LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1834

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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341.] To the Countess Grey.
Combe Florey, May 23rd, 1834.
My dear Lady Grey,

Pray make Lord Grey read the enclosed copy of my letter to the Chancellor. There is nobody to take the part of the parish clergy; they are left to be tormented by laws and by bishops, as frogs and rabbits are given up to the experiments of natural philosophers. In a few years your clergy will become mean and fanatical.

Ever affectionately yours,
Sydney Smith.

342.] To Mrs. Meynell.
Combe Florey, July, 1834.
My dear Mrs. Meynell,

The thought was sudden, so was the execution: I saw I was making no progress in London, and I resolved to run the risk of the journey. I performed it with pain, and found on my arrival at my own door my new carriage completely disabled. I called on no one, but went away without beat of drum. I know nothing of public affairs—I have no pleasure in think-
ing of them, and turn my face the other way, deeply regretting the abrupt and unpleasant termination of
Lord Grey’s political life.

I am making a slow recovery; hardly yet able to walk across the room, nor to put on a christian shoe. On Monday I shall have been ill for a month. Perhaps it is a perquisite of my time of life, to have the gout or some formidable illness. We enter and quit the world in pain! but let us be just however; I find my eyesight much improved by gout, and I am not low-spirited.

Pray let me hear from you from time to time, as you shall from me. Remember me to the handsome widow with handsome daughters; and believe me, my dear G., yours affectionately,

Sydney Smith.

343.] To the Countess Grey.
Combe Florey, Oct. 12th, 1834.
My dear Lady Grey,

I should be glad to hear a word about the dinner; you must have been in the seventh heaven. I am heartily rejoiced at the great honours Lord Grey has received, and which I am sure will give him great pleasure in retirement.

I have spent a summer of sickness, never having been ten days without some return of gout or ophthalmia; at present I am very well, and laying up the aliments and elements of future illnesses. I shall be in London the 1st of November with Mrs. Sydney, in Weymouth-street, where you paid me those charitable visits; for which, God’s blessing be upon you!


I think —— has damaged the Administration from ten to twenty per cent. I wish our friend —— would not speak so much. I really cannot agree with him about reform. I am for no more movements: they are not relished by Canons of St. Paul’s. When I say, “no more movements,” however, I except the case of the Universities; which, I think, ought to be immediately invaded with Inquirers and Commissioners. They are a crying evil.

I have had a great number of persons coming to Combe Florey. They all profess themselves converts to the beauty of the country.

Terrible work with the new Poor Law! Nobody knows what to do, or which way to go. How did Lord Grey stand all his fatigues? Has Rogers been with you? Who should pay me a visit but P—— B——! His very look turns country into Piccadilly.

Sydney Smith.

344.] To Mrs. Baring.
Weymouth-street, Portland-place, 1834.
Dear Mrs. Baring,

I have a favour to ask: could you lend our side such a thing as a Chancellor of the Exchequer? Some of our people are too little,—some too much in love,—some too ill. We will take great care of him, and return him so improved you will hardly know him.

You will be glad to hear my eyes are better—nearly well. Ever sincerely yours,

Sydney Smith.

P.S.—What is real piety? What is true attach-
ment to the Church? How are these fine feelings best evinced? The answer is plain: by sending strawberries to a clergyman. Many thanks.

S. S.

345.] To Mrs. Baring.
Combe Florey, October, 1834.
Dear Mrs. Baring,

L—— has just left us. We all think him a very excellent and agreeable man; but wholly ignorant, for the greatest part of the day, of our names and parish, and not very certain of his own.

See what you lose by being a Tory: your son might have been Bishop of Bristol; a very lean and ill-fed piece of preferment (it is true), but a passage to better things. Ever very sincerely yours,

Sydney Smith.

346.] To the Countess Grey.
London, November 19th, 1834.
My dear Lady Grey,

Nothing can exceed the fury of the Whigs! They mean not only to change everything upon the earth, but to alter the tides, to suspend the principles of gravitation and vegetation, and to tear down the solar system. The Duke’s success, as it appears to me, will entirely depend on his imitation of the Whig measures. I am heartily glad Lord Grey is in port. I am (thanks to him) in port too, and have no intentions of resigning St. Paul’s. I have not resigned. Still the King has used them ill. If he always intended
to turn them out as soon as
Lord Spencer died, he should have told Lord Melbourne so, and not have placed him in so awkward a position; at least, as far as circumstances over which he has no control can place an able and high-minded man.

I am better in health, avoiding all fermented liquors, and drinking nothing but London water, with a million insects in every drop. He who drinks a tumbler of London water has literally in his stomach more animated beings than there are men, women, and children on the face of the globe. London is very empty, but by no means disagreeable: I find plenty of friends. Pray be in London early in January. I shall practise as I preach, and be there from January till Easter.

It is supposed that the messenger who is gone to fetch Sir Robert Peel, will not catch him before he is at Pæstum; in the meantime, the Duke of Wellington holds all offices, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, and is to be Bishop of Ely (if Ely dies), till Peel arrives.

Sydney Smith.

347.] To the Countess Grey.
No date: supposed 1834.
My dear Lady Grey,

There departs from Taunton this day my annual quit-rent cheese, and with it my hearty thanks and gratitude for the comfort and independence I have derived from the kindness of Lord Grey. We are all well, and mean to be in town by the 19th of next month. There is a report that we are going to be married, but I know nothing about it. If we are married, and the report proves to be true, I shall ad-
vertise for a daughter; I cannot possibly get on without a daughter; —but I suppose it is only an idle rumour. Mild weather, the windows open, and thirty sorts of flowers blowing in the garden.

They seem to have given up the idea of your resigning. When I came down here, I found everybody sure you were upon the eve of abdication. I wish the Cabinet would do something about the rain,—it is eternal; and as the road to Taunton is sometimes covered with floods, we are cut off from butchers, doctors, tailors, and all who supply the wants of life.

As I know you are a good scholar, you may say to Lord Grey, for me,—
Precor ut hic annus tibi lætis auspiciis
Ineat, lætioribus procedat, lætissimis exeat,
Et sæpius recurrat semper felicior.

S. S.

348.] To Mrs. Holland.
(Soon after her marriage.) 1834.
* * * * *

The blessing of God be upon you both, dear children; and be assured that it makes my old-age much happier to have placed my amiable daughter in the hands of so honourable and so amiable a son.

From your affectionate father,
Sydney Smith.