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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1811
Sydney Smith to Lady Holland, February 1811

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
February, 1811.
My dear Lady Holland,

I was terribly afraid at first that the Prince had gone over to the other party; but the King’s improved condition leaves a hope to me that his conduct has
been dictated by prudence, and the best idea he can form of filial piety from books and chaplains; for that any man in those high regions of life, cares for his father, is what I cannot easily believe. That he will gain great popularity from his conduct, I have no doubt;—perhaps he may deserve it, but I see through a Yorkshire glass, darkly.

I am exceedingly glad Lord Holland has taken up the business of libels; the punishment of late appears to me most atrocious. If libels against the public are very bad, they become sedition or treason; new crimes may be punished as such; but as long as they are only libels, such punishments as have been lately inflicted are preposterous; and seem to proceed from that hatred which feeble and decorous persons always feel against those who disturb the repose of their minds, call their opinions in question, and compel them to think and reason. There should be a maximum of imprisonment for libel. No man should be imprisoned for more than a year for any information filed by the Attorney-General. Libels are not so mischievous in a free country, as Mr. Justice Grose, in his very bad lectures, would make them out to be. Who would have mutinied for Cobbett’s libel? or who would have risen up against the German soldiers? And how easily might he have been answered! He deserved some punishment; but to shut a man up in gaol for two years for such an offence is most atrocious. Pray make Lord Holland speak well and eloquently on this subject.

Sydney Smith.