste, is erected to his memory in the chapel. The castle is not inhabited, but by artillerymen; it is a sort of bad Woolwich. The park is immense; at first they would not let me in, but a sergeant of artillery, who was showing it to his friends, admitted me to be of the party. It is not however worth seeing,—only worth driving round.

I went to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Greathed. They gave me a very good dinner, particularly a filet de bœuf piqué of admirable flavour and contrivance. There was a gentleman, whose name I could not learn, nor ascertain his nature; and a very agreeable, clever woman, by the name of Quesnel, the widow of Holcroft, who writes for the stage, here; she has six children by her first, and six by her second husband, and she says she is called at her hotel la dame aux enfans! God bless you all!

S. S.

252.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
May 7th, 1826.

I passed three hours yesterday at the Police, getting my passport. I think I have nearly seen all my sights. I have seen Sismondi and Madame Sismondi this morning; he is an energetic and sensible old man. My two reviews are very much read, and praised here for their fun; I read them the other night, and they made me laugh a good deal.

The Parisians are very fond of adorning their public fountains: sometimes water pours forth from a rock, sometimes trickles from the jaws of a serpent. The
dull and prosaic English turn a brass cock, or pull out a plug! What a nation!

I have bought the ‘Cuisinier Bourgeois.’ I think we may attempt one or two dishes. We shall not be perfect at first, but such an object will ensure and justify perseverance. I meant, when first I came, to have bought all Paris; but, finding that difficult, I have, for myself, only spent six shillings!

S. S.

253.] To Mrs. Sydney Smith.
London, Friday.
Dearest Kate,

I set off at nine o’clock on Tuesday in the diligence, with a French lady and her father, who has an estate near Calais. I found him a sensible man, with that propensity which the French have for explaining things which do not require explanation. He explained to me, for instance, what he did when he found coffee too strong; he put water in it! He explained how blind people found their way in Paris,—by tapping upon the wall with a stick; what he principally endeavoured to make clear to me was, how they knew when they were come to a crossing;—it was when there was no longer a wall to strike against with their stick! I expressed my thorough comprehension of these means used by blind men, and he paid me many compliments upon my quickness. I had fine weather for my journey, and arrived at Calais at four o’clock on Wednesday. I went to Quilliac’s Hotel, which I found less good and less dear than that of Dessein.

I went to the play the day before I came away, and
Talma. He is certainly a very fine actor, making due allowance for the vehemence and gesticulation of the French.

What has struck me most is the extraordinary beauty of the French papers. I have bought enough to paper your room for £2. 10s.; the duty upon it was £5; total, £7. 10s., about as cheap as English paper at a shilling a yard; but I see no such patterns in England.

We sailed at about eleven o’clock, and had a beautiful passage of less than three hours. A sea-voyage produces a little terror, some surprise, great admiration, much cold, much ennui, and, where there is no sickness, much hunger. I got my things through the Custom-house here before six o’clock, and travelled all night to London, with a Flemish baron, his lady, and child, and a French physician’s wife. I am very little fatigued. And so ends my journey to France, which has given me much pleasure and amusement. God bless you all!

S. S.

254.] To Francis Jeffrey, Esq.
Foston, July, 1826.
Dear Jeffrey,

Will you allow me to remind you that it is above three weeks since I asked you whether I might write an article upon licensing ale-houses,—a great English subject? I should take it as a favour if you would answer these queries as soon as you can, by a single word, as follows:—
The impediment to the under workmen is serious, when the master will not tell them what they are to do. Ever yours,

Sydney Smith.

255.] To Lord Holland.
August 8th, 1826.
* * * * *

It struck me last night, as I was lying in bed, that Mackintosh, if he were to write on pepper, would thus describe it:—

“Pepper may philosophically be described as a dusty and highly-pulverized seed of an oriental fruit; an article rather of condiment than diet, which, dispersed lightly over the surface of food with no other rule than the caprice of the consumer, communicates pleasure, rather than affords nutrition; and, by adding a tropical flavour to the gross and succulent viands of the North, approximates the different regions of the earth, explains the objects of commerce, and justifies the industry of man.”

I am very glad to hear from Miss Vernon, that you are all so well, and that you are enjoying yourselves so much at Ampthill.

S. S.

256.] To the Countess Grey.
Foston, September, 1826.
My dear Lady Grey,

We have had Mr. Whishaw and Mr. Jeffrey here, and a number of very sensible, agreeable men, coming up to the imperfect idea I am able to form of good
society. You have had a brisk time of it at Howick, and all the organs of combativeness have been called into action. I hope you are cooling. We have been, ever since I have been here, in the horror of elections—each party acting and thinking as if the salvation of several planets depended upon the adoption of Mr. Johnson and the rejection of Mr. Jackson.

I think it is the hot weather which has agreed with you; it is quite certain that it has not agreed with me. I never suffered so much from any species of weather; but I am, you know, of the family of Falstaff.

Pray make all my friends (meaning by that expression your daughters) study languages on the Hamiltonian method.

I hope you found Howick in high beauty. It must have been an affecting meeting. You left it under the conviction that you should see it no more, though I told you all the time you would live to be eighty.

Pray read Agar Ellice’sIron Mask;’ not so much for that question, though it is not devoid of curiosity, as to remark the horrible atrocities perpetrated under absolute monarchies; and to justify and extol Lord Grey, and, at the humblest distance, Sydney Smith and other men, who, according to their station in life and the different talents given them, have defended liberty.

God bless you, dear Lady Grey!

From your affectionate friend,
Sydney Smith.

257.] To Lady Holland.
London, Thursday, 1826.
My dear Lady Holland,

I have written to Maltby, and stated (in order to accumulate motives) that you are a considerable scholar, but shy, and must be pressed a good deal before you develope such-like knowledge; particularly, that you have peculiar opinions about the preterpluperfect tense; and this, I know, will bring him directly, for that tense has always occasioned him much uneasiness, though he has appeared to the world cheerful and serene.

But how little we know of what passes in each other’s minds! Ever yours,

S. S.

258.] To John Allen, Esq.
Foston, Nov. 9th, 1826.
Dear Allen,

Pray tell me something about Lord and Lady Holland, as it is several centuries since I have seen them. I was in the same house in Cheshire with ——, but he was too ill to see me; extreme depression of spirits seems to be his complaint, an evil of which I have a full comprehension; Mrs. —— seems to be really alarmed about him. Have you finished your squabbles with Lingard? The Catholics are outrageous with you, and I have heard some of the most violent express a doubt whether you are quite an orthodox member of the Church of England.

I never saw Lord Carlisle looking so well. Is not happiness good for the gout? I think that remedy
is at work upon him. I cannot say how agreeable their neighbourhood is to me. I am very glad to see
Mackintosh is really at work upon his history: it will immortalize him, and make Ampthill classical from recollections.

I think of going to Edinburgh in the spring with my family, on a visit to Jeffrey, who was with us in the summer. Health and respect, dear Allen! Prosperity to the Church, and power to the clergy!

Ever yours,
Sydney Smith.

We have seen a good deal of old Whishaw this summer; he is as pleasant as he is wise and honest. He has character enough to make him well received if he were dull, and wit enough to make him popular if he were a rogue.

259.] To Edward Davenport, Esq.
December 26th, 1826.
Dear Davenport,

I wish you would turn your talents and activity to oppose this odious war. There is no such thing as a “just war,” or, at least, as a wise war; at all events, this is not one. Pray be pacific. I see you have broken the ice in the House of Commons. I shall be curious to hear your account of your feelings, of what colour the human creatures looked who surrounded you, and how the candles and Speaker appeared. We must have a small massacre of magistrates; nothing else will do. The gentleman you have mentioned shall be among the first.


I wish you had added a word of the nature and condition of my old friend Mrs. H——: breeding, of course; at least, the onus probandi is with her.

We hear nothing here but of distress, bazaars, and the high price of hay. I am not without alarm as to the state of the country: the manufacturing distress has lasted too long.

For God’s sake, open upon the Chancery. On this subject there can be no excess of vituperation and severity. Advocate also free trade in ale and ale-houses. Respect the Church, and believe that the insignificant member of it who now addresses you is most truly yours,

Sydney Smith.