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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1835
Sydney Smith to Sir Robert John Wilmot Horton, [15] January 1835

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
January 1835.
Dear Horton,*

It is impossible to say what the result of all these changes will be. I do not think there is any chance of the Tories being suffocated at the first moment by a denial of confidence; if the more heated Whigs were to attempt it, the more moderate ones would resist it. If I were forced to give an opinion, I should say Peel’s government would last through a session; and a session is, in the present state of politics, an eternity.

* Sir Wilmot Horton was at this time Governor of Ceylon.

But the remaining reforms, rule who may, must go on. The Trojans must put on the armour of the Greeks whom they have defeated.

Never was astonishment equal to that produced by the dismissal of the Whigs. I thought it better at first to ascertain whether the common laws of nature were suspended; and to put this to the test, I sowed a little mustard and cress seed, and waited in breathless anxiety the event. It came up. By little and little I perceived that, as far as the outward world was concerned, the dismissal of Lord Melbourne has not produced much effect.

I met T—— yesterday at Lady Williams’s, a sensible and very good-natured man, and so stout that I think there are few wild elephants who would care to meet him in the wood. I am turned a gouty old gentleman, and am afraid I shall not pass a green old age, but, on the contrary, a blue one; or rather, that I shall be spared the trouble of passing any old-age at all. Poor Malthus! everybody regrets him;—in science and in conduct equally a philosopher, one of the most practically wise men I ever met, shamefully mistaken and unjustly calumniated, and receiving no mark of favour from a Liberal Government, who ought to have interested themselves in the fortunes of such a virtuous martyr to truth.

I hope you will disorient yourself soon. The departure of the wise men from the East seems to have been on a more extensive scale than is generally supposed, for no one of that description seems to have been left behind. Come back to Europe, where only life is worth having, where that excellent man and governor, Lord Clare, is returning, and where so many
friends are waiting to receive you à bras ouverts,—among the rest the
Berries, whom I may call fully ripe at present, and who may, if your stay is protracted, pass that point of vegetable perfection, and exhibit some faint tendency to decomposition.

The idea lately was, that Lord —— would go to India, but they are afraid his religious scruples would interfere with the prejudices of the Hindoos. This may be so; but surely the moral purity of his life must have excited their admiration. I beg my kind (and an old parson may say) my affectionate regards to Lady Horton.

Yours, my dear Horton, very sincerely,
Sydney Smith.