LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1833

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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333.] To Lord Holland.
Combe Florey, Jan. 22nd, 1833.
My dear Lord Holland,

Nothing can be of so little consequence as what I write, or do not write; but I wish to own only the trumpery good, or the trumpery evil, of which I am the author. A pamphlet, called the ‘Logan Stone’ (which I conjecture to be one of conservation and alarm), has been attributed to me. I give you my honour I have neither written nor read a line of it. If by chance it is mentioned before you, pray say what I say.

Sydney Smith.

334.] To Lord Holland.
Combe Florey, Jan. 25th, 1833.
* * * * *

I do not think my short and humble epistle deserves the merciless quizzing it has received tonight. No man likes to have writings imputed to him which he did not write; and, above all, when those works are an attack upon old friends to whom he is under the greatest obligations.

* * * * *
S. S.

335.] To the Countess of Morley.
Combe Florey, January, 1833.
Dear Lady Morley,

As this is the season for charades and bad pleasantry, I shall say, from a very common appellation
for Palestine, remove the syllable of which egotists are so fond, and you will have the name of the other party which the report concerns; but I repeat again, we as yet know nothing about it.
Stapleton’s letter is decisive, and puts an end to the question. You have no idea how the sacred Valley of Flowers has improved ever since you were here; but I hope you will, before the year is over, come and see. Mrs. Sydney allows me to accept the present you sent me; I stick it in my heart, as P. B. sticks a rose in his button-hole. . . . . Do you want a butler or respectable-looking groom of the chambers? I will be happy to serve you in either capacity; it is time for the clergy to look out. I have also a cassock and stock of sermons to dispose of, dry and fit for use.

Sydney Smith.

336.] To the Countess Grey.
Combe Florey, Sept. 22nd, 1833.
My dear Lady Grey,

I hope you are all well after the fatigues of London, and enjoying the north as much as I do the west. I can conceive no greater happiness than that of a Minister in such times escaping to his country-seat. The discharged debtor,—the bird escaped from the cagedoor, have no feelings of liberty which equal it. Have you any company? For your own sakes, I wish not. You must be sick of the human countenance, and it must be a relief to you to see a cow instead of a christian. We have had here the Morleys and Lady Davy, and many others unknown to you. Our evils have been, want of rain, and scarlet-fever in our village;
where, in three-quarters of a year, we have buried fifteen, instead of one, per annum. You will naturally suppose I have killed all these people by doctoring them; but scarlet-fever awes me, and is above my aim. I leave it to the professional and graduated homicides.

The ——s are with us. Mrs. —— confined to her sofa a close prisoner. I was forced to decline seeing Malthus, who came this way. I am convinced her last accident was entirely owing to his visit.

I am so engaged in the nonsensical details of a country life, that I have hardly looked at a book; the only one I have read with pleasure is Sturt’sDiscoveries in New Holland.’ There must be a great degree of felony and larceny in my composition, for I have great curiosity about that country; and if Lord Grey’s friendship and kindness had left me anything to desire, I should ask to be Governor of Botany Bay.

Sydney Smith.

337.] To the Countess of Carlisle.
Woburn Abbey, Dec. 4th, 1833.

An old and sincere friend feels deeply for your loss, recollecting the ancient kindness of Castle Howard, and the many happy days he has spent there.

It is impossible not to meet with affliction, but it is some comfort to think that many others grieve with our grief, and are thinking of us with deep and honest concern. God bless you, dear Lady Carlisle! I exhort you to firmness and courage, for there are in your mind those foundations on which the best courage is built.

S. S.
338.] To John Murray, Esq.
Combe Florey, Taunton, Dec. 24th, 1833.
My dear John,

Pray send me a word or two respecting Scotland and Scotch friends. Is it true that one of the Scotch Judges is about to resign either life or place? and will Jeffrey succeed him? This will be very agreeable news to me, for I wish to see him in port. We are becoming quiet and careless here. What is your state in Scotland? I begin to hope we shall not have a revolution, though perhaps I am too sanguine.

Read Hamilton’sAmerica,’—excellent, and yet unjust. Suppose a well-bred man to travel in stagecoaches, and to live at ordinaries here; what would be his estimate of England and Englishmen?

We are living here with open windows, and complaining of the heat. Remember me kindly to Jus and Pus Thompson,* and to Mr. Rutherford. I regret sincerely I am so far from Edinburgh. God bless you, dear John!

Sydney Smith.

339.] To Mrs. Meynell.
December, 1833.
My dear G.,

The Ministers, you will admit (all Tory as you are), have at least sent you a most respectable man and gentleman as Dean of Lichfield. His style is, that he is a scholar, with much good sense, and with the

* The Edinburgh lawyer and physician of that name were so distinguished by Mr. Sydney Smith.—Ed.

heart of a gentleman. He was my next-door neighbour in Yorkshire, and I know him well.

We shall be in town the 18th of February; but if there is any chance of seeing you in town at all, it will be in July, one of my months of residence. Pray give over hunting. Ask Meynell to leave off. He has been pursuing the fox for thirty years. Glory has its limits, like any other pursuit.

I passed an agreeable month in London, finding the town full of my acquaintances and friends. I went to Brighton, which pleased me much; and visited the Duke of Bedford and Lord Lansdowne, at their country places. I admire the Duchess of Bedford for her wit and beauty. How are all your children? How are you?

Sydney Smith.

340.] To John Murray, Esq.
No date.
My dear Murray,

Many and sincere thanks for the grouse. I shall be heartily glad if you are returned. The fact is, the Whig Ministry were nearly dissolved before the King put them to death; they were weakened by continual sloughing. They could not have stood a month in the Commons. The King put them out of their misery; in which, I think, he did a very foolish thing.

The meetings in London are generally considered as failures. I was invited to dine with Lord ——. The party was curious: Lady ——, Mrs. F—— L——, Barnes (the Editor of the ‘Times’), myself, and the Duke of Wellington. I was ill, and sent an excuse. Do not imagine I am going to rat. I am a thoroughly honest, and, I will say, liberal person, but have never given way to that puritanical feeling of the Whigs against dining with Tories.
Tory and Whig in turns shall be my host,
I taste no politics in boil’d and roast.

S. S.