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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1810
Sydney Smith to Lord Grey, 29 December 1810

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
December 29th, 1810.
My dear Lord,

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in sending me the pheasants. One of my numerous infirmities is a love of eating pheasants.

I am always sorry for any evil that happens to Lady Grey, be it only a sick finger; no light malady, when it prevents those who respect her as much as I do from receiving a letter from her. I shall have great pleasure in criticizing the flower-garden next year, but still have a hankering for a little bit of green in the middle.

I wish I could write as well as Plymley; but if I could, where is such a case to be found? When had any lawyer such a brief? The present may be a good brief, but how can it be so good?

To write such letters as you require, it would be necessary (supposing, as you politely suppose, that I could do the thing well under any circumstances) that I should be near you, and in London: materials furnished at such a distance from you and the press, would never do; especially in a production that must be hasty, if it is at all. You may depend upon it, I will be as good as my word, and write one or two pamphlets. I shall never own them, and you will probably read them without knowing them to be mine; but it will be contributing my mite to a good cause.
It is foolish to boast that I intend to subscribe a mite; it is better to do it, and be silent; but I spake it between the hours of six and eight, and to the leader of the Whigs.

I dare say you are right about ——’s declaration; and as I never find you averse to reason a matter with a person so politically ignorant as myself, were I in Howick library, I dare say I should soon yield to your explanations. It appears to me that the little Methodist says, “There is a vacancy in the Government; I will proceed to fill it up, in a manner which appears to me (and has before appeared to Mr. Pitt) the most eligible. In the meantime, as there is no executive government, the public service must not suffer. We (not I) will perform every function of the Executive, and then come for a bill of indemnity.”

Now, if his plan for a Regency is right, how is his declaration blamable? Somebody must act till the vacancy is filled up; and if not the Ministers, who besides? But they have not filled up this vacancy in the most expeditious manner. True,—they are blamable; not for acting executively in the interval, but for not making that interval as short as possible.

Excuse my heresies: you know that a short argument often teaches me.

Ever, my dear Lord, yours most sincerely,
Sydney Smith